Monthly Archives: October 2011

You Made Me Hate You

My husband returned home after the film with a bottle of wine.  He presented it to me as his peace offering/belated Valentine’s Day gift.

All was quiet on the western front.

Our mortgage was due the next day, but we didn’t have the money to pay it.  Somehow my husband was able to purchase new, designer sunglasses.  He told me he needed them for his trip.  He was leaving in less than a week.

I re-assumed my battle station.
“Because you have to ‘look good’ in Australia?  That is a priority?  This is not how to dig out of financial problems.  I’m sure you have some logical answer for this.”  I threw my hands in the air.

“I understand your frustration,” he calmly stated.  “I do have logical arguments that you already know, so they don’t need to be gone over again.  It’s easy to think of our own things – your swimming at the Rose Bowl, my sunglasses – as ‘essentials’.  I genuinely give you the benefit of the doubt about your expenses, so I’d really appreciate the same.”

Incredible.

I kept my mouth shut, poured out my frustration in my prayer journal, and waited to discuss the problem in counseling, later that day.  I was determined to keep things peaceful, no matter how manipulated I was feeling.

I am trying, but I still feel he is focused on himself, his image and career.  It’s rotten timing.  He deserves to be successful, OF COURSE!  He deserves a shot; a chance, and he is doing it.  He will never in a million years believe I support him, care, or think he’s doing a good job.  So, why try anymore?

My husband did not accompany me to marital therapy that day.  He had to attend a last-minute meeting with his magazine’s photographer.  I went to the session, alone, for the second time that week.  I then went over to my friends, Jeff and Jenny’s, house.  I sat at the dinner table with their joyful toddler, who smiled and giggled with me.  I tried not to think about my barren womb.

When I got home, my husband had just returned.  I asked him how his meeting went.

“I’m drunk,” he responded.

“You do realize that it looks like you just went out and got drunk with your friend instead of going to counseling,” I judged.

I then thought back to the session earlier in the day, where my marriage counselor had commended me for not having gotten angry.  I closed my eyes, then took a deep breath.

“How was your meeting?” I asked, gently.

My husband brightened.  It had gone really well! They had a bunch of ideas, and it felt good to be creative again.  He explained that he had been down and out about life until that particular meeting.  In fact, he had been so frustrated about our financial situation, that he punched the windshield of his truck.  It cracked.

But the meeting made him feel better.  It confirmed to him that he was on the right path.

He bustled around the bare kitchen, found a glass, and poured himself some water.
“I’m going to watch American Idol.  Do you want to watch it with me?”

“No, thanks,” I said.  I didn’t need to feel any more “down and out” about my own career.

We later went to bed in our separate rooms.  I tried to sleep, but felt restless.  My mind drifted to our financial situation.

Most couples divorce over financial problems.  Most couples divorce over lack of communication.  Most certainly the majority of divorces are due to adultery. 

I have all three glaring me in the face.

I started crying, loudly.  Sobbing.  I was, most likely, being overdramatic, but I was scared.  I decided to get up and tell my husband that he had no heart.  How could he lay in the other room and listen to me sob?  Why did this have to be so hard?  Why couldn’t he scoop me into his arms, hold me and tell me how much he loved me?

What happened next is a bit of a blur, but between yelling and screaming at each other, I remember taking off my wedding ring and throwing it across the room.  It landed on the floor in slow motion, a la a scene taken from The Lord of the Rings.

My husband followed suit.  He pitched his as hard as he could, and it landed right next to mine. (Under different circumstances, we might have had an excellent little game of bocce ball going.)

“DOESN’T IT FEEL GOOD?!”  I screeched.
Uhh, can someone please call Nurse Ratched, STAT?

“STOP BEING SO SMUG!” He screamed back.  He went on to yell about me being on my “moral high horse” because I had gone to counseling, and he hadn’t.

I ran into the kitchen, grabbed the Valentine’s Day card I had purchased for him, and demonstratively ripped it into tiny, little pieces.

It only angered him further.  “FUCK YOU!  YOU MADE ME HATE YOU!
YOU.  MADE.  ME.  HATE.  YOU.”

I glowered at him.
“I didn’t make you do anything.”

We continued to scream awful, awful things at each other.  Finally, in the most heated moment, a look of determination crossed over my husband’s weathered, handsome face.

“You’ll never see me again.”

He left.  I heard his truck engine start, and he drove away.

I slumped to the floor, next to those damn wedding rings.  I couldn’t stand looking at them, so I sat up, and supported my back against the metal frame of the creaky, twin bed. I couldn’t cry anymore.  I just stared out the window, into the quiet.

I am a total failure.

I don’t know exactly how many minutes passed, but then, my husband’s tall frame stood in the doorway.

“I am so sorry for the vile things I screamed at you, Leslie.”  His voice remained quiet; defeated.
“That is not who I am, or who I want to be.”

I kept staring out the window.  My eyelids felt heavy.
“Did you mean what you said?”

“No.”

He sat down next to me, sighed heavily, and started crying.  I stared at him for a moment, then reached over to him.  I pulled him towards me and held him, as he collapsed into my arms.  We cried together.  We prayed together.

The moment — the room – the twin bed – it all felt so familiar.

Five long months had passed, and we were still in the same place.

My Story for His Glory

Wait, wait, wait — wait a minute.

Time out.

Why are you writing this?”

“Why on earth would you start a blog about your divorce?  Nobody wants to read about that. You’re sharing WAY too much personal information. You’re going to get in big trouble. You should think twice before posting. You must still be stuck on your ex. You’re way too consumed with the past. Furthermore, what man is going to want to date you, after reading all of this?  You’re insane! STOP!”

