Big Changes

Well, everyone is facing major changes these days…are we not? It is in how we handle them that we will one day be able to look back and determine our own humanity and if we rose to the occasion of acting and being our best or not. Determining what is important to our concept of a higher good and promoting what we consider to be virtues that we wish to live by will, undoubtedly, be a test for us all as we go through this uncharted territory.

But I digress.

Last week I flew to Texas to be with the kids. I took them to an island off the coast for Spring Break and we had a wonderful time. Our condo was right on the beach and to hear the waves rolling in was a treat and something you could depend on in these uncertain times. Of course, South Padre Island is party city during break, but not this year, as events began to be canceled due to the virus outbreak.

After arriving back in San Antonio Sunday night, I began to get concerned about if I would be able to fly home on Thursday. With all the corona virus news and the policies that the President was implementing it seemed like the right course of action would be to leave in the next day or two. Getting stuck at my Texas home with B, possibly indefinitely, sounded like it could be very uncomfortable. It was further complicated by the fact that his traitor sister, who promoted B’s affair, was driving in on Thursday with her daughter and I figured that three against one did not make for good odds. Frankly, I began to question just what they might do to me. I mean, they have no loyalty to the person who has helped them over the years (me) and I was concerned that they could concoct some sort of story and I might see the inside of a jail cell, so I changed my airline reservation and got a credit fo $200…a rather nice surprise!

Things began to change rapidly in regards to the corona virus across the state and the country. By the end of the day on Monday, the kids school was being closed and the diving program was possibly being terminated for a undetermined amount of time. When I went to pick Gracie up from practice I thought that perhaps it would be a good time to ask if she wanted to go with me and give her a taste of what living with me might be like. So I asked her if she wanted to come home with me and she couldn’t say yes fast enough. So I told her that she had to tell her dad and then I would book a ticket for her.

When we got home B flat out said, “No, she is not going. She has school and practice. No, she may not go!”

Gracie begged.

He was unrelenting.

I finally told him school was closed and I would get her to practice her and frankly, she had the right to make her own decision and that at her age a judge would let her do what she wanted. I told him I was going upstairs and would try to order a ticket for her. He was angry and not happy but I booked a ticket for her anyway. Later he accused me of plotting to take Gracie but in reality I had no plans of doing so. The reality of the situation is this: because of the corona virus, an opportunity arose, and as a result of it, Grace and I decided to take advantage of the time together that it presented.

Later that evening I told Paul and that because he had a neurology appointment on Thursday he could not come with me. However, if he wanted to come after that he was welcome to do so. He seemed hurt and angry that night but the whole entire time I was there he appeared to be angry at me. For instance, when I asked innocently what B was doing the weekend we were on Padre he gave me a big defensive “WHY?” and it began to seem that he was beginning to, for lack of a better word, make it a B (and him) vs me type of situation. Frankly, that saddens and worries me.

Later that evening I asked B why he seemed to dislike me so much and he replied, “I don’t hate you. I still love you and care for you”  to which I replied something like: “…you know, it was hearing (the butt dialed) conversation between you and your sister that made me leave. The distain and hatred you have for me was so evident and never once did you correct the lies and ugliness your sister said to you about me. That is not love. The things you said were not loving so please don’t tell me your care for me and love me because no one speaks about someone they love the way the two of you spoke about me Hearing the two of you broke my heart and it became evident when you talked about Nhi with such love and me with such anger that it was time for me to leave.”

Anyway, the next morning, before our departure, B played his instrument and hummed all morning long. Not a word was mentioned about our impending trip.  He dropped us off at the airport giving Gracie a brief hug and was gone.

The airports were eerily quiet. On our flight from San Antonio to Las Vegas the 145 passenger plane had 32 people on it while the second leg of our flight from Las Vegas to California sat 50 individuals out of a possible 175. I have never seen so few people on a plane in my life.

So Gracie and I are here. She will be doing long-distance on-line learning through her school. It is nice to have one of my kids with me….it feels good…it feels right and it is wonderful being a hands-on mom again even though my fibromyalgia is still kicking my butt. But having Gracie here makes the pain bearable because she is such a joy to be around.

