Posts Tagged ‘divorce’

alone

August 13, 2013

There is something about being home alone that is just too great for words.

I just want to run around naked yelling WOO HOO until that gets old, then sit down with chips and whiskey and watch TV.

I don’t have TV.

However, I do have whiskey. And my roommates are out picking up dinner, so I will hold off on the chips.

For now.

I am reading Caitlin Moran’s How to be a woman and enjoying myself.  I am imagining that I have a friend like this, feminist and hilarious and saying things I can agree with at least 80 percent of the time.

I admin a small group of atheists.  I’m not really in charge of anything so much as I bake cookies and have people over.  However the group has managed to attract not one, but two abused women.

Now really, I don’t mean to complain.  I have been in an abusive relationship myself, and it’s not like I hold it against them.  I get it.  I get it in a way that they might not appreciate, not now, when there’s this male overlord of their life and they are refusing to look that reality in the face.  I get it.

It’s just that I have this crazy idea that maybe, most women are not in abusive relationships.  Maybe they are single and maybe not, but they are respected and appreciated, and people of all genders are generally kind and considerate toward each other.

I had this crazy idea that I could start this group and we would be a bunch of somewhat-literate, thinking, rational atheists who get together and watch movies and chat and eat chips and drink whiskey together.

So far the group has attracted two odd couples and a few single males.

There’s a woman my age who hasn’t been employed a day in her life, I don’t think.  She’s recently had a baby and is quite happy, but I’m not sure her husband is such a nice person.

There’s a young woman who’s a few years out of high school.  She was in the foster care system and eventually adopted.  She’s very clever, got a 4.0 in high school, and she’s with a guy who I really dislike but I am trying very hard to be fair.  He is unemployed and a caricature of a libertarian; she is, like I said, very clever and wants to go to school and be a programmer.  Her boyfriend wants her to do some team-truck-driving thing with him.  It’s his dream.

Sorry.  I’m trying to be fair.

What I’m getting at is, I’m tired of abuse and manipulation and lazy entitled males who get away with it and always will.

I was chatting with one of my roommates last night about how these dudes can get away with it, the abuse I mean.  And he said, “It all goes back to the fear of being cheated on.”

“Well,” I answered, “I guess that’s why I don’t get it.  Because I don’t fear that.”

That’s not literally true.  I would hate to be cheated on, and I would probably end a relationship if I’d been cheated on (again) (as my ex-husband did).

But have you ever seen those Twitter tags that go something like, #myboyfriendbetternot and it’s always about cheating, or looking at another girl, or texting, etc.

And that is just not the first thing that pops into my head.  “My boyfriend better not think I’m gonna do his laundry!”

But as I thought about it, I remembered my ex.

He’d confessed to his godsister that he’d cheated on me.  It had happened before we got married.  She told him he had to tell me.  So he took her advice.

And I’m no psychiatrist, but when he told me that, I think I just shut down.

“Do you forgive me?” he asked.

Yeah, sure.

I mean, what could I do about it at this point?  I’d already traded my professional-level job for a high-school-level position.  I’d married him and moved in with him.  Really, what was I supposed to do?  We were married.  I knew what that meant.  I had to forgive him.  Had to, or else all kinds of things would happen that were 100 percent against my programming as a Christian female.

So I forgave him.

And I disconnected some cables in the computer of my brain, if you’ll pardon the dramatic metaphor.

So of course when he confessed to cheating on me again, eight years later, I just stared at the wall and said “Okay.”

How many times do you think he didn’t tell me about?  With that kind of reaction out of me?  He might as well have been telling me that he’d lost the keys to his car but found them a minute later.

So what I’m getting at is, these atheists in the group (my roommate argued) don’t have the security that god is watching the wife, so they feel like they have to use other manipulations to control her.  Because being cheated on is the worst.

But I was just thinking that maybe there’s were some women in the world who might like to be my friend.

And maybe those women wouldn’t have their significant other telling them, “Nobody likes you. You’re crazy and they are just putting up with you.”

