I Shouldn’t Have Married You

groom beside bride holding bouquet flowers
Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash

I liked saying the word “fiancé.”

I liked the way you proposed under the fireworks, sunflowers and diamonds.

I liked the planning: October, fall leaves, anemone and hydrangea centerpieces.

But I shouldn’t have married you.

I woke up every night with intense panic attacks. My heart would race, so fast and so hard, that I thought I was dying.

I grew depressed, anxious, despondent.

You noticed. You asked me what was wrong. You begged me to tell you.

I didn’t know.

I took more medicine, and went to the ER for my heart, where they found nothing.

I didn’t know.

My mom did, though.

She’d send me articles about brides-to-be calling off their engagements, walking away just months before the wedding.

When we drove up from Florida together, after a mini vacation, I couldn’t help crying on her shoulder.

I wondered aloud about my first love, the one who still had a piece of my heart.

She said, “Liz, you love him. Do you love your fiancé like that? Do you love him at all?”

I did love you.

I truly did.

But I wasn’t in love with you.

I came close to calling it off but I thought: invitations are sent out, engagement photos are done (and so very beautiful, thanks to my friend Julie), we live together, we’re (sort of) happy. That’s reason enough right?

No. It isn’t.

You deserved more.

And so did I.

Marriage shouldn’t make you feel trapped. It shouldn’t give you panic attacks. It shouldn’t make you feel like you’re going to vomit with fear.

I closed my eyes and tried to envision us together in five years, ten, fifteen.

It was a blank slate.

There was nothing.

I remembered my first love.

How, even so young, I had imagined our future with perfect clarity: a ramshackle apartment, both of us in college working on our creative writing, dancing in the kitchen to Van Morrison, a beautiful child with my blonde curls and his lion gold eyes.

I couldn’t see that with you.

I shouldn’t have married you.

Our wedding was beautiful. The cake was delicious. My dress was art. The sun shone.

But a wedding doesn’t make a marriage.

I’m sorry I hurt you.

Now, here we are, not even two years later, filing for divorce.

You have a girlfriend you’re moving in with, a child you’ll care for as if she were your own, plans for a new house with your new family.

Does she close her eyes and see a future with you, the way I could not?

Do you?

I’m happy for you.

I shouldn’t have married you.

I never should have said yes.

And yet, you found your way.

Maybe I’ll find mine, too.

Maybe one day a man will ask for my hand in marriage, and I’ll feel only joy.

I won’t settle again.

Neither should you.

I shouldn’t have married you… TC mark

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