Upon realizing that this is how my marriage was ending, I felt intense regret. As if by reflex, I regretted ever thinking this was a marriage worth saving after I had been betrayed the first time 15 years ago. But that regret has changed. Yes, maybe we should have called it quits then. But if we had, Ethan would not exist today and I could never regret having him.

I can’t regret my husband’s decisions for him. I can only regret my own. So what I regret is not being a better wife. I regret not being more affectionate towards him. I regret not doing something more to fix my own self-image: finding a therapist, exercise, losing weight, etc. I regret not making any friends here in Texas. I regret not trying harder to socialize with my neighbors. I regret all the troubles I have within myself even tho I can’t do anything to change who I am fundamentally. I regret not trying harder to be a better version of myself. Where my marriage is concerned, I regret allowing myself to accept things as they were. I regret letting myself be intimidated by his anger and not pushing harder for change.

And I don’t regret these things just for myself or just for my marriage, I also regret it all for my kids. My daughters specifically. Because I feel embarrassed for them that they have a mom who was dumped by their dad. I’m embarrassed for all the moments of weakness they’ve had to witness me have since d-day. I’m embarrassed that they got to see me at my worst and at my lowest moments. I regret not having been able to give them the best example of what a woman should be by striving to be the best that I could be.

Even tho I hadn’t given up on my marriage, I regret giving up on myself. I regret relying on my husband to give me what I should have been giving myself. And I regret that my daughters had to watch it happen.

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