June 2023: Abandonment — Aurora Van Cleave from Virginia says, “I seriously considered divorce after 5 years of marriage. I loved him, that was never an issue, but I was not in love with him — and I wanted to be.”

Here’s my story: Married just five years before she began thinking about getting divorced in 2014, Aurora, now 33, says she and her husband ultimately decided to reconcile.

“I wanted to leave because I felt like I was not fully understood and the harder I pushed for romance the less that I felt that I was in love with him,” she explains. “I loved him, that was never an issue, but I was not in love with him — and I wanted to be.”

The path to reconciliation came slow, she admits. “When I told him that I thought divorce was the best solution to our problems, he asked me to make a list of what he needed to do to save our marriage. So I did, and he worked really hard on trying to do everything on that list — for an entire year. In fact, it took  11 months and 23 days before we reconciled.”

The fight that precipitated her decision had been brewing for 18 months, she says. “I knew I wasn’t happy, but the fact that I did not want the shame of a failed marriage, and that at the time our daughter was a toddler, kept me from speaking my truth. But that day, it all came out. And I am glad it did. I believe in total honesty — even when it’s hard to face the truth.”

Today, Aurora and her husband are still married. Is she happy? “Not necessarily,” she admits. “Our relationship is more transactional than anything. There is still no romance. I wish that when we were courting, we took the time to make sure our relationship was solid, and work on it until it became what we both wanted and needed.”

Aurora shares, however, that her husband remains devoted — and she believes he has the marriage that he wants. “He is happy in his ignorant bliss.”

She says she wouldn’t consider divorce again, mostly because the couple now has two young daughters, ages 9 and 3.

Lesson learned: Aurora is confident that she would not get married again. “Nothing magical happens when you put your name on a marriage license. I believe most marriages stay together because of that piece of paper, which means nothing if real work is not put in the relationship. I think that the illusion that marriage is a fairy tale keeps humans from putting in the authentic work.”