Tag Archives: marriage

Last Name

11 Oct

I never get tired of my new last name. It’s great.

I love the way it sounds, the way it’s spelled, the way it fits with my first name.

Most of all, I love that it’s his.

That he gave it to me.

On our second date we walked into a restaurant and had to give a name so they could call us when our table was ready. He gave his last name. I recall thinking that could be my last name one day.

Now it is.

Now it’s the name I give when I’m waiting for a table.

It’s the name I sign on the bottom of my pottery.

It’s the name our babies will have.

The name I’ll live with until I die.

It’s a good name, and I’m honored and happy and still excited that it’s mine.

The Beginning of the End of Us

2 Jul

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A year ago today I had a significant moment.  I blogged about it (of course) here.  It wasn’t incredibly dramatic, but it was the beginning of the end… The moment when my heart finally started moving on from my abusive relationship.  It was a turning point, a reclaiming of me.  That day was one of the first times I stopped reacting and engaging with Chris when he lied.  I started to, but then stopped myself.  Instead of yelling or carrying on or crying, I calmly told him that his continued lying was unacceptable and that we would not be sharing a room that evening or anytime in the foreseeable future, until I felt safe with him again.

Over the next few days, I took care of myself.  I had a massage.  I got a tattoo and a nose ring.  I stopped fighting against the truth that he is a liar.  That’s what he does, and it is what he is.  I wanted the lies to go away, but began to realize that they wouldn’t as long as he was still in my life.  So I started moving on by myself, emotionally.  I planned things just for me, I went to therapy, I went shopping with friends, and I started realizing that I’m worth it.  I contemplated my life and what I wanted, and I started making choices with those things in mind.

During that time he threw temper tantrums.  There’s no other word to describe it.  He whined about me to everyone he could, including his therapist.  He made me into “the bad guy.”  He didn’t like that I wasn’t engaging anymore, that I wasn’t rewarding his bad behavior with my attention.  He actually threw a fit that I’d gotten a tattoo and piercing, even though I had discussed both with him for weeks beforehand, because I didn’t get exactly what I originally was considering.  He couldn’t stand that I’d DARED to make a decision about myself and my body without his say, without him being there.  Which is hilarious considering all he did with his body without my knowledge while we were together.  Things that could and did affect me, unlike my choice to put something sparkly on my nose and some pretty ink on my shoulder.

Although the thing we called a marriage continued to drag on for a few months after that point, when I look back and try to pinpoint the moment where I started to really change, this day a year ago would be it.  That is when I finally accepted that I have no control over him or his decisions and started making healthy ones for myself instead.  One year ago I chose not to live the way I had been living.  He made the opposite decision – to remain in his negative behaviors and patterns, to continue lying, to keep making excuses for himself, and to keep blaming others.  I simply began to realize that those were his decisions to make, and that it would be his loss when I kept moving forward and walked right out of his life.  Or rather, no longer chose to have him in mine.

Today I still don’t have the piece of paper I’m craving that officially severs our legal bonds.  I was really, really hoping to by this point.  I tried to remain realistic about how long the process would take.  My lawyer said it should be 2-4 weeks from the date Chris signed the papers until the date a judge made the final decree.  I mentioned here that my county only has one judge and he only handles divorce cases on Friday.  So I always kept the one month figure in my head as the most likely scenario.

Unlike how long he took to sign everything for the deposition, when it came time to sign the divorce papers I kept texting him daily until he did it.  I got the letter from my lawyer at the very beginning of June (around the 4th or 5th) that it was done and in the hands of the courts.  I was ecstatic because I’ve been planning a vacation in early July for months.  I thought that because it was submitted to the court before the first Friday in June that my odds were good to be divorced before I left.  The 4 week mark (the longest estimate my lawyer gave me) would be the end of June, hopefully putting that decree in my hands at the beginning of July.

Last week I got a letter from my lawyer.  I nearly stopped breathing.  I thought it was THE letter.  I thought that the final dissolution of the marriage would come from the courts and the county, but I was hopeful nonetheless.  Instead it was a letter from my lawyer saying that their part in the process was finished, so they would be filing my case away shortly.  Hoping that meant they knew something I didn’t, I sat back and waited for the letter from the county.  Now, several days later (and the last one before I leave on vacation), I still don’t have it.

I have to admit that I’m pretty disappointed.  Not that it matters… not that it makes a big difference…  But I really, really wanted to be completely and totally done with him in every way before I left for my vacation.  I wanted this to be my first “official” vacation as a single woman once again (actually, my first vacation as a single woman, period, because I haven’t been single for more than a month or two since age 15).  Sadly, it doesn’t look like I’ll have that piece of paper in my hand.

That doesn’t mean that my divorce from him isn’t completely final in my heart, though.  If there’s anything this last year has taught me it’s how to accept the things that I can’t control.  I’ve had many, many opportunities to do that, and I’m starting to get good at it.  Or at least passable.  I certainly can’t control the pace of the court system.  I can, however, choose to be happy and satisfied despite my disappointment.  I can choose to still consider this vacation a milestone.  And I can look back with satisfaction at the journey that this last year of my life has taken me on because I’ve been true to myself.  I’m mastering change, not letting it master me.

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Got the Ball Rolling

10 May

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Wow, it’s May!  I know it’s been a little while since I was on here.  I have been biding my time and filtering myself here since my STBX is now following my blog through Facebook.  I am hoping to make this divorce process as smooth as possible because I just want to be rid of him.  Today I found the “ban” feature on FB, so I have him banned from my page.  Not that he can’t still come here and read…  But oh well.

The exciting news that I have to share with you all is that the divorce process has started and is on it’s way to its final destination.  Unfortunately, there are still some additional steps along the way.  Yesterday my Mom and I did our depositions at the lawyer’s office.  That is Step 3 in this process.  Step 1 was filing papers with the court announcing my decision to sue Chris for divorce.  He got a copy of the papers mailed to him the middle of last month.  Step 2 was having him acknowledge receipt and waive his right to 120 days to have his lawyer (which we all know doesn’t exist) review and possible rebut.  Since this is a no fault divorce, there really is no need for him not to agree unless he wants to be an ass.

The day that I posted my last blog entry, April 29th, Chris has texted me that he was going to go by the lawyer’s office and sign the acknowledgment and waiver.  The papers were filed with the court on April 15th, so that was already two weeks from when he could have.  With that promise from him secured, I set up a deposition with my lawyer on the first available day that worked with my Mom’s school and work schedule (because I needed another witness who knew how long we were separated).  Yesterday was that deposition date.

Wednesday afternoon when I was blissfully enjoying my lunch, I got a call from my lawyer.  Chris had never come in to sign the papers.  Oh, and we couldn’t move forward to the next stage (depositions) until he did.  So, unless he got in there within the next 24 hours or so everything would be delayed that much longer…  Geesh!

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I asked if they would call him, thinking that maybe if someone else was involved besides me he might actually comply.  So, they attempted to call him.  Several times.  He never answered, and his voicemail was apparently “full.”  What a jackass.  My lawyer said he just doesn’t understand why he is being so difficult about this because this whole process is “basically nothing,” especially compared to some of the other cases he deals with.  I told him that I know, believe me, and this is just one more reason I’m divorcing him.

