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She Was Supposed To Be The Mother Of My Children. Now She's A Stranger

Men, most tend to shield their emotions. They kind of go about their life and act like nothing ever happened.
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Portrait of young man suffering for depression
Portrait of young man suffering for depression

You never believe it's going to an end.

I think that's the part that stings the most.

And men, most tend to shield their emotions. They kind of go about their life and act like nothing ever happened.

They'll go on the defense. Some even date to conceal the pain.

But let me tell you something... divorce hurts. And don't allow anyone tell you differently.

When I was standing at that altar waiting for her to walk down the aisle, I never imagined I'd lay in bed without her, wondering how she was.

When I danced with her to our wedding song, I never imagined that would be one of the last times we would ever dance together.

That morning when I left for work, I never imagined when I got home she wouldn't be there, regardless of the problems we faced.

Nearly nine years together. We had all of these plans, and these dreams. She was supposed to be my partner in life; the mother of my children

Instead, she's now just a stranger that I once knew.

Divorce wasn't easy for me.

There was no user manual that prepared me for it. I kind of figured it out as I went along. As if being a twenty-eight year old trying to figure out life wasn't hard enough.

Did I feel like a disappointment? Of course I did. How did I fail at the one aspect of life that I invested so much of my heart and soul into? And how would I ever recover from a pain that made me feel so empty inside?

You replay all of the years you spent together, you question decisions you made and for a brief moment while you close your eyes, you hold on so tight to something that once was.

Night after night, I would walk around my home. I'd hear her laugh echo in every room, but she was nowhere to be found. I'd smell the scent of her skin, but she wasn't there to hold. I even felt her kiss goodnight, but my bed was empty.

Life just wasn't the same. And believe me, I pushed forward the best way I could. It still didn't change the fact that a woman, who was once such a significant part of my life, was gone.

I even feared that people would judge me for not succeeding at marriage. That a woman would pass on me because I had unnecessary baggage, or an asterisk next to my name.

I hurt -- for a long, long time.

But I never took my pain out on anyone else. I wasn't willing to change who I was because life threw me a curveball.

Instead, I decided to learn from it, to grow from it. And to create a story of my life that people would find some sort of strength in.

You know those people that say, "I should write a book about my life"? Well, I'm doing just that.

I knew that I wasn't the only one who had ever gone through a divorce; so many others had felt that pain prior to myself. But I noticed something: The only discussions of divorce that I had ever heard were ones of criticisms and hate.

When was the last time you heard somebody talk proudly of their divorce? They just don't.

I think people just want it to go away, so in a sense never speak of it in a positive light. Maybe they feel it portrays weakness, or can be misconstrued for emotions that still linger.

The truth is, at one point in your life you did love that person. Enough to either get down on one knee and ask them to spend their life with you, or say 'yes' to the most important question you were ever asked.

But we tend to forget that in the face of adversity. We believe anger will conceal the pain; it doesn't. We believe speaking unfavorably will be a sign of strength; it isn't.

That story, mixed with happiness, sadness and years of experiences, will live inside of you. And everything you say, and everything you do is a reflection of what that all actually meant. Sure, you want to rid it from yourself, but how you do that says a lot about your character.

So to heal, I wrote. I wrote to rid myself of that story inside of me that once brought me so much joy; one that eventually caused me so much pain.

People all over the world have listened. Carefully. Sure they've judged me. That's what people do. And not just strangers, either. People who I once believed were close to me even had something to say. As if they lived this perfect life.

But if I could overcome losing the most important person in my life, do you really think the opinions of other's were going to phase me? They didn't. I wouldn't be writing today if they had.

I've never spoken negatively about my past, and quite honestly, I never will. Does that mean I was never wronged? No. Does it mean I was never treated unfairly? No.

But do people automatically assume that because I speak kindly of a woman I once thought I'd spend my life with, that I'm solely to blame for my divorce?

Absolutely.

It's how this is society is conditioned to think. And everything that's wrong with the world.

But here's what that whole experience taught me...

Love is real and time heals

Your character -- it's defined by your actions when you lose everything; stay true to who you are.

And divorce -- its hard.

It rips you into pieces without ever caring where you land. It clouds your sunlight, and weakens every last bone in your body.

But...

There's light at the end of the every tunnel.

And as you journey through it, you'll eventually pick up those pieces to become whole again. You'll somehow realize that even through life's toughest battles, you'll always fight. You'll fight with every ounce of heart you have left inside of you.

Some days you win, and some days you lose. But you'll always make it.

So be graceful in defeat, have respect for your past, and understand that everything in life happens because it's supposed to.

As for love -- I know it will find me again.

And when it does, I assure you she'll be the greatest story I ever write.

This blog post is part of HuffPost's When Men Divorce series. For other posts written by men about the divorce experience, head here. If you want to share your story, email divorcestories@huffingtonpost.com

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