Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Will This Boring, Whinging Story Line Ever End?

I am so sick of my situation.  Sick of thinking about it.  Sick of living it.  I am alternatively sad, nostalgic, hopeful, angry, terrified, lonely and guilt-ridden.

But most of all I feel pathetic.  And utterly exhausted.  Not a good combination.

It's hard to see an end to it all.  The past four years of my life have been pretty much dominated by the failure of my marriage - and still it drags on.  Will it ever end?  I can't even imagine how weightless I am going to feel when I am finally able to leave all this behind me and just move on.  And yet.  Part of me clings on with my fingertips...unwilling to let go of the life that I created with this man.  Unwilling to admit that the dreams are no more.  That everything I strived and worked so hard for has crumbled away to dust.  Mere memories.

How much easier it was, pre-kids, to just walk away and never look back.  To have time to grieve and get over it without having the emotional scab constantly picked at by this daily contact.  To not have to face the harsh reality of watching the person that you once loved - still love - moving on...and taking your children with them into their new life.

Not that he is trying to make things easier for me.  Well, why would he?

We still haven't managed to talk further about the move home.  Last week's 'reason' was an important pitch.  This week there is a global think-tank.  Of course there will be something next week...there is always something more pressing, which has more priority, than sorting out this godawful mess.

I don't really blame him.  In my heart of hearts I don't want to face it either.   The thought of having to go through the process of the divorce hardly fills me with gleeful anticipation.  But I have to face the fact it is in his best interests not to move forward - the longer he can (intentionally or otherwise) drag this out, the less he has to pay me and the longer his sons stay in Chicago.

Sounds so simple writing this down...it's down to me so I just need to keep pushing, pushing, pushing until it's DONE.  Not so easy, though, for a woman who considers herself a little bit feisty and far too opinionated for her own good...yet hates confrontation.  Throughout this whole nightmare I have strived to be reasonable and rational.  To maintain a sense of love and gratitude.  To be patient and accommodating.  I certainly don't regret it - it has meant that we are incredibly amicable and that does make my life a whole lot easier.

Well, it did.

Now.  Not so much.

Looking at it objectively, I would say it certainly makes his life a whole lot easier but my life actually feels far from easy.

I feel so torn between wanting to honour our marriage, the love we once shared, the three children we had together by continuing to be kind, understanding, generous.  I know it will reap benefits in the years to come as we continue to co-parent our children together.  But at the same time, I'm not sure that he actually respects this behaviour or is simply taking full advantage of it.  He has his amazing career, his marathon running hobby, his pretty young girlfriend, his children as and when it suits him and full control of the money.  There is nothing about this arrangement that he wants to change right now.

Part of me knows that to achieve what I really want - to regain my independence and move home as soon as possible - the most effective method is possibly to remain humble and gracious and ruffle his feathers as little as possible.

I can see the logic of it - but even writing it just brings on fresh tears.  Just where am I meant to find the strength to carry on?  It all hurts too fucking much.  It would give me so much more satisfaction, at this moment in time, to tell him to stop dicking me around and get with the programme, or I will take matters into my own hands.  What is the point of mediation, if he can't prioritise his life a little to make an appointment and show up?  We've only been talking about it since February, for heaven's sake.

So here's my dilemna:  how to be strong and push forward with intelligence and dignity...without morphing into the quintessential ex-wife bitch.

The pathetic sap of a wife I have a handle on.

The ball-breaking ex-wife I think could come quite easily to me.

I don't want to be either.  Is there really an alternative?  One that will finally - finally - get the job done.


  1. OY. Boy, you sound like me. JUST LAST NIGHT I was talking with MTL on the phone, prepping for heading out to do what is (thank God) nearly the last bit of anything to do with the damn settlement, and I said something I'd be willing to do if the ex had a problem with a certain aspect. MTL asked, "Why? How is that your problem? How is that your responsibility? Your answer should be 'No, this is the logical and legal way it goes.' Period. Would he do the same for you were your situations reversed? Of course not! You have to stop thinking this way. There is a limit to compromise." AND HE WAS RIGHT.

    And SHIT is it hard. It's so incredibly hard to overcome fourteen years of being the one who gave way, who compromised, who smoothed things over, who apologized, who made life easier. Not that I didn't have my bitch moments. But still.

    Yes, you need to keep things amicable. However, that is NOT the same thing as being the doormat. He has to learn that part of moving on means that YOU move on as well. It isn't all about him.

    I wish I could tell you exactly how. All I can say is be firm and calm. Make a deadline for mediation. Get the ball moving. And if he won't help, then drag him along for the ride.

    Sigh. Email me if you'd like to talk about it more.

    NINE DAYS, me. NINE.

  2. What a raw and amazing post. I find this whole journey of yours utterly fascinating and equally devastating. Through your writing, I feel as though I can feel everything that you're going through. And it sounds horrid. And it sounds as though you need to be firm. You need to decide what is best for you, and by proxy your children, and then follow through with it. I know that figuring out what is best for you is probably the hardest, but living in limbo probably isn't brilliant either.

    It sounds - from everything you've written - that he has moved on. You need to decide whether you can make a new life for yourself living there or coming back to the UK and starting over. The latter is probably more complicated and likely to get more messy. But is it what will make you happier or can you find happiness there without him?

    As always, I do wish I lived nearer to you so that I could pop over for a glass of wine and a long, long chat.

