Monday, June 16, 2008

Confessions Of An Ex-Wife Part V

I found myself alone with two children to raise by myself. I had a low paying job and a home I couldn't afford by myself. Around the time my ex-husband left, my little sister found herself pregnant. She was fearful for the safety of her unborn baby. Without her permission, I can't reveal anymore details than that. We talked and she decided to move to my state and we would live together.

Through a friend of hers, we found a place that we could afford. In the middle of all this, I had been given a promotion at work. Financially, this was the best thing that could have happened. It would allow me to be able to provide for the girls without any government assistance.

I can't put into words how devastated I was over the breakup of my marriage. I meant every word of my wedding vows. The overwhelming sense of failure and rejection was crippling. Not to mention that my ex-husband and I were now in a place where we couldn't have one conversation without it erupting into a fight. He pushed every.Single.One. of my buttons. I think he was doing it on purpose, I just didn't realize it at the time. He insulted me, my home, my parenting capabilities, and anything else he could think of. I responded by cursing him out. The filth that came out of my mouth was surprising, even to me. Not only that, he had very quickly found someone else. I later found out that they had started seeing each other before he left me.

Boy I can really pick em'. Now I had to deal with the break up of my marriage and the fact that he was seeing someone else. I was consumed with jealousy. I can honestly say that this was the emotional bottom of the barrel for me, and I wasn't emotionally healthy to begin with.

I did the only thing I knew to do. I started praying, and I prayed hard. I truly believe that all kinds of doors were opened to me because of this. I had ended this marriage with nothing, and slowly things started to get better. Me, the self proclaimed atheist, was turning into a Believer.

For quite a while, I blamed my ex-husband completely for the downfall of our marriage. In time, the Lord began to show me some things about myself. Not very nice things either. Things about my attitude, and the way I handled things. I do believe that he would have left regardless of my attitude, but it certainly didn't help things either.

My sister stayed with me through most of her pregnancy. I don't know how in the world she was able to tolerate me as long as she did. I wasn't letting anyone get to close to me. I still had a great deal of healing to do. Not only from my failed marriage, but as a person also.

I eventually landed an office job that allowed me to work regular hours and to get assistance paying my daycare. I was still bitter, but healing just a little bit every day. My ex and I had horrible fights as I mentioned earlier. One day I realized how tired I was of the fighting. It could be over money, visitation or anything at all. One day he called and was reading me the riot act once again. I remained calm. I didn't cuss or yell or name call. I simply told him that I was sorry he felt that way and that I was not going to argue with him. I told him I would no longer be responding to his tirades. It was like a freakin' miracle. He apologized and that was that.

It took a long time for me to perfect my ability to remain calm. Sometimes I wasn't able to do it. I would always feel like a failure when I allowed him to get to me. I kept at it though. Eventually, the out and out brawling came to a halt. That's not to say that we never disagreed. The unhealthy attacks on each other stopped. I was able to communicate with him and express myself without being a stark raving lunatic.

I find that people tend to take you more seriously when you are able to remain calm. Yelling and screaming most of the time makes you appear to be irrational and without control of your emotions. There are times when I just have to hang up the phone. If a conversation with him is getting me nowhere, I simply end it. I refuse to be sucked back into that old habit. Of course we still disagree on things as my last post stated. Unfortunately for him, he has not changed over the years, but I have. I realize that I jumped into a serious relationship with him way to soon. I just didn't want to be alone. Had I waited to get to know him better and taken things more slowly, I imagine the outcome MAY have been different. Then again, maybe not. I believe I HAD to have this experience in my life. If not, I wouldn't have Keri and I could never take her back, or wish that I didn't have her. This experience changed me, and I believe for the better. Someone asked me recently if I would ever be able to allow another man into my life. The answer is yes. I will not allow this experience to rob me of my faith in men or in basic human kindness. One of the joys I have found in reading blogs is reading about people who have good relationships. Not perfect ones, but good healthy relationships. I love reading about men who are good to their wives and good to their children. It 's not too late for me. It may not be in the cards for me, and that's OK too.

