I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home that included a great example of love. Love that has lasted over 22 years. Through out my life I have witnessed my parents make major sacrifices for each other, grow together, and work towards each others happiness even during some of the most difficult times.
I remember one of the first weddings I attended when I was younger had an anniversary dance. The DJ plays an old time love song and slowly asks the couples that have been married less than a number of years to step off of the dance floor. The last couple standing wins. It means their love & commitment to each other has lasted longer than anyone else’s in the room. It acts as an example for the newly married couple– what they will become, where they should want to be in 50 years. My grandparents were the last two standing, not only at that wedding, but every other wedding I went to after. They would sometimes ask them their secret to marriage and I remember my grandfather told them something along the lines of:
“Promise to one another that you will never go to bed angry, and if for some reason you do—make sure you kiss each other goodnight & tell each other ‘I love you’ no matter how angry you are.”
That day, I told myself that I would find a love like that. A love that could overcome anything. A love that lasted a lifetime. I really thought I had found that love.
Never in a million years did I think I would be sitting here typing this…
December 2016 I found out that my husband was unfaithful less than a month after our wedding.
I was in shock. Everything became a complete blur. What else was he hiding? What else did I not know? Why? What did I do wrong? Is it me? Is it my body? Those are just a few of the questions that went through my head at the time.
Before I go on, I want to say that I am not writing this blog post to throw my husband under the bus. I am not writing this blog post because I feel like I have to. I am writing it because I want to help others that have gone through or are going through the same type of thing. I enjoy writing and it is an art that I want to continue to share. When I started blogging I chose to put my life out there– to share my experiences. Not just the fun stuff, but the real, emotional, RAW stuff too. I receive TONS of messages every single day, from people who want advice on things I have experienced, someone to relate to, or even just someone to listen. I have so many messages that I cannot reply quick enough to clear them each day. The point is, I am not perfect, my life is BY FAR not perfect. It is easy to assume through the edited pictures & narrated adventures that everything is always okay. But this, this is raw. This is real. This is life. Life throws you curveballs my friends. Darkness can so easily take over in a time of grief & anger. Luckily God will always bring light into every dark situation. You just have to be willing to open your eyes long enough to see it.
The day I said “I do,” I made a promise. A promise to love my husband through every dark time, to fight for our marriage, to do everything I could to make him happy, and to live every single day for the rest of my life loving him and only him. Those vows were not taken lightly. That is why at that point, I decided to give him a second chance. It didn’t matter what others thought. Some called me stupid, some called me weak, but I knew I wasn’t perfect either and wanted the opportunity to work on whatever he wanted and needed me to work on. It was no excuse for his actions but I realized that marriage was not going to be easy and you make sacrifices for each other. I reevaluated our love languages again, I agreed to see a marriage counselor, and I asked him every single day what he needed. What I could do better. Some days were great, some days we felt on top of the world, but more days than not, they just felt harder. He didn’t know what he needed or what he wanted. He just knew he was not happy. I could not make him happy.
I can’t even begin to explain how I felt. I was trying so hard to be something that fit his idea of “happily ever after” since it had apparently changed. The counselor even told me I was trying during times he was not. I felt defeated. Why was I not enough? What can I change? Should I be more like her? Does he even want this? Shouldn’t he be the one trying? I just kept thinking about how my grandmother would give anything to dance to one more old time love song with my grandfather after he passed. How can you let go of your wife when you have the opportunity to keep her?
But that’s the thing—it was not me (which has taken a long time to be able to accept & believe). I did everything he asked. I did everything I could. He had to find happiness within himself before he could ever be happy with me.
In the end, he ended up leaving. Leaving everything we had created behind. He said goodbye to the memories & the plans we had made. He went to find his new happy. Happiness within himself.
The worst part is, I was so devoted to him that I would have done literally anything to get him to stay. And I am not proud of that. I allowed him to control what I wore, how I acted in front of people, etc. He was taking away my dreams as well as my freedom. He didn’t support me performing anymore either. Everything made him so angry, whether it was a stage kiss in a show as a princess, the costume they asked me to wear as a dancer, or the way I had to look at the person performing with me (DURING THE SCENE!). He changed who I was as a person. All the things he knew about me, accepted about me when we got married were no longer okay. I never hid them. It’s not like they came out of nowhere. I didn’t laugh the same anymore. I had friends telling me that they could visibly see my entire body language change when he came around. Like I had to put up a shield to keep him from getting mad. I had to hide who I really was to keep him from getting upset with me. I just didn’t get it.
Now that I am no longer blinded by love it is easier to see that I deserved better. I deserve someone who loves MY flaws. Someone who will do anything they can to keep ME. At the end of the day, I stayed faithful; I loved with all of my heart up until he wouldn’t allow me to, and I became stronger because of him. REMEMBER THAT. Anyone who is going through this or has gone through something similar (whether it is marriage, a break up, etc.)– it is SO important to remember that YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE STRONG. YOU ARE WANTED. Find some one who treats you right. Treats you with respect. Who reminds you of your self worth. Gives you what you deserve.
If you’re like me, they may have been right in front of your eyes the whole time. 🙂
You will never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
At first I felt embarrassed by the things I thought & questioned throughout the healing process. I felt embarrassed that he decided I was not enough. I struggled for a while with the thought of what could have been. But I have slowly started to realize that your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth. That is what got me through. It didn’t happen in a day, it took time, a lot of support from friends & family, and self-reflection. I cried, I laughed, I screamed, and I didn’t sleep. It wasn’t easy to get there but I got there. I promise you can too.
It has been a few months now since we have been separated. We will officially be divorced in August. Not every day is fine, but every day is better than it was. It soon will pass. This is the part where I find out who I am. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t miss some part of what we had. How strange it is that after all that we had, we are strangers again. I have found that I miss the memories, but not the person.
I do want to make one thing clear. HE IS NOT HORRIBLE. HE IS NOT HATED. He is just on the path to finding out who he is and who he wants to be. I respect his decision and I hope nothing but the best for him. I hope that he finds the happiness he is longing for. I WAS NOT PERFECT. I have learned a lot from my past marriage. What we had was real, at some point in some way, it was real–but sometimes things fall apart so that other things can fall together. I have to believe that there is a plan. That everything happens for a reason.
With that being said, I will not be taking down the pictures on my social media. I have no reason to hide that piece of my life. I am proud of who I am and what I have been through. I will not act like it didn’t happen. It is a part of who I am and I will embrace that. As should everyone else that has been through something similar. We are given what we can handle. Although sometimes without choice, but it is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
Sometimes decisions are out of our control. Life is weird, but we go through what we do for a reason. God will bring light. I promise. Do not give up on him. You are loved. KEEP GOING. A friend of mine told me that during the first few days of hurt and I live by this. If you allow yourself to stop, you will sink. You have to keep going. Keep searching for that light. Do not let the darkness drag you down.
Lastly, I want to thank those that have made this process easier than I ever thought it could be. To those who have reached out. I appreciate you. I appreciate your concern & genuine thoughts and prayers. To my friends and my family. I am EXTREMELY blessed. I cannot explain how thankful I am for you. I couldn’t imagine life without you. Thank you for dealing with my selfishness, my anger, my hurt & my breakdowns. You are my everything. Thank you for picking up the pieces and being my wings when I could not fly.
Now it is time to start my story. It is time to rediscover who I am.
It’s time to start Becoming Shelby Morgan.
PC: Laura Murray Photography