Monday, August 31, 2015

I am not ok

Not gonna lie, life is pretty rough right now. 2015 has been, by far, the worst year of my life. I'd like to punch life in the face.

My dog is sick. That maybe doesn't sound that bad, but my dog is my constant companion. Last fall, when I was starting to feel suicidal, he was literally the only thing that got me up in the morning. I would not have gotten out of bed, much less out of the apartment many days, were it not for him. And even his illness is indirectly related to the divorce. For a little while, he had someone with him 24/7 while my husband was here. When he left, it went back to me being home really only nights and weekends, and the dog being left home alone for most of the day. After a few weeks of that, he got increasingly bored, and started getting into more and more trouble, which included eating about 50% of the bathroom garbage three weeks ago. Three weeks ago I was on my period. You do the math. 

As a result, my dog has been puking and pooping out bits of tampon applicators, wrappers, and pantiliners for the last three weeks. Just when I think the last of it has come out, I find more. Yesterday, he had explosive diarrhea all day long, and then at 2am, he added projectile vomiting. He vomited up what appeared to be two entire tampon applicators, but google told me that vomiting + diarrhea are potential symptoms of intestinal blockages in dogs, so I threw on clothes, called an Uber car, and took him to the dog ER at 4:30am. 

Upon arrival, he promptly pooped all over the waiting room, and then flipped the fuck out on the two lovely vets who tried to examine him (because he had a HORRIBLE vet experience two weeks ago when I tried to take him to a local vet, who traumatized him, charged $300 and did nothing). They muzzled him and had to sedate him with opiates to take xrays. The xrays were inconclusive, and the vet said that he would need more tests and to be hospitalized, just to be safe. Safety, in this case, would cost $2,500. I cried, right there, while talking to the vet. "I'm going through a divorce and I can't afford anything and I haven't slept and I'm a mess and I'm really sorry!" Ultimately I made the choice to bring him home and monitor him myself. So right now I have a very high dog who has hardly moved all day long. 

There is an added layer of bitterness in that my husband left me with the dog, as much as I love the dog and wanted to keep him. I never wanted to be a single pet parent. I purposefully never got a dog because I knew I didn't have the money or the time to put into a dog. Yet my husband bought him as a "surprise" for me, moved himself and the dog in with me, and then he promptly left me "for work," leaving me to take care of the dog alone. And now that he's gone for good, I have another 10 years to take care of this dog, alone. And having just spent my entire savings on an "uncontested divorce" (more on that in a moment", I really didn't have the $2,500 to spend on putting my dog into inpatient hospital care for a few days. 

Then there is the uncontested divorce I paid for. My lawyer made it clear that my (sizeable) retainer fee covered only an uncontested divorce, meaning that my husband and I both agreed to it and weren't asking for anything from each other. If it got more complicated than that, or if she had to negotiate with his lawyer, I would owe 4x what I've already paid to continue it.

Naturally, he is contesting the fact that I filed "no fault" (meaning he did nothing wrong...yeah, I filed that before I knew JUST HOW MUCH he'd done wrong) and am asking him for nothing. Though I could rightfully ask for 50% of household expenses for the last three years, plus 100% of his greencard fees that my family and I paid for plus 100% of my legal fees, I'm asking him for nothing. And he's fighting me.

In order to sign, according to his lawyer, he wants:
  1. Me to make all of my social media private.
  2. A "formal apology" to be issued to all of his friends and family, as well as to him himself, for "ruining his reputation"
  3. Me to contact the mother of his son in order to "normalize relations" between the two of them (even though their "normal relation" was no relation at all, and has been that way for years)
  4. Me to sign something stating that I will not contact the media to tell my story
  5. Me to sign HIS divorce papers, so that he doesn't have to pay to have mine translated and notarized in order to be recognized in his country.
So basically, he's still trying to control me, my behavior, and my speech. He's TERRIFIED that people close to him might begin to realize who he really is, so he essentially wants me to sign a gag order. He's blaming me for his ex-girlfriend cutting off communication between him and his son. Personally, I think she is totally justified, but I never suggested that nor had anything at all to do with it. Her decision is her decision, and it's between the two of them. It's still all about him and what's best for him. Because of course it is. Only he would put up a fight and make me stay married to him unless he can guarantee that he can control my behavior.

