Divorce…Who Ever Said It Would Be Easy

'Hello, Haratty, Pearson and Smythe, messy divorce specialists!'

I think one of the reasons that B and I waited as long as we did to divorce is because we didn’t ever want to be at the point we are at…asset and spousal support. This part really sucks because all it does is bring out all the hurt and anger that were brewing before I left on the part of both of us.

One of the things B has said to me numerous times is that my attorney sucks so I have decided to take his advice and yesterday I hired a new attorney at a large law firm…we shall see how well B likes dealing with THE FIRM. Thank you B for pointing this out to me. I think that YOU will be forever in my debt.

We have been trying to handle this ourselves and use the lawyers sparingly but alas I think we are past the point on no return and we will be pulling out the big guns now. This makes me sad, confused, and hurt. I guess I feel like if you are really as sorry as you have claimed then this should be a slam dunk. Just give me what I want after all I am being fair and reasonable. When I went to get my things I left him almost everything except my personal family heirlooms, some artwork, and my personal items like books and clothes.

Part of the problem with settlement is that B wants me to sign an agreement which would allow him to stop paying alimony in 2025 but I won’t do it. Obviously. Here in the State of California, after you have been married over 10 years, the court is always in your business in regards to spousal support basically for the rest of your life. This means until one of us dies we can go back into court and, in his case…try to stop or significantly reduce support…or in my case…try to increase support. Needless to say, the rest of your life has significant meaning and I suspect we will see each other in court many times in the future.

Yesterday I received an email from B stating that unless we came to an agreement by May 26 that he was beginning the process of getting jurisdiction changed to Texas. I think he did this because: A) the CA court just set out divorce hearing now to NOVEMBER and from what I understand it is because of COVID. B) Texas is more favorable to him and only grants spousal support for 3 years maximum.  Well, good luck on that one. The court fight would last for years.

Another thing that this divorce has brought on is a major increase in the severity of my fibromyalgia. Last Thursday and Friday I was in so much pain I spent the days pretty much in bed. Obviously, for me stress increases the number and severity of the flare ups and I don’t like it one bit. My anxiety is also high which makes looking at anything B sends worrisome because I feel as if he is always trying to be sneaky and underhanded about what is ever on the table. This isn’t surprising since he lied to me just about everyday for five years. With him I don’t trust what appears to be real anymore because most likely it is not.

The good news is I am spending a lot of time on the coast with my daughter and our new puppy. Since the coastal house is going up for sale due to the divorce and this is where my heart feels safe and warm; I am trying to spend every minute that I can here. Being here helps keep me centered and I don’t ruminate over all the lies and deception that B spread like manure over our marriage. Here I am free.

 

Tough Weekend…Trying To Protect Myself

So this weekend was a tough one. REALLY TOUGH.

The kids and B flew out to CA for a diving competition. It was great to see the kids and it makes missing them all the harder. When I touch them it is like touching velvet…smooth, soft and lush. I don’t remember this exact feeling when I was living with them but now being with them is rare and precious…like touching fluffy clouds in the sky.

We spent the afternoon at Mission Beach. I walked the beach with Gracie holding her hand (mom, this is weird…humor me please honey) picking up sand dollars that had washed up onto the talc-like sand. Paul was glad to be with me and hugged me constantly while Andre…well he drew. It was a lovely time and dinner together was spent laughing around the table…something I sorely miss.

That night B and I went to the hotel lobby to try to figure out a way to split our assets and it got ugly very fast. On the way down in the elevator he told me he was going to marry his mistress and that he would do what it took to keep the kids with him…stating that he would go to court and in essence lie to keep them. Needless to say, I was shocked and felt intimidated. This was a side of him that I had rarely seen and the coolness with which he delivered his words scared me.

After emerging from the elevator he said he had to use the bath room so I went to the woman’s room. While in there I decided it would be best to try to act like none of that had just happened…to let what he said go and try to figure out where he was going with all of his threatening talk. Things started off well but as our discussion progressed it got uglier with me saying things I wish I had not as a total reaction to what he had said in the elevator. Based on his almost canned responses I began to wonder if he was recording our conversation and asked him and he said “No’ but I don’t believe him. What I do believe is this: he set me up int he elevator to be worried, concerned and angry and with his threats against me and knew that I would make some of my own comments. AND I do think he recorded us… him having the advantage of knowing that he was recording so he was responding in canned ways.

I am not sure why I trusted that this would go well and why I wasn’t more on guard. Why do I still trust that this man won’t hurt me when all he has done for the past five years is lie and be deceitful? When he wanted to have two families and tried to figure out how to manage it? Who looked into a fiance visa before I ever knew he had a mistress? Why do I still give the benefit of the doubt to someone who has uprooted our family twice promising that he would never contact the mistress and yet he did. Why did I temporarily move to Texas on a trail bases when I was already separated from B only to find that he brought me there for the purpose of trying to get a Texas divorce which would be better for him? Why do I trust a man who 18 hours after meeting his mistress…with me taking their picture on the steps of a palace…turn to her and tell her that she would be his second wife?