These are the thoughts that run through my head, or maybe what other people are thinking. (Nice try, Satan, you ninny.  I’m sick of you!)

Then a smile spreads across my face, and I say, “This is me.”

I’m trusting God to use my story for His glory.  Yep.  I said it.  I said that cheesy, Christian-ese phrase:  MY STORY FOR HIS GLORY!  There!  I shouted it.

My intention is not to defame anybody.  I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially myself.  There is no “good guy/bad guy” in this story, because we’re all broken human beings.  But God uses our brokenness, and can make beautiful, new life out of the darkness; out of the ashes.

I don’t actually know who is reading this.  I do know how many are, though, and the feedback I have received has been extremely positive.  I believe that my readers can identify with my thoughts, feelings and experiences, even if their own journey or beliefs are not exactly the same. One person even thanked me for helping her remember how much she missed reading. (!!)

That is why I keep going.

I’m a writer.

Furthermore, this isn’t the only story I have to tell.

I’m not making money, I don’t have a book deal, maybe I never will.  I don’t know what God’s ultimate purpose for this is, but I do know that He is in control. He’s always in control.

I used to think that I had my life together.  I also used to think that I had to be “perfect” in order to have a voice in this world.

Guess what?  I’m not perfect.  I am a broken, mangled, mess of a human being who just so happens to have gone through a heart-wrenching divorce.  I do not recommend divorce.  It is almost worse than death, maybe simply for the fact that the other person is still alive. There is no “happy ending”. But, I can tell you – there is hope.  There is always hope.  Hope, Part Infinity.

Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

So, my friends, I continue — my story for HIS glory.

The Right Thing to Do

He wasn’t home when I finally returned.  I carefully arranged, and re-arranged the card and candy bar on the kitchen table, then sat in the dark.  I stared out the window at the lone street lamp, struggling to shine its brilliance through the thick, bare tree branches.  My house was cold and quiet.  Empty. The walls ached, and the deafening silence somehow echoed my pain.

I wrote.  It was the only thing I could do.

Ironically, the following email was never sent.  I figured my husband was tired of hearing my heart.

You are at a movie right now.  I am anticipating you coming home and explaining to me how you want a separation and how I misbehaved and how my attitude is rotten and the straw man and umbrella and all that conversation…and the thought of it all makes me tired…

And then I think of how I love you.  Oh, my husband, how I love you.  How I’ve always loved you. How I truly would not be happy if you weren’t in my life, even after all the pain and hurt you have caused me.  I have tried my best to hurt you back, I have, and obviously that isn’t working.  I am flailing and reacting and hurting so, so much, and disappointed and angry…

And then I think of how I love you.  I want to be with you, and I want us to stop fighting and start rebuilding in a positive way.  I know I am not always positive.  I want to try. And try harder. 

And I think of how God loves me, and how He loves you, and how He looks upon us, and our marriage, and I just want it to be pleasing to Him.  I don’t want to act like an idiot anymore.  I don’t want you to act like one, either.  

I know we can do this with God’s help.  There’s always going to be a reason to separate, get mad, split up, leave, want a divorce, want to make the other person feel the pain and hurt that we are feeling.  Sometimes I wish that you knew how badly I am hurt; how broken I am because of you and your sin, but the nicer part of me wants to protect you from that pain.

On the other hand…

I don’t know.  If you want to separate, do it like a man.  Don’t run off to another country just yet. Help me figure out what to do with the house so we can at least be financially responsible for our own individual future.  I don’t want to be screwed over anymore than I already have been, and I don’t have any intention to screw you over.  Please, if we are to separate, PLEASE be mature and responsible and think of your future — think of your future wife, your future kids – don’t just run off and throw your credit in the toilet anymore than it already is.  I guess all I ask in a separation is that you be responsible enough to see through what is best for this house situation so that we protect our investment and ourselves in the best way possible.  It’s the right thing to do.

Valentine’s Day

I fled the house.

I spent the night downtown with my friend (“Wife”), Andrea.  I needed shelter, and to be away from my husband.  I might have driven him to anger, but there was no way I would tolerate physical abuse.  Andrea and I hiked and talked for four hours the next morning, and then I headed to south Orange County to spend a few days with my best friend, Joy, and her new husband, Micah.

Joy met me at the door with a glass of red wine.  She had drawn me an Epsom salt bath (my legs were sore from hiking), lit candles and placed little chocolates along the tub.  She wrote me a beautiful card.  She wanted me to have a “happy” Valentine’s Day.  I burst into tears.   I have the most amazing, steadfast, giving and loyal friends in my life.  It felt incredible to be cared for; to be loved.

My husband had no idea where I was, and I didn’t have the energy or desire to tell him.  I assumed that he could have easily figured it out, but only if he truly cared.  I did not contact him.  Perhaps I wanted to punish him, but I mostly just wanted peace.  I was resolute.

I am done. I cannot move forward with him.  He is incapable of being a man.  He is not husband material.   He wants to be 22, single and “untethered”.  Lord, I pray for him and pray You SPANK HIS IMMATURE, IDIOT ARSE.

Yet, I still cried —
God, save us.  God, RESTORE my marriage with miracles and redemption.  Help me to not react, help me find peace.

My husband emailed me every day.  His emails were constant, yet brief.  He didn’t know where I was, or what I was feeling. He was sick to his stomach.  He was sure there were “one million things” that he could have done better, but he didn’t want to live under the umbrella of what he had done, “every minute of every day.” He didn’t know why there was such silence.  Was this what I wanted?  Did I even care?  He didn’t know “what happened on Friday night that pushed us” to that point.  He didn’t know why I wouldn’t communicate with him.

