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Yesterday/Monday, was… was… well it was a lot of things.  It was my one and only day off this week so I:

Deposited my check, notarized a will, picked up a hot-spot to make up for my lack of internet at my sister’s apartment and went to the local glass-blowing art studio to ask about getting a couple of dishes custom made for my acrylic powder and monomer.

All of this was on my way to my first counseling appointment at the women’s shelter.  The nice thing was that I’ve seen this counselor last year for about 4 months so it was a lot easier to catch her up to where I’m at currently than if we had never met before.  One of the questions she asked is why I’m still meeting with my husband, what am I trying to accomplish by continuing to meet with him like this? 

I pondered her question all the way to the new nail salon I’m trying to get a job at.  I met with the owners, two brothers and a sister. I did a pedicure on one of the brothers and I did an acrylic fill on the sister.  The other brother said they would need to talk amongst themselves because they are all partners but he thought everybody liked me and would let me know if I can work there soon.  It’s a MUCH better salon, everything is super sanitary, much more upscale and spa-like than where I’m at now but in spite of the higher quality most of the services are only about $5 more expensive than where I’m at now.  The owner stressed repeatedly how much they are a family and if I came to work there I would be joining their family.  The comission is also 10% higher…  I REALLY want to work there!  The downside is that it’s a new salon, only been open for about 2 months, so they’re not very busy yet.  I asked if they thought I would be able to take home at least $200/week to cover my bills and they said yes so I’m willing to give them a shot.  Hopefully they’ll give me a shot as well!

When that was done I texted my husband that I would be late to our scheduled 5 pm meeting because I was still trying out at the new salon.  His response?  “As you wish”.  That should be this romantic reference to the Princess Bride but from him all I sense is sarcasm every time he says it.  Ugh.  I called him when I was done at the new salon to let him know that I was enroute to our meeting and his voice was terse and I felt like he was upset with me.  I arrived at our dinner location to find him waiting, as stoic as ever and oozing negativity.  Ugh again.  I ordered my meal – I have got to stop buying lots of food when we meet like this because as usual, I had about four bites and then lost my appetite so that was $20 bucks down the drain – and then we sat down to talk because this was a “talking meeting”. 

He said I called the meeting so what did I want to talk about, I asked him to tell me his thoughts/response to my letter defining emotional abuse and explaining why our relationship qualified as abusive.  The long and short of it is that he continues to believe that he was not abusive and has never abused me.

Apparently to him abuse is defined by whether or not the intention of the abuser is to be abusive or not.

I began to realize we will never see eye to eye on this topic.  And even though we didn’t bring up this time, we will never be on the same page regarding his church either.

Once again he pushed me for a commitment to restoring our marriage.  I finally told him, flat out, that the answer is no.  I am not committed to restoring our marriage and I do not want to be married to him any more.

That Guy tried to show up again but I didn’t fall for it this time.

He didn’t laugh in my face but it certainly felt like he was amused.  He said “Why Are You Here?  Clearly, you haven’t filed any paperwork yet so you must want this to work out in a corner of your heart.”

Time stopped.  Having been asked the same question twice in the same day demands an answer.  Why WAS I there?  What on earth was it I was trying to accomplish by being there, by agreeing to meet with him weekly?

I’ve been doing lots of soul-searching in the last 24 hours, trying to come up with whatever it is that won’t let me just let it go and move on.  I think I know but I’m going to kick it around for another day or two before I write it down.

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… my husband.

I still had a good time but That Guy wasn’t there. 

My husband, as I predicted, was shocked and pleased that I initiated a get together but it was still somewhat awkward and uncomfortable.  He bought his own ticket and did not try to buy mine, which I appreciated.  Besides, I had a free ticket, part of the reason I invited him to a movie at a “big” theater instead of one of the cheap theaters.  Does that make me evil?  *rolling my eyes*

He arrived first, as I figured he would, I got there about 10 minutes before the movie started.  He had already bought his ticket and waited while I stood in line to get my ticket.  Who did I see in line?  A gal that, like me, had left the church he still attends.  *WAVE!*  I get to the front of the line and who do I see behind the glass in the box office?  A nice-looking guy who recognizes me, waves and says “Hi” with a big smile.  Call it my super power but I can literally FEEL my husband trying not to freak out behind me, heh, heh, heh…

If I truly was evil I suppose I would have let him wonder until it drove him crazy and he was forced to ask me who that was – so let’s just say that I proved myself on the side of all that is kind and good when I explained that the guy who waved at me comes in for pedicures all the time – with his mother (they are such a hoot!) – and I always tease him about never seeing him whenever I go to that particular movie theater. 