Why?

Sometimes I wonder if it is because if I admit all this then I have to admit my entire 32 years with him was a fabricated life? A fairy tale. And so what does that make me? Naive? Stupid? Gullible? Why was I so willing to believe?

Now that we are divorcing one of my friends told me that they went out to coffee twice and he told her it was a secret. What else was happening under my nose? I feel like such an old fool.

But I digress. The next day I called him and told him that I did not want to end our 32 year marriage like this with both of us expressing ourselves in ways there were hurtful and not who we really were. He said he agreed and that he was sorry. But here is the thing? How do you ever believe even the apology of a liar who has no conscious and has proven that day in and out for the past five years? How do you even begin to craft a life for yourself when you have to deal with such a conniving person at least until your children are grown? How do you protect yourself from someone whose intentions have been deceitful while yours have been pure?

Does anyone out that have a suit of armor? I need to borrow it.

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What Do I Want To Reflect?

One of the nice things (if you can call ANYTHING about divorce nice) is that I get to start over, While moving is usually exciting to me this time I find everything seems muted, Colors, sound, views…all different than before. Almost like seeing everything in black and white instead of in beautiful vibrant color.

One of the things I am starting over on is my home. What do I want it to reflect when someone steps inside? How does it identify who and what I believe? After 32 years of marriage who am I ALONE? What do I want people to glean about me when they enter my domain? And so I have been working on this the past week and would like to show you a few of the results….starting with the kitchen.

I paired an antique french table with these modern chairs. I think it says a lot about who I amIMG_3893

Next is the formal living room. Since I left my beautiful baby grand piano back in Texas I find the room has doubled in size! I have a corner to fill but other than that it is done.

First I went on Craig’s list and found this old desk which I brought home and painted. I paired it with a chair from Ross Dress For Less which cost under $50.

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Remember the Persian Rugs that I bought and that B hated well I think this one looks really good with the sofa. I found the modern chair to pair with my art deco cabinet as a floor sample and swept it up for under $175. Yes, I bought that beautiful velvet Green sofa off of Wayfair and I LOVE it. So tired of the former all brown “Family”  look.

 

I have had this large scroll painting since I went to China the last time but had no where to hang it. With that big boring blank wall hogging up the space I decided the Giant Tibetan Mastiff and his girl really needed a home there. I love this picture because it reminds me so much of Tibet…the kids with smudges of dirt all over their faces no matter where you went.

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Finally, I had this other picture from Ethiopia and have never done anything with it. The dimensions were such that it could not be framed so I solved that problem by filling the landing wall with it.

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I hope through these pictures you get a glimpse of who I am.

Today, I also got off my ass and went for a three mile walk. Here are a few pictures of what I saw:

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CHEATER LIVES…WHILE I SLOWLY DIE

I have spent the past week in Texas taking the kids to one doctor appointment after another. It has been trying.Leaving my kids is the hardest thing I have ever done and they are depressed and worried…I can’t even process their sadness because it feels like a tidal wave knocking me down deep into the sand. And several times, suddenly, when we hug the waterworks start even though I try to be brave in front of them. I guess that is life. Floods start where they wish and end at some far remote location and rarely can we control them. Mother Nature’s way of cleaning out some stuck areas on the earth.

My fibromyalgia has also been kicking my butt…stress does that to you.

Meanwhile, B is busy calling NHI. What he doesn’t know is that one of her friends disapproves and has been letting me know what is happening. Appears that they will be getting married soon after we divorce.

One thing that has shocked me this week is that Paul said to me, “you know you don’t have to join Facebook to see profiles.” Seems he had searched for the mistress quite a while ago and found her. He said to me, “I look at how poor she was when you met and now all the nice things she has thanks to Dad. She is a GOLD DIGGER and he is going to lose his retirement.” Of course, B wanted to blame me  but like I told him…”her pages said it all. The pics of you two together, the engagement ring you gave her, her Yves St. Laurent boxes with expensive birthday presents.” The lovely thing is that I don’t have to say anything because Paul saw it all for himself and sees her for who she is and for what she is. All thanks to her own words.

Tonight I will start the long drive home driving a UHaul and towing my car behind. It pisses me off that B refuses to pay for this move and won’t spring for a POD so I don’t have to drive a huge UHaul. Really…after all the cheating, lies and moves and 32 years of marriage and he won’t do the right thing to make this just a tad easier on me.

But truly what hurts the most is that I am so easily replaceable. One woman out and another woman in. I am losing my family, my life, my happiness…everything…while he destroys our family with no price to pay. He’s in love, has our kids, has our house, and life looks pretty rosy for him while I am left driving a UHaul…alone…the wind withering and plucking away at my soul on Interstate 10 due to five years of lies and chaos. But I have promised myself that while I may feel weak at the start of this trip with each passing mile I will gain strength and clarity as I crest the hills heading for my home and my new life.