Or, if that’s not a relevant method of control: conning her out of her wages and making it so that if she wants to go somewhere, she has to borrow his car because she doesn’t have her own.

I was thinking there would be some women who could come over and run around the house with me and have chips and whiskey.

I think I would be an okay friend.

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crying

August 4, 2013

My mom and I go on summer trips every year, and we were on the flight home when we started talking about my divorce a little.

Actually, we’d talked about it on the trip before: the topic came up and I realized I had the perfect opportunity to tell my mom why I’d gotten divorced in a way she could understand.

“Mom, he cheated on me.”

He cheated on me once when we were engaged, and then later, with his godsister’s nanny, in Vegas, while I was home too busy with my job to leave town.  I’d even gotten sick enough to ask him to come home early, and normally that’s the sort of thing he would do, but he didn’t.  I remember thinking that was weird and wondering why he wouldn’t come home to help me.  Turns out, he was cheating on me.

I should also add here that his godsister was actually his ex-girlfriend, and sometimes I wonder if they were sleeping together.

So anyways, my mom was finally starting to get the picture about why I left him and filed for divorce.  I mean, everyone understands “he cheated on me”.  All the other reasons I left him– the actual reasons, mind you, the abuse and misogyny and control and his laziness and entitlement– apparently those are hard to explain and hard to understand.

But then, on the flight home, it came up again, and I think I was starting to get through to my mom about all those other things.  And then I started crying

My mom told me she loved me.

So that was good.

That was on the flight back to Northern California, which is where my mom lives.  I had a brief layover, bought a beer, and then boarded my flight home.

I started crying and could not stop.

I was sitting in between two strangers, trying to be quiet, but my whole body was shaking.  It was one of those hard cries where you really ought to be alone in bed.

My book was good and I kept having breaks where I thought I was done crying, but then I would just start up again.  Finally I started playing a tower defense game on my phone and that succeeded in distracting me.

So… I guess it was a good vacation.

boundaries

October 6, 2010

I met a boy.  We liked each other.  And yesterday, I told him to go away.

I met him back in January, at a coffeeshop,  right before I left to move in with granma, and I enjoyed his company so well that I invited him to my Going Away Party at the bowling alley.  We kept in touch a bit over texting and Facebook, and when I got back into town last month, I happened to see him the very next day at the coffeeshop.  The day after that, he asked me out.

I didn’t realize what had happened at first.  I said to a friend, “Hey, I’m going to such-and-such with Nice Boy!”

My friend frowned at me.  “I thought you weren’t dating yet.”

“Uhh… is this a date?”

See, I’d made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t date for a year after getting divorced.  And, as it turns out, when a Nice Boy calls and invites me somewhere, it is a date.  Don’t laugh.  I learned something new.

So I called Nice Boy back.  “Uhh, hi.  This is going to be awkward.  I can’t go with you because I like you, and I’m not allowed to like anyone yet.”  I didn’t want to just start telling this guy “no” out of the blue without explaining myself somewhat, and I figured that if I had to tell someone to back off, it should be with a combination of wry humor, honesty, and flattery.

Once we established the time limit (three more months), whether or not he can see me at all (yes, with groups), and who can invite whom (I can invite him, but not the other way around), we had a deal and hung up.  Texting and Facebook communication continued as before, and I invited him to join me at a few group things.

Then he invited me to his birthday party.

At first, I said, “Sure, if you come to my party!”  (A few weeks later.)  Great.  Deal.  But then I started feeling uncomfortable– just a little.  He wasn’t supposed to invite me places.  I mean sure, it was a party and he invited everyone, later, over Facebook… but he texted me, invited me, and didn’t invite my roommates to come along with me.  It felt just a little bit not-right.  So I asked myself: am I overreacting?  And I realized there was a little Alice in the back of my mind, screaming, “NO YOU ARE NOT OVERREACTING!  You asked him not to do something, he said he wouldn’t, but then he did.  THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.”

