Freedom to Make New Mistakes

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How do you trust your ability to make sound decisions after what you thought was ‘happily ever after’ turned out to be an ugly divorce and custody battle?

Trusting my gut seems riskier now.

I had faith in my marriage. I trusted a man who had been my best friend for more than 10 years, whom I had a child with.

I couldn’t have been more wrong about him. He cheated, lied, assaulted and stole from me, and then left me to figure out how to care for our child and put all the pieces of my life together differently.

I was left questioning everything.

In the beginning, I wondered how I would make it through. Time was the answer, because I more than made it through my divorce – I thrived.

But the marks of those experiences are still there. How could they not be.

Where’s the sweet spot between remaining vigilant about not repeating mistakes and having the courage to make new ones?

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It’s Circumstantial

together

I’m filled with conflicting emotions, confused, and trying to figure it all out.

One minute, I’m wanting more, the next I’m trying to just be grateful for what I have. I try to convince myself I don’t need more – it’s a constant colloquy that plays out in my head.

Our relationship has progressed to this point where we’re committed, but because of our circumstances, we’re not all in.

So, I hold back. I disconnect from him. Or, I try.

Sometimes it feels easier to hold back, than to keep wanting something I can’t have.

Do I really want more? It’s tangled up in the not being able to have it in the first place. It’s compounded by the complications of it all.

Does he want more? I don’t really know anymore.

So I’m flooded with questions, left examining the why’s, the how’s, and determining the root cause, analyzing the possibilities.

Where is he in all this?

I don’t know how much longer I can keep pretending it doesn’t hurt to be stuck here in this way – in a relationship with a man I love, who loves me, but what we might want might not be.

942 Days Later, I’m Divorced

942 days.serendipity

942 days ago it felt like my world came crashing down on me. From that day on, the life I had built over the previous 8 years of marriage would no longer be the life I would be living.

Well, my life would be the same. But my “world” wouldn’t be.

Life is what we experience each time we take a breath, when we feel alive just from looking into our children’s eyes or feeling their breath on our skin.

Life is literally every breath — the beginning and the end.

The world we live in, it’s what surrounds us, what we choose to do with our life (and some of what is chosen for us).

We don’t control life. We do control the world around us — the immediate environment we live in, who inhabits it, who we interact with, where we go, what we do for work, how we spend our time.

942 days ago, when my husband decided that the world we had built together was no longer what he wanted, it crushed me. But my life went on.

I was grateful to be alive and capable of creating an improved world for myself and my son. Just the year before, I was scared that I would die of cancer and leave my son motherless.

Maybe shedding a partner who was never capable of being there for me would be a blessing in the end.

Turns out, it was.

I found it was easier to breathe without him, after the initial sadness and anger passed. I realized how difficult it had been to be married to him, how hard I worked to keep my marriage intact. I just kept going because I didn’t realize I had a choice. I embraced the suck.

You don’t really learn who a person is until you divorce them. Shit got scary around here.

I would have preferred a more graceful period of battle, and a more reasonable, amicable 365-day wait on that whole divorce and custody battle aspect.

But now that we will finally be officially and legally and actually divorced?

It feels good, the finality of it.

I hope nothing happens to the judge before I get to the court house today.

If one more delay or snowstorm, or legal technicality pushes this out any more days… well I’ll suck it up and keep counting I guess.

Life goes on 😉

 

Tin Man & Heartache

tim-gouw-133424While catching the commuter train this morning, Miranda Lambert’s melodic voice filled my ear buds and unexpectedly brought me to tears.

I quickly swatted the tears away, but it got me thinking —

Lately, my life has resembled a country song.

My ex split when our son was three. He was barely there for our son those first few months, as he tried to figure himself out, hold on to his job, his affair partner, and grapple with his addictions.

In hindsight, he wasn’t around much before either, you know, because he was busy “working late.”

There I was, with a full-time job, health crisis of my own, and a little boy who wanted to know when Daddy was coming home, why Daddy left, why Daddy didn’t pick him up from school anymore, why, why, why.

Family flew into town to help me those first few weeks and it was still hard. I was in shock, stopped eating, and operated on auto-pilot at work and with friends.

My son did not adjust well, often clinging to my legs while I tried to make dinner, he was wetting the bed again, having nightmares, trying to nurse, he didn’t want to let me out of his grasp.

In a nutshell, it was regression and he also started showing signs of anxiety.

I gave our family dog to my best friend. That broke my heart too. 

For so long, I separated the heartache I experienced during the aftermath of my ex leaving from everything else I had to contend with in my life. I pressed “pause” on the heartache and trudged ahead.

I had no idea how long it would take to get through my divorce and custody battle. More than two years went by, and we still weren’t divorced, nor did we have a court-approved visitation schedule. 

I had my son full-time and we had a makeshift schedule where his Dad would come over to take him to school, and pick him up from school on other days for dinner visits, which eventually morphed into every other weekend sleepovers, always requiring 50+ emails back-and-forth to coordinate. Exhausting to say the least, but at least he was involved in his son’s life again. 

During that time, I refinanced the house so we didn’t have to move and spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours preparing for our  custody trial. 

I took and failed a credentialing test I really needed for work (fail!), I spent a lot of time and stress trying to get into a different career field, thinking I would need the extra income, but it was not meant to be (fail!).

I underwent radiosurgery at a hospital out-of-state, a week before my son started elementary school and it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I couldn’t have made it through that without the love and support of my family and loving boyfriend.

As you can see, life just never stopped hurling challenges our way. Not for a second.

No wonder I pushed down the heartache. But this morning, listening to that song, it came back to me and I remembered just how raw and devastating it all was — the heartache of being left.

It reminded me that it’s ok to reflect on how hard a period of your life was, and how much you went through, because you did it. You made it to the other side. I did that.

Here’s to reflection and the growth that comes from it. Thanks, Miranda.

A Heart’s Divide

divide

Looking into his eyes

I see beyond the bounds of me

Trust was implicit from the start

in the comfort of his hand

upon the small of my back

 

Now I find myself vulnerable

in a place I yearn not to be

Insecurities for all to see

I gave my trust

Without question

No reservation

He held back the truth

For fear I would run?

Or perhaps he was afraid

I’d ask something of him

He wasn’t ready to do

 

No longer absolute

About what to believe

A single lie by omission

or intuition’s built-in protection?

 

Not wanting this to bring us to an end

Yet I can’t risk losing myself in another

Again

So I’m left navigating my heart’s divide

 

{Update} Learning to trust again was so hard, and so worth it. I think I will always be timid because of my life experiences, but I am determined not to make the same mistakes. I know that I have found the right person to entrust my heart to, and I have faith that no matter what happens, we are capable of loving each other the way we all deserve to be loved.

Our Little Bubble

bubble

Sometimes when I daydream

My mind wanders to this place

Where we live in a bubble

Our own little world

Filled with our love, our lives, our kids

Everything we need to be happy

Missing from this bubble

Is the ominous presence of ex-spouses

Buzzing in the background of our lives

We wouldn’t be who we are today without them

It’s how our families began, how our children came to be

But we’re always tied by them

Even though our bond to each other transcends it

When the clash of it all starts to weigh on me

And I feel tugs at my heart

I dream up our little world and hang out there awhile

Our bubble

Our trouble