I don’t think I can fully explain to you how totally unexpected my divorce was for me. Like I said before, things were rough. But, like…I just thought it was normal rough. He was my husband. We had a child together. We had just gotten through the hardest year of our marriage and things were starting to look up.
But, yeah. Things got worse, then they got terrible, then it was over. I went from feeling optimistic about our future to hiring a divorce attorney in three months. So, yeah. Buckle up. Things got so wild that I actually told people about it, then saved my posts because I didn’t know how the divorce was going to go down, so I have source material…this is going to be hella verbose.
So. I have a nightmare. Wake up at 1:30 in a panic and tell my ex about it. Out of nowhere he tells me he’s not sexually attracted to me anymore, which is why he’s been so distant lately. I cry – a lot. He tries to go to the shop and says he’ll “stay there until I call him to come home” but I refuse to let him leave. Our son is upstairs and we have to figure this out. He said he was unhappy and thought it was important to get it out now, rather than keep quiet and let resentment build over the years.
I don’t think I am capable of typing the right words to truly convey how I felt that night. I’m sure if you are or have ever been in a somewhat serious romantic relationship you might have an idea (hopefully you’ve never actually experienced it). It was beyond devastating.
As an aside – I was raised in a very conservative Christian household. The world is very black and white, right and wrong. I’ve struggled a lot, and still struggle, with understanding who I am and what I believe about life in comparison to how I was raised and what my family believes. There is a lot of…keeping up appearances…that happens. My ex was the one person in my life that I had ever been fully comfortable being myself around. Like I said – he was my very best friend. Knowing that he loved me, and still thought I was attractive in my post-partum body, was pretty fundamental to my feelings of self-worth. Which, by the way, you should never do. Love yourself more than anyone else does, because you’re stuck with you forever.
I read through the screenshots of my comments about our conversation and I can’t believe I was that person. I still have these waves of grief hit me sporadically and it isn’t for him – it’s for her. My heart breaks for the girl that I was three years ago. I love who I am now, more than I have ever loved myself, but I hate that she had to be so broken down for me to get here.
I wrote my ex an email. My family can’t really verbally communicate. We tend to write notes or letters or texts or emails…or never discuss something. I’ve always found writing easier than speaking. Partially because I can delete and try again until I find the right words. Anyway, I’m pretty proud of my email. I told him that I did want to work on myself, but I wanted to do it for me, to regain my self-confidence. That me feeling good in my body is what would make me sexy, not having a flat stomach. I wanted to start going on dates together, and I wanted us both to find therapists. I also told him how uncomfortable I was around him now, over-analyzing every situation, and how I wanted to take a mental/physical “break” for a few weeks, then start fresh on trying to repair our relationship.
I can’t find it in the screenshots, but I swear that I had to either call or text him to confirm that he’d read it, because he never responded to it. And all he said was “I’m glad you were able to express yourself.” or something. No acknowledgement of any of the suggestions I’d made to try to work on us.
We go on a family camping trip with my family. Spoiler alert: Last vacation together! It’s pretty difficult to be around each other and act normal at all during all of this. We struggle getting our son to go to sleep because it’s so bright during his normal bedtime and we’re in a tent. So we take him on a walk around the various campsites, to scope out where we might camp next year when we come back. While we’re on this walk, I finally work up the nerve to tell him that I’ve been really bothered by one of his new friends. She’s basically a decade younger than we are, tiny, hangs around him all the time, desperately wants to be his apprentice, blah blah blah. I told him that she makes me uncomfortable, especially considering how strained our relationship is right now…I’d really like it if he spent less time around her. His response was just “Sorry.”
This is the second time he tries to move out. We have another blow-up fight after our son is in bed. He tells me that he was 100% selfless for our entire marriage, lied about being attracted to me, bought me gifts, etc. etc. But when he no longer got his desired results (sex) out of it, then he decided to stop living his life to please me. That’s when he realized that I had no identity outside of him. He told me that he had spent a lot of time analyzing our relationship. We’re awesome at being friends, but suck at being romantic (having sex).
I tell people a lot that the one thing my ex always succeeds at is self-sabotage. Three of his biggest fears surrounding our relationship were that I would cheat on him, that I would hate him if we ever didn’t have roommates, and that having a baby would cause me to resent him and drive us apart. And, I mean…things happened, just not exactly by the people or to the people he predicted.
Another revelation that came about around this time was that I discovered that he had started smoking again. A few years into our marriage, he quit. Then someone saw him smoking in front of his shop and mentioned it to me, so I asked him about it…he said the new stress is what triggered it. But I think during this fight he revealed that he’d been smoking for longer than that, but was afraid I’d be mad, so he hid it from me.
Oh! I remember how this one got started. I tried to have sex with him. I’d been trying to make more of an effort in that area, with mixed results. This time he actually stopped me and told me that I needed to stop pretending like everything was okay, because it wasn’t. THEN there was the big fight, and he tried to move out again but I’m like…no, dawg. Again – child upstairs. I need your help. You’re not just leaving.
Because of our opposing work schedules, I always called my ex on my lunch break, and again when I was driving home from work. This time, when I called him on my lunch break he told me that we “need to talk”. He said he’d call me around 8:00, once our son was asleep. I freaked out for awhile, then finally sent him a text and was like “I can’t wait that long, what are we discussing exactly?” and it was all shitty and dumb.