 

Funny The Things We “Think” When We Leave

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I arrived back in California early in the morning. I had nothing at my home. No beds, no chairs, no spoons…no nothing… except lots of memories and heartache. This is the house where I first separated from B and the place I would leave in order to “rekindle” my hopes and dreams about our marriage. And it hurts to know that soon I will return as single person after 32 years of togetherness tricked into believing in a carefully crafted mirage. But I digress…

The only thing that was open at 12:30 a.m.  was a Walmart in a town about an hour away from my house.  I stopped. If you have ever been to a Walmart at that time of the day it is depressing. The buzz of the automatic floor cleaners greeted me while nary a person could be found. Silence permeated a place that usually roars during the hours of 8 a.m.- 10 p.m. It reminded me of the hours that teens spend locked away in their rooms avoiding their parents.

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I wandered through the aisles in a daze…on a autopilot…aware…but not really…of what I was doing. It was as if I was looking through glass…seeing the light shining through but what was behind the glass was GONE. There was nothing to look back on and no future to look towards. Just a vast empty place…the place where my heart once beat rapidly whenever I saw B. A place of comfort and security. A place that no longer existed except inside my head.

Soon I came to the aisle loaded with dishes, cups, and silverware of every shape and color. I picked up one of each thing to put in my cart and then, just as quickly, put them back onto the shelf. I just couldn’t commit to anything permanent. The bowl in my left hand seemed too weighty, too purposeful. Even though this is what I needed…TO BE GONE…it didn’t seem real and I wasn’t even sure that I wanted it to be true yet. It felt like a commitment to being forever single and baking lots of bread that I cold never consume all by myself.

“Maybe living back in my fantasy of how it once was is better than how it is now,” I thought as I fought back tears.

So I headed over to the paper goods with a mission. It’s a place full of throwaways…things to dispose of…items not to be kept forever… just like my marriage. It felt comfortable but sad. Cheap plastic cutlery, paper plates, and red DiXIE SOLO cups stared me down. I picked them up, the weight of them almost bringing me to my knees. I went to the self-check out (a very lonely place at 1 a.m.) and scanned each item checking my cart for any items left behind. All I saw was my heart, lifeless and barely pulsating….  according to B it wasn’t worth much… so I left it there at checkout #8 quivering on the conveyor belt. After bagging my necessities, I headed out the door with my twin-sized blow up mattress. It sat high in my cart advertising my new single status like a Vegas neon sign to the homeless man and his dog sitting at the cart return.

Two days later I felt stronger and headed down the mountain to Goodwill. There I found some 1980’s juice glasses, a variety of mis-matched silverware, and a nice set of four matching bowls. This I could do. It made my departure a little more real but not so real as to overwhelm me. This GONE thing was becoming more doable. Yet, I am homesick…missing my children and feeling guilty for “Abandoning” them…when I really haven’t.

Three days later I was feeling even stronger and more sure of my decision then ever. I was contemplating buying a matching set of dishes at a store a step up from Goodwill. The fact that a complete set of dishes is now a thought although not yet a reality is encouraging. For picking out a set of dishes signifies permanence to me and I have not felt quite ready to admit defeat. But each day I am stepping out and dipping my big toe a little deeper into my new life. It is a re-birth and it takes time. And this time around I want to craft a life for myself that is purposeful and meaningful in all areas of my existence…emotional, physical and spiritual. And while Goodwill is a good place to start this adventure… I know I do not want to begin with the left-overs of others. This time I will choose exactly what I need and want to nurture myself and my new beginning. I deserve to give this time to myself and I will. For I am worth it.

 

GONE

If I had to name all the occasions that lead up to the moment of my leaving last week; it seems as though the list from the past five years might be endless.  A small part of it might look like this:

Maybe it was the fact that you told our tour guide (TG) the second day you met her that “you will be my second wife” contributed to the demise of our marriage. For you have worked very hard to make that statement come true by putting TG on a pedestal while you wiped your feet on me as you dusted and shined your Vietnamese FANTASY. You know, the fantasy whom you have spent five whole days with over the past five years. Maybe that led to my leaving.

Or maybe it was the fact that you sent her so much money that it was the equivalent of 20 years salary in Vietnam. With that much money she began living high on the hog…fancy dinners, beautiful clothes, fixing her father’s home… while I bought shirts at TJ Maxx for $14.99 to which you would comment, “When did you get that?” as if I had done something wrong.

Perhaps it was all the time and care you took into ensuring her needs were met and picking out gifts for her. Necklaces, perfume and oh yeah,,,that engagement ring that she wears on her wedding band finger.