Another interesting development…B’s sister did not come after all but her daughter (the Meth-head (clean for a little over 100 days) flew in instead of drive…my, how plans change!

If you remember, B stated after I left, that he would have to hire someone to help him even though my kids said they did not need anyone to come in nor did they need any help. I now suspect that he brought his niece to Texas to be the nanny. When I asked how long she would be staying the original answer was a couple of weeks. I then asked if she didn’t need to return to her job at which point B said, “Well, maybe three weeks or a month. I don’t know at this point.” What I do know is that on her Facebook page she wrote “TBD” when a friend asked how long she was staying. As friends who have met her said at this turn of events, “Well, how would that work? Gracie is more mature and together than she ever will be.” And so, a messed up 26 yo is at the house providing guidance to my sons and I don’t like it one bit. Luckily, the boys are both anti-drug so I hope that provides some level of protection.

One more thing. Since moving here and living alone I have found it difficult to sleep at night. I have heard every creak and groan of the house during the night. So yesterday, Grace and I went to pick out an alarm. Here it is…

 

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Conversation With Paul

I had a conversation with my 17 yo son, Paul, this morning. It broke my heart. He told me that Andre and Gracie where so different since I have been gone. More isolated than usual, sadder… with no spark… but that when we were together for the diving competition last week that the spark returned…all because they were with me and because we were a family again.

He went on to tell me that I was what kept our family balanced and alive. That I was what kept the life in the family. That while I was there they always knew that I had their backs. That they can talk to me but not to their dad. That the love that was felt in our family was because of me and if they knew of love it was because of me and without me there something vital and important is missing from their lives. And that because they knew I am coming to be with them that there is life in the house again.

I cannot think of more beautiful words than what Paul said to me nor could I think of a bigger compliment to pay to a mother. In fact, the tears have arrived once more as I put his words to screen because the decision to leave my children behind to get away from the gaslighter was the hardest decision I ever made. It was so difficult that I stayed for two years after learning all the sorrid details, having $50,000 of our money go to Mistress Vietnam, and being emotionally abused while cheater decided who he wanted in his life…and then I was lied to even more. Five years of wasted time with B but obviously not with my children. Because of those five years with me they developed those qualities that they needed to be strong now, be able to love now and to have faith/hope that things will get better for them. They saw me try and give it my all and now they can do the same for themselves.

So thank you, son. Your Momma needed to hear your loving words. I can hardly wait to spend a week with all of you!

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Running On Empty

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And so I start my new life. A life that once offered such promise and now I know not what it brings. One could say we never do…know what life brings. But when I was married for 32 years, I know that life brought me hope, assurance, and feeling appreciated. Now I feel nothing…but empty. An all encompassing emptiness like the lack of sound around you as you stare wide-eyed at the snowy silence in a forest.  That surreal reaction that feels so other worldly because it makes your ears hurt with the nothingness that fills them. That is kind of what leaving your children to get away from your cheater “I’m in love with our tour guide who is 20 years younger than you” feels like when you finally put your foot over the threshold. All the remains is a vast and unending silence. And while I am glad to be away from B’s constant lies, the price I am paying for doing nothing but believing in him…in us… in our family… is a heavy price to pay. He cheats…he has our kids. She cheats…she walks into my life and I am replaced. Everything I have poured my heart and soul is gone. Everything I loved into since I ran out my door at 15…never to return…gone. There was nothing to return to then and nothing to return to now…but emptiness…vacant hearts…desolate times in which I could not compete with the forbidden kiss of a woman across the world. A love, once whole but now dried up… falling apart… flaky and hard… like a day old biscuit.

Yet, every morning I put my feet over the side of the bed refusing to give into grief and pain that pulls at the roots of my insides, snapping like a rubber band against the skin…a wince coming just prior to letting go of the stretch. And so I stand, taking my first steps just like I did 58 years ago when first steps were exciting and everyone squealed in delight. Not terrifying as they are now. Falling when you are one = bandaids and kisses whereas when you are my age it can mean broken bones and even possibly death.

