Recently I’ve found out what the term “Tsunami divorce” means. And I had to learn that the hard way.
My husband of just a year and a half suddenly decided he no longer cared to be married anymore.
We were together for over six years, and married a year and a half.
“What is a tsunami divorce? A tsunami divorce is one that completely blindsides a spouse, flattening him or her with a wave that was never spotted. A tsunami divorce is characterized by a normal marriage and a normal life up until the moment of total and utter destruction. The spouse that embodies the wave may simply disappear, abandoning their significant other with little to no communication or explanation. Infidelity, substance abuse, and mental illness can all play a role in a tsunami divorce. The causes of a tsunami divorce are rooted in the past and far away from the marriage. These contributing factors lay buried beneath the placid sea of the marriage until they burst forth in a Great Wall of destruction.”
Needless to say, I was completely taken off guard. I had no idea he felt the way he did, as there was little to no communication on his part. The week leading up to the day we were supposed to move was incredibly stressful, and I noticed that he was treating me differently. He acted very coldly to me, ignoring me, avoiding me, not talking to me, not holding my hand or kissing me back. He wouldn’t even put his arms around me when I’d hug him. I knew something was wrong, but just thought it was all the stress from moving out of our apartment and getting ready to move a few states away to South Carolina. We were having trouble with our hitch on the car and was worried about the trailer, and we had much more stress on top of that. And to make matters worse, his friend was visiting and stayed glued to his hip the whole time. I didn’t get to have any privacy or alone time with my own husband, and we stayed in different places until the day we were going to move. I remember sending him a text message, saying how I knew something was going on with him, because of how cold he was treating me; asking what did I do wrong, did I upset him, is it just stress, etc.
He proceeded to tell me that “something is going on with him,” and that he didn’t know what it was, but that's all he knew. That’s all I had to go on. I remember so badly wanting to talk to him face to face, to hear his voice, touch him, hold him, try and figure this out together. But I just thought, we’ll figure this out when we finally get to South Carolina.
The day we were going to leave, something else had happened, of course, adding to the stress of our situation already. We no longer could use the trailer. Our options were for me to stay here and let him and his friend drive to South Carolina so I could unload all of our stuff and figure out how to ship it out there instead of using the trailer, and then I would fly out a week or so later. His brother found out I was staying, called him saying he needed to come back and get me, and that he would take care of our stuff. So he came back to get me, and as I was getting ready to leave, my best friend texted me, saying how my husband had texted her a few nights prior and expressed to her that he didn’t want to be married to me anymore. I confronted him about this, and he just stood there in silence. After finally getting him to explain more, he told me more about how he just “feels different,” and is entertaining the idea of getting a divorce but staying together, because marriage has unrealistic expectations and puts too much pressure on him to be a “good husband.” I begged and pleaded multiple times to go to marriage counseling, and said how I wanted divorce to be the last option. I chose to stay, because going with him at that point just felt scary. Moving away from all your friends and family with somebody you thought you knew just for them to tell you they don’t want to be married anymore, and has treated you so indifferently… it didn’t feel right. I thought, if anything, I could still plan to fly down in a week or two when his head clears up and we could move forward from there. Divorce for me was never an option. I was dedicated to being his wife and to loving him and understanding him, even if it hurt me. I would have walked through fire for him. I would have given anything to save my marriage with him.
So I stayed. He left without saying goodbye. I didn’t hear from him for two days, even though I figured he would have at least texted to tell me he made it safely. I didn’t even get that. I only knew they had made it back from seeing his friends posts on social media. Those two days were absolute hell. I cried so hard to the point that I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. I almost called 911 several times, or woke my dad up to ask him to take me to the ER. I have never experienced the amount of panic attacks like I did that week.
I finally gave in and called him crying, asked what was going on, why wasn’t he speaking to me… I didn’t know that by him leaving that meant that we couldn’t still keep in contact. He was still my husband after all…
I called him and he still sounded so cold towards me, telling me still that he didn’t know what he wanted, and that he was hanging out with his friends. He said he would talk to me later, so we hung up and I went to go spend the week with my family in Amarillo. Later that night, he called me to tell me that he wanted a divorce. The last thing that I wanted to hear. There was no “I miss you,” no “I’m sorry I want to work this out,” no nothing. No communication. Nothing that could have ever prepared me for this. It had only been one week that he started treating me differently, how could so much change in seven days? We were fine, we were happy, we were in love… I thought so at least. I asked about marriage counseling again, and he said no. I asked if this is us breaking up, and he said yes. Even after he had told me that he entertained the thought of getting divorced but staying together in a relationship. Nothing I said mattered. It was like he left and he took my voice. I had no choice. I didn’t get a chance to be angry for him leaving suddenly. I didn’t get to voice my opinion… nothing.
There it was, that tsunami wave that hit me. Like the last six years didn’t matter. Like we hadn’t been planning and building our lives.
This man was my absolute best friend. He knew everything about me. He knew exactly what to do and say to calm me down during an anxiety attack. It was like he stopped the world for me just to breathe. We laughed about everything. He made me laugh daily, because of how goofy he was, and he made other people laugh, too. When I say he was perfect for me, I meant that in every sense. We agreed on everything, we had the same political beliefs, the same movie tastes, semi same music tastes, and we would sing and play music together. We wrote songs together. We made short movies together.
I’ve noticed that the things I miss the most about him are some of the things that annoyed me the most. For example, when we would watch a movie, he would ALWAYS just look at me for long periods of time, multiple times. Not every time, but a few times did I snap and ask him why he was looking at me.
I miss catching him looking at me.
I miss all the other little things. Like asking him to sit with me on the couch just so I could use him as a pillow and sleep on his shoulder. I miss his smell. I miss the way he always held my hand, always kissed me, and held me.
When I would be in bed without him and not being able to fall asleep, because I’d be so anxious over nothing, he would come and lay with me and hold me, and it always made me feel so much better. Just feeling his embrace, and his arms around me. The hair on his chest. His hands. His mouth. The taste of his kisses.
But he left. He took our car, leaving me with no money or means of providing for myself, and told me two days later that he wanted a divorce. Not only did I lose my marriage, but I lost my best friend. Never in my life did I ever think this would happen to me. I can’t help but think of how eventually I’ll start dating again, but that fear of being left and abandoned will always be with me. I’ve never cried as much as I have these past two months. I really truly believed I would grow old with this man. I was so excited to watch him grow as a person, pursuing the things he loved, achieving them… just cheering him on along the way, believing in him every step of the way, being there when things didn’t work out the way they were supposed to, holding him, telling him how important he was to me.
Now this person who was my whole entire world is a thousand miles away, not thinking of me. Not loving me like he promised he would. He left so easily. Like I was nothing to him.
I’m finally going to start a new job soon, and I’m hoping to have my own apartment by the end of this year. And hopefully a car sooner than that. The divorce has not yet been finalized, but it’s in the works.
I’ll always have some sort of love for him in my heart, but I’m pissed. I’m hurt. I feel discarded. I’m not okaym and I probably won’t be for a little while, but I’m going to be working on it. I hope that he lives with what he did to me for the rest of his life. I hope he regrets it, and I hope he hates himself over it.
I’m going to be okay. I’m going to make it through this. This is just molding me into the woman that I’m supposed to be. I’m going to be starting school next year, and finally getting my life started after this monstrosity of a mess he caused, and I will be better off without him. I don’t need him to come back.
I never knew what a tsunami divorce was, and never thought I’d learn the hard way of what it was either.