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So, miracle of miracles, my soon-to-be-ex-husband actually initiated contact with me last week to go to the courthouse and file our divorce paperwork.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor I agreed to meet him on Friday, May 1st for what turned out to be an excruciatingly awkward and uncomfortable morning but at least when it was over, it was over.  He signed the divorce paperwork in front of a notary, we turned it in and they said the judge should sign it and make it official in 4 – 6 weeks.  Then we went to the title company where I signed a quit claim, turning the deed of the house over to him completely and in exchange he gave me one final guilt trip… and a check.

With that check I am moving into a 60 x 14, two bedroom, one bath trailer in a “bad” part of town, lol.  Ironically it is at the other end of a short street from the first trailer home we lived in when we first moved to this town 8 1/2 years ago.

I tried to use the housing voucher but the requirements are so strict I was unable to find housing in the price range and guidelines they set.  If I had one other person with me (like my youngest daughter), we could have easily found housing within the guidelines but as a single person there just wasn’t anything out there.

But in the end I think it’s OK.  I have 840 sq feet all to myself and can paint the walls any color I want, a second bedroom to make into an office/nail room and a little bit of yard that I can fill with plants and flowers to my heart’s content.  There’s new carpet in the living room and the master bedroom and there’s new linoleum in the kitchen.  The fridge is much newer and nicer than I expected and there’s a nice, big space to put a washer and dryer. There’s even a good-sized storage shed that’s included next to the trailer.  The neighborhood seems quiet, it’s on a dead-end street that ends against a steep hill but is only a block from a busy street so it’s easy to get everywhere.  The neighbors I’ve met seem nice and friendly and the landlord was a pleasure to work with.  I think I will do well there!

The down side is that the door to my new home has obviously been kicked in at some point because the deadbolt doesn’t have to be unlocked in order for the door to open and close.  The lock on the doorknob works just fine but I need to find a way to fix the deadbolt and I’m wondering if it would be worth it to change all the locks.  The windows are, well, old trailer home windows and not much better than plastic wrap at keeping the weather in or out.  Every single wall needs to be painted and there are several spots in the floors that will need stabilizing at some point in the near future.

There is so much more to setting up a new home than I expected, wow!  It’s entirely different than just moving with all your stuff.  I have to buy a broom, a mop, cleaning supplies, a thermostat for the furnace, window coverings, a shower curtain, towels, dishes, silverware… the list goes on and on.  But that’s just the little stuff!  I found a living room set at a nearby thrift store so I now have a couch, chair, a coffee table and an end table to go with my piano, bookshelves and computer desk.  The things I don’t have?  Kitchen table/chairs, bed, TV, DVD/BlueRay, tools (hammer, screwdriver, scissors, nails, etc.), plants – I miss my plants – they let them all die after I moved out in January…  Maybe I should start a GoFundMe account for all the little odds and ends of starting a new life, ha, ha!  Nope, I’m a big girl now and am exactly where I want to be so I’ll take whatever people offer me and slowly pick up whatever else I need. But I’m happy with my new home and wanting to hurry up and finish painting so I can move in, hopefully in the next couple of weeks. 🙂

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My next oldest brother sent me a text today saying he doesn’t understand why I don’t initiate communication with him so here’s my response:

