I thank everyone who chimes in here at RP.

I have butterflies in my stomach today from yesterday's experience. I struggle in ways I have not shared, mainly with self-blame and self-recrimination. I find I did this in my marriage too, when it broke up. Maybe it's a go-to for me (taking it all out on myself) and maybe it's just that I did not learn how to create a self that is full of grace, dignity and esteem.

I get down on myself for how I behaved after Bill and I broke it off. Letters, emails, visits, pleas. I resorted to seduction, self-imposed private investigation (aka snooping) and the like. There's more, stuff that's too embarrassing to share. I'd be happy to share if there was a way to stay anonymous, but there isn't and it could be that a future client or employer would read this blog. Or maybe I'd marry George Clooney after he divorces Amal and my past would be dug up. ;)

So while you all champion me and think that I was undeserving of his anger, I believe otherwise.

And yet, there is a part of me that does think had he been more of a kind-hearted man without demons of his own to deal with, he'd have treated me with more respect at the lumber yard. But he thinks I'm stalking him (which I am not); he thinks I am tracking him on his phone (which I am not, and certainly have not and could not). The fact that I pulled up next to him may likely support his paranoid thoughts (and maybe they are not so paranoid).

I did some things Bill thinks I did. I did not do many of the things Bill thinks I did. I did many other things that Bill does not know I did.

I remember Matt saying to me, They don't know all the details. They don't know what you did. They don't know my side of the story. If they did, they would not be supportive of you.

In one fell swoop he took away all your support and the support of my friends.

Maybe I am still working thru the crap Matt said to me. I still hold my head high with regard to everything I did in that marriage, and even after. I admitted my marital mistakes to him (no infidelity or lies) and worked hard at being someone who was more tolerant, kind, respectful, courteous and understanding as we separated and eventually divorced. That paid off for we are friends; we are very amicable and work as a team when co-parenting.

This more recent relationship I fear will never have that same outcome. I don't completely blame myself for Bill shutting me out. He had done some awful things: he was emotionally cheating on me, and then started a relationship immediately upon ending our own. He stopped talking to me for no reason and I was met with anger, rage and lies. He began acting like this on my 50th birthday after wishing me a beautiful birthday text. It turns out that was his farewell text and was the last, honest, sweet thing he said to me. He must have said some bad things about me to his family (altho I can't imagine what I had done to him at that point) because both his brother and sister-in-law (with whom I was close) told me I was not welcome at their home anymore.

I also can tell you that for as incredibly intelligent as Bill was, for as kind and loving and thoughtful as he was in our relationship, he also struggled with emotional intelligence and maturity. I was always shocked at how his first reaction to conflict was really poor. He'd shut me out during conflict, walking away, sometimes for days. A friend of mine said it was controlling behavior. Bill said it was because he would need time to cool off to see things logically with understanding and compassion. And he would. After we had conflict, he was understanding, kind, mature and often (not always) took ownership of his behavior. But I remember always being shocked with his initial response.

I feel I betrayed his trust in me just as he betrayed mine. The fate of our relationship seems inevitable now, even understandable. We were two people who did things that hurt the other. I reacted badly to his stonewalling, something that is extremely painful to experience. We both lost trust in one another. The sad thing is we never talked about it. I'm one to reason things out. As I wrote before, there are few areas in my life that have not been resolved. I have done all I can in my family and friendships to be kind, open, and respectful. I can look every single person in the eye and not feel bad about how I have handled things. When I am wrong I am often able to admit it. I don't need a pat on the back for that. I just don't want to live with conflict, resentment, hatred, anger or guilt.

With Bill, I feel deserving of his anger, altho it's difficult to accept that he hasn't forgiven me after all we have been thru. But maybe what I did is akin to someone cheating; there are some women who will not forgive an adulterer. She will kick him to the curb and never look back. Maybe what I did was just as bad. I don't know, and I fear I will never know. What I do know is he is not hurting as long as he has another women around to keep him distracted from the loss of us.

My heart still breaks. I want to share a photo of my shelves with him to prove to him that I was at the lumber yard for very good reason.

I am looking forward to a day where I will not be this kind of woman, where I will give myself a break and forgive myself for what I did. I can easily forgive him. I cannot forgive myself. And when he is angry, I wear it like a silk scarf — it's bright, noticeable and becomes a part of my look for the day.


  1. I promise you that if I (or another trusted person you chose to tell) knew every detail, I'd still find you worthy of love, compassion, empathy, and support. I believe that with every fiber of my being. None of us are perfect or close to it. Every last one of us has felt shame for what they've done. You have the mind and heart that enables you to know and feel it. That's healthy and loving, even as it is hard right now. Very hard. I encourage you to tell someone you really trust everything, so you can know acceptance and love.

    I heard someone read this poem, by Rilke, yesterday, and it really resonated with me. I thought of you and your post yesterday when I heard it. Here it is:

    God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
    then walks with us silently out of the night.

    These are the words we dimly hear:

    You, sent out beyond your recall,
    go to the limits of your longing.
    Embody me.

    Flare up like a flame
    and make big shadows I can move in.

    Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
    Just keep going. No feeling is final.
    Don't let yourself lose me.

    Nearby is the country they call life.
    You will know it by its seriousness.
    Give me your hand.

    Book of Hours, I 59

    1. This is the part that I heard and pondered:

      Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
      Just keep going. No feeling is final.

      It was the "No feeling is final" because that is so true but so hard to "know" in the midst of pain and suffering.

      Hang in there.

    2. Cheri, that is a beautiful and timely poem. Thank you. I absolutely love it.

      As far as sharing, there are a few close friends who know everything. My family too. It wasn't easy to share, but I knew I had to.

      Also, accepting me faults and all means a lot. When you said that it dawned on me that those who know the full story do still love me and accept me. I guess I hadn't thought of that.

      Thank you... Andrea

  2. Andrea, the only advice I can give you is to try as best as you can to let go. You can live with a scar but not with an open oozing wound and as long as you keep picking at it, it will not have a chance to build scar tissue. What happened is water under the bridge, you cannot take the letters or pleas or emails back that you sent him but you can come to a full stop now. Don't be ashamed or feel silly for what you did, when we love and lose, well, emotions can be in turmoil. That is human, not more not less.

    Please don't send him a photo of your shelves. There is no reason to justify why you went to a public lumber yard, you don't owe him any explanation, period. Let go, Andrea. Maybe one day, long time from now, he will see you and you guys talk like acquaintances do. Maybe than you can explain how it felt to you and why you reacted in a certain way but I bet it will no longer matter to you then. It is just all still so fresh and raw.

    Your dignity is important and nobody can take it from you if you don't let them.

  3. I did some very embarrassing things about then years ago. It involved a man. After coming to my senses, I wanted to make it all right, I wanted to do a 180. Prove to him that I was not at all that woman.
    But I didn't.
    I sat with very uncomfortable feelings, and as time passed, so did those feelings.
    In time, you will smile about this.

    I think that it doesn't matter if he is good or bad or that you are good or bad at this point.
    All that matters is that he broke up with you, and you, in my opinion, acted out of fear and out of wanting to control something because so many things in your life made you a controlmonger (your mother died, your husband left, you lost your job, you lost Bill). So you acted instinctively. And that is that.
    And now it is over.

    Guilt and shame will not help you get better.

    You can't change the past.

    And today, you don't even have to move on.

    You can just be in the moment. Drink a cup of coffee, read with your son, make dinner, admire your new shelves. That is all you have to do.


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