Readjusting

I picked J up on Saturday.  It was good to see him, a little anxiety provoking, but good nonetheless.  Over the weekend, I just tried to keep things very neutral.  He’s got some severe jet lag and it is apparent that we are on two very different planes of communication.  I think this is due in large part to the fact that I have been in individual and group therapy.  So, I didn’t really think it would be productive to delve into relationship issues right away.

To the communication/perception issues, we’ve been having this discussion about him possibly working internationally since we first found it was a possibility in January of last year.  Even then I told him I thought it was a bad idea for a number of reasons, one of the main being that he wanted to start a family but would be gone for a month and back for two weeks.  I told him that wasn’t going to happen and told him why.  He wanted me to consider it.  Now, he has the opportunity to do a rotation in Nigeria.  I know he wants to do it, but I feel that it is a bit unrealistic given the current state of our relationship and the fact that he STILL wants to have kids.

I have worked in higher education for a number of years and prior to coming here, I had to give up an amazing job so that J could take a job with the company that he wanted to work for.  I told him that my former boss called me about a job (not the first time he’s called me) and that we had an interesting conversation that ended in my former boss telling me that he would want me to come work has his Chief of Staff with a tenure-track faculty appointment if/when he gets a presidential appointment (which he will in about a year or two).  Basically all could ever want professionally.  We were talking about this over breakfast on Sunday.  The short of it is that J told me that he doesn’t want to change industries and that he doesn’t want to leave his current job for the next 5 years; basically saying that he isn’t supportive of this opportunity.  He’s supportive if it means he doesn’t have to sacrifice, but if he does, he’s not supportive, you know?  I reminded him of everything I gave up (two orchestra job offers so he could stay in school and didn’t have to transfer and most recently, a job that I loved so that he could take a job he wanted).

I think this just goes to show that we are not thinking on the same plane.  He’s got a lot of work to do in terms of understanding my needs.  I didn’t go to school for 11 years, get a Ph.D. and work my ass off to become a broodmare for someone who thinks it is completely acceptable to leave me for a year/year .5  (one month off, two weeks back) while pregnant or with an infant.  So, we’ve a lot of work to do.  lol.

I’m meeting with my therapist today and am looking forward to it.  J is supposed to meet with him before we meet as a couple, but J doesn’t really like the idea.  I get the impression that he still doesn’t understand that there are some really big issues that need to be addressed.  In his mind, he’d rather just sweep the last few months under the rug and more forward without finding the right way to move forward.

I’m really trying to be open to this and to him so that I can make the best decisions moving forward.  I want to give him the “handicap” since he’s basically just been working and living it up in Europe.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep you posted about how he takes to reality.

~AA

 

Ready… Set… GO!

So, J comes back this weekend.  I have been really anxious about it for the last few weeks, but I feel that I’ve come a long way and that I have some really great support from my friends and group.  I don’t feel like I’m as anxious about it as I’ve been in the past.  In a way I’m looking forward to being able to come to some resolution about the situation.

J is an engineer in the oil industry.  One of the things that we talked about when we first moved here is that he may have the opportunity to work expat.  I remember in early 2011 we were having this conversation.  He really wants to have children and so do I.  But I told him that we would have to wait until after he did the expat before we had kids because I didn’t want to be pregnant or have children alone.  I think I came off pretty firm about this.  His reaction was that I was basically not being very reasonable, that the money was really good (which it is), that it isn’t a big deal to be pregnant and by yourself.  (Much of this conveyed through patronizing remarks, tone, and boy language).  Prior to leaving for his most recent time overseas, before I told him I wanted a divorce, his “plans” included the option of me getting pregnant before he left (i.e. the first trimester alone).  I told him that was not going to happen.

Recently he brought up the fact that he has the opportunity to go expat starting in November.  Another element of this story is that his best friend, who he works with and has been in Europe with for the last three months, is going to go… although that “isn’t a factor”.  He told me on Monday that he thinks he needs to tell them ASAP if he is going to do this so that he doesn’t lose the opportunity.  I told him that considering all that has happened in the last few months, I cannot tell him “yes, go do this”, but if he needs to tell them yes and then back out later, that is his call.

