one month after

On Thursday, it’ll be a month since A left. It would still be another week before she officially said she was done with our marriage, but when she left on the night of April 26th it was already over. So where am I in this journey a month into it?

I can honestly say, I’m doing ok now. The initial shock and anger has waned. As I’ve said over multiple posts, I am still grieving the loss of the companionship, plans, and dreams we had; however I’m no longer grieving the loss of her. Really the most frustrating part of this process is that she seems unwilling to participate in it. I guess it makes sense though, she made a decision to cut and run from our problems, why should completing our divorce separation be any different? In the end its only going to make the divorce cost us both more money and emotional energy. For someone who wants out so bad, it seems like an odd way to handle things.

As for me, I continue to work on the things I was already working on before the events of the past two months surfaced. I’m continuing to see a counselor to work my way through the feelings resulting from the collapse of my marriage. I’m at a point now however, that I’ll finally be able to work with him for some of the reasons I originally chose him. I’m working on figuring out ways to improve my career opportunities and financial stability (one of the things my counselor specializes in). I’m continuing to work on improving my general health as well. As I re-learn planning and cooking for one, I’m trying to be conscious of what I’m eating (and how much). With the month of reduced appetite due to the relationship stress, my body has gotten used to smaller portion sizes, and that’s not a bad thing.

I’m looking forward to what life has in store for me after all this is done. There is still a lot of work to do to get there and it’s still stressful. I’m going to come out of this a better person though. I have faith that when the time is right, I will find a new partner and it will be even more amazing because of the things I’ve learned from this relationship (both the good and bad). One question people have asked me recently is “Do you regret marrying A?” Despite how everything turned out, I do not. Based what I knew then, I have no regrets and would do it again with the same information. I loved her with my whole heart and I still do have love for her. I really do wish the best for her. Yes, she broke my heart. Yes, she left without even trying to make things work. But I loved her until the end. I will cherish the memories we had together. My marriage has made me a better person and it will make my next marriage or partnership all the better as a result.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/one-month-after/

letting go…

It’s a strange thing, learning how to emotionally detach from a person. It’s like those weeds, where if you don’t get all the roots, it’ll just come back. Except you don’t want to pull the roots out at the same time. That would be too painful for the soil that is your heart. That is what I find myself doing this week though. Learning how to let go. Pulling out those remaining roots that didn’t come out originally. Resisting the urge to try to find scraps of her new life online.

This week I’ve been letting go…of A…of anger…of partnered life. Some of it has been easier than others. Letting go of the anger and of her has been easier than letting go of partnered life. I struggled being alone at home this week (with the exception of last night, I was home this week). But I forced myself to live in it. I could have run over to a friend’s house one of those nights but I need to relearn how to be ok in that space. I’ve got a ways to go in that department. It’s tough to erase five years of shared space overnight.

I’ve been obsessively refreshing social media this week. Craving connections to try to fill the vacant space A once occupied. Looking for people to chat with on Hangouts or Facebook. Hoping to fill time with a friendly conversation or even just reading their tweets/posts/pictures. There are all these things that I want to share with someone. Stupid stuff mainly…stuff you only share with a partner. I hear things that my first instinct is “I can’t wait to tell A about this.” Those are roots that remain inside me. Those stubborn roots that just won’t let go. Those things I won’t share with anyone else and now not with her either.

One thing I really want is for friends to come over. For some of my closest friends, this is hard as they are tied to their own homes because of kids, pets, or lack of easy transportation. I understand this and I don’t have any negative feelings towards them about it. I just want to take back my house for me. Have folks over for a game night. Host a fancy cider tasting night (I’ve got a bunch of limited edition small batch ciders from a local cidery). Create memories that make this space mine (well along with my other housemates).

