October 9th

Today is our 12 year wedding anniversary.

What do you say on your anniversary to a spouse who wants out of the marriage? Happy Anniversary is no longer appropriate. Happy “No More Us” Day? Happy “It's Over” Day? I wonder, did he remember? (I used to get a dozen roses for each year of marriage on our anniversary.)

I chose to say nothing, as did he. We met at a gas station today to exchange Oliver. I had been at a women's retreat this weekend — much needed — and Matt took Oliver to our cottage in Door County. It was a friendly exchange as Matt lingered around to let me know of the details of their weekend together. Sounded like they had a blast as they reported all the fun things they did: Miniature golf, Go-karting, ice cream each night, lots of visits to the parks, on and on and on. It was nice to hear about, nice that Oliver had some good times with his dad up there.

Someone asked me this weekend if Matt was a good dad, if he actually parented Oliver. I think so. He buys Oliver clothes, shops for groceries with him, cooks mostly organic for him, and just loves up on him. He reads to him each night and gets him to bed by 8. The two of them are a good pair, and for that I am grateful. I don't have to worry that Matt is smoking cigars in front of Oliver, nor do I worry one bit that Matt is parading other women around him. Matt is a teacher and a guide for Oliver. He is a father.

What I have come to realize this weekend however, thanks to some very wise women, that many of the things Matt is doing and saying to me are very unhealthy and not cool at all.

I guess I bought his story for a long long time. Too long.

Maybe y'all knew that and oh yes yes, many many of you tried to tell me that. I guess I had to see it for myself, have things happen long enough to me and run a few details past some very seasoned and experienced women. And then I saw it. I saw it all. I saw it for what it's worth and I saw it for what it is.

It's all a big farce, this whole thing is a big cover up for Matt's own unhappiness with himself. He is hurting even if he says he is the happiest he's ever been. A truly happy man would never say that to me in this particular circumstance, knowing full well how much hearing that (among other things) would hurt me. I found this letter written by a man who walked in Matt's shoes. Read it if you are interested in what Matt is experiencing. If he was happy and healthy, he would do it differently, meaning, he would end this differently, with compassion and with respect.

I was told this weekend that Matt has to be in a lot of pain to walk away from a 2 year old. Oliver is now 3 1/2. He threw in the towel with his business too. He failed at that, he failed at his marriage and he failed at having a family, he even failed at being an example to his son. He's losing everything but Oliver. Everything. Tell me that makes someone happier? Truly happier? Unless you've chosen to be a monk, I can't imagine that letting it all go makes you happier.

I don't mean to bitch about him. I guess I am, aren't I?

I'm hurting today. Hurt people hurt each other. I'm hurting so I am saying some things that would hurt Matt today if he cared enough to read this, which he doesn't.

If I could just get rid of this hurt, this pain, I would be OK. Really. I felt a pain in my heart the entire weekend. I'm not crying. I'm not lamenting. I'm not freaking out either. It's just a dull but very very real pain in my heart. It's real. It hurts. And it hasn't gone away in days and days. I don't know how to make it go away, and I will be honest:

I'm afraid it will never go away and that I will never get over this and that I will just continue to be hurt as the days, months and years go on.

Why do I say that? Because I had a 4-yr relationship with a guy before I met Matt. It was deep and intense, and I wanted to marry to him, and he never wanted to marry me. It took years to get over him. Years.

Two or three years into my marriage I found out my ex-boyfriend (who I knew was married at the time) had his second child with his wife. I shocked me to my core and I cried for two weeks straight. My husband still does not know this. (If you are wondering, Matt no longer reads this blog and if he does read this, I really don't care.) I could not get out of bed. My husband would leave for work in the morning and the minute he left the apartment I would bury my head in the pillow and cry. I felt it should have been me who had that guy's children. I cried and cried and cried.

Months preceding this news and months after, I questioned whether or not I married the right person. I didn't really love Matt as deeply as I thought or as he deserved. I had a spiritual mentor at that time and I finally confided my “secret” to her. She told me that I had absolutely married the right guy because I had learned so much about God and life in the 2-3 short years we were married. She knew it, and she believed it. And I believed her. Then she told me that if I didn't want Matt, women would be lining up to take him, why with that cute Swiss accent and those beautiful blue eyes, he was a real catch. (BTW, she no longer is an advocate for him these days. Most of the time she sees him she wants to punch him. Lucky for him she restrains herself, why with her black belt and all....)

