The most consequential act of my life was the moment I sent an instant message to my ex-wife. It was mostly good.
Being with her gave me “the best day(s) of our life”. The best and some of the worst days of my life were being with her. When we were alone its was usually the best. When everyone else got involved is when things were difficult.
What could have been a very inconsequential act and one that would have very easily been long forgotten is one I will always remember. I sat at the computer with my IM box open. I kept going back and forth in my mind whether or not to send her the message.
I had been online dating for about five years. I had been on AOL in the chat rooms and iming women for about seven. We even used AOL and some of the dating sites to find people for our soccer team.
As I contemplated sending the message, I thought about my past successes and failures. Three of my good friends at the time I had met on AOL. Another friend I had met on a dating site.
We have big decisions throughout our lives. Sometimes a small one can change the course of our lives. I finally sent an IM and we messaged that night. About two weeks later we went out for the first time.
We would date for two years and got engaged on our second anniversary. Less than five months later we got married. We had actually basically been engaged for about five or six months by the time I made it official and put a ring on her finger.
The only people who knew were the temple, my mom, and my aunt. My aunt is a professional wedding planner and planned the wedding, my mom helped me with the ring and we had to reserve a date at the temple.
I often think I married the right person from the wrong family. On our second date, she told me her family was in her words “dysfunction junction”. Little did I know just how dysfunctional they were.
There was a woman I was pursuing for nearly two years when I met her. The other woman came from a much more stable family and I often wonder how much different my life would have been.
When I was dating my ex I was never really sure if she was “the one”. What I did know is that I cared about her more than anyone else I had dated. I had gone out with some women after a few dates and then not pursued things.
While I never wanted to hurt any women, with her it was much different. The thought of hurting her was much greater than it was with anyone else.
Sending that instant message changed my life forever. I sent me on the path or getting married, having children with her, having to deal with a life-altering illness she had and her filing for divorce.
As with most people who have been married and specifically those that have been through illness and or divorce, that consequential act of sending the instant message was both good and bad.
Being with her was everything I dreamed of. Unfortunately, the dream turned into a nightmare she gained custody of our children in spite of not being able to take care of them. It had been two years and I haven’t seen them.
What began with love, promise and hope has turned into devastation, loneliness and often despair. As an I near a milestone birthday I search for new ways to define myself and the newest most consequential act of my life.