Saturday, February 9, 2008

To speak or not to speak...

Well, it's been confirmed. My SOB ex is, indeed on a rendevous weekend somewhere with his online girlfriend. I am so relieved to finally know that my instincts were right, that I can trust my gut feelings. I needed to know if I was just being paranoid and jealous, or if my intuition was correct, as I apparently don't have the best history of knowing when he is lying. But I think it's safe at this point to just assume the worst until proven otherwise.

I am torn between two modes of thinking. On the one hand, I envision them having a romantic, fantasy-filled Valentine weekend on the East coast, full of passionate sex, and I am furious - angry that he can't even have the self-control to wait until the divorce is final (or filed, for that matter!) to get it on with his trampy internet girlfriend. But then, on the other hand, I am reminded of two very important factors: in the real world he is 1) not the best conversationalist; nor 2) the best lover. So this weekend may not turn out to be what either of them are expecting anyway, and she can have him. Plus, for all he knows, she may be 20 years older or 200 pounds heavier than he expected. (Just thank God he has already had a little "procedure", so I don't have to worry about any progeny resulting from this encounter.)

My other dilemma is that I have been played for the fool for so long, with his lying and getting away with it for all these years, that I would love to take a little bit of his joy away from this trip by letting him know that I know what's going on this time. But how? When he calls for the kids, say something outright, like, "Say hi to your girlfriend for me!" or should I say something more cryptic, and leave him wondering if I know? Or do I just ignore it and let it play out on it's own, hoping he will self-destruct? Patience has never been my strong point, and it's killing me now.

What would you do?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Real life is messy

January was a hard month. I am so thankful it is over. Ever since my ex left in November, we've had one holiday after another: the traditional three - Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's; and then our lucky family has an additional triple-treat in January - ex's b-day, our anniversary, and my son's b-day. It's been one, loooong celebration, most of which I haven't felt like celebrating, but I've had to keep up with all of the traditions for the sake of my children, who have wanted more than ever for things to "be like they always are" even though their daddy is not here anymore. So I've slapped a smile on my face and pushed through it all and done it. And I must say that it's been exhausting.

Now finally, it's over. Except for Valentine's Day, which is, of course, just around the corner. Since our anniversary was in January, and since I was such a nice wife, I usually gave my ex a pass for v-day, so it's not that sentimental to me, although I have to admit that I'm getting a little tired of all the romantic commercials, etc., especially while wondering if I am going to spend the rest of my life alone.

Do I sound a little bitter this evening? Maybe it's because I am taking my daughter to therapy tomorrow because she is not adjusting well to this whole situation. Every time she comes home from a weekend at her dad's she is completely out-of-control, alternating between hyperactive, physical aggression with her brother and curling up in my lap like a baby and sucking her thumb. (She is 6 and hasn't broken the thumb habit. Yes, I know it's past time, but now is not the time to deal with it.) I don't know what goes on over there, and I don't want to ask too many questions, but she is having a very hard time processing her emotions about it all, and really seems to need some help. The ex has been gone 3 months now, and the poor baby has yet to cry and let any of it out, yet I know she is stuggling inside and I don't know how to help her anymore. My son (age 9) is able to talk about it, get angry, cry, and generally process his feelings about it all, but she just seems stuck, so I'm kind of worried about her.

In addition, the ex is leaving this week for a "business trip" which I am 90% sure is not really business-related, but is merely to meet his online girlfriend and consummate their fantasy relationship. I sincerely hope that it's not all it's been built up to be. It will be interesting to see if he comes back from this "business trip" on Cloud 9 or down in the dumps. How many accounting trips leave on Thursdays, with a full day of travel? None he's ever taken before, I know that.

If I haven't posted in awhile, it's also because my kids had the stomach flu for an entire week. Yes, both at the same time, both coming out both ends, with the stuff spewing everywhere. I couldn't wash the bedding fast enough, nor clean and comfort fast enough, and they finally ended up sleeping on sleeping bags because I ran out of sheets. Great fun! And guess who missed out on it all? You guessed it! Because they don't have projectile vomiting and stomach viruses in online fantasy world! No, it's nice and clean and uncomplicated there! Must be nice.

