Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Divorce Sucks the Life Out

I always knew this and never wanted divorce. I thought I didn't, until I was in a marriage that was not fulfilling and left me feeling trapped. A lot of people would say just stay. I couldn't bring myself to and I will tell you why.

I will tell you why divorce sucks the life out of you.

First, it starts when you realize the person you trusted enough to marry has left you for...

bigger and better things.
a job.
someone else.

Or just simply left you. Often, your left mentally alone far before you are physically alone. You prepare space for yourself if you are in self preservation or discovery mode. You take note of everything. You make lists. You rationalize. You make excuses.

Often, you find yourself making excuses to yourself and then to people around you. You might find yourself apologizing. After many cycles of self preservation, check lists and excuses you smack yourself in the head. Why didn't you see this coming?

Why didn't you know before you married this person that you should NOT have?

Because we believe. We want to believe. We want to trust that someone would love us so much that they would do it in the right ways at the right times and rightly so. Because we deserve to be loved.

You realize that your not important. The kids are not important. Time is not important. Your left fending for yourself and you put the kids into self preservation mode. You shield them and protect them.

I can tell you that you can do nothing to shield a child from divorce. The ugly truth will rear its head, it may take a decade. You will do your best, tell yourself that they will understand and that you are partially doing it because having a child grow up in a house where the two in charge do not agree or love each other is horrible.

The child will harbor some resentment, may prefer the other parent even thou you are certain they are the devil incarnate.  They are not really and you make excuses for them. Even years after not being together, you do not share the stories of how they left you. You instead, take the blame.

Remember how they left you? Of course you do, you relive it daily. Every doubt, every sideways glance, every failure reminds you of how they left you.

After you have been abandoned you find it easy to rationalize your self preservation mode over and over and over again. It is a cycle that must stop. Its not a fun ride, not a cycle that when you ride it your mind clears and the wind rushes past you as you pedal faster and faster.

Divorce sucks the life out of you. It kills ties, cuts family ties and drops them flat to the ground. You are no longer looked at as respected or valued by others. You are no longer invited to get togethers. Your mutual friends fall away and disappear.

People will judge you and after the first divorce, they pass over it because it is so clear that divorce was inevitable. How do you convince someone to stay married to you when they have already moved on and impregnated another while still being married to you? Left alone. Abandoned. Ties cut.

The second time, you keep many things hush hush and it takes many years for even a tidbit to come out. Some people are understanding. Some start to make jokes about you being the next Elizabeth Taylor. Or maybe this was after your third marriage. You can not remember.

The second marriage you thought would work out. He seemed like a stable, respectable person with a good solid skill that was his job. Little things started to happen, things started taking priority that had nothing to do with you or the family. In fact, it is during this time that you learn the term "functioning alcoholic". Because he was respectable you tried to please him. You are respectable too. Except the jeans you liked to wear that he asked you to get rid of because they had holes in the knees.

In order to salvage your style and your favorite pair of jeans you mended them. They were fantastic. You used your sewing machine to zig zag thread back and forth until they held together and even threw on a few patches. He was not impressed. He instead asked you to get rid of them completely.

You feel lost in this period, it is me. You, I don't feel myself. He doesn't regard anything you have to say as if you simply have no value. You, I put up with a variety of things for over eight years. It was not so bad. You, I rationalize and make lists.

At around six years, he asks you again over and over and over to move to another state with him. Your married and married people stick together so you come to an agreement. That agreement is never kept. He, like many other times fails to come thru. You again are unimportant. Abandoned. Disregarded.

Slowly, life just takes over. Except one night when you are at work and life froze. Time stood still. Until your anger grew so fierce that you could keep quiet no more. He was at a friends house drinking. Down a street, about six houses away. Your at work. Your daughter whom is less than five years old is home alone. Awake. Playing alone? Doing what? No one is inside the house with her.

I feel for her. I am afraid for her and disgusted that someone would choose to leave her home alone to go drink. This disgust gets pushed back a bit as life seems to take over, things take their course and a couple of years later...

I am living in a bedroom alone in a home nearly 2500 square feet in a gated community. My daughter lives on the same floor in her own room. My spouse is in a room downstairs. He is not surprised at this. His only surprise is that I am not already gone. Divorce sucks the life out of you.