After I got that lovely notification from my lawyer I realized it was up to me.  Guess I have to contact him after all.  Yuck.  I tried calling, too, and experienced the same bullshit as my lawyer.  So I sent him the following text: “I have a deposition scheduled for 4pm tomorrow so that this divorce can happen, but nothing can move forward until you sign the paperwork.  You said you were going to do that April 29th, but they just called and said that you haven’t.”

His response was, “I told you i would try and get by there.  I have arranged to have Friday off so i will get by there around noon and have everything signed.  I will even text you when its done.”  Oh, how magnanimous of him! (dripping sarcasm, of course)  For the record, his text to me about signing the papers was this: “Just so you know i will be going by your lawyers Monday afternoon to take care of what’s left.”  There was no “try to” in there.  It was an “I will be.”  Why was I idiotic enough to take him at his word after everything?  No idea.

Of course, his gracious offer of going by on Friday, after the time we had the deposition scheduled, requiring me to cancel and reschedule, didn’t make me jump for joy.  Oh, you can do me the huge favor of taking care of signing your fucking name on a waiver 11 days after you promised to do it and 25 days after the first time you could have?  I’m sure he was expecting me to praise him for his selflessness.  Gag!

I choked down my vitriol and urge to scream, and sent him this text:  “That throw everything off because it was planned for you to do it weeks ago so this deposition has been scheduled, I’ve taken off work, and my mom has rearranged her schedule as well since I need a witness to how long we were separated.  My lawyer even tried to call you and leave you messages but your mailbox is full and won’t accept them.”  I made sure to throw in information about my Mom and my lawyer so he’d know that his irresponsibility wasn’t just inconveniencing me (since that wouldn’t matter at all to him).

Two minutes later he responded by saying, “I will do everything I can to get there before four tomorrow.  Let me call and see what I can do.”  I just said, “Thank you,” and held my breath.  I wanted to say so much more, but I held my tongue and played the role of grateful, groveling wife that he wanted me to.  A few minutes late he said, “I will have them signed tomorrow by 1:30.  Call your lawyer and let him know.”

I let out a sign of relief, although I didn’t get my hopes up too much considering what happened before.  There was always the possibility that his narcissist self would decide something else was a higher priority or that he would say “something came up” or just not do it.  However, I was banking on the fact that he didn’t want to look like even more of an ass to my Mom.  I tried to play off of that imagine conscious thing (hahaha, such a joke) that narcissistic sociopaths have.

It worked!

He actually went by and signed (and was sure to send me a text).  I called the lawyer’s office to confirm.  I’m sure he felt high and mighty.  In his version of this story I bet he would extol his virtues as a wonderful person for dropping everything to do this “for me.”  He would most likely say he texted me out of the goodness of his heart to ease my mind.  Ha!  Others may believe that, but I’m certain it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with stroking his twisted ego.   I believe that he intentionally waited to the last second to fuck with me.  Maybe not.  Maybe he’s just an irresponsible, self-centered piece of shit who doesn’t really care how quickly this divorce is over, even though he’s married to a “nut job.”  He’s certainly not suddenly so busy and so important that he hasn’t had the ability in almost a month to take care of this.

one-fingerThe thing that kills me is that he literally has only ONE responsibility in this divorce.  Sign the required papers.  That’s it.  I have paid all of the fees.  I wrote up the separation agreement.  I do all of the depositions.  I line up the witnesses.  I have all of the meetings with the lawyer.  I am footing the entire cost of divorce.  Now I even have to make calls and texts to remind him to sign his name!?!  Holy shit!

But I digress…  My lawyer explained that the rest of the process will go like this:  They will type up the deposition that my Mom and I gave.  They will attach that and all of the required paperwork and exhibits along with an official request for divorce judgment.  These papers will be mailed to me and to Chris.  At that point he will have to sign that he agrees to a divorce.  Once he does that (however long it takes), the final paperwork will be submitted to the court.  They will also mail me a copy.  Once the paperwork is in the hands of the court it could take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month for the judge to sign them.  My lawyer knows all of the clerks (and my Mom has one as a client), so hopefully my case will be presented as soon as possible.  However, my county only has one judge and he only deals with divorce matters on Fridays.

He said that IF Chris goes by and signs everything he needs to by the end of this month, the worst-case scenario is that I’ll be divorced by July 1st.  That’s just in time for my big trip down to Amelia Island, Florida for work, which is just a week or so later.  I was already planning to make it an extended vacation, and now it can be a celebration, too!  All in all, that’s great.  I can’t wait for this whole thing to be done, but I’ll be patient.

Yesterday I also made sure to take time for a mini-celebration.  I treated myself to a haircut and gel manicure.  I went out to dinner with my Mom and step-Dad to a really nice, trendy new restaurant.  I ate delicious food and spent time with two of the people I love most in the world.  It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and I drove around with happy songs blaring from my radio.  The car windows were down, and of course I was singing along.  I also wore my favorite pink flyaway cardigan that looks amazing with my skin and hair.  I’ll leave you with a few snapshots of me from yesterday.

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There’s No Coming Back From the Dead

27 Feb

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I was reading the post of one of my favorite bloggers when I had an epiphany of sorts.  Her last few posts have been about trust, which you know is on my mind a lot.  In the post Reflections on trust, she talks about all the ways her husband’s lies have affected her and made her feel devoid of value.  She went through 20 years of being lied to.  It blows my mind.  Still, some people who comment on her blog seem to think that she should devote more time to waiting around for her husband to magically change.

One went so far as to say,

“A trauma that taught him as a child to lie and keep secrets. Just because he has a grown mans body, a job, kids and a wife does not mean that he was ever taught to tell the truth. Do do what we are taught as children, it carries over into adulthood. You know I’m not making excuses for H’s affair, it was wrong he knew it was wrong but he was doing what he learned as a child. Now he’s trying to unlearn those behaviors, it’s not going to happen over night… Don’t punish him for what he IS doing.”

That literally made my blood boil.  It’s not going to happen over night?  Give him more time?!  That’s your advice?!  He was screwed up as a kid, he wasn’t taught to tell the truth, he’s just doing what comes naturally to him, so… what?!?!  She should just accept that?  Learn to live with it?  Wait some undetermined, potentially indefinite period of time for him to MAYBE, POSSIBLY LEARN to have a conscience and stop being a lying piece of shit?!?!?!?!?!  Disregard the 20 years of lies?  Forget about all these months he spent as an unremorseful ass?  Push aside the fact that he may not be in love with her at all and just keep hanging onto a dead marriage…? Because he did two decent, minimal things and made a few short-lived gestures?

What about the possibility that there is no change coming down the road…?  What if there is no fantastical, happy ending?   What if there is no pot of gold?  Maybe he is just broken.  Irreparably.  Maybe he will be a lifelong liar.  Maybe there just really is no hope for their marriage.  Have those people stopped to consider the fact that she isn’t obligated to continue being dragged around in the mud behind him?

Maybe they have and maybe they haven’t.  I guarantee that they haven’t had a moment where the switch flipped and they just knew that it was over.