The thing to remember about overreacting is hey– at least I am reacting.  I am setting boundaries and expecting others to keep them.  My ex-husband did not let me have any boundaries, so now I am going to have to be extra-careful with new people I meet– not just males who ask me out.  I think this Nice Boy is a good bet– I’m gonna call him someday– but I had to do this for myself.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

I know where this guy hangs out– remember coffeeshop?  So I went over there before AA last night.  I found Nice Boy.  And I told him that because he’s invited me somewhere, I have a problem… I won’t see him on his birthday, and please don’t contact me– that I would call him.  He didn’t exactly argue, he said he understands, and I really think he does.  He did say that it was like using a shotgun to kill a fly (lawyers…), and I said that a shotgun is all I have.  I have to take whatever measures are necessary so that I’m not the person who married my ex.  The look on his face was a little bit “fuck! how do I get out of this?” and mostly resignation because I kindof got him on a technicality.  Plus the fact that I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t like him probably helped. 

I felt bad.  This poor guy didn’t do much more than have really bad timing.  Not only am I flailing about trying to deal with the simple pain and sadness of divorce and the last ten years of my life, I am trying to get my head on straight and trying to figure out what my damages are so I can fix them.  Nice Boy wasn’t the first person to get an overreaction out of me because something reminded me of my ex, and he won’t be the last.  I wish I had just said “don’t call me, I’ll call you” from the start, because that made this more confusing than necessary.  This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t done it wrong– tried to have my cake and eat it too.

Of course I am also sad.  I enjoy Nice Boy and I will miss him.  He is fun and intelligent and a little bit crazy.  I would go so far to say he inspired me.  I am sure we will be good friends one day.  He told me to call him when I am ready.  So once I get myself in some order, recognize and set my boundaries… I will.

But I also feel good.  I made a rule about my world and I expected people around me to follow it.  I am making myself stronger, I am making decisions about my world and what’s going to be in it.  My life is a countdown, my time is limited, and I choose who deserves my time.

sleeping

February 23, 2010

I have learned something new, and very important.

If you can’t sleep with whom you want, it’s almost as nice to sleep how you want.

I’m not sure if that sounds wierd– let me explain.  My ex and I had a really nice bed.  After a few years of sleeping on a double futon (first with the mattress on the floor, then on a futon frame, then on a cheapass Ikea frame), we splurged on one of those California-King pillow-top magical beds where you just melt right into it at night and kindof slide off in the morning.  Despite that, I suppose it doesn’t need to be said again that I didn’t enjoy sleeping with him, but I’ll say it again.  I didn’t enjoy sleeping with him.  Not in the literal nor in the euphemistic sense; and of course since going to bed also means “going to bed”, it was getting harder and harder for me to get a good night’s sleep since I was just laying there waiting for him to make a move.  But that’s not exactly what this post is about.  Let’s move on.

When I left my husband, I left the bed behind, perhaps obviously.  The sofa I slept on, and the bed that I eventually slept on more permanently, were so. comfy.  And I’m sure a lot of that was due to finally feeling safe.  Now, living with grandma, I’ve got a double bed, with nice sheets, a blanket, a comforter, and a quilt (made by my great-great-whoever).  At some point in the past few weeks, I remembered the covers I had with my husband: just a comforter or blanket (that we did not share, since I am a highly skilled and supremely evil blanket stealer in my sleep).  And you know, I really hated that.  I wanted the sheet.  You can wash a sheet, you can’t wash a Cal-King comforter without a trip to the laundromat, which we only did once or twice in the entire marriage.  Ten years.  Okay, we probably only had the comforter for five years.  But Jesus Christ on a bike, that thing was never washed!  Gross!  At least put a sheet under it, right?  The ex didn’t want sheets.  Anyways, I think I’m ranting… I guess you get the point.

This whole thing is just another example of finally having relief from all the little things that bothered me over the years.  It’s not that important in the scheme of things to have Proper Bedclothes (as I define it), but fuck me if I’m not thankful and relieved to have it now.  Because when you’re happy and being treated well, you don’t mind little things.  So the clothes are on the floor next to the hamper– so what!  But when you’re unhappy and being treated poorly, and when you’re trying to convince yourself that everything’s really okay… those little things are all cuts and bruises.