Hi Brother,

     That was a good question and I had to think about it and then decided the answer was too long to text…
     My initial thought was that I don’t initiate contact with you because I don’t know what to say.  But the real answer to your question is that I feel like I stopped initiating contact with you not too long after you guys moved back home from clear across the country because in my mind you weren’t responding to my attempts to be friends.  It felt like your family was more important than anything else and you weren’t interested in what was going on in my life. Right or wrong, I shut you out because I felt like you didn’t want me to be a part of your life and it was less painful to stop trying than to continually feel rejected.
     I know, you didn’t mean it that way and you’re sorry that’s how I felt…  I’m not mad about it, you asked and I answered, that’s all.  It’s been over and done with for a long time now and I’ve come to recognize that it wasn’t intentional and I shouldn’t have taken it personally – I’ve forgiven you and moved on.  The fact that you and I finally started to “talk” again right before I left my husband frankly bewilders me.  We don’t have hardly anything in common anymore and if you were just someone I met in high school I doubt we’d be friends so why on earth are you trying to get to know me now?  My tone here is kindly puzzled, again, I’m not angry.
     I’ve never felt like you (or a whole variety of other people) ever loved me and for most of my life I believed it was because there was something wrong with me that made me unlovable and I deserved to live a life of heartache.  Last year I started going to a really good counselor and slowly came to realize that I’m worthy of love and I don’t deserve to be emotionally bullied, manipulated or guilt-tripped into anything (these things are actually emotional abuse).
     After I left my husband I spent two months of trying to address these issues with him but there was no forward progress or even acknowledgement that he ever has been emotionally abusive, and to a smaller degree still is so, I told him it was over and yesterday I filed the divorce paperwork.  That decision may have been announced in anger because I wouldn’t have had the courage to say it otherwise but it certainly wasn’t  made in anger.  I know my husband feels like he’s the victim in all of this but according to the people with degrees and licenses who dedicate their lives to helping women in abusive relationships I’m the victim and therefore qualify for an amazing amount of assistance.  Legally I’m homeless and a victim of domestic abuse.  But I don’t want to stay a victim, I want to move on and heal, become a whole person for probably the first time and have a real life.
     I know I’ve made the right decision and am doing the right thing.  I have found a good church and have started to get more and more involved with the ladies there and God has been blessing me in amazing ways since I moved out.  I hope that my  husband finds his own healing from a past that made him who he is but whatever he does, he’s going to do it without hurting me any further.
     So there it is, more than I intended to write but hopefully answers to a few of the questions you didn’t know how to ask. If you still want to communicate, ask me more questions and I will do my best to answer them when I have time to sit down and type them out.  I wish I had been braver and able to do this sooner in my life but better late than never, eh?
I love you too,
Me

Yesterday I moved the remainder of my stuff out of my former home.  Eight hours of packing the last little bit that I hadn’t gotten to before, lifting and moving all those boxes, totes and small bits of furniture left me stiff, sore and starving but it’s over.  It was so strange to see the sum total of my worldly possessions after 41 years of life and almost 21 years of marriage crammed into a 10′ x 15′ mini storage unit.  It felt like I should have had so much more and yet some of it I hadn’t even wanted to take.

A wonderful lady, who until yesterday I had considered more of an acquaintance than a close friend, showed up with her husband, one of their teenaged sons and their pickup truck and stayed for 5 hours helping me take 4 pickup loads and 2 trailer loads to my mini storage unit. I was embarrased that I was completely broke (the mini-storage cost more than I expected and left me with $7 until payday), I couldn’t even buy them pizza or sodas but I was sooooo very grateful for them, they were the only help I had… besides my soon-to-be-ex-husband and older daughter.

That infuriating man was pretty decently behaved yesterday, much to my surprise.  He had seemed offended that I didn’t ask for his help moving.  Nope, I can’t win.  My response to that was that he had made it very clear that he was not going to help me leave him in any way, shape or form so that was why I hadn’t asked him.  He countered with something along the lines of yes, he did say that to me but since I was going to leave him regardless he wanted to make the transition as smooth as possible.

I read that as him wanting me out of his house as soon as possible even if he has to help me go.  It suddenly seemed very appropriate to make him move my piano one more time. 

So I said he could help and in the end I was very grateful for his assistance and told him so.  The reward for my gratitude was a earnest, heartfelt plea for the girl he married, who was “madly in love with him”, by the way, “and he loved her in return” to come back to him because it’s not too late…

Gag me with a spoon.  That girl never loved him “madly” and I’ve had 20 years of his “love” and I’m not going to put up with another day of it.  However, after the conversation that led to my last post “If I Had Done What You’ve Done” my sole response to stuff like that is now and forevermore “I understand why you think/feel that way but I’m doing the right thing”. 

He walked away feeling confident that I am in the wrong and that he is the victim here but I walked away… Free.

The last time I spoke with my soon-to-be-ex-husband we discussed dividing up the household items and what not and something he said to me caught my attention.    I had asked him if we switched lists of stuff and he was only going to get what was on my list would he feel that it was fair?  His response was “If I had done what you’ve done I would be happy just to get away with a car and a place to stay.”

Uh, excuse me, what have I done?

