Almost divorced

Divorce in dictionary

In 11 short days, I will be divorced. That brown manila envelope will arrive in the mail any day now. The one that includes the “official” papers that the government requires to announce to the world that I made a mistake and my marriage failed. I will open it with tearful eyes and hope the attorney doesn’t notice the little wet stains that remain by my signature when I send it back. I haven’t driven to check my PO box in days. The heaviness and fear in my heart forces my hands to turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction and run for the hills.I find that reaction interesting, considering I have anxiously been wanting it all to be over. That is what scares me, it will actually be over.

From the first day, April 21 2012, that I fearfully packed two tiny bags of clothing, filled my car with the “important” things and hunkered in a motel room: to this morning, waking up to sunshine, birds chirping and a man who loves me laying by my side, it has been a journey. One that began with heart-break, desperation, loneliness and despair and will end with regret and fear but filled with a hope for a new tomorrow.

I made breakfast for my love this morning, shared a cup of coffee with him on the balcony, and watched with sadness as he drove away on his motorcycle heading to work. I haven’t shared with him the desperation that is in my soul, he knows nothing of the loneliness that I feel in my heart. It has nothing to do with him nor does he need to know. It has everything to do with the emotions and pathways that divorce carries you through. Those emotions, though felt by many, can only be understood by the ones experiencing them in the present.

When a person exits your life, its human nature to want to forget the bad memories and cherish the good. As time passes and the memories begin to fade, we tend to cling to the good emotions that were shared with that person, sometimes we clutch to tightly to the good memories and create a fictionalized character instead of remembering the person as they were. Once I was alone this morning, I stood on my balcony and I cried for the loss of my marriage. I felt guilty in participating in this new love in my life and I was overcome with fear, loneliness and a feeling of desperation: will these emotions ever end, was all that kept going through my mind. Will I ever stop crying?

As I sat there, overcome with emotions, a memory rushed into my mind of a similar day. My ex and I were in our fifth year of marriage. We had the perfect home, the perfect careers and the perfect little family, on the exterior: on the interior, my heart was filled with sadness, loneliness and isolation. The hubby was off to work, the kids were off to school and as I walked around my perfect little house, my heart desperately wanted to flee. I was over the passive aggressive nature of my husband, I was tired of the insults, the let downs and the control he had forced into my life. I dreamt of the day I could be out of his clutches, free to make my own decisions, trudge my way through life, and never have to feel the sting of his insults and coldness again. I sat on our front porch and I cried. I cried over the love I had dreamt of us having, the laughter and happiness I thought we were going to share, and the disappointment I felt in the emptiness in my heart. I watched the world go by and I longed for freedom. I longed to be the person I knew I was, the person who was not afraid to tackle the world.

I sat on my balcony today and I cried for many of the same reasons. The irony is, I have that freedom now, but long for that old known comfort of yesterday. It’s not so much that I miss him, but more that I miss the memories and comforts of having a life together. I watch couples together and I long for that comfort of knowing each other. The kind where you have been together long enough to know the favorite foods, favorite activities and moods of the other person. The kind where words don’t have to be spoken, it’s just being together that matters.

The last details of our 12 years together are drawing near and will soon be at the end. Where will I go from here? Who will I be now? Will I be strong enough to make it?

3redhearts

As we finish our property distribution, I clean out the storage unit that we shared together, and I mail the keys to our homes and cars to his attorney, I realize that its like burying the person you were and becoming a new person, one that you are meant to be. There is sadness, shock, isolation, and fear of watching that someone you loved, die. You stand idly by and feel the emptiness in knowing you will never see that person again, all that is left are memories.

Overcoming those feelings, looking to the future and seeing the doors and paths that have opened in front of you is the hard part. My wish for finality is coming true in a very short time. As I move forward in my life, making the way for a new love and new memories, I vow to not forget the person that I was. After all, it’s the person that I was that has made me the person I am today: a woman with hope, strength and most of all, love.

Finding peace

Its been quite awhile since my last blog. I can gratefully blame my absence on my new job, my relationship with Keith and day-to-day life. As time is moving forward, things are coming together. Time has changed to move forward: the days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and I am excited to say that I am able to take my super long beach walks again. (Its time to battle off those 6 pounds gained this winter!) On those days where the turf beckons, I put in place my ear buds, hit the button for slacker radio on my cell phone, and trudge through the sand finding myself lost in the salt air and the sounds of the waves hitting the shore. It’s during those beach walks that life philosophy rushes through my mind. It is easy for my mind to stray and become consumed in any random thoughts of its chosing.My beaten walking path.

During my walk yesterday, it dawned on me, in just over 30 days I will be divorced. It’s hard to believe that it has been almost one year ago since that fateful day that my marriage ended. My mind began to return to memories that I would have rather forgotten at a certain point in my life: but ones that I am now at ease with and can gladly allow myself to return to from time to time. The randomness of my own internal conversation is one that I will not share with you, for fear that I might prove myself as crazy, but the topic is one that has lingered in my thoughts throughout the weekend.

