#ruthiliciousHindsight: When Happily-Ever-After Ended

"There's no easy way to break somebody's heart." - James Ingram

How true?

Maybe every single person on the planet wants the "happily-ever-after". Maybe every love story is beautiful regardless of how it started or how it ended. And maybe, every love affair that ended is a chance to create a new space in one's heart to start over again, no matter how painful the experience must have been.

Just maybe!

Happily-ever-after is a mindset created by the hopeless romantics in all of us.

I had had my happily-ever-after.

But it ended!

I waited 42 years to find the right ONE and tie the knot.

I wasn't picky maybe just a nad. But it took me 42 years to find the soulmate who I wanted to go crazy with. And finally, in what seemed to be a thousand years, I found the perfect groom and the perfect love affair to boost. It was the perfect choice for me. Nobody forced me into it. I voluntarily consented to the idea of giving up singlehood. And just like that, I left behind my birthplace, my family, my friends, my job, and everything close to my heart to be with the ONE.

I got my fairytale and took my magic carpet ride halfway around the world.

It was a leap of faith.

I left home with a hopeful heart and took nothing with me except my faith and 3 suitcases of shoes, purses, and a few clothes. I did it all because I was ready to live my own fairytale. And I felt like a unicorn shitting glitters all over the place.

And in the Summer of 2007, I became THE Bride.

I was in love. I was in love with the feeling of being in love. I was in love with the idea of living my own fairytale.

That was 12 years ago.

Later on, I realized marriage did not come with an instruction manual. Nothing was given to us when we said our "I DO's. It was more of a trial and error at least on my part. My guy was a divorcee before we met so I assumed he knew what he was doing, so I just followed his lead. But it didn't work out well so I just turned to my  "trust your instinct and suck it up" skill to make it work.

I suck in sucking up.

I progressed through the years second-guessing everything about this thing called marriage simply because that was the only option I had.

And I found myself overwhelmed, lost, and alone.

The first year of my life as the queen of the castle was not as I imagined it would be. I stayed home doing cinderella chores all day because I had no real job, no real money, and no real car to get out of the house. But I loved the fact that all those things were new to me and I think I was rocking it. I blogged about it. And got good at it.

While prince charming did his very best to make my life comfortable and taught me all the things I need to know (mostly things that he loves to do), I was adapting to the new culture and lifestyle. But making new traditions wasn't easy for me. I had to live off of their norm and though was adjusting pretty well to every kind of weather, temperature, and situation at hand it was exhausting.

But I carried on. I carried on until prince charming got me my own car and I learned how to drive it. Then, I found a real job... made some friends... got a hobby or two... discovered my happy place - Walmart... and a lot more that I found interesting in this part of wonderland.

But just like any marriages, we were put to a lot of tests. Tests that had either toughened us up or weakened our spirits. We tried our very best to come out of it too many times. And many times we succeeded. But too often we came to a point where we both questioned each other if it's worth saving it or should we just give up.

At some point, I found myself in the middle of emotional chaos that turned my tiara upside down. I would wake up in the middle of the night crying while prince charming snored his way to dreamland. The worse thing was, I didn't even know what I was crying about. Eventually, I found out that when you have nobody or someone to talk to about your issues, you start creating your own validation kit.

So I validated my raw emotions constantly so much so that in the long run, they became my new reality. I couldn't tell anybody why I was sad because - I didn't know if my reasons were even real or just made-up. I was afraid to tell anyone even my own family back home for fear of being judged because they know that he makes me the ridiculously awesome-st veggie gardens every spring. And neither can I let the people at work know anything about what was going on because he has a good reputation for being the "sweetest husband on Valentine's day" because he never failed to send me flowers at work every single V-day since I started working there.

I would be lying if I say we didn't see this coming. The D-word popped up every opportunity it gets but they were mostly initiated by him. I have never said the D-word because I was afraid of it. But if I did say it, it was just in agreement with his threat. The D-word wasn't in my fairytale book. Are you kidding me?

