Saturday, April 18, 2009

now I get it

We're taking a little breather today before it gets kind of dark around here for a day or two. After the darkness, it's going to get light - nice, bright, sunny light. And with any luck, it's going to stay that way. For a good long time. I'm ready for daylight. It's been dark long enough.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, but the learning curves of divorce are really interesting. When you go looking for an answer you're very likely to still be standing on the curb six hours later, with not an insight to be found. But sometimes the cylinders all fall into place with no warning, and you're clutching a wall to stay upright as the ramifications of it all wash over you. It's been one of those weeks, all right. It took me sixteen months from the first time I was made aware of my ex's discontent, but this week I finally hit bottom. All of my good intentions, all of the behaviors I held dear...all by the wayside, in puffs of hot volcanic ash and swirls of smug deception. This week, for the first time, I was finally pushed too far.

This week, for the first time, I finally broke free.

It all came down to one simple little misconception I was laboring under. Not a completely unrealistic notion, especially considering that I was married for 21 years, but not a really likely one either. Now where I got this idea I can't honestly tell you, unless there was a sale at the Human Decency Store and I saw an ad somewhere. Barring that, it came from my own preconceived idea of what a "good" divorce should be, and maybe even what good people should be.

My mistake was thinking that the FX would give a shit about my feelings in any way, shape or form. To be fair, this idea came about during the Great Wishy Washy Spring of 2008, when he would alternately rage at me for ruining his life and then hold me tight and tell me we'd get through this. It was reinforced over and over again, in many ways, up until fairly recently. We didn't necessarily like each other much, but we played nice and even put on smiley faces with little difficulty when we had to. It had almost become comfortable, at least for me.

Well, things change. I realized with a bang this week that it's impossible to have a decent, honorable divorce when you didn't have a decent, honorable marriage. I understood with startling clarity that my feelings are absolutely a non-factor in the FX's life. And I finally, finally, grasped that I can talk all day long about issues we still have and it doesn't make a damned bit of difference, because whenever I talked about our issues when we were married it never got me anywhere either.

And so I did a few things. Just for me.

I decided that from here on out we will discuss the kids and the house and that's all.

I relieved myself of the responsibility of being middle man between the kids and their dad. This is not a relationship I can fix. My input will no longer be offered, even when requested. If the kids ask, obviously that's totally different.

I allowed myself to be angry over certain things. But I also encouraged myself to let it go.

I gave myself permission to not care one whit for his feelings either. This was the easiest of the lot, and the quickest one to get the hang of.

As ah-hah moments go, it was right up there at the top of the list.

I can't believe it took me that long.

Sometimes I can be a little...slow.


my two cents said...

You're not slow, just optomistic. Hang in there.

Altaglow said...

I don't see any flaws in the plan. Looks good to me. Love.

Stacie said...

You go girl! I can just feel the strength oozing off of these words about your new plan. I am so glad you see that you are worth so much more than what he was giving you!


lv4921391 said...

RC I think you're on target, the house, the kids and nothing will get easier...

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. Now for the reason you've gone private -- you are entitled to feel every single emotion you have written about, and then some. FX has behaved dishonorably toward you. You don't deserve it. What's wonderful to read is you know you don't deserve it. Many women get bogged down in guilt and grief. I'm so glad you're moving on with your life. And I am honored that you have chosen to allow me to read about it.

Mya said...

Great plan, RC.Just look out for yourself and the kids...bollocks to his feelings, he never bothered about yours!

Mya x

auntiegwen said...

Like yourself, I was with my ex for 21 years, like yourself I have 3 children with him and like yourself I decided this week not to fix his relationships with his kids. I told him so this week (but we've been apart since 2006, so you're way quicker than me)

Frances said...



I can't tell you how relieved I feel to hear/read you say this.
Hell, girl, I was beginning to think you were going to spend forever worrying about something (I should say someone, but prefer thing) who was NOT your problem any more. Getting upset and angry and trying to sort out issues when you have your own life to get on with.
None of you owe the man anything. He dumped you all. End of story. He has problems, they are his problems.
Just Yay you!
As far as the kids are concerned, put them first. If they are bugged by him, you can tell him if you want to. You are on their side and they know that. What he feels about it doesn't come into your equations.
Keep that line clear in your head. It makes things easier.
You have enough damned burdens to bear without carrying his as well - especially as it makes no difference - you are carrying a weight and he doesn't notice - you certainly don't get anything back.
Sooooo glad

Tians.sis said...

Alway's Remember......YOU are the better person,YOU are the one that can sleep at night with a clear concious,YOUR the one that gave all,go forward and be happy,great things are waiting for YOU!MUCH LOVE

laurie said...

you're not slow. you just have an odd it's-black-or-it's-white, all-or-nothing way of looking at the world. that's a hard way to live, Rc.

Rose said...