I know how much lies can just destroy your soul.   Lies can literally kill any love that you had for someone.  I reached a point with my husband’s lies where that one more lie was just too much to handle.  That only took 5 years for me.  I can’t imagine the hell of being with someone emotionally closed-off from you who has been actively lying for 20 years!  It blows my mind.  She deserves a medal for toughing it out as long as she has so far.

Another thing I know those commenters don’t understand is that there comes a point where there really is no return.  No more “waiting” for the other person to make a change that will be too little, too late.  Once I turned that corner and flipped that switch, it was over.  Done.  No turning back.  There was a moment when I knew that there was no recovery, no making the marriage work.  I even tried to fight against it a little, but it was hopeless, even for me.  Once you have crossed that line, an impenetrable wall goes up and that’s just it.

It is hard to describe that moment to someone who hasn’t had one.  There isn’t an overwhelming feeling of hatred or spite.  In fact, the presence of those emotions for me meant that I was still hanging on to him in some way.  That moment of letting go, feeling the relationship die, it didn’t make me want to scream and yell and kick.  It was just a gentle click.  In that moment I lost all ability to feel much of anything for him besides vague pity, lingering hurt, and a deep desire for it to be over and to no longer have him in my life.

I can say with absolute honesty that my husband could do everything I ever asked of him, worship the ground I walk on, and never tell me a single lie for the rest of his life, and it wouldn’t matter.  I could have assurances that if he even uttered one false word he would be struck dead in his tracks.  He could never cheat again, never watch one more second of porn, never so much as look at another woman. He could make every dream I’ve ever had come true.  He could hit the lottery and win millions.  None of it would matter.  Nothing he could ever do would be enough to get back the love I once had for him.

He murdered that with his lies.

He destroyed it with years of half-truths, gaslighting, and hiding his true emotions and feelings from me.

Like I wrote in my post, I’m Getting Tired of Talking About Lying, I got to a point where I was tired of being lied to, tired of wondering what the truth was, and tired of expending emotional energy on the same thing over and over.  He was too broken, and I could not wait around anymore.

That moment for me came when he lied about STD testing and health insurance.  That is when he killed any chance we ever had of being together.  That was the final “click.”

The love just shriveled up and died.

Just like people, love can’t come back once it’s dead.  Even if it could, it would be a zombie – undead, cold, feeding off of the flesh of anyone close to it.

I don’t want zombie love.  I want the real thing.

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Sharing the Divorce Experience

29 Jan

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My Dad and I are going through a divorce at the same exact time.  He was blind-sided and left, my poor relationship dragged on and on way past its expiration date.  Still, we are using the same lawyer (my recommendation) and navigating some of the same waters at the same time (separation agreements, tax preparation, etc.).

I just spent an hour on the phone with him.  It was really nice to talk to him, even though the subject wasn’t all that pleasant.  He understands how difficult it is not to have control over something that means so much to you.  It’s hard to see someone you used to love (and currently do in my Dad’s case) make decisions that will most likely turn out very poorly for them.  But there’s nothing we can do about it.

We cannot control anyone else.  Their behavior, even the self-destructive kind, is theirs to make.  They want to rack up debt and pay only minimums?  Their decision.  They want to wallow in addiction?  Their decision.  They want to walk away from the best thing they’ve ever had?  Their decision.  They want to lash out in anger and act irrationally?  Their decision.  Nothing we can do about it.

He’s accepting it.  I already have.  It was a difficult journey to get there.  He’s going through that right now.  I wish there was more that I could do to support him.  For now, my words are the only comfort I have to offer him.

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Name Change in Progress!

24 Jan

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I am so excited!!!  Today I got the ball rolling on my official name change.  Sure, I could wait until April when the divorce is final, but I really, really don’t want to.  It is time to get rid of his name!  When I left the circuit court this afternoon after turning in my forms and paying the $41, I was smiling like a fool.  I wanted to run around laughing and skipping and acting like a little kid who just got out of school for the summer.  I restrained myself (barely), although there might have been a skip or two in my step.  🙂

This is one more thing on the journey to being the new me.  Mr. Mess is also coming by tonight (if he shows) to pick up the last of his things from my house.  That means as of tonight I should have nothing left in my house that belongs to him or that he could even lay claim to (I discovered he plans to take a night stand and camping gear we purchased together, which I’m just giving him to avoid any conflict).  Then in as little as 2-3 business days I could be rid of his name, too.  That’s real progress!  I see a light at the end of this tunnel!

Last night I hung out with a bunch of friends at a Panera.  We all caught up on our various situations, chatted, ate good food, and admired the new baby girl one of them brought along (she is 5 months old and seriously could be the new Gerber baby… so adorable!).  As I was talking about the separation and impending divorce I couldn’t help but have a huge grin on my face.  It was so funny how basically all of them confirmed that if they were in my shoes they would have been long gone ages ago.  I told them that maybe I should have been, but at least this way I know that I did everything I could and then some.  I have no regrets, just peace that this is the right path for me to be on.

Another friend asked me now that things are over with my husband, what have I learned about myself to keep me from going down this same path with another guy?  There was a chorus of “good question” remarks all around.  I thought about it for a bit, and gave several answers.  One is that I now know what I need, and I will not accept anything less.  I’m not going to fall into the “savior” trap – where I want to rescue someone from bad circumstances or show them what love can offer to heal them.  Nope.  I’m also not looking for someone to “complete me.”  I want someone who is already complete, and I want to be complete all on my own.  I want someone that compliments me, has something to offer, and takes care of their business (and me).

I have gained so much – I am a different person that I was, which is evident just from reading through this blog.  I’m so ready to emerge out of this darkness into the wide open spaces beyond!

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Giving Up

1 Dec

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One of my favorite blogs to follow is Daily Divorce Meditations.  Even before I had officially decided to divorce, I gained such strength and insight from her words. Yesterday this post caught my attention.

It really resonated with me.  Tonight I’m at an S-Anon retreat where we listened to a CD on emotional sobriety.  It is amazing and I’m going to share it when I go home and track down the link.

Afterwards we got into a deep discussion (which is still continuing).  One topic that came up is when do you know when enough is enough if you’re a giving person?  How do you care for yourself and others?  When do you know it’s the time to give up?  How do you reconcile taking care of yourself with not “abandoning” the addict?  My thoughts went back to the above post, specifically this section:

If I have given my all, if I have tried my best, if I have done everything in my power to make something succeed over a significant period of time and it still isn’t working… then I have to be honest with myself, put my ego aside, and admit that maybe this is not the right path for me… that maybe… it is time to give up… and that my Higher Power is trying to point me in a different direction… a better direction…  my true spiritual path that I am choosing to ignore by being resistant to giving in due to my own stubborn self-will.”

I can admit now that the path I was on was not the one for me.  I am glad that I gave up on the unhealthy relationship in my life so that I could make room for a  better relationship, a better direction, and a better life.

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Accepting and Preparing for Divorce

23 Nov

I have come to the conclusion that my marriage is really not going to work.  Mr. Mess is so immature, irresponsible, damaged, and emotionally stunted that I can’t wait for him to get himself together.  That may never happen.  Even if it did, I think my ability to trust him has been damaged so much that it is completely beyond repair.  I need to move forward to something and someone that is healthy, together, and right for me.