Maybe it was all the lies…thinking that you had ended it so many times after your assurance that you did…only you didn’t. The phone call you had me witness and participate in telling her it was over. The letter you wrote to her saying the relationship could never be.

Although it might have been the daily “I love you’s”, the hugs, the great sex, and the kisses that were so faked (according to what TG told me) that you could have made Vivian Lee swoon.

Maybe it was making me feel “less than” while you struggled to choose who your heart would belong to….a competition that I could never win. Making me feel as though I could never do enough…and I couldn’t… because in your mind TG would always do more. Or the fact that you were hiding a quarter of your take home pay in a private account and couldn’t understand why I would wonder if you were sending money to TG and then getting upset when I mentioned her name.

Yet, another fact could be the day that I opened an envelope from J.P. Morgan stating that you changed your beneficiary of your investments with it going half to your sister instead of taking care of your kids. You said it was so she could divide it among your siblings because they had been left out of your father’s will 15 years ago but if that were true why not divide it with 33 1/3% going to each?  Instead I believe that she was instructed to give it to TG. Frankly, doing things like this without discussion with your partner seems kind of suspicious and slimy to me.

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But it really boils down to was a few days in which clarity arrived like a freight train as it plowed into my ears through my mind…its horn loud and piercing my heart until all the blood from my body seeped out of itself, spilling onto the tracks, along with all of the love that I once had for you. And like a bullet train, my love was here one minute and gone the next and I was left standing, suitcase in hand, on the platform of life deciding which direction I wanted to take. And now I am here ….alone….without my children….my heart breaking. Yet, I have been wise enough to put that suitcase down along side  those tracks and refuse to drag it along behind me for the rest of my life. For you and your lies are packed in that suitcase and it is has been a heavy load to carry around with me the past five years. Now, I never want to open that suitcase again.

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But really what drove me to leave were these few things that all happened within the past ten days. The first was the night that I told you how I had been working with my therapist to come up with what a needed to feel that we were working towards healing and that our new life together was on track. You know, that night I told you, “Honey, I need a new symbol of our commitment and would like for us to go on Sunday to pick out new rings and re-new our vows on our anniversary.” And you said something along the line of “I am not sure that I can do that because I don’t know that you can change to love, honor and OBEY me. ” That was definitely the beginning of the end because if you loved me you would have said, “Whatever you need to make you feel safe in this relationship. I will do whatever it takes.” Yet, you had never, once, throughout these two years of me knowing about the affair been willing to do whatever it takes. And you should have. I deserved no less.

 

Finding the love letters between the two of you and the naked pictures of your time in Singapore didn’t help the situation especially as I ran through my head the number of times you told me that you had nothing left from the affair.

But really it was the butt-dialed conversation I heard between you and your sister that drove me away. Hearing the distain you have for me in your voice just about did me in. Hearing the two of you laughing at and about me was one of the most painful things I have ever heard. You know that conversation:

“…I asked her what she was seeing her therapist for and she said PTSD.”

“…from my affair?”

“and she said yes.” (chuckle, chuckle, laugh. laugh)

“…oh that is the new diagnosis. Everyone has it. But if anyone should have PTSD it should be YOU from living with her!” (chuckle, chuckle, laugh, laugh)

Or maybe it was hearing her say you were lucky to be living in Texas now… for the divorce and hearing your answer. Your words made me finally realize that there was a strong possibility that you had brought me to Texas with you in order to get the kids with you (since they were with me in CA) so you wouldn’t have to pay child support nor spousal support. If that was your plan it was so deliberate and cunning that it sacred me and shook me to my very core. It was that moment that I also realized just why you didn’t want me to come to CA to work on my house until after the 30th. Texas law required that you be a resident six months to file and in just a few more weeks you could file against me for divorce and try to get the jurisdiction of our pending CA divorce changed to the  State of Texas; a more favorable state for you. My heart started bleeding with that realization because my intensions to start over and be with you and our family were true while yours were not.

Hearing how you made yourself out to be the victim of the housecleaning wars was also interesting as was when you asked your sister how the TG was doing and it became obvious that your sister was in contact with her for you.

But it is conceivable that what really sealed the deal was how, when the next day arrived and I asked you if you had talked to your sister you said, “No, I haven’t talked to her in at least a week” while looking directly into my eyes.

“Really, you haven’t talked to her?”

“No, not at all.”

“Stop lying to me I know you talked to her yesterday.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“You butt-dialed me (or did he…maybe it was intensional?). I heard every word!”

“No, I didn’t.”

How…how can you stare into my eyes and continue lying? And at the moment I realized the price I was paying was too high and I didn’t want to pay it anymore. That my sanity was worth more than I could ever lose remaining with you.

