Monday, July 29, 2013

lost post

Damn.  I left mediation today and wrote a big long email about my interaction with him and now it's all gone.  A combination of factors, the phone ringing, the battery dying, etc. and now all that I wrote is gone. :(

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The visa bill

We have another mediation session tomorrow.  I decided a few days ago to tell him that I care less about percentages than doing what's right.  You buy me that house I am in love with and set me up modestly and do the right thing here.  That house is worth half of what our current two homes are combined, so it seems fair enough.  So I told him that tonight.  Neither one of us is remotely accustomed to me being demanding.  New territory.  I was pleased with his response. He certainly didn't say no.  We slipped into talking about other things.  The conversation veered into dangerous emotional territory.  I did choose to tell him the one thought that I've been wanting to say to him since last Friday.  That I wrote here, about wanting him to know that no matter how happy I am in the future, I will NEVER think this was the right thing to do.  I told him.  Without the vulgar language and really without anger.  More matter-of-factly than anything else.  He keeps circling back to the idea that we both made mistakes (but has never been able to tell me what mine were) and that of course neither of us wanted this outcome, and whatnot.  It was dangerous ground.  We had to end the conversation, because when I really listen to what he's saying, I want to scream at him.  But the hardest part is that talking to him isn't just a maddening experience.  It was the first time we had spoken in a quite awhile other than the drop off/pick up exchanges, which we keep as curt and brief as possible.  We texted back and forth (our main method of communication now), so we knew we were going to talk by phone but when I called him and he answered, there was a part of me that felt such comfort in the sound of his voice.  In that familiar, wonderful voice that I so loved.  And part of the conversation was so logistical and so close to neutral, it was pleasurably familiar hearing his voice.  Until I stopped to think what he was actually saying, and then I realized how hurtful his perspective is to me.  I can respect the fact that he has a different perspective, but I'm used to doing that so much that I automatically give credence to his ideas, which then subtly undermine my own experience and feelings, which then makes me feel completely frustrated and invalidated since my experiences and feelings are directly opposite of his.  And then I'm just thoroughly annoyed with myself that I could possibly find something of comfort in that voice of his.  How could I possibly find that appealing at this point?  The mind and heart are hard to retrain.
But this helps...I was going through the visa bill tonight to work on a budget proposal for mediation. In doing so I looked at February's postings.  Those "expensive" flowers that he bought me a week or so before Valentine's Day.  They were $12.99.  Seriously?  Why oh why do I continue to see the good in people even when they've proven themselves to be asses?  But it gets better.  On February 12th, there's a $50something charge for a restaurant that I know I've never been to.  So, my ugly $13 bouquet was expensive, but his secret $50 lunch?  No big deal.  Fucker.  As if that's not enough?  I see that in May, he had a $50 tab at the restaurant that we always went to on date nights.  That's our date night restaurant you ass.  I could be wrong, he could have gone there with someone else, but what are the chances?  And how could he go there with her?  I haven't been able to imagine going to that restaurant again.  Does it really not bother him?  Is he that devoid of emotional meaning?  Bring on mediation tomorrow.  I have plenty of ammunition now.  Plenty of fire in my belly to say, you make this right.  Buy this house for me (that's worth half the price of my current home - the one that I've been working my tail off to get ready for the market) and make it right, you jerk.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Unlocking the Pattern

My sister-in-law (his sis) said to me months ago (right after he left), that she never thought we were well matched.  I don't particularly like that stance.  I think that match is what you make of it and that we were well matched in many many ways, and that the rest is work.  It's so convenient to look back on failure and shake your head and simply say, "we weren't well matched." But now I'm perseverating on that thought a little bit.  Here's the line of thought:

  • I wished that I had someone who had taken care of me a little bit more.
  • I know that I have a pattern of being the caretaker in life, and not being taken care of. (I did work to change that pattern this weekend when I reached out for help and let people come to my house and work tirelessly in my yard and in the house to get things ready for sale.)
  • I also have very high expectations (of myself and others).
As someone who is consistently in the role of caretaker and also has very high expectations, I take it all on and don't generally whine (certainly not what it seems like from reading these posts) and I also expect my partner to shoulder a lot (not from me, but from life).  I felt like I supported him a lot emotionally and otherwise, but if my expectations for life in general were too high for him (even if EVERYONE around me agrees that they weren't too high, but perhaps they were for HIM), than he was left with no reserves left to care for me.  I know that because he constantly felt like he was scrambling to meet my expectations, he felt like a failure in my eyes.  It doesn't matter that a) my expectations were totally reasonable (this is supported by other's comments and observations), and b) I REPEATEDLY reassured him that I wasn't putting those expectations on him, wasn't finding fault with him that certain things weren't done, because God knows we were busy, how could we possibly get it all done.  Was he so wrapped up in his sense of failure with not meeting my (not-put-on-him-but-just-known) desires, that he had nothing left with to care for me?  Is this what his sister was getting at when she suggested that we weren't well matched, that I was too strong?
Well, where does that leave me? Am I doomed to not have partnership unless I can find someone with the same energy level and vision as I have?  I don't think it has to be that way.  I think partners can still care for each other, even with different energy levels.  I think that if he had been taking care of himself (which I repeatedly encouraged but he never did), that even if our energy and vision was slightly out of balance, he would have had the reserves left to be able to demonstrate his care for me more.
Ok, I think I'm thinking in circles now, and I have to get to work anyhow.  Part of me knows all this self-reflection and "review work" doesn't do any good, but the other part of me argues that I need to do this so I don't fall into the same pattern with someone else someday.  Don't I have to unlock the pattern in order for that not to happen again?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

