So, what did I expect would happen?
Our marriage had ups and downs like any other. A handful of those downs were really really down and dangerously close to divorce but I was always fully aware of the state of affairs those times. None of them were surprises to me. (except maybe the first time which …. ..yeah)
So what I expected was the same shit that has happened every other time we’ve had to sit down and have a serious talk about our relationship over the last 21 years. OK, there was ONE time when it went sideways and we ended up separated. That’s the week Ethan was conceived. Go figure.
No, what I thought would happen this time was that we’d talk about it in depth, he would reassure me that he was not giving up and then we’d talk about what the doctor told me and we’d try again. THAT’S what I thought would happen.
But what actually did happen was disaster: The kids were in bed, we went into our room and he started talking first and the first thing out of his mouth was.. “I love you as the mother of my children. I love you as a person. But I don’t love you as a husband should love a wife.” This is when the shock started coming on. Disbelief. Was I hearing this right? I thought just keep talking because maybe it will start making sense as you go on…
He said “I don’t like the person you’ve become.” “I don’t approve of your hobbies. Your interest in the birds… I just keep seeing money being spent.” “You never want to go out anywhere. I come home and you’re in the same position you were when I left.” “You don’t shower. You go days with the same shirt on.” “You’ve let yourself go.”
And the pièce de résistance, the one that hurt the most that night: “I know I could never be happy married to you.”
There was more dialogue in between those statements, but they are unimportant to me. Irrelevent. Those statements highlighted above are enough and I will never forget them. Was there truth in his words? The ones that speak of me, not of his personal opinions?
Yes, they are all true. But if you’ve sat around discussing how I screwed up this marriage, regardless of which side you’re on (M or B), perhaps a little extra context might help reveal more truth behind it. Things are rarely as cut and dry as those statements above imply.
- I bought Zuzu a new cage. It cost $800. I love birds. I only have one currently… namely Zuzu, my African Grey. I have plans on getting two more smaller birds later this year. The divorce wont change that. We’ve had three birds for years until 2 of them died earlier this year. When we met in 2000 I had an African Grey and I’ve continued to have birds and various exotic pets pretty much non-stop since then. So yes, it’s true. But he accepted me, the pet lover, 21 years ago and chose to stay with me all those years never once telling me that he “disapproved” of the birds.
- I never want to go anywhere. That’s true. I have social anxiety and who knows whatever else makes it hard for me to socialize. I socialized waaay more in Florida than I have here. I depended on him too much to be the one on the social front: taking the kids to birthday parties and making friends with the neighbors. I was glad he could do it easily, but I was envious too. So yes, that’s true. But it’s also true that I’ve always struggled on that front. This was nothing new for me or him.
- I will go days without showering. It’s true. Since the beginning of time, if I’m holed up inside my house without leaving it, I just don’t shower every day. If I notice any stink on myself, I go shower. If I think I’m gonna be intimate or want to be, I shower. If someone is coming over, I shower. I have asked him if it bothered him many MANY times. I even asked the kids because I would get a little paranoid sometimes, but not paranoid enough to just shower every day. It never bothered *me* personally. But it would have bothered me if I thought it bothered them. I was never told that it bothered anybody even when I asked them point blank. So I kept on keeping on as I had always kept on. The only time I heard criticism about it was the week prior to this moment. When he mentioned something about my 4-day old shirt. I went and took a shower and put on clean clothes after that. No, I’m not proud of it. But I wasn’t completely squalorous and bereft of caring about it. I would never leave the house without showering and putting on clean clothes. We’d even get into arguments over it because he’d ask me to run out and pick Ethan up or do whatever and I’d say, “I need to go shower first. I can’t just run out.” He couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just go as-is. Had I known it was a problem I would have adjusted my behaviour. So yes, that’s true. But the statement also implies that he had complained about it and that I had not cared and THAT is not true.
- I have a spot I like to lie in on my bed. When I don’t lie there I sit on the couch in the living room. But I generally will fluctuate between the two spots when I’m at rest. Meaning… not moving around or cooking dinner or eating it at the dinner table.. or working in the office. If I’m not working, cooking, or doing whatever else, THAT’S where I’m at. So am I in the same spot as I was when he left? Usually yes. So yes, that’s true. Does it mean I have not MOVED from that spot all day? On some weekends, yes it does mean that. Any other day. Not likely.
So… While everything he said was true, I was still completely blindsided by this news that any of it bothered him to the extent that he would dump me over them. And without any warning to boot.
No, what I really believe happened was that he decided long ago to divorce me and used anything he could hang on to as justification for his decision which did not involve any prior discussion with me.