Yet again he proposed moving out. Apparently he thought it would help keep me from “getting stressed”. He told me again that I keep acting like things are fine when they aren’t. I told him that me “acting fine” was me trying to fix our marriage. In all of our discussions between June and August, he told me that both my personality and appearance were lacking, but any attempts I made to improve them were done solely to prevent him from leaving me, therefore they weren’t sincere so they were meaningless. He wanted to stop discussing anything or sleeping in the house until after I’d gone to therapy, which I thought was silly because one session won’t fix anything. I told him he needed to schedule an appointment with a therapist as well. I was hoping we could both have individual counseling, and then also marriage counseling.
August 3 – 10
My ex turned 31 on August 3. For his birthday that year, the girl that I asked him to stop seeing came to his party. There was another night that she and a younger (male) friend of hers came to the house and played beer pong on our back porch. It came to light at some point that her friend was only 19. I had this thought…we’re 30. And these people are children. We have a baby upstairs and it’s almost midnight. Why are we doing this? So I went to bed. There was also a party of hers one Friday night that he wanted us to go to. I told him it was up to him to find a sitter, and he didn’t. The night came and he still wanted to go. I didn’t want him to and again mentioned that she made me uncomfortable. He went anyway. He also wanted her to babysit for us so we could go out sometimes.
I also had my first appointment with a therapist on August 3. I have to say, getting into therapy is one of the best things I did for myself during that time. I’m now onto Therapist #3 and have loved all of them. I haven’t stopped seeing any of them by choice – one dropped my insurance and another closed her practice. My ex supposedly went to at least one therapy session. I’m confident he didn’t keep it up past that, if he even made it to that one.
Here is the exact verbiage from my post on August 6:
That conversation was so surreal to me. It’s almost like [my ex] and I have been living two separate realities the past ten years. I don’t want to /can’t remember enough to get into all of it, but some highlights…
I think he is away from home too much, he thinks I never let him do anything away from me.
He thinks my entire personality is because of him and I don’t have my own identity. Everything from dying my hair to swearing is because of him. I think I’ve gotten his opinion of things over the years because he’s my husband and I care about what he thinks, but I’m not changing the core of my being to appease him.
He thinks we’re AMAZING at being best friends and parents, but that our romance (sex) is dead. I think that being best friends and good parents are crucial parts of the “romance” of marriage. He got back on the “I used to buy you flowers and tell you you were beautiful but it didn’t end in more sex so what’s the point?” idfk
He told me that after he told me he has suicidal thoughts I stopped talking to him about things that might upset him. I kept it all bottled in and am now super bitter and lash out randomly when I’ve had too much. And maybe some parts of that are true. I know that at some point I decided there was no point in constantly nagging him about shit because it didn’t help him remember to do it and just put a strain on us. It probably did have to do with a fear of what all my nagging was doing to his emotional health. I definitely tried to get him to seek counseling after that. I didn’t think I was bitter, though. There are annoying things that he does, but EVERYONE does things that annoy their spouse. I didn’t think we were special.
I’ve changed since having the baby. Go figure.
I asked him if he thought that a year from now we’d be okay. He doesn’t know. So I told him he needs to figure out what he wants out of this. What he expects to happen now and what he wants out of me. I’m willing to work at this – have us both go to therapy and work on personal issues as well as relationship issues. Figure out expectations and work on a compromise that will satisfy us both. If he doesn’t want to do that he needs to figure it out soon. I also told him that I could survive without him. Because I can. I don’t want to, but I can. I also told him he needs to figure out how he expects us to interact with each other right now, because it bothers him if I show affection and if I don’t. So I’m not putting myself out there again until he decides what he wants.
August 14, 2017 was our seven-year anniversary. The first part of August he had started sleeping on the couch, or in the bonus room. But by our anniversary he was back in the bed, just not touching me. I wrote in a post that morning “He used to sleep on the couch when I’d go out of town because he hated being alone in bed. Now even in his sleep he manages to not accidentally touch me.”
That day after work we went to a craft store. I had bought a book about “Knitting Without Needles” so we bought some yarn and were planning on learning how to knit after our son went to bed. He had picked up a ceramic figure and said he was going to put it in the yard and it would need to stay there for “the next seventeen years” – implying time capsule for our son, maybe?
Anyway. Here’s my post from that evening.
He put Wade to bed. Came downstairs and said we had the perfect baby. I told him yeah, and in a few years when our lives were sorted out again we should have another one. He said he doesn’t think we’re going to make it. He’s been miserable for at least the last 6 months. I never let him go out with his friends and we never have sex. There’s basically nothing I can do to change his mind. He’s still going to therapy, but he doesn’t have any faith in us as a couple. The past 9 years don’t matter anymore.
I told him to leave.
Yup. I was still so blindly hopeful that we were going to be able to fix things, that I was discussing having another baby with that dingus. Meanwhile, he’s been actively trying to move out of my house for three months and I wouldn’t let him go?? He actually said “I didn’t want to do this tonight.” implying that doing it on our anniversary was worse than lying to me and pretending that he wasn’t already checked out.
It didn’t take long, though. I’m so proud of Past Sarah for the way she handled all the garbage that was thrown at her. This was my final post for that night:
So, I’ve decided this is a good thing. I’m supposed to be focusing on ME, right? But I was still worrying about him this whole time. Well now (as in right now…ask again in 20 min) I feel like…fuck him. My life is now 100% mine. Once I’m done wallowing in self-pity I can start taking care of shit. If he comes back he comes back. If he doesn’t…fuck him.
So, I mean…of course there’s more. I thought this would be one post and I’d be done, but now I’m two deep and still not finished. Freaking brain with all the words and the typing… But it does feel good to get it all out. I feel like if I can type it all or speak it all enough, eventually it will be out of my brain and gone like a fart in the wind…or something. Anyway, GOODNIGHT.