Archives for category: divorce

There has been no death

still yet we part.

Promises we made.

You broke.

I

cried

tried

lied

and trust died.

Farewell, my love, you will always be;

but you did not

and I cannot

so I

break.

broken_chain_iv

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My husband and I lived together for 8 years.  We were so in love when we 1st met, we moved in together after only knowing each other for 5 weeks.  And while we had to get used to living with another person and their annoying habits (like if I cook I never clean, and I am obsessive about a clean bathroom, and I don’t like for clothes to sit in the washer) it also had a lot of unforeseen perks.

One of those perks for me was lotioning my back.  I have really dry skin on my back and it requires daily moisture.  When I lived at home my sister, mom and sometimes my brothers would lotion it for me.  But when I moved in with my husband I quickly taught him how I liked to have my back moisturized.  And yes there are rules to it.

Now with our divorce my back is suffering.  I have tried using oil in the shower squirting it on at the shoulders and letting it roll down then patting off the excess.  This works okay but is lacking of that good rub down that only another person can provide.  I miss the TLC of someone massaging the lotion into my back focusing on the middle where my bra strap rubs.

These are the little things that no one tells you about when getting divorced.  Who am I going to burrow my feet under when they are cold for warmth?  Who is going to bring me a towel from the dryer when I’ve forgotten to grab one?  Who will wake me up and usher me to the bed when I fall asleep on the couch?  It is these moments that caught me off guard.  I expected to have to take out the trash, vacuum the car,  clean up after the dog, those things are presumed household responsibilities.  But the things that are easily overlooked, like putting lotion on my back, these are the things I miss the most.

Today is my emancipation day.  Today is the day that I let go all of my fears and start living my life.  Today is the day that I announced first via facebook, and now via blog, my 8 year quiet struggle in my marriage.

You see for years I have been quietly living with the shame of the collapse of my marriage.  I never wanted my marriage to end.  I am a child of divorce and I never wanted my children to go through that.  I have made a lot of mistakes over my life, but this was not one I was willing to live with.  I began dating my husband really because I thought he was safe.  Our relationship seemed so easy and he gave me what I asked for: simply to be loved.

The problem is that I needed more than that and I continually sold myself short.  As the problems mounted I continued to cover-up and correct the issues not wanting anyone to know my failure.  His ex-girlfriends would call our house from private numbers, or have friends call but I always knew.  There were many other “friends” that would ebb and flow over that first year and  I started to look for an exit plan.  The plan was to quietly chop it up to incompatibility and move away until I discovered I was pregnant.

This would be my 2nd child out of wedlock (the first happened when I was in high school by another man).  I did not want to be “that” person: Black, female, college drop-out with babies out of wedlock.  So I sucked it up to make it work.  As an engineer I am a natural problem solver so I immediately went into resolution mode.  I read several books both Christian and secular, sought help from therapists, church counselors anything to make it work.

And it did.  Until it didn’t.  The cycle continued like this for many years.  Tears, frustrations, lies, meds, fights, cover-ups, fake smiles, counselors… I even took him to sex addicts anonymous with hopes that it would help. I could not understand what I was doing wrong.  I was willing to work.  I was putting in all the effort I could.  He said he wanted to be here as a family, as my husband; but no sooner did it slip from his lips did he seem to forget.

I kicked him out of the house twice, once for a few weeks, the next for a few months.  I was miserable. My children were miserable. Even the dog was miserable.  I couldn’t understand why he just wouldn’t act right.  Of course while he was gone he was sad and apologetic and each time I took him back.  More counseling, more books, more changes, until I just couldn’t.

In the Spring of 2010 two traumatic events happened: my paternal grandmother passed away and my neighbor shot an killed a grocery clerk which resulted in a police stand-off where we had to be rescued by the SWAT team.  These events led me to the following conclusion: life is too damn short to be unhappy and wasting your time with people who don’t want you.  After dealing with my PTSD (I actually had Acute Stress Disorder which is similar to PTSD but shorter in duration) I announced to my therapist that I was no longer seeking marriage counseling, I was tapping out.  I told my husband he needed to go.  He moved out on October 2010.