His clarification was “If it was really as bad as you say it was I would be happy just to run away screaming.”.

20 years of marriage and that’s his justification for leaving me homeless, no alimony, with a bare minimum of “stuff” and having to wait 3 – 5 years to see any profit from selling the house.  It feels like he’s saying I deserve to have nothing in the same way that some people say a girl who wears tight clothing deserves to get raped.  That isn’t what he actually said but it feels like that’s what he meant.  What an ass.

I’ve been counseled by friends to get an attorney and take him to the cleaners, force him to sell the house immediately and ask for alimony.  It’s tempting, it truly is because this man is really pissing me off.  But in the end, it’s not who I am –  and still I have to live with myself for (hopefully) a long, long time.  On top of that I am more and more convinced that I am doing the right thing.  I KNOW that God is my provider and He will make a new life for me, just look at my amazing new job and the housing program I qualify for!  I also know that the man I married will have to answer to God for how he treated me and in light of that I pity him.

And if you know my husband please feel free to say anything you like to him – except the fact that I have this blog.  I’m done trying to shield his feelings but I would like to preserve what still feels like my private space to vent.  🙂

So call it walking the extra mile, call it turning the other cheek, call it whatever you like – I know I’m walking the path God has set me on, He will take care of me and my life will turn out good!

It’s been about 2 weeks since my last blog entry so here’s a little bit of catch-up.  First the negative:

My Easter visit to my younger daughter and her husband was heartbreaking and I’m still working through the roller-coaster of emotions, trying to regain some sort of internal balance.

I had a talk with my husband about splitting up our possessions and while I agreed to dividing things a certain way at the time I have since realized that allowing him to get 3 vehicles and 2/3 to 3/4 of the profit from selling the house is very unfair to me after 20 years of marriage.  Therefore I will be telling him that we need to sell the house right away and split the profits 50/50… I’m sure that will be a lovely conversation, ugh!

My car is the only car that is not paid off and the loan is only in his name.  Originally I was going to apply for a loan in my own name and transfer the car to my loan but then I realized that signing myself up for another 5 years or so of car payments was not the smartest thing I could do so I bought myself another car with my half of the state income tax return that finally showed up and left the car with the loan on it at the house for him to do whatever he wants to do with it.  He shocked me by saying “What happened to us being nice to each other and you applying for the car loan?”  My jaw dropped – I was not trying to be mean to him by giving the car back to him!

My sister found this guy on a dating app and started messaging him.  Turns out he attends the church I left and is being mentored by my husband.  This guy says that my husband freely admits that our divorce is his fault and he is “very humble about his shortcomings”.  So it’s OK for him to be angry and unpleasant to my face, take away my house key in spite of the fact that I am still on the home loan and the house is filled with my stuff, refuse to allow me the use of the pickup truck that still has my name on the title to move my things… but to the people at church he is a meek victim, freely confessing his faults and worthy of everyone’s pity and compassion because his rebellious, soon-to-be-ex-wife won’t give him a second chance.

I had already figured out that he sees himself as the victim in our upcoming divorce but this takes the cake, I’m literally blown away.

No wonder I was about to burst into tears all day today…

But here’s the positive side of life – my new job!  When I “auditioned” for this job they said over and over again “We are like family here” and I’m discovering that they really, truly meant it.  My bosses are Vietnamee, two brothers and a gal that they’ve known since childhood.  The older brother, I’m going to call him Hank here, has been a nail tech for 11 years and is the brains of the business but does not speak very good English.  The younger brother, I’ll call him Todd, has only been a nail tech for about 2 years but speaks much better English so he is the public face of the business and he jokes and laughs with all the customers.  The gal, I’ll call her Sheri, has also been a nail tech for 11 years and her nail art is AMAZING!  Her English is fairly good too so she helps answer the phones and interacts with the customers.  All of them put sanitation as their top priority with customer service a close second and I am so grateful, it’s such a different atmosphere than my previous salon!

