I learned a lot about myself during that conversation.
Some of the things I learned from me:
It's not that I fault the FX for being human and reading my blog even though he swore not to. It's that one of the things that has kept me going the last year is the idea that the he has had absolutely no access to my thoughts or feelings. I've got a great poker face and for the most part don't engage in conversation with him. This is all, unfortunately, moot when all he has to do is boot up his computer to climb inside my brain. It's too bad he's a liar, but that's not exactly news. Strike One.
I'm almost less upset that he was reading it than about the fact that he had completely forgotten that he had promised me he wouldn't. Even though I told him at the time that it was really important to me, it had totally slipped his mind. Once again, a perfect illustration of our marriage. Strike Two.
I realized that I'm a lot more like my dad sometimes than I really want to admit. My dad could cut people off cold - and without a backwards look. When he was done, he was done. I always thought that was cold and unfeeling. But that was before I was done. Strike Three. You're out.
Some of the things I learned from the FX:
I am hopelessly stuck in the past, destined to repeat past behaviors indefinitely. When I get my act together and put the work into myself like he has, maybe I'll be able to move forward.
I'm narcicissistic and self-absorbed and it all has to be about me. The blog is a perfect example, and so is the fact that I always have to be right in every situation. My favorite thing, for example, is to not warn him that bad things may happen if he does (or doesn't do) certain things, just so if/when he fails I can tell him "I told you so".
The fact that he is in a "very serious relationship" and I'm not even dating is just more evidence that I'm the damaged goods here and he's the one who has finally gotten the wonderful relationship that he deserves.
I could go on, but really...why bother? Surely you get the point.
As long as he's in the hot throes of a new relationship he really could care less what I have to say. About anything. My feelings and needs are completely irrelevant to his life, and everything I say or do reinforces his image of himself as the put upon good guy. It takes a lot of work to get a relationship off the ground, and his relationships with everyone else were just going to have to take a back seat. I could care less about letting him in on my needs, but I mistakenly thought that after twenty four years together my feelings might still mean something to him. Stupid me.
What the hell was I thinking?
About five minutes into raving about his new girlfriend, about how she supported him in all his endeavors, how she let him be him, and allowed him to be free to pursue his own hobbies and interests, how she understood that he was "a work in progress" and that she "was there for him" at all times, and even that they "took care of each other", he told me that he had never expected to be in this serious a relationship this quickly. You can't choose, he said, when you meet someone. Then he asked me if I was seeing anyone. Pre-blog reading I would have told him it was none of his business, but that seemed kind of stupid now. If he's been reading then he already knows what my story is. I figured the hell with it and went with the truth.
"No, I'm not," I said. "Ask me why".
"Okay," he said. "Why?"
"Because I think you came out of our marriage with a much higher opinion of human nature than I did," I answered. "And if you shoot down anyone who asks you out, you can virtually guarantee that you won't meet someone who will turn serious too fast."
I wasn't done.
"You know what absolutely kills me?" I asked. "It's the idea that you fucked all four of us over completely with your selfishness and 'I'm the top priority here' attitude and you're the one who gets the happy ending. And you can rationalize all day long that you were completely blameless in our marriage because you've somehow managed to fall into a relationship that lets you feel like you're a good deserving person who just happened to spend twenty years with a castrating bitch like me."
The blog was a keg of dynamite, too. He insisted that he only read it to see what was going on with the kids. I said that was ridiculous, since I made a point of always keeping him abreast of kid happenings. Then he made the "You were a much better writer before you threw yourself a pity party" comment, which absolutely enraged me. On so many levels. "Well, which is it?" I asked. "Any posts where you might get the pity party idea aren't posts where kid events would be mentioned. So what's the truth? Did you just read the "pity party" posts to get off on my pain and anger? We already know you're a liar. Could you be just a little sadistic, too?And, by the way, if you were only in it "for the kids" how come you never called to check up on them when I wrote that they were having a hard time?" I also pointed out that the fact that he had to keep up with my writing indicated to me that he might not be as emotionally detached as he claims to be, an idea that he contradicted mightily.
There was more, but I'll spare you. It seemed that every time either one of us opened our mouths we drew blood, and we weren't going for small veins either. It was artery time, and eventually I felt like I had bled enough.
"You know what?", I said, "You just aren't good for me. In any way. And I know this is a really stupid thing to say considering that we've been divorced for six months, but I'm done. I'm completely done dealing with you. From here on out we discuss the kids and the house and that's it. I have nothing more to say to you and this will be the very last conversation like this that we will ever have. You can't hurt me anymore. I'm finished with you".
We ended the conversation right there. And in spite of the fact that I had, in the heat of battle, given him that glimpse of myself that I don't want him to have, it felt really good. Like a clean start in a way. I walked away from it knowing that we were both way beyond each other's reach. And that that was a very, very good thing.
I don't have to like him and I don't have to deal with him on anything other than my terms. I don't have to let him dictate my life and screw with my feelings and my kids. I will support the kids in every way I can, but I won't be the middle man anymore. He's on his own, and I sincerely hope he is smart enough to realize what he's thisclose to losing.
It has also become apparent to me with dazzling clarity that in spite of everything I've thought in the last year...I haven't lost anything valuable at all. And that it's time to let go and move on.