I should back up a little and explain what I mean, because from the people I am close to, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. No judgment, not even from those who don't know the entire story. My friends are truly amazing and supportive, and I love them completely.
But what makes me feel the worst is when people guilt me about Caroline. Believe me, I am fully, completely, soul-crushingly aware that I am splitting up our family, and I know what that means for her future. I don't need anyone to remind me of that. It haunts me. It kills me. I wake up during the night and lie awake for hours, completely overwhelmed with guilt.
So here I go again, with my explanations, justifications, rationalizations... not for them. For me. Because I can't forget why I'm doing this, and it keeps my spirits up, and keeps me going when things get tough or when I face more judgment and disapproval and guilt.
I was unhappy. Miserable, in fact. Not just a matter of looking at your life and asking, is this as happy as I can possibly be... what if there's something more out there? But a matter of, I just cannot continue with this, I cannot keep going, I know that this is not forever and if it is, then I just don't want to keep living. Should I have kept suffocating under the weight of a promise I made when I was too young to really know what I wanted from my life? Just for the sake of not backing down?
Once the decision was made, I felt relieved, free, alive. I had doubts, sure... I still do have doubts. But I felt like I could not just close my eyes and go back to sleep. Could not slip back under the surface and pretend that I had never come up for air. If I had done it, if I had gone back just for the sake of not hurting feelings and keeping the peace, every minute would have been a lie and I just. could. not. do it. Life is too short, and you only get one shot at it. I'm not going to waste my time-- and his-- with something that I know in my bones is not enough.
But people can call me selfish. They can call me whatever they want. It hurts, sure. But it doesn't hurt as much as staying in an unfulfilling marriage would have, over the long run. For me, for her, or for him. It wasn't a good situation for any of us, and I'm proud to have the courage to say so.