Friday, October 27, 2006


Well, apparently, that email did the trick, as I got my signed papers today. I confess that the finality of it all, seeing his signature and all that comes with it? Another small part of me died a little today. Sure, I got some stalling and avoidance to get them, but in the end, still no act of courage or depth. He had his personal assistant deliver them (ahead of our meeting today). I didn't file them, on advice of the loan folks, as I should probably wait until the loans are all closed. So another week of limbo. I'm used to it.

He came to the office today to discuss the professional matter. I hadn't seen him in weeks - maybe a month or two. As we discussed the issues, I realized that he probably will never do what he should do and will instead use the materials to force a quiet, tidy settlement of the matter. It won't achieve the just resolution or vindicate the parties who deserve vindication, but it will solve an immediate problem and no one will be the wiser for it. In short, he won't make the bold and decisive move but will pussy out. He will manage the problem and it will get swept under yet another rug. How incredibly disappointing, yet probably unexpected.

I know what I need to do -- I need to let go, even if it means not knowing if he ever finds the sack to do what a really good man would do. I need to let go of the desire to see him be the man I really thought and hoped he was. I need to cut off the contact and get back on the road going forward. I need to file the papers and let the 90 days run its course and get the decree. I need to feel all of this sorrow and sadness and loss completely and learn from it and emerge enlightened and hopeful and happy. I need to remember that I am NOT the first person who has gone through a divorce and far, far many others have had it far, far worse.

But for tonight, I am going to wallow in it and allow myself to feel sad and angry. How could anyone throw this -- me -- away? I feel so small and worthless -- am I not worth fighting for? Risk everything? Do anything to keep me -- this person who stood beside you and supported you in everything you did -- do anything to make it right?

Apparently not. And that truly sucks out loud.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What You STILL Don't Get


There is something surreal about you suggesting that I am getting wound up when we talk about certain issues as of late, as I have never exhibited the kind of rage and bullying that you did over the course of our marriage. I am just detached and tend to call it as I see it now, without any fear of reprisal from you. As I have said earlier, you always had the advantage on becoming irrationally and frighteningly angry and I would diffuse it with tears. I still have plenty of tears, but they aren't necessary to diffuse your episodes anymore. We aren't an "us" anymore and you took every action to make sure that we were done.

That said, I have an interest in you doing the right thing. I kept expecting you to do that over the course of the past year, but I had rose-colored glasses and an unrealistic assessment of your character. What is crazy is that I still went to the mat for you, getting SK suspended, getting websites pulled, etc. How one-sided was that? Mounting a defense for someone who couldn't be bothered to reciprocate. Always your staunchest and ruthless defender. What a thankless job that proved to be -- I really hope you never discover that your relationship is completely one-sided. You can't begin to understand that type of pain and hurt.

I don't believe a word that comes out of your mouth anymore, largely because you haven't told me the truth about a lot of things in a lot of years. More to the point, when you had an issue, I jumped and asked how high. When I had an issue, it was demoted to the lowest position on your priority list. You, of all people, can't imagine how demoralizing that is, as you bark orders to people you don't respect, including me. I am ashamed at how obedient and willing I was to follow your barked orders, as you didn't deserve my obedience and compliance. You gave absolutely nothing in return -- not respect, certainly not loyalty, and no semblance of honoring my loyalty to you.

Ever solution-oriented, here's what we'll do. You and I will both close on our respective loans next week, at the deal that I negotiated for us (after six weeks of bullshit with the idiot Jensen). I'll pay the debts we have out of my cash out and you'll do......whatever you've decided to do. As for the professional matter, I won't count on you at all. I'll give you what I have (and have had since last March, but hey, you have been busy) and you can make your decisions from there. I don't want to be involved in the drama anymore, as it is completely thankless and worthless. I don't want or need to be informed of anything -- you just play the role of Manager and toe the line. I've done what you have asked and want no part of the incompetence and impotence.

As for the divorce papers, well, I'll just hold my breath for another couple of weeks, until I get the phone call, most likely from J, telling me that they are ready for pick up.