My first day there Todd gave me a top-of-the-line pedicure.  Sugar scrub, a clay leg mask, paraffin wax, hot stone massage, lotion massage, the works.  It was Heaven!  Todd says that I have to experience everything the shop offers in order to tell customers about it.  Hank gave me a full set of acrylic nails and told me he wants to teach me everything he knows.  My second day on the job Todd showed me how to do glitter gel toes by putting them on me.  Sheri invited me to eat the food she brought – meat, veggies and rice – it was delicious!  My third day Todd bought donuts for all of us and Hank re-did my nail polish so that it would be perfect for my trip to see my daughter.  Each day was filled with smiles, food and laughter and I felt so included, like I really was a part of their family.

When I came back from my Easter trip nothing had changed.  I’ve left work each day since with warm fuzzies, feeling totally loved and accepted.  Hank bought the bolts to put my new license plates on my new car and after he finished attaching them he told me “Anything mechanical I fix for you, just ask me”.  They’re teaching me to speak Vietnamese, so far I know how to say “Help me” and “Hello”, lol.  Sheri makes food every day and she saves me a good-sized portion if I’m not able to eat it when she and the boys do.  Today they all stayed late so that I could finish my food, Todd helped me heat it and put it together, rice noodles, meat and broth formed some sort of soup that was very yummy.  They teased me about needing to learn how to use chopsticks. Hank said “Take your time, no rush” and with a bowl of Vietnamese soup I realized I have a new family, and I love them.

My husband showed up at my work this morning, gave me some mail, said he wants my name off all the household bills, gave me the spare key for my car in exchange for my key to the house and wants to meet with me to decide what to do with my car. The loan is only in his name and if the finance company can’t/won’t change it into my name then he said he would give me his car, which is paid for, and take mine. I don’t like his car and he doesn’t like mine so we’ll see how that works out…

Obviously he doesn’t trust me to have access to our house or to make the car payments and keep his credit pretty. 

He also said that I’m not doing the right thing, I’m breaking my covenant vows before God, he’s dissapointed that I informed him in writing instead of face to face, blah,  blah,  blah… and he’s relieved because he’s been “busting his butt” trying to love me and win me back and I “obviously don’t want to be won”.

I just listened. Anything I could have said would only have invited him to debate with me rather than provide him with enlightenment. I got two things out of his little statement:

1. He’s relieved. I feel like he wants a divorce as much as I do but will never admit it in a thousand years because it’s “wrong”.

2. And if the last 2 months were his best efforts at trying to show me love and win me over… well let’s just say that I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I made the right decision. Everybody should run away from a lifetime of that! 

I know that not all guys are like him but right now I’m pretty disgusted with his entire gender, ugh!

I’m feeling good about finalizing this decision. There may have been better ways to handle it – and to be fair I feel like I did try to tell him twice face-to-face and was talked out of it – but at least it’s done and if I get enough tips I’m going to eat at my favorite resturant tonight, yay! 

No offense intended towards anyone actually named Cathy… but good grief, I’ve become a prolific blogger! 

On a more serious note though, this is how I decompress, vent, sort things out in my head, etc. so I’m sorry if it’s becoming too much for anybody – it honestly boggles my mind that I have over 100 followers of my (hopefully) super-secret and (unfortunately) often depressing journaling experiment so thank you for reading along.  I only hope that if you’re the victim of emotional abuse that you will gain strength from knowing you’re not alone and get out of that relationship!

Today was hard, nerve-wracking even.  I had written the “Dear John Letter” (see my previous post) last night but decided not to send it to my soon-to-be-ex-husband until this evening being as in the last two months since I moved out he has already tried to blame me for causing him so much stress that he made “big mistakes” at his work and feared being fired over them.  Now granted, he does work with hazardous chemicals so his “big mistake” could be significantly bigger than, say, an office worker’s but regardless, his work performance is not my fault or responsibility.  A lesson I am finally learning…  Even so, it was out of habit that I decided to try and avoid being blamed for yet another thing that I didn’t do so I emailed the letter to him when I got off work Friday night at 7 pm.  That gives him the entire weekend to be comforted by his friends so he can get his act together before going back to work on Monday.

It was very difficult to press the “send” button.  I had worked hard on the letter itself, short and to the point but firm and leaving no room to “fix” anything.  But I still re-read it about five times and then had to force myself to actually send it.  What is wrong with me?  Well, whatever it was, I conquered it and sent the dang thing off.

Instant Panic Attack.