First of all, given the state of our relationship, I find it almost comical that he thinks this is a good idea to even bring up.  Secondly, he’s still in the mindset that he wants kids ASAP, but doesn’t seem to really see the issue I have with being a single mother.  Why be married anyway?  I can get a sperm donor if I want one?  And why did I move here when I could be living where I want since he’s not going to be here anyway?  I guess I feel like I gave up so much to come here and I really didn’t need to.  Although, that isn’t to say that I’m not totally happy in this city and with my job, but you get the point.

So, I have a feeling we will have a lot of “Come to Jesus” meetings when he gets back.  It should be interesting.  I am hopeful, though.  I’ve found a great deal of strength within myself and have a better understanding of what my non-negotiables are in a relationship.

On a side note, I found out that one of my greatest mentors and friends had a heart attack yesterday.  He’s a marathoner, only 56, vegan and a very good friend.  He’s recovering in ICU.  But it reminds me that there is so little time and that we must do what we need to do because you never know if tomorrow will come.

Hope you are all having an inspired day!

~AA

Reality

J will be home in two weeks.  He’s been in Europe since early February.  I told him I wanted a divorce in December, but so much has happened since then that I sort of came to a place where I felt that perhaps we can get back on track.  But I just don’t know.  I’m so scared about him coming back and things just going back to the way they were and my life just going on with me in a supporting role, not as my own leading lady.  I hate this.

People keep asking me if I miss him and if I’m excited that he’s coming back.  This is one of the hardest things to answer…because in all honesty, I’m nervous about him coming back, I’m nervous that I may have shut off so much that there isn’t a way to “get us back on track”, I don’t “miss” him in the sense that I feel like my life is missing something without him.  In fact, I feel more like myself now that he has been gone than I have in years.  I don’t feel self-conscious.  I’m not lonely.  I don’t feel inadequate.  I feel like me and like I don’t have to be ashamed of my desires, my demons, my needs.

What does that mean?  Does it mean anything?

I’m trying to stay open to this entire thing that is about to happen when he gets back.  There is a part of me that feels like I really need to make the effort, but I also feel like I’ve made a significant effort in the past that didn’t work.  Is it really necessary for me to give it another go?  But I guess he really needed to hear that I was willing to leave him because of how unhappy I was.  So, perhaps he needed that reality check before any progress could really be made.   I just hope that I can be open minded.  If I have the divorce papers in front of me, I will want to have that piece of mind that I did do my best, even if I may have already shut down more than I realize.

I guess it all really doesn’t matter in the end… this contemplation.  It will come, it will happen and it will have a result that no amount of pondering will provide until it happens.

~AA

Broken

I feel like there are so many parts of me that are broken and that, perhaps, they may never heal.  I am hopeful that they will.  That I will be stronger from all of  this.  This is more difficult than I ever thought imaginable.  I could not imagine doing this if there were children in the picture.  I feel like I’ve made so many mistakes, but that is part of life, right?  Mistakes are part of what makes life worth living.  They teach us things.  They force us to expand our hearts, to expand our ability to forgive.  Probably the most difficult thing is to forgive ourselves for our imperfections.  I have so much compassion for others, but the person I have the most difficult time forgiving is myself.  Why is that?

There are so many conflicting emotions.  I’m longing, alone, hopeful, strong, wishing to hold onto the past, wishing to move forward.  I went to my counselor today.  It was helpful.  I so needed to speak to someone.  To help me continue to move forward when all I want to do is give up.

Thank God for music.  It so resonates with me.  It helps me process the emotions that I cannot vocalize or put into writing.  Right now the song that is really sticking with me is Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper.  Some may think it too “pop”, but she’s been through so much and completely gets the underlying point of the song.  I love it.  It inspires me.  Gives me hope.  I feel like a Phoenix, but my ashes are still burning.  I haven’t risen yet.

Better

Today is a much better day than yesterday.  Yesterday was Christmas, as you know, but it was my first Christmas alone.  It was nice and lonely at the same time.  One of my friends Skyped with me for a bit, which was so nice.  I needed to see a friendly face and to be part of some Christmas celebration even if it was virtual.  B had me over for dinner.  It was so nice.  They sent me home with so much food that I don’t even know where to begin!

Yesterday I talked to J for a bit.  I’m pleased that things seem amicable at this point.  He keeps wanting me to reconsider, but I’ve told him that I just cannot.  There are many things he needs to work on and I am simply spent.  I’m a bit on alert b/c he has called my family and my best friend (B), but I understand why he did.  I just don’t want him making an effort to turn them into his tools to get me back.