My husband was not the Easter Island Head that he had been on previous “dates” but he was not terribly relaxed either. 

I was acutely aware of every romantic scene in the movie, we were watching Insurgent, and there was far more kissing, physical closeness, and even the start of a bedroom scene between the two main characters, than I had anticipated.  I have to tell you that sitting next to a man with whom you’ve been intimate with but aren’t anymore – and who wishes you still were – makes watching scenes like that on a GIANT screen very, very Awk-Ward!

No more watching movies with him that I haven’t seen first.

Thankfully those parts were generally over with fairly quickly and the movie eventually came to an end.  On our way back through the lobby I asked to have my cup filled up with ice – I think that is the thing I miss the very most about not living in my own home is a fridgerator that makes and crushes ice (yes, I’m sad and pathetic, I know this) – and then he walked me to my car.

This was probably the most difficult part of the night.  He wanted to know if I had any other plans for after the movie, if I wanted to “talk”, were we still on for meeting Monday night next week, could he hug me…

Could he hug me.  I wanted to say no but I said yes.  Why on earth did I say yes?  Because he looked so sad and lonely…  This is the sort of thing makes me think I’m never going to be able to completely stand up to him.  Good golly, miss Molly!  What am I going to do with myself?  He hugged me and said I smelled nice.  I managed to keep our goodby-ing shorter than normal and drove back to my sister’s apartment as fast as I could.

I forgot to buy toilet paper.  I meant to pick some up on my way home but I was so focused on getting away from the theater that I completely spaced it.

We’re going to meet on Monday/tomorrow at a resturant that I’ve been wanting to try, they have frozen custard! – and this will be a “talking” date so we’ll see how it goes.  Before that, however, I have a meeting with the owner of a local glass-blowing gallery who I’m going to talk to about making custom dishes for my acrylic powder and monomer, then I have a meeting with my counselor, then I’m going to a salon in a nice part of town and see if I want to work there so tomorrow will be a full day!

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…

I had never seen any of the Pride and Prejudice movies so my sister introduced me to the one with Kiera Knightly in it.  My heart stirred, the love portrayed between Lizzy and Mr Darcy was so tender.  Is it possible there’s even a single grain of reality in it?  I want to weep at the sweetness of his love for her, and for my own loss at never experiencing it myself, but I dare not.  There’s a song that says “she fears if she cries that first tear the tears will not stop raining down” and that is exactly how I feel.  My best friend from high school tells me that not all men are like my husband and although she has never lied to me before this one is difficult for me to believe.  But oh, to be loved like that and to feel that love for them in return…

When is it OK to say I’ve tried hard enough and move on?

We met again at the resturant last night – same chain but a different location.  That Guy who met me last week did not show up tonight. 

Of course, that could possibly be laid at my feet (mostly) this time…  I wanted to meet him face to face to explain something I had done that I knew he wouldn’t be happy about and rather than pussyfoot around it all evening I started the night off with it.  In short – I did our taxes, as I have for nearly every year of our marriage, and what we decided to do with the tax return (before I left him) was to fix the bathrooms in the house.  The showers in both bathrooms were getting moldy and needed to be torn out and replaced.  He got a quote to repair them and said he needed X amount of dollars.  I did the taxes and lo and behold, they came out to a couple of hundred more than he said he needed.  Once again, God provides, yay!

That wasn’t the part where I did something he wouldn’t like.  That part comes in as I was going over the taxes one last time trying to make sure I didn’t have any errors that would cause it to be rejected.  I found some errors, for our girls I had clicked a wrong button that caused the tax software to say that our two children did not qualify as dependents.  When I unclicked the button the software counted them as dependents and, viola, more money was added to our tax return.  I fixed one more error and the total of “extra” money was $1100.  Yippee!  I decided to not tell him about the extra money, have it deposited into my personal bank account and use it to make a payment on my beauty school bill that I still owe $2,000 on.  The reason I decided not to tell him about my keeping the money to make a school payment with it is because he has never been the least interested in paying that bill with “our” money.  I have sold my personal possessions ( against his wishes) to make payments on that bill and because it is not paid in full the owners of the school have threatened to have my license revoked, something I didn’t know they could do.  Since I became a nail tech I have not yet made enough money to survive and pay my school bill but I fully intend to do so as soon as I can.  But back to the tax money, I really didn’t think he would find out about it…  the darn government sent two letters, one for each of us saying they had deposisted the money into two different accounts.  He opened his and then called me about it, all confused.  Yes, yes, I know, be sure your sins will find you out and all that…

So maybe the reason I didn’t see That Guy from last week was because I opened our conversation by jumping right into what I had done with the taxes. 

