How it started…

How it started…

I do not believe my husband and I ever said how we met, or how it started. Most of the time when someone asks us, we usually do not go into details. Funny thing is there are millions of people who have met like we did, but maybe it did not lead to love, marriage, and kids!

So, let us get into it! I met my husband on Tinder! Yes, you read right…. Tinder! I downloaded the app July 4th, 2015 as I laid on my coach with my headset on listening to music to drown out the loud sounds of fireworks. It had been less than a year since my return from Afghanistan and I was home in panic mode just laying around bored. My two boys from my previous marriage were gone for the summer holiday and the house was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The reason I had downloaded Tinder is because I felt ready to date, but because of my anxiety and being in a new place I was hesitant to get out and meet someone. Tinder gave me more control, and I did not have to share my number or did not feel pressured to meet up with anyone. While using Tinder I was able to go at my own pace.

Although I downloaded Tinder in July 2015 I only chatted with people, and then immediately I would get bored and delete the app! I never connected with anyone until September 2015. My husband and I had our first date September 12, 2015. We had planned a date on September 11th, but I was not able to attend, and I almost did not make the second date either. My husband has been boxing since he was an adolescent, so our first date was watching the Floyd Mayweather fight at the movie theater. Once I arrived at the theater it was full of people and immediately, I froze up and texted him that I could not come inside because the crowd outside was making me have anxiety. His response to that message let me know he was perfect for me! He told me stay right there, I will come out and get you. Our first date went well, and I am sure I talked his head off because he was so attractive, polite, & he made me feel safe and comfortable. After our movie date he and I sat in the parking lot until the sun came up talking about life. I did not want the date to end that night!

The months following our first date were rocky, and partially because of me! We both have flaws that made us not ready for a serious relationship! I was scared, guarded, and not ready to fully trust anyone with my heart and so was he. We stopped talking sometimes, but we were always led back to each other no matter what! Dating with PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, & past relationship trauma can be hard for anyone. I knew what my issues were, but I was not ready to fully express them to him. Our first year of dating was rocky, and simply because of egos, trauma, unsaid issues, & fear of being hurt on both sides. My husband has been my number one supporter when it comes to my mental health. I knew that any man I decided to date needed to know I struggle mentally, and I am not always this happy woman, and that I am flawed but I am worth it. What sealed the deal for me and made me marry him September 21, 2016 was the way he catered to my needs, the way he loved my babies, the way he attended my appointments, and became my biggest supporter. It did not matter what has happening in our day to day lives, he would always make sure I was okay and that is what I needed. Due to my father issues, I struggled with abandonment and I did not want to have a toxic relationship like my first marriage. I wanted this marriage to be healthy & happy!

One thing I can be completely honest about is that we did not go through “the honeymoon phase” our first year of marriage. We struggled our first year because I became pregnant and my pregnancy was hard, and he started his new job as an electrician and I wanted to support the long hours and schooling, but truth be told I needed help at home with the kids. In marriage it is hard to voice your weaker moments when you want to be fully supportive of your spouse. I always knew my husband had amazing potential. In the beginning of our relationship, I was often scrutinized because he worked at Macys’ and was told he only was dating me to benefit from me. What no one never knew is he has never asked me for a dime. Therefore, when he got a good paying job that he actually liked, I wanted him to enjoy it, and not worry about the stress of what was happening at home and that lead to me neglecting myself, which caused me to resent that he was working, and I was retired and at home with the kids. After medically retiring from the military, I enjoyed being home, but it was after our daughter that I felt like I needed to be out the house more and I felt the “stay at home mom” role was not enough. In all honesty a stay-at-home mom has the hardest job in America in my opinion and does not receive enough credit! I was craving work, adult conversation, and more freedom but I was not voicing all my needs and that led us to a bad place. We grew apart for awhile.

