I Call It Dating. You Call It Stalking.

9 years ago

Nine years ago, I said “I do.” I stood in a church, surrounded by family and friends, standing awkwardly in an ill-fitting tuxedo, too preoccupied with what needed to be done to be nervous, and said those two words.

Knowing where I am now, sitting alone in a quiet house, naked fingers rattling on the keyboard, would I change it if I could have?  Would I have thrown away eight years knowing that it was going to come to an end?


I did not waste my life over the last nine years.  I lived my life to the fullest that I knew how.  I had contentment and I experienced success, and I will always have stories and fond memories.  I am glad that I had what I had.

Now, my perspective on life has shifted.  I know what I need for me to be truly happy, and I see that there may have been holes in my life of which I was completely unaware.  I may be living my life differently now, but 9 years ago, 20 years ago, 33 years ago, it was still MY life and that will never change.  All I can do is look back at each stage in my life as a series of steps.  I don’t know where they’re leading, but I’m taking them one at a time.

On this date, though, while I sit here with wet eyes, I regret the pain I’ve caused.  I reminisce somberly on the times I’ll miss, and on the love I experienced that has now ended.  This date will always be important to me.  It may no longer be an anniversary of my declaration of eternal love for my bride, but it will serve as a reminder that I made a choice to say “I do” and I made a choice to move on.  I will always know that I didn’t have the strength of character or faith in myself to become who I needed to be confined by the bonds of matrimony, and that I must own my decision to sever those bonds, just as I must own my decision to say “I do” in the first place.  I will embrace my past, my choices, my life, and never stop learning as I move onward and upward.  One step at a time.

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107 Replies to “9 years ago”

  1. The Demigod

    No regrets. You’re where you are and who you are because of the struggles you’ve faced, storms you’ve weathered, and wounds you’ve licked (resisting urge to make dirty pun here, but I digress).

    Even the day after tomorrow will one day be yesterday.

    Barring that, there’s always minors eating chili.

  2. Lisa

    After the end of my nine year marriage, I was in a similar place. No regrets. I wasn’t the best wife, nor was I the worst… but it made me who I was.

    I look at it this way, it makes me a pretty incredible girlfriend now. I am more thoughtful, and I have learned what is really important in this life.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. amanda

    “I will always know that I didn’t have the strength of character or faith in myself to become who I needed to be confined by the bonds of matrimony, and that I must own my decision to sever those bonds, just as I must own my decision to say “I do” in the first place.”

    Inspirational. Thanks.

  4. HO

    This is a beautiful reminder that it is our collective experiences (good, bad, painful, joyous) that make us who we are. We should grow from those experiences not regret them. We all need that reminder sometimes so thank you.

  5. ADW

    I’ve seen you grow and change in so many ways over the past few years. You are one of the most honest, amazing, “intelligent”, witty, crappy dancing, self-aware people that I am blessed to be able to call a real friend.

    Now quit writing about sappy shit and send me some sunshine. It’s 42 degrees outside and my nipples are hard enough to cut a hole through glass on a jewelry store window, which would then create an unavoidable looting spree not associated with the Los Angeles Riots.

    So really, if I steal it’s all your fault.

    Please send sunshine.

    That is all.

  6. Kris

    Last Thursday was our15th anniversary. It wasn’t a fun one, but I expect every year to get a bit easier.

    While I feel sometimes like the entire 15 years was a waste of time and energy, I have to remind myself of the same thing – I am who I am because of my collective experiences. It just happened to not be one of the better ones.

    If I can’t be a great example, I’ll serve as a horrible warning. LOL! ;D

    Hang in there, hon.

  7. hello haha narf

    i am a firm believer in the” no regrets, i am today who i am because of where i have been” outlook on life. while you have remorse for pain caused at the end, you can still stand tall while thinking of the good and i love that about you.

    this was a lovely post, adam. much love to you.

  8. Loukia

    You are so very strong and brave. “I will embrace my past, my choices, my life, and never stop learning as I move onward and upward. One step at a time.” You really could write a book with all the things you say that are inspirational, you know.

  9. Kristin

    I completely agree. Even as a disagreeable teenager, I was never one to “regret” because I understood the domino effect…if you wish one thing had never happened, it messes up the entire picture. Sometimes I start to regret something, like not doing better by my flower garden this summer. And while yes, I probably SHOULD have done better, the reality is I DIDN’T. And it serves to push me into either A) doing better next summer or B) realizing that summer after summer of pretending to be a master gardener is really taxing and let’s face it, it’s not happening 🙂

  10. Kim

    My nine year marriage had a “Jerry Springer” ending but I couldn’t let those moments define me and my ability to live and love. In fact, those years helped shape the woman I am today. I have since found a wonderful man who loves me and whom I love and appreciate in a way that I wouldn’t have done long ago.