I really apologize for this crappy, ranting and raving post. I am just so, so tired, and I don't know how to do this single-mother thing. Where's the class? Where's the book? Can someone please teach me how to survive? I need a clone!

I am supposed to be starting a class at church soon where I can meet some other single moms, and I am really looking forward to it. It will be so encouraging to meet other people who are not only surviving, but thriving. I want to thrive in this new life. I want to be the best mom I can be to my kids, but right now the bad days have been outweighing the good by about 2 to 1. Will it ever change?

Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm not dead yet

Well, I've finally figured out something pretty significant. My ex has some serious problems. "No kidding?" you say. But over the last few weeks I'm starting to realize more and more that this internet addiction of his has been as troublesome to our marriage as an alcoholic's addiction. And just like any other kind of addict, he cannot see that he has a problem at all. "This is not about the internet," he says. "It's not about another woman," he repeats every time we argue, "it's about our marriage. I had to create a separate world to go to because our marriage was so bad." Right. Is that what normal people do? Create an alternative universe to avoid their personal problems? I think not. I would much prefer that he had divorced me long ago before we had children than to have hidden and played mind games with me all these years.

We had the most surreal conversation the other day. He started talking about going to a divorce ministry class at our church - the same one that I am planning on going to! "Why?" I asked. "Because I want to meet other men who are having to deal with women who are keeping them from their kids!" This is crazy! Not once have I denied him access to the kids. Sometimes I've felt like he's seen them more than I have! I told him that I was planning on going there, and I really did not want to have to see him there. And then the kicker: "Well, I'm mourning the loss of my marriage, too." Ho-ly shit! I couldn't believe my ears. This is what he chose! Who is this nutcase? Is he smoking something? It's like he is creating his own reality now and trying to get me to come live in it. And I finally see the truth and am not falling for it anymore.

I have realized that since he's been gone I am a lot less stressed about trying to please someone all the time - worrying about what he's going to think about this or that, whether he's going to be in a good mood or a grouchy one, etc. I'm still incredibly afraid of my future and whether I can support my family, and he is threatening a custody fight about how often he will have possession of the kids, but on a day-to-day basis, I feel more relaxed here at home. Isn't that strange?

He had his first internet affair the second year of our marriage. Then for the next 13 years he repeatedly rejected me in various ways, both emotionally and physically, while at the same time telling me that I would be so much more attractive to him if I "only had more self-confidence and better self-esteem." God has opened my eyes to the fact that I have basically lived in fear of his leaving me for the last 13 years. And what I feared to be the worst has come true. He left me. And it's been 2 months now. And I'm not dead yet. Actually, I feel quite alive.

Monday, December 24, 2007

To my ex, on Christmas Eve:

Dear Ex,

It feels weird calling you that, since it's not official yet, and I am still wearing this damn ring that I can't get off my finger because it's so damn fat and swollen from all the stress. I think as a present to myself for New Year's I am going to have it cut off to start the new year out fresh. To rid myself of the constant memory of the vows you took so lightly. To continue to wear it feels like living a lie to me, and I, unlike you, am not a good liar.

It is Christmas Eve, and I have just finished doing all the things for the kids - our kids - that we used to do together: decorating the kitchen, making up their "goody bags," making the breakfast foods for tomorrow. All the traditions that we started when they were toddlers and made our very own. I know our son is actually a little old for some of it, but he's the very one who would be upset if it wasn't done exactly the same as every year before.

We've had a hard day here. Your daughter has been miserable and angry all day because she didn't have many new toys to play with "because Daddy took them all to his place." I'm not really sure if that's the truth or not, but that's her perception of it, and because, unlike M. who speaks his mind about everything, she didn't speak up when you took them and is very angry and sad. It's hard for a child to have their stuff spread out at two houses, as M. noticed last week when he ran to the garage to get his bike and realized it wasn't there because it was at your place.

I think it is finally sinking in with A. that you are not coming back. She helped decorate the "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake, and I thought she did a great job, especially for her first time, but of course she was not happy with it and had a meltdown. I told her how proud I was and how happy that she could do so much of it now that she is older, and how next year she could do even more, and she replied that it didn't make any difference, because "Daddy still won't be here next year, either." I think she gets it. I guess you are off the hook from ever having to tell her outright. Lucky you.

