Would

The people who believe in love keep asking me if I would…

Would I live with him?

Would I marry him if he asked?

Mostly though…

Would I marry him?

Although I have known him a long time and been friends with him quite a while, I hesitate.

He has been and is my best friend. That is the person you marry.

But I didn’t believe in marriage. Then I met and married my now-ex-husband. I believe in marriage for other people but…

Now I’m skeptical. Jaded. Terrified about believing a family loves me but not being loved the way I deserve. I’m scared of losing my friend. I can’t see how anyone would always choose me. I feel justified.

And yet…

As my friend, he lets me be me, and loves me for it. Now, as my boyfriend, he consistently shows me love in a way I need and want. He always encourages me to expect others to treat me in a loving manner.

There is this tiny sliver of hope that I could have my imperfect fairytale with this amazing guy. Could I have a soulmate in him? Could it be…?

Would he even ever ask…?

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Carry

My smorgasbord of health issues played a part in my (upcoming) divorce. Looking back, I think that he just couldn’t deal with the changes I needed to make for my health and he couldn’t deal with seeing me differently than he had expected me to be. Because he expected me to be everything, to be perfect, to take care of him. My health issues meant I needed some taking care of. I’m sure he thought he would, that he could, but when it came down to it, he didn’t.

As I look forward, I know that my health issues are going to be an issue for any future guy who (thinks he) wants to be with me.

My bestie was upset with me when I told him that. He says I’m the total package, any guy would be lucky to have me, that my health will not be an issue. But he doesn’t live the daily life, all the little things that I deal with, I cope with, that sometimes make me cranky and not nice to be around. He thinks the right guy will pick up the slack, find the right balance between letting me be my independent self and taking care of me.

Now that I’m living in my own “bubble” in my rental, I have a place where there is nothing I can’t eat–nothing that will make me sick if it’s mixed in my food. I LOVE it. Not the rental itself, but the bubble, the safety of my kitchen. It’s a huge relief to cook and clean and eat without any concern for crumbs or other cross-contamination.

And I think…how will I ever live with another person again? The person who was supposed to love me the most was inconvenienced by trying to keep me safe and did a piss-poor job at it so how will I….ask someone to keep my bubble safe? How will I let someone in and trust they will do what is necessary? How will I even ask someone to go down this road with me?

My friend in Portland told me that she and her husband have discussed having me move in (I’m NOT moving to Portland so this plan already fails….) and they have it all planned out. The kitchen will be mine; I will do all the cooking and nothing unsafe will enter. They will take care of everything else in the house. If they want to eat unsafe for me things, they will go out to eat. Great plan except the quasi-second wife-ishness of the plan. And moving to Portland.

So I know there are maybe people out there who would make that sacrifice for me. But I look at it as a sacrifice. And that’s not even the worst of the health issues!

My thyroid diseases have caused some hormonal issues that still impact my digestion and cause pain issues. On top of that, MS is an unpredictable bitch. I look fine but I have invisible symptoms all the time. I don’t talk much about it since it’s a chronic disease and no one really wants a list of what’s wrong with me every day but it does affect me. Every. Day.

How do I ask someone to deal with this shit? My bestie says someone will choose to. I’d like to think that is true but…if I love someone enough to be friends and then more than friends, how can I let him choose this life?

My boy, who is my friend first, has his own health issues. He says I am his best friend. I really like him, as a friend and as more. I’m so conflicted. As his friend, I feel like I should keep it to friends so he doesn’t get hurt, doesn’t have to deal with this shit, doesn’t have to deal with ME. As his friend+, I want to think it’s his choice to deal with ME.

It’s surprising to me how open and honest we are with each other. We talk about everything. I’ve never been fake with him. When we were talking about how I hid what was going on with my ex from my friends for so long, I realized I never hid it from him. (He actually knew how my ex was treating me before he even met me because of things he heard my ex say.)

My boy recently told me that the MS thing does concern him. My breath caught for a moment, a pause while I waited for him to find his way out of my arms, to tell me he isn’t strong enough to walk this path with me. But he held me close. He said he doesn’t know. He said it’s my burden to bear. He smiled and warned me that a nerdy quote was coming.

He said “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you.”

Frodo

He is such an amazing friend–I hope I’m not fucking this up. My bestie doesn’t think the boy is the right guy for me, and maybe he’s right. But if he is right, I hope I am still the boy’s best friend.