    It’s all good. Thanks for sharing your personal journey.

  11. Grumble Girl

    It is never wasted time, my darling. Indeed, it is just a part of your whole life’s story – it will be rich and textured, smooth and nappy… your story is a good one. Love surrounds you, and that’s no accident.

    Sarcasm surrounds you too, like the chocolate on a Rolo. (Mmmm… Rolo…)

    Pinch-pinch, boyfriend. xox

  12. Hockeymandad

    That which does not kill us… and so on and so on.

    I am happy for you though. While I never like to see any of my friends in any pain at all, I am happy to see that you are able to get back on your feet. It takes great amounts of strength and courage to not only move on from those years, but do so without regret. You cannot change your past, you can only embrace it for making you who you are today.

  13. Jessica

    Beautifully written, Adam. It takes a strong sense of character and an even larger set of balls to expose yourself and reflect in this way.

    Marriage is hard. Divorce is harder, and while my only experience with it is through my parents (multiple times), I know that it’s brutal in so many ways. I hate to see you hurting, but I’m hopeful for you and happy that you are processing through it positively.

    Thank you for sharing. Sending lots of love my friend.

  14. Dysfunction Junction

    So, I’ve never been married before and clearly that makes me qualified to comment on this post.

    That being said, I’ve learned a hell of a lot about myself over the past few years (mostly from the missteps I’ve taken). All that being said, you’re pretty damn funny and kind of rock from what I can tell.

    So you go do the voo doo that you do.

    (I’ve got to lay off the sauce before I comment in the morning)

  15. martymankins

    Great post. I am of the same mindset with my previous marriage (13 years). I don’t consider any of the time, even that bad times, to be a waste. I learned something about myself and others and that’s something that I never want to wish I never had.

  16. Robin

    I try to keep a similar attitude in mind when I look back through old college pictures and wonder what in the hell I was thinking, dating certain people. But then, if I hadn’t figured out what didn’t work, would I have recognized what does work when I found it? Very healthy perspective you have.

  17. Faiqa

    I didn’t have the strength of character or faith in myself to become who I needed to be confined by the bonds of matrimony

    No, you had the strength of character needed to walk away so that you could become who you are supposed to be. I’m happy for you. And proud of you, too.

    Yes, in a condescending way. 😉 XOXO

  18. Issa

    Everything in life teaches us things. Or so my mother claims.

    Marriage is hard work. We change so much sometimes, that it’s hard to know if one will last. Maybe even if we knew, we’d still do it. I’m sure I would have. Even if I’d know on my wedding day, the day it would end.

    I’m sorry that you are sad today, although I truly do understand it.

  19. Mari

    So few people believe that where they were makes them who they are. I’m glad that you’re one of them…. It’s fairly pointless to dream about woulda/coulda/shoulda – better to enjoy where you are now!

  20. J

    I love this post! I respect, appreciate and agree with your perspective on this-

    here is a little excerpt of a note I sent to someone at the end of a past relationship that I thought I would share.

    I WILL NOT let anger in. I WILL NOT let anger get in the way of me looking back at every moment I spent with you with fond memories. Letting that anger in is just lazy and a cop out. It is just a way to soothe the painful feeling of loss. I am going to just let myself feel it. I will not hate you, blame you or be angry with you. The reason is because, I have absolutely no reason to. If I become angry just to make it easier to move on, then I will lose all of the good that came from our time together. I will lose the lessons, memories and feelings, the changes that happened in me.

  21. Nat

    I spoke to a counsellor after losing my job in January, she said, “Whatever it is you’ve done, whatever decisions you made, they were the right ones at the time. Accept that.”

    Still hard, hugs to you. And on finding your way.

  22. Poppy

    I’m glad you don’t see that time as a waste, because it definitely wasn’t.

    We change. We grow. We become more self aware. Nine years ago you were aware that you loved a woman. Today you are aware that she is not the One for you. That’s just life. Hopefully time makes it hurt less for you.

    The first wedding anniversary that happened after my divorce my mom made sure I did something happy. The next year I did something happy again. This year I did something happy without even realizing that it was specifically scheduled on that day until I was knee-deep into it. It got easier for me, thinking it will get easier for you too.

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