I feel like I should be grateful…I have a place to land unlike so many others in this world. But I feel no gratitude. Only the emptiness of once abundant touches…gone. “Hey, mom…I’m home!”…distant dreams. I miss my kids. I miss my life. But most of all I miss me.  Who I was when I was their mom? When I was someone’s wife?  When I thought I knew what I was and what I wanted. Now I look in the mirror at a stranger. A person’s whose eyes flash like a loud neon sign, ” Vacancy!” There is nothing here because I don’t even know the place that I am at, the language that is spoken, or the resources available to me. Life on this side of the aisle is so different and full of unknowns. Like being dropped off on a desert island with one match and being told, “Okay, now go make a life for yourself!” Does striking the match guarantee fire? Where to I even begin?

I have been reading Joan Didion’s book The Year Of Magical Thinking in hopes of reacting to grief in a normal way, yet, there is nothing normal about this. Grief when someone leaves you alone due to death protects the mind. While all encompassing you know that the person who left you didn’t have a choice. They didn’t want to leave you. Grief when your husband is in love with someone else is different. They had a choice and they choose someone else.  They wanted to leave you or wanted you to leave. Either way it makes no difference. You are rejected for who you are and all you ever hoped to be. You are not enough…never will be. This kind of grief doesn’t allow for “what if’s.” It just allows for the coring out of your heart and soul…all that is left is dry dusty bones held up by pieces of your life that fill in the joints making it possible to remain upright like a medical skeleton hanging in a med school dorm. Something hanging there that no one even notices anymore in the age of the digital life. Something regulated to the obsolete.

I will be okay. I keep telling myself this because if there is one thing I have learned in life it is that it will be okay…eventually. It always gets better…eventually. And when my eventually comes I will kick up my heals and dance celebrating who I am and all that I have created. But for now I sit quietly contemplating the same life questions I did when I was 15, 20 and 35. Who am I? Who will I become? What do I want? How do I go about achieving this?  The devil is in the details and the details have yet to be revealed.

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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.

 

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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Letter To The Mistress

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Boobs unknowingly appear to be compliments of me
So everyday, B tells me he wants to get back together with me because he loves me and wants to be with me. He begs and pleads and I say no.
“Go to Ihn,” I tell him.
“But I don’t want her. I want you. She is just an addiction that will end. I don’t want to let go of her until I know what is happening with us.”
I tell him that nothing is happening with us. We are getting divorced thanks to you. But he doesn’t let go because he wants us both.
And he tells me that he tells you that wants to be with you too. He wants to marry you.
 But here is the thing you need to know. My kids will never accept you. They know that you broke up our family and you are responsible for all of this. So you don’t win. Neither do they. And B loses most of all because the most important thing to him, his children, know what the two of you have done and how you have plotted against me, their mother. How they have suffered the ultimate loss due to the selfishness that you both have exhibited.
And when this divorce is over B will have very little assets/money left and he will hold that against both of us. In essence he will have to start over at 58 yo. and you will be working until the day you die to support him. And if he is smart he will have sign a pre-nup so nothing will be yours anyways.
One truth I do know is this: he will never feel right about your relationship because of all the guilt he feels and will continue to feel because he knows in his heart that what he has done is wrong. He knows that how he has acted is not the man he wants to be.
Further, he will never know if you “Love” him for him or for the money that he has and the over $50,000 USD he has given you to re-do your Daddy’s house (and by the way, I want my half of that back). And he knows this. He knows he can never fully trust you and he won’t. He will hold back because he will never be completely sure what your real motives are. At least we started with nothing but love and we both know that our motive and intensions were pure for the first 28 years anyways.
We are both fools, you and I. Being pitted one against the other with all aspects our humanity ignored. Yet, he is an even bigger fool and because I have been married to him for over 30 years, because we share children, memories and we once had a full and exciting life; I don’t want to see you cheat and manipulate him any more.  You have done enough damage knowing he has a family with two kids with autism who don’t do change and needed our family intact to reach their full potential.
If you really love him, like you say, then you and I will both let him go so he can find a relationship with a woman that his children will accept and that he knows is from the heart, not for his pocketbook. Let him have a chance at a real relationship not just the projected fantasy that you are. He isn’t in love with you he is in love with the idea of being in love with you. Shit, he has been with you for three days two years ago. He has no idea who you really are. He just knows what you show him to entice him and you are an expert at reading men as a “tour guide” from Vietnam needs to be in order to bag a moneybags and lift you out of poverty. As you yourself said on your FB page you and your friend are two well paid concubines.
Yet, the real truth is that you cannot win at this “love” affair with him. You will only end up losing in the long run.  He deserves better. He deserves to find real happiness with a real woman who will love him and who will love his children and who will love her back. He deserves to be happy and frankly he will never find that with you because your relationship has been created in the chaos of lies, manipulation and cheating…that is what he will remember and that is what he will see no matter what you do. He does know what you are capable of and he has seen it on your Facebook.
I hope you do the right thing so that my husband can have a good life. With you it will not be possible. With me it will also not be possible. He needs a fresh start with someone new. I hope that you will be kind enough to step out of the way for him to find it. He deserves some measure of peace at this point in his life and with you he will never find it.

