The name of the blog
"It was never just an affair" needs to be in quotations, because it was something my ex-husband said to me early on in the break-up. I guess he thought it might make me feel better to know it wasn't just a fling per say, it was real love? It didn't make me feel better. Him ending the affair and being willing to work on the marriage would have made me feel better.
Saturday, 18 April 2015
How Long It Took
It has been exactly two years since I gave my notice of retirement to a 17 year career I had hated almost from day one.
It has been almost two years since you asked me for an open marriage. When I asked you what this meant you told me the marriage as I had known it was over. It has been almost two years since that 72 hours of roller-coaster emotions, crying, withdrawing, asking questions, begging you to reconsider your choices, trying to understand what you were thinking and feeling, trying to understand what you wanted in life and marriage, trying to support you as a friend, trying to have compassion for someone I loved.
It has been almost two years since the phone call that changed everything. The voice on the other end of the line that informed me that you had previously declared your love for that women years earlier. That you had told her you would leave me for her. That the women you were now in love with had heartlessly bragged at a staff function that she had been fucking you for months.
It has been almost two years since I asked you over and over if you had cheated on me with her. I knew, but I needed you to admit to the affair. You did.
It has been almost two years since you told me you only asked for an open marriage because you figured I would walk out the door right then and there and you could “protect me” from finding out about the affair. You never wanted an open marriage; you just wanted me to go away. I was disposable garbage to you. It would take me many months to come to terms with that though; I would keep fighting for my long-lost marriage for months.
It has been almost two years since we went round and round and I tried to explain to you that I could not even consider the possibility of an open marriage without healing the trauma of the affair. I read a book; I gave it to you. You never gave it back and I doubt you read it. I told you I needed you to end the affair and focus on healing the marriage. You said you would not do that.
It has been almost two years since you moved out.
It has been almost one and a half years since I cut off all contact with you and moved away.
It has been almost one and a half years since our son cut off all contact with you after you asked him to meet your girlfriend.
It has been almost one and a half years since my knees hit the floor, my body wracking with deep sobs of grief when I realized I could not even begin to attempt to pick up the shards of my life and piece them back together. Every time I attempted to grasp a sliver it wounded me again.
It has been almost one and a half years since I decided I could not kill myself and would have to find another way.
It is exactly one year since I fled to another country by myself for a month to heal. A most glorious trip that changed my outlook and returned a love of life to me.
It has been almost one year since the negotiations in the divorce process fell apart and the financial punishment and cruel parading of my flaws in legal documents began.
It has been almost one year since you began painting a picture of me that does not resemble me at all. I was devastated by the way you perceived me. Had you never known who you were married to? What had I done to create your vision of me? Who was this horrible creature you seemed to portray me as? She was not the self that I lived with. It was incredibly hard to accept that I could never convince you otherwise; that you could not hear me, and that what you thought of me was not my concern. It was brutal to accept that not only did you not love me anymore, that you wanted to live your life with another woman, a part-time life with an already married woman, that you were okay never seeing me again, but that you didn’t even like me as a person.
It has been almost eight months since my last breakdown; the last trip to the hospital for anxiety medication to ease me through the weeks of hopelessness knowing I could not end my life, but not knowing how to live my life.
It has been about four months since the rage set in. The burning violent anger that surfaces and flashes like a stroke in my brain before it recedes and I work to calm and distract myself. I want to punish you for what you have thrust onto me. I want to hold you accountable for how your actions have devastated my life emotionally and financially. I want you to hurt the way I have hurt; deep, festering swaths of infection in my heart and mind that are taking years to treat and heal.
It has been just over 24 hours since I accepted that I will never be able to hold you financially accountable for the ruin my life is. I have accepted that I will never recover the losses; that I need to stem the bleeding now. I have accepted that I need to end the hateful negotiations and swallow the bitterness so that I can shit it out later.
It has been less than 24 hours since I realized I don't need to forgive you. All those Facebook memes, self-help authors and philosophical pundits have it wrong. I am not some benevolent god handing out mercy to those who have sinned; the forgiveness I need to foster is not for you. I need to forgive myself.
My anger about my finances, my fear of my future, my anger about the job I have to work just to make ends meet, my grief about the loss of my lifestyle, and my daunting options moving forward as I work hard to build a new life for myself are because of the choices I made, the decisions I made or did not make, the lifestyle I led, and how I have spent my money in the past. You are the brunt of my rage because you are the constant reminder of how I failed myself.
Perhaps peace will come in time through the excruciating process of forgiving myself for my mistakes, not you for your mistakes.