Life is complicated and no one provides you with a manual or instructions on how to live it. You can only follow your instincts and do what feels right.
I married Andrew in 1996, after having lived with him since my junior year in college. When we met we were two broken souls, but together we seemed to have all that we needed to begin our repair. I was eighteen at the time and he was going on twenty one. The comfort and strength we provided each other forged a bond between us that was unbreakable.
Andrew and I fell in love instantly and intensely. We were both people with tremendous passion which created a relationship filled with explosion. On a deeper level, we were the best of friends, truly respecting one another and enjoying each other’s company through common interests. We rarely fought, but when we did, the entire neighborhood shook.
When we met we were young adults coming of age and each of our lives brought pressures into the relationship that were very severe. I was just overcoming the pain of losing my mother and trying to hold together life at home as my father slipped deeply into oblivion. Andrew also struggled with his own family challenges; working with his sister to try and hold together a family battered by the divorce of their parents. On top of it all, we were broke and struggled to attend college with hopes of making something of our lives.
When we married, we had set our sights on similar goals. But as time went on we began to grow at different rates and our priorities shifted and ultimately severed. Unknowingly, I was unhappy and eventually, I began to realize that I was wilting. I had great aspirations for myself and for us, but somehow together, I was unable to harness our full potential.
Day-to-day living became exhausting and I found the energy level that I once loved in Andrew to be unruly and uncontrollable. We became disjointed and our goals disconnected. Eventually, the strength of our marriage weakened and in 2003, we divorced.
Our divorce was sad and painful not only for us, but for our friends and our families. For the most part, they respected our decision, although no one was supportive of divorce as an ultimate outcome or solution – but I was too tired and didn’t have the strength to try and fix, what I felt was broken.
For the most part, our divorce was amicable and we tried our best to stay respectful of each other. Of course some days we were better at that than others; but at times the hurt was so immense that it was impossible to be civil. When we divorced, our friends tried desperately to pick sides, some even tried to fuel tensions between us. This however proved to be futile and Andrew and I remained friends.
A fair amount of time passed which created some distance between us. But our history of love and support ran deep and our friendship was too strong for us to remain apart. Through the years our lives continued to face many more challenges and we grew to understand and ultimately accept that we needed each other in order endure them.
A few years after our divorce, Andrew remarried. His new wife has come to recognize the remarkable bond between us and instead of trying to fight it, she has spent her energy embracing it. Actually, it’s gone much further than that. She and I have developed a very special friendship and I endear her very much. The three of us are peas in a pod.
We believe that our relationship is unique, but to outsiders looking in – it is odd and incomprehensible. I admit that at times, it even looks strange to us; but again in the absence of a life manual – it just feels right.