Very familiar feelings you've written about. I don't know how long it took me to get it either, and truly, sometimes I still hope for a "good" divorce situation. But as you said, if he didn't listen while you were married, there rarely is an epiphany to make him change. Optimistic is right, but hang on to the realism too.

the rotten correspondent said...

Susan - maybe I'm slow and optimistic? Thanks for listening to the screaming this week. Long distance, no less.

mom - well, it should look good to you. A lot of it was your idea!

Stacie - I've felt strong all along, but this feels different somehow. Better. Much better. I can't put my finger on it, but I will.

lv4921391 - you know what? It already has. I've lost about 250 pounds this week, and I'm already breathing easier.

wakeup - thank you. I felt that my emotions were all reasonable too, although I've had them all thrown in my face recently. And that word you use (or a form of it anyway) - honor. Or dishonor. Stick around. That's become my new mantra.

And I'm glad you're here, too.

Mya - so why the hell did it take me so long to figure that out? I mean I knew it, but I just didn't want to know it, you know??

auntiegwen - may I take this opportunity right here to publicly apologize to you for never getting back to you on that fabulous email you sent me - quite a while ago? I'm so sorry. I have no excuse for it.

Our situations are eerily similar, alright. I was talking to a dear (male) friend last night who told me that I was slipping into whiny/bitter territory on this blog and I said But you know, this is such a universal experience and so many of us relate to it. Sad to say, but there it is. One of the first things my mom said to me last year was a wry version of Welcome to the Club.

There sure are a lot of us.

Frances - you have always given such sensible advice and never shied away from kicking me in the tail when I needed it. I feel like yelling Yay! too. It's not that I felt I had to sort out his issues, I just felt that we needed to be on the same page on certain things. Now I know that's unrealistic and not even needed.

Every time we've had a confrontation I've come out better. This time I think the door to the past finally closed.

Dinah - so glad you're here, sweetie, so glad!! I do sleep well at night. My conscience is as clear as can be. Am I human? Yes. Did I contribute to the breakdown of the marriage? Yes. Do I have negative and destructive behaviors that I carry with me? Hell, yes.

But have I behaved honorably through this whole thing? Yes. And that alone makes me the better person.

laurie - you know, I honestly don't think I'm a black and white person at all. I really don't. I'm awfully big on grey. I think the difference here is that I felt I had to keep fixing and I never could see that it was all beyond any kind of repair.

Part of the problem I have in life is that I can almost always see both sides of any situation, and my sense of empathy is huge. Can we just say that the scope of my empathy has narrowed considerably this week?

Rose - I'm big on being realistic, but the optimism is a tough one to keep down. But this situation has forced me to look at angles I'd never really considered and make some tough conclusions. I'm letting the "good divorce" thing go. It's time.

Maggie May said...

Great plan. Think you are naturally optimistic & thought you could still be a friend.I think that is rare.

aims said...

Gosh RC. Everyone has said everything before me. I can't add anything to their good words at all.

Know that we are all on your side. His is looking kinda empty isn't it? Ahhhhh......

the rotten correspondent said...

Maggie May - it's not even that I wanted to be his friend. We haven't been friends for a long time, if you define a friend as someone you want to hang out with and talk to, someone you trust to cover your back.It's that I thought it could be civil and cordial. I was wrong.

aims - he feels his side is looking mighty full. He's evidently met the love of his life and able to tell himself that he must be more than okay since he's in a relationship. The fact that I'm not is just one more piece of proof that he's the more together one here. I kid you not.

Pamela said...

When you mentioned that you couldn't have a decent honest divorce, cuz of the not decent honest marriage -- I couldn't help but think about you no longer as a "half" of something not decent & honest.

Now you can stand alone: decent honest...etc.

Cath said...

No not slow.
Just sometimes, we need... time.

Welcome home friend. Life (and living it) starts here. :)

Mimi said...

You go girl! Glad to see you've come throught all that rotten stuff, and now all you have to do is stick to the plan.
It will all be ok in the end, LOL mimi

Anonymous said...

Your not a slow learner, just a good person, who wants to be respectful. I like your plan, it is a really good one. I think with your new clarity you are off and running to a happier you.

Katy said...

RC- Thank you for your words this week. It really sucks that there are so many of us that identifiy so completely with your situation. I know some have said that you whined, but from that frustration came strenght. Its a constant journey. Please know that you have given me strength this week.

My daughter just turned 10. No call from her dad. You have reminded me that its not my job to angery for my daughter and fix the relationship. I just need to be there for her.

Thank you for your words RC. Powerful stuff.

softinthehead said...

I heartily agree with everything everyone said before me. I look forward to moving forward with you. I am sure there will be other tough moments, especially with the kids' relationship with FX, but that is his loss not yours. Hold your head up lady - you have nothing to be ashamed of. :)

Marti said...

Good for you, RC! Love the new attitude. It will get better and we love you!