And then, I received a lengthy email.

He wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day, and said it was hard for him to not know where I was.  He didn’t know why I had left, and wondered, almost aloud, if I had gotten fed up with him, or just needed time alone.

Our abrupt break had left him reeling, a little.

My husband went on to detail what he wanted: for us to be partners.  He wanted us to take joy in each other’s lives and show the world how two people could live to their fullest potential.  He recognized that the words “career” and “support” had become so loaded between us.

He wanted happiness.  He wanted stage (for me); writing (for him).  He wanted simple things, too, like eating spaghetti and taking our dog on walks.  He wanted understanding.

He figured we’d work through the hard stuff, including his affair.  We’d move forward, towards a new partnership, together.  He explained that he would never stop believing in the way that our relationship could look.

Except: I left without a word.  That killed him. Yet, maybe I was right.  Maybe we’d have to separate in order for our relationship to work.  Maybe we both needed time to experience what our lives would be like without the other.

He felt, very strongly, that I had made him out to be some sort of “evil straw man” over the past two months.  He refused to live with the image that I had of him; of who I thought he was.  He concluded that if separation was the only way to destroy this image I had of him, then perhaps we should stay apart.

At the same time, he loved me.  And that was that.

I finally wrote him back, later that night, and told him I’d meet him at marriage counseling the next day.

I felt anxious and suffocated.  And he was only reeling, a little?  I didn’t want to go back into the war zone.  I started to realize that I didn’t want the same things that my husband had just described.  He still didn’t get it.  I wanted a husband who would love me and not abandon me.  I wanted a partner who sought after God first.  I wanted to be treated right.  I wanted children.  I slowly realized that my dreams and desires had changed.

For nine years I lay in bed at night, next to my husband, and dreamed of a career on Broadway.  When I finally made it off-Broadway, I lay alone, and dreamed of a husband and children.

Isaiah 41:13 – For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.”

Oh, Lord, what a beautiful promise, and what better place to be than in Your Presence; in Your hands!  Lord, the anxiety, fear and worry take me down…I am trying to control my own life, I’m trying to control/change my husband, and it just doesn’t work.  None of it.  Lord, I truly want Your will and I feel like I’m too stupid, clueless or afraid to just let go.  I want to abandon my hopes and dreams for myself into YOUR hopes and dreams for me.

Feeling refreshed and encouraged after the weekend with my friends, I decided to go back into battle.  My first stop was marriage counseling.  When I arrived, my counselor informed me that he had just gotten off the phone with my husband.  He would not be attending the session.  He was confused and hurt.  I indignantly started to defend myself, but my counselor gently encouraged me to try to see things from my husband’s (broken) perspective.  He was trying.  He wanted the marriage.  Perhaps he wasn’t doing the best job, but he was still there, and his intentions were to re-build our life together.

I felt convicted, set up another appointment and headed home.

On the way, I stopped at the grocery store to buy a “belated” Valentine’s Day gift for my husband.  It felt cheesy, but my heart had been softened by his daily pursuit.  I spent more than twenty minutes in the Card and Party aisle.  Every single Valentine’s Day card I browsed pierced my heart with a jagged, rusty, barbed-wire arrow.  I couldn’t find the right one.  They were all full of love and happiness.  I didn’t feel love, or loved.  I wasn’t happy.  I couldn’t lie, but I wanted to make peace.

Finally, I found one that was appropriate.

TO MY HUSBAND,

You and I have been through
a lot together,and through everything,
both the good times and the bad,
there was always our love
holding the two of us together
and keeping our family close.
Even after all these years,
there’s still no better way to say it…
“I love you.”
Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day

 

“An Affairs”

My husband asked me out to lunch.

He drove, and even paid for the meal.  I was shocked.

At our favorite pho restaurant, my husband looked me straight in the eye and explained to me that he had purchased a ticket to France, and his flight was leaving at 8:40 p.m.  He was planning on being gone not for two weeks, but the entire month.

I started to interrupt, but he continued.

He said he had done a lot of thinking about the trip.  Something about it hadn’t seemed “right”.  He then took a deep breath and shared his revelation with me: the way he had been planning his trips had not taken me into consideration, at all.  He realized he had been acting as if he were a 22-year old, very single bachelor.

Well, shit on a shingle.  He gets it.

Furthermore, he realized that if he left on the plane that night, I would leave him.  He didn’t want our marriage to be over.

So he told me he wouldn’t go.

He then asked me to “partner” with him in his career.  He wanted me alongside him.  He didn’t want to be without me in any capacity.  He wanted to try harder.  He wanted my support.  He wanted to include me in everything he did.

That is what I had been wanting, all along!  I almost couldn’t believe that I was hearing it.  Maybe God had, indeed, changed my husband’s heart overnight.

Hope, Part Four.

We made a deal.  I agreed to be his partner.  He had gone out of his way to take a step forward, a giant leap towards a life together.  He still had to fly to Australia in a couple of weeks, but would keep me posted on every detail.  I was dubious but agreed, since a paycheck from one of his recent stories had come through.  We needed more like that to stay afloat.

A blessing and RELIEF, I wrote.  I truly would have left him, I believe, had he gone to France.  I am so glad I didn’t have to make that decision today.

I did not journal for an entire day.  Our exchanges were light-hearted, and full of inside jokes.

The day passed.

Soon after, I found my husband’s unused plane ticket, crumpled up in his backpack.  My heart sank.  His itinerary did not reflect France, at all.  The flight had been headed to Portugal.

