Divorce is like death. A marriage died. It’s an entity in and of itself. There’s a grieving process involved that not everyone understands. If a person died, people don’t usually firmly tell the grieving person to just get over it. Or move on. Act like nothing happened. Jump into discussions of facts and figures and spreadsheets. While those things are necessary, so is the grieving. Be kind. Realize that while outsiders are looking at numbers and planning out how the person can move forward, sometimes that person is trapped in a place with only memories of the life spent in the marriage. The good and happy times. There are often vast differences between men and women too, in just how differently the two sexes process things.
We see the divorce attorney tomorrow. I feel sick.
I love him. I don’t like him.
I’m questioning everything I ever thought to be true. Am I doing the right thing.
Last night, I almost went upstairs and crawled in bed with him just to feel his arms again. I did not. I told him this this morning. He hugged me and asked if I had a bad dream, but the comfort or the sign I was looking for, the sign that maybe he had wished I had done that? It wasn’t there. I think he is relieved tomorrow is coming but won’t express that verbally. Why this hurts me all over again is confusing to me, but it does.
I’m remembering good things. The marriage proposal. Our honeymoon. The birth of each child. Family vacations. The way he used to smile when he saw me.
I’m remembering bad things. The confirmed affair. Suspected affairs. Lies. Insults. Lack of compassion. Hidden monies I discovered.
I’m questioning my ability to love, to know what true love really is.
I can not picture my life without him. I loved him to the point of losing myself. I still love him.
I can not picture staying with a man I don’t trust or feel emotionally safe with.
I want to scream, “help me!” but no one can help me. I have to do this.
I want someone to tell me what to do, but when people tell me what to do, I’m angry.
I want this pain to stop but I know I must process it before it can.
That is all.
I have been told by some people to just get over this heartache. Just move on. Put it behind me. Learn from these mistakes. Be strong. Don’t doubt my choices. I’m trying. I am really trying. Lately, most days I win at these efforts. But I see that there are far more issues than just the infidelity. Marriages can survive infidelity. Marriages can be rebuilt and come back stronger than ever, but only if there is full disclosure and genuine remorse on the part of the unfaithful lying spouse. Empathy is a must. I have not experienced that, and so my marriage will not be rebuilt. My story is not unique. There are so many people out there, sadly, who have similar issues. I’ve discovered this through reading countless articles and skimming pages of support groups. But, close to me, in my own personal life, I have no one I know personally who has experienced this situation. You see, there are so many layers in what has led to my failed marriage. So many layers of crazy that I’ve been forced to deal with. So many layers to my pain.
Several months ago, when I was at a place where I thought my marriage could survive, I was optimistic. I was hopeful. I apologized for my failures in the marriage, the ones that I felt caused my husband to stray. I had lost my personal identity and was struggling to find it. A voice in my head kept telling me that my uncertainty was not so bad that my husband needed to stray. Not all of me believed I had neglected him so badly that he felt alone and pushed aside. But I tried to see it from his point of view, and I talked my self into believing it was my fault. I now see that a good spouse would have stayed close and offered support. Would have encouraged me to find my identity and showered me with love and affection. Instead, each time I reached out to him, he shut me down and criticized me for my fears. Criticized my efforts to start a small business doing something I enjoyed so much. He moped and complained at the amount of time I spent in my studio, working hard to make my business a success. I still cooked and cleaned and ran the kids where they needed to be. I still tried spending time with my husband. It was he who was not interested in spending time with me.
When I began suspecting he might be having an affair, he chastised me for my doubts and fears. He called my behavior ugly. He said if I made romantic gestures towards him, he would turn me down because he didn’t like being accused of having an affair and he was a good man, a good person, and that he had never cheated on me and never would. He said he was sick of me accusing him. I was ugly and overly sensitive and plain crazy to think he would ever be unfaithful. He was a good man.
I muffled the voice inside me that told me I was right. That told me he was being pulled away from the marriage by someone else. I stifled that voice. I pushed forward. I recommitted to my marriage. He was still not interested. He said he did not know if he wanted to stay married to me. He did not know if he could ever see me the same way again. He had seen an ugly untrusting side to me that hurt him deeply with my accusations. I tried harder. I begged him to give me another chance. And then, a very short time later, I received the phone call from the husband of the woman he had been sleeping with for several months, or longer. I’ll never get that full truth. It doesn’t matter at this point anyways.