I'm angry, B, and I deserve to be. You have been a really shitty friend to me, to say nothing of a husband, and the same cannot be said of me. This is an inevitable consequence of treating your wife, friend and marriage like utter shit. I have endeavored to take the high ground on all of this but I am more than entitled to throw a little anger in your direction.


Spent the past week in an old, familiar pattern -- solving B's problems and waiting for him to act on them. It is truly unreal to see it from this angle -- the "I'll be there at 3pm on Wednesday and we'll go over all this" -- only to see Wednesday turn into Thursday, turn into argument (although that felt good), turn into hanging up on me (ho hum), turn into a contrite phone call ("I am really sorry and want you to know how much I appreciate everything you've done for me and I'll really be there tomorrow"). How positively mundane this all is -- I can't even be bothered to care.

Except I do on this topic and it has nothing to do with B and I. B was a complete and utter coward this past year when it came to letting his company utterly screw my firm over. B was concerned about protecting his job, which is admittedly a grave concern, but it came completely at the expense of my firm's good name. It is entirely too long of a story, but suffice to say, B is a competent manager and a terrible leader. Reactionary. Pensive. Safe. Political. Chickenshit. That last one about covers it. Chickenshit. I didn't realize how much respect I had lost for him until I took a few steps back. I am apparently immune to the charm now, as all I see is a talker, not a doer. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, but almost always failing to live up to his word. What a really unattractive quality. I wonder how long I had been oblivious to it? No need in looking back, I guess.

I told him this a few days ago and it really hit home with him. Hard - especially the part about not being a good leader. He says he completely agrees and now he's going to do things differently. That was before he stood me up two days running.

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Yawn. He is remarkably consistent about that and I am an idiot for continuing to think he is going to be a man of integrity. If there is anything I am repulsed by, it is someone who can't walk the talk, so to speak. He didn't used to be that guy, but he sure as shit is that guy now.

I also solved the problem of the six week refinance thing -- to recap, he engaged our former loan broker who completely fucked up our loan six years ago. Outstanding. What is the adage about insanity defined as repeating the same mistakes? Hello, Mr. Insanity. Anyway, I was being shoved into this FHA deal where I would have to pay mortgage insurance (hello? $300K in equity, $150K loan?) and all sorts of related bullshit. B was on for 7.75% interest (stepping up to 8.1 for two years) -- just insanity. I called a different company on Tuesday and lo and behold, B and I got the same rate (6.25%, not an FHA thing) and I am closing on Tuesday. Yes, in one week, I managed to get shit done and better.

It was always this way. It really was. B got the credit as the problem solver, but that was really my function. I was B's personal assistant. Humbling, that.

As far as all of this is concerned, I am going to hand him over everything I have done for him in the past week (which, of course, is a continuation of everything I had done for him over the past year) and let him run with the ball, if at all. I was moving forward when I wasn't talking to him a few times a day about business and other matters and I want to resume that course of conduct. This will be hard, as I am emotionally invested in the outcome, but in the end, I don't have any faith in his character or his word and don't want to be on the edge of my seat, waiting for him to rediscover (or otherwise become) the man I really thought he was. He couldn't do the right thing over the past year, so I have no reason to believe that he will now. No matter what he says, as he is absolutely all talk. Disappointing and ugly, that.

On a more positive note, a friend got a promotion and a raise. Another friend is making strides in her personal relationship with a long term boyfriend. Another friend is celebrating a birthday this week. And I got my perspective back -- trying to help B is not unlike running on a treadmill. A lot of fucking effort to stay in place.

Oh, and I made a new friend. A month or so ago, actually, but rediscovered tonight. A month or so ago, P and I went to have sushi and were talking about my divorce and separation. I was just keeping it together, as things were really raw and the bartender overheard us. Turns out, he is in the exact same boat, relationship wise (okay, not exact, as it was a much shorter marriage), but he understands the emotional roller coaster. We completely bonded, exchanged emails and what not, but it sort of fizzled. P and I went back tonight and I re-bonded with the guy. We declared ourselves a pity party of two and resolved to help each other get through our respective crises. We laughed about how it is easier, seeing as I don't know anything about him and his soon-to-be-ex nor does he know anything about mine. Sometimes, that is exactly what you need -- just someone who knows just how sad and mad you are and doesn't try to give you a blueprint for what to do next. That is NOT a commentary on my friends who are stunningly supportive -- just a huzzah for virtual strangers with a shared sense of loss.