I don't even know how to be married anymore, how much more how to be divorced!

I wanted to stay married till death do us part.

That was my original plan.

I psyched myself up long enough to stay married even though I didn't even know what it means anymore. Part of me wanted to stay because I don't know how to be unmarried. But my alter ego insisted on staying because physical abuse, and infidelity (valid grounds for divorce) are non-existent.

And so I stayed married for over 10 years because there are no grounds to leave. I continued to suck it up because he is not "physically" hurting me.

No. He is not abusive.

He never hurt me.

Never in our 12 years together did he put his hands on me. Not even a flick. He was the gentlest man I've known. He's gentle as a lamb and he is never shy to show his emotion. He would cry like a baby when I give him the silent treatment. He would abandon his machismo pride without precautions when he knows he hurts my feelings. He is the kind of guy who uses the S-word (it means SORRY in my book) sparingly during our marriage to wipe my tears away.

When things got heated up and I became overly emotional or crazy (that's what he calls my unpredictable burst of anger) he would walk away for fear of hurting me. And to be honest with you, I was the one who is physically abusive. I physically hurt him many times when I lost my temper.

He was the battered husband in our marriage.

He was the one who has a ground for divorce against me.

But when our disagreements over petty things became consistent and the S-word is said too many times but didn't change anything... it lost its meaning. For 12 years, all the reasons he was sorry about were the same things he repeatedly did. The S-word became a convenient way to end a discussion. It was a win-win for him.

I found myself defeated.

And I still stayed because he wasn't cheating on me either.

Yes. He is faithful.

As far as I know, he is loyal to the bones.

Oh, how I wished he was cheating on me because it would be easier for me to leave him in a heartbeat. But I didn't feel he was.

Towards the last 5 years of our marriage, he rarely came home early. Or at least came straight home from work. I don't believe that he was seeing someone else. I should know because my gut feeling and intuition are not telling me otherwise. But my gut and intuition could be wrong too.

Though he spent a lot of time with his guy friend than with me I still believe he wasn't cheating on me. He spends more time with his friend from childhood which I understand because their friendship is longer than what we had in comparison. He's helping him because he has a disability and needed help with anything and everything. It is his way of life way before we got married. But when he has to spend even all the weekends (on our work-free days) with his friend, I started questioning myself.

I started doubting myself and my role as his wife. I started asking myself if he made a mistake and regretted marrying me. I asked myself if he was avoiding me that's why he spent more time with his buddy than with me. And I started feeling alone and abandoned.

No, he is not gay. He is every inch a man. He is just like a big boy who wants to keep his freedom and his hobbies and stay married all at the same time.

I did plan of walking away many times when I started feeling unappreciated. But I stayed because he was found NOT guilty on both accounts.

So I rested my case.

Ironically, we stayed together and became even more disconnected!

As years passed by slowly, I came to realize that there are other reasons as legit as those two that are considered red flags in any troubled marriage. Red flags that I did recognize but never acknowledged. They are the ultimate no-fault grounds for divorce and they have a term for them too - Irreconcilable differences.

Irreconcilable differences are the badasses of marriage. They are the real bitches. (excuse my french)

Don't get me wrong. We did have a lot of happy memories doing things together. We had endless waves of laughter and tears that I believe strengthened our relationship. Those countless weekends we spent together camping, gold panning, and ice fishing were memories that I will never forget despite the fact that I hated them because they are his things, not mine. My things are the beach, running, hiking, movies, and traveling which sadly he joined me only once or a couple of times the whole time we were married. I have done and enjoyed my favorite things to do either solo or with Medy.

When emptiness started to become my trusted companion...

I wasn't aware that it was a red flag.

I don't know when exactly did I start feeling empty. I worked 2 jobs for 11 years. I would leave the house at 5:30 in the morning and come home at 6:30 every night. Most of the time, I would come home and he was still at his friend's. Then I started feeling that my worth is no longer of great value to him or worst... to myself. It could be when I realized that my personal relationship with my own spirit faded away because my faith in myself walked out of the door the moment I felt that I was running an empty marriage like a headless chicken. Or it could be when I would get some glitz in my self-esteem due to menopausal retrograde. Who knows?

