Thrilling Divorce Action!

This week I’ve been dealing with all kinds of old hurts and anger rising back up to fuck with my head.  It doesn’t help that I also have one last exam tomorrow.  I feel like snuggling up with someone – even just a cat would do – and watching Hammer films and eating ice cream, but instead I’m going to take a stab at the old “work through it by writing” method.  I did get some ice cream as an emergency backup, though.

I’ve been separated from my most recent ex for a year this Friday.  In a logical world, I’d be going around fist-bumping and high-fiving everyone I see and congratulating myself on how well I’ve done over the past year.  Since this is not a logical world, but one with silly laws based on outdated notions of How Shit Works, instead I’m about to start the whole extra process of getting an actual divorce so I can be legally detached from the ex.  I have to pay a lot of money.  I have to get him to sign some papers even though he’s refusing to communicate with me in any way.  I have to pay some more extra money to legally be Ms Snow again, instead of Mrs. Ex – the name change he insisted I get.  After the papers I mentioned make it back to the courthouse I still have to wait another thirty days before I can even think of strolling downtown and getting divorced for real.  I have to do all this on my own, because as soon as Mr Ex decided it was time to get rid of me he disappeared.  By moving to a different state.  And refusing to talk to me beyond a quick message saying that if I wanted a divorce it was up to me to pay for it and handle everything.

All that would be annoying by itself.  What’s worse it that I’m not just dealing with the things I have to do now.  Paperwork and expenses I can handle.  What’s worse is that now I’m remembering how I got into all this in the first place, and it’s making me hurt all over again.  The anger is not just from the fact that someone hurt me, but the fact that unlike most men who’ve hurt me in some way he tricked me into going along with a huge nasty lie.

Anyone, male or female, who has fallen for a manipulator (possibly one with sociopathic tendencies) will recognize this.

I’d also like to throw these links in here, for anyone wanting more information – they’re parts of an ongoing series from one of my favorite sites, and explain this type of relationship far better than I can.  If you read through the brief history I’m about to get into and it sounds vaguely familiar, go read up on it a bit more. Even though I have lots of supportive people around me to talk to, reading these posts helped.  I can only imagine what it must be like for someone who has been cut off from that support, or never had it in the first place.

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/11/16/more-on-gaslighting/

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/11/21/one-abuse-script-with-many-faces/

At first, we had the courtship stage.  Including a fun romantic trip for my birthday, flowers for no reason, nice gifts of lingerie and jewelry, all the sex I wanted in just the way I wanted.  And all that blinded me to the tiny little red flags.  You don’t want to go with me to this party and meet my friends?  Oh, well if you just got a bottle of good wine and new wrist restraints, I don’t either!  You just looked through my sketchbook?  Oh, well I left it right out there on the kitchen table, silly me, I must have meant for you to.  And now, being a generally intelligent person, I still get angry with myself for not taking each little incident and seriously looking at it for clues.  If someone really wants to distract you from these clues, and knows you well enough to figure out how, maybe they can.  Maybe all the romantic letters and talk get you into a mindspace where you’d rather believe them, and not worry about minor little conflicts that come up.  I was well into that space.  Every relationship has minor conflicts.

Those minor things kept getting to me in tiny ways, until I was thinking I’d be better off breaking up and moving on.  Then the one thing that was not at all his fault happened.  His father died suddenly.  So instead of breaking up with him, we moved in together.  I’ll admit that this is only my side of the story.  I’ll admit that all the fucked up power games that followed may have just been an extended grief reaction of sorts.  And I’m about to get into some nasty stereotypes with that, because I want to get this all out of my head right now.

If you don’t come from an upper-class WASP family, have you ever been to one of their funerals?  My family is . . . expressive.  When we celebrate, we really throw down.  When we argue, we really get into it tooth and claw. When we grieve, it would be hard to miss what’s going on.  Emotions flow freely all the time.  Not that we’re all crazy barbarians – things are discussed on a more intellectual plane as well.  But if those intellectual discussions veer off into tears or laughter, everyone feels better at the end.  I love this, and I think it’s part of why I’m so happy with my family.  I can express whatever I need to.  This funeral, on the other hand, is the first one I’d ever been to where people were visibly restraining themselves from expressing emotion.  Right in the middle of a funeral.  Like I said, it’s an ugly stereotype – I know it is – I was just so struck by the fact that these people had such a different sense of how to act during an event that I usually associate with breaking down into tears and telling long stories and then laughing and then crying again . . . it was alien to me, and it gives me some idea of the level of restraint that Mr Ex was taught as being the correct way to live.  And that is the one insight, other than him just being cruel directly to me, that can explain in my mind what happened next.

Back to the history part:

We were living together.  After a few years, the pressure from him to get married was getting pretty intense.  I remember having my doubts at this point, too, but he always had a good explanation.  I was just nervous because I’d been through an abusive relationship!  (Oh, the irony.)  I would feel much better after we got married!  After we got married, sex would be even better and we could buy a house and travel and everything!  (As if signing a piece of paper could bring those things into our lives)  Poor silly nervous Sanguine does not even see how much better her life could be if only she’d say yes!