Oh, and for those of you keeing track at home? He STILL hasn't given me the signed divorce papers. It wasn't until this week that I realized that he harbors some hope of reconciliation. Denial --- it is a powerful river, apparently.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sucked Back In

Drama in B's life almost always constitutes an emergency in mine, even with all these checks and balances in place. Today, in the midst of a crisis at work, B had J call me (J being the person I suspect of betraying me in the worst way possible). I was curt and polite, but it became clear that there was something brewing that they needed me for. I so wanted to hang up the phone and say "deal with this shit on your own, big guy," but the peacekeeper and problem-solver in me won out. And I got sucked right back the fuck in all of that.

I took vented as I told Yoda (my boss) that I resented the fuck out of being called upon, yet again, to counsel and guide this incredibly dysfunctional and impotent group of people, including my soon to be ex who can't be bothered to give me the signed fucking papers, but I confess that I have some own crosses to bear in it and can't let them fuck it up as they usually do. The gall, however, enraged me. I guess I should take solace that it is something of a vote of confidence that when the shit really starts flying, they turn to me for advice. As superficially flattering as that is, I don't want the job. I don't want to slip into our usual pattern of me playing the role of supporting friend and spouse to whatever drama and conflict is in his life, as that is NO LONGER MY LIFE. However, because this particular issue affects me personally on some levels, I do want to work to achieve my desired result and have certain issues vindicated.

For reasons that I can't explain, I need to resolve this issue -- it affects me and justice requires it. On the other hand, I am not going to resume being his touchstone on these things. Being stuck in this tornado is the antithesis of moving forward and I don't want to lose momentum, however tenuous it is. I am just starting to realize a life really independent and different and while it saddens and hurts me, it can also excite me, as the possibilities are endless.

So my no-talk-to-B streak is temporarily suspended as I put out more fires and lead by proxy (as good as a politician that B is, he sucks at actual leadership). I would be lying if I didn't admit that I missed him a little and missed being out of the loop, but I really don't think that is my motivation right now. I want to tie up some loose ends that involve B and his company, and to some degree, those two are completely interrelated, as I do believe my marriage was significantly damaged by the dysfunction at that place. Perhaps this is still moving forward, albeit in a way I hardly anticipated or sought.

Also? I got my fucking Dyson today. w-to-the-00t!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Reality Bites

Today wasn't nearly as good of a day. For most of it, I was busy and with a client, who has her own drama to deal with and that is a good kind of distracting. One of the best pieces of professional advice I ever received came from an unlikely source (law professor, little professional experience). When a client has a legal problem, it is occupying 99% of their mental energies. For the attorney, that problem usually occupies a position of 10%, at best. So much of what I do is just listen to the client and let them vent their frustration and how they have been wronged and how the other person is just completely unreasonable. I think that is why I can't do that -- I know how that sounds.

I wrote a long post last night (twice, actually), but my laptop wireless connection crapped out and alas, it was gone. But writing it out felt great and it was probably repetitive on earlier themes. B called yesterday, promised the papers by today (*last night I said I really thought he was going to give them to me today) and how he alluded to major developments in his life, but that it was "probably nothing I would find interesting." It was a rare passive aggressive shot by B, as he usually goes for the "direct to the temple" approach to such things, but I diffused it by saying that it wasn't that I wasn't interested in it and he knew that.

I had asked him to remove me from his (other) company's website last week - -it alludes to our happy marriage and all that crap and given that he has a company event this weekend, it seemed silly to perpetuate the myth. Today, after speaking with the webdesigner on an unrelated matter, she tactfully stated that there had been a request to take me off the website. I cheerfully confirmed that, and minutes later, all traces of me were gone.