On those days that I was left alone on the weekends, they became a great opportunity for me to do my new hobby - crying. On weeknights, I cried myself to sleep for many years and nobody knew about it. He never knew about it.

I cried because I blamed myself for being so stupid and allowing myself to believe in my fairytale. Then, I started hating myself for not knowing what to do. And I despised myself for not being the good wife that I should be. Sometimes, I just cried for no reason at all.

Eventually, I unconsciously talking shit to myself. I hated my life. I believed it. And it became my reality.

My happily-ever-after slowly spiraled down the drain and turned into a zombie apocalypse.

Depression and anxiety became my new BFFs.

They may not the best kind of friends one should have when dealing with challenges and failure but hey, they were the only ones available to me at that time. And they are very loyal AF.

With every fight we had no matter how small it was, it made me think of the worse. And many times, hurting myself crossed my mind but too often I'd shut my brain right off because I was scared of my own demons. There were times I would hit my head against the wall but I would stop before I hurt myself furthermore.

I came to a point that I was determined to do it out of frustration but for some reason, something more powerful than me knocked me off my senses. It was so powerful that instead of hurting myself I would just resolve to cry incessantly like a baby or turned into crafting and yoga

Crafting became a good way to take my mind off of the situation. And yoga helped me to de-stress, regroup and balance out my chakras. So far I was managing myself well but not well enough to keep my tiara in place when depression and anxiety sneak back in when small things like a haircut issue would trigger my brain.

But still, I believed that ending a beautiful relationship when differences are not reconciled is not always the go-to solution to prove who is right or wrong. I told myself, marriage is still the most beautiful thing for people to commit themselves to.

But who am I kidding?

That's where my logic about marriage got out of wrack.

Eventually, I turned into a grief-stricken pathetic biatch...

In my mind, unhappiness is not a valid reason to leave the marriage. Being unwanted is not a reason. And loving myself first is being selfish.

Ultimately, I lost myself, my self-esteem, and my faith in my whole being. My faith which is the only thing I brought with me when I left home finally disappeared into thin air without me knowing it. The saddest part was, he didn't even know what was happening and I didn't know how to tell him or anyone. Those weekends that he spent with his friends, he would insist on me to see my Filipina friends and have fun cooking and eating all the  Pinoy food that I miss. That was him being nice, by the way. And many times I would tell him, I would rather spend the weekends with him but he has lots of errands to do that doesn't need a wife's footprint on. Of course, there were times that he would give in, and more often than not, we ended up fighting. Maybe our kind of marriage is probably not made for weekend activities. So I didn't insist anymore.

Towards the end of 2018, I found that the unicorn ran out of glitters already. But surprisingly, I saw a rainbow every so often. That day after Thanksgiving of 2018, I found myself with a heightened awareness of my inner self and energy that I never knew I had all along.

And for some reason, I was charged with a renewed faith in myself and got the courage and strength to collect myself... and leave him!

The energy and the urgency in the air on that fateful day was like when I was young when my Mom used to give me orders to do something important and she wanted it - pronto! It was so compelling that I can't say no because I was afraid of the consequences it might bring me if I wouldn't respond with the same urgency. And the courage I had that day was so intense like the courage I had on the day I gave up everything to be with him.

I thought I heard my Mom said, "Go! Now!"

And so I did!

Looking back now, 2018 was the turning point in my life.

On the day I left, he thought it was just like any ordinary day of argument that we had in the past. And just like those days, I would be out for a few hours then will be back before dinner.

But that day I left, I knew from the get-go that was the end of my fairytale because for the first time in forever, it was the day I felt a feeling of relief and peace beyond words.

As I drove out of our driveway, my eyes caught a subtle glance of my left ring finger on the steering wheel. It was missing the ring that has been there for over 10 years. And I remember, at that moment, as I blankly stared at the white mark around my finger etched by time and the band I wore for more than a decade, I unconsciously said to myself, "this is the part where I cry."