Feeling massively disappointed, yet not at all surprised, I calmly confronted him with the evidence.  He made up some cockamamie excuse, but I knew he was going back to see the “investment banker”.  Still, I didn’t want to believe that he had had an affair with her, too.  It was so brazen, so blatant, and SO in-your-face that it couldn’t have been true!  I was officially the biggest, bloodiest fool in the entire universe.

My husband had “an affairS”.

Oh, God, even through my daily disappointment, I know deep down that You are by my side, holding my hand and walking me through this.

Broken.  Human.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  ~Hebrews 12:3

The next day was a good one for me, personally.  I got a lot of work done, then treated myself to a swim at the Rose Bowl.  Feeling strong and confident, I impulsively decided to join the diving team for their nightly practice. I hadn’t been coached on a springboard since competing in high school, so it felt really good to do something fun and productive.  For me.

I went home exhausted, proud and happy.  I walked in the door to find my husband affixed to his usual spot on the couch.  He kept his eyes on his computer screen as I entered the living room.

“I’m hungry.”

Immediately, I felt myself shutting down.

We went to dinner at a BBQ restaurant.  I pushed the chicken and beans around on my plate and verbalized my feelings — the same old, crappy, tired feelings.  How many ways can you wonder if your marriage is going to survive?

My husband didn’t want to talk about it.

I was silent on the drive home, and when we arrived, my husband went to bed.  I had plans to go hiking with my friend, Andrea, in the morning, so I went to bed, too – in the guest room.  I hadn’t slept many nights in my marriage bed.  It was too difficult.

As I lay on my creaky twin mattress, my thoughts started to spin out of control.  I became angry, so I got up and started banging around.  I stormed into the Master bedroom where my husband slept and started to “pack” my belongings.  He woke up and sleepily asked me what I was doing.

“I’m PACKING!” I flailed about the room, wildly.

I shot my mouth off for several minutes, and then stomped back to the guest room, slammed the door, and locked it.

A few moments later my husband pounded the door with his fists.  He was livid.  I opened it, we screamed in each other’s faces, and then I tried to slam it again.  He stopped me.  He pushed his way into the tiny guest room, screaming, “STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT!” — through his teeth.  He then grabbed me with all of his strength, and violently threw me down on the bed.

A moment passed.  We stared at each other in horror.

I got up off the bed, rubbing the already-sore spot on my arm where he had grabbed hardest.

I picked up my bag, and moved towards him.  My eyes were flashing but I kept my voice low and steady.

“If you ever touch me again, I’ll kill you.”

God? Please? Really?

Never in my life had I been more grateful for jury duty.

The very next morning, after the “altercation” with my mother-in-law, I was placed on a panel for a drug possession trial.  I half hoped I’d be selected, just to get away from my husband, and keep my insanity at bay. When the time came for me to answer questions, I told the D.A. my mother had dated a guy who turned out to be a crack addict, (truth!) so I’d probably not be the best candidate for impartiality.  However, I said I felt sorry for the guy, and eagerly offered that he looked like a cross between Terry Bradshaw and Owen Wilson. Indignant, the defendant raised an eyebrow.

Needless to say, I was not selected as one of the twelve.

That night, I fought even more with my husband, and then told him, “I think I want a divorce.”

What am I saying?  Do I really want a divorce?  I asked myself.  Who stays married anymore?  And, if that, who is truly happy?

I turned to my Bible for answers.  I kept writing down verses, holding onto them; clinging to God’s word.
Everything resonated.

2 Corinthians 10:5 – “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
God, take my thoughts, fear, anxiety, confusion, anger and hurt – I know these are all things You can heal.

Matthew 6:34- “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Every day has enough trouble of its own.”
You can say that again.

2 Corinthians 4:18 – “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen…”
You are the God who sees me.

Isaiah 30:18 – “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.” 
Wow, God.

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.”
Even this shipwreck of a marriage — this horrible struggle — can be worked for GOOD.

Psalm 42:11 – “Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Help me, God.  I am a broken person. 

Isaiah 12:2 – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.  The LORD, the LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
I will TRUST.

We went back to marriage counseling, and it was good.  We both agreed that our counselor was extremely diplomatic.  We were able to express ourselves in a safe environment.  I actually appreciated that our counselor called me out on my behavior.  I was always looking for ways to better myself in the relationship as it stood, but I also wanted to be heard.  I wanted my feelings to be valid.  It felt like we were making progress; gaining ground.

After our shorter, 90-minute session, we went out to dinner, and then perused Borders.  My husband loitered in the magazine section, while I marched straight upstairs to “Religion”.  I wanted to purchase and devour the two books our counselor had just recommended.

One other person wandered aimlessly in the religion section.  He was a 22-year old kid who, a month earlier, had discovered that his wife was cheating on him. He was still in shock, and practically vomited the whole story.  I listened, gave him a few details of my own journey thus far, and then heard myself encouraging him to stick with it, to not give up.  I even recommended a few books for him to read.  He thanked me profusely, and bought the daily devotional book of which I had highly spoken.

It felt good to encourage him, but I also felt like a phony.

Whattaheck?  I wrote.  Why can I come across as a grounded person and help someone through the same trial I am enduring, yet be so crazy, myself?

A few days later, my husband made a familiar announcement.  He was thinking of going to France and Australia.  He would be gone for two weeks.

Sigh.

We met with some friends for dinner; friends who knew the depth of our struggle.  They were extremely loving and encouraging.  They really wanted us to stay together.  Everyone did.  My husband said he didn’t want to lose me, yet honestly expressed his desire to “have his cake, and eat it, too.”

We drove home, reflecting upon our dinner conversation, and the love and support of our good friends.  We did not fight that evening.  Yet I still felt uneasy.

