Friday, December 4, 2015

PART 1: Divorce Is A Heartfuck

Photo Credit: Samael Kreutz from Concepción, Chile - Broken Heart

This is not the article I had on tap this week to write. There's a half-written post about going back to school sitting in my Drafts folder. Women educating themselves is something about which I feel incredibly strongly. But my heart isn't in finishing it because I have decided to move forward with divorcing my husband this week.

This is my second marriage. I've been down this road before. Some of the feelings are eerily similar to my prior divorce. Some of the feelings, though, are new, nasty little things. And ALL of the feelings are akin to being hit by truck.

I'm currently living in a bubble - one where I'm trapped inside, along with all these feelings of rage, confusion, self-doubt, and profound sadness. They keep taking turns poking me and, sometimes, gut-punching me. Everyone else is outside the bubble, happily floating along with their lives, moving faster and more assuredly than me. I keep sampling in small doses that taste of a happy, genuine reality - my daughter learns a new word, I close a deal at work, my son tells me a funny joke. For those few moments, my head pokes out of the bubble and I desperately gulp the joy down. Then the bubble quickly closes around my head and all of the bubble feelings crash back into me.

I'm so angry. I'm angry that I feel forced into making this decision. I'm angry that divorce is the only viable option left for our family. I'm angry at myself that I allowed my marriage to get so out of control. I'm angry that, each time I think my husband is softening and starting to understand how I feel, he does or says something to me that blatantly proves he does not. I'm angry that trying to fix our relationship HIS way is more important than actually trying to fix it in a way that allows me to feel comfortable and safe. I'm angry that the decision has been framed as solely mine. (Like when you get rear-ended in your car so you tap the guy in front of you. That's all your fault right? You could have stopped it but didn't.) Also, I cannot bear any forced happiness right now. In business, sometimes you have to pony up and be psyched about, literally, nothing. I'm wholly uninterested in much of anything, but particularly anything that creates more feelings to crowd into my bubble.

I'm so conflicted. As I sit here writing this article, all of the people and animals in my house are sound asleep - all is calm and quiet and steady. In these moments, I waiver. I think that if I just give it one more shot, it could totally work out. When I'm driving my car in complete silence and sobbing, I think that if I just go ahead and call the therapist and hold my husband's hand all the way to her office and sit him down on her couch, THEN everything will just fall into place. I think that, if I just tried to explain everything to him in a different way - maybe I could write an email, maybe I could have someone else talk to him and explain why he should do the right thing - maybe then he could take down his defenses and see it from my perspective and give a shit about my experience of all this. Several times now, I've seriously considered just throwing this entire divorce thing in the trash because I feel like there's a humane part of him somewhere in there that really DOES understand and care about me. And just maybe, he will make a conscious choice to stop being defensive and stop blaming and stop accusing long enough to really hear me. But then I remember - when the house was alive and life was happening, as life does, I watched him letting me do everything for our children. I watched him treat my son with such vehement disregard and cleanly snipe at me at every turn. I watched him wield his honed tools of manipulation every time I even mentioned my own feelings and turn into a conversation about him and his concerns. I watched him call me unthinkable names, put words in my mouth, and place feelings in my heart that had no basis. I watched him pitch a fit when I won't agree to do what he wants me to do. He can't just listen to my words. He can't just try to put himself in my shoes. He can't just respect my boundaries. He tells me that he will do "whatever it takes" to keep our family together, and then, pointedly, does whatever it takes to get what he wants, make himself comfortable and happy and make himself feel like "the good guy." I watched him make himself the one and only priority - every. single. time. These are the times I feel completely justified and solid in my decision. 

I'm so unsure. I've done this single mom thing before - but never with two children, never with kids'  extracurricular activities, and never with a boatful of animals. It's a lot and I'm not sure I can do it. How am I going to get everything done without affecting the kids? It would be the absolute WORST if my decision were to preclude them from doing something that is valuable to them. I don't want to fail them any more than I already have. Am I really going to be able to handle running a household, caring for all the living things in my house, working a full-time job, and still be as good of a person and mother as I've always hoped to be? My daughter already cries for Daddy when he's not here, and every time it grips my heart to the point I can't breathe. My eyes well up with tears every time my son sees me struggling and steps up to offer a helping hand - he shouldn't have to take care of me. I'm supposed to be taking care of him. 

I'm so sad. I just keep picturing in my mind the dream of dancing with my husband at our 50th wedding anniversary slipping into oblivion. The celebration that would ensue with our children, grandchildren, and lifelong friends that will never happen. The family vacations we'll never take, where we watch our kids playing on the beach and nestle into each other with contentment. The family holidays we'll never share, the laughter I will never hear there, as I see my kids and their cousins play together and love and support each other. I can't look over at him anymore with pride and bewilderment when my daughter does something amazing and new. I can't jump up and down with excitement with him anymore when my son accomplishes a hard-fought goal. There will be a set of Christmas-socked feet missing from our annual Christmas photo and, instead, there will be a giant, gaping, heart-wrenching hole there. There's so much that I miss already about him - scratching his beard, smacking his cute little butt, holding his hand in the car, snickering together when my son does something entirely idiotic and tries to hide the evidence. We built this amazing life together and I'm wholly grateful for every little piece of it - but now it will be missing one of the most important pieces. The piece that, many moons ago, used to build lego-men with my soon in the living room floor. The piece that, once upon a time, used to spend as much time snuggling my daughter as I do. The piece that used to be the first in line to plan a trip to the fishing pond, the beach, the movies, or anything that could make our family experiences tighter, better, closer. The loving, caring, thoughtful piece that used to make solving family problems his one and only priority. I'm wistful and profoundly heartbroken that it's all been swept away.

So why am I writing this? Why am I sharing this publicly? Why am I writing anything at all? Why not just retreat and rest and regroup? Why not just keep this private thing private and deal with it on my own?

The short answer is: I know that I'm not the only woman going through this right now. I know I'm not the only woman feeling these feelings right now. And if I can help ONE woman - just one - know that these feelings are normal and she is not alone, then it's worth it. 

I was crying (again) at my dining room table the other day and my son walked up to me and said something that I found rather insightful.

"You guys are just different. You're the type of person who, when someone gives you lemons, you make lemonade. He's the type of person who, when someone gives him lemons, he squirts them in the eyes of his enemies. Just make lemonade."

So that's what I'll be doing. I'll be over here writing and making lemonade.

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