I’m completely terrified right now. I told myself that the next blog that I was going to write I was going to be titled “My Divorce.” And so I’ve been putting it off… And putting it off. And something about writing it down — here especially — makes it feel really real. Like it’s actually happening. I’m such an unreasonably hopeful person. I still don’t want to believe that it’s happening. But it IS happening. It’s time for me to be honest… Not just with you, but with myself.
A little over a year ago, my wife told me she didn’t want to be married to me anymore. She said that she’s 100% sure, and that she wasn’t interested in any sort of marital counseling. There is nothing — literally nothing — which could have come as more of a shock to me than hearing this from her. If you had pulled a live alligator out any orifice of my body, I wouldn’t have been as surprised. Weeks earlier, I was bragging to strangers about how this time of married life was so sweet. We had our stresses and our struggles like any other couple… Mostly about finances. But I had put fear of her leaving me away a long time ago.
Saying “I do” was probably the scariest thing I had ever done. My parents got divorced when I was a kid, and I grew up looking at divorce as one of the great failures in a person’s life. I have always found it easy to love deeply, but with that love came an almost equally deep fear… Fear that she would leave. I carried that fear into the first 12 or so years of our marriage. Initially it came out in insecurity and jealously. It came out in being afraid to say no when she wanted to do something that sounded exhausting. It came out in trying to do ALL the things. My dad was the furthest thing from a good husband and father, and I was terrified of being like him… Of being unloving… Of being a failure at being a good husband and father. But people have different definitions of what that means. I had this idea that being a “good husband” meant I had to be all things for her. And I think if she found life outside of me, it made me afraid that I wasn’t doing a good job of supplying all her needs.
Then, about five or six years ago, I released that fear. I let go of the built up fear from the places where my heart had been broken before. I realized that I could NEVER be everything she needed, and whatever brought her Life, I was all for it. I trusted her completely. Or, as close to completely as my consciousness allowed. Which made this announcement… Shattering.
I had about a three day panic attack, where I couldn’t eat or sleep. I thought I was having a heart attack. And if I’m being honest, that ache in my chest has never really gone away… It’s here right now. I learned about something called “anxiety.” I started seeing a counselor. I slept on the couch. When she was there, we passed each other in the hallway like strangers. About six months later, she moved out. Our three kids spend half their time with her, and half their time with me. They are resilient and funny and frustrating and lovely and difficult and wildly intelligent. They are kind and lazy and mean and creative and hungry… And they don’t make fun of me when they find me crying for no reason.
I’ve made MANY mistakes. There are many things I did and didn’t do which certainly led to the growing resentment that broke my heart, devastated my life, and shattered my family. I never even considered they could be at a level that would wind up with me living with the new, sour flavor in my mouth of phrases like “your mom’s house.” I think one of the hardest things is losing a family. For close to half my life, I thought of her family as MY family. I genuinely love those people. Now these people who I thought accepted me and loved me are now just… Gone. Sometimes in life, people just decide that they are done. And sometimes in life, you are forced to learn that there are many things you can’t control.
I wish I was strong enough to fight for her. I think I’m too heartbroken to do anything. Anyway, I don’t even know what that would look like. She knows me. She knows me better than anyone… And she doesn’t want to be with me. It’s much easier being rejected by people who DON’T know your heart. Still, I’m stupid with hope. I’ve talked to people who have been divorced for years, and they still hope for a reconciliation. But I’ve been talking about believing women… I have to believe her when she says that there is no chance to fix this. I have no interest in starting over. I still don’t understand how the legality of divorce works. It’s not final yet. I hate it… Having this person who I have always been for, and now being forced into a situation where I feel like that isn’t be the case… I don’t know how to be anything but for her. To an unhealthy degree, actually. I’m not sure how to make decisions with myself in mind (I’m also learning about something called “codependence”).
So I’m definitely depressed. And that’s really something I am unfamiliar with. Sometimes I sleep for about 11-12 hours… Other times I lie in bed until the sun starts coming in the windows, followed by three or four small naps. And I’m really SO sorry for neglecting my writing here more than usual (for those of you who look forward to this). All this shit happened in conjunction with COVID, and me being furloughed from my job because of the virus, and the stupid, lonely isolation of quarantine. Combine those things with seasonal depression and the uneasy despair over this coming election, and it’s made for some very dark days. I think I feel ashamed. But the reason has nothing to do with any Christian expectation or the “sinfulness” of divorce, and everything to do with feeling rejected by my best friend. There are people who looked up to us — and to our marriage — and I feel like I’m letting those people down, so it’s not something I’ve been talking about with too many people. I love her… And I can’t stand to see her… And I don’t know what to do next. I’ve been dreading writing this, and so I’ve been putting it off for months. And that’s made me feel like a coward. But maybe writing this post will be the mucus plug that signals the coming birth of a new, less sad time.
Or maybe not. I still feel destroyed. Either way, I thought you should know….
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