For two

One of my best girlfriends moved to the Portland area a couple of years ago when her husband was transferred. We stay in touch but we can’t just hang out like we used to. When I traveled to Seattle for work, she drove to see me. She is a generous, considerate and funny friend. She always let me vent about my in-laws and anything else I wanted. I miss her so much.

She constantly asks me to come visit. It has been hard to find a way, the time, the energy, the reason. My husband was not so understanding of me traveling without him and he didn’t want to go. Really, I didn’t want him to go. Now he doesn’t have to.

My friend, my boy, has a sister in the Portland area. She is getting married this summer. Of course he is going. He’s been to Portland to visit her in the past, even recently over the holidays.

My friend’s husband knows my boy a little through work stuff, job searching and networking. My friend put the dots together. She told me I should visit her when my boy is going to be there, that they have two guest rooms but (ha-ha) we can just use one if we want, that I should be his plus-one.

I can’t be his plus-one. I’m not even divorced yet. His parents met me while they were visiting him; they know we are friends–just friends. I’m doubtful people who know him that well won’t see us together and KNOW. I’m sure I shouldn’t care what others think but that’s just not me. And my experience with my husband’s parents makes me feel that I will be judged by my boy’s parents.

I told my boy about my girlfriend’s generous offer to be our host and then found myself telling him about the plus-one idea. Then I had to pull back. If he wanted me as his plus-one, he would have asked. So I said something about spending that time with my girlfriend since the weekend is the only time I would be there that she wouldn’t be working.

But we agreed that we could travel together and stay at her house and he would show me around. I felt some butterflies at the thought of going on a trip with my boy, planning something for this summer, months away, even if it was just as friends. I wondered if it was just as friends.

He was looking at flights and sent me the screen shot for the trip for two. And when I said it looked good, he asked if he could book it for two. For two. I read for two and I smiled. And said yes, and by the way, say ‘for two’ again. And he said it’s booked for two.

cracks

For two. Be still my heart.

Sadness

After much resistance on his part, we have started mediation. It seems obvious to me that it is a better option than divorce attorneys but… But he was told by a friend’s girlfriend (an attorney) that mediation is expensive. We got past that and I got a recommendation. He balked that it wasn’t closer to him. He was told we could file our own paperwork. I told him I looked at it and didn’t want to do it on our own. He looked and reluctantly agreed. He was told by someone that the mediator would try to rack up the billable hours. I pointed out that was why we should use the recommended mediator. And finally we went.

It was like counseling. Emotional. Uncomfortable. Rough.

When we left, and I was driving home, I was overwhelmed with sadness. I cried and cried. I got home and cried. My dog tried to hug me while I texted my bestie.

I know I made the right decision. I do not question my decision to leave him and get divorced. I do not question it in the slightest. So why am I so sad?

crying

Why am I SO SAD?

We had good times. I haven’t forgotten. I was happy enough to marry him and I never thought I was the marrying kind of girl.

But I do find myself looking back and thinking about how I didn’t really know who he was yet, during those good times, when I thought he was on my team, when I thought he was supportive, when I thought he would do anything for me. Before I found out I was on my own, that he would not support me if it wasn’t easy for him, that he wouldn’t do anything for me. That he wouldn’t do anything for me that I would expect a friend to do, let alone a spouse. Before I realized he was no longer MY friend.

Before. When I was happy to be with him. To do for him. Before he wore me out. Before he saw my disease, my fatigue, my limitations. Before he decided I wasn’t strong enough, that he could make me stronger through his denial of my disease. Before he took my exhaustion and used it to bully me into doing everything for him.

Even now. I helped him set up his checking account, get a credit card. Rarely a day goes by that he isn’t in touch with me by phone or text or email. I want to avoid the contact because I feel so shitty afterwards. I get irritated because he’s asking for my time and energy and mostly for things that don’t matter or a normal adult would not need help with. I put him on speaker phone and set it down so I don’t throw it in anger.

He complains constantly about how little I’m helping with the house we are selling, forgetting that I sorted, packed and moved by myself, leaving him with a miniscule amount of sorting left. And he is moving out of state, leaving me to deal with the house until it sells. He wants me to get the rest of my stuff out–I didn’t realize it was so urgent. I agree to rent a truck and take care of it this weekend. I feel bullied again. I feel anger. He always gets his fucking way.