Really? I thought to myself. In the days following that conversation, I started to look closer at my husband. He really did have beautiful blue eyes, as deep as the ocean. Each time I looked at him I noticed them, as if I was seeing them for the first time. “What?” he used to ask me self-consciously as I noticed the man he was behind those sapphire gems. As he would fly past me in our apartment, I would think to myself, "He really is cute. Wow." I came to realize he's not so bad after all, and that I did in fact marry the right person. My mentor was right. I had to see Matt thru her eyes, and then eventually thru God's eyes, since mine were blurred with bitterness and resentment.

The rest is history really. There was a lot of good, and a bunch of bad. I see that now. I had to go thru this separation to see the bad, to find out about my mistakes and to make these positive changes in myself this past year.

However, my husband has indicated that I have not changed, and that being so, it will never work. I have realized that not only is he hurting (even tho he says he's not) he's angry, still resentful, and he blames me for our failed marriage in which he was very unhappy. He has to blame me however — and believe I haven't changed — in order to continue to do what he's doing. It's too hard to look at himself.

(Y'all know I've done some major changing, right?)

I know he's in a bubble. I know it will pop someday. I can't say when. Maybe when he's 70, maybe when the divorce is over, maybe when his future girl friends turn out to be not so great and the grass is not really greener.

Anyway, my job is to move on. As I am finishing up this post, I noticed that my pain has lessened. This is why I write, why I share. Some of you pray for me and I'm so grateful for that. Writing helps. Sharing helps. Being honest helps. This weekend, I was one of the speakers at the retreat. I got to share my story and in doing so, we laughed, we cried, and we nodded knowing the crap we all do, the crap we all experience and the hope we have for our lives. Mostly there was hope, hope for me.

I came home today, and I was so reluctant to be here. My son brought sunshine into my day. He was so happy to see me. I almost felt sorry for him, I don't know why. As we left the gas station I looked around. Matt was already gone. I strained my neck to see which way he went, but then I told myself, “Stop it girl! Let him go. Live your own life!” And then as we shopped for groceries on the way home I realized I didn't want to go home. I wished for a new apartment, a new place without these old memories. A place where I have not been “left behind.” The house has been rejected by Matt. He no longer takes care of it. He no longer wants it. Seeing it thru his eyes it's ugly, a dump, and a pain. In my eyes it's empty and unworthy of his love. That's what I have to change. I have to learn to see again thru God's eyes, not Matt's. I have to judge home and especially myself thru God's eyes.

God please give me the strength to let go. I don't see what's in the inside of Matt, but you do. I place him in your hands, just as Abram placed his son into yours.

I ask you to please allow me to see what other's see in me, to judge myself not as Matt judges me, but to feel and know instead your love, your promises and your will for me.

With love today,


  1. Andrea,

    How you feel is real, what you say is true.
    As I have shared before we are travelling the same path, the same timeline..and even a similar anniversary date ours was on Friday. The men in our life are also on the same journey...
    I am proud of you when you told yourself “Stop it girl! Let him go. Live your own life!” It is what has to happen and God will take care of the rest.
    I wish I lived by you as I would love to meet you in person. I think you are an incredible woman!
    Have a peaceful day!

  2. Wow I think a move would be great for you if you're ready for it. It's kind of amazing how much gets embedded in physical objects-- good and bad. I had an amazingly empowering experience emptying my house out after my separation. We weren't in the house long enough for it to really have absorbed much of the relationship but a lot of the stuff in it had. So out it went. And it felt AMAZING.

  3. @Diane, thanks for sharing that site with me. It's amazing and I've gotten a lot out of it. Are you on FB? I am. Look for me at Andrea Zehnder. :) Thanks!


  4. @Mutant, the only problem with moving out is that our home is going to be empty. My husband pays our mortgage, and I cannot afford an apartment right now. I would LOVE to leave this all behind. Maybe I will just start looking.... :)


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