I allowed my mind to roam over the 11 years that C. and I were married. For probably the 100th time since last April, I dotted from the first night we met, to the first few years filled with happiness, the years that I forced myself to believe it was acceptable to be unhappy because I was married, and the heartbreak of the last few years of our marriage as I watched it crumble out of my control. For the 101th time, I wondered why it took so long for freedom to find me and how I ever rationalized and convinced myself it was ok to be sad and lonely. For some reason I cannot explain, I began to think about an old co-worker. We had both been hired with the same company on the same day in 2005. We went through a lot of training together and we eventually came to know each other pretty well. He was an unattractive, ill-mannered, honorary sort of person, that made you wonder if there was ever anything in life that made him smile. His outlook was always pessimistic, his sarcasm flowed to the point of annoyance and his wife was exactly like him. They would go on vacations to exotic places and he would bring in photos filled with them on the beach, on cruises, at nice restaurants. etc. Not one of those pictures ever included a smile, hand holding, or their arms around each other. My manager and I would rudely talk about their relationship behind his back. The company moved him to our sister site ,just 15 miles down the road from us and the office rejoiced in knowing that his negativity and bad attitude were gone. For him, he welcomed the move. The place was a satellite office, he was the only person on staff and he welcomed not having to be around people. He and his wife shared the same mentality, they had no friends, partook in no social activities and lived in their own miserable isolation. Fate intervened, unfortunately, during St. Patty’s day weekend in 2008 when his wife died of a massive heart attack in her sleep. He was devastated. His world collapsed and many of us wondered if he would survive. As the months moved forward, we all took turns taking him out to lunch, bringing meals to his home, inviting him to social activities. At first, he refused our offers and appeared doomed to a life of isolation. As time moved forward, not only would you find his door open when you visited his home but we all began to notice his heart open as well. He began sharing his life story with us: from his mother dying when he was a very young age, to his father dying a year before his wife and his brother-in-law committing suicide just a few short months after his wife passed. He shared meeting his wife in NY at a very young age, not one of us ever knew that she was 15 years older than him. When they met, she was settled into her teaching career and he was just a lad not quite sure what he wanted to do with life. His wife convinced him to move in with her, she enrolled him into college without his permission or consent and slowly began to take control of his life. I have to assume, loosing his mother at such a young age, conjured up feelings of inadequacy in his heart and meeting an older woman, willing to take him in, guide him down the path of life and share her maternal instincts with him was very appealing at his young age. He was 17 and she was 32 when they married. At one point in his life, he had been happy, vibrant and full of life: he shared old photo albums with us and I almost fell out of my chair at the pictures of him smiling and having a good time. As we all became closer to him, we began to edge him on to go out to dinner, we put together on online dating profile for him, we convinced him to sell his fathers house and when he was ready, we all drove to his home and helped him box his wifes belongings. Over the last two years of my employment with our company, he became a very close friend of mine and my ex husbands. It was amazing to watch him transform into a man who I never imagined possible. As the years of our friendship moved forward, he shared stories of he and his wife’s life together, and we all began to realize just how controlling of a woman she had been. In the early years of their marriage, she had layed the groundwork for how they would lead their life, and she gave him the option of an early out if it was a life he did not feel he wanted. She did not like parties, church, festivals, basically any activity that involved having to be around people. She would work, pay half of the bills, clean and cook and in return, she expected him to work, pay half the bills and remain faithful. I was shocked to know, the last 10 years of their marriage, they slept in separate rooms. They were married 30+ years when she died.

In the beginning, I watched him mourn. He flowed through the patterns like clock work. He lost weight, he cried at the drop of a hat, he felt sorry for himself, he hated going home, he would not move anything in the house: for the first year after her death, he refused to sleep in the bed, he would sleep on the couch where she died. He carried photos of her in his pocket, in his car, on his desk; photos that had not been there before her death. It broke my heart to watch him in those first stages, he genuinely was devastated. That first Christmas, we literally yanked him by his ear, tied him into the backseat of the car and forced him into a Christmas social at the local Catholic Church. That night, I saw a spark ignite. It was wonderful to watch him excitedly begin to relish in a new life he had never known. He became a whole new man. He began to date, his social calendar was NEVER empty. Heck, sometimes we would go a month and not hear from him, only to find he had been on vacation for a week in Bermuda, met a woman there and brought her back to the States. Eventually, he began to date a woman who had no traits or comparisons to his deceased wife. She was vivacious, full of life, laughed all the time and feel head over heels in love with him. They became engaged, he sold his house and the last time I talked to him, they were living in Virginia near her son and he was enjoying being called Granddad. (he never had children)

I began to wonder why his heart led him to lead a life of isolation for so many years, denying himself the life he longed for. What made him be accepting of existing and spending his days brimming with unhappiness and negativity? Why would you spend over ten years of your marriage, never touching each other, sleeping in separate rooms? Did he ever long for laughter, a soft touch from his wife, a tender hug or that look of passion that you share with someone who knows your soul? How many days did he spend, convincing himself it was ok and acceptable , just because he had found a life of daily routine and a comfort that he was afraid of losing? It took almost two years to convince him to break that comfort zone, but once he did, you cannot imagine the differences in him.

I look at the differences in myself since a year ago. I remember the loneliness, emptiness and just plain sadness that I carried in my heart for years. I remember feeling unloved when my husband would berate me, I remember feeling unworthy when he would aggressively insult me and I remember wondering what I had to do to make him love me. I changed everything about myself for him and he still never loved me like I needed him to. I changed my friends, my beliefs, my appearance, my daily activities, etc. By the time I realized the err of my ways, there was a comfort in the sadness. I could depend on being lonely, I was not let down anymore at the rejection it had become my crutch. I convinced myself because he did not physically hit me, cheat on me, do drugs or drink to excess that I would be a fool to leave. Because he could present himself in the public as such an upstanding person, he had a great job, and we could afford things I could never have on my own, I bowed my head and accepted my life. I accepted my fate and I learned to live with all of it.

As I was returning home, ironically, I passed a gentleman walking his dog that carried many resemblances to my old co-worker. I came in the condo, logged onto my Facebook and searched his name. As I was scrolling through hundreds of profiles looking for a familiar face, there he was. His face stretched in a “possum eating” grin, happiness radiated through the computer. His arms wrapped tightly around his new wife, hers around him and they looked happy.

I have no regrets. My life has led me to a great place of peace and I may not be here if I could go back in time and change anything. I am a work in progress but I have pride in myself. I know who I am and the things I want and I am willing to work hard and honestly to get them. I have made mistakes, I have made bad choices, but bottom line, I forgive myself. I have to. I am loveable, deserving and human and I will accept no more than what makes me happy.