So I have left your fantasy land. Mine too. Our “trial” reunification in Texas is done.  I have been stripped of everything I thought was true about you, about me, and about our life together. I no longer know what was true the past five years and what you made up to appease me and to protect your guilty self. In fact, upon reflection, I don’t know what was true EVER. And that makes me angry. I am angry that I was so stupid and trusting. I am angry that you set me up. I am angry that you and your girlfriend fucked up our lives and that now I am left alone…our kids living with you because I loved them enough not to just take them with me.

Why?

Well, Paul is in his senior year of high school. He will graduate in four months and is finally doing well in school. His high school has worked hard to help him succeed and feel good about himself despite all the challenges his disabilities present. No…I could not pull him away from that because of my own needs. And Gracie? Well, she has two more years of high school and loves her new coach. Finally, she is getting great coaching which is paramount for a kid wanting to go to college on an athletic scholarship. No, I couldn’t do that to her either.  And Andre…well autism serves him well. He doesn’t care if we divorce or who he lives with as long as he gets to remain in his room.

I am back in my house in CA. It had not sold while I was in Texas. Unfortunately, about six weeks ago it also flooded due to a sump pump failure which insurance would not cover. So I am spending close to $50,000 to repair this house and living in at at the same time. This week I am going to try my hand at tiling a bathroom floor as well as get back to studying my textbooks so I can have a “career” again after I divorce at 59 years old. (I mean who starts a career at almost 60…let’s be real…it won’t be a career like you have had rather it will just be a job). And with it my lifestyle will go from vacations and having to worry much about money to cutting coupons and shopping at Good Will while you wine and dine your fantasy.

We haven’t talked since I left except for 40 seconds about a crisis occurring at the rental house.  Thirty-two years of marriage and we have sent less than a half dozen texts. And while I hurt like I have never hurt before it is also incredibly freeing not to be living with a narcissistic liar anymore. Knowing that what I see and what I hear everyday is the truth is calming my brain and helping me to experience a sense of peace that I have not known in many years.

My friends are concerned. They are afraid that I will go back. But this time I won’t for it is done. I am done. Forever. Just hearing his laughter and distain did more to drive me away than the past five years that he deliberately tried to get me to leave. And because of his warped thinking he can now tell himself the story that he is innocent….that I left him…that I am the bad one….in order to feel good about himself. Yes, B, you’ve won but so have I in a way that I never imagined…I am acting with a sense of purpose and Dignity and Grave. I am treating myself well.

In fact, the other day I bought myself something very nurturing for my re-birth. It makes be feel very safe and cocooned-like. It also brings relief to my set on “high alert”  sensory system has been under attack for the past many years. This gift to myself is contributing to my sense of feeling grateful, peaceful, and calm.

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So friends….don’t worry about me… I am cocooned…I am safe… And B can no longer touch me or my heart. I am GONE. And one day I will feel safe and happy again. It can only get better…and it will….one day at a time. Wish me luck.

 

 

 

 

 

Living In Fear II

I tried to protect myself and my children, but what if I fucked up and am cornered in a daring game of chess that I didn’t even realize that I was playing? Or what if I am safe but don’t even recognize what safety feels like after years of betrayal?

Okay, I just re-read what I wrote and its all bullshit because, let’s get real…I am still living with fear in so many areas of my life.

Fear erupted in me the other day because something that B did was really crappy and it makes me feel fearful and unsafe all over again. Not only that, I find that I am pissed and fearful…a very bad combination.

The other day a rather large envelop came in the mail. Inside, I found a beneficiary form from Chase Bank. Imagine my surprise when I found that I was named 50% beneficiary while B’s co-conspirator of a sister was named as the other half of the equation for B’s rather large sum of money that we split a 1 1/2 ago. This happened with no prior discussion between B and I. He said that he has felt guilty about inheriting all of his father’s estate 14 years ago and that he felt that he owed some of it to his sibs who had NO relationship with his father. Only B, myself, and our children had anything to do with his dad and why I do understand the guilt I have to ask…why now?

At the time of his father’s death B gave each of his sibs $20,000 along with various amounts of money to his father’s stepchildren and all the grandchildren. He was more than generous so when I saw this turn of events I was pissed. Really? You didn’t think you should discuss this with me? You didn’t think we should discuss the fact that we have two special needs boys and that they might never be able to work? I told B that I had to wonder if he was giving the money to his sister because she had a relationship with his five year affair and I wondered if she would see to it that the affair got the money. I mean, if you really wanted your sibs to have the money why wouldn’t you have created equal shares of 33 1/3%?

His response…”It is my money not yours and I don’t care what you think…I will do what I want.”

And while it is true that it is technically his money; I am also well aware that this does not sound like a loving response from someone who is trying to heal their shattered relationship due to their affair. I also got this same “it’s my money I will do what I want and don’t care what you think” response for another money issue that I found out about the week prior to that too. Seems to me that instead of creating distance B should be doing everything in his power to be creating closeness and trust…which he obviously is not.