From there the conversation went to how dissapointed he was that I obviously didn’t trust him, why hadn’t just told him what I wanted to do with the extra money – he would have said yes to paying the school bill (yeah, right), how could he ever trust me when he keeps finding out things that I’ve done and hidden from him, yada yada, yada…

Yeah, it all went downhill pretty fast.

After that I decided to bite the bullet and talk about his church.  It was immediately obvious that neither of us had – or was going to – change our views on his church and then all chances of seeing That Guy again, probably for a very long time, dissapeared like mist after the sun rises.  After discussing his church for 5 – 10 minutes he decided that we would stop talking about the church because it was clear that nothing positive would come from the conversation.  Yes, you read that right, he decided to end that conversation and move on, not me.

From that point on we managed to have a fairly good conversation about other aspects of our relationship.  We even agreed to keep our “date” for this coming Tuesday.  I had previously agreed to go to a movie with him on the conditions that “dates” were to be fun, friendly hang-out times and that I would not be discussing relationship issues during those times.

Several things became very clear to me last night and I’m mulling them over and trying to decide what to do.  In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the “dates” while they last and I’ve been invited to visit my younger daughter and her new husband for Easter so my time and attention will now be directed towards preparing for that trip.

My sister and I just finished watching “This Means War” with Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon and if I had been her I would have totally chosen Tom Hardy’s character instead of Chris Pine’s character.  Last night my sister and I watched “Failure to Launch” and this whole last week or so has been full of movies that have happy, romantic endings.  No, we don’t have much else to do in this teeny, tiny apartment except watch movies all night…

I realized while watching these movies that I’ve never been “swept off my feet, head-over-heels in love”, except once in high school.  He was a senior and I was a junior and my mom told me I couldn’t date until after I graduated high so I told him I couldn’t go out with him.  That’s one thing I would change if I had my life to live over again.  Then again, he promptly stopped paying any attention to me and started dating a freshman so even though it seemed like true love at the time for me it obviously wasn’t true love for him.  Last I heard he had just gotten married to his second wife. 

I know some of my friends have found their one true love and while I’m happy for each of them I tend to view their relationship with their spouses as more of a fluke of nature than any sort of attainable goal.  Therefore, “happily ever after” movies make me suspcious of the hero and a little part of my heart is always screaming at the girl who’s swept off her feet “Don’t Do It!  It won’t last!  It’s not worth it!” 

I have great angst, I think I need a Xanax…  or two…  Stupid movies…

I really, really, really enjoyed the conversation I had with my husband at the resturant last week.  If he would just be that guy all the time there would be some serious potential for our relationship.  Because of his humble attitude and the things he said to me – not romantic things but honest things – I actually gave him my sister’s address where I am staying on the condition that he would not come to the door without an express invitation.  Now I kind of wish I hadn’t, I’m wondering if I can really trust him not to bang on the apartment door if he thinks we really need to talk.  I’m hoping he stays that guy he was at the resturant and that I can trust him but I’m honestly expecting that he’ll only stay “nice” for another few weeks and then go back to being that angry, wounded, selfish guy I’ve always known. 

Enough of me yearns for a relationship like I see in the movies to keep watching them and torturing myself with what I will probably never have in this lifetime.  The rest of me is so distrustful of men… I just don’t think it will ever happen.

Ever.

Good Golly Miss Molly! 

So I sent my husband the very Horribly Honest, “I’m Over It” letter about 24 hours ago.  I woke up to a text from the older of my brothers (whom my husband and older daughter were staying with) saying “I love you sister!  Anger gives people strength to do stuff that they normally couldn’t but anger rarely allows us to make beneficial decisions.  It is hard but allow God to soften parts of you where he would chose.  I love you.”  Yes, that would be the preachy brother who doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does about what’s going on…

At 2:40 pm I get a text from my husband saying “I am sorry for every hurt Ihave caused you.  I will be in town tonight and would like to meet with you tonight rather than next Tuesday.  I should be available after 9pm, and will meet wherever you wish, if you will permit.” 

