I'm sorry, OP.
I know I can't compare a relationship of mine to a 23 year marriage (I just graduated high school about a year ago), but from what you explain here,
I feel like I can empathize with you.
My ex and I were together for four years, since I was sixteen. We loved each other, but it was as you explain, "forced" love. We sort of grew to
love each other simply because we spent time around one another, but we didn't belong together at all. We fought constantly, and he'd accuse me of
cheating any chance he got.
He was also one of those people who'd say particular key words that you are easily hurt by, just to win an argument. Just because he KNEW it would
cut deep. I cannot stand that in a person, especially someone who's supposed to love and protect you doing just the opposite, trapping you from all
your friends and making you feel like garbage for HAVING friends. When the fights started getting physical, I wanted out.
A childhood best friend of mine--someone I've cared about deeply for years--was the one making me feel better, consoling me when I was crying or when
the ex and I would fight. I know I sound like a patronizing kid, and I'm really sorry to everyone I offend here (because I'm young, people often
assume I have no idea what I'm talking about and folks with more life experience than me tend to get offended by it sometimes). But I'm only
explaining my personal experiences and feelings, so please don't take it like I'm comparing myself to you, OP, or anyone else here who's suffered
from relationship problems or divorce.
Now, the ex is out of the picture and my best friend and I are more in love than ever.
I feel like I see colors everywhere, like I'm allowed to feel "happy" again.
Everything is so wonderful now... and we both still have issues, but we work through them together and rarely have conflicts. We never fight, and we
always work out whatever conflicts we have pretty easily.
Ehh... I'm sorry I'm talking about how happy I am. This isn't the right place...
Point being, I feel like I understand the difference between "in love" and "together" now.
All of us here at ATS love you, OP.
You'll conquer this, because now you can breathe, and now you're free.
Its a fantastic feeling, not being trapped in a sickly relationship.
The breath of freedom will fill you up, trust me.