May 08 2013

Sorry about this one, guys. Normally listserve emails are so bright and cheery - but I told myself if I got selected I'd write honestly.

I'm 24 years old and this week is the court date to finalize my divorce. I'd been with the same woman for my entire adult life - we started dating when we were 15. I loved - still love - her madly.

I graduated last year already set up in a good job. We bought a small, pretty house about an hour from our families, close to my work. We got Ikea furniture and a new roof and were saving for a new car and a dog.

Then she fell out of love with me, and left.

Six months ago I was happy, well adjusted, hard working. I knew what I wanted out of life and I had a pretty good idea how to get it. Now I feel like a gutted ship - I look mostly the same and I still float, but I'm empty and drifting. My house reflects this - pictures conspicuously missing, walls abandoned halfway through painting, far too much room for the tiny fragment of life that happens there. There are moving boxes that I'll take to Goodwill before I have the courage to open them. There's a room I can't enter without crying. My soon to be ex sister in law wrote "Can't wait for all the memories we'll make here" in our housewarming party guestbook.

The source of so much of my strength is gone, at the time I need it most. I know I have to rebuild myself, become a complete person alone. Eventually I will.

In the meantime, this fucking sucks. I want my wife, my love, my life back.

Thanks for reading.

Joel Howard
[email protected]
Parma, Ohio

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