PLEASE don't main-page this. This is long, so bare with me.

As alluded to in my last post, I've been married before. For 9 whole months. I got married to the only man I have/will ever love in my life. He was my first boyfriend, and the man who later drove two hours to literally save my life. I have to get the story out, or I'll never stop crying, so here goes.

I met him (let's call him Douglas) when I was 13, and he was 15. His first words to me were 'I'm gonna marry you someday'. So, for the next year we were inseparable. Then, my family moved to where we are now. We stayed extremely close friends, but dated other people. When he graduated high school, he joined the Marine Corp. I was in my sophomore year and dating a young man, and quite content. I still talked to Douglas every day, despite the boyfriends dislike of him. I was with the boyfriend for 2.5 years, and during that time, he raped me and beat me almost daily. I never told Douglas because frankly I was afraid of what he would do. But, a month after he got home from Iraq, I had to call him. The boyfriend had gotten so mad at me for something, I still to this day don't know what, he beat me severely and threw me out of his car on our way home. I was barely conscious and just called the first person I could think of, Douglas. He not only called my local EMS, he immediately got in his car and drove to the hospital to be with me. He never left my side, for the few days I was in the hospital. He helped me with everything.

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After I was released, he decided we needed to get married, just like we always talked about. Since he was scheduled to be deployed soon after, we did the quickie wedding thing. I got a cheap purple dress at David's Bridal, and he wore his uniform. It was fun and perfect and everything I wanted. Then he left, and the whole world died. He was gone for 7 months, and when he came home, was a completely different person. I tried, god did I try, to help him and help us. But it was no use. The Douglas I knew, and loved for years, was gone. Lost to that bloody hellhole that wasn't even necessary. He left me a week after our 9th month of marriage, telling me that he couldn't handle it anymore, and that while he loved me, he knew he was too broken for me and he just couldn't live with it. I moved back home to my parents and tried to live my life as best I could as an ex-Marine wife.

I haven't dated anyone seriously since he left. I've had sex precisely 5 times. I was 21 when he left, so you do the math. I just can't bring myself to be with anyone else. Douglas has since remarried, and is living on the other side of the country. We haven't spoken since I signed the paperwork. But, during packing my parents home today, I found not only my dress, but the book of photos I requested my mother destroy. She didn't do it, so now i brought home to my apartment and I just don't know what to do. I keep crying and hating her for not throwing it away, and then hating myself for being such a baby for not handling it like an adult. I kind of want to donate my dress, but at the same time, I feel like I should keep it. But is it more painful to hold on to it? And the photos, God the photos. I don't remember ever looking as happy I was that day. I certainly don't think I have been since. It's a huge part of my life, I should keep them! But it's also just. so. painful. This ordeal is draining and I just want to drink a bottle of wine and go to sleep. But I needed to write it all out and share it. Even if no one reads it, putting it to 'paper' is cathartic for me.