I had planned to collect all of the despondent thoughts I’ve had in the last few weeks and funnel them into a post on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I feel driven to write now.
This Tuesday would be our 14th anniversary.
I left him a card on 8/16/13 (I went to Colorado, and he went to New England to…well, he said he was going to a comics museum, but he left out “with the woman to whom I ran”). I don’t remember what it said exactly, just that I figured it might be our last technical anniversary, I still had hope because he was telling me he loved me (and omitting the part about having another). Anyway, it felt weird not to even recognize it.
That’s why I didn’t throw out wedding pictures. It happened. My daughter might want to see someday. The existence of pictures doesn’t make it any more or less painful.
Being expected to pretend it didn’t happen has been a burden, though.
8/16/14 came, and I don’t really remember our anniversary…just thinking “huh. Well, this’ll probably be our last anniversary.”
8/16/15 came, and most of the crappiness I’d feel about the day (apart from “he’s engaged, my love life is a shit show, and it’s not fair) was diverted into heartache from another.
I had no idea I wouldn’t be divorced by now. I was told 6-8 months from when you sign. He signed in October; I signed at the beginning of November. Nothing.
I’ve gone from
“let’s just get this overwith so I can get on with my life and be taken more seriously as a relationship prospect”
to “we’re divorced. It’s just a paper. It doesn’t matter”
to what I can best describe as rage and absolute despair that can’t be put into a simple thought.
It does matter. I’m mad at him because he dragged his feet for so long, and I had to do everything to accomplish this thing that I didn’t even want to accomplish. He has the love of his life, and she was willing to get into and take seriously a relationship with a married man, but I do think that me just being “separated” is a tiny piece of the shit show that is my love life.
There were retirements, my lawyer told me in April, after you filed, so things are backed up even more. That’s no one’s fault, but I’m still going to stomp my foot about its unfairness.
My rage is actually just me crying and ruminating when I’m not with my daughter. Lately, I cry on the drive back every time I drop her off at her dad’s. I think of everything I’ve ever done wrong, every time I failed to prevent someone from wronging me..I guess it’s almost like confession.
A stupid thing I ruminate about is my ex’s whole “gothy” and “atheist” brands on twitter (yes, I know, but I’m having a tantrum so I’ll say what I want). He wears all black every day, talks about it often…but he lives with the one and his stepson (full time) and his daughter (part-time). He goes out every Thursday, they go out most Fridays, and they have a movie night every Tuesday.
You can put that in any color, and it’s still beautiful.
Take my “free” nights, and put me in any color, and it’s still despair. I just don’t advertise it because my goal is to move past it, not fetishize it.
I had religious beliefs for most of our marriage, and we both mostly avoided the topic, but he felt very free to say in front of me that christians were idiots. If I asked him to respect my beliefs, I was stifling and censoring him. When I was upset that I wasn’t asked to stand up at my nephew’s christening, but he was paired up with someone else to be godparents (which, in my culture, meant they’d be the parents if the parents died), he was completely dismissive. And then he stood up and professed to the church that he abhorred that he’d help raised his nephew as a christian…but that was just tradition.
Now, he’s very “into” being atheist, and he enjoys doing and showing off things that feel naughtily heretical, like running tumblrs of churches burning and art that has a “satanic” feel. He proselytizes and judges more as an atheist than I ever did as a christian (I always believed that what you believe is somehow what is true, and I felt that spiritual beliefs were so deeply ingrained that you really couldn’t chip away at how you felt at the core even if you wanted to), and he doesn’t see it.
I have never been that sure of or happy about my religious beliefs. I’m glad it’s opened up something in him, but here’s the thing:
He has never been atheist. He has always worshipped HER. First, it was his mom. Then, it was me. Now, it’s her. He has always been unable to navigate without a woman as his north. His mom has a very strong personality. I am submissive, but I developed a more overbearing personality with him to see if I really was enough for him and he really did love me (spoiler: I wasn’t. There was always someone else). I don’t think his fiancee is particularly dominant (although I’m certain that she is in bed–one of the biggest reasons he left is that I’m submissive), but it doesn’t matter. He’ll make his world revolve around her, expend every bit of energy showing his devotion and manipulating her world to avoid her being upset. Then what? I don’t know. Based on past patterns, she’ll eventually leave him for someone else. I’m not sure of that at all, though. I think they may just work out. I hope so: he left his kid, his wife, his whole lifestyle behind for her, so the stakes are much higher in this marriage.
As much as I whine about it being unfair that he got his “ever after,” and all I got was a string of mostly-degrading relationships, the thought of them working out makes me feel better about us divorcing. It at least feels like it had a purpose, that it was going to something good.
I don’t have much faith that the same is true for me. Not now, anyway.
I’m not dating at all. I have nothing romantically. I mean, my feelings for M haven’t changed.
But what I told him a few weeks ago (that I can’t do this, that I can’t be a secret, that I feel like I’m doing something wrong) hasn’t changed even though I kind of relapsed with him one night.
I haven’t made a move to date. I’m technically free to do so, although I wouldn’t without telling M (probably a pitiful, last-ditch effort to find any part of him that wants to be with me). I don’t want to.
So, I’m going to just examine why I don’t want to date even though I very much want a meaningful relationship with a man who likes me back, and that’s generally the route to that goal.