Well, he can't. I refuse to sign anything. I'll start from square one and re-file with grounds of adultery and abuse if I have to. Then it will be public record, and there's nothing he can do about it. I have all the proof I need. The only thing I don't have is the money to do it. 

Then there is my job, which has traditionally been the bright spot in my life lately. Today it was announced that a majorly high-up person was leaving to pursue other opportunities, which means that a bunch of people are getting shuffled around, my boss included. I don't know yet how it will affect me and my responsibilities, but I know it will. And I was just getting into a routine, which was nice since my brain has been anything but focused the last few months. Now everything is uncertain. After I listened to the conference call where the announcement was made, I cried.

It's all just too much. I was supposed to take a vacation next week, which is DESPERATELY needed, but now with my dog being sick and potentially needing surgery, I don't know if that's going to happen. Plus, I can't afford it anyway, but was doing it for me, to try to heal. 

Life needs a swift kick in the groin right now. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015


My friend who is the mother of a toddler posted this tonight:

I realized that it is also exactly how a narcissist views all of his relationships. 

Today, my husband had his lawyer threaten to sue me for "psychological damages" to him for talking to his friends and family. That's right. He's still trying to control me, and keep me from talking about him to anyone, which, granted, he successfully did for three years. But now that I'm going rogue and contacting his friends and family to thank them for their kindness to me, and mention that I'm really sad about the way things happened, and that learning the truth was worse than I could have imagined, but I'm still happy I got to meet he is FLIPPING HIS SHIT that his cover is being blown to those closest to him. 

Here is an excerpt from the letter my lawyer and I received from his lawyer today (her English is not great):

"Mrs. [my name] decided to break the electronic correspondence of her husband, his friends and family, and developed a campaign of intimidation, blackmail and threats. Indeed, she disclosed aspects of the private life of our Client, she talked to the mother of his son, who from that moment, prevented the contact of our Client with his son and threatened to use the media to undermine professionally. Now all these attitudes have created serious psychological damage and damage to the image of our Client, that if Mrs. [my name] do not stop immediately and do not send to all the people who contacted, a formal apology and equal request to our Client, will be the subject for compensation in action brought for that purpose. I hope that with the good offices of the Honorable Colleague to regularize the behavior of your Client, all this issues can be resolved in a civilized and concordat way the matter of divorce."

I like that I had a "campaign." It feels so...presidential. The best part is the part about the mother of his son. Yes, I did email her. And it was fantastic. I had never spoken to her in the three years we were together, but I thought about her often. I couldn't imagine how hard it must have been for her to have him leave her while she was 7 months pregnant. And the more he revealed himself to me, the more I had utter empathy for her, and wanted to let her know that it wasn't her. What's really great, is that she let me know that her husband had already adopted their son, their son already has her husband's last name, and their son calls her husband "daddy." What's more, I know that my husband hadn't seen his son in person since 2012. He almost never paid child support. And she had restricted the amount she allowed their son to see him on Skype, and at the point when he and I were last together in person, he hadn't Skyped with him in over three months. Yet he got his lawyer to believe that this was all because of me. And wants to sue me for it! 

It's really amazing. But it's also proof that he really did see his relationships as his and his alone. Nothing was shared. I was not allowed to interfere, or even HAVE a real relationship, with any of his friends (or mine, or my family, for that matter). He was always afraid that I would talk about him...that his mask would get cracked, and that people might begin to hear the truth and see him for who he really is. 

So, I was successful, I guess, in making him LOSE HIS SHIT at the prospect of his cover being blown. I actually didn't smear him to anyone. I was way more respectful than I wanted to be, and far more respectful than what he deserves. I didn't go to the press, even though I could have--and still can--and still might. I do have pictures of him with his girlfriend, pictures of him fucking her and holding her. The evidence is clear-cut. 