When I spoke to my mom yesterday, it wasn’t very good.  I know this is a confusing time for them.  She said things like, “you know… it is difficult enough to find someone.”  Later that day, J said the same thing.  I want him to continue having support from my family and B as needed, but I don’t want it to be b/c he is trying to manipulate the situation via my friends and family.  The most poignant thing for me yesterday was the realization that even if my family disowned me for this decision (which I know they won’t), I would still make the decision.  This is my life.  Mine alone and I have to do what is in my best interest.

As B. Clewly Johnson so aptly stated,

Follow your instincts, your intuition. Don’t stay with people who, over time, grow apart from you. Move on. This means do what you think will make you feel okay – even if that makes others feel temporarily not okay.

Be inspired.

~AA

Family

Family can be so complicated.  I spoke with my mom to day and it wasn’t the greatest help.  I know she’s trying to be helpful, but saying things like “well, maybe you should do counseling, perhaps you’ll work it out, you may never find someone that gives you everything you need, have you tried XYZ.”  I felt horrible.  Like a failure.  I’ve got such a positive outlook right now, but the thought of disappointing my parents is truly unbearable.  I was sobbing and not because of the divorce, but because I felt like maybe I should just stay so they won’t think less of me.

My brother is really wonderful right now.  We’ve had a relationship where he would mostly call me for support and now he’s got to give it to me.  He said he feels like our relationship has made a 180 b/c I’m always the one giving the advice and support.  But he fully supports me in this.

I will be okay.  I know they will love me.  But I do feel like I’ve let them down somehow.  It is difficult.

~AA

‘Twas the Night…

…before Christmas and I am at peace.  My life has been changed and I look forward to what lies ahead with optimism and an open heart.  This is my first Christmas alone, but I am glad to have some time to myself and I feel so loved by the most important people in my life.  It is time like these that you realize who your true friends are and those who are merely only there for the good times.

I would never say that I have had a plethora of friends, merely one or two good ones along the way.  B has been taking such good care of me.  She listens, she doesn’t judge, she genuinely cares, she loves me and wants what is best for me.  There are few people in this world that I would consider a true friend, but she has been there for me in so many ways.  True friends are the ones that are there even when it is inconvenient, they make time to get to you no matter what when you are in pain, and they provide you with unconditional support to follow your heart.

Today was a good day.  I’ve cried, have cradled my suffering and have renewed hope in the future.  I’m endlessly in awe of the power within us and the range of emotions that we are capable of experiencing when we allow ourselves to do so.

May you all have a Merry Christmas.

Be inspired.

~AA

Self Care

It appears that my greatest struggle right now is proper self care.  I’ve been good about letting myself cry, taking soothing showers and writing to help me process, but I have such a difficult time dealing with eating and making sure that I take time to do it.  It is such a low priority for me right now.  I finally broke down and made myself get some Lean Cuisine’s from Target.  It isn’t ideal, but at least it isn’t McDonald’s (which is all I do care to eat right now).

This afternoon I had a little breakdown.  I was listening to music and one of them just really got to me.  I did something that I haven’t done in years, I went to a church.  I just felt that I needed some support and I don’t want to burden others with my issues.  It was actually nice.  I’m no longer a very religious person, but I grew up Catholic.  I found the closest Catholic church (via Garmin) and went.  It was kind of nice.  I walked in, it was dark with the exception of the alter.  No one was there.  I went to the front, knelt in a pew, looked at the cross and just broke down.  It wasn’t pretty, let me tell you.  Lots of sniffling, crying, sobbing and praying.  I haven’t prayed like that in years.  Repeating the Lord’s prayer and Hail Mary over and over while I just cried.  Not feeling like I even deserved any possible redemption.

The pain can be very unbearable.  Mostly, though, I think the pain comes from the process of letting him go and the guilt that I feel.  Lots and lots of pain.  I keep looking for messages from friends, but I know it is Christmas and everyone has their own thing to deal with.  I did get some this morning, but the day has been very lonely.  This is my pain, my issue and I will get through this.  I am stronger than I know.  It will get better.  I know.  And I have faith that it will.

Support

I’ve been so blessed to have such support.  B has been a trooper.  She’s been there for me whenever I need her and has just been a great friend.  I’ve told my family and they are very supportive of my decision.  I was afraid that I would somehow be disappointing them by doing this, but that was an irrational thought.  They just want me to be happy.  I also have some other emotional support that has been invaluable in this process.