From Mom's House, Dad's House

Reading Mom's House, Dad's House by Isolina Ricci. Not easy. I've cried multiple times in the first 60 pages.
Not surprisingly it says (regarding marital separations):
A surprise decision feels disrespectful and painful. This is why the hardest hit are those who didn't suspect a serious problem. They are unprepared, they are stunned, their world is in a tailspin. 

No kidding. She goes on to talk about the "review work" that one had to do when trying to make sense of how the marriage fell apart. She writes:
Your preoccupation with the relationship, who was responsible for what, and what this means to you now, is natural and healthy review work. But it is work, like the grief after the death of a loved one.... The sense of failure and disappointment can be crushing. It obscures the job of gradually separating your marriage from your parenthood....Usually, review work permeates much of the first six months before (at least for the person who is considering the separation) and after the separation. If the separation was unexpected, the review work is pervasive for at least a year, sometimes more. The easiest (and most peaceful) response to review work has been described by a few people as simply coming to no definite conclusions. Not all questions have answers and not all "the whys" are worth pursuing. Asking, "What's going on here?" is more helpful than "Why?"  Release and peace do not necessarily depend on taking a course of action on a position; simply acknowledging the experience can be enough. 


I haven't interacted with anyone today except the Thai restaurant waiter I got takeout from and my mom for a five minute phone call. What a strangely quiet day. A few texts with folks, but otherwise a nearly silent day. As soon as I'm with my boys, I need quiet, but as soon as they're gone, I miss them and a whole day of quiet is way too much for this lonesome mama right now.

Emotional Intimacy

A little while back I took a fascinating personality inventory called the Color Code.  While answering the questions I thought there was no way it could possibly describe me because so many of the questions seemed impossible to answer, with no choices that really described me.  I consistently answered by choosing the option that was least wrong, even when I felt like it was wrong as well.  I didn't put much stock in it.  Until I got the analysis.  Oh my God.  I've never seen anything describe me better in my life.  It's as if someone wrote this after watching me my whole life.  It's so accurate if freaks me out.  Here's what it said:
You are a BLUE personality. The Core Motivation that drives you through life is "intimacy." It is important to note that this does not mean sexual intimacy. BLUES need connection – the sharing of rich, deep emotions that bind people together. 

As a BLUE, you will often sacrifice a great deal of time, effort, and/or personal convenience to develop and maintain meaningful relationships throughout your life. 

BLUES seek opportunities to genuinely connect with others, and need to be understood and appreciated. Everything you do as a BLUE has to be quality-based, or you won't do it at all. 

You are incredibly loyal to friends, employers, employees, and above all to your spouse. Whatever or whomever you commit to is your sole (and soul) focus. As a BLUE, you love to serve and will give freely of yourself in order to nurture the lives of others.

BLUES have distinct preferences and are the most controlling of the four personalities, although they may not acknowledge (or even realize) the fact. Your code of ethics is remarkably strong and you expect others to live honest, committed lives as well. You enjoy sharing meaningful moments in conversation with your partner, as well as remembering special life events (e.g., birthdays and anniversaries).

That's me, for better or worse.  Of course, I don't think I have all of those limitations.  I'll readily accept emotionally intense, guilt-prone, hard-to-please, judgmental, perfectionist, self-righteous, unrealistic expectations, and worry prone, but not low self-esteem, moody (at least not normally, now is an exception), suspicious, or unforgiving.  Jealous is tricky, I usually feel like I'm not a jealous person at all, but sometimes I do envy what others have.

This whole analysis help me describe myself to myself in a way that the INFJ in the Myers Briggs never has.  That's because I'm always very close to the extrovert on the I/E scale in the Myers Briggs.  I always felt like there should be a third category, that draws energy and strength from intimate interactions.  Like a typical introvert, big surface interactions like parties exhaust me, and I need plenty of time by myself, such as I'm spending right now.  On the other hand, I crave spending time one on one or in very small intimate groups with people I care about most.  My husband (up until now of course), my mom, my sister, my best friends.  And that makes sense through this color analysis which identifies intimacy as the core motivator in my life.  So true!