In fact, if he wants me to issue a "formal apology" (HAHAHA! NO.) to his friends and family, I COULD tell everyone the entire story, and attach the pictures. And my apology would read something like this:

"I'm sorry that your son/friend is a psychopath. 
I'm sorry that he's had/has you fooled, just as much as he had me fooled. 
I'm sorry that he fathered a child with another woman outside of our marriage, and now he's freaking out a little bit. He must be really hard to deal with right now.
I'm sorry that ever doubted what I knew to be true in my gut, even for one second.
I'm sorry that I continued to give him endless chances to hurt me, lie to me, and betray me, for the last three years.
I'm sorry that I gave everything I had to him emotionally, spiritually, sexually, and financially, and he gave me absolutely nothing in return.
Here's a picture of his dick in her twat. 
I'm sorry it's so veiny and ugly, and I'm sorry her vagina kinda looks like an alien face."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Now what?

Lately everywhere I look, I've been seeing things that say "Let it go." I've always believed in signs, and I'm getting a pretty clear message that the next step in this is for me to let everything about my husband go. Today I dropped off a bag of his clothing he'd left behind for a clothing swap. I started putting my things into his empty dresser drawers. I moved my suitcase into his empty closet. Anything that was out and visible and reminded me of him has either been thrown away, or put away, out of my sight. I cleared his stuff off of my computer (at least as much as I was seeing on my desktop). I blocked him on all of social media. I took down all of the pictures.

But the thought of actually "letting go" is daunting. Despite the fact that my anger now eclipses any warm feelings I may have had for him, I did love him, deeply, and unfortunately more than I've ever loved anyone. He had my entire heart for more than three years. I've been cheated on before. I know that took me years to fully get over when it happened with a boyfriend in the past, and that was just a boyfriend, and it was just one incident. This, with my husband, was some NEXT LEVEL SHIT kind of cheating. Breakups are always hard for me, and generally take me at least a year to really get over the person. I've never been married before, so divorce adds a whole new level to it. Then there's the emotional, psychological and verbal abuse he inflicted. That's also new for me. To admit that I was abused is very difficult. It feels shameful and embarrassing. To move beyond it, and figure out what it was in me that allowed it to happen, and to never allow it again, feels daunting.

I have a lot of shame in general. Everyone warned me, and I didn't listen. I ignored red flags. I knew in my gut that things were off, and I didn't even listen to myself. I've always prided myself on being smart and intuitive and on making the right choices and doing the right thing...and in this case, I made the biggest mistake. What's worse, I was SO SURE about my choice at the time. I have to learn to trust myself again. Right now, I really don't know how that will ever happen. I don't know how I'll trust myself or any man, ever again. I just can't see it.

I know that I need to take all of the energy and thoughts I had been putting toward him and now put it toward myself. I have to figure out what I want to do with my life, outside of what I had wanted with him, or with anyone else. It just feels overwhelming.

Tonight I'm going to light a candle and say a prayer and try to reclaim my energy, cut all emotional and energetic ties to him, and release him. If anyone has any tips, please let me know. I need all the help I can get.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Confab

I'm still having a hard time believing that all I learned yesterday was real life. Nothing he said was true. NOTHING HE SAID WAS TRUE. What I thought was real, was not real. What I thought my life was, was not my life. I trusted him. I believed his lies. Everything I believed was a lie.

I wonder now if anything was real. Did he love me even a little? Or is he not even capable of love? Did he ever feel anything for me? I always got the sense that what I felt for him was unrequited, but WOW, maybe he honestly never even cared about me, not even a little. I did so much for him. He did nothing for me. In any way. Why would he? He never loved me. He never cared. It wasn't real. It was all fake.

It's a lot to process, and I'm not really processing it, if I'm being honest. I'm numb. I'm not sad or angry. I feel nothing. It's too much cognitive dissonance. I simply can't wrap my brain around it. He had another relationship going while he was married to me. He fathered another child. He was living another life. Everything was a lie.