I know he is avoiding the truth, that his busy-ness as he gets ready to move is a form of denial. I feel terrible for him, for hurting him.

meaningful

where are the apostrophes?

And yet…

I know it is right. That he will, eventually, be alright. That this move away from me and his family will force him to become more self-sufficient, to grow, to be better. Maybe to even follow his dreams that he had but denied–like having kids.

And for me…

Even with my disease, I feel healthy. I feel awake. I feel happy. I feel freedom. I feel hope.

insult

And sometimes…I feel sadness.

Fridays

He is off work every other Friday. I am not. After moving to our new house several years ago, he began spending most off Fridays working on the house and the yard with his parents. With his dad’s help, he was able to complete large projects in the house like installing an audio system and smaller projects as they came up. His mom typically could not help with those projects but busied herself in the house.

Friday

Since I was at work, I had no say or control over what happened. I would come home and find things…rearranged. At the previous house, boundaries had been set. I have some memory issues and could not have things moved around or put away. But now…the boundaries were gone.

MIL liked things stacked and contained. So MIL took all the papers and put them in a pile, no matter what they were. MIL moved everything from the table to the desk. MIL moved things from the kitchen counter into the fruit bowl.

One day, he asked me to leave a list of things I was doing that weekend that maybe MIL could help with; he needed something to keep MIL busy so FIL could work on a project with him. It seemed like a good idea.

I had been advised by a friend to thank MIL when she did something good so maybe she wouldn’t do the other things. When I came home and saw a spotless glass shower door, I was impressed. So the next time I saw MIL, I said so. And MIL told me that FIL had done it since MIL really couldn’t. MIL had interrupted FIL from an important project to do something they didn’t need to do at all. I never left a list again.

Over time, I made changes to how I lived in the house, to accommodate MIL. Although I might be exhausted, I would find myself cleaning up and putting things away every other Thursday to keep things from being moved.

Sometimes they came on other days without me knowing in advance. So I also began picking up and cleaning up each night and morning. It was fucking exhausting.

Clean

After finding out about my food allergies, I made a lot of changes. I would clean the kitchen after his parents were there or after he made un-safe foods; then I would cook or prepare food for myself. I would switch out the towels and dishrags so often that I had to buy stacks of them. It was exhausting but I thought it was keeping me safer.

One day, I came home and the towel drawer was full. I thought someone must have washed the towels. When I went into the laundry room, I found a few crinkly dirty rags left in the laundry basket and all the laundry I had left in the dryer still there. His mom had folded some of the dirty laundry and put it away like it was clean. I was incredulous–who fucking does something like this? How do you even tell someone not to put away your dirty laundry?

He said he would tell his mom not to do anything in the kitchen from then on.

So his mom would do little things that she thought no one would notice.

Time passed and I tried not to complain when things happened since he always got upset about my “bitching” about his mom.

But it was obvious that at least some of the things she did were passive aggressive actions she knew weren’t helpful.

I used to take my shoes off when I came home; then I would gather the shoes into a laundry basket when I had a basket to take upstairs so I could put the shoes away. One day, I came home and when I was ready to go upstairs there was a basket ready to go up so I was going to grab my shoes from the previous days but I didn’t see them so I went upstairs with the basket full of clean clothes. As I walked into my closet, I felt myself kick something hard. It was a wedge shoe that flew across the closet after meeting my big bare toe. She had gathered my shoes and lined them up in the closet doorway. Not in front of the shoe rack. Literally in the doorway. Who the fuck does that?

I was sick with bronchitis over the holidays. I thought of taking one more day off but it was his Friday off and his parents were coming. It wouldn’t be restful so it seemed a waste. I went to work. When I came home exhausted, he told me how he had caught her lying. He had also been sick so we both had medicine on the counter. She had put all of our medicine together since she likes it that way, but then said she didn’t touch anything when he questioned it all being together.

I had noticed before he told me about her lying that his egg pan was kind of clean and my cast iron grill was kind of clean. Since I’m allergic to eggs, and cast iron absorbs everything (and should not be cleaned with soap), I would generally clean my cast iron first, then the egg pan last, then change out the kitchen towels and rags. But she had cleaned both items although she was not supposed to be in my kitchen at all. Now I have to re-season my cast iron because she was “helping” me.