Which is why this whole situation is so desperately devastating.  I went to synagogue to celebrate Shabbat last night, and I was pretty close to tears the whole through.  At one point I had to slip out and have a bawl-fest in the bathroom.  I don't know why mizmor shir suddenly brought on the tears. Why that song and not the others?  Was it the minor key?  Somehow that song brought me back to the very early days of going to shul with him.  How we were learning the songs and routine together. The notes of that song somehow were a hint to this shared experience, gone.  And not just gone, but ripped from me.

I started thinking about the weight of losing a partner in this way and decided secretly that this is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a person.  And I know as soon as I even think that how self-absorbed and ridiculous that sounds.  Concentration camps are worse, horrible debilitating diseases are worse, ongoing rape, torture, and abuse are worse.  So many things are worse.  It's ridiculous of me to say that this is the worst thing that can happen to a person.  I've watched my otherwise preternaturally cheerful aunt suffer from the unexpected loss of my 22 year old cousin ten years ago, and I know that losing a child would be far worse.  I know that as a mother.  How could I cope with the loss of one of my boys?  And yet (this is where I'm grateful that this blog is anonymous and no one I know is going to read this (if anyone at all), part of me argues that no, this is actually worse.  I know as I think it how ridiculous and self-absorbed that sounds, but here's why it feels like that right now.  Any other loss leaves you shaking your fist at God, mourning and grieving and seeking comfort from loved ones.  If a partner or child dies, you mourn them.  I'm assuming you feel like you've been cleaved in half, and you ache miserably for that phantom limb.  And yet, it wasn't the limb's fault.  In the case of adultery and abandonment, that other half removed itself.  Part of me has been ripped from me, not because of the random roulette wheel of life, but because it up and walked away.  Leaving me limbless, bleeding, and in great pain and not able to turn to the one person I should be able to turn to for comfort, because he's the one that walked away leaving me like this.

Which brings me back to the whole color analysis.  For me, with intimacy being my core motivator, this is just about the hardest thing that could happen to me.

I know I'll heal from this.  I am not a grudge-holder by nature.  I always choose to be happy, and this will be no exception.  Our ten years of marriage was marked by my choosing to be happy and not holding grudges.  I know I can/will do this and come out of this happy and whole and not perpetually brought to tears randomly by some memory triggered by a minor key, but no wonder it's so wretchedly difficult.  No wonder it feels like I'm raw and bleeding with a great open wound.  It's as if my right arm held a hatchet and cut off the right side of my body and walked away.  There's a lot to recover from there.  I have whole new limbs to grow.  And I have to do that hard work while supporting and nurturing three children with very different needs, dealing with all the logistical stuff related to this dissolution (mediation, budgets, attorneys, preparing the house for sale, figuring out where to live), dealing with challenging projects at work, and somehow sleeping and not gaining weight.  I wish I could just put the emotional stuff on the shelf and deal with it after all the logistical stuff was taken care of.

Friday, July 5, 2013

few words, mostly just tears

When is it going to stop being so fucking hard when he takes the boys for the weekend? He is ripping my boys away from me. I need a break because parenting three challenging boys while dealing with everything else I'm going through related to this is exhausting and overwhelming, but damn him, this isn't the kind of break I want. I want someone who works with me. Shares in the joys and the challenges. Fuck him. He has the boys and I get to spend the next two days packing up my home and getting it ready to sell just because he was too emotionally incompetent to do the hard work that is involved in a marriage. Why isn't there a stronger word than FUCK!!!!!!! All the meaning has been stripped from it because it gets thrown around so casually, and that leaves me right now with a no words possibly strong enough to express my pain and anger.


Sad sad sad today. Rushing around busy with life. No one would know from interacting with me, but under it all I'm so very sad. I feel this deep need to tell him the following:

I need you to know, to really know, that no matter what you see from me in the future, no matter how happy I may appear to be or even how truly happy I am (because we all know I always chose to be happy). Even if I'm in love. Even if I appear to be happier in love with someone else down the road than you thought I was with you. EVEN IF I actually am happier in love with someone else down the road then I ever was with you. Even if anything..... I will still believe that this was the wrong choice. This was NOT what needed to happen. You fucking emotionally incompetent cowardly asshole.
A few days ago, he ran into a mutual friend we had neither one seen in a long time. He had to explain why he was at that house with the boys and so explained in brief (I'm sure) what had happened. She responded apparently with something like, "these things happen." I don't fault her for making such a comment. What else was she supposed to say?  But when he mentioned it to me, I couldn't help but retort, "Yeah, things happen because people make choices!" To accept anything other than that is just to support his passive attitude which was the cause of his misery to begin with.