Anyways.  Hooray for clean sheets.

dancing and dating

February 12, 2010

Last July, not long after I left my husband, some friends and I stopped for coffee at a place which happened to be hosting swing dancing that evening.  I hadn’t seen swing dancing for over ten years.  It was something I had dabbled in during high school and had always wanted to pursue further, but my spouse was never interested and excused himself with the two left feet argument.  It wouldn’t have been impossible to find another dance partner, but I ran up against my spouse’s jealousy and possessiveness.  He might not want to go with me, but in his eyes, that was no excuse for me to go with someone else.  I forgot about it eventually.

Until that evening in July.  I stared at the dance floor with my mouth wide open.  They were good dancers.  I would have been that good if I’d been dancing for ten years.  I’d taken jazz dance at community college, along with hiphop and ballet, which I loved, but no partner dancing.  So that night at the coffeeshop I felt my first tremors of anger– at what I’d missed during my 20s, anger for letting myself down by pushing aside my dreams, anger at my husband for stunting me and twisting me into his wife rather than encouraging me to be myself.

Back to the present: the next week, a friend promised to take me back there to go swing dancing.  I was really excited at first.  But as the day grew nearer, I got more and more nervous, and I couldn’t figure out why… until I realized I would be facing my past-that-could-have-been.  I remember lamely trying to put it off.  But my friend thought I was going to love it– hell, I was supposed to love it!– and he was excited about taking me out for some fun during a time of little-fun in my life.

We had tapas for dinner.  I remember bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese.  So far, so good.

Then we went over to the dance.  And I had to be dragged onto the floor.  I was miserable.  I didn’t want to be around all those people.  I should have been one of them, dancing my ass off, not the scared divorced woman in the corner.  I finally convinced my friend that I really really didn’t want to be there, but that was after he’d made me dance a little.  I felt bad, like I’d ruined his night, too.  He assured me I hadn’t, that he’d only wanted me to have fun.  I went home and cried.

So not ready for the world yet… but there was still time, and there still is time.  Still time to learn to dance, to try and remember what else I “always wanted” that I gave up for my marriage, to see what fits into my life now.

divorce ring

February 11, 2010

My divorce is final!  What next?

Figure out what to do with my wedding ring.  I’ve been carrying it around in my purse, in an otherwise-useless pocket.  One of my friends tried to taunt me about it, saying, “It’s not magical or anything, and it’s pretty, you can still wear it.”

I invited him to have a glass of Shut The Fuck Up.

There’s nothing magical about the sensation of weight on my left hand and the feeling of belonging that’s attached to that.  Besides, I’m not really into jewelry, unless you count the weird little frog pendant that I dig out every so often.  And yes, it is a pretty little ring.  But I still feel it not there and love it.  It makes me happy to not wear it.  Why the fuck any woman would want to wear jewelry that was a gift from her ex is beyond me.

So today, while out for groceries, I passed a jewelry shop, so I went in and asked if there was a way I could trade it in.  Sure can!  $80 cash, $165 trade-in.  Wow!  What can I get for $165??

As it turns out, not a whole hell of a lot.  I browsed around a bit, then tried to cram a few earrings into my poor little almost-closed piercings (those were so important when I was 16…), but I really wasn’t enjoying myself.  I don’t know how much of that was due to the whole adventure of getting rid of my wedding ring, and how much was due to the unusually large amount of coffee I’d consumed that morning, and how much I was just not in the mood for shopping… But I am sure that a great deal of it was on account of the finality of my divorce and the final symbol of that.  Grandma says there is a place in Vegas where people throw their wedding rings– a fountain or something– but fuck if I’m gonna throw something with that much cash value into a pool of water for someone else to find and trade in.