I worry (and get anxious) about being too needy for my friends (and other acquaintances) as I go through this process. They’ve been great, but I know it can be hard to have to listen to the same sad stuff all the time. I try to be mindful of that though. To make sure I’m engaging in what is going on in their lives (and I really do want to know what is going on in their lives) and not just focusing on my divorce and how I’m working through it. I’ve got friends who are out of work and struggling with their job searches. I’ve got a friend struggling with a recent move (and a job search). Its important for me to listen as well.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/letting-go/

How To Be Alone

found via PostSecret FB:

 

This is something I’m having to figure out again. Eight years in a relationship. Five years of living together. Done in what seems like an instant. I was talking to my mom last night and I told her “in a way, its like A died, at least in regards to me.” Only it might be more difficult than if she had died, because she’s still around. I could easily run into her (especially since she moved somewhere right next to where I am often). I imagine she’ll do everything she can to avoid me if she sees me based on how she’s acted since she left, but the possibility is there nonetheless.

I’ve been alone before. Its ok to be alone. Its just something I have to get used to again for now.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/how-to-be-alone/

the hardest part (at the moment)

Today I went to my attorney’s office and reviewed and signed the paperwork. That signature was harder than I thought it would be. This is really happening now. I know it is the right thing. I wouldn’t go back even if A knocked on my door and said she’d made a mistake. “Yes, you did make a mistake,” I’d say before closing the door. Officially filing the divorce papers makes it real though.

The hardest part of this process has been how quickly it happened. On April 25, while I knew we had some serious things to attempt to work through, I was still happy with our relationship (outside of those serious things). By April 27th, she was not only gone from the house, but no longer speaking to me. How it went from something where we talked pretty much every day for the past eight years, to her not speaking to me at all (unless absolutely necessary). Its those moments I’d rush to share with her that I’m no longer allowed to do. I also still care for her despite all the pain and heartache she’s caused. I want to know that she’s doing ok. I assume since she was the one who decided to leave and who already had someone else’s arms to fall into, that she is doing ok. But I can only assume…I can’t know anymore.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/the-hardest-part-at-the-moment/

a day beyond…

On Saturday, A came and got the rest of her stuff from the house with her mom’s help. I had asked my parents to come up to support me (and serve as witnesses if she tried to claim something happened later). When she walked in the door and immediately threw a little fit, it was exactly the piece of closure I needed. I didn’t need any further explanation or conversations about what could have been different. It was done. It had been done for a long time, she had just been too afraid to say anything about it.

That was the thing in the end. She was too afraid to talk about her feelings. In our conversations (and fights) over the last two months she talked a lot about finding her voice as she’d been working with her therapist. It was great that she was finding herself and learning about her voice. I asked her about it, I practically begged her to tell me about it. But those conversations were still too hard for her. It was much easier to have those kind of conversations online, one step removed from reality. That was the reality she wanted now. Something that could be both real and not real at the same time.

Eventually she begrudgingly participated enough so that we were able to divide the majority of the household property. I created an inventory and had both of us sign it (along with a parent as a witness). Only one item remains in dispute to be determined. When she drove away with the last of her stuff to take to her new apartment it was like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I could at least glimpse the other side of this mountain.

I’m going to be ok. Its going to be ok. I still fully expect to have moments of sadness, loss, and grief. Those moments are not for her though. They are for the hopes and dreams that we had shared. There has been a death for those things and I am still most definitely grieving them. But the beauty of dreams is you can have new ones. Hope will return alongside those dreams. Someone will be there to share in them. Openly and honestly.

Her things are out of my house. Her presence will linger a little less each day. Soon paperwork will be completed and the last things that bind us together in the physical world will be done. That small piece that will always remain will be all that is left.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/a-day-beyond/

one week after…

The past week has been a roller coaster of loss, grief, sadness, abandonment and anger. The ground beneath my feet doesn’t feel solid. I’m craving some sort of stability when nothing is stable at all. There are so many emotions, questions, and just things to do. Its all a bit overwhelming. Anyway, buckle up…this is going to ramble a bit.

