I was unhappily married once and now I am happily divorced. It’s over and after a year that felt like a torturous trip down bad memory lane every single day, I am thankful, though a bit surprised that signing the final papers presented not a second of hesitation or one tear. A few weeks ago, as the final, final loomed, I was finding myself as sad as I had ever been. I began to feel there was no relief in sight (and wrote about it, The Steep Climb Out Of Divorce: It Takes Time And Tears). As it turns out, signing those papers was no more than putting a period at the end of a long, rambling, badly written sentence.
My well developed imagination, (the one that assisted me in so much denial through the years) worked over-time thinking about the day I’d sign the papers that would officially end more than half my life. I guess I’d had some romantic ideas, something like putting on a brave front, wearing sexy black widow weeds and sunglasses large enough to cover my hollowed, sad eyes (which in fact I did have for many months). I saw myself shakily signing my married name for the last time and then falling a part, only to be lifted up by my handsome divorce attorney. In actuality, not so much. Not even a little.
When I received the call from my lawyer that it was time, I rushed to a fax machine within seconds to send the signed papers and that was it. Afterwards, I felt like 100 lbs. had been lifted from my shoulders. Maybe I had already expended every emotion I had left in me over the past twelve months, but seriously, I felt nothing except an interior mantra that started with F%$# you and ended with very much. (Oh yeah, let’s put our arms in the air, and dance like we just don’t care…which is exactly what I did in double-time, outside the neighborhood UPS Store.)
I thought about filing for divorce for 10 years, maybe longer and should have. (Ah, the regret!) In the end, his mere presence disgusted me; he had hurt me in too many ways to count. I resented hearing his breathing next to me in bed. I didn’t expect to feel anything but relief when I kicked him out, but instead, the level of pain I began experiencing was brutal. It seems love and hate were in the process of passing each other in my heart and mind; one had arrived, but the other wasn’t quite ready to leave.
There was no question, I was divorcing an emotionally manipulating enigma, an illusion, a nightmare, a walking time bomb of bad judgement, not the love of my life, not an admirable loving husband and father, not the story I had told myself and others, thinking it was the truth. The turmoil I had experienced for years finally made sense. Amusingly, up to the last minute of our marriage, my ex kept spinning his tale. He literally sounded like a six year old lying that he hadn’t eaten the last cookie, all the while his mouth is covered with chocolate (or Ms. Slea-Zy’s DNA, take your pick).
The sadness I had been feeling leading up to the final day was an accumulation of many things including the pressure he was exerting on me for the final papers. For weeks I was bombarded by “Dumb-Ass Ex’s” text messages. His asshole radar has been on high alert, most probably recharged everyday by Ms. Slea-Zy, his classless co-conspirator in failure. Without fail, while going in and out of my company’s HR office for exit interviews (since my entire department was laid off), also during the appointment with my doctor who was explaining what a needle biopsy was for the small lump she’d found, and entirely during the process of simultaneously job and house hunting (since I can no longer afford my current residence), I’d receive his text messages asking for the divorce papers. I call it bastard timing, and like his few, but other well honed talents to be heartless, its only practical use is to hurt those who’ve loved him.
Without a doubt, Dumb-Ass Ex’s insecurity about Ms. Slea-Zy was the key motivation for the demands. She’s waited years for him to dump me, (as she bragged over and over again would happen) and has kept him in a pressure-cooker of ultimatums. A pickle 60-something year old men, with younger girlfriends, frequently find themselves in I would guess. Apparently she didn’t know all these years, and probably doesn’t realize even now, her honey is a spineless, childish liar who would never have divorced me if I hadn’t finally had enough, hired the lawyer, made the check out, and filled-out the reams of paperwork. Someone had to be the adult, and as usual in our marriage, it was me.
I feel sure they’ll be married soon, but will he ever recover the mid-six figure income, much less his professional reputation lost because of his and her’s downright grossly unprofessional behavior, (with all the sickening details plastered all over the internet)? Not likely. Will she be as adept at explaining his outbursts of abhorrent behavior in front of her family and her friends or stay interested in an older, poor man? Not from what her ex-friends tell me. It’s like a soap opera; I hate soap operas so I won’t be interested.
Now, I get to move into a new place, I have a new job and though I’m still on a low rung of the career ladder I hopped off years ago supporting him and our family’s needs, at least I’m on it.
A few months ago I wrote about how he and I, (as well as Ms. Slea-Zy) were in the same industry and how it made me look like an idiot because everybody knew what was going on between them for years, while I didn’t (Divorce Humiliating? How About The Whole Damn Marriage). My hurt and embarrassment was staggering. To say the least, it has made job interviews challenging. Now, I don’t putz around; I introduce the troll in the room as soon as it (his name) comes up. I tell people the straight out truth, that while you can’t always change stupid, you sure can divorce it.
Making the decision to divorce is complex; the process of divorce is painful, but finally getting the divorce is a gift that I gave myself. It’s a birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s all wrapped into one. The ultimate confirmation that I deserve more, always did, and always will.
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