Shit, it’s 9 PM already.  This day has gone by so fast.  I worked on a friend’s resume all morning and made it totally awesome, dropped gma off at AA, (had a nice cry in my car while she was in there, and a bar of chocolate!), had lunch with her and my dad, went to Costco for a failed attempt to replace gma’s lost hearing aid (what??), then went home and had to manage a total temper meltdown from gma.  I have a fair amount of compassion and I can stay pretty calm as long as I’ve had enough sleep.  She’s got a lot of chronic pain, anxiety about death, and has generally required a high amount of maintenance all her life… but then she did ask for her anxiety meds, which I feel is a good sign.  That and she had an appointment with a counselor from hospice 30 minutes later, coincidentally.  Just enough time to stop swearing up a storm (very out of character for her) and wipe her face.

Anyways.  Tomorrow is day off.  Will visit library and music store for sheet music.

Five Love Languages

December 24, 2009

Everything I know about relationships I learned from Christianity (Well, up until recently, on account of not being Christian anymore).  And one of the popular Christian relationship guides is the book, “The Five Love Languages.”  When I read it years ago, I was still a Christian, and I remember thinking it was only loosely Christian.  I might change my mind if I read it now, but it’s not as though everything’s based on scripture.  Anyways, the premise is that everyone has a different way of expressing love, and that people may be expressing affection in a way that their partner doesn’t recognize as an expression of love.  So we are supposed to 1. learn to use the other person’s love language when expressing affection toward them, and 2. recognize when a person is expressing love even though it is not the way you prefer to receive affection. 

Got it?  Good.

So here’s the languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving/Giving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

So far it all sounds like a decent little theory, right?  You may be thinking, Hey, I’m not a Jesus Freak or nothin’, but that actually might be useful.

Yeah.  I totally agree.

The problem is, I was married for about ten years, and I never figured out my love language.

Wierd, right?  I kinda liked all of those languages; none of them stood out more than another.  So maybe I’m totally multilingual! 

Or, as I have come to hypothesise, maybe I didn’t love my partner, and he didn’t love me.

Oops!!

That’s all.  Just occurred to me.  Thanks for listening.  😀

telling the family

December 23, 2009

When I first became an atheist, I wasn’t sure how to tell people– or if I should tell them at all.  I eventually decided to wait until the topic came up, with my family especially, and then mention it.  That went over fine, for the most part.  The one glitch in that plan came quickly, the first weekend after I’d told my husband (now ex).  I was on the phone chatting with my mother and once the call was over, my ex asked if I had told her that I’m not a Christian anymore.  “No, I didn’t.”

He looked at me with this expression of authority (that’s the only way I can really describe it– like he was about to give an order.)  “You need to call her back and tell her.”

“No, I don’t.”

But he insisted, and basically, made it clear that he was going to be a bullying pain in the ass until I did it, so I did.  (This story makes me so angry, even two years later.)  The conversation went like this.

“Hi, mom.  I’m not a Christian anymore.  [Ex] thought you might want to know.”

“Uhh… okay… thanks for telling me.  Do you still believe in god?”

“I’m not sure right now.”

“Oh.  Okay.”

We say awkward goodbyes and that was it.

I told you that story so I could tell you this one.

Talking about my divorce was really hard for me when I first left my ex.  Word got out to some family members before I got a chance to break it to them, and I tried to explain a little bit to my mom, but I was really, really falling apart.  I would talk slowly and with wierd pauses, eventually stopping in the middle of sentences, and finally I would just freeze up completely.  I couldn’t even move.  I managed to get a few words out with my mom, telling her I was unhappy, that it wasn’t a good marriage despite the way it seemed.  Then my younger brother called, and I felt like he was demanding an explanation.  I finally told him, “I’m not ready to talk about it.  We’re not even really that close.”  This really hurt his feelings, despite the fact that it is perfectly true.

So now I’ve been back home, and I’ve been able to chat about it, with varying degrees of detail, to everyone except my brother, since he’s just got into town.  When we have some time just the two of us, I’ll bring it up.  I figure I’ll say something like, “You asked about my divorce before, do you still want to know about it?”  That method worked pretty good with my mom.

It feels good to be able to bring up difficult topics like this.  It even feels brave.

sex

December 1, 2009

For those of you who read my last post and are wondering, “That’s it?  She left her husband because he was reading her email and wouldn’t let her use the mobile phone?”