I searched my heart for a solid 2 minutes to create the emotions that will guarantee an enormous amount of tears but to no avail. I pulled over by the ditch so I can prepare myself for any emotional scenario appropriate for what had taken place but nothing came out. My eyes were dried as the desert of Arabia and until now, I haven't cried a river as I supposed to like in the movies when breakup plots just played out.

That was all wrong.

Our divorce became final in September of last year. It's been over a year now since I left. But I haven't cried like I expected I would or should nor have I discussed or talked about the real reasons why I did what I did... until now. Of course, I told a few trusted friends and family about it but not the sensitive details. All the sensitive and shameful details were discussed with my therapist. Yes, I finally found the courage to seek professional help to help me figure out my life because I forgot how to.

I know it was unfair for him that he did not have the chance to know how I truly feel and why I left him. Or to at least let him defend himself and fix what he had broken. But I was done with self-sabotage and just wanted to claim my power back. I realized that when something is done...it is done! There is nothing, not even the Avengers can do about it. We had 12 years and a million chances to work on our differences and that one last chance will not make any difference anymore.

In his mind, he's probably thinking that I left him because of that stupid haircut episode or maybe not.

The truth is...

I decided to leave him while I still love him because I know it will be easier to heal with love than hatred. And forgiveness will surely follow through.

I decided to leave him while I still have respect for him because if my respect for him was totally gone, it would be hard for me to find respect in myself or other people.

And I left because in the last couple of years I realized that  I was part of the problem.

I didn't get my fairytale because I didn't allow myself to work on the kind of happy ending that I dreamed of. I didn't have a happy ending because I was consumed by my personal bias and self-limiting beliefs that happy endings should be how I envisioned them. I didn't give my fairytale a chance to bloom because I was either disappointed that my Prince Charming remained a frog or I was actually the Wicked Stepmother and not the Princess I thought I was.

I wasn't kidding.

In every love story, there's a  "twist". The twist in the story became apparent when I became delusional because my marriage took turns that weren't on my personal agenda. I was devastated because my happily-ever-after was not the kind that I predicted it would be because I was sidetracked by his flaws and dwelled in them for so long that it eventually consumed me to destruction.

Eventually, I no longer fit to be in the beloved wife category and I discredited myself to be so. My life almost ended when I dropped all my defenses down. But glad that I was given a second chance to stand up for myself.

One important and powerful lesson I learned from my marriage is that - the moment you turn yourself against you... you lost the battle you are fighting for.

Blaming myself for the failure in my relationship is half of the battle I lost. And not doing anything to change it is the other half that made it a total failure.

Right now...

healing is taking a slow but steady pace which is good I supposed.

We can't rush healing, can we? It takes time. I'm done with self-sabotaging because I realized that I can't heal and hurt myself all at the same time. It's counter-productive.

Right now, I am allowing myself to heal. I am giving myself permission to be happy again. I am letting myself recognize all the great blessings I received in the past 12 years. And heck ya'll,  I am grateful for all those things - good and bad.

I am grateful for him because I learned to love. I learned to cry. And I learned to forgive.

In the end, we all want that made-up fairytale beginnings and endings. We all want our fairytale blooming with beautiful flowers and rainbows and unicorns with glitters and fairy godmothers who can grant our wishes.

And we all wish that the wicked witch won't cast spell on us so we won't fall asleep for a million years and wake up only to realize that our prince charming isn't charming after all.

As for me, someday I will be ready to open the door in my heart again to the possibility of a new beginning and a happy ending.

But NOT right now.

Because right now, I need to upgrade myself to a princess status to be worthy of a prince charming and my real happily-ever-after.

The End!


  1. Ohhh.. I admire u really... But as far as i know it happens to everyone. Even to me... But i stayed and try to work it out over n over again😊 and still working it out the best way i can... #marriedlife

  2. Wow, thanks so much for sharing your story Ruthi. It will surely help others!!