In order to do that I have to do something that I never, ever thought I would do – get a divorce.  I have to wrap my head around the fact that I have given my all and it still wasn’t enough.  I have to accept that this marriage failed.  I never wanted that to happen.  I don’t like failing in anything, especially something that I find as important as marriage.  I have to accept the fact that I made the wrong decision when I tied myself to this man “for life.”  He wasn’t the one for me.  Maybe there isn’t a “one.”

I don’t like to admit those things.  I didn’t want to accept them.  This marriage has just reached its inevitable conclusion.  There’s nothing left.  He has nothing for me.  Even if he wanted to (which he has made clear that he doesn’t), any effort on his part to actually be my husband would be far too little, far too late.  No STD testing?  It’s his problem if he has a serious illness or contracts one in the future, for that matter.  No psychiatric examination?  He’s the one who has to deal with his bipolar, narcissistic personality, ADHD self, not me.  Hallelujah!

Now that I have closure and peace about the fact that there is really nothing more I can do and there is nothing he has to offer me, I have set my eyes on the process of divorcing in Virginia.  I’ve found a few things that are good to know and that put my mind at ease a bit.  Like I thought, we still have to be separated for 6 months.  That means I won’t be free until April at the earliest.  That’s okay, though…  I can make it.

Some other stuff that I’ve discovered:

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a “no fault” divorce known as voluntary separation. It usually means that you and your spouse have separated after mutually and voluntarily agreeing that you no longer wish to live together as husband and wife and that there is no hope for a reconciliation.  Your spouse cannot threaten or blackmail you into leaving; you separate because you both want to.  To get a divorce on this ground you have to be separated without interruption (not even one night) without cohabitation (not a single incident of sexual intercourse) for one year (six months if no children) and there is no hope of reconciliation. Remember though, if this is not a mutual and voluntary situation you will have to use another ground to get a divorce.

The portions in red above were from the site I copied this from; however I would like to point out that none of those items are of any concern to me whatsoever.  He will not be here one more night, there is absolutely no chance of any sexual intercourse, and there certainly is no more hope of reconciliation.  Having the closure in my heart to be able to say those things with certainty is great.

Another thing that my step-Dad mentioned to me is the possibility that he could seek alimony from me since he basically has no career and no prospects and no savings whatsoever.  I’m not a millionaire by any stretch of the imagination, but I am financially secure with a good job.  To ease my mind a bit I found this:

What are the Requirements for Spousal Support?

The rules regarding spousal support are often classified based on the length of marriage.

Short marriages

  • The court assumes that you have kept the same ability to support yourself that you had before marriage.
  • Each spouse is expected to be substantially independent and self-supporting within a short period of time.

According to what I can find, a short marriage is anything lasting 5 years or less.  Our marriage only lasted 2 years.  Our entire relationship was just shy of 5.  No matter which way you look at it, the courts should expect him to take care of himself.  The fact that I’m 20 years younger than him should also help my chances of not having to support his lazy ass.

If I sound bitter it’s because he came by today to pick up his beloved darts (which were worth breaking into my house for, you know) and said that he may try to seek alimony.  Really?!  I shouldn’t be shocked by his behavior, but nevertheless his level of shamelessness is astounding.

He also said that he wants me to buy him a new bed because the one he told me he didn’t want anymore that I could do anything I wanted with was taken to the dump by my Dad.  I didn’t know he was going to do that – I thought he would store it – but he dumped it while I was gone in Atlanta.  According to my Dad it was after he talked to Mr. Mess, who didn’t seem to express an interest in coming to get it.  I offered the one I have to replace it (which is the same size and a better quality bed), but he said he didn’t want it.  Okay…

The main thing that I’m concerned with at the moment is the car that he’s driving, which is in my name.  Mr. Mess will spout some garbage that it’s because I’m controlling and have to have everything in my name (which is what he said today).  Whatever.  He seems to have selective memory since he couldn’t get a loan in his name.  Not only is his credit rating terrible, but he also has past-due collections outstanding and a lop-sided income to debt ratio because of his student loans.

He has tried to get a loan in his name for the car like 3 times already, and keeps getting denied.  I told him today that he really needs to get that taken care of as soon as possible – either sell the car to pay it off or find a way to assume the loan, maybe with a family member as the co-signer.  His extremely helpful reply (sarcasm) was that he is “working on it.”  Forgive me if I’m not overflowing with confidence.

Oh well.  Things will work out one way or another, and I will be better for having him out of my life.  I will miss some of his family, like his sister who got in touch with me yesterday.  There is no rule saying we can’t still be friends, which is what I plan.  I also plan to be happy.  He can’t stand in my way.  As much as he is trying his damnest to bring me down, it’s not going to happen.  I’m holding onto the knowledge that I gained in Atlanta where I met amazing people with a lot going for them who liked me for me.  I have a lot to offer the world, and it has a lot to offer me back.

Being Authentic

21 Nov

Another blogger, emilylonging, wrote something yesterday that spoke to my soul.  She said:

“None of this is intended to be manipulative: my writing, the trial separation. It’s honest. For the first time in years, my actions match my feelings. And that’s good for my soul.”

That is where I am right now.  I am being completely authentic.  Several times in the past few days my husband has accused me of having ulterior motives, or of being manipulative, or of lying.  He doesn’t understand.  I am not doing or being any of those things.  I’m being me.  I am actually doing the things that make me happy.

Yesterday I went to karate for an hour.  Then afterwards there was a kickboxing class.  I decided to stay for that, too.  At the end of two hours I was hot, exhausted, soaking wet, and feeling fantastic.  The karate class was great because I got to practice my punches with a partner.  The kickboxing class was so intense I thought I was going to puke or pass out or both.  I pushed through it, and it felt great.

My husband tried to ruin my night by threatening to break into my house to get a set of darts.  He texted me right before I was going to walk out the door for my karate class telling me (not asking) that he was coming by right then.  I didn’t have time to go looking for them or figure out a way to leave them somewhere for him.  I was literally walking out the door and needed to be there early to register, get my uniform, change, etc.  He did not take it well.  I foolishly engaged with him.

I’m not going to do that again.  I’m not going to argue.  I’m not going to defend myself.  I have nothing to defend.  For now I have peace in knowing that I am being true to myself.  I’m going to do my best to carry myself with integrity and honesty and grace no matter what he does.

Congratulations! You’re an Ass!

17 Nov

I’ve been reading the book Should I Stay or Should I Go? that our marriage counselor used for the basis of out controlled separation.  My two airplane rides gave me a chance to really dig in and get more insight.  One thing the author suggests is that if one person is interested in seeing what else is out there, the controlled separation time should be used for that.  The guideline is that if one person wants to date other people and the other doesn’t, the person who does want to date should get that option.

At first I was confused and negative about that idea, but this week really opened my eyes.  I honestly didn’t think there was anything out there that could be better until I met great, quality people with character who I connected with.  Suddenly, I could understand the value of dating other people.  This is a time to figure out if this marriage is what’s best for me, after all.  How can I know that without opening my eyes to other possibilities?

I told Mr. Mess yesterday that I would like to date other people while we are separated.  I told him that I want to make connections and try out new things.  He isn’t taking it well.  In fact, he is showing me exactly what kind of person he really is, and it’s not pretty.