  3. Hi Nicola, I've been catching up on your blog from the beginning - really enjoying your writing by the way... Anyway, speaking from experience the time has come to amputate! You can still be amicable but firm in getting your needs met. The longer you mark time the more knotted up you're going to feel about it, at the moment any action (given that you have been thinking long and hard) is going to be right for you and the boys. It always does feel utterly unjust that the men seem to fall into happy new lives that they instantly adjust to while we are left hurting and hurting not just on our own behalf but feeling the pain of our children (no disrespect intended to your male readers who are obviously much more evolved). Sorry for the ramble and the utterly unwarranted advice seeing as we have never been introduced - but all good luck and good wishes. Hels

  4. Just now, you are neither divorced or not divorced. Moving on just isn't possible until you go through that. Horrible, but I really think that it is true.
    I spent every New Year for 6 years hoping (pathetically) that by this time next year it would be all over. Blah blah.
    During that time, my husband procrastinated at every turn. Even when the divorce was going through, he still procrastinated, despite the fact that he was then the petitioner!
    Eventually, I took control and it was all over in about 5 months.
    Then I could start to make a new life. And why didn't I grab control before (given that we both said we wanted to be divorced)? Because I didn't want to hurt people, especially my children.

    We are each happier, the children are much happier, the friends and family no longer find that they are walking on eggshells and we can even spend Christmas together.

    I don't know why we are always so inclined to be the appeasers in our relationships and I know that there is a time for compromise and letting go of the small stuff. But we women seem to get ourselves into these miserable situations and can't get out for fear of hurting everyone else.

    Mad x

    Mad x

  5. Hey Nics. Act like a woman, think like a man? Through all of this emotional exhaustion, keep your focus. When Ex really wants something, how does he deal with it? Directly. You are taking in to consideration the fact that he is delaying and avoiding and living his life, which leaves you flapping around and picking up the pieces and taking emotional responsibility for everything.
    Write down what you want, and then repeat "I am being totally reasonable" until you feel that you completely believe that to be true. And then from that place be firm with him. And direct.
    I'm happy to play the emotional email card with him, if you wish. This has gone on long enough.
    Love you. Heaps and Masses. xxxxxx

  6. I'd say he is completely taking advantage of your resonableness and of the situation you're in. You need to go back to the UK (sniff). As you almost said, he will continue like this ad infinitum because it's a great situation for him to be in. Why would he take a move forward?
    Tell him that if he doesn't turn up for mediation, you'll have to assume he wants to get the laywers in, but give him the message that you're moving ahead with the plans.
    Oy, oy, oy.

  7. For me, one of the hardest things has been admitting that my divorce cannot be entirely amicable. I wanted it to be, and kept trying to pretend that it could be. But at the end of the day this man chose to leave me, and ripped apart my life and home. And I'm angry (though genuinely happier now that I'm on the other side).

    Divorce involves dividing up what was once whole, and, sadly, there are winners and losers along the way. All of those old hostilities and resentments that build up through the marriage are unleashed through the process, and the effect is cumulative. I remember a day about a month after my divorce was final, and the ex and I were implementing the financial settlement. I've never been more angry with him, or felt less respect for him, than I did right then.

    We keep it under control for the kids' sake, and I truly believe that we'll rebuild a friendship in the end. But I just don't think there's a way to get from married to divorced without allowing the grief and fury to show. Anyway, letting that poison out was a critical step for me in rebuilding my new life and self.

  8. I can understand the dilemma and sympathise hugely. You don't want to be a bitch and screw things up for your boys, but you don't want to be a doormat either. All credit to you for trying to find a middle way. It sounds to me as if you need to find a way of talking to him about EXACTLY how you feel. If he still won't listen, then maybe it is time you told him to get with the programme. He can't have it all his own way. I hope the torment doesn't last too much longer x

  9. Oh my god, ladies. you are all so incredible. Thank you for these wise words from the heart.

    TM - you are awesome. it is now EIGHT days and counting. keep me posted on how it goes

    HOM - wow, you're lovely. I would love a glass of wine (oh what the heck - a bottle) and a loooong chat too. Maybe in the not too distant future...

    Hels - Hello - and thank you! You're spot on about getting more knotted up as time limps slowly on. I can't tell you how much it means to me for strangers to offer such support. Thank you again.

    Mad - maybe one day I will be passing on this wisdom to another. I know you're right. I keep reminding myself that maybe in the short term things will become tense and distinctly unamicable...but 'that too will pass'. x

    KR - Oh I do love youx Hold off on that emotional email card a little while longer...

    Expat mum - God, if I can pull this off I am going to really miss you too.

    Karin - You are so right. My expectations are unrealistic because in all honesty I never really wanted this to happen and still have trouble accepting it. It's not as if we reached an amicable agreement to part - so pretending to do it 'as friends' is just a big, fat lie. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

    NVG - Well, we are talking again tonight. If this doesn't produce immediate results then I will take matters into my own hands. At least by being 'whiter than white' these past 18 months, noone can accuse me of not trying to resolve this all amicably.

  10. Organise and prioritise - you, your children your health and the support you need frm you family are just as importnat as his needs and enver ever forget that. HUGS

  11. It's awful that he seems to have all the power. And not right either. I can feel you hurting all through this post. Big kiss to you...