I rose early the next morning.
Lord, I come to You this morning, extremely weary. Confused.  Angry with the betrayal of my own thoughts and feelings.  Frustrated at the mountainous task ahead of trying to stay married.  I CANNOT DO IT, LORD.  I AM TOO WEAK…help me to somehow be WISELY supportive.  I need help trusting You, which is a silly, silly paradox.  I need help, God, help…my heart is so heavy.

Later in the day —
I told him that I did not want him to go to France or Australia.  He said that he would die (basically) if he couldn’t go.  He does not see his life as categories: God, marriage, career, etc., but all in one.  I don’t know how to respond.  I said that I would support him by praying for him.  I don’t know what else to do.

I just want Tuesday to come so that he will leave and I won’t be burdened with sadness anymore.  He chooses self.  He chooses escape.  OK.  How much longer do I stay with this person?  God?  Please?  Really?

And then, my husband “woke up”.

I Don’t Want to Be Married to This Person Anymore

January 25, 2010
(I got the year wrong in the picture)

Father.

I just found a recent writing of [my husband’s] that was extra descriptive of a sexy girl – maybe it didn’t have to elude to anything other than describing another woman just to sell clothing but it HURTS SO MUCH.   MY HUSBAND who CHEATED on ME STILL THINKS ENOUGH ABOUT OTHER WOMEN to FREELY WRITE (about) THEM EVEN THOUGH IT HURTS ME, EVEN IF IT’S “NOTHING”.  I CAN’T DO THIS, GOD.  I CAN’T.

I told him to move out.

Without MISSING A BEAT, he said, “Ok.”

Lord, I just feel nothing.  No emotion, nothing.  I am so tired.  I want someone better.  I want to live.  I don’t want the daily pain of a noncommital, cheating husband.  I want to be done.  I am done.  And I know, deep down, he’s done, too.  He won’t change.  I do not matter enough to him for him to stop hurting me.  I will not tolerate it.

January 26, 2010

I’m at the end of my rope, and so is he.  Last night didn’t go so well.  He was gone all day with a photographer, scouting locations for a shoot.  It most certainly didn’t help when [my mother-in-law] came over in the midst of me being angry.  She was “checking in on me”, seeing how I was doing. I showed her the article he had written, and, again, it didn’t faze her.  I tried to explain why it upset me so much, until, finally, I erupted.

“Your son is a piece of shit!”  It felt so good to say that.

She edged forward on the couch across from me, and her eyes narrowed.
“Don’t you dare talk about my son that way.”  Her voice was cold.

“Don’t you dare come over here, uninvited, and pretend to know how I’m feeling.”  My voice got louder.  “I can say whatever I want to about my husband because he’s my husband.  I know him better than you do.”

I could feel the adrenaline pulsating through my veins as I got even more angry with her.  [My husband] finally came home, with blood on his white T-shirt.  He just stood back and observed the madness.  I threw his article at him, and told [my mother-in-law] to LEAVE MY HOUSE.  I yelled and cussed at her – obviously not good behavior – but I just can’t take her or [my father-in-law] anymore.  Leave me alone!  Things escalated and got even uglier, when she grabbed me by my shoulders and pushed me up against the wall.

I did not touch her.  I moved forward, off the wall, using the threat of my body weight to make her back away.

I opened the door.  “Get out.”

She tried to slam it on me and then left, screaming, “You’re making the biggest mistake of your life!”  — and — “I’m DONE with you!”
GOOD.  BUTT OUT AND STAY OUT.

Oh, Lord, I just can’t do any of this very well.
Am I proud that I lost it and cursed at his mother?  No.
Am I right by throwing papers and his infidelity at him over and over again?  No.
Does it solve anything?  No.
Do I feel worse?  Yes.

IT MAKES ME RAGING ANGRY to think about the way he stood and watched his mother physically assault me, and then take her side.   Did she apologize to me?  Nope. I was the one who apologized to her.  My therapist AND marriage counselor asked, “WHY?”  Ha, ha.  Touche.

I can’t talk to him about it, because he will forever and always defend her – she is his mother — and whatever fucked up Oedipus complex he has with her.  The truth is that his parents are way too overinvolved. EVERYONE can see it, even the neighbors.  I can’t even talk to him about it because he matches my catastrophizing with statements such as, “I’m sick of you.”

I give it to You, God.  I give You my anger.  I am extremely angry with his parents, maybe even more so than him at this point.  I need to forgive them for the hurt they have caused me for years.  I have felt “unworthy” of them and their love for years, unworthy of their “golden, summer son” who STILL can do no wrong in their eyes.  The point is to not get angry with them, it is to accept it and move forward.

From this day forward my relationship with my in-laws must change.  That is true and necessary.  I cannot change them but I can change with Your help, Lord, and I pray that You would release me from my anger towards them.

God, forgive me.  I am ashamed at how I behaved last night, yelling and screaming.  It does no good.

I am to accept that my husband will always write about women.  He will always look at them, think about them, etc.  I thought for the first 9.2 years of our marriage that he didn’t do that.  I was wrong.  I thought he would always be faithful and always love me.  I was wrong.

I hate who I have become: the jealous, miserable, insecure wife who will never be as exciting as the lover.  I will never be as exciting as the story or the description that he writes.

While watching the rerun of the Golden Globes, one writer won Best Screenplay for “Up in the Air”.  He dedicated his win to his wife and said that, when asked how he wrote women so well, he used his wife as his inspiration.  She was his everything.  She inspired him.

My husband shakes his head, and peers at me through those identical blue eyes that his mother possesses and says, “You don’t want to understand.”