I smothered it with some chicken strips and gravy from Dairy Queen and an animated movie with my local best friend and her family. Yes, I’m a stress eater so I’ll probably wind up at 400 pounds before this is over *sigh*.  But I sent the letter.  As of yet he has not responded, not that I expected him to, but I know we’re going to have to talk and work out a few things sooner rather than later, like getting the rest of my stuff out of the house and what we’re going to do with my car – that is only in his name.

By the way, if anyone has noticed a decline in my spelling and typing abilities I just want to say that it’s the fault of my new tablet keyboard.  I’ve had it for about a month now but I’m a very fast typist and this silly little keyboard doesn’t always keep up with me so I’m finding that I don’t catch all the mistakes.  Sorry!

…and I’m suddenly out of things to say.  I suppose that’s a good thing because I need to go to bed.  The boss has been on vacation all week so I only got one day off instead of my normal two and I’ve been super tired in the mornings.  Three more days until I get two off, then two days of work and then I’m off for five days to go see my younger daughter and her husband for Easter, yay!

Dear Husband,

I told you I would think about our conversation on Monday and try to write you a letter so here goes. 

You asked “Why are you here?” and that’s what I’ve been thinking about most.  Why was I there?  Why do I keep agreeing to meet with you?  What am I trying to accomplish?  I really had to think about it.  You seem to believe that I hadn’t yet filed for divorce because deep down in my heart I want to commit to restoring our relationship to what it should have been.

Honesty requires that I say this is not true, as I believe I communicated to you on Monday.

So why was I still meeting with you?  Healthy communication has always been my main goal and I thought I’ve made that clear from the get-go.  But your question forced me to realize that it’s the only thing I want to accomplish from our meetings.  I don’t want to move back in with you and I don’t want our marriage to continue.  Therefore, as of today, I have stopped wearing my wedding ring and have contacted the legal team at the women’s shelter to start the process of filing for divorce.  I will not be meeting with you for dates or to talking to you about our relationship anymore. 

I’m sorry this is hurtful to you.

I will still need to pick up our younger daughter’s things from the house, if it would be more convienient to do that after I get off work on Friday, April 3rd so that you and our older daughter could be out of the house while I am loading up please let me know.  I will remove my totes of things from the house as soon as I can after returning from my trip.

Sincerely,
Me

So I figured out what I was waiting for, why I keep meeting with my husband and never completely ending my marriage.

I want a Fairy Tale Divorce.  You know, where we meet and decide together that divorce is the right thing for both of us and we walk away with a deep friendship intact, based on the last 20 years of knowing each other.  And that we would remain amicable and agreeable to each other for the rest of our lives, capable of attending family events together and meeting for lunch occasionally to catch up and talk about the children.  Eventually we would be able to attend each other’s second weddings and be sincerely happy for the other and their new spouse and we could all go on double-dates together.

I can hear you laughing…

I know it’s the stuff that good comedy movies are made of and it’s never going to happen to me (just like everything else that happens in movies will never happen to me) but I must still believe in fairy tales because I’ve kept waiting for him to realize that divorce is what’s best for us and be happy about it.

OK, fine, so my life wasn’t written by Disney.

I have to tell him it’s over, take the ring off and contact the court advocate at the women’s shelter to begin filing for divorce.

Clearly, verbalizing to him that it’s over has not worked thus far.  That Guy keeps showing up and changing my mind.  Therefore it needs to be done in writing.  BEFORE our next scheduled “date night”, which is on Wednesday next week.  In fact, the sooner the better.  I need to stop beating around the bush, stop wishing upon a star and start hacking my way through the jungle of paperwork necessary to become single.

First step – the Ring is off, check. Next step – called the court advocate on my way to work today, check. Final step (to this process, at least) – writing him the letter officially ending our marriage when I get home from work tonight.

Wish me luck, think kind thoughts about me and if you pray, please pray for me to get through this in one piece…

Last Tuesday evening was supposed to be a “date night” where we go see a movie and not talk about our relationship.  After our last meeting on Friday – where That Guy did not show up – things were OK but stressful and we knew we needed to continue that conversation so instead of 100% “date night” we were planning to talk about us after the movie.  He had asked me if his church was a deal-breaker – I see it as he chose that particular church over me and he sees it as he is following God over doing what I want and neither one of us is willing to compromise on our viewpoints. Ultimately I decided that yes, his chosing his church over me was a deal-breaker and I was going to tell him so after the movie during our relationship talk time.