After that call, every conversation I had had with my husband came flooding to the front of my mind. Every denial. Every time he called me crazy for accusing him of such terrible things. And then more layers were added. More things for me to deal with. The husband of the mistress/lover/other woman….whatever you want to call her….he began contacting me on a regular basis. At first, it was ok. Therapeutic in a way. We shared a grief, a bond if you will. But that began changing. This man was divorcing his wife. And he began blaming my husband, 100%, for the affair. He claimed my husband seduced his wife. That his wife was a good person with morals and values and that she was not herself because my Casanova bastard husband charmed her pants off, literally. I tried telling this man that his wife and my husband were equally at fault. He would not hear a thing I had to say. Then he looked me up on facebook. He sent me messages telling me how beautiful I was and that he couldn’t believe my husband would cheat on me. It made me feel uncomfortable. What set me over the edge and caused me to block this man from all contact was when he propositioned me. I was going to be traveling to where he lived for a family wedding and he said that he and I had to meet. I actually gave it some thought, until he told me he wanted to get a hotel room. He proceeded to tell me that he would make love to me like a woman and please me in ways I never knew possible, or fuck me like a whore, if that’s what I wanted. I have not had contact with him since he made those disgusting propositions to me. I told my husband and he had no reaction. This man still tried to reach out to me, but I never responded. He tried telling me to divorce my husband and punish him by ruining him financially, because that’s the only way bastards like my husband will learn their lesson. He told me not to let his wife know he was contacting me because she would use it against him and try to ruin him. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing or reading. These people were crazier that I imagined.
More layers. The mistress was sending me harassing messages. She was telling me she was still in contact with my husband. That she loved him and would be with him. She called my children brats. She even went so far as to tell me she was pregnant with my husband’s child. And every time I tried to tell my husband or show him the messages, he became agitated. He kept saying she would never do these things, because she was a good person. At one point he convinced me that maybe this woman was crazy and I was right, and that he was so sorry I was being harassed. He said he had no contact with her, unless it was work related. They worked for the same company, she lives in another state, but frequent travel within the company is how they began their affair. I actually began to believe my husband until he needed to travel to where she lived and was acting strange before he left. Then I found out about the phone call. The woman called him the day he flew in and proceeded to have a sexually explicit and inappropriate phone call with him. When I discovered this news, I called my husband to ask about it. He denied it. ALL of it. He was angry. He called me crazy. He threatened me. I hung up. He called later that evening and apologized. Said how terrible of a person he was. That he didn’t deserve someone like me. That I was good and kind and loving and he was awful. I started to believe, again, there was hope in rebuilding the marriage. But then he came home and nothing changed. His words never matched his behaviors.
There are financial issues I’ve touched upon in other blog posts. This confirmed affair is not the only reason I’m getting divorced.
More layers. I’m not even divorced yet. Not even legally separated. On my personal facebook page, I had written a heartfelt “confession.” I stated where things were in the marriage. That it would be ending. That my heart was breaking and it was not what I wanted. And from that, I have received more than half a dozen messages from men. Men who think it’s ok to flirt or say inappropriate things to me. One is married. I’m disgusted. Personal boundaries have been crossed. And I’m a bitch for stating that this is not ok with me. I’ve had to unfriend and block these people. But the worst part? The worst is feeling like maybe I am not normal. Maybe I am the one who has serious issues. I mean, if my husband and all these other men think it’s ok to behave in these ways, maybe I am the one who needs a reality check. I’ve been called Mary Poppins. Well, Mary wants to shove her umbrella up their asses. I once told a female friend about one of the males who inappropriately messaged me. Her response? She was jealous. I was speechless. Jealous of me and my life? I do not think she ever truly listened to a thing I said. If she did, she would not be jealous, for even a second. We are not friends anymore.
Why am I writing all this down? It helps me see why I’m making the correct choice. And because I’ve been emotionally abused for so long, I still feel the need to defend and explain my actions and words. The people who tell me to just get over it, they likely will never read this anonymous blog, but I feel like I’m talking to them anyways. What I’ve written about so far, in over 20 posts, this all explains my feelings, my actions and my choices. I am not crazy. I am struggling. Rebuilding my life, at my age, with children, it is the most terrifying thing I have ever done. Realizing what I thought was real and true, was really just a facade? And has been this way for over 21 years? Well. I don’t know of many people who would not struggle with choices and self-identity.