One of the thrills about healing and being a healthy person is to be happy alone. I think if I can't be happy by myself, then I am not capable of being happy with someone. It is not the responsibility of our spouses to MAKE us happy. Not that they don't, but it shouldn't be their job.

I have no desire to jump head first into a relationship with a man. I have my daughters to think about. They both have fathers, though flawed they may be. I don't expect anyone to step in and help me raise my children. The best I can hope for is that, should someone come into my life, that they would at some point be willing to be a friend to my kids, and treat them with respect.

Eventually my ex remarried. Not to the same woman he was seeing when we split up. I was still grieving over losing him, and his marriage was a difficult blow. Despite my personal feelings about it, I did allow Keri to spend time with him and his new wife. I didn't like it, but I didn't want Keri to miss out on time with her dad because of my feelings. She became very attached to his wife. His wife treated Keri as if she were her own child. I was very jealous about that too, but I kept it under wraps for the sake of my daughter.

I was jealous because of the bond between the two of them, I was jealous that her stepmother's family had money and could do so much for Keri than I could do. It made me feel so incompetent. After a while, I realized that no one could take my place as her mother. I realized that I needed to see everything that they could do for her was a blessing in my life and not something I should be jealous of. It was a blessing to have them help buy her school clothes, or that really expensive toy she wanted that I couldn't afford. None of the things that they help out with is anything for me to be jealous of. I will always be her mom, no matter what. I have the privilege and joy of getting to be here for all of her milestones. I carried her and gave birth to her. I took care of her when she was sick. I was there when she started walking and talking.

For a long time I didn't realize how lucky I was for Keri to have such a wonderful stepmom. Many children are not that lucky. Many stepparents are not as giving with their love as K has been with Keri. She opened her arms and her heart to my daughter from day one. For that, I will always be grateful.


HW said...

If my mother had been as flexible, tolerant and self enlightened as you, my childhood would have been so much happier. She was bitter, angry and jealous of my dad up until the day he died.
Your children will see your attitude of forgiveness as a great gift one day.
I'll say it again, you are very courageous.

Farrell said...

In many ways, we learned the same lessons - the hard way. I am still, believe it or not, recovering from my divorce. Especially when it comes to the thought of new relationships. I am very closed off and EXTREMELY cautious. I do not want to be hurt again. Of course, being closed off; people can sense that and that means they don't approach me, and i am quite fine with that for now, because I am not "ready." I'm not sure I ever will be, but I'm glad to say I'm not worrying about it right now (this is for me; i'm only talking about myself)

as for the step-mom business: that's where i still have lessons to learn and i only hope if that day ever comes, i will be able to be as grown-up and mature and gracious as you were/are...but if it's with the woman he left me for, i'm just not sure if I can get to that point, though i want to, for the sake of my daughter.

THANK YOU for sharing.

Susiewearsthepants said...

Farrell-If it's the "The One He Left You For". That changes things and makes it much more difficult to accept this relationship. If this is the situation you are in, good luck! I know how hard it is. I am not sure if I could get past that either.

Farrell said...

Susie: that is exactly the situation i'm in and i think it does make things harder. they aren't married or engaged as far as i know, but they live together. I don't want HIM back, but I don't want him to be with HER either. Actually, i want to like a NEW GIRL, but then i think she could be even WORSE. At least--knock on woods - the whore doesn't text me, talk to me, or show up on my doorstep, know what i'm saying?

Farrell said...

I meant "knock on wood." singular, not plural. my fingers got ahead of me.

Susiewearsthepants said...

Yes I do know what you mean. Even though my ex didn't leave me for this woman, they both made sure to rub the relationship in my face......for a long time. He was doing it out of spite and she was doing because of insecurities. It sucks to have to constantly be reminded of it.