I , by no means, am comparing myself to someone who has lost a loved on in death. Instead, I have revisited too many times the death of my marriage. I have mourned, I have cried, I have carried guilt and anger. Now its my time for happiness. I forgive myself and I open my heart to the many wonders of the world that I have yet to experience. In honor of my friend, whose radiance I envy, I trust myself enough to carry me through my future. I can do this!

Dating: Why do we do it?

A young ex coworker of mine forwarded a letter to me yesterday that made me begin to think about dating, between the age groups and in general. This young  is a ripe old 24 years of age. When she was 16 she met the love of her life. (hopefully there is more life ahead for her to change that.) They dated steady for 6 years, until she caught him with another woman two years ago. She broke it off, as she should have, and is now heartbroken that this man is now in a heavy relationship with is lover, they are engaged and they have opened a successful restaurant in our area. I have spent hours with her, seeing her heartbreak and her struggle to move forward with her life. She did the wise thing and she took a break from dating, she made only one mistake, she worked three jobs to occupy her time and never did much for herself. Once she began to throw herself back into the dating world 9 months ago, she did it with a vengeance. She posted many profiles on more dating web sites than I care to mention. She has a record of living in 4 week relationships, she will meet a guy on a dating site, sleep with him immediately, change her relationship status on her facebook page, and post an obnoxious amount of posts on her sweet boyfriend and their activities. It doesn’t matter who the current boyfriend is, it’s the same cycle for her every time. She then grows tired of them, for one reason or another, and way too fast for me to keep up with, she is off and running with the next. About a month ago, she began to post pictures and comments on her new “boy”. (that is probably a HUGE problem there, even twenty years olds do not want to be referred to as boy.) I noticed a difference with this one, she looked really happy. On valentines day, she texted me that he had purchased them a couples massage and had purchased some of her favorite french chocolates on the internet and they were delivered to her work. She was over the moon and I was happy for her.

In one short 24 hour period, it all changed. After their loving cupid day together, her sweet boy sent her an email the next day that included the following:

“I need to part ways with you, not want, need. The reason is simple, I can’t see a future that includes marrying you. For a Christian man, dating without the purpose of marriage is honestly pointless and sinful.”

Now, just to add my opinion, this is a 25-year-old kid who just wasn’t that into her. He wasn’t very Christian when he slept with her on the first night and you should have seen some of the photos she posted of them partying together. With that said though, is it ever ok to date without the purpose of marriage and if you do, are you leading on the other person who may not feel the same as you.

My life is totally different at my ripe old 40 years. I refuse to post anymore singles ads, the two I posted last summer attracted no takers and I really was insulted by that! I do not believe in one night stands anymore, I have had two in my lifetime and they always ended with me being disgusted with myself and no matter if my intentions were to just have sex, I felt nasty afterwards. I have absolutely NO intentions of ever getting married again, two strikes and I am out.

With these feelings on dating and relationships, I’ll update you on my current “relationship”. K. and I have been seeing each other almost 6 months now. After I spent New Years alone, I had full intentions of breaking off our once a week meetings and moving on. He returned home from his holidays with his family a totally different man. What was before once a week sex sessions has advanced to my having to fight him off with a stick. The three weeks he spent away with his family made him realize he was in “love” and after the third week of January, he found enough nerve to tell me so. Time moved on and a few weeks ago, I told him I love you back. We spend the majority of our free time together, my new job is dominating most of my life now. More times than not, I enjoy his company and our time together, but the above question has been on my mind recently.

I see no potential of a future with K. As ashamed as I am to say this, the negatives outweigh the positives, and that is a deal breaker. He is a good hearted man and he treats me well, but he is also a mama’s boy who has yet to slice that umbilical cord. He lives in his own home, that he built adjacent to his parents property. IN the mornings he walks over and eats the breakfast his mom cooked for him, in the evenings, its dinner. His mom still does his laundry and helps him clean his house. Not the future I would hope for myself.

He is also a mans man, a southern redneck who loves his Nascar, hunting and beer. He is not big on emotions and really has no clue how to treat a lady. By the last statement, I mean, he is not a romantic. For an example: last night it snowed for the first time this year. In eastern NC, we rarely ever see snow, so it was a rare treat to watch the snowfall last night. I stayed at his home so we coudl enjoy it together. At one point, it was snowing really heavy and was just beautiful. I was standing at the window, feeling so peaceful and relaxed. In my mind, I envisioned him coming behind me, wrapping his arms around me and standing quietly enjoying the moment with me. I tenderly looked his way, asked him to come watch the snow with me, to which he replied “I can see it from here hun, the race is on.” I stood by myself and watched the beauty of nature, as loneliness washed over my heart.

 

What I was craving

What I was craving

I no longer am willing to simply accept someone in my life because I am lonely, I want to feel loved. There is so much I want from this life and some days, I wonder why I am wasting my time. So what am I doing in this relationship? I care deeply for him, but I have already stated, there is no future for us. Is it ok for me to continue us spending time together even though I have these feelings? We both have agreed we never plan to marry again but I am a little nervous, he has been making references lately on my moving in with him and that is a no go. At what point do I send him that email that says “I need to part ways”? When is ok to date, when you know there is no future? Any and all input would be appreciated.

What I received

What I received

Newness surrounds me

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It was August 24, 2012, a Friday evening. It was only 2 days before my 40th birthday and nothing in the world seemed “right”. I was working at the new restaurant, settling in to their evening routines. My daughter was due home from her summer break at her dad’s on the day of my birthday and I had yet to reach any calmness or quiet in my soul.

The few weeks of vacation I had granted myself had brung me out into the world to inhale the fresh salt air of the last weeks of summer. Instead of lying in my bed, hiding under the cover, begging the Lord to take my pain: I decide to lay poolside or ocean side, hiding behind a magazine or a novel, if my pain was going to diminish any, I needed to be tan right?

