Saturday, May 4, 2013

Four months

It was just four months, a friend pointed out a couple of days ago, that took this divorce from start to finish. I knew that, of course, knew that it was in December the ex-husband spun his tale that emotional numbing due to PTSD had prevented him from ever forming an emotional bond with me, that because of it he had faked loving me for 35 years, that it affected him so deeply he dreamt of standing on a cliff, knowing peace was just a step away, that he knew it would take him to suicide when he couldn't handle the pain anymore. It sent me reeling. It was all a lie. And it was a new means of manipulation because he knew I'd believe it and would be so caught up in trying to help him that I would ignore all the clues that pointed to the lies. I knew all the machinations took place over four months and at the same time it hadn't sunk in that my life was turned inside out in that short a time, one sucker punch after another.

I've been so frustrated that I haven't moved away from brooding about all of it, beating it to death, desperately wanting answers when I know he won't ever give me any, and trying to understand who the hell this guy is. I know our marriage was gasping for breath for a long time and we were often toxic to each other, so why am I in such stubborn stasis? Why am I not overjoyed to be rid of this drain on my psyche? I've poked at this like a sore tooth for hours on end.

The conclusion I've come to is feeling betrayed and that I am owed something I am never going to get. The humiliation I felt is over with; his behavior speaks for itself. The fear that paralyzed me is dissipating as I've made my own decisions about the course of my life and they haven't blown up on me. Insidious low self-esteem is leaving me as I find strength, flexibility, and friends who think quite the opposite of his opinion of me. But the feeling of betrayal is hanging around because nothing I did, no sacrifice I made, and no passes I gave him on his own shortcomings or infidelities merited any action from him to at least try to save our history. Regardless of the many rocky times, it was not all bad, but none of it gave him the motivation to act forthrightly. If he doesn't love me, well, he doesn't, but does it cause him physical pain to own up to that?

When I left the house we swapped computers, his laptop for my desktop. I wiped the desktop of all history, passwords, and documents that didn't concern him. He either lacked the sense to do the same or he didn't care what I found, which were things he'd written to the girlfriend, one of which said he'd looked for her for forty years, until he was almost out of time. I read that line over and over. What!? He's a master at telling anyone what they want to hear and I'm sure her little heart fluttered at reading that, but I was furious and asked him, what did that make me, a placeholder? 

What I got in reply was a void. Emptiness, coldness, and anger in every communication that he thinks needs to be made, but what I will never get is an explanation or an apology. I keep looking for one, and because hope dies hard, my recent strategy has been to ignore and delete everything that comes from him. If I don't, I read and reread every word until I've worn them off the screen, I plot replies that are designed to leave him in shreds, and I nurture anger and resentment. 

The strategy worked until yesterday, when he threatened for the third time to withhold money unless I replied to him, saying silence from me would mean I was ok with this. He knows money is my weak spot, what I worry about the most, and says it's all I've ever cared about. I admit that as the years went by and I left job after job to follow him around the country, starting over with every new job I could get, and recently losing a small fortune on a failed business, it gained in importance because I had no financial security of my own. It's something he never understood and it became just one more thing we could never talk about. So, yes, money was and is important, but it's never been just about money. It's been about craving the attention, honesty, and intimacy he freely gives to Joanna but for whatever reason was never able to give to me. It's all I ever wanted and I never got it. It's what I mourn, not him being incapable of these things at all, but being incapable of them with me.

We are again at an impasse, kind of like we always have been. I make him angry, he makes me angry, and we are not talking about it or to each other. It was heartening to learn, though, before he pulled the plug on any more communication, that he's on his own journey of self-discovery, that this new woman has brought him the contentment he couldn't find with me, and one day, hopefully, he'll be the man I thought he was when I fell in love with him. What a paradox, to be so furious with him and yet so grateful that he's finding some peace.


Thought of the day:

Mourning is not forbidden, you know. (Simin Daneshvar)