Category Archives: divorce

snippet

It’s just about bedtime here, but I did want to tell you a quick little story.

Just now I decided to google ol’ whatshisface.  I know, I know—that way lies madness.

I had heard, through that damn grapevine, of course, that X would be making a cross-country move for a new job—back to the congregational life for him.  I had been checking here and there around the webosphere, just to know when he made his move (I want to be sure to know where he lives so that I can stay far away :)).

Well, I found it—he’s moved, there is mention made of Mrs. X and all I felt was…

relief.

I was just so relieved not to be there with him, living that life, playing that role again.  No angst, no conflicting emotions, just relief.

Good night, dear friends.

“d” is for divorce

The other day I was talking with several co-workers—a couple of whom I know pretty well, and also a couple I had just met (they work in a different program).  For some reason the topic of traffic in a certain southern California city came up, and I threw in my two cents as I had lived there with Mr. X two different times, for a total of about a year and a half.

The logical question came up, why had I lived there?  I answered honestly and said that my ex-husband had been studying there.

I don’t know if the weirdness was only inside me or if anyone else felt it, but I felt a strange ripple go through the air.  I know there should be no shame in what I have been through, but it felt like I was shouting out a headline, all the while wanting to explain my whole story.  And also not wanting to say a word.

I have decided that should this type of thing come up again, I want to say, “I went there for a guy,” or something of that nature.  Not for anyone else, but because I think I will be left with less surplus feeling about what should be a light moment complaining about traffic.

inside/outside

So Mr. X is getting married in about a week and a half.

Obviously, I have some complicated feelings about this.

The ones that rise to the surface the most, however, have something to do with feeling bad because it appears that he has advanced so much more than I have in the “recovery” process.  Of course, I know this isn’t likely the case because a) I know him, and it is highly unlikely that he has actually dealt with any of his feelings about the end of our marriage, b) as he was almost immediately in this new relationship after we separated, even if he were the type of person to be self-reflective and want to truly heal, being in a rebound relationship would make that hard.

Of course, all of that is speculation on my part.  My good friend Cherry has said to me (more than once and about different situations, I might add), that I shouldn’t judge my insides by someone else’s outsides.

Sounds simple enough, but it is so hard for me to remember.  The problem is, I know all of my inner foibles.  Intimately.  They are as obvious to me (or perhaps more obvious) than the face I show outwardly.  Meanwhile, I’m holding them up to compare to others’ public selves—the private me vs. the shined-up and polished public them.  Is it any wonder I sometimes often find myself lacking?  Wouldn’t anyone?

As I continue practicing my new self-love skills, I try to remember that playing that game is a set-up from the start.  And I’m working on not judging my insides at all.

let’s talk about you and me…

It is so hard for me to believe that there is only one more week of my “When Your Relationship Ends” class.  I feel so different than I did when it started, back at the beginning of April.  Granted, a big part of that change is due to finally getting on the right medication, but regardless of the reason, I am looking at so many things in such a different way now.

Last night the topic was “sexuality.”  We divided up into groups by gender and came up with questions for the other group.  Then we got back together and traded questions back and forth.  There were some good questions, some good answers, and some interesting perspectives.  And I am definitely not ready for a new sexual partner, as if there were any doubt.  But I’m thinking about it.

The only strange part of the conversation was that, as I was reading the questions for the women, the men tended to look at me when they were answering.  Somewhat disconcerting, and part of the time I felt like saying, “It’s not my question!  I’m just reading it!”  LOL.

The main thing I was thinking about last night, particularly during the gender-segregated time for some reason, was how awful the sex was with Mr. X.  He was not interested in my pleasure at all.  The whole enterprise was about his getting off, and if I ever asked for something different, he would get so offended that it turned into a thing.  I would then feel obligated to soothe his ego (after all, I had committed the unthinkable act of letting him know he couldn’t read my mind!).  (And then there was the whole, “I’m not attracted to you,”-when-we-were-in-bed-naked-that-time.  Yeah.)  So basically, our sex life was a reflection of the rest of our relationship.  God, I’m so glad I’m out of that.

But (and likely because it was so bad), I’m not quite ready to start it up with someone new, yet, though I can at least imagine that day is coming now.  And it’s gotta be better than it was with the last guy. 😉

here, now

I read a joke today that seems particularly apt for me:

What does a codependent see flash before her eyes right before she dies?

Somebody else’s life.

That hits a little close to home in these parts.

During the last year I have hunkered down and done all that I could to feel safe in my own skin.  Mostly that meant hanging out by myself a lot, or going into “hermit mode,” as I call it.  I am not going to scold myself for doing the best that I could, but at the same time, I am choosing now to evaluate how I want to be living my life, how I want to change my life.

My life.  For a long time (maybe forever?), I’ve allowed the idea of my “real” life to be something that will happen just around the corner—when I get thin, when I meet a guy, when I have a baby, when fertility treatments work, when I miraculously no longer grieve the loss of my marriage.