During my daily 22 feet walks to the pool, I begun to build an acquaintanceship with one of our condo’s security guards. She was 30, had separated from her husband in November 2011 and was raising three children on her own. We didn’t have much in common, but she touched my heart with her story and plight, reminding me of my former single life, when I was in my late 20’s raising three kids on my own. I would invite her over to my condo, during her breaks, or on her days off, what would it hurt to begin creating new friendships? Said security guard had a much different prospective on life than I did. She was angry over her separation, still desperately wanting her husband to return home: in turn, her anger was projected by placing herself, overwhelmingly, into the dating world. This woman had over 30 personal ads with internet websites: was communicating with so many men, she had code names for them so not to confuse who they were: and threw herself at anything that walked on two legs and was male. I, as you know, was her total opposite: I was a recluse in my misery, isolated by my choosing, I was not ready for any interaction with a man, ever a simple “hello” overwhelmed me. This boggled her mind. She could not fathom why I would drown myself in misery and began to encourage me to “put myself out there.”  Many times, without my permission, she would share my phone number or approach men and drop the hint that I was single. Her interference in my hibernation mode offered a much-needed bit of humor to my mentality, though I still was not ready. There was something in my heart that was weighing me down: a feeling in my belly that I could not rid.

That Friday evening, I ventured to work, and my husband’s affair was brought to my attention. (see The Truth is set free) After work, some of my co-workers encouraged me to stay and share in a few celebratory birthday cocktails since I would not return to work until after my birthday. The conversation was light, no one brought the husband’s affair back up that evening, and sitting with those women, it suddenly struck me, I belonged there. In that moment, that very evening, it was my fate to be in that place, with those women and just that quick, my soul began to let go.

I drove home, not looking forward to the weekend, but not suffering from the “Oh my goodness, I am going to be 40” doldrums either. I crawled into my bed, pulled the covers over my head and for the first time in months, fell into a peaceful deep sleep.

Around 3 a.m., I am awakened from my peaceful slumber by Kelly Clarkson‘s, What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. my favorite ring-tone. I fight the sleep gremlins off my back, reach to my phone, and do not recognize the number on display. I do what any sensible person would do and pull the covers over my head looking for that peaceful sleep that someone just ripped me from. Again, Kelly Clarkson blasts through the sound waves, again, I do not recognize the number. After I ignore the call for the second time, my mind is not as foggy from sleep and I realize I have text messages. The first message says “Look outside your window”, then “We are here”, and lastly, “open your door”. What the????

I stumble out of my bed, gently pull my blinds open, enough to peer out but not enough for anyone to see in, and to my surprise, there are two men outside my balcony. I recognize them to be employees of the landscaping company that maintains our condos property. (My lady security guard and I had spent hours sitting on my balcony watching these gentleman break a sweat, in the summer sun, with their landscaping tools. You get the picture!)  I am afraid of what is about to happen as I peer out my window, but there is lightning flashing in the background, a summer storm on the horizon, and I simply cannot leave them sitting there.  I slowly open my balcony door, step out into the humid summer air and suddenly, my balcony is rushed with a horrid rendition of “Happy Birthday to you”. It is so terrible, I cannot help but squeal in delight and clap my hands like a kid.

Against my usual rigid demeanor, I invited these two gentleman in, the storms were moving in and the thunder was rumbling in the background.

That evening, brought an unfamiliar ease and peace. I sat with these two strangers, in my home, at 3 in the morning: there was a steady flow of conversation and laughter. Around 6 a.m., the summer storms passed, we ventured out to my condo’s over look deck and watched the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean. Reluctantly, after having breakfast together at the famous golden arches, I drove them home and our short evening ended.

Sunrise in my backyard

Sunrise in my backyard

It was my birthday eve, 8 a.m., and I could not go back to sleep. My mind kept going over the details of the last 5 hours. Two random men, at the urging of my security guard friend, had walked three miles down the beach, to come to my balcony and serenade “Happy Birthday” to me, JUST BECAUSE THEY COULD and wanted to make my day special. No one in history, had made me feel so important on my birthday than these two gentlemen. That was sad in a bittersweet way!

Around lunch, my son arrived and my girlfriend and her son showed. We walked to my old condo’s establishment (next door) and sent the afternoon lounging pool-side, enjoying the water slide and sipping a few beers. That evening, a group of other girlfriends were meeting me out at our local beach front tavern for a 40th party. That night, after returning home from a GREAT time, I came home to find my condo door and balcony decorated by my neighbors. What had I done to receive such attention?

My son crash landing at the bottom of the waterslide.

My son crash landing at the bottom of the waterslide.

My birthday morning came and the day was supplied with my children’s arrival home, we spent the afternoon lounging ocean side, and enjoying the end of August weather. Again, we arrived back at the condo to find gifts adorning my door handle: a boa, earrings, “fabulous and 40” pin and a princess tiara, all gifts from my neighbors. I sat and cried. Never had I been showered with such attention, at least not since my childhood when my Grandmother and I would share one birthday party and everyone would bring me a gift too! I could not fathom why these people found my presence special, why they wanted to celebrate my day with me. They were new in my life, not knowing anything about me, but yet they were willing to go out of their way to make my day a happy one.

Then, like an epiphany moment, it was the first time in a very long time that I realized….I am worthwhile. I am worth attention: I am worth being happy: I am worth living for. That day, my healing process began!

Suddenly Single – Who am I?

I believe in Karma and the old adage “Everything happens for a reason.” I also believe in the silly old saying “when one door closes, another one opens.” Sometimes, we spend too much time looking at the door that has closed to realize the one that has opened.