Hmmm…

I’m still angry enough that it would probably be a good thing to meet with him tonight while I still have some backbone left in me so I tell him I will meet him at 9:30 pm at a 24 hour resturant.

I sent my best friend from high school the letter to get her feedback, as I have done often since I moved out.  She calls me and we talk – I say I am angry that I had to write the Horribly Honest Letter in the first place and she asks me “Why?”.  She does this to help me identify the source of my feelings, not because she doesn’t think I should be angry, and while I know this about her that doesn’t always mean I enjoy answering those kinds of questions – she’s very good for me, lol.  My sister asks me these sorts of questions as well so I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I am going to have to face my feelings one way or another…

I had to think about it for a while but finally come up with an answer, however, to properly explain I need to tell you a little bit of my history.  Until the last year or so I have lived my life as a shield for others, which is a fancy way of saying I am an enabler, except for me it’s become a compulsion, an obsession and even a desperate need.  If I can find a way to insert myself between you and the painful consequences of your actions – I will.  If for some reason I see a way to be your shield and yet can not I will literally feel physical pain and anguish.  I do this because I tell myself I am stronger than you are, I have survived more pain and suffering than anyone else should ever have to go through and therefore I can, and will, take it for you so that you won’t be hurt.  I would search for ways to be your sheild because I think this is helpful to you and in some weird, twisted way, makes me a hero – and an unsung one at that.  I’ve noticed a lot of my daydreams feature me as a hero… but I digress.  Over the years I did my best to be a shield to everyone – my mother, my brothers, my sister, my husband, my children, my in-laws, my friends…  and it wasn’t until I started working with my last counselor, about a year ago, that she pointed it out and helped me see my “shielding” for what it really was.  Enabling.  My keeping negative consequences from my children denied them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, and thus they kept re-making them.  My refusual to tell my husband how he made me feel, how he hurt me, etc., only allowed me to continue his immature behaviors, keep wounding me and never be confronted with the fact that he needed to grow up.  A Lot.

In the last year I started to make baby steps towards laying down my shield and letting people bear the consequences of their own choices but baby steps were not enough to deal with my husband’s past behaviors.  His statement of “I never abused you” combined with my belief that he locked me out of “our” home made me angry enough to write the Horribly Honest Letter and quit trying to shield him from the knowledge of who he used to be – something I have never confronted him with because I knew it would hurt him to know those things.  I felt backed into a corner and it seemed like I was “forced” to write honestly about things I never wanted to think about again in order to get him to believe that he truly was abusive to me.  This made me angry, very, very angry and I almost expected to see that I had turned into a bulky, green Hulk-ess when I looked in the mirror. 

What a good friend I have to make me figure all of that out!

So I arrive at the resturant a bit early, he arrived shortly after and we sat down to talk.  Much to my astonishment he was calm, pleasant, sincerely apologetic and very easy to talk to.  We talked for 2 1/2 hours, which went by quickly, and only a couple of moments teetered on the edge of being awkward but each one tilted back to the “normal, adult conversation” side and stayed there.  We talked about a lot of different things, ranging from the Horribly Honest Letter to the kids, to bills, to the key situation, to my “shielding” instinct and more.  I was shocked and surprised to realized that I was actually enjoying our discussion.  Who was this man and what had he done with my husband?  (And could he keep my  husband indefinitely wherever it was that he had locked him away?)

I went there expecting to stand firm and insist on filing for divorce.  I walked away thinking I really liked the guy I had just talked to and wishing he would be that guy all the time.  The negative side of me whispered “We’ll see how long it lasts” and there is a large part of me that is waiting for the other shoe to drop…  But for now, I’m willing to wait and see what happens.

Dear Husband,

The day I was at the house helping our older daughter with her taxes I noticed that you changed the locks on the house.  I didn’t say anything because I was curious to see if you would offer me a key when we were at dinner before the show.  However, instead of offering me a house key you gave me a lame excuse for getting for my copy of the truck keys and I noticed while you were taking the truck keys off my key ring you also took a third key which I believe to be my key to the safe.  As I have no plans or desires to take anything from the house that does not belong to me I found this curious and wondered what your motivation was for removing my access to your stuff – but now I know.

