For the Record …

Feeling like you hate someone just means you haven’t let go. Hate isn’t the opposite of love, apathy is.

Michele Weiner-Davis

It feels good to not harbor ill feelings toward the ex. I don’t hate him. I don’t want to kill him. But I don’t want to curl up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and watch movies with him either. I’m done pining for him. I think about him very little these days.

( gasp )

Will he read this? I doubt it. And I don’t care if he does.

Most likely, he will not.

The man I married died about two and a half years ago. Some people have said the man I married never existed. But they don’t know my past; they don’t have my experiences. They don’t know that love was once there, and they weren’t there for the smiles and laughter.

It’s OK by me for folks to think poorly of him. I wont defend him anymore. I don’t care much either for the antics that went on, how it all went down and how it all turned out.

It’s more difficult, always has been, to accept that others can see his POV and cosign his bullshit choices. THAT is difficult. I know a mother will always stand by her son’s side. Still there were times I wanted to shake his very own mother and say, “Can’t you see what he’s done?!!”

But not lately.

Lately I barely think of my past.

So dead, yes, that’s what it feels like. A grief-stricken widow I am not. I don’t have conversations with a ghost in my alone moments. I know better. But the dude was a good guy, and if I miss anything, I miss that. My feelings for him were private, more than I ever let on to him or anyone else. So when he left, I was devastated. Grief-stricken. But not a widow. I sometimes miss the old Matt, but I don’t lament. I’m too busy to think about the past.

What remains is a decent father.

I struggled with that for a while, up until this past Father’s day. I thought he sucked as a father, and then I realized he was just a shitty husband, in the end. I used to think shitty husband = shitty father. Meh, that might be true. Usually the two ARE true and coincide. Maybe this case is an anomaly.

Does a good father leave his wife? Does a good father put his own happiness before his child’s? It’s possible. It’s possible to be a good father and still leave your marriage. I couldn’t do that. I would never choose this. If I wasn’t satisfied, I sure would have spoken up and made a stink about it. I wouldn’t just suck it up and then one day let it all be too much and walk away, knowing, knowing I would only see Oliver half of the time. No way. A child needs his mother full-time growing up. If I hate anything, it’s that I only get to parent my child part-time. That sucks.

I made a commitment when I married. If I was not happy, I’d have done something about it. Mature people, responsible self-assured people learn to find happiness in any situation they find themselves in.

Yep, I do sound judgemental. I am not filled with hatred. Not at all. And that feels great. I just don’t buy the story, his story, anymore. Never really did.

Michele Weiner-Davis … author, therapist. I’ve read her books, hired her coaches, interacted with her briefly online. I love the woman and agree with pretty much everything she writes. I like how she practices behavioral psychology and how she has dedicated her career to helping people save their marriages.

Here are a few excerpts from her book, Divorce Remedy, and a few quotes from her site, I’ve quoted her on my blog before. (She’s even left me a comment!) I highly recommend her if you are struggling in your marriage.

I assumed that if people were unhappy in their marriage, they should just get out. After all, I told myself, life is short and we all have the right to be happy. But I soon learned the truth about divorce. It doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. In fact, in most cases, divorce creates more problems than it solves.
Even if a parent is happier as a result of divorce, there is no “trickle down effect.” Children still struggle emotionally regardless of how the parent feels.
Many people considering divorce say they wish they could have a crystal ball that would allow them to see into the future. Actually, the crystal ball is here for the taking. Research has enabled us to be “clairvoyant.” But many people choose to ignore or discount the facts because they’ve been hoodwinked into believing that divorce provides answers to an unhappy marriage. But how are myths about divorce being perpetuated?

The divorce trap is a powerful conspiracy that is invisible to the naked eye. Like carbon monoxide, the odorless killer, the divorce trap is an insidious influence, invading your thoughts without your knowing it.

Well-meaning friends and family
Oddly enough, some of the people nearest and dearest to you are part of the problem. This is not to say that they don’t have your best interest at heart. They do. But they can be misdirecting you.

The Biased Shoulder
What they hear is your side of the story, and your side only.

Protectors and rescuers

They think since your spouse is the problem, get rid of him or her. “Just leave. You don't deserve this. Just get out.”

Well-meaning Therapists
Some therapists believe that when a marriage stops being fulfilling or nurturing, it’s time to move on. They see divorce as a challenging, yet viable solution to marriage’s many problems. They appreciate the impact of divorce on children, but they prefer to focus on children’s resiliency and their ability to adjust.

Those well-meaning therapists and some of Matt’s confidants are hardest for me to forgive. I don’t dwell on it anymore, but every now and then … Ooooo, what I wouldn’t give to have a word with those ratty people who sat back in their chairs oblivious to the bullshit going on right in front of their very own eyes! Or the ones who insidiously plotted to quietly inject their self-righteous plans into our brains, subtly provoking a contempt for one another, pushing and prodding us to let go and move on, to dump the marriage and head for the sunshine on the other side of the hill. Those kinds of therapists need some deprogramming, for the psychology they use to seduce their clients is really a version of self-serving happiness — spare no expense. I’m not saying we need to use Christian counsel, but for Pete’s sake, lets stop trying to sell happiness cloaked in “taking care of ones self” at the expense of children and jilted spouses. People, marriage is about sacrifice and commitment. It’s not a swap meet. Hey, we’ve grown apart. Life is short. Let’s agree to disagree and move on, apart. Eff the children. They’ll make it. Look at Oprah.

Yeah, look at Oprah.

And the men Matt leaned on for support — you know, the divorced men? Don’t get me started on that either! …

Sheesh. Got myself all worked up again. :)

I’m grateful my friends and family did not fall into the selections above. They allowed me the time to figure things out for myself, no matter how painful it was to stand by and watch.

Awe, it’s OK. I rarely take part in this kind of thinking anymore. It takes too much of my energy. What I shared with you today is not characteristic of what is on the forefront of my mind.

And for the record, Oliver really is doing OK. He has some issues around this, that I can see. Mostly, he’s happy, he’s healthy and he doesn’t get put in the middle, ever. As far as he can tell, his parents both love him very much and like one another too. His parents are nice to each other. Genuinely so.

PS. I do not wish to say that if you chose to divorce your spouse you are a fool. I realize there are marriages not made in heaven. I realize there are spouses who are habitual liars, active alcoholics, physical abusers, and chronic philanderers. Some spouses are unwilling to do what it takes to make a marriage work. It doesn't necessarily take two to make a marriage work. But if one spouse has tried everything to no avail, there’s got to be a point at which enough is enough. My point is that when you have a decent marriage and you leave for reasons that are justified but can be addressed and haven’t been, then divorce is the easy way out and in that case, will not solve the problems.