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My Whirlwind Marriage Ended in Divorce When I Was 27. Now I Think I Was Bold to Put a Stop to It

“You’re only 27 years old and you’re divorced? What’s wrong with you?” I was at a friend’s house for a cookout when the topic of my recent split came up. When I told why I’d left my husband, a lifelong friend of my friend’s spouse, whom I was meeting for the first time that night, sneered.

I wish I had the right zinger to put him in his place. I instead excused myself from the dinner and went inside to cry. It wasn’t that he was a stranger giving judgment, or that I was sorry about the relationship ending. It was that he’d uttered out loud the thing I’d been thinking about myself for weeks.

From the beginning, the relationship was a roller coaster. My ex and I married quickly and at a young age; I was 23 and he was 26. We met through mutual acquaintances just a few days after I got to Los Angeles, and we married six turbulent months later. Our relationship was not what I’d call “healthy,” but it had its moments.

He could be quite amusing – he liked to make up songs to cheer us up in bad times, such as the one he performed from the perspective of the cockroaches we encountered when we moved into our first flat. He also drove my mother about for three days without complaint when she came to visit during a rare week of December rain, looking for rubber boots to replace the flimsy flats she’d packed.

However, the awful, volatile days overwhelmed the good, silly ones. More than one ended with me parked by the shore late at night, unable to sleep and unable to return home. Almost buying a property was a watershed moment. Nonetheless, after around four years, we’d saved enough money to pursue a long-held ambition: purchasing a home. We located a totally detached two-bedroom cottage in Los Angeles for around $300,000 in 2014.

My husband’s conduct began to shift shortly after we signed the purchase contract. Suddenly, all he could think about was this new girl coworker at his workplace. She pleased him; she was a fan of comic books, video games, and all of his favorite “guy” movies from his boyhood.

His feelings for her seemed to grow stronger as we approached our closing date. He was creating her CDs and painting her pictures, just as he used to do for me throughout our courting. He went to her place for dinner every night and had lunch with her every day outside of work. When he arrived home, he’d contact her late at night while laying next to me, long after I’d fallen asleep.

He denied having affections for her but volunteered to inquire about her sentiments for him. She was straightforward: she liked him. Thank you very much. He didn’t think it was a problem and said I was simply envious. My friend stepped up when I needed her My buddy drew me into her backyard one week before our closing date.

“I need to speak with you about your house,” she explained. “I told my mom what was going on, and she said you can’t do that; you can’t purchase a house with someone who is practically cheating on you in front of your face.”Only once before had I had a friend talk to me so frankly and lovingly. Yes, I was taken aback — it had never occurred to me that I might cancel — but I was also grateful. Of course, I couldn’t do anything since my marriage was essentially a charade.

The next day, I called my old therapist, who confirmed what I’d understood the night before: it wasn’t only time to cut the cord on the house; it was also time to rip up the contract on the marriage. I packed a bag with a few items and put it under my side of the bed before my husband returned home from work that day. I asked him one final time when he came in whether he was going to stop his connection with his coworker. He rolled his eyes and brushed by me, tossing his lunch container into the sink. “In that case, I’ll go to my friend’s,” I explained. “Please do not attempt to stop me.”

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