Sunday evening I get a call from my best friend from high school saying you and our older daughter had dropped off her books and stayed for a little visit and she also said that she enjoyed seeing the two of you.  I had known that you were planning a trip to see your parents and my brothers but you clearly don’t find me trustworthy enough to be in town alone for a whole week with access to all the things you have repeatedly told me you still consider “ours”.

Your actions are speaking far, far louder than your words.  You.  Don’t.  Trust.  Me.  Not even a little bit anymore.  And I don’t trust you as much as I did before you left either.

Add to that the fact that you said you have never abused me.  If your thinking abuse is limited to hitting then you’re absolutely right, you have never hit me.  But abuse is so much more than hitting. I feel like I’ve said this before but for the record, I honestly don’t like hurting your feelings and so here’s my proof – below are some things that you need to know about yourself and the monster that you were for about the first 17 – 18 years of our marriage, in random order, that I never told you about once you started to become nicer IN ORDER TO SPARE YOUR FEELINGS.  But you keep saying that you want the whole truth and you don’t seem to believe me when try to be nice about the truth so here you are:

You would ask me where I wanted to eat or what I wanted to do – and then we would do whatever it was that you wanted to do.  I stopped having a preference and then you were upset with me for never making a choice.  In most areas of our life I felt like I could never do anything right, like no matter what I chose I could never please you.  Causing someone else to constantly feel inferior by denying them your approval is abuse.

I had to tell you where I was going and when I would be home.  If I was late you laid the guilt on nice and thick – and for at least the first 5 years of our marriage the guilt trip included “How do I know you’re not going to run away?” in reference to the ONE time I considered running away – but didn’t – and foolishly told you about it.  Even now I feel like you try to guilt me into taking responsibility for your behavior when you say things like “I don’t have a partner” and “Half my team quit”.  Controlling someone else’s behavior through guilt is abuse.

A “normal” outing for me with my girlfriends usually included being called by you multiple times and frequently I was told to come home before my scheduled deadline – almost always to have sex with you so that you could go to bed early.  You even made me come home early from a worship/healing conference that I went to specifically wanting to go up front after the service and get prayed for healing for my joints – you denied me the opportunity to get prayed for just so that you would get sex before you went to bed.  I always obeyed you, both in coming home whever you wanted me to and in having sex with you whenever you asked for it, which was once, sometimes twice a day for most of our marriage.  I didn’t know I was allowed to say no.  Requiring sex when the other person doesn’t want to or doesn’t know or doesn’t feel like they can refuse is sexual abuse. 

During the first 10 years I would, occasionally, try to bring up an issue in our marriage to discuss and hopefully work through.  With great consistency I felt like those issues were turned against me and it was my fault there was an issue and that just by bringing issues up at all I was somehow betraying you and stabbing you in the back.  Frequently you would stop talking to me unless absolutely necessary, usually for a day or two but sometimes for up to a week.  So I stopped bringing up issues.  Controlling someone’s behavior through emotional outbursts or by withholding any and all communication is abuse.

Heard enough?  Those are the main issues I struggled with for the majority of our marriage.  Yes, you were a monster and that person that you aren’t so much anymore created the person that is me today because for at least 18 years I centered my entire life around trying not to set you off while never knowing quite what I should be avoiding.  Why didn’t I leave you earlier?  I didn’t know I could.  Yes, you’ve changed quite a bit from what I’ve just described but not enough.  I still feel like you have to know everything, have to control everything and have to keep me guilt-ridden to feel good about yourself.  This is why I left you and why I need professional help from people who work with women who have left abusive situations in order to get healthy.

When I say that I don’t hate you, I’m not mad at you and I’m not trying to make anyone think badly of you I mean it.  You interpreted that as me INFORMING people that you are mean and abusive – but that you don’t intend to be and it’s never on purpose.  What it actually means is that other people, mostly my women friends but even a few guys, have already seen that you are controlling, hard to live with and emotionally abusive and when I tell them I’ve left you they are not surprised.  When I say that you aren’t intentionally mean I’m sticking up for you.  When I say you aren’t abusive on purpose I’M DEFENDING YOU to other people.

We obviously have some serious talking to do but you wanted to know when I’ve decided I’m done so here it is, I don’t want to live with you anymore and I’m ready to be done with marriage. 

If Tuesday the 10th doesn’t work for you to get together and discuss this please let me know when a good time will be for you.