What's been at least a little bit comforting was learning that he treated his ex the exact same way. I emailed her yesterday. He has a son with a previous girlfriend. They broke up in 2010, and the last time he saw his son was 2012. At first I totally believed him that she was a horrible person, but as time went on and I learned who he really was, I began to feel nothing but sympathy for her. He left her when she was 7 months pregnant. He chose his career over her and his son, just like he did me. I knew that she and I had a lot in common, and I always wondered about her. So I emailed her.

She wrote back a lovely email. She was shocked to hear from me, but also happy. She felt guilty for not warning me, but knew that I was just as taken with him at the beginning as she had been, and knew that I wouldn't have listened anyway (totally true). She confirmed that their pattern was exactly the same as his and mine--at first it was blissful and perfect, then he began to change, and then suddenly she realized that she was stuck in a terrible relationship and pregnant. He was also angry and violent with her. He told her outright, just like he told me, that he would always choose his career over her. She paid for everything for him, just like I did. He also criticized her physically, and made her believe that she was much less than him. It took her years, she said, to realize that it was the other way around, and that SHE was the strong, talented one, and he was sick, sad man. She's now married to a "wonderful, caring man," and in addition to he son with my husband, her husband has 3 children, and she gave birth to a baby girl earlier this year. She is happy. She promised me that I would be, one day, too, and that I am too smart and too good to let him ruin me. She gave me hope.

I know it wasn't me. The problem wasn't me, it wasn't her, it wasn't his current (or now recent-ex) girlfriend. It's him. He is the sick one. He is the one who hates himself, and who is damaged beyond repair. We don't have to be. We have the capability to love and trust, which is what you are supposed to do when you're in love. People who love you aren't supposed to lie and cheat and deceive.

He's the one whose life is all a charade. Mine is real. My feelings were real. I behaved in a way that was truthful and in line with my values and with what a person does when they love another person. He did not. My life will continue. His never began.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Hiroshima of bombshells

I don't really have words to describe the interaction I had a few hours ago, and the information I learned from it, but I'm going to try.

The other woman called me today. I emailed her an apology yesterday for a nasty email I'd sent her in anger when I first found out about the affair. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had been extremely unfair to her, and that my anger needed to be squarely directed at my husband, not at her. So I apologized and gave her my skype name, should she ever want to talk in the future.

Five minutes after hitting "send," she tried calling me.

She called me a few times, and though I answered each time, she kept hanging up. Then she signed off. I thought maybe she got cold feet, which is understandable, so I sent her a message letting her know that I'm open to talk any time that worked for her.

Today, she called. I answered. And we spoke for over an hour.

The hangups, I learned, were because my husband was there in the room with her, batting the phone out of her hand and trying to break it as she called me. So she waited until he left today to call.

They met in January, and the affair began right away. He's been living with her all year. Each time he left me, he moved in with her. She showed me his suitcases and his PS4 (that I bought him). She's close with his parents, and talk to them almost every day.

"I want to tell you everything, but I don't want you to be hurt any more than you already are. I respect you as a woman, and I don't want to hurt you," she said.
"I promise you that there is not much that would surprise me at this point. I've already lost everything, and I don't really think I can be hurt any more at this point."
"You have no idea how much I have lost. You can't imagine."
"I can, and I'm sure that he is also bleeding you dry, just like he did me. And I know that you have even more to lose financially than I did."
"It's so much more than that. I want to tell you, but I don't want to hurt you, and I don't want you to tell him."
"I promise I won't tell him. I never want to speak with him again. Can you please tell me?"
"I was pregnant. He wanted me to keep it. But I didn't want to. I didn't want that life."

Somehow, even though this was new information, I knew this in my gut. I nodded and said "I know." And I then began to cry. "I'm so sorry for you. I'm so sorry that you had to go through that."

"So that was why he left me one day in March, then? That's why you were in the hospital?" I continued.
"Yes. His parents called to let him know I was dying. I also tried to kill myself two times after that."

I cried again. "I'm so sorry. I'm so, so sorry. I almost killed myself too, last fall. He almost killed both of us."
She nodded.