By May 2012, I awoke to find myself in shock and terrified. I had always prided myself on being a strong person, an independent woman, who had walked through many disasters in my life with pride and determination. Suddenly, I could barely find the energy to crawl out of the bed in the mornings. I had no desire to move, eat, sleep, cry, talk, or even live. Everything I had ever believed in was proved to be a faux pas, I had no faith in anything. I did not want to look in the mirror, I did not like the image that was looking back at me. My soul had been shattered, to the core, and I had no idea how to begin to piece it all back together. Surely, I had to be the only person experiencing this pain and isolation, which only encouraged me to isolate more. I was embarrassed, ashamed, I felt worthless and unloved, unworthy of love. I felt like a failure, period.

The feeling was one of being kidnapped by aliens and finding myself living on another planet, in another dimension, with no hopes of being returned home.

To the ripe age of 39, my life had been spent focusing on others and ignoring myself. I touched on my childhood in an earlier post. My parents divorced young and I was raised by my Grandparents. At the age of 12, my mother became tired of the badgering from her friends at not raising her own child, she removed me from my Grandparents home and we relocated a half hour away in a neighboring town. My mother was an alcoholic and has suffered mental issues since finding her Father dead when she was 14 years old. Most of my adolescence was spent sitting up most of the night, waiting for her to come home, so I could pour her into bed safely and run off any of the stray men that were lapping at her heels, hoping to take advantage of her in her drunken state. By 15, this had become a tiresome routine for me, I moved out of my mothers home, in with a friend and her mom. By the age of 16, I was living with my first husband and his family: at 17 I became pregnant with my oldest son, 18 with my second and at age 22 I was pregnant with my third and last child, my baby girl. Other than my brief time as a single mother of three children, I had always taken care of a husband and even in that single phase of my life, my children were small and offered a lot of distractions.

In an instant, I was 39, my two sons were both off into their adult careers with the United States Air Force: my daughter was son to be 18 and in her last year of high school, and then there was me. Who was I? Who was this person that I was waking up with every morning and spending everyday trying to get to know?

In my ten-year marriage, I was able to drown out the sounds of my thoughts and beliefs with a distraction of an orderly and daily routine. I would arise in the morning, get my children up for school/work, make the hubby breakfast, head into work, drive home planning dinner for tomorrow in my mind, arrive home to chaos, dinner needed to be ready, homework needed to be completed and there was ALWAYS something that needed to be cleaned: evening hours were spent tidying the kitchen, preparing everyone’s lunch for the next day and by 9 p.m. I would fall face down in the bed, exhausted. Weekends were spent with distractions as well, the usual motherly/wife duties of feeding everyone breakfast, lunch and dinner: laundry, cleaning: but my hobbies were home repair and working in my yard. The home we owned was nestled on a two acre lot in a beautiful sub-division, and it was with pride that my yard was immaculate year round.

Now, I was waking to an empty bed and teetering around an empty, much too quiet condo. Once I found the energy to muster out of the bed, I would find a cup of coffee and move to my balcony area for much-needed breathing space. The summer months were in full force and the tourism in our area was booming. I would sit on my balcony, watch mindlessly as the multitudes of families either arrived for their summer vacation or were awakening to spend another gleeful, cookout, yelling by the pool, “day in paradise.” unfortunately, for too long, I never noticed the breathtaking view from my balcony: I did not see the indoor/outdoor swimming pools on the property, along with the miniature golf course, the water slide, tennis courts, hot tub, etc. All I saw were happy families just out of my reach. I would stare, with tears streaming down my face, as the husbands/wives unpacked their minivans of their supplies for the week, as their lot of children ran gleefully in circles, squealing with excitement. I would watch the bathing suit clad couples, as they walked hand in hand, down the boardwalk for their morning/evening beach stroll and many nights, I would sit and listen as groups of people would emerge from their condos for an outdoor bar b que and a night game of volleyball. It never occurred to me that I could simply leave my condo and join them. At that phase in my life, I did not see the new world that was available to me and waiting for my taking. What I saw was a life that was no longer mine – I was a failure, the happiness that exuded from those families, used to be mine. Now I had nothing: nothing to offer, nothing to share. I was consumed with heartbreak and loneliness.

How was I going to make it? What was my belief system? How could I live my life with pride and integrity when I had participated in an immoral and unjustified extra marital affair?

Those were the big questions: the little questions were not simple either. What were my interests? Who was the person walking around inside this body called me? Do I like chocolate or vanilla ice cream? sweets or salty snacks? cats or dogs? What was my favorite color?

I can honestly tell you, I walked around for the entire summer of 2012 on auto pilot, stuck in this limbo. Nothing felt normal, or right, or human. Even the smallest activities, such as cooking dinner, created a large amount of stress for me. I began to wonder if anything would ever be “normal” again. Would I ever be able to spend a full day without crying? Would there ever be a time that I would find myself laughing? Would I ever awaken again, with peace in my heart?

It wasn’t until my 40th birthday, at the end of August, that life finally began to move forward and I was able to begin the journey of answering those questions.

 

The view from our balcony,

The view from our balcony,

The condo we rented. I never noticed the wet bar, until I just downloaded this photo off of the realtors web site. How did I not notice a wet bar?

The condo we rented. I never noticed the wet bar, until I just downloaded this photo off of the realtors web site. How did I not notice a wet bar?

The blue eyed bandit

How many times in our lives, have we been led by our heart-strings and ignored those warning signs and gut instincts in pursuit of happiness?

The warning signs with R. were present immediately. From the first day of employment two years ago, I knew he was arrogant, flirtatious, over bearing and yes, TROUBLE!

I think back to the first days after meeting R. and hearing the things our co workers said about him and seeing proof of their feelings in his actions. I’ll never forget how he would find an isolated spot in the building and sit with his pre paid phone and text some person on the other end for hours. He would laugh out loud, grin really large or command some dramatic performance to instigate you to ask whom he was talking to or about. Once you took the bait, he would answer with subtle sarcasm such as “If I told you, I would have to kill you.”