Weird how sad that made me, especially since I demanded it. Reality, she can be a cruel bitch at the worst times. I put my face in my hands and was ready for a good cry, but I was too tired and the subject too familiar. I guess there was a small part of me that wanted B to resist, not to remove all traces of me, beg me, whatever. I know I would never agree, but goddamn, I still want for that grand gesture. I know I'm never going to get it, so there's that loss as well. The loss of hope that one day, he will understand just what he cast aside.

Just as I am cultivating sources of support where I can find them, so is he, at least, I hope. I confess that I do miss him and miss our friendship and the direct way in which we spoke to each other. I am guessing he finally told his mother -- I am going to go down there and say goodbye in person, as she isn't a letter writer or reader and I need to say goodbye to her and all the hopes she had for me as the mother of her grandchildren. I know she believed in us in much the same way I did.

I stared at some of our pictures tonight, realizing that it is gone. Really, really gone. B&K are no more. I'm going to have to answer a lot of uncomfortable inquiries about it and I will take the high ground. But this is, obviously and without question, the worst breakup of my life. I loved him so deeply and unconditionally and that wasn't nearly enough. And it was probably misplaced, as he clearly didn't have the same loyalty to me and didn't believe in us the way I did. That kind of pain lingers and I just hope it doesn't linger for too long. I hate these waves of sadness and despair and failure and mostly hate how they rear their ugly heads when I least expect it.

14 years. I can't erase that history and won't even make an attempt. I was married to him for 12 and no amount of denial or wine will erase that from my memory. I guess I am just feeling sorry for myself, as I so wanted him to reach out and say "LET'S STOP THIS -- WE CAN WORK THROUGH ANYTHING" - even if I knew we couldn't. I wanted to be worth that futile effort.

* He didn't give me the signed papers today. There were likely more important things to be done. For those of you keeping track at home, it has been over a month that I have asked for him to give me the signed paperwork on an uncontested divorce. Fucker.

Friday, October 13, 2006


My "make yourself feel better" retail therapy purchase (not the Dyson, that has fucking practical uses) is a tobacco colored Marc Jacobs purse.

True to Form

Despite telling me he would get the papers to me today, they never arrived. I kind of wanted to file on a Friday, just in case certain reporters were still trolling for information (long story). I suppose I can wait until next Friday, which necessarily assumes he will finally get them to me. The delay is par for the course -- when B wants something done, it gets done immediately, but when I want something done, it cascades down the priority ladder. Maddening. I am trying very hard not to be the shrill, ball-busting ex, but goddamn it, I have been asking for these for a month and there are no fucking disagreements on the property settlement.

I also discovered today that my refinance is $6K more than I was told. Also maddening. I didn't get the chance to shop around and find the best rate, as I needed to refi as soon as possible so as to enable B to close on time. Which he didn't anyway because the mortgage broker is a tool. He also got in a motorcycle accident right in the middle of this and I am now dealing with his "associate." I am going to open up a can of serious whoop ass on Monday and get that figure down at least $3K.

I just bought an Animal Dyson! Hooray for retail therapy! Incidentally, since our separation, I have hired a housekeeper (weekly basis), purchased a Roomba and now a Dyson. I guess I adopted a little of that anal-retentiveness that irked the fuck out of me so bad during our marriage. I am NOT going to perpetuate the musuem-like feel, however -- I actually took out a few dollars to get some new furniture. I love most of it, but need to change things around so it doesn't look like our old home together. And I am going to get rid of that fucking chair that I never liked -- sofa king boring and useless. I am also going to recover those two awesome chairs that we always were planning on recovering. B wanted to do it in mohair, but I was always against it. Mohair looks nice but isn't comfortable or practical. There is probably a wise metaphor in that but it is Friday and I am le tired.