I truly do not know if we will make it. After dealing with the incident with my mother-in-law, I just want AWAY from these psychotic, fundamentalist, judging, enabling and hyper-involved people whom I can never please.  Even if I’m doing something right in their eyes, it is a temporary good.  I will never be good enough for their salty, tall and tan, blonde baby boy.  BARF.

Clearly I could go on and on but I am getting worked up again and I want today to NOT begin with anger and malice, and a cold heart.  I can’t do it any longer.

He is actually 100% right about me wanting things to be “fixed” my way.  I release that burden to you, Lord.  I can’t deal with it.  And it isn’t about MY way, it’s about YOUR way.  It will only be good and right when done YOUR way and in YOUR timing.  Not his nine months, not my “today”.

YOUR WILL BE DONE.

God, I earnestly pray for Your guidance in pursuing a separation.  This situation doesn’t work and I want to not be so crazy.  Everything has changed and I’m desperately grasping at whatever I think or thought was left of the old _______ and Leslie.  They were naïve and happy.

My heart is so heavy.  I’m shutting up now.  Help, God.  Please, please help me.  I am so lost and confused.

Please, Lord, fill me.  Be the love that I so desperately need, that my husband cannot give.  Lord, You are all I need.  I have to believe that, and trust it, even when I seek human love and approval.  Oh, Lord, I am such a fool.

January 27, 2010

Lord, I know I need to calm down.  He makes me so angry.  He criticizes me for “my rotten behavior”, yet he sits on that stupid couch all day long, doesn’t do the dishes, doesn’t deal with life.  He sits back and criticizes.  He hurts purposefully.

I DON’T WANT TO BE MARRIED TO THIS PERSON ANYMORE.

I can leave and maybe I will.  He broke the marriage.  Oh, and it’s my “rotten attitude” that is keeping it from being “fun”.  NO, it’s the fact that he is a LAZY person.

Ugh, I am overreacting.  I am impatient.  He makes me so angry; his whole “deal”. It’s nauseating.  He doesn’t want to “deal” with anything.

I want out I want out I want out

I WANT OUT!!

The Prodigal Wife

Tour ended, we both came home, and immediately started fighting.

The road had been good to me, and I wanted to stay out on it.  I didn’t want to be responsible for another human being, I just wanted to continue to travel, make money, and live out of a suitcase.  I wanted to escape the pain, and being at home meant facing unemployment and a marriage that was just being held together by a piece of lint.

The New Year arrived, and I half-expected a miracle – something to ignite my husband’s desire for me again, in every capacity.   I also thought I’d magically become a “better person” – more trusting, less angry.  Less hurt.

Not so much.

I was tired of having a hard time.  I was tired of being tired of having a hard time.  I figured I was just expecting too much or trying too hard on my own.

I needed help.  I turned to God daily and poured out my heart.

I don’t want to let anger rule me anymore.  I want to forgive and trust so much.  I [also] don’t want to excuse anything.  I want my husband to become a good man…a man after You and Your will.  I want to be a woman who always seeks You…Lord, help me look beyond the painful past and rocky present.

…my patience is tested to its limit.  Obviously there is nothing I can do to change him.  Obviously me talking, feeling and seeking advice and counsel does nothing when HE isn’t doing the same.  He is not meeting me even remotely halfway and it is frustrating, sad and disheartening.  Add on top of it a completely broken heart – the only time I feel loved is when we have sex, but that is just so messed up because he is sick, sick, sick – especially sexually.

I balk at everything.  I feel like his love and affection for me is performance-based, not unconditional.  If I behave and don’t get mad or call him names, he will love me more – or remember why he loved me in the first place…WHY does he not hug me? Why do I have to ask him, prompt him and then demonstrate how it’s done?  HOW can he just walk past me, sit and stare at me when I’m crying and do NOTHING?  Whereas I totally understand my anger does not help, why does he think our marriage will be “fixed” if we never talk?  All he does is write.

It was true.  He wrote constantly.  He was attempting to become the greatest writer his chosen industry had ever seen, except that the industry wasn’t known for its writers.  In fact, it never was, and I highly doubt it ever will be.  Blame it on stereotype, if you will. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Nevertheless, in an effort to support my husband and his dreams, I read his over-sexualized, egotistical stories.  Every single one of them upset me.  One of his articles was (as I interpreted) a how-to guide on picking up women.  As I read the descriptive account, it occurred to me that he had quite the experience under his belt.  Things got ugly, as I reacted out of frustration and deep hurt.  He wouldn’t apologize, because he didn’t think it was wrong.  Quite the contrary: he was attempting to communicate that picking up on women for the sole purpose of sex would lead to death.  He was upset with me for reacting, icing him out, leaving, and then having the audacity to text him about how he had hurt me.  It wasn’t fair to him.

And so, the destructive cycle continued.  I would end up apologizing for becoming upset and angry, and he would continue to do things that upset and angered me.  In retrospect, it is amazing how my husband was able to manipulate situations in his favor.  He had a house, a warm bed and a wife who still loved him and was desperate to save their marriage.  Furthermore, she worked, paid the bills, fed him, bought him beer, gave him blowjobs and slept with him – all while he exerted minimal effort.

He had his cake, and could eat it, too.

Needless to say, I became increasingly frustrated with his priorities.
Conversations with him are still along the lines of career and “pushing each other to be great”, etc.  I often wonder if that is just a male versus female thing – men feel emasculated if women are more successful, or men only feel defined by what they do instead of who they are.

One day, in yet another 120-minute marriage counseling session, my husband dropped the bomb that he needed some more time to figure out his career direction.  If his writing career didn’t explode into a raging success in nine months, he would give it all up and go back to teaching.