My co workers talked for years of R.’s flirtatious nature and they hinted on several occasions to his previous marriage and the affair with his present wife. It wasn’t until after R. ended our love affair that the truth of his history began to show itself.

R. was born to a family of 4, two older brothers and one older sister, R. is the baby. They were raised poor, his dad a truck driver and his mom never worked due to mental illnesses. R. was born and raised up north (no need to mention locations) but his dad, being a truck driver, fell in love with our area and purchased a little trailer home for them to have for summer visits. When R. was 17, he impregnated his girlfriend and married her. He was a junior in high school, by the time he graduated at almost 19, his wife had given birth to two daughters. I am not really sure what happened to that marriage, I do know by his early 20’s he was divorced and moved to our area to be closer to his parents, whom had just moved here as well. His ex-wife and their two children relocated to the TX area and most of his communication with his children fell to the way side around that time.

R. shared stories of working on our island, he found employment with the city and worked on the beaches in varying positions, from a lifeguard to  emptying the trash cans at the public access locations. It wasn’t long after moving to our area that he met and married his second wife. R. shared with me his detest of being alone. In one of our long conversations, he openly stated he did not like being alone and was not a happy camper if he was not in a relationship.

He never shared much about his second marriage with me, but we do live in a small community and stories have made their way to my ears. He and his wife lived in a small trailer, in a run down trailer park, just north of our island. I’ve been told, the trailer had holes in the floor, his wife loved to bring in stray animals and their home was filled with cats, the cats usually made their entrance and exit through the holes in the floor of their home. R. had a difficult time securing steady employment, he worked with the city, then with a few different landscaping companies, finally obtaining a position with our former employer 18 years ago. I assume life settled in for he and his wife, she became pregnant with a girl, they moved out of the trailer and purchased a split level home in the area. Their daughter was born and by R.’s version of the story, life became too boring and routine. He said his wife wanted to do nothing in the evenings but cuddle together to watch The Home Network, shop to fix up their house and she allowed their daughter to sleep in their bed nightly. Around that time, R’s sister took a position at a local gas station. R. would venture in to “Visit” with his sister, but word on the street is, he was aggressively pursuing the owner, the same woman who is now his present wife. I can picture him, entering the store, with his Cheshire cat grin, pulling up a chair near the female owner and looking deeply into her eyes while encouraging her to talk about her husband. B. was married, they had two grown children, her husband was also part owner of the gas station. Somewhere in their story, B. opened up to R. that her husband had partaken in not one but several extra-marital affairs. This opened the door to just what R. was looking for, one weekend night, he and his wife hit the town with B. and her husband, R.s wife and B.s husband both left early, B. drank a bit, R. offered to drive her home, and their affair began. B. is 15 years older than R., owns a successful business, a half million dollar home, and likes to spend her money on lavish items, such as new cars, boats, campers, etc. It wasn’t long, according to rumor, that R. left his wife and moved into his sisters trailer. The local gossip has it that B. kicked her husband out soon after and only a few weeks later, R. was moving into their home.

R. would spend hours fussing about his ex-wife and their daughter. She has always struggled to find full-time employment, she is a mechanic, and she and R.’s daughter have always drawn welfare and Medicaid. R. would fuss constantly about having to pay child support, or buy his daughter’s school clothes, etc. All the while, he had left his ex and their child in that position to marry a millionaire.

R.’s approach to me, was the same that I have to assume it was to however many women have been lured in by his seductive blue eyes and startling smile. I have knowledge, just before our friendship began to progress to the affair, that he was pursuing one of the clerks at the local Dry Cleaners, much in the same fashion he pursued me and I am sure how he stalked his wife. Many days, we could not find him for work, and would find him perched on the end of the counter with the said woman or at lunch with her and her female co-worker. Our co-worker, W., lived just down the road from this woman and her husband and would come in to work with stories of seeing R.’s truck backed into her driveway. R. always had some lame excuse, but the signs were ALWAYS there.

When our relationship began to progress, I would share with R. the situations that were taking place in my marriage. R., in return, would talk about his marriage with B. He would tell not only me, but our co-workers as well, that B. had a drug and drinking problem. He would fuss to all of us how every night he would come home, to find B. sitting in the garage drinking if not drunk already and how she would spend the evening demeaning him. R. catered to her every beck and call, he did the grocery shopping in the home, if he was not cooking supper every night he was out picking up whatever she wanted to eat, he checked her gas station every morning and every night to make sure all was secure so she did not have to leave their home, etc. She in turn, was in control of all of their finances, cleaning of their home, and three days a week, she worked at her gas station.

R. would tell me how age had affected her appearance, drinking and smoking had made her wrinkly and gray: their sex life was nothing, she would claim at her age, early 60’s now, she just wasn’t interested anymore: she would insult him at home and in public, after purchasing the landscaping company for his to run, she told everyone he was her short dicked lawn mower boy or she would badger him to not get used to her possessions, he did sign a pre nup and they were hers when he left. As he told me these stories, his eyes would become sad, his voice would tremble and I fully believed he wanted nothing more than to be loved and respected by this woman and she wasn’t willing to give it to him, my heart strings would tug and I wanted nothing more than to share a big hug with him and hold him tight.

In the beginning, the excitement was the bait and switch. My heart would race when he would sneak a kiss in the back room of our employment, my cheeks would flush and my breathing would become rapid when he walked past me, just a little closer than he should. As any marital affair, it was the prospect of getting caught and participating in something that we shouldn’t that kept it excited. As we began to share our stories, open our hearts and fall in love, that excitement waned and i simply just wanted to be with him. As wrong as our situation was, as quick as one would be to assume we were evil, I feel in love with this man, more than I have ever loved anyone in my life. His presentation was authentic and perfect. He wanted to know me, wanted to know my history, my childhood, my life story. He remembered everything that I shared with him and he took special life events and recreated them to make new memories. For example, the story I shared about my friend that died always leaving a gift in my car on special occasions and then he did the same.