I am also in fear because in three weeks I am no longer considered to be a resident of the State of CA and frankly divorce laws are less than favorable for me here in Texas. But here is the catch… I moved my children here and in good conscious could not move them back to CA…just wouldn’t be fair to put them through that all because of our fucked up relationship. Paul is a senior it high school and is finally doing well in his last year of school despite his recent schizo-affective disorder diagnosis, while the youngest is once again on a dive team and beginning to make friends. So if I go back to CA…I go alone. Can I really abandon my kids? They didn’t create the situation…I did by trying to glue our family back together again when, perhaps, that was not the thing to try and do.

Funny, I wasn’t fearful until this NEW dictator side of B has come out and the feelings he has that I must OBEY him. Those feelings that have been festering inside him that somehow life would just be okay if I would only obey.

I have to say that I am wondering the validity of a statement as my sister-in-law uttered to me yesterday,”Oh my God, I wonder if he out maneuvered you even with all you did to protect yourself?” And that has re-awakened all of my sleeping fears about this relationship all over again. My peace is shattered and once again I wonder if he is in contact with affair woman because this pissiness, self righteous behavior, and distancing is exactly what I experienced during the affair.

So, yes, since I wrote the last piece, I am now feeling fearful again and I don’t like it.  Living in fear is no way to live. It feels like a lion shredding your throat with its sharp claws and you see no where to go to get relief or to protect yourself. All you can feel is the pain that may be possibly coming your way.

And yet…great times spent together since the move. Tons of fun family outings and cuddling on the couch between me and B so with this turn of events I feel unbalanced with this tightrope walking once again. I feel uneasy and I feel once again that have put myself in a corner that i don’t want to be backed into and yet, today, I feel that I am. Because, really, how can your trust that you are not being cornered when you have been betrayed for so long?

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No Longer Living In Fear

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I have had many of you write and ask what is going on in my life. Thank you for that.

I have not written about what has been going on with me and B because…I have been afraid…afraid that I look weak…that I appear small…worried that I appear to be less of a feminist than I once believed myself to be and didn’t want to be a bad example for my daughters. I have had my doubts…afraid that what I have done was not the right thing, the smart thing, or the best thing. Afraid that I am a poor role model. But now that I have gotten my bearings and some time has passed; I know how I feel about the choices I have made for myself and my family. For many women it would not be the right decision, and I get that…but for me, at this time in my life, my choices have been the right thing for me to do as I enter my sixties.

A RECAP

After separating and filing for divorce for four months, an unexpected job offer came B’s way which entailed moving to Texas. He walked the Pacific Coast Trail trying to decide what he wanted in life…his family or HER. Of course, I had no idea that was what he was doing. Therefore, I found it interesting, that when he returned from the great walk, he appeared to be a changed man. He sat me down, apologized over and over again, admitted his mistakes, came clean, and told me that he wanted to make me and our family the foremost thing in his life once more. After proclaiming all of this, he immediately called HER with me sitting beside him and he told her together that we were staying together as a couple while explaining her that the five year affair was over. Well, her stripes came out for him to see in full glory. This woman, who had told him numerous times that she wanted to see us together, began sending me conversations that they had had in which he was not overly kind in his assessment of me and our relationship. It was painful to say the least but also very eye opening for both me and B to read these texts and  it gave me some insight that I so desperately needed.

And so it was in the month of August when I literally found myself with the shoe on the other foot after all this time and I was the one choosing whether B and I would be together again. Being together is what I thought I wanted for the past year-and one-half,  yet, faced with this unexpected change of his heart, I found I was unsure what I really wanted for myself. Did I want to start a new journey on an entirely different path or did I want to try again with a man who broke me into little pieces but also knew where the glue went to help put them back in place? Would I be making a decision out of fear or would it be because whatever decision was truly the best for me?

Confession time: Soon after separating, I joined a dating service…not so much because I was ready to date (I knew I was not) but because I felt that it would help me find me again and what I wanted or did not want in my life. And after much discussion with my therapist, we found that for me, it was the right thing to do. Frankly, I was surprised at the number of men who found me funny, sexy, beautiful and more importantly just plain interesting. And it felt good to have my worth acknowledged even though we all know the person who had to acknowledge that worth was really only me. I also rapidly found that I knew after a few emails that certain qualities in a man no longer interested me. In truth, I only met one of these men in person but I have never laughed so much in my life. He helped me to view myself in a way that was more realistic with who I actually am and it felt lovely. No, he was not who I would want in my life on a permanent basis but he was a lovely and wise diversion and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to give that up for B.

So I debated and wrestled with myself. I worried and fretted. I witnessed the pain the upcoming divorce was having on my kids and one of my teens was given a diagnosis of schizophrenia which brought me to this truth: I knew I did not want to traverse that diagnosis alone.  So I went to my lawyer and tried to protect myself to the best of my ability…and we moved as a family.