There are so many more stories of weird, odd, passive aggressive, idiotic, stupid things she did. It was a constant reminder that she could not take directions, that she would do things however she wanted, that she didn’t care that I came home to her version of clean and my version of fuck my life I have to undo that bullshit.

bothers

I worry that her super-nice facade and sugar sweet manner paired with the passive aggressive treatment she gives her daughters in law has ruined me. That I can never trust a guy’s mom is genuine, caring, helpful. That I will always be waiting for the other shoe to drop, that she doesn’t approve of the way I live my life or the decisions I make, that she wants me to change, that I’m not good enough for her son. How do I get over this? How can I not be ruined?

Homework

I was cleaning out some documents from Google Drive and found an old filed named Homework dated December 2008.

I read this very raw journal entry; it was stream of consciousness writing, never edited and never meant to be seen. It was named homework because the physical therapist I was working with at the time asked me to make an effort to journal as he felt stress was contributing, however slightly, to my excruciating pain issues.

As I read this, well, first I thought it was funny (funny weird, not funny ha-ha) how I described my pain, that thing I would feel as I got started with my day that was an indicator I might just have a terrible day.

Then the memories flooded back. The crying in secret because I could do nothing to make it better and no one wanted to know about it. It was so chronic that it felt I was always complaining and negative and that was very discouraged by my husband. His attitude was very get over it, just get your shit done.

alright

I can’t believe I’m bawling while writing this but I’m so pissed at that version of myself. I know I was physically worn out which made it hard to be emotionally strong but reading this frustrates me to no end that I stayed and put up with it all.

This was almost SIX years before I started thinking about leaving. NOTHING changed for the better in that time; it only progressively and gradually got worse.

walk or try

Here it is. Unedited. [Mostly–I had to hit enter to break it up!]

Homework

Why am I angry? I’m angry because I woke up this morning and thought, I might be okay today. Then I get up and no, I’m feeling a bit dull in the butt. I think I might feel better after I get to the bathroom.

But first, I have to let out the dogs. So I go to the toilet and sit there, and then gas, and a soft stool and pee. I feel a little better. I go to feed the cats and dogs. No, I don’t feel better.

I put the laundry in the dryer and go out to the patio to breathe and do the melting snowman in the cool air–I feel hot, is that why I get like this? Am I overheating? I was hot when I woke up. Well I feel better temporarily but I start moving again and it sucks.

I go upstairs to take a shower. I lay on the floor to get past the pain, do some stretching. Again, I feel better temporarily but not great.

I get ready to go, and [he] is still in bed. I ask if he’s getting up and he goes back and forth with me on why am I asking and he is going in late and he mumbles while I’m in the closet which drives me nuts.

And I’m angry that he is complaining about not feeling well. What does he know about not feeling well? He thinks his dinner didn’t agree with him. Well, isn’t that his fault? He wanted me to pick up that takeout from Mi Pueblo, he won’t even call it in for me, I barely made it there before they closed, we ate at 9 p.m. I was at the [support group] and he calls about dinner.

Of course there isn’t anything for him to make for himself because I have been trying to buy groceries for healthy meals, which he doesn’t know how to cook. And I haven’t been to the grocery in 2 or 3 weeks, so I am stressed that I need to go, we’re out of so much and I don’t have time for it and why can’t he pick up some slack? It’s mostly his crap that we’re out of anyway. I don’t even drink soda.

I have to buy the dog food before they are out. If I only have time/energy for one or the other, I have to do the dog food but he is over there asking about his soda. Yeah, it pisses me off. I try to be grateful for him and what he does do, but it seems like the other side is overwhelming.

Does he just not get that I feel horrible? I have felt really bad 3 days this week, and marginally bad another, so I had two okay days. That ratio sucks.

The kitchen is a mess. The kitchen table is covered in stuff. My end table is covered in stuff. The mail bin is overflowing. My desk at home is covered in stuff. I’m behind on everything. I have no help. I don’t even know how anyone would help anyway. It’s my crap, I just don’t know what to do with it or I don’t get to it and then the next thing comes in. I’m very unmotivated to get anything done and that pisses me off.

I want to be organized and make decisions easily and not have clutter and have a place for everything that makes sense, but really I just want to lay on the couch and do nothing and put my feet up on the back of the couch so my back will stop hurting temporarily. But I have to go to work and go to classes and go run errands and go out with friends and see family and go, go, go.

stress

Advice

I am getting “advice” from people–rules about how I should pursue my happiness. Things like giving my husband another chance. Or how soon I can date. Or how I will feel “better” if I wait until my divorce is final to think about another guy. How I need to be careful. And so on.