Well, no.  I found it easier to write about the small things– the little warning signs.  The big, overarching, negative themes of my marriage are a little more difficult to be calm and write about.  I know what they are.  I just have to dust off my English Major skills, be objective… and outline a three-paragraph essay.

Just kidding about the essay.  (Mostly.)  Here goes.

When you’re an Evangelical Christian, there’s not too many reasons to get married young.  Of course there’s the reasons people assume, and snicker about: a) the young couple wanted to have sex but wouldn’t because their Christian beliefs prohibit sex before marriage, or b) they were already having sex, felt guilty about it, and decided to make it legal.  I’m pretty sure everyone assumed one of those were the case when I got married at age 18.  But actually, here were my reasons: a) I liked him, b) we had a good time together.

Sure, we made out, and it was fun.  But I was perfectly happy making out, and didn’t have any religious angst over not being able to Do It.

That’s mainly because I wasn’t sexually attracted to him.

I hadn’t experienced lust yet, in my short life.  I was very sheltered.  I didn’t even know what lust was, really (except sinful).  I didn’t know how to be in a relationship, or even what to look for in a mate.  My parents skipped over that critical parenting step (to be fair, they said I should find a godly man, but didn’t say anything about compatibility), and I didn’t figure it out on my own through dating or another adult mentor.

All I had was a vague sense of superiority– as an individual, because I got married young and I knew what I was doing (ha), and as a Christian, because we didn’t have sex before marriage and we are still happy.

Of course we were happy.  We were 19 years old, and with him active duty Air Force, the military took care of everything.  But I’m getting off the subject, which is, I wasn’t sexually attracted to him.

With no advance planning, we eloped on a Thursday, and after all that drama (and the commute to Lake Tahoe’s charming selection of 24-hour wedding chapels) (which is a cute story in itself, though I’m not sure how cute it is now that we’re divorced…), I just wanted to go to sleep.  My husband, of course, wanted to have sex.  But since we were at his place, if we were to have sex, it would be on a bunk bed (the top bunk, fyi, with the lower bunk unoccupied).  “Can’t we just wait ’till the weekend?” I asked.

But he couldn’t wait.  He had to talk me into it, too, and I gave up graciously: “Fine, let’s just get it over with.”  It was painful– really painful– and embarrassing.  I had no idea what to do, but apparently, he didn’t need or want me to do anything.  I just lay there and actually cried a little.

The next time we had sex– at my place, on an actual bed– was better.  Sex got to be fun, and it was pretty much mind-blowing at first. But I have never forgotten that first night. He didn’t care what I wanted.  It felt like I didn’t even need to be there.  I said no, and he didn’t take no for an answer.  So the first time I had sex, with my husband, on our wedding night, it was rape.

There’s so much wrong with that that it’s hard to unpack.  Firstly, that I didn’t want him– not a good sign for a married couple, but an issue that I was completely unaware of.  Second, that he didn’t care about my desire to have a nice “first time” or my desire to rest after an emotionally exhausting day– we both had to go to work the next day, and I would have to drive over an hour to get there first thing in the morning!

His pushiness and sense of entitlement to my body regardless of my will, and my lack of desire for him — to say nothing of his blindness to the fact that I didn’t want him– these would be the issues that broke down our marriage.  It killed any love I might have had for him, leaving me only with a sense of duty to be a good wife.  I enjoyed being a good wife, most of the time.  But it killed us in bed.  A sense of sexual obligation combined with a complete lack of desire is the death blow to intimacy, in bed and otherwise.  And he never learned any sensitivity or generosity– why should he?  He only had to break me down with guilt, or just wait until I was tired enough and then keep me from sleeping if I didn’t want to have sex.  I’d eventually get out the bottle of KY and roll over just to shut him up.

After about five years of sex being a chore, as he was starting to get on top of me, I finally said what I was thinking: “I feel like a whore.”  He immediately got up, left the room, left the house, and didn’t come back until the next day.