I do not expect many people would even know what to say to someone like me. And that’s ok. Just saying that, “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here for you,” that’s enough. But saying “just get over it, move on, enough already,” that’s another form of emotional abuse in my eyes, as is ignoring me and my children altogether. I am learning to balance my need to discuss this with moving forward and putting it all behind me. But I know I’m the type of person who can’t let this go until I’ve processed it all. And as you can now see, there are so many layers to this, so the processing is going to take a lot longer. So I must also now learn who I can depend on. Who will support me and my children, without passing harsh judgements or growing tired of listening to me. More layers.
All I know is this: I am dazed and confused. What I don’t know is this: is it the cold medicine I took to help me rest peacefully since mid morning today I started coming down with a cold, or is it because my husband woke me out of a dead sleep to tell me our daughters are mad at him? Mad because he had punished them both, suspended the punishment for the night so they could both attend the last home football game of the season at their school and then felt lied to and manipulated because they were not grateful enough? Did not return his text messages? That he has been treated poorly by them. Lied to? Well. Gee. Husband. Gee. Wonder where they learned this from? Or, ever think they are freaking teenagers who do these things on occasion?! But seriously, he needs to wake a feverish snot-filled me to tell me all this? I don’t know how I managed to remain calm. I really don’t.
What I do also know is that this is the perfect example of what some narcissistic behaviors look like. Narcissists think they are above everyone. As a parent, the narcissists models perfectly the saying “Do as I say, not as I do.” They take normal child issues, such as boundary pushing and hormonal rages as a personal attack. Last night I stood there, very groggy, watching my husband expect to have pity on him. I managed to quietly state that he really should stop taking it personally. I explained it happens to me every day. They’ll get over this quickly. It’s what kids do. But he still pouted and expected some sort of apology from me and from the girls. From me, I said I was sorry he felt that way, because I am an empathetic person. I really did feel bad for him. But that’s where I drew the line because I also could see how and why the girls might behave in this way. He has taught them so much about lying and manipulating to get their way. They went to their rooms and did not come out to discuss any of this. They were angry. What they did was wrong so I will think about what to say to them about being respectful. While I understand how they feel, again because I’m an empathetic person, I must teach them that their actions are still not acceptable or kind. That’s as far as my responsibility in this situation goes. It is why when he originally lifted their punishment, I asked to stay out of the situation when the girls asked me about their plans, because I had a feeling something negative would happen and I wanted no part of it. He punished them. He can deal with how that plays out. And finally, I asked him last night why I needed to be consulted over this? Because when he lifted their punishment, he did so without consulting me. He didn’t get my point. I’m not surprised.
*Edit*. How ironic that this article showed up on my inbox this morning? Explains what I was trying to say, much better than I said it.
Today I was supposed to head to the town where I plan to relocate, to begin the process of searching for employment and honing up some skills to make me more marketable. Plans change. While I am disappointed that my trip will have to wait a few weeks, I’m also feeling a little bit of relief. I have been so nervous about this entire experience.
Last night, I printed a few copies of my resume. I tried pulling out something to wear. No luck. My wardrobe is filled with either too dressy or too casual. I took a break to look up the driving directions. That’s when I realized there was no way I could make this happen today. I have no one to help me with the transportation of my kids from school, and my eldest daughter has a therapy appointment this afternoon. No chance her father will leave work early to help me with any of this. The drive to where I need to be is nearly two hours away, one way. So that’s a four hour round trip total. I was told by the office to allow a minimum of 2-2.5 hours with them to fill out applications, go over my resume, tweaking it, and to sign up for refresher skill classes. Already this is 6-6.5 hours of my day. Doing the math, there is no way I can complete all this in the small window of time I have. As always, what the family needs comes first.
I will now focus on an upcoming day that the kids do not have school. Election Day. And between now and then, I will force myself to get my head in a better place. I will already have met with the divorce attorney by then. I’ll have a slightly better idea as to what the future timeline might be like, making my availability to start work more clear. I will go shopping to purchase a new outfit or two, more appropriate for an interview and office work. I will continue searching for jobs online and filling out applications from my home. I’ll even try tweaking my resume on my own. I’ll look up programs that might help me refresh my typing skills and ask my kids to help me navigate commonly used computer programs. I will clearly mark on the calender that ELECTION DAY is MY DAY. No one will make plans that require my assistance. I will be unavailable for most of the day.
I will meditate. I will repeat positive self-affirmations. I will ignore the smirk I saw on my husband’s face this morning when I told him I could not go today, as planned. I will show him this is not a sign that I am rethinking proceeding with the divorce. I will have my head in a better place. I have to.
