So Much Has Changed

Re-reading that first post was difficult. It’s hard to read and remember the actions and feelings that accompanied situations that were so painful. A lot has happened since I wrote the first post, most notably my decision to leave my marriage. I still remember the day that I vocalized it. It was so much easier than I even realized.

I had to leave.

I needed to leave.

It was best for me that I left.

That decision was almost 3 months ago. As I sit in my hotel room, recounting the last 3 months, it feels like a whirlwind. So much has happened that really should have happened a long time ago.

Back at the beginning of February, my husband sent me this crazy text about how he was going to call a divorce lawyer the next day so we could get everything straightened out.

Divorce lawyer? What the hell was he talking about? We hadn’t even talked about separation, let alone divorce. But there it was – the name of a lawyer and his contact number. I ignored it, because Tom has this annoying habit of overreacting. I didn’t think much of it until a week later, he sent me another message. This was after he had decided to leave town early for work instead of spending Valentine’s Day with me. We had NEVER spent Valentine’s Day together in the 10 years we’d been together. It wasn’t like I was sad over it – Valentine’s Day has always been my dad’s birthday, and so that was always the main focus of that day. But this year, Tom was going to be in town and he had made these grand plans to spend the night at a deliciously expensive restaurant.

We got our taxes done on February 12th and like a lot of things, they didn’t go the way we had hoped. We had sold our house the year before and that killed us on our taxes. When we would normally expect to receive a few thousand dollars back, we actually had to pay this time. Immediately Tom was in a sour mood. “Not much we can do about it”, I said. The next morning Tom told me he was leaving early for Florida and wouldn’t be home on Valentine’s Day. He cancelled our reservations and started packing. He never once asked me.

I didn’t respond. I just remember walking away and realizing I didn’t care.

A couple of days later, I received another text with the contact information for a divorce lawyer. That’s it, I thought. I’m done. I’m not fighting this stupid battle anymore. If this is how he wants to handle situations, then I’m over it.

What a relief.

What a fucking mess.

Really? After all this time together, this is how it was going to end.

You know when you finally make the decision to move on – even though it’s probably the hardest decision you’ll ever have to make, there’s a sense of calm that comes over you. Like all along your body had been telling you to leave -shouting at you to get some sense. And now you were finally doing it. NOW.

No turning back. It was over.

And now it was time for the rest of my life to start…

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Let me introduce myself

I guess before I get started in all the nitty gritty awful details, I should probably tell you a little about myself. I met my husband shortly after graduating college. He was going through a divorce and experiencing relationship freedom for the first time in 10 years, and I was enjoying the first highs of adulthood. We started off as drinking buddies, then drunken friends with benefits – and before you knew it, we were saying “I love you” and moving in together.

We dated for 7 years.

7 YEARS!

Then we got married and now we’ve been married for 2 1/2 years.

I wish I could say that everything has been amazing, but that wouldn’t be the truth. I mean, what relationship has been perfect?  But if I’m honest with myself, as much as I was in love with him, there were also many times when I should have walked away. I should have said “fuck you” and walked. He was never physically abusive, but he was certainly emotionally abusive. And there’s something about the power that someone has over you in a situation like that. It doesn’t matter how mean they get, or how hurtful their words, I just wanted him to love me. I wanted him to see me as this amazing woman. So against my better judgement, I stayed. I stayed because I was so embarrassed to tell those close to me how he talked to me. I was embarrassed to ever share anything personal because I didn’t want anyone to judge him. I knew that if they knew what he said, they would tell me to leave.

I still remember this one moment so vividly – my husband (then boyfriend) and I worked in the same profession. At times I thought that was the coolest thing, but most of the time I wished we lived different lives. One day I was talking to a colleague, and my boyfriend, we’ll call him Tom (we might as well name him!) walked up to me while I was in the middle of a conversation and asked me if I had trouble pooping.

Funny, right?

Except, you should have seen the look in his eyes. The hateful, mean look that I saw on his face as he was walking closer. That look that set off sirens in my head, telling me to run away. That look that accompanied those words. Those words were said to embarrass me. Those words were said to prove that he had the power to make me look small.

Tom walked away after making that comment. I sheepishly shrugged at my colleague, and managed a really embarrassed, half chuckle. I acted like it was totally normal and funny, yet it was perfectly obvious how uncomfortable both of us were. As I walked toward Tom, who was now standing about 100 feet away, I stared at him like I didn’t know him. I should have been pissed! But instead I felt like I deserved it. Clearly I had done something that made him mad. Clearly I had been in the wrong. I hadn’t been flirting or acting inappropriately. I had simply been talking to my colleague about work. But Tom didn’t want me talking to other people. He only wanted me talking to him.

And that’s the sick part. That’s where it doesn’t make sense. The worse he was, the harder I fought to make him happy.

I lost myself.

Does that make any of my actions in present day acceptable? Can I somehow justify the decisions I’ve been making?

No.

They’re pretty shitty.

But at the same time, they’re liberating.

I’m in control.

At what cost? Tom has changed a great deal. He is no longer that hateful, hurtful man. But I never got over it. I never dealt with it. That pain is all still there. It was 7 years of situations where I felt belittled, embarrassed, unimportant, stupid – until I didn’t. I finally stopped giving two shits about him and started focusing on me.

That doesn’t save the marriage. Or does it?

That’s something I’m trying to figure out…