As you may know, that’s not a good way to solve a problem in a marriage.  Unless maybe you’re in some kind of fundamentalist, polygamous sect.

“At first,” he said to me, in our bedroom, “I felt really bad.  I don’t want to be the cause of you feeling like that.”  I remember feeling a huge sense of relief, that finally we were going to work on this, maybe fix it.  But then he continued.  “But then I decided that it’s not my fault you feel like that.  It’s your fault.  And you have to do something about it.”

“I decided that it’s your fault,” he said.  I remember that very clearly.  And that was it.

Sure, I should have fought it, fought the “decision” that he made for me.  I didn’t just accept it right away; I know I argued.  I don’t remember what was said.  But a couple things prevented me from completely rejecting his decision.  One was the feeling of absolute shock at what he had said.  I was not prepared for such cruelty, and didn’t know what to do about it or his refusal to see my perspective or take even an ounce of blame.  I can’t force him to treat me like an equal human, after all, even if I occasionally had the strength to assert myself as one.  The other thing that prevented me from fighting him was the 25 years of programming from Christianity, telling me that I am not in charge and that my husband gets the final say.  I’ve been two years out of Christianity now, and I still feel an automatic submission to males.  I have to watch myself carefully and fight it really hard, but it’s stuck in my subconscious, on every issue, from pastors to professors, and yes, to the so-called head of the household.  I’m starting to understand why some women may decide to be lesbians or celibate and treat every male they come across like an idiot– that’s certainly the easy way to fight one’s upbringing.  When you add my personality trait to avoid conflict and be accommodating, I was not much of a match for someone like my husband.  Certainly not when we’d been married all of our adult lives and I didn’t know any better.

Over the next few years, we would try a few new things in the bedroom.  I would read erotica to get myself in the mood, but I found I’d rather just do that and masturbate than try to get it on with him.  I got a sex positions guide that was like a deck of cards, but that ended up giving sex a sort of clinical aspect. I didn’t feel anything when we were together.  I mean, my buttons got pushed sometimes, and sex would feel like maybe sex is supposed to– I was starting to figure it out after reading all that erotica– but I can push my own buttons by myself.  I don’t need an inconsiderate, insensitive, bullying, orgasm-obsessed (his orgasm, mostly) partner to get on top of me and get sweaty in order to have good sex.

Then, two years ago, I found that I no longer believed in the Christian god.  I think we both knew that that was the beginning of the end.

I started making some gradual changes, and he started making some, too.  He quit his job to go back to college, and we had some money problems that he wanted to solve by simply asking his sister for money.  He wouldn’t stick to the budget I’d set, and he had some money in a separate account from financial aid which he spent however he wanted, while I paid the mortgage and most of the bills with my salary and his GI Bill income, which was about to expire.  I wanted to stop going to church, but he pressured me, and somehow I found myself going to more church activities than I’d done for a long time.  He tried to get me to hang out with his friends, where he could keep an eye on me and where I felt mostly ignored.  Of course I was trying to make atheist friends, which he fought tooth and nail.  I started drinking so that I could loosen up enough to even lay in the same bed as him.

So this is the time when all the “little things” started happening.  Neither of us were acting like we were on the same team anymore.  He was becoming more and more authoritarian and misogynistic, and I was becoming more independent.  I had a brief struggle with depression, which he blamed on my atheism.  I knew our relationship was over.  I just had to admit it to myself.  Or, as he put it on that day he decided for both of us, I had to do something about it.

So I told my husband that three things have to happen if I am to continue living with him.  I will not go to church and he will not ask me to go to any church event.  I will have separate property that he will not touch (a long-standing disagreement– everything was “ours”).  And I will be the only one to initiate sex; he will not touch me otherwise.  He agreed immediately, then threatened suicide and disappeared.  A couple of his friends called me that evening, worried, because he’d called them and told them I’d left him and that he was suicidal.  He was gone all night and I slept perfectly, by myself.

Let’s just say I knew which one of my ultimatums would be a problem.

