The current state of my marriage, or part 2
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Well...I never did get around to finishing the story last week. But I was right...blogging about it was infinitely helpful. Putting into words the events leading up to the demise of my marriage helped me to HEALTHILY face the situation. It took away some of the confusion, the shame, and the anger that I was experiencing, while taking away my ability to turn away from it and deny it was happening. That help was priceless. I was also completely gobsmacked by the outpouring of support I received from my Spark Friends. We've been helping each other through the trials of developing healthier lifestyles, but it honestly never occurred to me that we could help each other through the other garbage that life throws at us...and that is even more priceless. (Which I don't think is an actual unit of measurement, but I'm at a loss for words on the subject, and it's the best that I can do to describe my gratitude. :) )
Anyhow...the week and a half following "the boot" was one of the hardest I've ever been through...and that time (in retrospect) was only the beginning. He and I were not the only people affected by the sudden split...we have two daughters. My 10 year old is technically not his (my first marriage), but he has been her "father" since she was three. Our four year old is an amazing little creature, but she is only 4 and (even though I feel he has not deserved such devotion due to his "absence" from her life) she thinks he hung the moon for her. So while trying to process "the situation" for myself, I found myself shifting the focus off of myself and onto protecting the girls from what was going on. Slightly unhealthy for myself, as it was an easy way to not fully face the issues at hand, but it is and probably always will be my first instinct to protect my children above all else. I told the girls that Daddy had to go do some "work" out of town, which is probably the worst/weakest story anyone has ever attempted to tell, but it was all that I could manage at the time. My 10 year old immediately knew it to be a lie, but in an uncommon display of sensitivity (at least for my 10 year old) she let me tell the story. My 4 year old exhibited disappointment for roughly 30 seconds, then went back to watching Star Wars. Which just made me even sadder...having a father who doesn't interact with her for more than 30 broken minutes a day 90% of the time is just normal for her, because it's all that she's known.
I didn't hear from him until Monday, which was a blessing. I was holding it together, but just barely. My house became "Martha Stewart Clean" because keeping busy was keeping me together by distracting me from the situation. I participated in the Y's "World's Largest Cardio Class" (an attempt for the Y to get into the Guiness Book of world records) on that Saturday in addition to keeping up a fairly brisk workout schedule because the physical activity was keeping me from falling into a complete depression. (Endorphins...nature's Xanax). My friends and family rallied around me to keep my spirits up. I began to look for another job, because again, taking care of my kids has to always be priority #1 and I was hugely concerned about supporting them through the divorce in case my husband cleaned out our bank accounts or closed our credit accounts. While it is my dream to NEVER return to nursing, it is where my education led me and is a fairly steady/substantial form of income...so on the hunt I went. Anyway...life was moving on very quickly for us, because that is how life works. It doesn't stop for catastrophe, no matter how great.
When I returned home on Monday from the Y, there was a bottle of cheap sangria on the front porch of my home with a note rubber banded to it. As expected, the note contained a whole lot of "I" statements from my husband. "I miss you", "I'm sad", blah blah. Guess how much I cared about how HE felt after he ripped our family to shreds? Guess how offended I was that he thought a bottle of cheap sangria was going to fix the HUGE betrayal? Guess how offended I was by the implied statement that I am the kind of woman who would down a large bottle of booze when I was by myself with two children? I could go on and on. Result: killing rage.
The next day, I received a text from him. Again, "I" to the Nth Power. There was also a line in there about him "allowing" me to have time until I was ready to talk to him. As if HE EVER has any kind of control over my feelings, my ability to speak, whatever. Result: Killing rage.
Wednesday morning, my 4 year old finally became very persistent about her father's absence (after not hearing from him for 5 days). When is daddy coming home, why can't I talk to him, etc. All day. In what was probably the hardest, stupidest, maybe most mature thing I've ever had to do, I texted him to tell him that she wanted to see him and told him he could see her for 2 hours that evening, with the understanding that he was only home from work for that time, and would be going back to "work" as soon as they were done. He showed up at 6 to take her to McDonald's, hiding something behind his back. Turns out, it was a very large box of chocolate covered cherries, which are one of my favorite foods in the world and a HUGE trigger food for me. He tried to hand it to me, I wouldn't take it. Feelings/thoughts going through me at that moment: I can't have those because I'm carb cycling, why does this ahole not know that when I had been telling him that for weeks before hand, offended that he (again) thinks a trip to Walgreens is going to fix our marriage. I said perplexedly, "I can't have those..." to which he replied, "It's okay, I know your "time" is coming" (meaning TOM). Really? I'm not mad because you are a lying cheating piece of crap, I'm mad because I'm just another hormonal woman. I said loudly, "Seriously???" with what must have been murder in my eyes because he backed off QUICKLY and put the box down on the table by my front door and hustled my 4 year old out to his truck. I was seeing red, literally, but in the interest in not going to prison for beating him to death with a box of cherries in front of our 4 year old, I quickly threw myself into my vehicle and headed off to the Y, where I beat the crap out of a Spin bike for 2 hours. When he brought her home around 8, I met them outside, scooped her up and brought her in the house. She was impressed because it was the first time he'd ever taken her to McDonald's by himself. This made me horribly sad.