Needless to say, it’s very easy to pretend that the current situation is not “real life” when one’s focus is so much on the “if and when” of the imaginary future.  It’s also very easy to avoid one’s one life when by focusing on what someone else is doing with theirs.  And when one’s life feels full of pain and dysfunction (to borrow a phrase from my previous post on the subject), it’s so much more comfortable to take the focus off of that pain and put it somewhere, anywhere else.

I have allowed X’s life to be more real than my own.  As I have observed him from a far distance, I have imagined what he is doing, where, and with whom.  I have obsessed about what his next move will be, and how it will affect me.

When we were married, this tight observation of him was done out of a desire to be safe, to avoid the next battle.  It’s been hard to lose that habit.

Since I found out he was getting married (yes, by Googling him, a nasty habit, I admit), I have been obsessed preoccupied with checking his wedding website and also with finding out whatever I can through the face place.  The thing is, it doesn’t make me feel any better, in fact, it usually makes me feel worse.

So, now, as I’m working on building friendships and a social network in my own life, I will work on pulling away from my obsession preoccupation with his life.  My therapist suggested I try to go a week without searching him out online (more specifically, checking his wedding website for any bits of new information).  At the time (yesterday) that felt impossible.  Strangely enough though, rather than being difficult, it feels a bit freeing.  I still get that urge, but then I remember.  I remember that I’m letting him go, that I am here, now, that looking there doesn’t help me, it just holds me back.

And I want the only life flashing before my eyes before I die to be mine.

rewriting my dictionary

Last week I posted about the deep-reaching nature of my healing process.  In that post I explained how perhaps the most difficult task for me is self-acceptance.

At the root of this struggle are some very rigid ideas about what it means to be successful, to be happy, to be good.

I first realized what my ideas about success and my beliefs about what a “good” life looks like were back when I was married to Mr. X and we were in the midst of dealing with infertility.  Suddenly, I realized that not only had I always thought I would be a mother, and not only that I had always thought that I should be a mother, but also that I must be a mother in order to have a meaning in my life.  It’s pretty heavy stuff to face the idea that you may never realize the path you thought was necessary for a meaningful life.

I don’t know how much I was actually able to challenge this belief of mine before the Great Escape and subsequent months of agony leading up to my divorce.  I do know that I realized somewhere in those months that I also had very harsh ideas about what it means to be divorced, and even what it means to be single past a certain age.  Ouch.  There is nothing more painful than being the object of your own rejection.

I don’t want to believe that I think a good life requires a (happy) marriage with children.  I don’t want to believe that being childless and divorced makes me somewhat pathetic.  I am becoming more and more aware all the time of the system of beliefs that under-girds much of my pain and want so badly to start over, to rewrite my dictionary of ideas, to release all that no longer serves me.*

I have a very difficult system set up for myself.  It’s a no-win way of living, and I’m tired of it.  It’s taken going through this last year (or thirty) of loss and angst to become cognizant of how much of my pain radiates from within, from my own worldview, and not from my circumstances.

More and more I am hopeful that I can change that worldview, that I can rewrite my internal dictionary, that I can learn a new way of being in the world.  It’s hard, but not as hard as not changing would be.

*Thanks to Lavender Luz for this phrasing.

goodbye, redux

I just clicked the categories for this post.  I usually do that at the end, but for some reason I changed it up today.

Divorce.  Group.  Grief.

Last night at divorce group, we talked about grief.  When the facilitator opened the class and mentioned the topic, some jokes were made about how we needed to have boxes of tissues out.  Little did we know.

The task of the evening was to write a letter saying goodbye to our former partner and the things we miss.

Oh, I thought.  I’m way ahead here.  I’ve already done this.

About two months ago, at the suggestion of my therapist, I wrote a letter of sorts.  It started out as an accounting of the things I miss, but turned into an inventory of the things I don’t miss.  It was helpful at the time, and I thought that, well, I had already done the exercise.  I decided to participate in my “small group” (four participants and a volunteer-leader who has gone through the class before) as a way of being a good sport.  I’m nothing if not a good sport.

I didn’t really think I’d have much to write in the twenty minutes allotted, but somehow I filled up both sides of the paper I had been given.  Somehow.

And this time, it didn’t turn into a listing of what I don’t miss.  Somehow I was able to hold the space, and think of the beautiful moments.  I remembered that many of them were tainted by our dysfunction, either then or later, but somehow I was able to write out my grief for what I had lost, and not shift into protest mode.

The time was up, all of us in a suspended space.  I heard someone in one of the other small groups start to talk.  Then, my group’s leader told us we would then be reading our letters aloud to each other.

Say what?

It was very difficult to read my letter aloud.  I had no idea that what I had been writing was not to be for my eyes only.  Reading the letter, hearing my own voice speak what was in my heart was much more difficult than simply writing it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about letting go.  Mr. X dominated 6 years or so of my life while we were together, and he has dominated this last year since we’ve been apart.  A large part of me is saying “enough already.”  As I wrote last night, and as I read my words aloud, I felt a bit of him slip out of my grasp.

Before we split into our small groups, our facilitator played a song for us.  As soon as I heard the first notes, I recognized it.  In almost any other setting, at almost any other time I might have thought it was too corny for words.  Somehow, last night, it fit.