Saturday, March 30, 2013

State of the Union

The breakup of a marriage is brutally difficult, fiendishly complicated, and intensely personal.

Sort of like the first time you try to use a tampon,
come to think about it. But maybe this isn't time for jokes.
Or maybe it is.
The "intensely personal" part is the real show-stopper. Because you can't split up with your spouse privately. You don't get to keep it on the down-low and then announce one Monday morning that you got divorced over the weekend between loads of laundry. It has to be out there. The people who love you and care about you deserve to know what's going on, and God knows you need them. When your entire life is being sucked into a sinkhole, you can't keep that news tucked up inside you, or your head will explode.

Proof that there is never a bad time to make
a Scanners reference.

But the flipside of being intensely personal is that a breakup is also subject to conjecture, confusion, and rampant speculation by people on the outside looking in. Oh hell, it's subject to those things by the two people who are the inside looking out, as well. And if we're lost in the labyrinth of what got us to this sorry point in our relationship, how can anyone who wasn't along for the entire journey possibly know where things stand?

It's human nature to try to make sense out of the insensible. The problem is that shards of knowledge and fragments of truth make unreliable mirrors that cast pretty warped reflections of reality. No. That's not the problem. The problem is that people tend to react in one of two ways when faced with an incomplete picture: Either they admit they don't know what they're seeing, or they decide what the picture must be based on what they can see.

And really, the problem isn't the people who admit they don't know what they're seeing.

Clearly the girl must defend herself from the man
who is going to try to beat her to death
with flowers he probably stole from a nun.

My husband and I have both said and done things that have no place in a happy, functional marriage. We have admitted to them, apologized for them, and are trying to forgive one another for them. But there's no reconciliation on the horizon. Our life as a couple is over. And that makes me sad, angry, bewildered, scared, frustrated, worried, and very, very sorry. I still care for him, and I still want him in my life, and especially in our Precocious Daughter's life. But I believe we will both be better people apart than we had come to be together.

And that is as much as I will ever say publicly about what led to the demise of our 22-year marriage.

Rest in peace.

We've both confided in people about the specifics of what happened between us. I don't know exactly how many others he's told or what exactly he's told them. I've forfeited the right to be that intimately involved in his life.

As for me, besides discussing the generalities of our separation with a number of friends, I've shared with two people the full messy details of what went down. And I chose those two people very deliberately, knowing that they would support me and commiserate with me. Most importantly, I knew they wouldn't dump on my husband behind his back or encourage me to turn against him. I can't tell you how blessed I feel to have two such people in my life. I wish I could thank them by name.

You know who you are.
As I said, I have no control over who he takes into his confidence. And I get that he has little or no control over what his confidants do with the information he shares with them. But one of the saddest consequences of this whole sad thing is realizing that there are people I've considered friends and family for my entire adult life who apparently never got past thinking of me as simply "His Wife." When the news broke, I instantly reverted to being just an outsider to gossip about and judge from second- and third-hand knowledge.

The impulse to rally around someone you knew as a single before he became part of a couple is natural, and I completely understand it.  I also would have understood if any of them had contacted me directly and said, "Jesus, what the f*** is going on?" I would have expected it.  Instead I'm just shocked - and a lot of the shock comes from my own naivete, I'm sure - that I never in all our years together attained more than "plus-one" status in the hearts of people I genuinely loved.

Every single day I fight the little devil that sits on my shoulder and whispers, "Go on and tell them about him. Tell them all what he did. Tell them your side." I won't do that, for many reasons.

Exhibit A.
Sure, but more importantly, it's not fair. It's not right. And there's nothing to be gained by it. There's nothing to be gained by tearing down the walls around our private life, and there's nothing to be gained by giving people ammunition to make ill-informed judgments. I'm trying hard to resolve my anger (and there's a lot of anger to resolve), but I can't do it by taking it public. Once I've vented to the ether, it's out there and beyond my control. I admit I've slipped a few times on that score (and I'll admit it's been when the little devil has slipped me a few strong drinks), and I'm ashamed that I've been hateful and hurtful that way.

Likewise, I can't control what's been said and spread about me. But I can control how I react. And it's with sadness, not resentment or rancor, that I let go of the people who have cut me off. I regret to inform you that I don't have the time or energy to pry open the hearts that have closed against me.


My life is sort of a nightmare right now. I want to thank everyone who has given me their support - even people who have never met me, never seen me, who know me only from my words. I'm grateful and humbled by your generosity of spirit. Things are going to get worse before they get better. I have a lot to account for before I can get on with my life. My first priority is my child - everything I do is for her. But anything that is left over, I'll try to share with my Drunkards. I love you guys.


  1. I wish I could hug you and tell you it's all going to be okay! But, you know this. And, by the sound if it, you're better off without those people in your life!

  2. Chuck...I know we aren't those "kind" of friends but the Hubs and I are fond of all of you and if there is anything we can do just let us know. We have kind hearts, open minds, and closed mouths. ♥

  3. Just sending a huge store of hugs and good karma that you can store away and use when you need them.

  4. I am very sorry to hear about this blow, and I know that it is a blow. Hope that you soon find a new, happier equilibrium.

  5. I know how hard this was to put it into words. Sorry for your troubles.


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