My Husband Will Leave Me

My marriage is an emotional project — one with an endpoint

Jessica Garrett
Human Parts
Published in
7 min readJan 29, 2020

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Photo: Thomas Leuthard/Flickr

MyMy husband will leave me. That’s not fatalism, it’s fact. It’s how our marriage is designed. If all goes according to our plan, I will get pregnant, I will have a baby, and he will leave.

I got married on February 22, 2019. It’s not entirely unlike other marriage stories: We met a decade ago, the summer after college, during the Shakespeare festival. I had planned to move to Chicago with a friend, but her internship fell through, leaving me looking for a place to live and people to know. One of my friends said, “You know, Chris is moving to Chicago.” We’d not yet met, officially. I walked over at a party with my Solo cup of jungle juice and we chatted briefly, and then I swear I blinked and we were just living together, with the myriad friends and lovers and squatters that come with a post-college hovel-like existence. I think of them as the lean years. I blinked again. Here we are. Sharing a home again. Married. But not quite married.

In the years since our last cohabitation, I’d forgotten things about being with this man all the time. He goes long stretches without saying anything, the sound of his breathing filling the space. His humor is razor-edged. As a comedian, I’m more likely to make a mental note of that’s funny than actually laugh at a social joke, but his wit leaves me breathless, shoulders heaving, doubled over on my — rather, our — ratty sectional. His eyes are sharp, this I remember: the stinging blue that holds you, freezes you. Sometimes rage, sometimes sadness, often a soft love behind them. They welled up at the courthouse those months ago, just this side of brimming over, as they’ve done before when the two of us have shared a moment of love or sorrow.

At 35, I knew I had to start thinking about my future. I was dating sporadically, leapfrogging the beds of local comedians, musicians, bartenders. My string of bad-ish men wanting good-ish women — girls, really — to laugh with, fuck with, and move on from was starting to catch up with me. Somewhere in there, I had a couple of really great boyfriends, but none wanted children. I yearned for children. I loathed the cliché of it all, but at night, on my own, I just sat in it. Some kind of Bridget Jones bullshit, I always thought, having these…

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