Of course, moving has not released me of all the distrust and pain I have felt over the past five years, but then again, I knew that it would not when I made the decision to try and rebuild our relationship and our lives again. At times, it has been a deep and dark struggle but I also know that it would be an skirmish if I was with ANYBODY because betrayal is a difficult thing to overcome. I think the worst thing about being betrayed is that you stop trusting your own perceptions and have to re-learn how to trust yourself  again which takes guts, time, and determination.  In addition, I knew that when I made this choice that trust would not come easily…and it hasn’t because…. TRUST=consistency/time …. and I have not had enough of either to let go of the hyper-vigilance that the affair has instilled in me.  And yet…happiness and joy has arrived again. My ruminating about the affair has decreased. The trust still has to be earned but with each act of love, each moment that we carve our for our relationship, and each time we have a deep conversation, I little smidge of it arrives to take the place of doubt.

So we have been here for over two months and so far it has been pretty darn good.  We have done a lot of traveling to local sites as a family and B and I have had many date nights…some good and some not so good…but we are trying hard to listen to one another again. Yes, it is early and with the chaos of a move comes a time where real life and true feelings are suspended and now comes the hard part…day to day living without the excitement of a move impinging on our daily lives.  But for the most part, I am happy with the decision that I made and if I made the wrong one I guess I will have to live with the painful consequences. But if I made the right one…I see a better life together before us that will sustain us in our old age. Don’t get me wrong an affair is a horrible thing… but maybe… just maybe… it has been the catalyst for changes that needed to be made in order for our relationship to survive and flourish over the next 30+ years. We shall see… but in the meantime I am determined to become my true and best self, let go of the anger and disappointment and if B doesn’t like it, frankly, he doesn’t have to live with it. For I am no longer living in fear and never will again.

Congratulations Winner!

It’s funny. I have been thinking a lot about the last and only conversation I had with you (the five year mistress) since finding out about the affair. You know the one… during which my husband told you it was finally over while I listened and Skyped with the two of you… you being fully aware of my intrusive presence and witness to your heartbreak. During this conversation, with all the contempt you could muster, you said to me “Congratulations, Winner!” and over the last few months I have thought about this often.  This is because far from being “The Winner” I believe I have been the biggest loser of them all in this sick love triangle, except perhaps for my children who have lost their sense that the world is a safe place now and forevermore. And for that and that alone, I will never forgive you, try as I might and as a result, I end up hurting myself each and every day. For this sorrow, as we both know, only hurts me and doesn’t begin to touch you because you are not a part of their lives and you don’t have to bare witness to their pain.

Yes indeed, I may have my husband back but there are so many things I have lost forever or have yet to regain. I have lost my innocence regarding the 30+ year relationship I have had with my husband.  I lost the notion of true love and happily ever afters. And unfortunately, I have learned that the man I once trusted with my life is capable of deceitfulness and lies so deep that the Grand Canyon is not big enough to hold it all.

Sadly, I have lost all belief in myself: the idea that I can discern truth from fiction, that my perceptions are to be believed without question and that my feminist stance is a in-dwelling part of me which I honor no matter what. I have even been stripped of parts of my dignity. For those who know of the affair and the fact that I went back to a cheater, judge, I have somehow given up on my own sense of self, and my self- worth….and they pity me for it, thankful that they aren’t a spineless me. Yes, now I  have whole pieces of myself that have disappeared as I tried to preserve my children’s lives and my own no matter the cost to my own sanity and ego.

Further, where once I believed that my husband was incapable of  certain behaviors; I find he is capable of so much more than I could even conceive that it makes me feel emotionally unsafe. I may have him but I often feel alone as I wonder if he is still thinking of you when he closes his eyes while we are making love. I have lost my sense of joy and gratitude that I am alive because I no longer feel fully alive in this shell of myself which I now inhabit. A shell that my oldest son no longer talks to because he is angry at me as he feels I have turned my back on everything I have always professed that I am and he says I am no longer a role model for his daughter, a fact that may indeed be true. Now, the ground that once held the foundation of my marriage strong and steady is soiled and has turned to quicksand and what is left of the foundation is so unstable there are days that I don’t know if anything can be built on it to last no matter how hard we try.

But mostly what the two of you have taken from me is a sense of peace and all I am left with is an anger which rides a broomstick like a witch on Halloween. Here one minute, gone the next, casting spells and leaving behind ghosts which haunt me and rise suddenly out of nowhere their shadows throwing themselves throughout my life in the most unexpected places and ways. It’s the peace I miss the most. That sense of security which dwells inside your soul… quiet, restful, content contributing to a persistent belief in yourself and all you can accomplish. That stolen part of me hurts the most and at my age I worry that I will never find it again… keeping me in death tied to this thing I lost in life…forever searching and becoming a ghost myself. Oh, I do all the right things. I read the self-help books, I meditate daily, and  I try to practice forgiveness, but sadly, this sense of peace I once had is now elusive and I equate it to trying to find a lost diamond in the forest after you have walked a thousand miles. Although you re-trace your steps it is nowhere to be found. It’s the same with peace.