Once I reach a certain level of liking someone, there’s really not room for anyone else. Okay. Fine. But if someone doesn’t reciprocate those feelings, I have to nurse that wound, make room, and move on. I have not done those things. Why?
I mean, there’s the concrete stuff. I have been very glib about this in the past, to try not to admit that it fucked me up (because I think it’s my fault, and I really don’t want to shoulder the blame for yet another traumatic event), but the fact is that I had a pretty date-rapey experience. I consented to sex, fine. I did not consent to anal sex, and I wouldn’t have.
I am afraid of that happening again.
He turned out to have a girlfriend. I was disposable, it was over quick, but I still can’t make sense of it every time he kept hitting me up.
I’m afraid of that happening again.
Once I reach a certain level of intimacy with someone, I cannot stand being lied to, but I keep accepting it and staying with it and being hurt. I’ve always been this way.
Last August, M and I had a big blowout and breakup after I lied to him about going out with another guy. He told me that he thought I was working out my divorce trauma issues at his expense, that it’s “textbook ‘cycle of abuse.'” He was right, but not in the way he thought.
My first love was long distance. I wanted to be exclusive. He wanted to be, but he couldn’t, because of the distance, and because his mother didn’t want him to be serious. I stayed in it for two and a half years. Then he broke up with me. Then he wanted to try again…and it became apparent that I was just an orifice for him to visit until the one he really loved came around and wanted to be with him. So I broke it off. I nursed my wounds, then we were friends again. The first time I saw him during that time, he tried to guilt me into hooking up with him. Cried and everything.
When we got back together, he told me he didn’t want to see anyone else, didn’t want an open relationship. This time, he just lied about what he did.
There are some similarities here (although everything is a much more minor version). It’s long distance. There are very concrete reasons. It’s mostly lies of omission.
But once you get to a certain level of intimacy, kissing someone else at a party after too much cheap beer and generalizing stories about “a friend” so there are no names or pronoun are both going to have a similar effect on me: they’re going to make me go “how is this happening again?”
I know that I’m overly polite and self-conscious to the point of telling white lies. I sugar-coat what I say to my students and their parents all of the time in order to preserve their dignity and my job, respectively. I have lied early on in dating. If one prospect asked me what I did over the weekend, and what I did was going out to dinner on a date with another prospect, then “I went out to dinner with a friend.” The thing is, in most cases, the guy (or me, if I was the one doing the asking) didn’t really want to know if it was a date, and I don’t think there was anyone that I talked to every day, so I didn’t really have to deploy that lie very often.
That didn’t fly with M because, even though I told him I date around unless we have a talk to declare otherwise, and even though he told me he told me that he couldn’t be my boyfriend at the time, we had been talking every day.
“A friend” just doesn’t fit into a relationship with any kind of feeling, intensity, closeness, whatever. Closeness requires people to move past vague politeness. I see that now.
But I don’t see him meeting me there with it.
So, even though the only direct link between my shitty divorce damage and my failed attempt with the first person I’ve met who has some feelings for me but isn’t actually abusive is my failure to foresee or prevent either situation…I feel like I’m just being pummeled with memories and realizations of how I failed to stop others from hurting me and the fear that I haven’t learned enough from it to do better going forward.
I had a very good, healing dream this week about my ex. I don’t remember any of the words, but we talked. We just–talked. He acknowledged that we were very much in love, he was happy with me for a long time, and it was all real. I felt lighter, acknowledged, seen.
He still lies to me. Little lies just to placate me. “Can our daughter stay 7 hours later tomorrow? Sorry we just got invited by my mom to do X” (and then I found out he was invited 5 days ago). Tiny versions of the same patterns that made up most of his share of the damage to our marriage.
They hurt, because they echo our marriage. I don’t say anything about it, ever.
Most of my adult life has been spent with an elephant in the room. It was avoided, or I was blamed for it, or I blamed on things that he did in the past…now, it’s just the burden of loving someone and not being allowed to express it (for fear of abandonment/rejection, or because I’m told it’s too much for him for whatever reason).
I don’t want that anymore. If there’s nothing to talk about or acknowledge, then I’m not in a romantic relationship. If there is something real, then let’s talk about it whether it’s “good” or “bad.”
The things that go unsaid, for whatever reason, are what have damaged me. More truth. I don’t know how to spot and avoid dishonesty to get our before I catch feelings, I don’t know how to get more truth, but I know that that’s what will heal.
Jamie is over and Jamie is gone
Jamie’s decided it’s time to move on
Jamie has new dreams he’s building upon
And I’m still hurting
Jamie arrived at the end of the line
Jamie’s convinced that the problems are mine
Jamie is probably feeling just fine
And I’m still hurting
What about lies, Jamie?
What about things
That you swore to be true
What about you, Jamie
What about you
Jamie is sure something wonderful died
Jamie decides it’s his right to decide
Jamie’s got secrets he doesn’t confide
And I’m still hurting
Go and hide and run away
Run away, run and find something better
Go and ride the sun away
Run away like it’s simple
Like it’s right…
Give me a day, Jamie
Bring back the lies
Hang them back on the wall
Maybe I’d see
How you could be
So certain that we
Had no chance at all
Jamie is over and where can I turn?
Covered with scars I did nothing to earn
Maybe there’s somewhere a lesson to learn
But that wouldn’t change the fact
That wouldn’t speed the time
Once the foundation’s cracked
And I’m still hurting