"All I have now is my money. I have nothing else. My life is shattered," she said.
"I understand. I never had money, but he took all of it."
"I know," she said. "I told myself that he must have no money because he was sending you all of it, so I paid for everything for him."
"I knew that you paid for everything. I found the receipts for the flights. You even paid his way back to me. That was extremely kind of you."
"I paid for everything."
"I know he spent his money on child support and taxes--"
"He didn't pay any of that. I paid all of that. Because I thought he was spending all of his money on you."
I laughed. "Sweetheart, in the three years we were together, he paid for nothing. NOTHING. Not one bill. I paid for everything. We were both paying for him."

We talked about many things, most of which are a blur. But she really did seem to know all about everything. He told her as much, if not more, about his life than I knew. She knew about his exes, how he was also abusive to them. She was a victim in this just as much as I am.

"I can't imagine how you must be feeling. I promise you, I am not with him, and I will not be with him. I don't want him in my life. I want him gone. He's coming by to get his things later," she assured me.
"I don't want him either. Don't be alone. He can be so violent when he's angry. And right now, his entire web of lies has exploded on him. He must be short-circuiting. I can't imagine how angry he is. Be very careful."
"I know." She nodded.
"Call me or text me when he's gone to let me know that you're ok. I'm worried about you."

We thanked each other, and we apologized to each other again. We empathized, even though we were on opposite sides of the issue, we'd both been destroyed by the same force. She sent me love and hugs and kisses, and I sent the same back to her. She said to call any time I needed anything, and I told her to do the same.

He will not control us anymore.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Discard

I keep mentioning the "Narcissistic Discard" and the day I was discarded. I thought I should explain that a bit. Essentially, once the narcissist obtains new "supply" (usually a new lover who gives him attention after his current lover has begun to see through his facade or question him/assert her needs in any way), he will literally "discard" her like one would throw away a piece of trash.

This happened to me one Sunday in March. He had come back from his work assignment 6 days earlier. This time, he said, he was back "for good" and we were finally going to be together, and live together as husband and wife. But a few days in to being back, I noticed that he was quiet and distant. I asked him what was wrong, and he said that his parents were getting older and needed him there, and that he missed his friends and family. I said "Do you not want to be here?" and he said "I don't know." I thanked him for his honesty, but asked him to please let me know more about that as soon as he'd thought about it.

The next day, we got into a huge argument wherein he accused me of wanting a divorce and ignoring him. None of that was true. Also, I had gone for a drink with one of my closest female friends earlier in the week. We'd had it on the calendar for weeks, and I offered to cancel for him. I asked him if he minded, he said "No, no, of course! Go!", I only stayed out for an hour, but when I came home, he couldn't believe that I actually went KNOWING that he was "sad and lonely". I had been looking forward to him being back for the past year, and now he was turning things around to try to make it seem that *I* didn't want *him*, which couldn't have been further from the truth. He stormed out and didn't come back for hours. I thought that we would talk about it the next day, and that like all of our arguments, he would be over it quickly, and I would be the one to be hurt for awhile.

The following day was a Sunday. I got up before he did, and took the dog for a long walk. When I came back in to the apartment, he had his coat and shoes on. I asked him where he was going, and he said he was going to Starbucks to get some coffee, even though I had just made a pot of coffee before I walked the dog. He insisted, and I didn't say anything.

About an hour later, he came back. I asked him if he wanted to talk, and he said "Yes, I want to talk about how I'm leaving you today." Just like that. Casually, coldly, no emotion. He said it as if he was saying that he was going to take the garbage out now. Which, in a way, was what he thought.

In that moment, I shattered. I don't fully remember the rest of the conversation (really more of a monologue, because I literally lost the ability to speak. My voice tightened to the point that I could barely squeak a sound out, and I was reeling so much that I didn't even know what I would say if I could.) He said something about how we had no future together, we had nothing in common, and he didn't want to be with me any more. He said it was for the best. And he began to pack his bags.

I remember physically collapsing. I could no longer hold myself up. Luckily I was sitting at the kitchen table when it happened. I remember punching the kitchen table, asking him to please wait and talk to me and help me to understand how he could say those things. I remember going into the bedroom and screaming and coming out and begging him again to not go, to talk to me, that we could work things out. I was shaking uncontrollably. And then I stopped crying and went numb.