His immature, manipulative reaction is to start texting my family – my Dad and my Mom and probably others as well.  He refused to listen to what I actually have to say and started accusing me of going after one of his friends (who is very sweet, has been great to connect with, but who I am not involved with in any way whatsoever other than friendship). He started playing games and sending nasty texts and acting like a 5 year-old. I know he is angry and hurt. He has a right to be. It just shows me that he can’t think about anyone else for even one second.

Here is just a sampling of our exchanges:

Him: “So why dont you say you want a divorce because i dont want to date anyone and your wanting to tells me you are looking to move on”

Divorce does seem like that is where things are headed, but I told him, “I have always been looking to move on. I’m just done waiting for you to join me, step up, be an adult & give me what I deserve. So I’m going to make my own happiness – whatever it may be & where ever it may lead me.”

His response was a passive-aggressive jab – “Wow i see you have heeded doctor [MC]’s advice and not use text messages for this type of conversation.”

He has a point. I agreed to that.  I can own my shit.  Rather than address my valid concerns, though, he just brushed them off and made it all about him.

My response: “Sorry about that. I didn’t want to not be honest about my feelings. You also havent taken any initiative to coordinate face to face contact. After over a month of separation, I didnt want to wait any longer to tell you.”

His response: A string of childish texts naming his friends or people I know that he is convinced I now want to start “screwing.”

Me: “No. Sorry you are hurting.”

Him: “Right i can tell you are… lets see you get back to town and tell me you want to start sleeping around no [beautifulmess] im not hurting im seeing everything clearly now.” Then more crap about going to see someone and give them his blessing to sleep with me.

Me: “I dont know why you dont believe me but I dont lie to you & I have no plans to date ____.”

Him: “Yeah i know [beautifulmess] you just keep things from me until you feel it is to your advantage to tell me.”

Me: “I dont know what I’ve kept from you. If you havent seen me begging for years for a committed, honest relationship with someone who appreciates me then its not because I have been hiding anything.”

“This week just made me realize how free & happy I can be & how much life has to offer.”

“I really do hope you are seeing things clearly. I know you are angry. It is not my intention to cause that.”

Him: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Me: “Look I know you are mad but its been over a month now that we’ve been separated & nothing has changed. You’ve barely made any effort & I am realizing I can’t pause my life waiting for you to step up. Maybe if you read my blog you would understand.”

Whatever. There has been more and more and more crap that I could go into, but I’m getting tired of it all. With his last move texting my family that I won’t give him the time to get better because I can’t wait for him and other poor me crap, I have just had it. I’ve been trying and trying and trying for the last year and a half years since all hell broke loose in March of 2011 and I drew my line in the sand – get help, get better, or get out. I’ve done nothing BUT wait. Now I have to keep moving forward.

I truly am sorry that he is so hurt and angry about it all.  As much as he doesn’t believe me, I hope he does get better.  That hope is now just based on the fact that I care about him, not on my fantasy that he can be what I need.  I’m sorry he’s miserable.  I simply refuse to be any more.

I Forgot What It Feels Like To Be Cared About

17 Nov

One of the people that I formed a bond with this weekend is a kid from a neighboring state.  I say “kid” because he is 19 years old and grew up (running & playing) around in this business.  His Dad owns a franchise, and he is starting to learn sales and spread his wings.  I have met his father a few times, but never really had a conversation with his son, who I’ll call Abercrombie for the purposes of this post.

Not too long into this training I realized that he is really sharp and together, especially for his age.  He got married in August and is doing everything he can to succeed.  He is also incredibly sarcastic and brutally honest, sometimes to the point of coming across entitled or bratty.  At his core, he is a really sweet kid, though.  He has the same bantering, insult-laced style of joking that I love.  I told him today that he is like the little brother I never wanted.  In all seriousness, although he can be annoying, he reminds me of family in the best possible way.

I will admit that on Monday and Tuesday night I got much more inebriated than I should have.  We weren’t driving anywhere, and the beer and wine were complimentary.  I let the drinks flow as freely as the conversation.  I was in a circle of about 10 people.  The group ran the gamut from a newlywed (Abercrombie), to two divorcees, to a few happily married folks, one of which has a new baby on the way, and a few of us disenchanted, unhappily married sad sacks (for lack of a more positive description).

Before I knew it we were sharing things I never thought we would share.  I can’t even tell you how the subject came up, but all of a sudden we were talking about our sex lives.  I didn’t even remember until I was reminded tonight, but I apparently mentioned some of my unhappiness with the state of things in the Mess household (if you can even call it that anymore).  Although Abercrombie is too young to drink, he stayed up with us talking and laughing and taking it all in (as only a sober person in a group of drunks truly can).

After Tuesday I swore off beer completely for at least a year.  Seriously, I felt sick most of the day.  I purposely put out of my mind whatever my honest nature, plied and intensified with alcohol, may have revealed.  As the week continued we all got closer.  Abercrombie and I started ragging on each other even harder.  We all studied as a group and stressed over the test.  He got my cell phone number from the employee I brought with me when he saw me doing payroll on a break so that he could text me his request that I cut him a check, too.

As the week wound to a close today, we all shared a limo bus to the airport.  Abercrombie, my employee, and myself are all going to areas that are only a few hours apart, but we were all flying into different airports.  Tonight when I arrived at my destination my step-mom picked me up and she, I and my Dad had dinner.  Not too long after I finally arrived home I got a text from Abercrombie asking if I made it back safely.  I told him I had and asked about him.  He still had a 3 hour drive from the airport to his house.  We joked around a bit, and I figured I would hear from him occasionally and see him on the work forums and Twitter every now and then.

Instead, about 3 hours later he sent me a text that he had gotten home okay.  He asked if my husband was glad to see me, then said “Don’t have too much sex tonight, we all know how much he likes to do it lol.”  I honestly had no idea what the fuck he was talking about.  Then in horror I remembered those first drunken evenings…  Oh gosh!  He followed up with, “That’s what happens when u drink too much. u talk alot. lol” 

I deflected him with a great tactic we learned over the week called “acknowledge and ignore.”  He started talking about other people who drank too much and all the crazy personalities in our class.  He mentioned another guy who is married, but incredibly unhappy.  Suddenly all of the “lol”s disappeared.  He sent me these simple words: “I hope you’re happy.”

That sudden sincerity (I could sense a dramatic change in tone, even over text), made me dissolve into tears.  Those tears turned into sobs with this next exchange:

Me: “You are sweet.  I’m not as happy as I want to be but I’m working on it.”  

Abercrombie: “What can we do to fix that.”

Me: “I don’t know.  I will tell you when I figure it out.  You’re making me cry.”

Him: “Well I really care about you…  so I wanna help u figure it out.”

Just like that, the words started flowing.  He asked some gentle questions, I gave him a quick summary of my sordid life as it stands now.  An hour later I apologized for dumping all of that on him.  He replied with another statement that made me break down:

“No I wanna talk about it.  i know ur not happy just by looking u in the eyes.” 

Wow…

Then he said, “Heres what most dont know abt me. i am very cocky, outgoing, and speak my mind but i have one of the biggest hearts you’ve ever seen. but i never show it.”