I spent the next week unable to sleep, waiting for it.  And  sure enough, I was informed that sex is required.  I don’t remember the exact words.  It was something about how I can’t expect that from him; it’s not really a marriage if we don’t have sex.  And you know, he’s right.  It took a few more days to gather up the rest of my courage and leave him.

Funnily enough, I was trying to explain to my mother the problems in our marriage when she said, “Your father and I haven’t had sex for years.”  But they are still married and live in the same house!  “That wasn’t an option for him,” I told her.  “And anyways, I was so unhappy.”

My mother gave me this advice: “Happiness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Well.  How do you respond to that?  By saying, “You should know, mom, you’ve been depressed for years, you’re just jealous that I did something about my unhappiness and you prefer to stay in yours.”  But I didn’t say that.

If that wasn’t bad enough, my husband told my brother that I’d left him and he didn’t know why.  So my brother calls me and asks me, “What happened, you seemed so happy!”  He’d seen us the previous week, at my mom’s Disneyland birthday trip.

“I wasn’t happy,” I told him.  “I’ll tell you more details when I’m ready.  Not now.”

He says: “I just want to know why he’s being kicked out of the family.”  I didn’t give him the necessary response, which was, “Well then, you marry him, see what he’s like in private, and then when you divorce him, I’ll support you.”

I pretty much quit talking to my family for now, and not least because my ex is still in contact with them, and I don’t want him getting any information about me through them.  I’ve called my mom a few times, emailed my dad a bit, visited my good sister when she was in town for Disneyland…  And now my grandma is sick and wants me to move back up there and live with her.  And I hate letting my ex spoil my relationship with my family this way, but if I went up there, I’d be trading in the people who support me and believe in me for the people who should, but don’t.  And I need the support right now.  Trouble is, I don’t know how much my grandma needs me.

Shit, that was long enough.  Felt good to get it out of my system.  Of course now my wrist hurts and I’m hungry  🙂

Finally

October 19, 2009

First, the good news: my friend set me up a blog on my personal domain! …which has been completely blank for a few months now, ever since another friend set the domain up for me.

The bad news is, since it’s my personal domain, I am going to have to be very careful about what sorts of things I write there.  Well, not “very” careful, I suppose, but still.  I’m in the middle of a divorce and I need to be pretty careful right now until papers are finalized.

Which reminds me.  My asshole husband changed the locks on the house. This is after he removed everything, including my personal clothes, papers, and some books– and lied to the attorneys about it.

I don’t think I mentioned how bad it is.  He’s been telling all our mutual friends, as well as my own immediate family, that I am crazy.  He is ostensibly trying to get them to sign papers to commit me. His goal is to punish me for leaving him while still convincing everyone how much he still loves me and wants me back.

But dear sweet baby Jesus in a jetpack, I really do not want to get into all that right now.  I’ll just say that I’ve got two stacks of relationship and abuse self-help books from the library piled up around my desk right now.  And, one of my housemates is home all day with me and he’s been driving me a little mad.  He’s a good person but not the most sensitive… though to be fair, if I am explicit about what I need, he follows directions.  Dealing with a woman who is getting divorced after ten years in an abusive relationship is not exactly something that comes with an instruction manual.

But like I said.  I’ve got my own domain and it’s content-ready now.  So the first thing I’ll probably do is go through some old atheist posts I’ve published here and see about publishing them on my site.  It’s intimidating to have my name attached to everything– anyone who knows my email address can say, hey, I wonder if she’s got a website, and then there they are at my website.  It’s a stage I’ve never had before.  And I don’t want it to be just a place where I talk about my personal life; that’s what mySpace blogs are for, am I right?

Speaking of my personal life, I’ve had a cold for a little over a week.  It’s been a frustrating time: I keep having periods where I feel like I’m doing better and making changes and starting my life over, and then I tentatively start to make new actual changes and schedules, and then something comes up like I get sick and it puts everything back weeks.  I had to postpone my own birthday cake (pumpkin cheesecake) because of all the coughing from said cold.

Plus I ran out of Doctor Who on Netflixs On Demand.  Season 4 gets in on Wednesday, though.