My diplomatic, gentle and patient marriage counselor was able to get me to agree to this idea.  I was to become “The Prodigal Wife”. 

Again, I turned to God.

I don’t know exactly what that entails.  Nine months of traveling?  Nine months of focusing solely on writing? I believe with all my heart that it is Your will for me to stay married to him.  What scares me about that is the patience that I must have.

God, what can I do besides trust You?  Lord, how do I best support him without being a doormat?  How do I encourage and uplift while staying grounded and wise?  God, the task feels daunting. I want to be cared for and not have to worry.  I want to be cherished and loved, admired, desired and respected by my husband.  I feel none of the above.

I am one with this person and I have never felt more alone.

My hope is YOU.

No Past, No Mistakes. Just Love.

We spent a week on the road together, making the most of Baltimore, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, New Brunswick and New York.

New York.

In retrospect, it was probably the best week that we had spent together in almost a year.  We always had a great time traveling together, and the luxury tour bus, accommodations and friendly environment took the stress off our relationship.  My husband was able to see, first-hand, my life on the road, and I was happy to share it with him.  It started to feel like the old, happy couple was being resurrected.

And then I’d remember.

There are times when I feel like everything is normal, and then I see some sickness or I remember what he did.  It is so hard to forget.  I want to forget so, so badly, I cried out in my journal.

We continued to struggle, but I blamed it on myself.  At the same time, I wanted to fix everything, and feel a sense of security in my marriage.  I wanted to know my husband’s plan for the future.  As he continued to give me the same, seemingly run-around answer, I began to question whether we would actually make it.  I didn’t want to quit, but I was so tired of being unhappy.  Nothing was changing. At least not in my perception, or immediate time frame.

We parted ways at the train station in New Brunswick, New Jersey, after a long, fun night of debauchery in New York City.  My husband would fly back to Los Angeles for a night, and then onto Hawaii, where a new writing assignment awaited him.

I headed to Pennsylvania, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Tennessee, self-reflecting all along the way.  I prayed for my husband.  After performing at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, I started to feel a stronger sense of who I was, what I wanted in my life, and, perhaps being on my own wasn’t so bad.

I wrote constantly.
I want to stay on the road; I don’t want to go back to LA at all…sometimes I feel like I don’t want to put the effort into my marriage anymore.  But what would I get out of a relationship with someone else?  There’s no guarantee that someone wouldn’t cheat on me, as well.  UGH.  I am so tired of thinking about it, talking about it, feeling it.  I am lonely but I don’t miss [him].  I hate what we have become.
I need help, help, help, help.

Then, my husband emailed me from the North Shore.  It softened my heart.  He wasn’t able to sleep; he felt sick.

Why? Because I’ve been so rude? I joked.

What he had done was hitting him in waves (no pun intended!)  I interpreted that it was starting to dawn on him:  his infidelity — his mistake — would never go away.  He couldn’t sweep it under the rug, no matter how hard he tried.

I rambled back at him, per usual.

If you want to call it quits I am game.  I have half a mind to move to Nashville and start my life over, marry some country western band leader who plays in one of the bars on the main drag and have a bunch of kids…all the while maintaining my own music career.  I feel like I have so much life to live, and I don’t want to be in a diseased relationship.

I love you, I always will.  I honestly think your career will explode if you are single…you don’t need anyone like me bogging you down.

I go back and forth between wanting to run as far away from you as possible, to really wanting to make this work, for spiritual growth and all. But I feel like I am so far ahead of you in the process…

I want you to hurt as much as I do but that’s just mean.

Or maybe I’m trying to get you to dump me once and for all?  I don’t know.  The harder road is the best, I know that.

He said he felt sick; he wanted to throw up.

Are you sick like “you want to be done with me” sick? Like before?

He couldn’t breathe without me.  He wanted to die.  He felt awful, and my emails made him horribly sad.

Of course you can [breathe without me].  You will be fine.  Is this the end? 

It wasn’t.

Don’t die.  I’m sorry. I should shut my mouth. I don’t understand any of this…I think it’s only fair that I imagine my life sans you: you did it to me.   Can we talk on the phone?

And, almost like that, it seemed like he had switched off again.  He claimed he didn’t have reception.

I sighed, and told him to call whenever he could.  It was dinnertime for me.

He said he loved me.

I love you so much, too, I replied.  I think it’s all we need for now.

No past, no mistakes. Just love.

Die For Love

For weeks, I had asked my husband to join me in Baltimore for Thanksgiving.  He was back in Portugal, covering some sort of car race for his magazine.  The race ended a few days before the holiday.

It wasn’t long before I started to get the sense that my husband had, indeed, gotten back on the “trouble train”.   He hadn’t ever actually given me a straight answer about joining me in Baltimore, much less spending a week on the road with me.  When the time finally came around, he didn’t have the money for a plane ticket.  He had only asked the magazine for a one-way ticket to Lisbon.  He had “gambled” with making something out of the car race story, but it wasn’t looking too good.

He asked me to cover his ticket to Baltimore.  I couldn’t afford it.  I had been paying all of the bills, and our property taxes were due in a couple of weeks.  We would not have survived financially had it not been for my tour.  Money from my husband’s stories had started trickling in, but it certainly wasn’t consistent, or substantial.