I told him that he shows it more than he thinks.

After a little pause he asked, “r u alright?”

Me: “Yeah, I am fine.  I appreciate your concern and that you took the time to ask & listen.”

Him: “u suck at lying i hope u know tht

Me: “What am I lying about?”

Him: “ur not really ok”

Me: “Im better than I have been but I’m a mess, its true.  I take that bad liar thing as a compliment because I don’t ever want to get as good at it as my husband.”

Him: “what can i do to help u??”

Me: “You’ve done it.  I’m blown away that you care at all… I have forgotten what it feels like to be cared about.”

And there’s the crux of this whole thing.  I’ve forgotten how it feels to have someone put your needs and feelings first.  I connected with this great young man just 4 days ago, and he has stayed up texting me until midnight after a long day of studying, testing, and travel that included a flight and a 3-hour drive.  He genuinely cares.

He doesn’t have an interest in me in any other way than friendship, and neither do I.  He and his wife make me feel hopeful that there is a chance for real love out there.  They are so sweet and caring and great with each other.  His eyes light up when he talks about her.  He loses that arrogant edge, and his dimples show.

He said to me tonight in another text, “If your married to someone it means your devoted to them and nobody else.”  He is 19, and he knows that.  He is giving that to his wife, and I don’t doubt that he always will because he is a great guy.  I was starting to believe those didn’t exist, especially in this generation.  I am happy to be proven wrong.

It turns out I was right last week when I told my therapist it would be far easier to trust a stranger than my husband.  Right now we aren’t even at ground level in the trust factor.  A nuclear bomb has been dropped on my little town, and it’s now a huge crater miles below sea level.  I don’t think I can rebuild there anymore.

What that means for me is that I have to hold my head up and make the difficult, painful choices.  If such a simple gesture from a near stranger can have me crying for 2 hours, then it’s obvious to me that big changes are necessary.  I’ve taken one step toward that this week.

Tomorrow I will be going to marriage counseling alone again (at this point marriage counseling has probably breathed its last breath) to figure out what the next steps really are.  My husband is too busy to come, but I’ve already grown used to him not putting any real, honest effort into this relationship.  That means I have to do what I have to do in order to take care of me.  This week I found the motivation, internal strength, and support to do so.

Changes…

8 Nov

I have never really done well with change.  Now my life is full of them.  It is a hard adjustment.  Last night I had another in the long string of recent challenges that have been coming my way.  I made mistakes, but I also made some improvements (however slight).  I’ll tell you the story, and we’ll see if you pick out the same ones that I did…

The very first challenge that I have been dealing with is my health.  Two weeks ago I had strep throat and an ear infection.  About 3-5 days after the antibiotics for that were finished I contracted a killer cold that developed into an upper respiratory infection complete with whooping cough, fever, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, and the inability to breathe (okay, maybe that last one is a bit of an exaggeration, but I swear that’s how it feels).  I powered through most of the week until yesterday I just couldn’t take it any more.  I dragged my sorry ass out of work around 3:30, went to the doctor for some meds, then wiped out the CVS cold and flu aisle before heading home.

I arrived to a mailbox full of stuff for Mr. Mess, which I added to the already-impressive stack on the table by my door.  He had cancelled all 3 of the proposed “dates” he set up last week due to his own health issues (flu, maybe?).  That meant there hadn’t been an exchange of things like mail in over a week.  Here is where my first mistake appears in this tale (I’m not giving you any more freebies – from here on out, you have to identify the mistakes for yourself).  I called him and told him that he had a lot of mail here whenever he wanted to come get it.  He said he would head on over then, and I agreed.

I will pause in the re-telling of this story to recap something I learned in S-Anon that applies well in this situation.  It is the acronym H.A.L.T.  This wise slogan advises you not to act when you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired.  I would add another letter at the end.  S for sick.  I did not need to contact my husband while I was sick.  The mail could have stayed right there.  Although I wasn’t especially hungry, angry, lonely or tired, the sick made all of those things much closer to the surface than they normally are.  It also made me more emotional than I was aiming for.

Mr. Mess arrived at my door about an hour after our phone conversation ended…  maybe 45 minutes.  I had already caught myself complaining like a whiny child on the phone about how awful I felt, so I resolved not to do that.  He walked in, and the first thing I noticed was the smell of his cologne.  I love that damn stuff.  It is probably the best smell in the entire world.  At least I thought that last night.  In retrospect, I’m surprised I could even smell it given the state of my sinuses.  Mr. Mess walked up to me, reached out to rub my arms, and said that he is sorry I am feeling so bad.  In that moment all I wanted was to curl up in his arms.

Instead, I said thank you and pointed out the stack of mail.  He went through it, throwing things away as he went, and then started looking around.  He asked if there is anything he could do for me.  I told him it would be really nice if he could take the trash can to the curb so I didn’t have to go out there in the cold (trash pickup is on Wednesday night).  He said that would be no problem at all.  Then he commented that he hopes I have been eating.  I said that I have, except for yesterday when all my cold seemed to want was chocolate.  Everything else tasted gross.  Although that was borderline whiny, it was true.  For the most part, though, I have been cooking myself quite fine meals, and I told him so.

He then walked into the den.  I asked what he was doing.  He said that he wanted to say hi to the dogs (they were in the utility room, which is connected to the den).  While he was in there I went to get the extra pair of nail clippers that he asked to borrow earlier in the week.  I also handed him his key chain, which I had found buried in the pull-out sofa bed when my sister stayed the night last weekend.  I resisted the urge to call him out on his lie surrounding those keys or ask him where he got the key he had been using since his was in the couch and the spare was where it always is.  It doesn’t matter.  Plus, I’m pretty sure he must have taken the spare and gotten a copy made in order to hide the fact that he lost his keys.  What a pointless thing to hide.  And also a pointless thing to be angry about.  So I just let it go.

My Mom and I had literally just gotten off of the phone about 5 minutes before Mr. Mess arrived, and she asked me about Thanksgiving and Christmas – whether to expect him, whether she should be buying him a gift, etc.  She is going on a long cruise very shortly and wanted to have all of the gifts purchased in the next week or so.  I took the opportunity last night to ask.  He got this strange look on his face and started stammering a bit – falling over his words, starting a sentence, then not finishing it, saying “you know” when I really did not…

Finally he said that he would feel like a black cloud hanging over everything.  He said that he feels too bad about what he has done to me to be around my family, and he wants to wait.  I asked what he wants to wait for.  He didn’t really answer.  By that point my short fuse and irritation with his beating around the bush was getting the best of me.  It really seemed like he was saying that he can never be around my family again because what he did is not going to change.  I proposed an answer to my own question – maybe he is waiting until he feels good about what he did?  He said no, and started getting emotional.  Instead of feeling compassion, a red hot anger welled up inside of me.

I don’t remember the exact words that came out of his mouth next.  It doesn’t really matter.  However, it was something about not being able to change what he did or how guilty he feels about it.  Even though that is basically the same thing I was thinking just moments before, my rage monster wanted to let out a big growl.  I told him that he COULD have changed quite a lot in the last year of false recovery.  Instead of a year that was full of lies and deceit, he could have been honest and changed where we are now.  It was up to HIM to put his all into it just like I had been.  He said that I’m right, and that he wants to wait until he has made more progress in his recovery to be around my family so that it doesn’t feel like just another lie.

