It definitely wasn't love at first sight. When I met my husband, I was a freshman in college and he was an obnoxious junior on the school's football team. Our first encounter? Me cursing him out for picking on a friend of mine as we ate lunch. From that moment on he pursued me, but I did my best to avoid him. We eventually ended up in a class together and before I knew it, I no longer saw a jock, but a man—a man who swept me off my feet.
Brandon was my very first everything. First boyfriend, first love, first lover. Ours was my first meaningful relationship outside of my sheltered family life. I loved him, and when he asked me to marry him I said "yes" out of love, but also because I figured this step was what was expected of us.
In the beginning, married life was great. We were two young people exploring ourselves together and supporting each other through life's growing pains. When we welcomed the first of three children into the world a few years later, our marriage went from great to blissful. We relished in our new family, our careers and each other. Our love was strong and it felt like nothing could break us.
Our 15th wedding anniversary is when things began to change—or, rather, when I finally decided to acknowledge the changes. While planning our anniversary getaway, I noticed that Brandon and I were simply on different pages. I loved him, deeply; he was and is a good man, but we wanted different things now. I was focused on raising our kids, finally buying a home and starting a business. I wanted to see the world and experience more out of life. However, Brandon was content in what I saw as simply existing. His job he hated was ''good enough" because it paid the bills; he never wanted to travel or try anything new, our apartment was rent controlled, large and in a great neighborhood so he saw no use in home ownership and, beyond sports, he never really took too much interest in our children's development. I'll admit, in our younger days the simple life he was happy with was great to me, but I was a bushy eyed teen then. As a grown woman, I wanted more.
When I spoke to Brandon about my concerns, he assumed that I was cheating. He couldn't understand how I just woke up one day unhappy with our life. Truth is, it was a long time coming, but I was in denial about the fact that my perfect life wasn't so perfect. I should've spoken up sooner, but I didn't. Thankfully, he agreed to therapy, where we worked through many of the issues we had with each other—a gift and a curse. The more sessions we attended and the more I listened to him for what felt like the first time, the truth became impossible to deny; I realized that I loved, but was not in love with the man sitting next to me. We had completely different visions of life. The bright and shiny yellow brick road we started out traveling together had finally hit a fork in the road and neither one of us felt like following the other anymore.
Brandon was never one to give in to failure so he fought hard to keep our family together and I met him at every step, until my feelings were just too clear to deny. One day in therapy, I finally said the words that had been haunting me for months. I turned to Brandon, the man I had loved, grown with and raised children with, and told him I wanted a divorce. The look in his eyes is something I will never forget because hurting him was the last thing I wanted to do.
It's been two months and Brandon has moved out of our apartment. Our home is quiet without him. I miss him every day; I miss what we had, what we could've been, and I cry. But more often than not, I feel free and ready to face the challenges ahead. I will always have love for Brandon, but it was time to let go and I hope that the life waiting for him reignites his passions because he deserves happiness…and so do I.
– As told to Danielle Pointdujour