Jessica’s Story #7

This amazing woman has a podcast that she does with her husband and ex-husband. I have had the pleasure of hearing her story in person. She is definitely living the 2nd greatest commandment to the fullest and I have so much respect for her.
If you want more details of her story, then go listen to her podcast, Husband in Law. The first episode and you’re hooked!! We were on our way to get family pictures taken when I got the email…  We were officially divorced. The irony of this moment has always made me laugh.  Yes we were almost divorced and I scheduled family pictures. Our daughter had just turned 2 and we had not had family pictures taken since she was born.  I wanted her to have those. I wanted her to know that even though her parents marriage ended in divorce, we loved each other for the seven years we were married and we planned on continuing to love each other.  I wanted her to see that she brought us so much joy and that she was treasured.  

You read that right, we got divorced even though we loved each other, were happy, and had a daughter.  We had created an amazing relationship that was strengthened because of the struggles we went through. But even though the struggles brought us together, they were also what separated us in the end. 

Six months into our marriage I stumbled upon gay porn on our computer and while I knew Steve, my husband, struggled with pornography (something we felt strongly was a detrement to our relationship) until that moment I had no idea it was gay porn.  I knew at that moment that he was gay, some thing Steve didn’t come to terms with until a year later.  

We stayed married because we were happy.  We loved each other. We were in a safe space to get to understand ourselves better which in turn brought us closer together.  But at some point the desire to experience what living a gay life would be like took over. One weekend when I was out of town, Steve had an affair with a man.  He thought he would be repulsed and disgusted. While he felt shame and was torn up for cheating on me, he also felt something that was natural to him and ultimately decided to leave our marriage. 

We got divorced.  I felt like I was losing my best friend and everything I had imagined my life would be.  In spite of this, I felt strong and confident. I realized I had grown, I had changed. I could make this new challenge into something beautiful, just as we had done in our marriage.  We had an unconventional marriage and now we could have an unconventional divorce. One that wasn’t full of anger and resentment but instead we filled it with love and understanding. It was not easy but it has been worth it.  

I remarried just a year and a half later.  I was lucky enough to find an amazing man who was willing to understand mine and Steve’s relationship.  Matt understood why it was important for me to keep a positive relationship with Steve. Matt loved me exactly as I was, he admired and appreciated my strengths and weaknesses.   That being said, Matt and I struggled deeply for the first 2 to 3 years of our marriage. It was the hardest thing I have ever been through. I thought this time around was supposed to be easier.  I had already been through so much, why was this happening? I was married to a straight man, who did not have an addiction to pornography. Why was this so hard? 

A year into our marriage, I had had it.  I was done. I had hit the point where I was struggling to see who I was.  I was worn down and tired. I was losing myself. So one night after Matt went to bed, I left him and note and went to my parents.  I accepted a full time job the next day, I had turned down a couple days before and started looking for places to live. It was going to be so easy to start over again.  I knew I was capable, but it was not what I wanted and I knew that.  

After talking to one of my church leaders I decided to go back.  I went back to our house just a couple days later. Matt was not happy I was there but I was determined.  I let go of all those things we tell ourselves we need to happen to make things right again. “If he does ‘this’, then I will go back.”  “If he apologizes and begs for me back then I will stay.” I let go of the entitlement I felt for things to be perfect, because I had already been divorced once, so things should be easier this time.  “I deserve this.” So I humbled myself even more, and hoped he would do the same. I knew that if we could make this work, we could do anything. I also knew we were perfect together we just. We just needed to figure out how to work through all of the crap we had been through in our first marriages.  It took a couple more years before things started to feel steady.  

We have been married for six and a half years now.  It was a lot of work but we are so happy together and are perfectly matched.  Right now my hardest struggles and insecurities have to do with being a step parenting.  It is hard to find my role and space in this position. Especially when there are so many things out of my control within that realm and so much negativity thrown in my direction from other people in our co-parenting dynamic.  I have to remind myself that I am doing my best. I am learning a whole new level of setting boundaries to protect myself and my family.  

My ex and I have an amazing relationship that brings so much joy into my life.  My daughter is doing amazing. She knows she has parents that love her. She enjoys the blessing of a bonus dad as well as bonus grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings.  I have a husband who pushes me to be my best self, to chase dreams I never thought I would even consider pursuing.  

I don’t have a perfect life but I have a life I love.  I know there will be more hard things to come but for the moment I am going to enjoy every blessing I get right here right now.  

My heart goes out to all of those who are struggling in their marriages with addictions, mixed orientation, remarriage, step parenting, and feelings of losing yourself and sense of self-worth. I share my story to help others know they are not alone.  Things might not go as planned but just because the plan changes does not mean you failed or that you can’t have a beautiful life. There is always hope.  

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