Reprogramming is hard.
Once you are hardwired to be one thing, it is a challenge, to say the least, to try and reroute those wires.
I believe that had my husband died, I would have been able to pick up the pieces and move forward more easily.
This? This is different. I feel mired in my own depressed state. And I often wonder why I can’t just get over it. I know my friends and family often wonder the same thing.
Losing a spouse to divorce isn’t like breaking up with a boyfriend/girlfriend. Honestly, we probably should have split when we both still were just that…no commitment. I often wonder how my life would be different had we split and gone our separate ways back then.
I found out 10 years in to our marriage that he had cheated when we were dating. When we were dating. Back then, I had some reservations about a girl that I knew was blatantly ‘in’ to him. I even called her out on some behaviors I felt it was my right as a girlfriend to express. My ex was convincing in his denial of his part. Until 10 years later when he came clean and the trust was so shattered. I felt the fool…and he was the one to make me that fool. Because I believed him at the time.
When I found out, I wondered what it could have been like for me had I known then. I know, without any doubt, that had I known then, I would never have committed to him. There would have been no wedding. Which he obviously knew, so he didn’t tell me about the indiscretion. He swore that he had made it his purpose to live a life with me ‘forever making up for his mistake’ by never considering infidelity. He pledged that in the previous 10 years he had never cheated. I believed him. Probably more out of my own self preservations than any real faith in him as a husband. We had three children under the age of 7 and he was the only income. Except our entire marriage had been built on a lie.
We lasted another five years after his ‘coming clean’ moment. During that time he chased his new found dream and I kept the family together. I was the glue.
I love being a mom. I stayed home to raise my kids because I just didn’t want to leave it to anyone else to do. “if you want something done right, you do it yourself” kind of mentality. I pride myself on their successes and often blame myself for their downfalls…even though I truly realize they are their own people and will make mistakes and have success completely separate from me.
I wanted a family. I wanted the traditions and the legacy. I wanted a man that wanted to have a family to serve and protect. I didn’t get it. As much as he is able to say he is glad I am his kids’ mom…I can’t say the same. I picked wrong. And I blame myself. I blame myself for not recognizing the signs that were there in the beginning and having enough strength to act. I was young. I was scared. I was naïve-though I thought I knew it all.
I hate that he is able to pick up the pieces of his life and move forward, because he didn’t want the same things and now he is free to discover who he really wanted to be. I am jealous of his freedom, his ease of starting fresh. I feel cheated. My life’s work was shattered. There is no ‘family’. No Christmas card photo shoot. No summer vacation spot. No good cop/bad cop support for kids’ mistakes. No one to share in the responsibilities. No shoulder to cry on or support for those times when you feel you have failed. No one who ‘knows’ me…’understands’ me…’loves’ me.
Can’t really say that there ever WAS those things…
so honestly, it isn’t about my actual divorce. It isn’t about his final affair that brought it about.
I can’t forgive me.
I can’t forgive that I fucked my life so badly that it will never resemble the hopes and dreams I had…and that mires me in a dark place.
His assertions during our marriage didn’t help. I hear the voices replaying over and over again “never satisfied”, “can’t find a better man”, “bitch”, “control freak”, “too loud”, “too judgmental”, “scarred for life”, “just like your mother”, “never listen”…
I blame myself for making him the way he was. Maybe if I had been more understanding, he would have understood me better. Maybe if I had been more sympathetic, he would have offered more support. Maybe if I had been ANYTHING else, maybe he would have loved me.
And fought for me.
And chose me.
And I could have created the family I desired. For my kids. For myself.
And in my rational brain, I know that’s all bullshit. I know he made his own choices. I don’t have that much ‘control’ over another human. He did what he wanted to do.
And he still does.
I need to stop allowing my excuses to define my inaction. I need to reprogram. But that is significantly more difficult that dealing with a sudden event. Reprogramming for what took 20+ years to build is going to take some work. Which is why, I believe, I have drug my feet for so long. Daunting. Scary. Difficult.
But it’s time.
I use to dwell, obsess, depress on all of those things. Those thoughts still creep in from time to time but I’ve learned to let go of that dream of the “family” as we once dreamed it. The fact is they did not choose wrong, we did. The biggest thing that has helped me to accept this and to stop dwelling, obsessing, and depressing is that I am happy not to have to be with a person like my ex husband who has a lot of the same characteristics as yours. I made a mistake, a huge one, but I get to rectify it. A lot of people are unfaithful. For some, they are truly remorseful and work on THEIR issues that led them to be unfaithful. For others, they are unfaithful because they are self-entitled narcissistic people who hold fast to their excuses as to why it is someone else’s fault they are cheaters and liars.
The second thing that has helped me is to realize that the dream we had of marriage is some what of a fantasy. I know I built it up more once my ex-husband left. Life will get better once you realize how lucky you are to get a second chance. A second chance at life and a second chance at love and a second chance at being you (a you without the narcissistic jerk).