I’ve reflected a lot on what went wrong. I’ve looked back to see the signs I missed or ignored that this was coming. I’ve questioned if there was anything I could have done to change the result. The last two months were tumultuous for sure, but if I’m honest I don’t think there was much that could have been done to change the end result. We might have done counseling for a few months or longer…but I’m not sure it would have made much of a difference.

There were signs even before the events of the last two months that she knew the decision she was going to make soon. That she was looking for an “out” even before this started. Even thinking back on the conversations we had over the past two months…there were things she said that make more sense in the context of how things ended. In that she was right when she said it wasn’t about what was going on that was the real issue. Perhaps the situation was just the “out” she was looking for. I obviously can’t know that for sure (especially since she’s no longer speaking to me directly), but that is the feeling I get. It doesn’t feel to me like she ever really came back from the struggles we had the previous summer. There seemed to be a lot of focus on the things that hadn’t worked and not on the things that did (at least that’s the impression I felt from the words and actions of the past few weeks). I hope that one day she’ll be able to remember the good things and not just a mistake that she made. I’d like to remember the good things and not think of our marriage as a mistake. It was something amazing that happened and something that came to an end. In the end…this will be better for both of us, A. has grown into a different understanding of what she wants from a relationship and unfortunately she was unable to talk to me about it before it was too late (again at least from my perspective).

I wasn’t perfect. I failed in many ways as a husband. There were many times I didn’t do my best (or even a token effort). Our relationship ending isn’t all on A. I definitely had a hand in creating the environment which allowed things to fall apart. I’m going to have to forgive myself for that. It’ll be part of the process of relearning how to love again.

Now we both have to deal with the aftermath of last weeks decision. The painful process of splitting up a household made more difficult by A’s refusal to communicate directly. Decisions about who gets what and how to handle exchanges while the emotions are all still very raw. The first of these exchanges will happen this Saturday and I’m incredibly anxious about it. She’ll be there with her mom and I’ve asked my dad to come up as well (because I don’t feel comfortable being there alone with them).

Finances are a big stress point. Divorce is expensive. Attorneys are expensive. With an already tight budget, I’ve got to squeeze more out of it. Ultimately I need to figure out ways to make more money soon. I’m not sure my current life is sustainable without it. This was something I had already planned on dedicating focus on. I picked a specific therapist because career and financial therapy was an area he specialized in. I had done this before I found out what was going on. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to focus on that as much yet…as my time with him has been focused on the relationship problems and then its ending.

There are other things as well…I’ve got to find a third person to move into the house. A’s decision to end things also has a very tangible effect on our housemate that moved in right around the time this all started. If we can’t find someone to fill A’s spot in the next month…our housemate will be responsible for having to pay more rent than she originally agreed to until we can. We have both failed in our housemate in that sense.

Logistics aside, there are the unexpected emotions. I don’t have any interest in going back to the relationship. I’m eager to finish this process as quickly and amicably as possible so we can both move on in our separate ways. But its the unexpected emotions that hit you in the face. Things like when you are told or find something that I would have immediately wanted to share with her. Or when I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and instinctively move my leg over to feel her touch that isn’t and won’t ever be there again. Yesterday, on the way home, I drove past the park we got married and tears welled up. These “certain small things / touch nerve-lines to the heart / and bring back with color and force / all that is utterly lost” as O’Donohue says in the poem in my previous post.

I told A. early on in our relationship…when I realized I was falling/had fallen in love with her that no matter what happens, part of me will always love her. She may have left two weeks ago, and officially left our marriage one week ago, but that part of me will remain with her. I hope you find what you are looking for A. I hope you achieve all your career dreams.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/one-week-after/

the first weekend…

This weekend has been tough. The first weekend since I was told that our marriage was over. The first weekend to face the absence of our normal weekend routines. No more weekend morning trips to Spielman’s for coffee and bagels. New routines will have to be found (they didn’t happen this weekend for sure). Instead I spent it packing up some of her remaining things and putting them in the garage until she moves them too. Church was really difficult this morning. With rare exception she had been by my side since I moved back to Portland. The Rector talked about prayer in her sermon. How it is central to everything. How it can be hard to do…but also how it can be hard to receive for some people (including herself). As hard as being there was this morning, I knew it was exactly where I was supposed to be. Surrounded by the prayers of the congregation whether they were for me and this situation or something completely different.

