1. Inside She Was Screaming “No! No!”
He and I had a very tumultuous relationship for the first few years together, due to emotional immaturity and trauma on both our parts. He was my “rebound” after my first true heartbreak, and we started dating way, way too soon. We fought often, broke up once or twice, and I constantly thought about leaving even after we’d moved in together. Still, I’d grown dependent on him in ways I now see were unhealthy, and while I did have feelings for him, part of me was just scared of being alone.
When he shocked me by popping the question, my stomach dropped and I physically wanted to run. Every fiber in my body was yelling “no, no, no!” in that moment, but his proposal speech was so beautiful and heartfelt, and he was so vulnerable and open, that I muttered a bewildered “yes” before I could even process my feelings. Having to call our parents immediately to share the news was just torture. Honestly looking back on that moment, I have no idea why I wasn’t just honest with him, but there was a part of me that did love and care for him, and I wanted…I don’t know, exactly, but I wanted to see if we could work ourselves out together, even though it all felt so hopeless and wrong.
We’ve been together 8 years now, married 4, and I’m so happy to say that we are the perfect partners for each other. We’ve both grown so much on our own, through sheer will and hard HARD work, and in that process, we’ve also grown together in ways I couldn’t have imagined. He is the most insightful, self-aware man I’ve ever met, and he loves me more that I ever felt I deserved. And through him, I learned how to love, genuinely and (to the best of my abilities) selflessly. He is truly my other half in life and without him I would be so lost.
I’m so grateful that part of me that was scared and hopeless and wanted to run away screaming decided to stay, to wait and see if we could grow together, to see what life we could build together. The journey has been more painful and more difficult than anything I’ve ever faced, but it’s also been the most precious and humbling and life-affirming experience in every way.
As a wise man once said, “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
2. “Shit Or Get Off The Pot”
We’d been together 7 years and it was that ‘shit or get off the pot’ next step of getting married or breaking up that I suppose a lot of couples face. We’d had some great times and though she was somewhat selfish and lazy I figured I could do a lot worse.
I’d hurt my back whilst on a round the world tour (that I exclusively paid for) that culminated in me proposing at the edge of the grand canyon. Unfortunately, my back got worse when we returned and I lost my job one month after the wedding.
As I’d spent all of my savings taking us round the world, getting married, buying us a house we were quickly broke. I struggled with being unemployed and in pain.
She coped by going out drinking with her friends most nights and after several honest conversations, it became obvious she would not be providing any support, emotional, physical etc.
It came to a head when I offered her £100 (my only birthday money) so that she could go on a pre-planned weekend break and she complained it wasn’t enough.
3. Overcoming Mental Illness Together
My wife and I were on again off again in our early twenties. I broke up with her then she would come over in a trench coat with nothing underneath and get me back that way. She actually has mental illness, severe anxiety, and depression but she didn’t know it then. I really liked the good times, but when she went ‘crazy’ I really didn’t want any part of that. I couldn’t leave her because I felt she was just misunderstood even though my family didn’t want me to marry her. I did, though, I proposed with my own free will and everything. Now, she has been to doctors and therapy and she deals much less with the anxiety and depression. I’m so happy I’m with her right now. She is my best friend and my lover. I truly expect to spend the rest of my life with her and be happy!
4. Different Expectations Come Together
My story has all the makings of a bad Harlequin romance. I was young and in the military and met a very sweet Japanese girl. However, her family didn’t like the idea of her marrying an American serviceman. Long story short, she ran away from her family at the risk of being disowned to come to the US and marry me. The problem was that as I stood at the altar I was just beginning to realize how different our expectations toward life were, not to mention our wildly differing libidos. She was very down-to-earth and conservative in her approach to life. I wanted adventure and had big dreams. I stood there at the altar that day and really had my doubts. But we had been through so much that I just couldn’t tell her the truth. That was almost 30 years ago. Over the years we’ve worked together and we’ll compromise. We found that her strengths complemented mine. We have often joked that we are like two halves of a jigsaw puzzle perfectly together. It has taken time and patience but we really have a very ideal relationship after all these years.
5. A Terrible Secret
He genuinely seemed to care for me and love me. So, even though I knew I didn’t love him as much, we could make it work. We had a fairly inexpensive wedding, moved in together and take care of each other. He pays the bills, I cook and clean, and we both put up with each other’s shit.
Until this past Wednesday when I discovered his HIV medication and he told me he’d had it for over 5 years. Longer than we knew each other. So he lied every day for 5 years, and that’s what I’m dealing with now. My test came out negative, somehow. But it still feels like a deal breaker. Nothing will be the same as before and he’s fully expecting for it to go back to how it was a week ago.
6. Certainties Can Change
Probably the best decision I ever made. Three years ago I was so certain she was not the one for me simply because I was bored and wished I could kiss someone else. Well, one beautiful road trip vacation was all it took for me to realize we are perfectly meant to be together. We’ve been married almost 2 years and together 6. I couldn’t be happier that I stuck it out and am confident in saying she is the one for me.
7. Don’t Stay Unless You’re Sure
I knew from a couple of months into the relationship that I didn’t love her. She came from a terrible home situation, and she was severely depressed with borderline personality disorder to boot. I felt so sorry for her. I honestly worried that if I left her, she would commit suicide.
She had two little girls who needed someone stable, and normal in their lives. I was afraid that I would be letting them down if I left–who else was going to help them if I didn’t?
Before we got married she cheated on me, but she was in such denial about it that she managed to convince me that it didn’t happen, although looking back on it, I know it’s true.