Ok. Now to have a quick meeting with the painter/repair person who's going to fix a bunch of stuff on the house so I can put it on the market. Fun fun. Then back to work where I can deal with the fact that Wednesday I had to let a good friend know that we are not rehiring her to do the job she has been doing well for 6 months. (Not my choice.). That is just super ugly. At least I had a nice day with my boys yesterday, yummy treats to eat, parade in the morning, dinner outside with water play in our backyard in the evening and then fireworks at night. They were exhausted this AM when I had to wake them for camp. And then I don't get them from 5:30 this evening until Monday. :( I did not sign up for this form of family.

And why did the fireworks make me so sad yesterday? It's not like we had significant memories of doing that exact thing together. In fact, last year I took the older two boys to that spot, just me, while he stayed at home with the sleeping toddler. And I took all of them to the parade last year without him. Now I wonder where he was, ha, at work with her. So in many ways, it WAS just like last year, but it felt so different. This year I didn't even have the potential of sharing it all with him. Even though I was surrounded by more friends actually than last year, it felt really alone.
Ok. Better get back to being productive. Enough wallowing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

To sleep... and then to wake up all over again... too soon.

It's nearly 3 am.  The boys will be up in another 4 hours.  I have been picking up, doing laundry, putting away, and cleaning my house nonstop since 10:15pm.  I could do that for hours every single night and still not have a pottery barn-esque house.  The realtor is coming tomorrow to talk with me about putting the house on the market.  I don't know how in the world I'm going to keep it show ready. I spent all that time tonight and I still have messy and dirty spots to deal with.

On a completely unrelated note, I heard from my boys Sunday that their father took them to Old Navy on Saturday.  He hates that store so much that on one of our last dates, he, unbeknownst to me (and quite rudely), even tweeted about how disturbed he was to find himself in one.  Never mind that we had mutually decided to go in to kill a little time and both grabbed some sale shirts.  Anyhow, he took the boys to find some t-shirts and it was apparently their busiest day of the year, some flip flop sale for a buck a piece and the line wrapped all the way around the store.  Ha ha.  That's a completely vindictive laugh!  Serves him right.

Ok, more to say, but surprise surprise at 3am I just keep finding myself asleep with my computer on my lap, so I might as well give up completely.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Last winter, in the midst of the hurt and pain and worry about the fact that my husband had just had an affair I had to figure out what to give him for a tenth anniversary present.  It wasn't an easy task, just 6 weeks after getting the news.  I was proud of the package I put together for him.  It included an antique tin box from the Chicago World's Fair, since he is in to kitschy stuff and from Chicago and tin is the traditional tenth anniversary gift.  In the little box were a bunch of sexy love coupons I made.  He never redeemed any of them.  There were chocolates, a sweet heartfelt note full of faith and courage and love, and some lingerie.  Our physical intimacy having always been pretty great, we haven't bothered too much with such things, but he had hinted recently that I could purchase some for myself and give it to him as a mutual appreciated present.  So I did.  It was kind of exciting to pick some out.  Not something that I'm accustomed to doing, and given my proportions, not something that is easy.  But I went to this chichi boutique downtown and was able to find not just one, but two things that fit beautifully and made me feel just that.  I don't remember how much they cost, but it was certainly well out of my comfort range, I think I spent close to $100!  But I figured it was worth it.  I wore them each once  :(
So, after he left in March, in one of my cleaning fits I threw the lingerie in an envelope and put it on his desk in the office where I knew he would eventually find it.  I wrote on the envelope, "This was actually a present for you.  It's a shame you didn't get more pleasure out of it."  It sat there and sat there.  I know that he saw it a few different times between March and now when he got stuff from the office to take.  And then this weekend he cleared everything out of his desk.  It's all gone.  Nice that I don't have to deal with any of that.  But he left the envelope there.  Jerk.  He could have at least taken it and dumped it in the Goodwill.  I understand that it could equally be seen that I was the one being rude and he just wasn't taking the bait, that he wasn't responsible for dealing with it.  I understand all that, but I'm too angry to be logical.  It felt like a slap in the face.  It was insult upon injury.  I was lashing out in pain and he wouldn't even acknowledge the lashing out.  I started to text him and tell him that it was rude not to take it, that it was adding insult to injury, but I am getting smarter.  I sat there and looked at it on the screen for a moment and then cut it and pasted it and sent it to my sister with an explanation instead, as she has reminded me to do.  I'm learning.  It certainly wouldn't have done any good to lash out with that hurt.
And there's so much of it.  I know that it comes out in our mediation sessions as I'm either stoney-faced towards him, or being less than polite or cordial.  I want the mediator to know that this isn't how I treated him for ten years of marriage.  I know it doesn't matter what the mediator thinks, and that he is not to take sides, but I have this deep desire for him to know that he's not witnessing what it's been like all along.  I guess it's the part of me that always yearns to be understood and that wants fairness.