I laid on the couch for the rest of the time he was in the apartment, while he was packing. I didn't move or make a sound. I couldn't. Teardrops rolled out of my eyes involuntarily, but I was no longer crying. Just leaking, I guess. I stared straight ahead for hours. I was frozen.

He came to the living room, with 3 bags packed, and asked me to call him a cab. I told him that I wasn't going to help him leave, and he would have to do that himself. He got angry, and said I was being selfish, and why couldn't I just help him? He then said that he would stay at a hotel until his flight in the morning. I said ok. Then he asked if he could just stay here one more night.  I said "If you are really leaving me, I think you should stay at a hotel." Again, he couldn't believe how selfish I was.

He walked out the door. I found my tears and sobbed again. The dog whimpered and barked. It was over. I laid on the couch the rest of the night, unable to move.

The next day, he called me while I was at work (yes, I went to work the next day, because I couldn't bear the thought of being in the apartment without him, and thought I could maybe focus on something else...I was wrong) and asked if we could talk. I said I had nothing to talk about. He left me, he'd made his choice, I wasn't going to stop him. He begged to come over and talk. I don't remember agreeing, but I must have.

When I got home, he and all of his bags were back in the living room. The first thing he said was "I can't believe you didn't even call to check on me to make sure I was ok last night!" I actually laughed. HE LEFT ME, and he expected ME to call and "check on him" to make sure he was ok?! "I don't know this city well, and luckily I found a hotel, but my parents couldn't BELIEVE you just left me alone like that! In my culture, we would NEVER do that to someone we love, and my mother will never forgive you for that!"

Then he said he wanted to hear why he should consider taking me back. I told him I had no reasons, and that I wasn't going to beg. He'd already made his choice, and all I could do was accept it. Because the truth was, that Sunday was the worst day of my life. Watching him walk out the door was the hardest mental picture I'd ever experienced. The only thing close to it was seeing my Grandpa on his death bed, emaciated from cancer, and hours away from dying. But even that was expected, and I'd made some peace with it before seeing it. This...this was new.

Over the next few days he admitted that he didn't actually have a flight booked. Every day he promised that he did, but then it came down to it, and he didn't. And he realized that he loved me and just wanted to be with me, but needed to go back to his country to "close doors" and "get his head on straight." But what that really meant, I know now, was go back to his supply. Be with her for awhile more. See what else he could get out of her, and then decide if she or I was better.

But I knew in my heart that I would never get over how I felt that day, being tossed away as if I and our 3 years together meant nothing to him. Even if he "got his head on straight," I knew that mine, for the first time, was beginning to be on straight, itself. And the day after he left, I actually woke up happy and relieved that he was gone.

What was that thing about a woman scorned?

If there is any silver lining to all of this, it's that it has made me tap into a deep, unbridled anger that I didn't know I was capable of feeling. This must be what those highly-trained martial artists use to snap through concrete blocks and stuff...because I just snapped my bathroom towel rod in half. And then I threw a St. Anthony statue out the window just to hear it shatter. (Backstory, the statue was given to me by his friend whose best friend he's been cheating with for all but one month of this year. She knew all along, but rather than tell me, she sent me a St. Anthony statue to "protect my marriage." Didn't work, dumb bitch. What works is saying something like "Hey, maybe you should stop cheating on your wife, you fucking asshole!" So it was very cathartic to hear it shatter. Also, I'm not Catholic, so I'm not gonna go to hell for shattering an idol of a patron saint.)

Tonight, I realized that because his cell phone was on my phone account, I had access to his cloud storage. Apparently he didn't realize this either, but every photo he's ever taken on his phone was there. I dug deep. What I found confirmed what I already knew (that he'd been cheating and lying about it) but WOW was I unprepared for the anger I would feel upon finding pictures of them in bed together, in various states of undress, and in various states of his dick being inserted into her (seriously...he photographed that...) without a condom. He took her to his team's soccer matches. He took her on trips out of town to visit his other friends (HIS FRIENDS ALL KNEW!). He was with her on the night before my birthday, and on my birthday (when he couldn't come on the trip I planned for us because he was "helping his dad"). Every day before he came to see me, he was with her. He was with her, shirtless, on the beach.