This is painful. It hurts. I’ve been shaken to my core. Like I mentioned in my last post…I didn’t see this storm coming until it was already surrounding me. One place I went for comfort today was a book from the Irish poet John O’Donohue To Bless the Space Between Us. I’ve used this book of blessings many times over the years. For weddings, for thanksgivings, and for prayer. The last section of the book is “Beyond Endings. He talks in the introduction to the section how endings seem to lie in wait. How we can feel ambushed by them because we are too focused on the present to see the approaching ending. He talks about the contrast between the innocence and joy of how beginnings initially unfold and the soreness and protrusion of endings. Endings can quietly and irreversibly build within something, strengthening its grip on finality during each stage. When I look back on these last two months…I can see these things in greater focus now. Today, I’ve been reflecting and sitting with this blessing:

For the Breakup of a Relationship

Now you endeavor
To gather yourself
And withdraw in slow
Animal woundedness
From love turned sour and ungentle.

When we love, the depth in us
Trusts itself forward until
The empty space between
Becomes gradually woven
Into an embrace where longing
Can close its weary eyes.

Love can seldom end clean;
For all the tissue is torn
And each lover turned stranger
Is dropped into a ruin of distance
Where emptiness is young and fierce.

Time becomes strange and slipshod;
it mixes memories that felt
The kiss of the eternal
With the blistering hurt of now.

Unknown to themselves,
Certain small things
Touch nerve-lines to the heart
And bring back with color and force
All that is utterly lost.

This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.

This weekend has been tough. But I’ve got a community praying for me. I’ve got an army behind me. I’ve been given so much love and strength by friends, family, and strangers over the past few weeks. They’ve given me a place to cry, a place to vent, and a shoulder to hold on to. You are all there to help guide me through this storm and get me to the calm sea.

Thank you more than I could ever say.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/the-first-weekend/

Two months…

On March 12th, my wife told me the news that would take my then generally happy marriage to being over officially on May 4th. Of course there were things we could have used to work on before then, desires and needs we each wanted to improve (some of which actually overlapped). But the morning of March 12th, I did not see the storm coming that would build over the next 6-7 weeks and eventually drown our marriage.

In retrospect, I suppose there were signs that our marriage wasn’t as grounded as I thought it was. I won’t go into the details of what went wrong…or how things got to the breaking point. We both did things during those weeks that contributed to the breaking down of our union. I know I wish I could take back a lot of the things I said and ways I acted. I’m left to question if we had been able to get into couples counseling earlier if things could have worked out differently. Most likely they wouldn’t have though. One of the major reasons she gave me was that she didn’t believe we could change the way we communicated with each other enough to meet the needs she was discovering about herself.

Now I’m left with a sense of loss. The initial anger has passed. Sure there are still moments of it…but its mainly loss. I miss my partner of the last 8 years. I miss the life we had built together. I’m grieving the loss of our future dreams…the kids we had talked about having…the places we had planned to go…the life we had planned to live.

I will need to learn to love and be loved again. I will need to learn how to trust my heart to someone again. Its going to take time. I’ve not felt this kind of heartbreak before. My friends have been a great support though. Both my close friends and friends that I don’t know so well. People have done so much to help me through these trying days and I will forever be grateful.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/two-months/

There Will Be Time

In the cold light, I live to love and adore you

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/there-will-be-time/

cut flower

crossposted from one simple breath (a haiku community):

 

cutflower

Photo by Pathan Jomazo

beautiful flowers
grown with gentle care are cut
killed for our pleasure

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/cut-flower/