Its not the divorce though. In all reality, its people. People who don't appreciate what they have until its gone suck the life out of you. Because some of  us won't stay with someone who puts our kids in danger, disregards our feelings, craves money and bigger houses more than they crave us.

I walked away after nearly a decade, drove away actually. He helped me pack the Uhaul. The relationship ended just months shy of a decade. I slowly found someone that would love me. Briefly. Then I found someone who twisted my thoughts. Then found someone whom I thought would be respectful.

And it starts all over again.

Eight years this time. He is still nasty in a condescending way nearly four years later.  He texts her, me to say happy divorce day. He comments on the cars parked out front even though they have not been a couple for many years. He texts her asking for directions to a local bar. He texts her to ask how the marriage thing is going. He texts her to wish her a Happy valentines day. He texts her to remind her that he is busy and cant visit with their son. He texts her his schedule for classes that interrupt his visitation. He texts her months in advance about when he wont be available for visitations because he has plans. He texts her about needing to not have a visitation time or day because he has a ski class or a meeting or a dinner.

He abandoned her long ago and she went into self preservation mode. She knows she can not protect the child. She learned this long ago. She will keep quiet, she will not badmouth or ridicule like he does.  She knows he does because her son tells her without her asking.

Three years.....

I dated for three years. Somewhere in the midst of all that, I  had fallen in love. The ridiculing, the divorce, the moving...the sucking of life. But she learned not to trust love. She learned that love is a passing thing that many see as unimportant. Love is supposed to be protected. Like she protected herself and her kids when she saw bullshit coming her way. You should not have to protect yourself from love or its ramifications.

I always told myself that if someone loved me they would:

respect me
cherish me
listen to me
enjoy me
encourage me
and do they same for the children

when respect is lost, love is lost. When a person disregards your feelings, love is lost. Love can be rebuilt before its too late. But when a person has abandoned you, disregard you and even ridiculed you in front of others you often don't recover.

The marriage does not recover. The family does not recover. Divorce sucks the life out of people. Divorce sucks the life out of families. Before you go down the road to divorce, before you get to that bend in the road where you can not make a U turn, stop. Listen.

What is your partner trying to tell you?
What have you been asking of your partner?
Are they working with you or against you?
Did they abandon you at the U turn?
Or did they turn around quick, pick you up and hold you close? Did they with earnest listen to what you needed and expected from the marriage?

Three years.....three years of dating...

I met a few that were of note. Men.

I met one that within seconds of meeting him face to face I fell. Not in that old cycle. But fell in love. I would not tell him. Ever. There was no point and it didn't last long because  I ...

Well, for many reasons. There was a girl one night that I am sure he desired way more than he ever desired me. In fact, I often wonder how he tolerated me. I had such a passion for him that I nearly begged him to be with me. Not in the physical sense but in my words when I tried to reason with him when he was trying to break up with me. I tried to point out how I was worth being with. I desperate to be with him. So stupid. You can not force anyone to want to be with you. They only abandon you quicker.

I also met at least one that needs to be in looney bin. I reached my lowest low and had to keep my own head up. I was stalked for over eight months...I lost track actually. Its a sickening feeling.

I remember thinking it was like after I had my miscarriage. I didn't feel fit to walk in daylight. I didn't want anyone to touch me. I didn't want anyone to look at me. I didn't want to date or care about anyone. I felt repulsed by the very thought. I was done with every man walking within earshot.

Time passed. I went online, back to a site to try and find someone with a common interest. A friend even. I would hide my profile, unhide it, change it and after a while I met someone that I hit it off with. In a nice respectable and fun way. We shared a love of music. We both wrote. We both hated divorce. He loved me I thought in all the right ways.

There was one night, we were in our respectable homes, me in my apartment and he a few miles away or more in his own. We were texting each other. He wanted to share something with me...

I never felt such grief before. In the six to eight months that followed I rationalized, made excuses and tried. I tried my best to convince myself that his admission didn't matter. He was still married. In his defense, he told me they had been separated for a long time and were living separate. I knew this to be fact. However,  I could never trust him again. So I abandoned him. More than once, we got  back together and I left him again. There was a final time. It wasn't easy but I had too , I wasn't going to have the life sucked out of me again.

I took a summer to herself to heal. I decided to not date again. Instead, I went back to enjoying things by myself.  I didn't need anybody. However, there was this man that was enjoying things that she did.....