This move was not easy.  I cried all the time as I felt like a failure.  I lied to friends and family as I was embarrassed to let them know that my husband was gone and why.  Though the plan was to divorce it was solely on my shoulders as he refused to participate.  I had no money to afford it so we just let things drag on.  I continued to suffer in silence never officially telling my father, grandparents or friends.  When family events came up we would either attend together and pretend that things were good; or I would lie and state that he was at work.

In August 2011 I began to crack.  My teenage daughter was constantly acting out, my job had me overworked, some of my closest friendships began to deteriorate and I simply could not take it.  I sent my daughter to live with my father in another state to help me get a grip on my life.  My job stress slowly began to ease up and things were getting better.  My husband and I were able to really starting to get along as friends again and were co-parenting our son.  I desperately began to miss him as I was reminded of how wonderful he can be.

A few weeks ago we talked about spending more time together as a family and repairing our family unit.  I never wanted to be divorced so I began to think with my heart instead of my head.  My daughter was still expressing her hate toward me for sending her away and I wanted so  much to just go back to what my rose-colored glasses remembered.

So we sat down and had a pow-wow over 5 days discussing what went wrong in our marriage, what each person felt they needed and how we might be able to salvage things.  We shared the truth of all infidelities, lies, secrets that had been kept and planned to move forward with a clean slate.  We knew these changes would take time so we gave ourselves a deadline of October 2011.  Everything was beautiful.

Or so I thought.  Eventually my head kicked back in and quieted my heart.  He had not changed his ways.  He continued to lie and use our son as a pawn in his deceit.  I was not surprised, but I was hurt.  How could he do this to me again?  It made me think of the old adage about the scorpion and the frog:

The frog was going along and came to a river.  He saw a scorpion by the river.  The scorpion asked the frog, “will you let me climb on your back while you cross the river.”  The frog said “NO, you will sting me and I will drown”  The scorpion said, “I will not sting you, we would both drown.”  The frog said, “okay climb on”.  They get about half way across the river and sure enough the scorpion stings the frog.  As the poison began to set in the frog cries, “why did you sting me?  You promised you wouldn’t and we will both surely drown now”.  The scorpion answered, “I couldn’t help it, I’m a scorpion, it’s my nature”.

My husband is a scorpion.  And I was that dumbass frog who knew better.  Again I was riddled in fear and shame.  I had already told my father that we would come to visit for Thanksgiving.  I slipped my husband’s name into casual conversation with friends to hint that things were going better.  I even unpacked our wedding photos that I had kept tucked away since last year and began to re-display them around the house.  But even worse was I allowed my son to see us embrace and let him think that his parents were working on getting back together.

I felt sick.  Naked.  Ashamed.  Until I realized that I had nothing to be ashamed about.  While a relationship takes two people, I had assumed the brunt of my husband’s poor choices as my fault.  I felt if only I had loved him more/enough/better/deeper or allowed him to “work this out of his system” and wait patiently it could have been perfect.  It was at that low that I looked at myself in the mirror wondering why I had taken my sleeping son out of his bed at 1 am to prove that my husband was not at his mother’s house, his best friend’s house or any other place he claimed to be and gave myself a reality check.

The shame I felt turned to peace; the embarrassment transformed into courage; and the self-pity into respect.  I drove home and announced the truth to the world–via facebook.  Was it messy? Yep just like my marriage.  The sad thing is that most people already knew.  His friends, family and co-workers all knew (or chose to ignore) the blatant facts, just as I did but no longer would I allow it from them or myself.

I turned to the things I have always been able to do: write.  I am expressing my feelings through words here to the soundtrack of Jill Scott’s “Golden”.  I decided to make it public because I was tired of living a quiet lie and I know there are other women out there just like me.  I will no longer suffer in silence, I have a voice and I know how to use it.