Reader, I married him.  Damn it!  I had a whole big party with all the friends and family planned, and I had some amazingly sexy honeymoon nightgowns and everything.  But then, the party was vetoed (by him), so it turned into a smaller gathering at our house.  Honeymoon – also vetoed (by him) because none of the places I could think to go were good enough.  And all this went so fast and while I was drowning in emotion so I didn’t take it as a warning to run off or lock myself in the bathroom that morning instead of going to the courthouse.

Then, marriage certificate in hand, he turned into the Master of the House.  But not in a fun way.  I’d been married once before (not legally, but I really don’t take the piece of paper nearly as seriously as I do the actual commitment between the people involved.  More on that later?) and I still, over a decade later, remember the wedding night sex as being some of the most amazing I’ve ever had.  I was expecting that again, especially after all the promises.  This wedding night?  No sex.  None the night after that, nor the one after that, and so on.  The pretty things I’d gotten to wear just for him are still in my closet, still unworn.  As it turns out, my love of sex was very obviously a way to manipulate me.  If you want sex you need to quit modeling.  It’s disgusting that you would show your body to anyone else.  If you want sex you should try dressing better/wearing more makeup/wearing less makeup/losing weight/never wearing high heels . . . . And it worked.  I tried an outfit he said he liked.  No sex, I must try harder. I put on more makeup.  Too much, I look terrible. Less makeup?  No, you at least need eyeliner.  Why don’t you look like this model with entirely different bone structure?  Why are you so fat?  Here, let me see what you’re eating.  No, put that down, it’s too fattening.  You’re fat because you eat meat.  My girlfriend before you was so thin because she was vegan.  And she was much shorter than you.  Maybe you just look fat because you’re tall.  Why are you walking around the house in your underwear?  Cover that up!  No, I don’t want a blowjob.  That’s disgusting.  Why do you have all this porn?  You need to get rid of your vibrators, you’re turning into a nympho.

I’m paraphrasing two years’ worth of bullshit here.  And the part that upsets me so much right now?  The part that made even my new-agey holistic doctor (who I love and is awesome, by the way) suggest valium to get me through this process?  It was two years of me not saying, “fuck this shit” and walking out the door.  It was me putting up with a Christmas without him at my family’s house because I was “too emotional” to spend Christmas with.  Christmas!  The holiday where my Mum makes heaps of wonderful food and we all play games and tell jokes and listen to music and have fun!  Even though most of us are Athiests!  Me going to my cousin’s wedding several states away and him deciding to sit out the one opportunity he had to meet my big loving extended family because traveling that far sounded boring.  The wedding where, even though it was her daughter that was getting married the next day, my aunt took time during the barbecue she hosted to bring out a quilt she’d made for us as a wedding gift and present it to me alone.  In front of my family, while I stammered out excuses for the husband no one other than my own parents and siblings had ever met.

So, I’m pissed about all that. It’s in the past, but I’m angry.  I was over it, but now I have to at least think a little about it since I’m the one that wasn’t quite clever enough or brave enough to walk away at the first sign of trouble.  Maybe his side of the story is that I’m low-class and therefore too emotional and so is my family and by the way, what is up with these crazy nympho girls amirite? But if I’m too fat and not pretty enough and too low-class to deserve love, why marry me?  And why, every time that I bring up problems I see in the marriage, blame it all on my emotional issues?  Why not just let it go?

I have a strong suspicion that the reason I finally had to be the one to leave was so that he could be the Man With The Bad Wife.  A Good Wife doesn’t enjoy oral sex.  A Good Wife will do all the cooking and cleaning even though she works full time and she will enjoy it.  A Good Wife doesn’t question her husband’s use of the money she earns at that full time job, and a Good Wife does not walk away from the marriage.  As soon as I was strong enough to walk away, I was the Bad Wife.  Incidentally, this allowed him to start pressuring me to move out as soon as possible, and tell me he was done with me, and tell me he was so glad I had finally decided to leave.  He had been feeling this way for a while, so far as I can tell, but I HAD to be the one to leave.  I had to be manipulated into doing so, because if he’d left me, I’d still be trying for Good Wife status.  He had to see me as the Bad Wife.  The Bad Wife has to pay all the fees associated with becoming the Gay Divorcee (I hope that’s still a thing).

And the thing that made me want to go ahead and get this out?  It’s not just the pain.  It’s actually another thing – another stage in my “being honest about things because that’s why I have this meandering pointless blog in the first place” exploration.  But it deserves its own entry.  I was prompted by two things to just go ahead and write this piece.  I’ll move on to those next time.

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2 Responses to “Thrilling Divorce Action!”

  1. J. Wilson Says:

    He my dearest friend, is the definition of a coward. Running from pleasure and pain. Or even the joy of the adventure that is love. Odysseus would have planted a shaft right in the bastard. And not in a fun way either.

  2. J. Wilson Says:

    Besides Xmas at the Snow House is the best experience ever! And who the hell doesn’t want a wife with emotions.!!!!???

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