I wondered if you were waiting on them to call you tonight, with it being Christmas Eve and all, so I asked them three different times if they wanted to call you, and each time they wanted to "finish what we're doing," or "maybe later", etc., etc. I hope you don't think I am trying to keep them from you in any way, but I am not going to force them to call. You've made your choices, and I am letting them make theirs.

My parents are here, and my narcissistic mother went on the attack again today and it was more than I could bear. I really hate you for leaving me alone with nobody to love me but them - no brothers or sisters, no cousins or close family nearby, just a really unhealthy, emotionally unstable mother who I've worked so hard to get free from. They left tonight before the kids went to bed, even though I asked them not to. Even though I didn't want to be alone on Christmas Eve doing all these things by myself. They are no support emotionally whatsoever. Thanks for nothing.

I just have to know. Are you happy? Is this what you really wanted? You are alone on Christmas Eve as well, I suspect, because even your internet "friends" probably have real lives and real family obligations tonight, unless they've up and left their spouses and kids, too. How does it feel? Is it what you expected? How you always fantasized? Or are you over at your place drunk off your ass numbing your own pain, like you always find some way to do? I guess I'll never really know, will I, because you'll just continue to wear that same damn mask with me, and let me think this is the best thing you've ever done, and remind me once again how long you've waited to do it.

But I'm going to be honest. I'm going to say that every day you are away your children have less and less to say to you; that even if I can't depend on my parents, somehow I will survive this without you; and that next Christmas will have to be better than this one. Please God, I hope so.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I hate to say it, but...

I miss the jerk. It's Christmas, and I'm lonely, and I'm furious at him for leaving, but I still have an ache in my heart for my best friend. Or at least what I thought was my best friend.

He did the SuperDad thing again yesterday, and showed up to both kids' Christmas parties at school, and to our daughter's cheer practice, and it was almost more than I could take. All of that "togetherness," trying to share time with our children, yet not really being together as a family. How am I going to do this for the rest of my life? It's so painful. Will it always hurt this much? What about when he brings his new girlfriend/wife along one day? Will I have to leave the room crying? Will I still be able to slap on my happy face and pretend it doesn't bother me?

At my daughter's cheer class yesterday they had a little "mini-recital" in the practice room to show what they have learned so far, and I tried to sit next to a friend on the opposite end from him, but there wasn't room, so they brought in more chairs and we ended up having to sit side by side. The little show was cute, of course, and try as I might, I couldn't help but make comments to him about it, and about our daughter and various things she has said about her class. Then at one point he leaned back and started to put his arm behind me and stopped - catching himself and realizing what he was doing. And that was the most painful thing of all. It just seemed so natural, just like always - sitting and watching our child together, talking together, etc. My god, we've been together over half our lives. Why all of a sudden are we not anymore? Why all the anger and the hateful comments about "the last 5 years"? I just feel like I'm dealing with a split personality sometimes because he can be so cruel and ugly one day and so normal and nice like I always knew him the next.

I love that he tried to put his arm around me because it helps me to know that a lot of the hateful things he's been saying aren't true. Yet I hate it at the same time, because it hurt so much for him to stop, and to remember where we are today and will be from now on.

He was my lover, my best friend, my soul mate...he could "talk me off the cliff" when I would freak out over things, he helped me deal with my parents, we lost our first baby together and buried her together...we have 20 years of history together that I don't know what to do with now.

I know deep down that I deserve better. I know that he has done a horrible thing. Not just once, but multiple times. I know that I should feel angry and forget about him. But for right now, for this moment, I miss him so much my heart hurts.

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's all about him

I still have moments of utter disbelief at my situation in life. How did I end up here? How did we get from this summer, laughing and having a wonderful (or so I thought) family vacation in the Magic Kingdom to this hell we are in now? It's still like a bad dream that I hope to wake from but never do and never will.

And he never fails to remind me that he has been waiting 5 years to do this. Is that not the cruelest thing to say? To wipe away all of my good memories of the last five years? To make me doubt everything I thought real for most of my daughter's entire life? To feel sick at the thought of every one of her precious baby pictures, videos, mementos - all tainted now because the reality was that her daddy was planning his escape all along? What a selfish, evil thing to do. I just can't get over the monster he has become.