We fought almost daily. We screamed at each other, and she would get so angry that she would take things that were important to us (shared symbols of our love and affection) like her wedding rings, our marriage certificate, gifts that I’d bought for her, and attempt to destroy them or throw them away.
I wasn’t at all interested in having sex with her, and most of the time I wasn’t able to force myself. She could sense that there was something wrong in our relationship, and she constantly made comments to me about how I didn’t love her and didn’t want to be with her.
Towards the end, our fighting got so bad that it was sometimes physical. Never punching, or hitting, but shoving and grabbing one another. I felt like I was losing control of myself.
I ended up in therapy and had a relapse (I am a recovering addict, and had been clean for 3 years when she and I got together).
After we had been married for a while she started bringing men around: “friends from work.” She swore that nothing was happening with them, and by this point, I was so detached from reality that I honestly didn’t much care one way or the other.
I finally had a breakthrough in therapy where I realized that her reaction to how I live my life, is not my problem. We split up, and I spent the next 6 months spiraling deeper into my addiction before I started to come out of it.
I have since remarried, to someone I do love with all my heart. But I still have nightmares (this is not hyperbole–actual, real-life nightmares, my current wife will tell me some mornings about how I was screaming, in my sleep) that I am still stuck in that horrible, abusive, loveless relationship.
There simply isn’t enough time for me to adequately express all of the different ramifications of that relationship. There was only one positive thing that came out of it, and that was that I learned that you cannot “settle” for a relationship. The person with whom you intend to spend your life has to be someone who meets all of your criteria, or you will never be happy with them.
The negative consequences, on the other hand, are apparent in my everyday life even now: in my relationships with other people (especially my current wife); my finances; and my own general psychological well-being.
Please…don’t stay with someone unless you’re sure.
I have been married for 31 years for just that very reason. I knew the first year I had made a horrible mistake but I was pregnant by that time so I felt stuck. I still feel stuck. Many things have happened in the years that should have made me leave but I stay. My therapist is helping me become healthy enough mentally so I can finally be free.
9. Gaining Confidence
This was me for ten years, until I finally left. I remember knowing I didn’t want to marry him, but he was dependent on me. He was occasionally abusive before, then his life circumstances made him angrier and angrier during the marriage and he took it out on me. It wasn’t even the abuse that triggered me to leave (I didn’t realize it wasn’t a part of marriage). It was an interaction with a random stranger that told me I was beautiful. Just that little bit of kindness made me realize what a miserable hell I chose to live in every day.
He made it as hard as he could to leave, but five years later I’m much happier. I still have depression to battle, but when I think about where I came from I’d consider myself a survivor
10. An Unequal Love
I don’t have stars in my eyes when I look at him, but I think he does for me. Anything I want to do is what he wants to do too, and not just to humor me, he seems to genuinely enjoy doing whatever it is that will make me happy. With time, I’ve come to appreciate him more and more to the point that now I don’t know what I’d do without him. But I often think that he deserves someone better than me, he deserves someone who will look at him the same way he looks at me.
11. A Planned Breakup Becomes A Wedding
I was going to break up with him the night he proposed. We were watching a band at a bar, drinking beer, having a good time. We had been dating 9 months and had a lot of fun, but had NEVER talked about marriage or anything.
When he asked, I was so surprised I didn’t answer, then he looked so excited I couldn’t say no. When I said yes, we hugged and he yelled “WE JUST GOT ENGAGED!” and everyone standing around drinking beers with us. (There was no ring of course, so one guy gave me a way-too-big skull ring to wear as a substitute.) I kept trying to figure out what to do, and how/whether to break up. I’ve never been great a communicating what I want or hurting people’s feelings, so fast forward 9 months later and we were married. I
We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary next year. We’re the best of partners. We laugh. We have great companionship, honesty, support, trustworthiness. We’ve got 2 great kids. We’ve supported each other through our son’s cancer, the death of our dads, marital highs and lows. And we love each other. So, I guess it’s going pretty well.
12. ‘Staying For The Kid’ Works Out
We made the choice to “stay for the kid” when I became pregnant at 17. Even on my wedding day, all I wanted to do was run away. I didn’t want it, but I knew I couldn’t make ends meet on my own and he was a great dad, even as young as we were.
It’s been eight years and I can’t say things have always been perfect. We really had a lot of growing up to do, but I’m so happy to have him by my side. We built our lives from the ground up and it’s been a privilege. We’ve fought, nearly split a couple of times but we always come back to each other. He’s my best friend and I really don’t want to spend my time with anyone but him.
About a year ago I actually found out he didn’t want to get married either. He wanted to run away just as much as I did. So that was pretty interesting because one of the reasons I didn’t want to leave was because I didn’t want to break his heart. Turns out he was thinking the same thing.
13. She Convinced Him
She had convinced me that the problems with our relationship were due to being together for 5 years and not getting engaged.
Then she had me convinced that the problems with our relationship were because she wanted kids and we didn’t have any children.
Then she had me convinced that the problems with our relationship were because we had two boys and she really wanted a little girl.
Now she is trying to convince me that the problems in our relationship are due to being in a small house with three kids when she really wants a huge house with a huge yard.
In other words, it is not going well. At all. We were never compatible. But I couldn’t bring myself to walk away, so instead, I tried to make us compatible. The problems never got better, they only ever got worse. I will be surprised if I am still married a year from now.
14. A Wonderful Life
My SO and I were so totally opposite in our life choices when we first met that we both questioned whether we should continue dating or not. After deciding to see how things would work out, we eventually got married. Three kids and 4 grandkids later, we are preparing to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary next month. It’s been a wonderful life.