To be fair, I did understand that my husband was trying to make something of himself and his career.  He certainly couldn’t return to teaching, especially since he had crossed professional lines and slept with one of his students.  Furthermore, he had dreams of becoming a writer.  Every chance he got to cover a story, he took.  I was supportive, and wanted to be moreso, but the damage had already been done.  I was wary of the content of his articles.  I didn’t trust him.  I didn’t know whose company he was keeping.  I felt like he was giving his career way more effort than his marriage. And if all of this meant that he was going to be traveling extensively over the next year or so, I didn’t want to have any part of it.

I was sitting on the leather couch in my swanky tour bus, unpeeling a banana for breakfast as my husband and I emailed back and forth.

I’m not staying in a long-distance marriage, my thumbs pounded, furiously.  Nope. Won’t do it. Not when there are prettier women, more exciting people and parties, more alluring countries, sights, smells, sounds, food…I won’t compete because I just shouldn’t have to.

I shouldn’t have to feel bad for wanting you around. I shouldn’t have to feel bad for being mad that you can’t get your ass to Thanksgiving on time. You should have booked your return ticket from Lisbon to Baltimore when you bought the ticket in the first place. But, no, you had to keep your options open just in case a better opportunity came up. For what? Money? Really? 

Your actions have spoken deafeningly louder than any of your words.

He didn’t want a long-distance marriage, either, but he was writing to me from almost four thousand miles away.  He just wanted me to understand, and not place myself in competition with his career.

My blood started to boil.  I stood up, and threw my banana as hard as I could.  It narrowly missed hitting a trombone player square in the face. He ducked as the banana splattered on the window and sank to the floor.  Everyone in the front lounge stared at me.  Still, no one knew of my relationship troubles, so I tried to pass my behavior off as PMS.  One of the guys jokingly offered me a beer.  I cleaned up the mess, crawled back into my bunk, and quietly cried myself to sleep.

A few hours later, we arrived in the next city.  I wrote a more lengthy reply from the privacy of my hotel room.

Greetings from Wausau, Wisconsin.  I am staying in a hotel that is nothing short of the midwestern version of “The Shining”.  The crisp, white bedding and the worn carpeted halls scream death!  It’s fun to be in the midwest.  I realize how great my life actually is. I have profusely thanked the Lord that I do not have to work at the Walmart nail salon in Waukegan, Illinois.  I think I have issues with the entire state of Illinois.  Sufjan Stevens would be sad.

Regarding our earlier exchange of emails (the new way to conduct a marriage!):
I’m sorry for sounding unsupportive.  More than anything I want to support you in your career.  And I really DO. I DO, and I know I don’t show it well.

I think that anytime I lose my focus on the Lord, I start going insane.  I’m not used to this type of insecurity.  I know you think I’m crazy, but sometimes I feel like you will just dump me because you get tired of my reactions; you’ll dump me because I’m not excited enough or supportive enough of your new venture.  The fact that you had an affair opens every single door that is available.  If you were able to fall in love with and have sex with another girl so easily and quickly, why not dump me over the tiniest matter?  Especially when the door is open for a new, more exciting life?

I keep asking God, “Is this why he had an affair?  So that he could have a successful career?”  It’s not that far-fetched.  You started intensely focusing on your career mid-affair.  It has paid off.  

It feels like our marriage got in the way of your career in the first place, and when it was at its worst: shattered, destroyed and hopeless, you were at your best, getting your career off the ground.  

I know I am just speaking from my dumb, idiot, messed up, emotional heart…I’m trying my best to think before I speak.  But this is me, and I am a passionate person. 

 I want to know that you aren’t going to leave me because I piss you off, or because I mention UKR’s name for the millionth time.  I don’t want to mention her stupid, lying, manipulative, evil, destructive, blood-sucking, husband-stealing name ever again, actually.  I have to forgive that bitch.  I have to forgive you.  I want her dead.  I sometimes want to become Dexter and wrap you both up in your favorite brand of condoms, real nice and tight, and then stab you both in the heart.  Multiple times.  Murder you both dead, and make you watch each other scream, bleed and die.  Die for LOVE, you infidel mother fuckers.

Yeah, that’s the hate in my heart that I carry for you both. Not pretty.  I have to control it.

I have to forgive her.  I have to forgive you.  I have to forgive as the Lord forgave me.  An excerpt from today’s devotional:  “If your mind needs a focal point, gaze at My Love poured out for you on the cross.  Remember that nothing in heaven or on earth can separate you from that Love.  This remembrance builds a foundation of gratitude in you, a foundation that circumstances cannot shake.”

I have to remember that, even if you do dump me, I will be OK.  God will carry me.  But that’s insecurity talking.  Beyond that, I have committed to being your wife.  It’s extremely difficult.  It never was that difficult before.  I know that I am not easy to be married to, either. I truly do not want to have this affair define our marriage forever.  I need your help.  I need your patience.  And if you can’t do it, then let me go.  I know I keep saying that, but I truly cannot live like this, in hopeful expectation only to be devastated again.

I am committed to being your wife.  I DO support you in whatever you do.  I am sorry I can’t be more excited about things right now.  I know that with God’s help, I can get there.  I am truly committed to trying.  I am sorry if I go bezerk and/or project worry into the future.  That’s my sinful nature.  I lose focus on the Lord.  We are in the midst of doing this, and it’s hard, but we’re doing it.  I just miss you and I want you to miss me and want to be with me more than you want to be in Portugal, or Lebanon, or Yemen, or Hawaii.  But I can’t make you do that, and I have to be OK with it if you don’t feel that. 

GOD is in control, let us not lose our focus on Him.  Forgive me, forgive my rants and raves. I am human and I am hurting.  I know you are, too.  God is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.  Let’s ask him to help us.  We can do this.  We can, but only with God’s help, guidance and direction.

My husband showed up in Baltimore, the day after Thanksgiving.