And yet I'm going to have to deal with this monster for the rest of my life. He will never go away. Never say goodbye. Never leave me alone. Never be completely gone from my life. Not only that, but I have to turn my precious babies over to him and watch his selfishness hurt them. And the mother bear in me just can't take it.

He let is slip tonight that my son has repeatedly told him that he hates him. And he wants to know why, what he is doing that upsets him, etc., and how to smoothe it all over and make it better. Does he not understand? Is he so naive? How can he not see that he has broken his son's heart - that he's no longer his son's hero anymore? He is so self-centered he just doesn't understand the pain he is causing! Even when I try to tell him how hard it is for them, he says, "Well, I know, because I know how much I'm missing them." Well, no kidding - but it was his choice! "They didn't have a choice - they were left behind," I say, "but I chose to leave you," he says, "not them." Right. Like their little minds can understand that. And then he reminds me how he stayed for "last 5 years," (like it was a punishment) "to get them to a stage where it would be easier on them." What the hell? How is 8 and 6 any easier on anyone? Is there ever an age that's easier for your daddy to abandon you?

Every sentence that comes out of his mouth is all about how he feels, how much he misses them, how hard it was for him for five years, how hard it is for him now, etc., etc., etc. I just want to scream! I have never in my life heard such selfish nonsense. But then of course, he ends it with, "But I just want to do what's best for the kids." Right. Like he really has their best interests at heart. How can I protect my children from this selfish idiot? Because we all know it's not about them - it's all about him right now. And it may be like this for the rest of their lives.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Play in the Audience

Well, tonight was my 3rd grade son's Christmas play at school, and per his request, I had to sit with The Jerk and pretend like everything was just fine. It was the most awkward situation ever - arriving in separate cars; sitting there with our daughter together as a family, yet not really together, never saying more than a few words to each other; finding our son afterwards to congratulate him and take his picture; and The Jerk's quick departure, leaving the three of us to drive home alone again.

I just don't think he had any idea when he left how much his departure would cause the three of us to bond together so tightly. I remember at one point before he left when I made a comment about him "leaving us" and he got very angry and replied, "Don't say that! I'm not leaving the kids, I'm leaving our marriage!" It made no sense whatsoever, and showed how screwed up his thinking is. And now that he's been gone awhile, and I've seen how we've had to join together in a "team effort" approach for survival, I realize he's the one that's left out, and I almost feel sorry for him. Isn't that crazy? Why would I even think that? It's just that it's not something I expected to happen, but thank God that it has. My children have clung to me for security and love, and they seem to know that what their daddy is doing is wrong, without my ever saying anything.

Take tonight, for example. I just assumed that my daughter would use the opportunity with her daddy to climb in his lap and have some cuddle time with him during the play, since she doesn't get to see him much, and I was so worried about how I was going to handle the emotions that it would bring up in me. But the exact opposite happened. She spent the entire time in my lap, snuggling, and kissing me, and I so enjoyed every minute of our time together, and it wasn't stressful at all, but beautiful and sweet.

Yes, the three of us are weathering some pretty strong emotional storms together around here, and he is missing out. Yet when they go to his house, they feel pressured to slap on a happy face and "have fun!" no matter how they feel, because that's what he expects them to do. The silly, "let's play!" mentality doesn't match what they feel inside, nor what they know to be true, so they feel frustrated and angry, and by the time they get home, they are exhausted from wearing the mask for so long. Why can't he just be a dad instead of trying so hard to be a 13-year old playmate? Why can't he just let them be real, instead of trying to make them feel something they're not?

I know what it's like to wear a mask, and it's so miserable. And I'm tired of wearing one out in public many days when I see people we've known for years and they ask how I'm doing, and I lie and say "fine." Do they really want to know? Because I'd be glad to tell them, but then they start to look really uncomfortable. They don't want to know that we've been living in separate houses for the last month and are on our way to a divorce. Isn't that sad? Sad that we live in such an isolated world where we all wear masks, and nobody knows or cares about our pain. And I know I'm not the only one in the audience in pain, either. I bet if I could see into the homes of many of the "perfect families" tonight, I would see that there's a lot of pain, but people are so damn private about it.

I bet there were a lot of masks on in the audience tonight. More than on the stage. I know my family had them on. We were putting on our own play in the audience. I wonder how we did. Was anybody fooled?