With those words and that simple revelation, my rage dissipated.  That, in and of itself, is progress.  His bottom lip trembled, his eyes started to overflow, and he walked away from me – like he always does when he is feeling real, human emotions.  Or maybe because he couldn’t keep up the act much longer – it’s hard faking emotions as a sociopath.  I thought he was walking to the door, which he was at first.  Then he stopped and turned around.  He asked if there was anything else I needed besides him to take the trash to the street.  I said no.  He turned as if to go, then said that there was one more thing he needed.  Without another word of explanation, he took off down the hall toward the computer room and my bedroom.

The fleeting moment of tenderness I had felt towards him was quickly shoved aside by annoyance.  I called after him, asking where he was going and what he needed.  Without stopping, he strode into the computer room, turned on the light and called back that he was looking for his checkbook.  My annoyance turned to indignation and territoriality.  I had seen his checkbook while I was cleaning, and it was NOT in there.  The bigger point, however, is that he doesn’t live here right now to go stomping off through my house opening doors, turning on lights, and rummaging through things without asking.  I told him that his checkbook was not in there, then went and fetched it from the spot where I had seen it earlier in the week.

Still, he continued going through things in the computer room.  I asked him to tell me what he is looking for instead of going through all of my stuff.  First he got exacerbated and said nothing, never mind.  I told him that I am happy to help, but I would like to know what he is looking for.  He said he was trying to find his actual checks (which weren’t in the checkbook).  I told him that I hadn’t seen them.  I searched (pointlessly) for his checks, which were nowhere to be found.  I asked if he was sure they were even in here.  He said that he brought them with him when he moved in (over 4 years ago now).  I said I haven’t ever seen them, and showed him my checks, which I always keep in one specific spot.  I checked everywhere he suggested with no luck.

When he finally accepted that the checks were not here, he asked for the joint checking account number.  I immediately bitched at him.  He asked me over a week ago for that number while I was driving, and I suggested he call the bank (since THEY have the number much handier than I do).  I caught myself in full bitch-out mode, complaining about how he should just pick up the phone and call himself instead of asking me to do things for him.  It really wasn’t that big of a deal, though…  I took a deep breath, pulled the checkbook out of my purse, and gave him the number.  We exchanged a few more tensely polite words, and he left.

Fifteen minutes later I thought to check outside.  Sure enough, the garbage can hadn’t been moved.  Out into the cold with my cold I went.  My body shivered and I raged in my head.  I fought the uge to send him a snarky or bitchy text thanking him for doing the one thing I had asked him for.  I fought the urge to call a friend and complain.  Instead, I put my phone down.  I hooked it up to the charger, and left the room.

I might have made many poor decisions yesterday, but I have learned enough in the last few months to know that my anger at that moment would not have been productive.  It wouldn’t have accomplished anything other than to drive an even bigger wedge between us.  It would have resulted in him feeling either defensive or more guilty.  None of those options are what I’m looking for.

Somehow I was able to push aside my strong urge to punish him for his oversight, and take responsibility for myself.  It is my trash, afterall.  Sick or not, I needed to take it to the curb.  Today this seems like it could be some very deep metaphor for what we are going through in general.  Last night it was just irritating.

About an hour or so later, once I had calmed down, taken some medicine, and regained my perspective and compassion, I sent him a text.  It simply said, “Sorry I upset you.”  I am sorry.  I pushed things.  I lashed out a few times.  I made him feel back about himself when I shouldn’t have because it doesn’t move us in the right direction.  I have to work on that.  I have to learn to control my temper a little better, or at least to not make decisions when I’m feeling on edge.  I have to look inward when what I really want to do is point the finger.  At least I didn’t send him that pissy text about the trash.  Progress, not perfection, right?

After thinking on things a bit more, I realize that all of those bad reactions came from fear of change.  I don’t like that I don’t have my husband to hold me when I’m feeling crappy.  Instead of affirming myself for the positive steps I’m taking in enforcing my boundaries, I wallow in self-pity because my lying, cheating sex addict husband can’t get his shit together.  I let anger and entitlement take over because it is easier than seeing the ways I contributed to being where I am today.

Yes, where I am is separated from a husband who lied to me repeatedly , cheated on me, and is a sex addict – but I put myself here just as much (or more) than he did.  It was my poor decisions, my loose boundaries, my fear of abandonment, my low self-esteem, my repeated failure to trust my gut, and my codependent tendencies that put us here just as much as it was his sex addiction.  I have to own my shit, too.  And then I have to change it.  But changing things sucks.

Sometimes I want my fantasyland back.  I wax nostalgic about the “good old days” when I could curl up on the couch whenever I felt sick and have my husband make me dinner, bring me medicine, and rub my feet.  I want that sense of security and love.  Then I remember how false it was.  I remember how that same loving, caring man would sneak off to call, sext, internet chat, or meet another woman.  Or maybe he wouldn’t do that, but he would lie about something from his day or hide what he was feeling or thinking.  I remember how I might sense something was off, but dismiss my own instincts.  I also remember how late at night, when he was snoring beside me, I would lie awake knowing that there was something big missing in this relationship.

I say all of that to say this:  Change is painful, but it is also necessary.  I have a long way to go.  However, I am going to keep pushing forward.  I need to change for me.  As much as I hate admitting my mistakes, acknowledging my flaws, and accepting change – those things are necessary for growth.  And one thing I hate worse than change is being average.  He’s to self-awareness and change.  Those bitches.  🙂

What Are We Doing Now Regarding Separation?

18 Oct

Like these two trees, we are separate to the naked eye, but below ground our roots are still very tangled.

I thought I had already published this, but obviously I hadn’t. I will have a more updated version of this later now that we have been to marriage counseling this morning.

A continuation of my answers to questions from a reader that I posted here.

So what are you doing now then–regarding separation? Are you waiting for counseling on Thursday to decide? Are you not in the same house now?

I’m going to answer all of these at once.  Right now, regarding separation, we are not staying in the same house.  I’m not sure where he is staying, and I have decided not to ask or go searching for the answer.  I really am waiting for counseling on Thursday to make any long-lasting, more “permanent” (to use his word) decisions.

Saturday he came by and picked up a few things.  I was feeling very sick, but got a deep urge to clean and organize.  I wanted things germ-free and more serene.  So I did about 4 loads of laundry.  I cleaned the dishes, the kitchen table, the counter-tops.  As I was doing laundry I started separating out his things because I noticed some of his work clothes.

That led to me separating all of our clothes in the massive pile of laundry I had accumulated in the den.  In order to get his stuff out of my way and make it easier for him to pick up what he needed, I put those items of clothing in the spare back bedroom.  I cleaned some of my new clothes off of the couch and chaise in the living room where they had been sitting for a few days (yes, our house looked like a clothes bomb had dropped on it before all of this organizing).  I started putting those things away.

While I was in the bedroom I got tired of his clothes that were overflowing out of his laundry basket into the floor, blocking the closet doors from opening all the way.  In my cleaning frenzy and frustration, I picked up his dirty laundry hamper and all those annoying, closet-blocking clothes and moved them to the back bedroom, too.