It has been interesting, the comments I’ve gotten from my family and friends.  My dad even told me that J has problems with putting up walls and pushing people away.  He was very supportive of my decision.  I think that was a little bit of a surprise in the sense that I know how much he likes J, but my happiness is more important to him.  I know this, conceptually, but I’ve always tried to be the perfect daughter and always want to make my parents proud.

There are so many factors that go into this decision and for me those included my parents expectations of me and my spiritual commitments/responsibilities.

I talked to J yesterday.  It was difficult.  It always will be, I think, at least in the beginning.  He kept telling me that he felt betrayed, that he thinks I worked myself up into this decision and now I have to follow through for some artificial reason, he asked if it would help for him to talk to my mom (he knows how much I adore her).  His actions at this point are getting very desperate.  It feels horrible that he has to have this experience, but pain is sometimes the best teacher.

I told him that this is what I want and I told him that I simply couldn’t be around him because he has too much power over me and my decisions.  I told him that when he gets back, I’ll either be at B’s place or visiting a friend out of town.  I told him that I have to protect myself and the decision that I have made.  I also told him that he needs to work some things out for himself, things that I cannot do for him.  He’s asked me to stay with him while he works through whatever I want him to work through, I told him that he needs to want to do it for himself, not because he wants to keep his wife.

Yesterday’s conversation was painful, but it was honest and given with an open heart.  I do love him, that isn’t the question.  But I have to love myself more right now and the future that I need, which includes children.  I cannot bring children into this type of relationship.  There are no compromises for me at this point.

I feel strong, but have no delusions that things will not be painful and sad along the way.  This is a healing process and I will allow myself to feel everything that I need to feel.  But mostly I feel hopeful and positive about my future.  That’s all I can really ask for at this point.

~AA

Done

So, last night I told J that I wanted to end our marriage.  It was difficult and now there is a lot of pain and confusion, but also a sense of relief that it is out there.  When I told him, he wasn’t angry at first, he was more contemplative and pleading.  He doesn’t want me to do it and keeps telling me that we have too much going for us to not fight for it.

I told him the reasons and he said he understood and admitted that these are not new issues in our marriage.  But all of a sudden, he is now interested in trying to make it better.  That is why this is confusing.  I don’t understand why it would take such a “threat” to get him to take actions to make our marriage better.

He said that he didn’t realize it was so bad for me and the he wished that I would have talked to him about it.  I told him that I tried to talk to him about it and that every time I did, he would try to shut me down.  He said that was true and agreed.  And I told him that the reason we don’t fight about it and the reason I haven’t brought things up recently is because I was just done fighting against a brick wall.  That I was just done.

I am confused because he now seems more than willing to change or to “work” on our relationship, but I don’t understand what it means that it takes the threat of losing me to make him want to take steps to improve our marriage.  We went to counseling a year ago, but he said he thought that was about us fighting about dishes and laundry.

I just told him that I needed a break and went to a hotel last night.  This morning he left to go see his mom.  So he will be gone until next Tuesday.

He tried guilting me into saying “okay, we’ll give it another go”, but I couldn’t say yes to that.  I realize that we have this relationship that has been established over the past 5 years where I am very influenced by his tendencies to submit me.  So, it was very tempting to just say “well, I guess I should give it another go”, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that.

He asked me if there was someone else and said that if there was, he wouldn’t fight for us, but if there isn’t then he would.  That is confusing to me as well.  He’s been making comments periodically to “dominate” my decision, things like “why did you bother going Christmas shopping, then”, “my mom feels like she doesn’t know you (in an effort to get me to go with him)”, “this is the worst time that this could be happening.”

Right now I feel okay.  Rather positive considering.  I have the day off from work so I’ve just been getting rest, took a few showers and have let myself cry.  I’m going to see my counselor later today and am looking forward to that.

My girlfriend B came over to the hotel last night and we talked and finished off a bottle of wine.  I feel like I have a good network of support, which is helpful, but I need to make sure that I don’t slip back into doing what he wants because he is in pain and it is easier.  Part of me feels like I’m “supposed” to give him another chance, but that isn’t what I want.  And I feel like a bitch for even saying that.

Positive thoughts.

~AA