Tuesday afternoon, however, while my husband was at work I went to the house to sort through my younger daughter’s things because I’m going to drive down and see her and her new husband for Easter and want to bring as much of her stuff to her as I can.  It only took an hour and a half, I thought it would take a lot longer, and I managed to condense her belongings into three less boxes than they had been packed in, yay!  I’m hoping I can fit everything in my car, lol, that girl has a lot of stuff!   I was feeling good and happy about what I had accomplished but that didn’t last long…

While I was working on that my older daughter came in the room and said with a snitty tone of voice “Dad wants you to go through the basement so please tell me what you want to keep and what you want to throw away before you go.”  Because I finished my initial task with time to spare I decided to start on the basement.  An hour into it I had made a lot of progress and decided to keep going, I told my older daughter that she and her dad might want to go through the boxes I had set aside to donate because they might want to keep some of the things I had put in the boxes.  With a great deal of attitude (which is fairly normal for her) she said “Oh, everything is down here because we don’t want it but we can’t throw it away because we’re afraid you’ll get mad.” 

Well then.

I was really upset from her attitude and also because I knew that he intended to throw away everything I set aside to donate, just because he believes it’s easier, and my anger grew stronger. I probably could have started my own thrift store with what was in the donate pile, there was so much! I started working harder and faster and decided that I would stay at the house, working on the basement, until he came home about 5 pm and then I would tell him no movie, it’s over and I will be filing for divorce.

He came home and was surprised that I was still there.  My older daughter followed him into the basement when he came to say hi to me.  Can this child not give us some privacy?  I’m not going to talk about our relationship in front of her and I’m especially not going to inform him I’m filing for divorce in front of her so I keep working and give him short, brusk responses to his questions.  I am livid and clearly expressing it in my body language and tone of voice.  He slips away to take a shower and when he comes back to talk to me our older daughter is still upstairs.  Finally!

He says that it looks like I’ve made a decision and am separating my stuff to leave.  I tell him I’m angry about our older daughter’s words and attitude.  I also tell him that I’ve thought about it and yes, the church issue is a deal-breaker and it’s over.  I’m still grabbing things and flinging them into totes at this point.

“Don’t give up now just because you’re angry.”  He says.

Whaaaaaaat?  The anger allowed me to say my decision with unnatural  boldness but I certinaly didn’t make this choice in anger.

That Guy shows up again.  He asks what he can do.  I tell him that I want him to load his truck up with all the things I’ve set aside to donate and actually donate them and not throw them away like he normally does.  He doesn’t know where to donate them.  I tell him I’ll show him where to go.

By the time we get everything loaded into the truck my anger has completely spent my strength.  I am physically and emotionally worn out and I can tell that my brain is starting to shut down.  That Guy is still there.  I tell him I’m done talking about our relationship for the night.  We drop the stuff off at the thrift store and he offers to buy me dinner since we never made it to the movie.  I’m exhausted and hungry so I accept.

That Guy stayed for the rest of the evening and we had a very pleasant dinner.   I caught myself reaching for his hand walking out of the resturant to the car and managed to keep my hands at my side before he noticed.  We made arrangements to meet once a week and alternate “date nights” with talking about our relationship.

I got home and realized that I went from intending to end my marriage to meeting with him, not every two weeks like we previously agreed on, but EVERY WEEK! 

Apparently he can talk me into – or out of – just about anything…  I am suddenly wary of him and want to just send him a letter and end it all right now.

But I’m also really curious – did That Guy show up again because I was super, super angry?  If so I cannot maintain that level of anger for the rest of my life just to get That Guy to hang around.

I want to find out so I’ve invited my husband to accompany me to a movie tonight.  This is the first time I’ve initiated spending time together since I moved out so he’s probably on cloud nine right now but this really is a test.  Date Night rules will apply (no talking about our relationship, just fun and light-hearted spending time together, no holding hands) and I want to see who shows up – That Guy or my husband. The fact that there is a difference is heartbreaking and pretty much tells me that I need to start the filing process but in the meantime, I’m going to a movie and we’ll see who meets me there…