Whatever was happening in my life, he was supportive and by my side, so to speak. When my son graduated from Basic in April, R. was the one who was upset when I did not send him photos, R. was the one who phoned me night and day just to hear my smile through the phone, R. was the one who cried with me when I shared my pride of my son achieving one of his life’s dreams. My husband had never been that type of man who cared about anything in my life.

My feelings for R. becoming deeper than they should, it was I who did not want anyone hurt, it was me who encouraged R. to quiet our affair, work on our marriages and see if this love was real. R., in turn, would become irate and irritated. He became almost stalkerish in his many text messages, he would call my home phone in the evenings, he would sit and hold my hand and literally cry at the thought of us not being together intimately, on one occasion, he became extremely upset at just the thought of my husband and I being intimate together. He did not want anyone with me, but him. HIs actions, body language and words led me to believe that he felt the same as I did. In my love induced state, I did not want to remove him from my life either.

From the moment that our affair became public knowledge, R. visibly tucked his tail between his legs and ran. I knew from the first phone call and his impulse reaction to run to his wife’s side, that I had made a grave and fatal mistake in trusting this man. I pushed those thoughts aside and prayed to be wrong. I was hoping it was just the initial fear of change and once R. saw my willingness to disrupt my entire life for him, he would do the same. I have never been so wrong about any one person in my life.

After R. returned to his wife, trashed his cell phone and removed me from his heart, conversations and facts were brought to my attention. It seems the day R. and were terminated from our jobs, R. ran to his wife, informed her of the reason for our termination, claimed that I was a stalker, who had mistaken his offers of friendship for love. He told her that I phoned him non stop. followed him everywhere and could not understand that he was a happily married man. The only reason his wife kicked him out of their home temporarily was because my husband phoned her and confirmed I had admitted to an affair with R. My husband and R.’s wife participated in hours of conversation in the first few weeks of our separation. He told her things about me that were in accurate, she in turn, would share them with R. and R. would turn the story to his advantage. For example, when my friend John died, I shared that my husband had previously accused us of having an affair a few months before his death. My husband told R.’s wife of John and I’s friendship, of the accusation of the affair and of how damaged I was when John died, obviously, I would NEVER be that distraught over losing a friend and he was upset that John had died being he would never have any way confirming his thoughts on our relationship. R’s wife, then told R. about the same conversation, R. was obviously aware of what John meant to me and I had shared many stories about him: R. then tells his wife, that is just proof that I have mental issues and am a stalker—-these two men, took intimate details of my life, shared them with R.’s wife and turned around facts in trying to destroy me and my reputation, two men that supposedly loved me.

Once I discovered the things R. had told his wife, I texted her the truth. I phoned her cell phone and requested a sit down meeting so she could know the truth behind R’ and my affair. She refused any and all communication with me, told me she had been through enough and it was ending then, and called my husband to tell him I was now stalking her.

In the months that have passed since R. and I’s communications ended, my heart has been overwhelmed with so many emotions. I have been angry at being abandoned, angry at the lies and manipulations that he passed between me and his wife, angry that I lost everything and he is still sitting comfortably, in his home, with his wife. I have been devastated that he walked away, heart-broken at his use of words without backing, my soul has been shattered at his presence and sudden departure from my life.

I see him often in our town. The first few times I would pass him driving on the road, his body would shift and he would start the entire time. I think he was waiting for some signal from me that I was still into him, I truly believe if I had attempted to speak to him or stop him, he would have been elated. As time has passed, we don’t look each others way anymore. The pain returns each time I see his truck heading my way, I still want desperately for him to stop me, for him to give me a reason for everything that happened: but see, I know the reason. R. is a self-centered, manipulate man who lives in a dream world that he has created for himself. He wants to be a martyr, save the damsels in distress. He doesn’t think rationally or normally when he finds a woman attractive. He has no dedication to anyone in his life, his children, his wife, even not to himself. He presents himself as this heartbroken man, who just wants love, he plays on the emotions of women who are in unhappy marriages and he takes whatever he can get for himself, never thinking of the pain he brings to others.

I was not the loser in this game: I actually was the winner. I loved genuinely and truly, at some point, both men. Though I am alone today, I am no longer in the control of my empty, heartless husband. I am no longer tied to a man who never will and never has loved me. As for R., “we” weren’t enough. He wasn’t enough: he is not a man, but a fox in sheep’s clothing. In a sad way, I feel for his wife. Given their marriage began with an affair while they were married to others, you know in her heart she knows the truth, for reasons of her own, she has chosen to stay with a man who wants nothing more than her material items and will never be faithful or true to her. He will cheat again, if he already hasn’t. I am no longer spending my time with any man who is not willing to spend their time with me. I may be alone, but I am happy with me! I just sit in waiting for Karma to make her way around.

I can see your colors!

At this point in my blog, I want to take a moment, and reflect on Chris and R. separately and from my hearts prospective on our relationships. Simply because, after discovering the truth of my husbands infedility, my heart released the negativity it had been clinging to and I have since begun a slow healing process. In the healing process, I have learned to see deeper into myself to find the reasons that I responded to these men as I did. My future blogs are going to be focusing on that healing process and leading to my present life today, but I want to take a moment and reflect on these two men who played such dramatic parts in my life.