From there, I decided to just continue and clear out the dresser and closet of the remaining clothes that were cluttering everything up.  I figured I was killing three birds with one stone (I really am multi-talented, see?) – put everything in one place for him (how convenient), make my cleaning/ organizing job easier, and reclaim my space.  When he texted to say he needed to pick up his badge for work on Sunday, I moved that into the back bedroom with all of the other stuff, too.

By the time he came by I had also added two pictures of his parents to the pile.  I had just unpacked a Yankee Candles purchase (from weeks before – my shopping was really getting out of control), and
le looking for a place to put the new candles I decided he would probably want those pictures as well.  After all, what am I going to do with them?  I never met his parents because they passed away before I met my husband.  I also figured it might make him feel more “at home” or at least comfortable wherever he was if he had something familiar like a picture of family around.

I wasn’t angry or bitter in taking any of those actions, just in sick, cleaning/organization mode.  I was probably also trying bolster my sanity by removing his things from the bedroom I knew I was going to be sleeping in all alone that night.  Lighting a few candles, having things clean and organized, not tripping over his clothes or slippers – they all made me feel more calm and at peace.

I’m sure he probably didn’t perceive things that way.  I definitely didn’t volunteer the information.  Not my best communication ever, in retrospect.

Collective Wisdom

16 Oct

I am constantly reminded of the benefit of the collective wisdom that can be gained by sharing my thoughts and getting feedback and perspective from other people.  Today was no exception.  I decided to post some of my previously private ramblings (here) which included more details about the incident and conversation leading up to my present situation.  I received this very insightful and thought-provoking comment from a reader:

Rollercoasterider

I am so sorry. Your situation has had me concerned as it has progressed. You seem like a strong woman–not the victim type at all!

I believe in marriage, but that doesn’t mean I feel there aren’t exceptions to my no-divorce rule. Addictions is one of those exceptions–he is refusing recovery. Serial affairs are another exception–and since his addiction is sex–that’s two exceptions right there.

And you have been doing the work to earn your way either into reconciliation or out of your marriage.
I also did not think you were behaving codependently in that situation. You had a Knowing–an inuitive hit or whatever you want to call it. I discovered that if I ignore those, they bring anxiety–even if I am not mentally feeling anxious my body reacts with the physiological symptoms of panic and anxiety.

When you said you asked for a separation, what did that mean? Here’s what I mean by my question: I am a sticker for precise language. When Sweetheart asked me for a divorce, I told him ‘no.’ Hey, he was asking! Were you asking for permission or agreement–did it need to be a joint decision that he could void by disagreeing?

What did asking for–or saying you wanted–a separation mean for that day? Did it mean he could come home, stay the night and you would talk about it? Basically, how firm was the boundary? Did you or do you have a formal Plan of Action for boundary breaches?

Ex: For me it was if Sweetheart was continuing his relationship with the alienator he could not live at home and he could not be in a marital relationship with me until she was out of the picture. So when I discovered he was still seeing her (this was back in 2007), I kicked him out. I was not perfect in the boundary, he came home the first night and I packed his bags while he was at work the next day. When he got home, he entered through the back door and I walked him through the house and out the front. No explanation was necessary because Boundaries are communicated ahead of time; he knew why.

So what are you doing now then–regarding separation? Are you waiting for counseling on Thursday to decide? Are you not in the same house now? And what do you think you should be doing?

See….  THIS is why I posted my thoughts and asked for feedback.  She asked some really great questions and made fantastic points.  I had to actually step back and consider a bit before I knew how to answer.  I started answering her comment in that post, but then realized that I had so much to say that I needed to create a new post to share my answers with everyone.

In fact, my answer got so long that I’m going to be making several posts for the questions/comments that I want to address so that you can pick and choose which ones you want to know the answer to without having to sift through thousands of words (aren’t I considerate?)  🙂

Poked, Prodded and Cracking…

15 Oct

Last night I took a look down my throat with a flashlight and did NOT like what I saw…  This morning I got up and made my way immediately to the doctor’s office.  I was poked, prodded, and swabbed everywhere imaginable.  They did a strep test on my throat, diagnosed an ear infection, and I had them go ahead and run the full panel of STD tests while they were at it.  I could have gone to Planned Parenthood and probably saved some money in the long run.  I don’t care.  I just wanted it over and done with.

Only an hour later, I was walking out with antibiotics, a prescription for a yeast infection, and a little more peace of mind.  I still don’t have the STD results back yet, obviously, but having it taken care of is a relief.

On my (short) ride home I called my Mom.  She said something that really struck home.  She said as women and as wives we do our best to remain vulnerable, to give our husbands the opportunity to protect us.  We let ourselves need them.  We give them the chance to take care of us.  When they blow that chance or squander that opportunity we have to pack up that vulnerability and be strong for ourselves.  When we take that next step to care for ourselves we also end up not needing them anymore.

I tried to need him.  I tried to give him the opportunity to step up for me.  I wanted him to be a man, to protect me, to make my health and safety a top priority.  He didn’t, so I had to take the bull by the horns and take care of myself.  Once I found out he hadn’t gotten tested, it took me only until the next business day to get tested myself.  Those tests, plus the extra ones because I’m so sick, took only an hour.  One hour.

In that hour I stopped needing him.  I stopped being vulnerable.  I took back my independence.

At the same time, I feel my resolve cracking.  Last night was the first time I really started wanting him here badly.  My codependence started peeking through.  For most of the weekend after his big lie was revealed we had only minor contact.  Last night he texted me with:

Im not sure what things from the kitchen are mine to take.  I know the new cook ware is yours just wondering about the things i was given as gifts.  If you want them they are yours.

My first reaction was something like – Seriously?!?  That is what he’s worried about right now?  Then I realized that I should have been prepared for this.  It’s what I asked for.  Here are some of the other thoughts I jotted down in my journal:

  • I’m weak.  I want him here in bed with me.  I want to touch him, hold him.
  • I find myself considering an in-home separation.  I just know I can’t do that.  I’m not strong enough.  I would talk to him, laugh with him, fall into those old patterns…
  • I want to call him an ass for sticking to business (what he wants, when he can get it), but that’s what separation IS.  He is doing me a favor, really.
  • I want him to fight for me, for us, but I want him to be well first!
  • I can’t have it both ways – him now & him better because he is obviously not better.
  • I HATE THIS!!!!

Those were just my cliff notes version of the things going through my head.  I wasn’t going to respond to his earlier text.  In fact, I held out for quite a while.  Until after midnight.  Yeah… bad decision.  Nothing good comes from texting someone that late.  I engaged in a few back and forth texts, told him the gifts belong to him, and let him know about my strep.

In the morning light I realized that I need to disconnect myself from him emotionally.  Letting go of my expectations for him, his recovery, his health, his therapy, etc. is my job now.  I can’t control him.

He’s going to be coming by at some point today to pick up a few more things.  I don’t know how I’m going to react.  I don’t know if he will even try to talk to me.  I don’t even know if I want him to.

On a completely unrelated note, I now have a Twitter and Facebook account for my blog.  Check them out if you want.  I could use a little distraction.

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