Take care to tell it just as it was

I have a lot of writing that has gone unfinished. I think it’s mostly good for me to continue to journal, so I’m going start with why I haven’t finished or posted anything: Even more than usual, my thoughts and feelings are dominated by things that are directly and indirectly divorce-related. I hate it. I want it to go away, to be over.

I’ve learned and grown a lot from this, but that’s not enough for me to make peace.  I think that what I’m lacking is my official “story” of what happened. I think he created his own version of the story before he left, and I had to be the “bad guy” in it in order for him to justify cheating and breaking up two families. I’m still working on my version. I don’t want to tell my side, though.  I want to find something resembling the truth. There is no villain in my story, just two people who made mistakes, did bad things, and failed to see and deal with the problems that would lead to the end of their relationship.

I keep thinking of things from the past, way back, that make it so obvious that this would end with him cheating.  I feel like such an idiot, so weak, so pathetically lacking self esteem. This “new” old information came to me after I had written out and processed my entire post-divorce dating process, which can be summed up as “desperately trying to convince myself that what I had with these men who I liked very much meant something, when in fact it was often vile and usually meaningful only to me.”

I don’t trust my judgment. I think that writing out the whole story will serve as a eulogy, but I don’t have any confidence that I’m right.  I’ve written the events of the first 3 out of 19 years, and I’m mortified, because he sounds like an asshole and I sound like an idiot. Do I “defend” myself by making excuses for him (something my therapist says I do way too much), or do I leave it and have the reader thing I’m biased and bitter?  Or do I just drop it altogether because the belief that it’ll help is magical thinking that just leads to more time and energy spent on something that I say I want to leave behind?

I feel so trapped lately.  It’s been almost three years, and the divorce hasn’t been finalized. I signed my divorce papers at the beginning of November, and I’ve been increasingly antsy about it.  We’re divorced in every sense but the legal one…but that does matter to me.

I’m doing anticipatory grieving, which is good, because I have renewed hope that being officially divorced will improve how I feel. I want to know when it’s coming so that I can look forward to it, especially on my worst days.  To that end, I emailed the paralegal of the lawyer who filed:



I’m self-conscious lately of how obviously “not over it” I am.  The abandonment, the upheaval in my outer and inner life still troubles me.  When memories pop up, I feel longing for stability and safety, but mostly I feel increasing shame and distrust of my judgment in romantic relationships.

Part of me feels that the average person who is going to make a snap judgment on our failed marriage are going to say what my therapist says, which is that “no matter what, you don’t just step outside a marriage and cheat.” But I’m still very embarrassed and ashamed that I was so bad that he feels it was justified. It makes me feel ashamed, damaged, and exposed. I don’t know what other people think–I guess it’s possible that it’s something that never occurs to other people–but it hangs over my head and makes me feel that my past and present faults are obvious to everyone who meets me, which makes them even more difficult to escape even though I’ve shed a lot of my poor behavior.

It makes me afraid to be proud of myself, afraid to be confident.  No matter how well I think I’ve done, I still can’t shake that he truly feels that I brought it on myself.

I understand that this is the worst thing that’s even happened to me, and it’s still a large part of my life, my thoughts. It was traumatic.  I just want “it” (the emotional “it”) to be over.

It took me years to make peace with my mom’s mental illness and abuse, for it to no longer have bearing on my every day life.  I think that one of the major developmental tasks of transitioning from adolescence into true adulthood is coming to terms with an imperfect childhood guided by very flawed parents.  I think every first-world person has to deal with this.

My miscarriages were traumatizing, too. Each loss made me want a baby more while reminding me that I am not at all in control of my future and my body.

Divorce completely obscured my view of the future, too.  As the initial shock wore off, I saw that huge areas of my life were stable and consistent…but then again, no one thought that he would leave, so how do I feel safe about anything, or at least move the worries to the back of my mind so I can be a normal person? Every divorced person has to come to terms with someone who they thought would be there forever no longer being there, the loss of safety within relationships, and the regret of having spent ___ years in a relationship that you’d go back in time and bypass if you could. I feel like I do this “louder” than others. I hope I’m just being egocentric.

Part of my hesitation to even write about this is that I already feel so trapped by my ex.  My therapist is always trying to get me to be assertive with him, stop taking care of him, and I resent spending “me” time on him.  I want to practice with anyone but him.  Let me practice with the people who I want to stay a large part of my life: my friends, my family, M, coworkers. I don’t want to stand up to my ex for me, I want to deal with him less for me. I want neutral, quiet.

I feel like a walking red flag any time anything related to my ex comes up, any time I talk about him. I think I do a good job of modeling normalcy in divorce with my students, but I’m not feeling it lately.  I feel like it makes other people uncomfortable to mention my ex at all, even if it’s neutral or positive. I mean, that’s me, feeling self-conscious about everything I say, so I hope I’m wrong.

I do worry about it with M.  I don’t really know what he thinks of it, because I haven’t asked, but he said months ago things about me not being ready for a relationship and, 10 months into things, he’s not my boyfriend.

I really don’t know what he meant by that, so once in a while I take something that doesn’t feel good and question if that’s evidence for his assessment.  I’m obviously not one to dismiss something that makes me self-conscious, no matter how much I disagree with it.

So, the reason I haven’t really blogged (even though I think that doing so would help me discharge some thoughts, maybe even put some to rest) is that I’m ashamed.  I’m ashamed that so much of it would involve writing about my marriage and my ex, when I do just want to move on.

Wishing it away hasn’t helped, so I’m going to try something else. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll try something else. Maybe I’m being paranoid about how it looks to people reading this, but maybe I’m right in my fears that I look like a damaged, hot mess.  I hope that I don’t push anyone away by not yet having made peace with my divorce.  I don’t think I will…well, most of the time.  Some of the time, at least.  I don’t like where I am, but I should be honest about it.  At least this, way I feel that I’m doing something to keep moving forward while I wait for the concrete milestone of the divorce being finalized.

So, for now, I’ll keep writing the story, but I’ll also look for opportunities to write about other things, even if it’s not a novel. I already have one post in mind, and it’ll be short and sweet.


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