This is not the life I expected to have. In January, I packed up the boys and left my husband of almost seven years. Now I am a single mom. I have a new job. My kids are in daycare. It’s a new world. I usually try to keep my personal thought and feelings under lock and key. However, I have been told by several people that this is a situation I need to write about. So, I’ll try. The thing is, I fell in love with a Marine. I fell in love with a strong man with honor and conviction who would protect me from the world. Instead, I ended up with a bipolar man who needed me to save the world from him, or save him from the world, maybe both. Instead of being swept off my feet I was constantly trying to find solid footing to stand on. It is hard to live in that place where you have to defend your husband to your friends and family, try to explain his actions and moods. Then you have to go home and defend your family and friends to your husband because of their reactions to his actions and moods. It is a never ending cycle with one blaring constant – me in the middle. After a while, you get tired of the tug-of-war. You wear out. You let go of the rope. You have to find a way to protect yourself. Its not all bad In fact, there are a lot of good moments. With the right medication, a bipolar person can lead a completely normal life. But its still there. Each time bipolar disorder rears its ugly head, you are hurt. I vowed each time that the next time I would be prepared. I would not be caught off guard. I would be ready. And I was. I started putting on more and more armor to deal with the tug-of-war and the episodes, the paranoia. In fact, I got so good at ignoring the episodes, I began to ignore the whole person. The last two years have been tough on this family. We have suffered through more than one layoff. We have dealt with lengthy unemployment, which comes with a LOT of togetherness. We have lost family members and dealt with the illness of a child. In each of these things, the support system that your husband should be – wasn’t. If I had a bad day, his was worse. If I was falling apart, he was already in pieces. I always had to be the glue and the strength. It is hard to watch the person that you fell in love with change. It is hard to look around and know that no one else can see what you once saw. It is hard to walk away from a marriage when you put so much effort for so many years into making it work. I wish I had some wise words to wrap this up with, but I don’t. I’m still working on it. I’m still finding my footing and learning new ropes.