Sincerely,
Me

Each post on this blog is a little snapshot of my thoughts, feelings, emotions, decisions… it’s glimpses into my life as raw and unfiltered as I can write them out.  I don’t always have the right words to properly express myself but I try.  I’ve spent most of my life stuffing my feelings and emotions in a bottle and putting them up on a shelf because “nobody got time for that” so now I’m not very good at identifying how I feel, much less knowing how to deal with those feelings, which is one of the big reasons that this blog is pretty much anonymous – I think I’ve only invited a couple of people who know me to read it and if you do know me please don’t tell anybody my secret identity, lol!  This is how I sort things out in my head and in my heart, by writing them down and mulling them over, and over, and over…

If you’re reading this and it doesn’t make sense normally I would say that you’re just going to have to wade through the last two years of posts although I suppose after this amount of time it’s worth summarizing – OK, here goes:

I’m in my 40’s, married for 20 years with two kids – one is barely a legal adult and the other 6 weeks away from being a legal adult.  Thanks to my upbringing and then marrying a man who treated me the same way I was treated while growing up I never believed I had any real value as a human being until about two years ago when something changed.

I can’t tell you exactly what it was that gave way inside of me  – I had gone to a few years of counseling but all the counselors I had didn’t give me any solutions, they just said that I was doing great and they didn’t know why I was going to see them so I’m pretty sure that wasn’t it.  I had been on anti-depressants for a couple of years by then but I was actually getting worse, more depressed and more suicidal so I don’t think that was it either.  About that same time I started to have concerns about the church that we were attending and I brought those concerns to both my husband and the pastor’s attentions – nothing happened and I sank further into my depression.  But somehow, something snapped almost 24 months ago and I started this journey of becoming bolder, stronger and brave.  I dared to believe that I just might even be beautiful.

The first thing I did was to give my husband an ultimatum to quit his pornography addiction “or else”.  In February that will have been two years ago.  I didn’t specifically state what the “or else” would be but it was going to start with separation and go from there.  I let him talk me out of separating that night because I honestly didn’t think that he would be able to quit but he surprised me.  Almost two years later he has not only kicked his addiction but he has been instrumental in starting a men’s purity group at his church and is co-leading it, helping other men in their fight against pornography. He has also worked very hard to become a nicer person, a better husband and a more involved father.  I have both noticed these things and told him, repeatedly, that I am proud of him for all the changes he’s made but we can both tell that it’s a “That’s nice” kind of proud of him.

I should be bursting with pride.  Why aren’t I?

I guess I feel like it’s a day late and a dollar short.

About nine months ago I started seeing a new counselor and she made a difference in my life.  The reason I went to her was because I didn’t like sex.  My husband fully endorsed my going to a counselor for this reason but I think he soon came to regret supporting me in that manner.  What she actually helped me with was opening my eyes to see that I was in an abusive relationship.  There was no physical abuse going on but nearly every other kind of abuse was present.  Had I been physically abused, i.e. beat up, I would have left a long time ago but mental and emotional abuse are “invisible” and “don’t really count” in the Christian church today and there seems to be no such thing as sexual abuse between a husband and a wife.  In America, and as far as I know in the world at large, sexual abuse within marriage is barely recognized and rarely addressed but in the church the subject is completely taboo.  My counselor told me that being manipulated, coerced or guilt-tripped into having sex when you don’t want to is sexual abuse.  Who knew?  I thought that the only thing “sexual abuse” meant was that you were raped or forced into giving oral sex against your will.  Being a good, submissive Christian wife I stayed married because it was “the right thing to do” and that kept me in a miserable relationship for 20 years believing that by doing so I was pleasing God.

It got to the point that I was considering changing my faith – or abandoning it completely – in order to leave the church we were and get him to divorce me.  I considered suicide many times because I thought it would be easier than divorce and I had become crazy enough that somehow I thought suicide might even be a spiritual solution because it would fulfill the “till death do us part” vow I made.  Yes, I’ve been messed up in the head for a long, long time now…

Ultimately, in an act of abnormal bravery, I left that particular church without him.  Aside from a couple months of extra stress immediately after that decision our life has returned to “normal” –  we just don’t talk about the fact that he is still attending that church and I have been trying out other local churches to see where I will fit the best.  Now the only real decision I have left is do I stay married or not?  I honestly don’t want to be anybody’s wife ever at this point but I’m not sure leaving is the right thing to do either, I’m in a quandary.  I have begged God to change my heart and make me fall in love with this man that I’ve never had any kind of passion for and yet he’s made so many changes to please me.  I have pleaded with God to make me enjoy sex.  And yet for 20 years nothing has changed in my heart – or my with hormones either for that matter.  It actually makes me understand homosexuals a little better – I can’t change it no matter how hard I try so maybe God made me this way.