I now regret that I filed for "No Fault" divorce. I wonder if it's too late to change that?

I hate him. I HATE HIM.

Unfortunately, this was what I needed to see to kill any hope of him changing. I almost believed him that he "never cheated on me." I thought maybe they just had an emotional affair but nothing else happened. But no.  It's also helpful that he recently gave a TV interview, answering questions about his sex life, what kind of woman he prefers in bed, how he "hates jealousy," how he's juggled four women at one time. I can't imagine how he thinks that will help his public image, and I can't imagine why his PR rep let him do the interview. But it's humiliating to me, because as far as anyone there knows, we are still married.

It's true what they say...once a cheater, always a cheater. And a narcissist won't discard you until he has new supply. He had his new supply since February. He discarded me in March. At the time, I didn't understand how he could just announce he was leaving one Sunday morning over coffee. Now it makes sense. He was already with her. She paid for his flight back. He was set.

It was the proof I needed to harden my heart against him. But wow. Just wow.

Monday, August 3, 2015

So much changes in a year

A year ago today, I took the trip which made me realize that my marriage was over.  I hadn't seen my husband in 4 months, because he was working overseas. So I booked a flight early on to visit him at the midway point of his assignment.

In the days leading up to my trip to see him, I felt a sense of dread. Every time we spoke in those days and weeks before I saw him, he had become increasingly hostile toward me and dismissive of my feelings. I had been incredibly sad and depressed ever since he left months before, yet I couldn't talk to him about it. Any time I tried to bring up my feelings, he told me that I was bringing him down, and that I was being unsupportive of him, and that he was tired of hearing about it. Most of our conversations quickly devolved into arguments and him yelling at me if he even heard a hint of sadness in my voice.

So I stopped saying much. I pulled back and quit reaching out to him. I became afraid to open up to him, because I was so tired of fighting. I accepted that I was alone in my feelings. I didn't even talk to my friends or family about it, because I knew that he would be angry if he found out I went to them instead of him. So I was sad and depressed and incredibly lonely. And exhausted.

It was a big deal to me that I wasn't even excited about seeing him. On every trip prior, I had been counting down the days and minutes until I could see him again. This time, I was dreading it. I knew that things were not going to go well. I knew we were going to argue. I could feel that our marriage was crumbling.

This feeling was further confirmed as I arrived to my airport. I called him to let him know I would be getting on the plane soon, and he informed me that he had to work and wouldn't be able to pick me up. I said "Ok, no problem," but I apparently sounded too sad, and he immediately began to scream at me that it wasn't his fault he had to work and he couldn't believe I was pissed at him for not picking me up. I tried to remain calm and tell him that I understood and that I wasn't angry, just disappointed, and he continued to scream at me. I had to put the phone down. I was crying, there in the airport, at the gate. About to board a plane to go see him.

It took me until a layover in Paris for me to say to myself "Ok. You're halfway there now. Just be excited about this." I still wasn't excited, but the dread had started to recede a bit.

When I arrived at the airport there, his dad picked me up. And I spent the next 9 hrs with his dad. As soon as my husband came home, he gave me a peck on the lips and then turned on the tv to watch his team's soccer match. I even said "Hey, it's not like I just flew 3000 miles to see you or anything..." He put his arm around me and continued to watch soccer.

That night, we went to bed, and he stayed up playing video games. Any silly ideas I had of a blissful reunion were out the window. After a little while, I asked him to please come to bed and at least hug me. So he hugged me for a minute or so, and then got back up to play video games. I asked him to please stop and come and lay with me so we could hold each other and catch up, since we hadn't seen each other for four months! He grudgingly did. But of course, it started an argument about how I was being so selfish, and why didn't I just tell him if I wanted him to come to bed (I thought that was what I did?).

