Divorce....A love lesson

For some reason when I hit puberty my self esteem took a nosedive. I believed that I was ugly because as far as I could tell there were no boys interested in me. One of my friends seemed to have every boy in the Junior High interested in her. As I grew older I made poor choices, and many based on what I viewed would make boys like me. As an adult I see teenage girls just like I was and it makes me feel a little bit sad for them. If only they could see how talented and beautiful they really are! When I was 19 I started going to cosmetology school full time and working part time. I was busy and with any spare moment that I had I would party with my friends. When I started Cosmetology school my hair was quite long and when I graduated my hair was short. When I first cut all of my hair off I hated it. In fact I remember meeting someone at the Vortex (a dance club) and giving him my number. A few weeks later....my hair much shorter he asked me out and I said "No, I got a haircut and my hair is ugly now." He asked "why don't you let me be the judge of that." I told him that I knew it was ugly. I never went out on a date with him. I remember feeling quite depressed about my hair. I felt so desperate that I bought special vitamins and a drink called Ultra Hair which were supposed to help with hair growth. I also used an electric rake at school to stimulate my scalp. I don't think I went out with my friends to pick up on guys for a few months. Now I find it surprising that I would put so much of my worth into a hairstyle! Sometimes my friends and I would go to Single Adult dances. They were held in various locations around the Salt Lake Valley, and occassionally at Saltair. While attending a Single Adult dance I met my first husband. I remember the one thing that really attracted me to him was his accent. As I visited with him I found out that he was from Guatemala. Shortly after we began dating we decided to get married. I had a lot of doubts about marrying him and I would pray about it. However, my mind was clouded with confusion. I worried "what if he is the only one that ever wants to marry me." Also, when you are intimate with someone I think you have so many emotions attached to the person and that it clouds your judgement. We married after only knowing each other for a few months. Fredy was 10 years older than me, and also had been excommunicated from the church. What I should have seen as red flags I thought were things that would change. I really had no realistic view of how relationships are. After being married for a couple of months Fredy confessed to me that he had kissed a girl at the moives. Fredy's dream job was to buy and sell used cars for a profit. Sometimes he would also work doing asbestos removal. Most of the time while I was working full time he was home or wherever doing something that I didn't know. Through our whole marriage he would constantly be looking at other women, even flirting in front of me. Then there began to be a time when he wouldn't want to have sex with me. I would try and ask him what the problem was and he would say "I'm an old man, I just don't want it like when I was younger." Other times he would tell me that he didn't find my body type attractive. I would feel so discouraged by this. I was around 105 lbs and I would do my step aerobics tapes to help me "look" better. During this time period he had applied to be a permanent resident (he wasn't a citizen of the United States). I remember very clearly going to one of the interviews with him and they asked him if he had ever been arrested before and he said "yes, for soliciting a prostitute." I was completely shocked and the interviewer could tell and asked me if I had known. I said that I hadn't and Fredy started demanding that he had told me before. I am positive that he didn't tell me before. That is something I wouldn't forget. Our entire marriage was tumultuous. It seemed like everything that was important to me wasn't to him. He would challenge everything that I believed in. I really had to think about my faith at that time. I really developed a strong conviction of the things that I believed. Throughout this process he was constantly critical of me. He would say things like "you can't take the sacrament, three months ago you were drinking, so you are not worthy." (I have to add that I had met with the bishop and discussed the drinking with him). I also came to know that the only person that can determine whether or not you are worthy to take the sacrament would be you. It really is between yourself and the Lord. I was stuck in a pattern where I would try really hard to follow what the church teaches and then I would give up for a bit and then come back. Even though I would give up for a bit I still believed in the LDS church's teachings. It was just a constant battle to do what was right. During this time peroid I was constantly anxious. I wanted to be a mother so badly, but I just didn't like the thought of him being the father to my children. I felt so insecure, I just knew he was out cheating on me. And you know what? He was. I thought if I called him every day from work and spoke with him that it would remind him "oh yeah, I have a wife." It never did. Many times I wanted to get divorced. Life would happen though and I would put it off. February of 1997 we went on vacation to Hawaii. Two days after we came back he confessed to sleeping with a few prostitutes. I remember crying and feeling sick to myself. As I laid there next to him in our bed I could no longer stand it. I got up and drove over to my sister Angie's house (it was the middle of the night by this time) and asked her husband Bryan to give me a blessing. I was so thankful that she lived close to me. In hindsight I really believe that she was living in that area because I needed her there. After the blessing I got up and drove back to the house I owned with Fredy and began to pack up my car. I told him that I was done. He cried and many times begged me to stay. He said he would change. I told him to change for his next wife. I moved back home to my parents house. It was kind of weird to go from being married to living with my parents again, but they were super understanding towards me. On one of the first nights back at my parents house I sat in the front room reading scriptures with my parents and younger siblings and when it was my turn to read, I read 2 Nephi Chapter 10 verse 23 Therefore, Cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves--to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life. As I read the scripture I felt like it was speaking to me. I felt a peace that I hadn't in a long time. I also knew that getting divorced from him was the right thing to do. Physically I felt as though a weight had physically been lifted off my shoulders. I hadn't realized how much of a burden I was bearing until it was no longer there. Looking back I don't regret being married to Fredy. It really shaped me into the person that I am today. Now I look at my sweet husband Tyler and I am so glad that I married him. He is a great husband to me and a great father to our children.


Laura said…
wow Jenny, I didn't know all that, only very general things. Now I understand why you were so thoughtful when I got divorced. You are so strong and courageous. ((hugs))
Johanna said…
What a brave and faithful journey you have been on. Thanks for sharing.
Chelsa Dimond said…
You're amazing! And beautiful (inside and out) ! Thanks for sharing this!
Jason said…
Jenny, I knew you at Oquirrh Hills Middle School and I thought you were funny and had a smile that would light up a room. I considered you a cute girl. Why didn't I ever share that with you? We all had that pubescent awkwardness and were afraid of what others thought of us--especially when we make ourselves vulnerable. Thanks for sharing your experience and being vulnerable so we can all learn to be better people.

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