Even more bewildering than all this is that there are days that I still obsess about you, and while these obsessions are less frequent, they still interrupt me and my life at the most inconvient times. Like when I am finally finding peace in my husband’s arms, or while I am in the check out line at the grocery store, or while gassing up the car. Sadder still, I believe I think of you more than my husband thinks of you and it makes me scratch my head in wonder that you take up any single part of my day when you don’t deserve being thought of again for one measly nano second. And yet I do.  I resent that you now rent a room in my head when I never gave you permission to move in. I also find that when I think of you I find myself trying to I hate you, just so I can live with him. For the truth is that if I spent the amount of time thinking about what he did to me…to us…to our family,; then there are times I think that I could probably never live with him again. And so the blame lies solely at your feet.

Frankly, it would have been so much easier if you had been a six month affair. Easier still if you had lived down the block but being around the world made you that much more desirable because you were never put to the test, never had to live day in and out with this man or the chaos of our very complicated family. You never had to have a fight because he had to come home to his family or because he put us first. You never had to see us, husband and wife, laughing and joking together while walking down the street disturbing your sense of righteousness at saving B from the “awful” woman that he made you think I was. No, you never had to pick up my boys underwear, smell my husband’s farts in bed, iron his shirts or clean up after him. You got the fantasy relationship that I now dream of. That one that is free of complications because reality never actually touched it. Both of you were each others perfect fantasies because your relationship was just that…a fantastic dream. And therefore, the forbidden kisses you gave one another over the phone were sexier and more exciting than any I gave him. Nothing I did could bring satisfaction because you were mightier in his mind than I. And that mightiness overshadowed his “disappointing “real life with me which was all created in his own head to justify what he was doing and it was egged on by you. And as a result, during your “perfect” five years of Skyping, B got the perfect untested woman who would tell him whatever it was he wanted to hear, would listen and cluck with sympathy, all the while telling him all YOU would do for him once you took my place and how much you would appreciate him. Yes, you made him a King and he found wearing your crown was  quite addictive.

Sadly, it was not so much him you wanted but merely to take my life so that you could have my status, my home, my American passport and my “THINGS.”   I suppose the $50,000 he paid you for that three day fuck cemented that interest in obtaining my place in his life too. I am sure it gave you hope that you would be lifted out of a life of poverty and uncertainty because of “your” savior and our resources. And I have to say that I “get it.”  I understand why you betrayed me, the woman you had over for dinner with your family. You had hopes of permanently securing what you could only get in small very lucrative doses… freedom, security, citizenship, and “love.”

So, while you think I am the winner in this game I can assure you that I am not. No one wins in the game of adultery. Not one single soul. Our children lost big-time. They were hurt in so many ways and now wonder if their father is someone they can truly rely on to be there for them for the rest of their lives. You were hurt and I was hurt… both of us stripped of our dignity, left naked, exposed, and very much alone in an wasteland of empty emotions. I did nothing noble in fighting for B. If the truth be told, I was just a wife and mother who was trying to hold onto our family and our dream of what our life would look and be like all those years ago when we married. I was stubborn and petty and just angry enough not to let you “win.”

No, if there is a winner in all of this it would be B, the man who strung along two women, gave and with held his love as it suited him and who ate both from the plate of the secure and that of the fantasy. He got to feel undeserved admiration from the two of us, and your family, along with the rush that comes from being the prize. And he wasn’t left feeling “less than nothing” whereas the two women involved were.

So sleep well tonight knowing that you were not the “loser” and I the “winner.” This game of deceit and sacrifice did nothing for any of us except to line your pockets and to line B’s head with ideas of who and what he is not. And if adultery is the game for losers as I suspect it is, then the game becomes less about winning and more about just surviving. And all of us are now left just trying to survive the selfishness of two people who thought they had it all but in reality had nothing.

 

Nightmare-A 10 Minute Poem Challenge

Not today

Will things go your way

For I stand strong

After so many wrongs

You think you know me

But you don’t know my:

Resolve

Spirit

Truth

You don’t know:

Who you have forced me to become

Who I am finding again

And the beauty of all I possess

You think that forgiveness is the answer

But forgiveness lies in:

Truth and

Consistency

Over Time

You have not proved yourself to me

I am not sure that you ever can

Because until you take full responsibility

For the havoc you have wrought

For the pain you have caused

For the tranquility you have shattered

And stop blaming me for reasons

You use to justify your affair

Until you look at yourself

Your past

And who you really are

vs. who you think you should be

You are living a fantasy

While I am living your nightmare

I want to wake up

Please, someone wake me up

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