When I was young I didn't know that divorce existed. I didn't know that marriages could end. I was young when an uncle went through a divorce and because it was news to me that marriages could end I asked my parents why my uncle wasn't married to my aunt anymore.
I was told that my uncle's wife just woke up one day and decided she didn't want to be married anymore. Years later a 2nd uncle's marriage ended. I was a teenager and asked the same questions. I'd had a friend by that point whose parents divorced but I wasn't bold enough to ask her why. So I asked again why this 2nd uncle wasn't married anymore.
I was told again that this 2nd uncle's wife just woke up one day and decided she didn't want to be married anymore.
Now, I do understand that these were attempts at age appropriate answers to hard, complicated questions. Through my adult eyes I understand marriages end for a myriad of reasons that are rarely completely 1one persons fault. But to my kid eyes it seemed a reasonable enough cause, I guess.
It's no secret I have relationship issues, and abandonment issues exacerbated by long-term relationships (specifically those of the romantic nature). A couple of months ago I reconnected with a family member and we began swapping stories and information. I relayed the stories of my uncles divorces and the reasons I was given for the end of their marriage. But as I sat on the sofa messaging with my family member it hit me, that was probably not actually the reason my uncles were divorced.
I know, duh. Right?
Here I was, 33 years old, still believing the age appropriate reason for divorce. It struck me that combined with my sense of abandonment, that people always leave, and the entrenched belief that these two uncles who I loved deeply and I had put on the pedestal fun uncles are often put on were left by women that just decided one day they didn't want to be married anymore; it's no wonder I'm certain any marriage I might enter into would only end in being left.
If people can just wake up one morning and decide to leave then what's to stop it from happening to me? I mean; I get now that it's not true. But I still sort of believe it, in large and small ways.
It's definitely on my list of "things to talk about with my therapist", but this last month the impact of realizing how deeply I believed that people just wake up one day and decide not to be married has been churning inside of me.
I don't know where it goes from here, but the freedom of discovering another lie, another broken belief and knowing that once it's discovered it can be fought against and overcome has been overwhelming.