After The Affair

I was talking with my therapist today. It was exhausting. Almost 60 years of life to look at…some of it not pretty but a lot of it brilliantly played and enjoyed.

After the three years of B’s affair and the “almost” demise of my marriage it has been difficult at times to believe that B has changed and that our life together is stronger too.  The doubts that plague me have swirled fast and furious especially in the first six months after the storm.  The calm surety I have been searching for has been more elusive and more difficult to trust when I see it. Sometimes it appears to me that my life is only an illusion and I am always checking to make sure what I see is real. That process is exhausting and life-robbing. It is not life affirming nor is it increasing my sense of stability.

As I come upon 11 months of “knowing” about the affair I do feel hope and real joy again. The anguish and pain are slowly diminishing. Parts of me have been re-born and parts re-shaped into a better part of my whole. I have grown, explored and examined parts of my life that I saved until “LATER.” Yet, conveniently, LATER never came… until the affair… when I was forced to pick up the pieces and try to rebuild myself and my marriage. And now, believe it or not, at times I am even thankful for B’s affair because it has allowed both of us to evolve and create something different within ourselves and within our relationship. We are rebuilding on something that resembles bedrock and our foundation is no longer sinking in quicksand.

Another tidbit. For years I have not dreamed. Not once. EVER. But in the last month I have had three vivid dreams about B and “the other woman.” All involved water. In the last one, right before I woke up, an image of a goddess came to me and she held her hand out and said, ” Stop looking, It will come to you if needed.” The imagine was vivid, profound and unlike anything I have ever expeirenced before.

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My therapist tells me this is a good thing. That my psyche is clearing things out and washing them away.

I have also been busy creating my therapist provoked artwork. A recent picture is of a bird’s nest filled with various objects along with the words: LEARN, REST and FAITH interwoven into it. She says these are important words for me to concentrate on.

“What is faith?” she asks.

ANSWER

“It is the essence of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Can you see the wind? No? But you can see or hear the evidence of it in the sound of the wind chime or the rustling of the leaves. So REST in the hope that you have for your marriage and have FAITH in the evidence that you are seeing that things are changing for the better. Believe your goddess who is telling you to stop looking for trouble. and to believe that you can LEARN from your past, REST in the comfort of now, and have  FAITH in your future.

AND THEN SHE SAYS

“What if you get the stability you have been searching for your entire life? Will you see it and embrace it or will you run from it?”

GOOD QUESTION…AND FOR NOW…I DON’T HAVE AN ANSWER.

I would like to think that I have matured suffienctly to embrace all that has come and will come my way. Yet, at other times, I am just not sure. Sometimes I still want to just slide down the rabbit hole into another time and place.

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Yet, no matter what I choose I know that I am strong enough and wise enough to handle it because I have lived through the worst year of my life and not just survived but thrived!