There was a year 2018-2019 that we were together…but separate and doing this time so many hurtful things transpired. We both portrayed hurtful words and actions towards one another simply because we did not communicate or know how to problem solve. Add losing a parent, sister with cancer, & being mentally exhausted to marital problems. I can admit with all I was dealing with mentally I completely checked out of my marriage and I thought I did not want to be married anymore. I kept asking myself why did I get married? I knew if I had to question the marriage that the relationship was completely over. During our separation is when everything became clear as day to me. It was April 11, 2018 I looked in the mirror and realized I did not know the woman looking back anymore. I was 220lbs, I was grieving the loss of my father, I was angry, I was numb, and I hated my life. While being all those things how I could I focus on being a wife. I needed that time to find myself again. I had lost myself, and the only way back to me was to allow myself to figure it all out. My husband has always been my safe place and I was dependent on him for my emotional and mental health so much that I did not know how to function completely without him. The year 2018-2019 I learned to stand on my own two feet for myself and my kids. I started being active every day and I fell in love with fitness. I never really focused on the scale because fitness became a lifestyle, and it was how I coped with the grief, anger, depression, and anxiety. I would leave all my feelings in the workout. Once I became physically, mentally, & spiritually better is when I decided I wanted to get back to work. Finding a job was not something I wanted or needed for finances it was something that I knew would make me feel whole again, simply because I wanted to interact with other adults and get over my fears of anxiety towards people and unfamiliar places. A job for me was getting back to a routine like when I was in the Army.

After months of soul searching and reaching a healthy and happy space in my life, I started to think about my marriage more. I missed my husband presence, but I needed to be whole before we reconnected. Also, I refused to be in an environment that was toxic for me or my children. My goal with this marriage was to see red flags, handle red flags, and not make the same mistakes. Since my husband and I had been apart we both had grown into different people. I wanted my marriage back, and I wanted us to grow into a loving and healthy space again but there was some work to be done. My sons have experience divorced and it was hard on them. I did not want to divorce unless I was for sure because to be honest my husband has been the boy’s father figure, and they loved and depended on him. I did not want to make a permanent decision over temporary feelings and cause more hurt to myself or my three children. The problems that my husband and I had were minor. We both needed to sit down and figure out what we needed and wanted from our marriage. There were some honest and hurtful conversations had. I made it clear that yes, I am a Mom and I want to support my kids and my husband; but I also must take care of me first! If I am not physically, mentally, and spiritually together I cannot function properly as a wife or mother. My husband understood that I had to have a life outside of kids and him. I did not want to sound selfish but, I had to be completely honest. We eventually came back together and I am glad that we did!

Where we at now….

One important thing I have learned in the process of my husband and I falling in love all over again is that it is not my job to make my husband happy and it is not my husband job to make me happy. A healthy marriage requires two people who are already happy within themselves to come together and combine the happiness and create a healthy relationship. My husband and I are one, but self-development is a must before you can become whole with another person. Our marriage is not perfect now, and we disagree at times, but what I can say is we do not have a toxic marriage! We are at a place where we talk openly and honestly with one another, we respect each other, we listen, & we do not act out of anger. The year of 2019 up until now has been our best years of marriage thus far! We have matured so much over the years, and we have grown closer than ever. Marriage is work and it takes effort on both parts. I do not regret the time apart, because it was needed to grow into where we are today. I can say my husband is my best friend, he finishes my sentences, and he knows what is wrong without me even speaking at times because now we are on the same page. I wrote this blog because I want to encourage anyone that may be having marital issues to take a step back and reevaluate before making a final decision. If you are not being abused or if there is no infidelity, then it can be worked out. We all have our own breaking points in relationships. My breaking point is abuse, infidelity, or lack of respect. If it is not one of the three above, then I can work through it. No marriage will be like marriages on television. All marriages are different and have different challenges. No matter what your challenges may be remember to put “You” first and evaluate what would be best for you! Do not let society convince you to accept anything that does not bring you happiness. I hope that my story inspires you to love, grow, heal, or let go what is no longer serving you!

-Toni

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