And that’s where I’m at right now.  This is really real life – my life.  I have a big decision to make, do I stay or do I go?  I’m not going to rush this choice though, I want to be sure that if I leave I have done everything I could have possibly done to make it work.  If I leave I don’t want to have any regrets that I didn’t explore every option or try hard enough.  If I stay it will be because I chose to stay and not because I felt obligated to stay.  I’m going to  make this choice, probably within the next 6 months, and be comfortable with my final decision.

Stay tuned…

Sooo… it’s been just over a month since I told my husband we should think about Divorce as an option and just under a month since he told me I was acting just like my mother.

At the end of the I’m-acting-like-my-mother conversation we have agreed that, at least for a while, we will not talk about the church I left that he still attends and it has actually been a (mostly) pleasant month between us.   I have found another church, signed up to join one of their small groups and taken free veggies from their Bountiful Harvest Table.  He is trying extra hard to be loving and kind, thoughtful and sweet and I can see his efforts and I am proud of him for it.  I do actually like him as a person, believe it or not.  On my end I am trying extra hard to be receptive to his changes.

However, I don’t think that I am succeeding very well.  I’m so tired and worn.  I feel broken and damaged and in need of a larger personal bubble for healing.  On top of that I have reached a point where I don’t want to have sex ever again in my whole entire life.  Most likely this feeling will change over time and right now it’s honestly not his fault, he’s been trying so hard to be a good husband, especially over the last month.  He’s being affectionate outside the bedroom by reaching out and grabbing my hand – every single time I walk  by – and he’s wanting to snuggle  – every night – and he’s giving me lots of hugs – nearly every time either he or I walks into or out of a room – and I’m overwhelmed.  It’s too much.  He’s being so terribly sweet and these are all things I wanted very much 10 years ago but my desire for them now has pretty much shriveled up and died.

My prayers of the last 2o years, begging and pleading God to let me enjoy sex have never been answered positively and I’ve stopped praying for that particular request.  At the moment, I’m not praying for much at all except for God to Save Me.

I just turned 41 last month.  Staying with my husband who is trying so hard to be a good man seems like the right thing to do, the “Christian” thing to do, the Good Wife thing to do.  If I go through with my earlier thoughts of divorcing him I WILL be like my mother – in some regards.  I will be the one to blame for dissolving a 20+ year marriage and I won’t be able to give any reason other than I simply don’t want to be married any more and can’t stomach the thought of possibly having another 20 years like the first 20.

Something’s got to give.  I need God to do a miracle in my heart in order for me to stay.  I need God to do a miracle in my courage in order for me to go.

Our youngest daughter turns 18 in early January.  We had planned an extravagant (for us) 18th birthday party for our oldest daughter last year and are attempting to do something similar for our youngest daughter’s 18th this coming year.  In large part because of our youngest daughter I am going to put all my “What do I do” questions aside for now and once we get through the holidays and her birthday party I will reevaluate.  I’ll see where he’s at and where I’m at and go from there.  It’s about three months from now and a lot can happen in that amount of time.

I’m neither suicidal or homicidal but wishful thinking says that just maybe God will take one of us home during that time and I won’t have to confront this situation.  Nah, I can already tell that’s not going to happen.  God’s going to make me walk through this because it will make me stronger and He’s all about Growing Up, maturing, if you will.  Darn it anyway…

So moving forward I plan on:  Focusing on the moment, being present in the moment and planning no further ahead than the next three months; Responding appropriately to my husband and family while focusing on being with them in each moment; Planning a kick-ass birthday party; Surviving Thanksgiving and Christmas (with relatives who are all being super-nice to me right now because my husband has told them what’s going on – seriously, it took them 20 years AND the threat of divorce to be this nice to me?  That’s not really helping their cause much…) and last but not least, taking care of as much debt as possible because whether I go or stay next year having less debt will be a very good thing.  Less debt is always a good thing.

Just another day in paradise, and another, and another…  let’s see if I can get three months of days in paradise, eh?