The next day, I heard nothing from him and was incredibly grateful for it. During this week, I'd been processing a TON of information, off and on. It had occurred to me during the sleepless nights I'd been spending that he and I basically had two options: divorce, or reconcile. (Beating him to death with random household items is technically a third option, but not realistic, so we are going to stick to the two.) My brain said (and is still saying) divorce the bastard. My heart had/has different ideas. The reasons to divorce are easy, but the reasons to reconcile were much more difficult to find. So because I'm a bean counter at heart, this is the list of reasons I made to try to reconcile the marriage.
1. I already have a MISERABLE relationship/divorce with my first husband. I don't think I can manage a second such situation without ending up in a rubber room. (No joke. Living nightmare that will probably never end.)
2. My 10 year old already has a really, really hard time with her relationship with her "real" father and the resulting issues.
3. My 4 year old will end up in the same situation my 10 year old is in.
4. I will "lose" the financial stability that I currently enjoy as the result of years of careful planning and hard work.
5. I've invested/wasted (depending on how I'm looking at it at a given moment) 7 years in this relationship.
6. There is no guarantee that I'm ever going to find a man who is perfect right out of the box.
7. While I'm an ALL STAR dater...there is not a single man alive I cannot pick up whether I'm fat, thin, or anything in between...I'm apparently not very good at long term relationships or choosing a "good one", so this is most likely going to happen again with a different man.
I'm sure there are more things, but this is what I came up with at 3 am.
I shared this list with a lot of people, and got a blanket answer from "the team"...if you think there is a chance that you both can work it out (no matter how small), you should try. For no other reason than he and I have to have at the very least a civil relationship so that we can raise our daughter(s) together as divorced parents. Which is something that my brain and my heart can both agree on. I received some stellar advice from my step father, who suggested that I needed to sit down and have a long conversation with myself about the things I "need" from my husband to at least set ourselves down the path to civility. I came up with:
1. Full disclosure, no matter how shameful or unpleasant.
2. Stop attempting to "Howard" me.
3. Extreme, long term counseling. For us as a couple, and HIM personally. I wouldn't turn it down for myself either.
So I sent the ahole an email telling him such. Two options, divorce or try, and this is what I need from him for me to consider trying. I sent this email late Thursday night, and I didn't hear back from him until late Friday. He doesn't want to divorce, and he's willing to try things my way. So we made an appointment to meet on Saturday. I got a sitter so that we could really talk (can't be honest about this stuff with kids eavesdropping)...and we did. 2.5 hours worth of conversation. Here are the high points from that conversation in the order that it happened:
1. He'd already sought counseling on his own earlier in the week. Apparently, he was looking for sympathy from his friends, and was told that he is a piece of crap...and I guess that was his wake up call. No one to reinforce his belief that he was "awesome" made him finally take a long hard look at himself and realize that he has a lot of issues that HE has to fix before he can have a "real" relationship with anyone, be it romantic, friendly, parental, whatever.
2. He admitted that he has been talking to the other women, but swears it was only online. He swears he never actually met anyone in real life, and those conversations with the women from his past were never sexual.
3. He has an addiction to online, live web cam porn.
4. He WANTS to fix himself because he is ashamed of who he is/has become.
Do I believe this stuff? Not really. I wouldn't believe him at this point if he told me that water is wet. For the record, talking to the exes is a huge, huge betrayal. At the very least, he broke our wedding vows by not honoring me. I consider the online web cam crap to be (not only disgusting), but cheating. I don't care if he never laid a finger on them, he was still having sex with women who are not me. It's cheating.
The fact that he disclosed the above gives me a rice sized piece of hope that at the very least, we can regain enough of a relationship to at least be civil someday. I don't want to say that we are "trying to work it out"...because it is SOOOO trite. And I don't even know that I'm trying to work on saving the marriage...I don't know that it can be. What I AM trying to work on is rebuilding a basic, civil relationship with the father of my child. I am still angry. I am still hurt. I am still HUGELY doubtful. I still don't trust him. I still want to do him bodily harm. So things are not "better", and I'm not going to pretend that they are. There are so many things 'wrong' that it's hard to know where to start. He is 2 visits into counseling, and his counsellor wants to see us together, but at a later date after he and my husband have worked through a bunch of stuff. I'm willing to wait. I told my husband that I'm willing to do everything that I "can" to help him so that it can help us...and I mean it. But everything kind of rests on him right now.