But…there were a handful of people who said the things that bounced around in my head and helped me tremendously.

“It’s okay to be divorced.”

full
At the time me sister said this to me, I didn’t believe this was true for me. It’s true for others but my southern girl brain said “You can’t leave; he doesn’t hit you or cheat on you.” I could fix it if only I was better, made him happier, did more. My sister saying this one sentence reminded me that I would tell her to leave, that she doesn’t have to be perfect or miserable for a guy, that I wouldn’t judge her–that I don’t judge her for being divorced.

“You can’t work on your marriage alone.” & “It takes two people to work on a marriage.”

I found myself constantly trying to get “his” stuff done at the expense of “my” stuff. I thought I was trying to make him happy. I was miserable, exhausted, and frustrated. He continued to ask for more. Someone told me I was placating him. I tried to argue compromise but I wasn’t getting anything out of it.

“He denied you.” & “He disregards you.”

valueworth

I’ve had so many people tell me things like “relationships go through ups and downs” or “you learn to….[insert ways to cope with an unhappy relationship here]” so when more than one person finally said, hey, I see what’s happening and it’s not okay, I was…relieved to know someone could finally see and that I am worth better.

“Your happiness is as important as his.”

happy

How did I forget this? My bestie said this to me and I was stunned into silence. He waited for me. He said it again. He said you know that right. Yes, I do. I forgot. He will not let me forget again anytime soon.

And my bestie says the things that make him my bestie. “You do what feels right for you and tell everybody else to f*** off. This is the single best piece of advice I’ve received. It may be the only advice I give anyone else.

Comical

I SO made the right decision to be done. It’s almost comical how he cannot see (or remember, as he claims) what his parents have done to me and how he has let them treat me. He is so going to repeat his mistakes if he doesn’t get it. I wish I could see my own mistakes so clearly.

drown

I said as much to a friend after the fourth counseling session. The friend said:

“I don’t know which would be worse, not seeing what his parents were doing (not to mention what he was doing) or forgetting about it. On the one hand he’d be unobservant; on the other he’d be completely uncaring. Yeah, I think you made the right choice. I knew you would. As for seeing your own mistakes, I think you’ve been pretty good about that from what I’ve seen, but that is still hindsight.”

I’m leaning towards he is/was uncaring. I actually started to laugh during our session near the end because it was so blatantly obvious that he’s not going to change, that he can’t see me, that he is always going to choose his parents over anyone else, that he’s a coward. Wow. Stop me now.

left

We did not schedule our next appointment yet and I’m not sure I will continue although he may and probably should. We did talk after the appointment about mediation so I think we’re going to maybe schedule that next.

Tattoo

I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo but couldn’t decide, wasn’t so sure about the permanence, wanted to look professional…

My husband doesn’t like them. I didn’t realize how much he disliked them until I turned 40; I thought I might get one for my birthday. Then he told me. And I did not get one.

Now that I am leaving, he has no say. I think I may finally get a tattoo.

One of my girlfriends wants to get a new tattoo and we talked about images I’ve wanted over the years. A cartoon figure I collect. A yellow rose and/or something else symbolizing Texas. An orange MS ribbon. A spoon. A mermaid for my sister. Paw prints for my kitties. A Weimaraner. A flamenco dancer or fan. A lion or the symbol for Leo.

Another friend years ago suggested I talk to an artist about incorporating several ideas into one tattoo. I think that may be more realistic for me than choosing ONE image to represent me.

She wants to get hers when I get mine. I have so much going on that I don’t want the pressure of this yet. I suggested after the divorce is final since she told me I shouldn’t pursue any romantic relationship until then.

beautiful

She has decided on two phrases: Breathe and Let it be.

My words look something like this: Thrive. Nourish. Overcome. Choose. Warrior (or a yoga warrior pose.) Breathe or The trick is to keep breathing (a Garbage song.)

trick

But my first tattoo will probably be permanent eyeliner–I have an issue with my eye that causes it to “water” a lot of the time so I have trouble keeping makeup on.

And then…tat me.

Different

“Things will be so different for you now.” my friend said.

I’m counting on it. I can’t wait for things to be so different for me. I’m holding onto that very tightly right now.

“As you should, my dear. As you should.” he said.

different

It is hard to see clearly how I got here, where all I want is different. But now, I’m excited! Different is coming. I made the choice and I am making different happen.