It’s been less than a week since my husband and I broke the news to the kids that we will be divorcing. The day after the awful news was sprayed across the house, like a bad graffiti job, I was surprised at how well the kids seemd to be handling things. They knew they had some time to consider their options. This morning, my daughters said a few things in the car on our way to school. And now it begins. Those few days where I felt like I could start breathing easier….those days where the house seemed calm….the kids actually laughed and joked and had family dinners and meaningful conversations……those days abruptly ended today. Today my oldest daughter let me know she would be staying here with her father. It stung to hear that. But I had to be true to my word. I told the kids I would not make them feel bad if they chose to stay with him, and he would not make them feel bad if they chose to stay with me. I took a moment to catch my breath and reminded myself of my promise. I could do this. And after all, there was still plenty of time. I mean, my husband and I have not even sat down with the attorney yet. We had time to explain and fully investigate the kids’ options. But then my youngest chimed in. She declared she was going with me, regardless. My oldest daughter was instantly pissed off. “What?!” she exclaimed. “You can’t leave me!” And then we were at the school. Discussion over.
I picked them up this afternoon and it instantly started again. My oldest daughter declared she was mad at her sister and would explain at home after the other carpool kids were no longer in the car. And she kept her word. As soon as the last kid exited the vehicle, it was on. She let her younger sister have it. And then when I tried to explain we still had time to make choices. That there were better schools where I was going and that she could find another part time job when we moved, if she came along, she exploded. “You don’t get it mom! Everything is ruined! I don’t like change. I like my routine. Thinking of change gives me anxiety. New places and new people are not what I want!” I tried to ease her mind. Tell her nothing needed decided yet. Tell her she sees her therapist in just a few days. She can talk to him about her fears. She said I should just forget about it and that my choice to move was stupid. I was stupid. It was all stupid. I resisted the urge to ask her what she expected me to do. She is a child. I am an adult. I can not and I will not ever ask my kids what they expect me to do. HOW can I ask them to come up with solutions for a problem they had no hand in creating?
You know? I am actually at a place where I am contemplating staying. Not filing for divorce. Faking this for the next few years. How do I get through this part? How do I not let my children become divided over adult issues? How do I let go of the mounting anger I am feeling right now, towards my husband? It’s him. It’s always him who causes this crap, and it’s me, it’s always me who is left here with the kids. Explaining. Consoling. Soothing. And more and more these days, being the human punching bag for their misplaced emotions. He will come home from work tonight and the kids will smile and greet him. HE will have no idea what I went thru this afternoon. Until I tell him. And then? Then he will say it’s me who wants the divorce so what do I expect him to do about it. And I will have to walk away because I simply can not go through another pointless conversation where I try to explain to him what he did and how he has made no efforts to repair this marriage or this family.
Days like these are the days I fail and pour a drink. And I shut down. I close out the world. I feel like no one has ever had this same experience so all advice only makes me more angry. God DOES give people more than they can handle. I give it to God and he gives me another layer to this nightmare. I go to therapy. He goes with me so we can focus on the kids’ needs. He agrees. The therapist nods in approval that he is so compliant and respectful. We get home and he says he doesn’t understand a thing she says. And he disagrees with her advice. He feels it is not necessary. My daughter who mentions suicide sees a therapist and tells me she is mad at her father, that this is all his fault. But when he is around her, she laughs and talks and jokes with him. SHE TELLS HIM none of this. So I pour another drink. And when he comes home from work in just a few hours, I. Will. Just. Say. Nothing. That’s better than feeling like I am screaming but no one hears me.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, today was also the day I met with my ex -sister-in-law. I have custody of her son. She let me know there is a chance she might want to go to court to reverse the custody arrangement. My nephew has already stated he wants no part of her in his life. If she proceeds with this possible plan, there will be many more obstacles in my way. Many more battles to fight. It was very difficult to share my failed marriage with her and to then discuss how her son feels about her. I’m always trying to make others feel better. WHAT ABOUT ME?
We told the kids Saturday evening that we are divorcing. Monday we call the attorney. I am a wreck. I can hardly speak.
If I could describe how I felt upon seeing the looks on their faces as we shared this news:
I equate it with hearing my brother say he was sorry when my dad died and I did not believe him as we stood there in the hospital parking lot. But then I saw my dad’s body in the hospital on the cold metal table. With my eyes, I saw my father, laying there lifeless, and I knew it was true. It hurts that bad.
This is a bell my husband and I can not unring. We can never untell this news to the kids. We can not erase this from memory and try again.
I’ve checked on them several time this evening. They all appear to be peacefully sleeping. (It’s 4 am now). I only pray their dreams are filled with good things. Or that they just don’t dream tonight at all.