First, I want to give my description of my husband. My husband is an hypocritical man, with very low self-esteem, that was unfortunately, born into a family that has never known how to love or show love. Therefore, he has never been taught how to love. He was raised by a manipulative mother whom was controlling and demeaning to not only her children, but her husband as well. She became pregnant in the 50’s with Chris’s oldest brother by another man, that said man died in a car accident early into her pregnancy, she soon after meet Chris’s father on a blind date, slept with him and convinced him the baby was his. He naturally married her and though they NEVER slept in the same bed together, she interestingly found a way to become pregnant every couple of years until she bore five sons. By the time the youngest was born, the oldest was in his 20’s. Soon after the youngest reached mid teens, Chris’s father died of a mysterious and unknown illness that left him paralyzed and a mute for the last two years of his life. By all stories told in the communities, Chris’s father had been a gregarious, out going, handsome young man before meeting Chris’s mom. Chris’s mom, however, was shy, a loner and withdrawn. AFter their marriage, some of Chris’s dad’s childhood friends have stated, his dad’s mentality began to change and after just a few short years he was an angry, bitter, ill, loner himself. There are no family portraits in their family, only pictures of Chris, his brothers and their mom. If Dad is in any of them, it is in the background. All of Chris’s brothers and Chris himself only have memories of their Dad yelling at them and always spanking the oldest. By the time Chris and the youngest came along, their dad’s illness was creeping in.

Chris’s mom is full of piss and venom, and the 11 years I spent around her, I never heard her utter a positive word, or even anyone in the community utter a positive word about her. She was always spiteful, talking ugly to people and behind their backs and never had any friends. Her days, since her husbands death, were spent sitting in an empty house, staring at blank walls. I even remember my husband, on several different occasions, telling me if he ever became that negative to just put him in his grave, to not let him live to be that miserable. (this was his MOM he was talking about)

With the family background, its easy to see why my husband was so cold and distant. In the beginning, it touched my heart that he had never known or felt REAL love and it was my goal to make sure he did. I was in that “oh I can change him, mode” in the early stages of our dating.

You see, I was born to parents who never should have had children. I did not have a bad childhood, my parents did not want me, divorced, went their separate ways and left me to be raised by my Grandparents. My Grandparents were angels on earth, but they were not huggy, touchy people: they showed me their love by supplying a warm home, hot meals and buying me ice cream. That, in turn, is how I learned to love, by acts of kindness for others. This did not mesh with my husbands need to constantly be touching me, holding me, asking me where I was going and not even letting me leave him alone in the living room for five minutes. Early in our relationship, this kind of banter was suffocating to me. If I were on the couch, he needed to be next to me, holding my hand in a death grip: if I left the room to get a drink of water, he would ask where I was going and go with me to the kitchen….I viewed this as controlling and suffocating. I, on the other hand, would spend hours upon hours, cleaning his home, buying his groceries, cooking his favorite meals, making sure his fav TV shows were turned to at the right time, etc. This was my way of showing my love: his negativity and harsh words in response to me doing those things crushed my heart and only made me feel less loved.

It was our love languages and the differences in our backgrounds, even present in the beginning of the relationship, that was the pitfall of our marriage. I never felt good enough, he found power in making me feel less than special and thus began a vicious circle. My lack of family in my childhood has always left an emptiness that I never wanted my children to feel. My marriage to their Dad destroyed by divorce, I did not have the strength or the motivation to end this viscous circle for fear of hurting and damaging my children.

So I began to change me. I deleted friends from my life, changed my personality to what I thought my husband wanted me to be, gained a lot of weight and gave up believing in myself. My husband was at great fault for the verbal abuse he put me through, but only I am to blame for allowing him to take away my confidence and control me with harshness.

I never could understand why I was never good enough? Why he never seemed to love me after he won my heart? All I ever wanted was to feel protected, loved, admired, RESPECTED….respected is the big word. He never offered any of those emotions, ever. He was too wrapped up in a mentally deranged image of himself that he wanted to present to the public. My husband is literally a hypocrite. He would tell me for hours, what a damaged mess I was, I was the devil, I was a liar, a looser, a piece of garbage: while in the all honesty, he was only talking about himself and deflecting those things on me. He would go in the public, bible thumps that he was, speak articulately, always smile and offer polite compassion and words of encouragement to everyone, he was a deacon at church, attended every bible study class there was, president of his rotary club, president of the FDA and was always volunteering for some charity benefit. We walked in public, hand in hand, smiling at everyone, as I stood quietly to the side and let him take the lime light. Others would gossip about me behind my back, I was called snobby, not very friendly, heart less, cold, etc. My husband never drank in public, unless he was out with his guy friend, never cursed, or showed any inclination of inappropriateness, ever.

Behind closed doors, his favorite name for me was “you stupid bitch”, he would have me venture to the local ABC 3-4 times a week and purchase him Canadian Mist all the while telling others in the community that I had a drinking problem: he smoked cigars, belittled myself and my children and talked nasty about everyone behind their back.

He was heartless and cold. His older brother died in 2006 and I never saw a tear fall from his eyes. Not one! INstead, he stood at the door to the chapel, before the funeral, making sure to shake everyone’s hand that entered, and thank them for coming: that same night, he drank almost a fifth and downed every person that he had been so polite to their face.

All the while I was battling my alcoholism, grieving the loss of my friend and my job-he was in the public, nastily telling others about my problems and berating me to others. After the affair with R. was discovered, he was quick to call me a slut, trash, etc. He accused me of giving him a Veneral Disease and took no time in telling his friends in family about the affair, all the while, he had been involved in his own discrepancies for two years.

How could I have ever loved such a fraud? Was my heart and life so sad and empty that I was easily manipulated by this man who, obviously, suffers from severe mental illness?

It hurts to know I gave so much of my life to him: it hurts to know how much effort I put into our marriage, how desperately I wanted him to love me and how easily he returned every picture, every memory, and walked away. It hurts to know I was willing to sacrifice myself and my children, for such an ass. I don’t miss him at all, I miss the husband and the man that I wanted him to be!