The argument kept going from there. All of the sadness and insecurity I'd been feeling for the last 4 months bubbled up. And he only saw it as an attack on him, and me being unsupportive of him, because I dared be sad that my husband had left. Then he uttered the phrase that will stick with me for the rest of my life, and the moment I knew I couldn't be married to him: "Don't ever make me choose between my career and you, because I can tell you right now, you won't win."

In that moment, I stopped speaking. I don't know that any phrase has ever hurt me so much. I just hung my head. My heart dropped. He finally said what I had known for months now--that I was not his priority and never would be. It devastated me. I began to cry quietly.

"What, so you want a divorce now?! Is that what you want?!" he yelled.
"No, that just really hurt me to hear. I want us to work things out. I don't understand what happened."
"I don't want to talk about this anymore!"And with that, he went back to playing his video game.

And I laid in bed and cried. When he finally did come to bed, he was angry at me because I was moving around too much, because I was emotionally upset and also jetlagged and couldn't sleep. "You just don't stop, do you?!" He fell asleep, and I moved to the floor, where I would have more room since he was taking up the entire bed.

That was night one. The rest of the trip got worse from there.

Part of the reason I went to visit him then was that I had a friend getting married in a neighboring country that week, so we were going to go to her wedding. On the way there, I got a call from the friend who was sitting my dog that she was no longer able to dogsit. I began to cry from the stress, and my husband yelled at me, saying "If this is how you're going to act, we're not going to go anywhere!" I told him that it was sad that he couldn't just be supportive and help me try to think of a solution. He told me that I just had terrible friends, and if it had been HIS friends, this never would have happened.

When we finally got to the hotel, we were able to get in touch with one of his friends to take over watching the dog. I was relieved, but utterly exhausted. As I got into bed, he said "You don't seem happy that my friend is taking over," and I said "No, I'm very happy, I'm just really tired and need to sleep." And he proceeded to yell at me about how much better his friends are than mine, and he was going to text my friend and give her an earful about what a terrible person she is. I said "Please don't do that. Please just let me handle it when I get home. She's my friend, so please just let me deal with it later."

That sent him into a rage unlike any I've ever seen. In his mind, I was putting my friend's needs (to not be yelled at) above his need (to give her a piece of his mind) and was choosing her over him. He saw it as the ultimate act of betrayal, told me he hated me and wanted to be as far away from me as possible. His screaming was so loud that someone from the hotel had to come up and ask him to please be quiet, because fellow occupants were complaining. He then announced that he was going to sleep in the car and didn't want to see me.

I laid in bed, shaking. I had never been afraid that he may hurt me physically before, but his rage terrified me, and I didn't know what he was capable of. It was especially scary, too, because I was in a foreign country where I didn't fluently speak the language, and he had the car. I thought he might just leave me there (since he'd informed me earlier in the day that he didn't want to be there anyway, and if we weren't married he would have gone instead to see his soccer team play hours away). I began to think of ways for me to get home without him.

He came back into the room a bit later. Of course he wasn't actually going to sleep in the car. I stayed as far away from him in bed and he eventually tried to put his arm around me. I didn't sleep at all that night.

When I look back at all of the beautiful pictures that were taken during that trip, all I can think of is how sad and scared I was. To me, those pictures show the beginning of the end of our marriage, and of the person I thought I knew. There's one set of pictures in particular that were taken at my friend's wedding...we were off in the corner by ourselves, but the photographer had spotted us and took a whole series of pictures of us smiling at each other, making funny faces at each other, and finally of him hugging me tightly. I remember in that moment feeling so loved and happy to be with him, despite everything that happened at the hotel the night before. What I didn't realize until after I saw the whole string of pictures weeks later was that he had seen the photographer taking pictures of us, and immediately after hugging me, gave a "thumbs up" and a wink to the camera. It hadn't been real. It was posed on his part. I was just an unaware participant who thought that he was hugging me because he loved me and wanted to do it in that moment. Basically the entire ordeal is a metaphor for our entire marriage.

The day I came home, I passed a kidney stone and developed a UTI. Being with him for 10 days had literally made me sick. My body was trying to tell me something, but it took my brain awhile longer to finally really listen.