One of the things that I have been thinking about is my name. In the papers, you can check a box to go back to your maiden name (or any name, for that matter). It never occurred to me to change my name back. I have had this name for twelve years and I like it. But it is his name and that gives me some pause. Am I hanging onto the name because of my connection with him? I don't think so -- I think it is because this is the name I've had for so long, that so many friends associate with me, and the name I have used professionally. I don't think I am ready to part with it just yet, and certainly not before I file the papers (has to be checked then). If I decide later to go with a different name, I can ante up the filing fee and have it changed. As an aside, B changed to our last name shortly before we got married. He had used his stepfather's name growing up and, by the time we met, his stepfather was long out of the picture. B didn't want me to take that name, so he (well, I did it for him) filed the name change petition and went back to his birth name. So I guess, in a way, we both adopted it at the same time. It is almost both of our names.

Final thought -- when you are married to an Irish citizen (who is, by definition, a citizen of the EU), you are entitled to apply for Irish (and EU) citizenship. I had always planned on doing that and think I still might, at least while we're still married (unless it will delay the divorce). I may one day desire to live abroad and would like to enjoy the benefits of that citizenship. It seems like an acilliary benefit to my marriage that I would like to use. The only thing that bothers me is that B never used our marriage as a means to get U.S. citizenship (and his reasons were downright silly), so it seems incongruous for me to use our marriage as means of obtaining EU citizenship. I think I can get over that one.

Plus, it would really fuck up my internet logins.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Basic Instinct

I touched on this yesterday but am really starting to get a handle on it. As I regain control over my emotions and start to feel somewhat strong again, my thoughts turn to B and how he is doing. I am not really talking to him now, as he doesn't respond to my emails and I don't usually answer his calls. I have more control over my thoughts when I write them down and reread them and at least for now, I can better communicate what I need to say in text, rather than voice. When we speak, I tend to revert to our usual roles and I find myself being his friend. And I probably shouldn't be his friend during this, as he certainly hasn't earned my friendship during the latter years of our marriage and separation.

This will be an ongoing struggle, as part of my rational brain wonders if it is necessary to completely separate our lives. That seems so drastic and yet, for almost every other divorcing couple, probably the only decision. It is surely telling that this is even a struggle for me. I am not under any delusion that I was the perfect wife and friend -- far from it, in truth -- but I was certainly a good friend to B over our marriage. I was his touchstone for the big issues and I don't know that he is actually talking to anyone about this divorce. I can't believe that I am still worried about B and whether he will emerge from this a better man, but I am. I want him to be happy, satisfied and at peace, no matter where he is or what he is doing. I don't (at least today) wish him any ill wil.

I have to believe that a complete separation of our lives is necessary for both of us, but especially for him. Our two-year separation wasn't nearly what it should have been. We generally spoke almost every day, I handled legal and personal matters for him and I was a continual source of support. That did nothing to help our marriage -- he got the benefits of our marriage without any obligation and gave absolutely nothing in return. He was still part of the "B&K" duo, at least publicly, while I gave up any semblance of that, save for our public events. I didn't discuss our separation with any of our mutual friends (save that one fucking bitch) and I played along with the myth that we were headed toward reconciliation.

I guess what I realized (and what many a wise friend told me then) is that B didn't have the opportunity to miss me or our friendship or marriage during the separation. Hell, I was in contact and in the loop enough that I didn't miss him the way I do now. Delayed suffering, I guess -- denial is a hell of a drug. We prolonged this for entirely too long, neither one quite ready to pull the plug. Now that we're finally doing it, I think it needs to be a clean break.

As much as it goes against my instinct to support and nurture B, I know that it needs to be a complete and utter separation. No sharing of war-stories -- we're both going through closings right now and when I answered his call today, we ended up chatting about his interest rate vs. mine, etc. I abruptly ended that conversation (he did say he would get the divorce papers to me tomorrow) and I could hear the exasperation in his voice when I didn't engage in further conversation. B wants me to behave during this time as I did during our separation and that was detrimental to both of us. I can't be the "cool ex-wife" as the counterpart to the "cool wife."

He has to experience the loss and learn from it. I have to keep my boundaries clear and not revert into the role of the supportive friend and spouse. B&K no longer exists. I will no longer be B's wife or part of that team. And I have to remain steadfast in separating our lives as much as possible. I guess what I've realized is that I have to surrender both the marriage and the friendship, even when it goes against my instincts to be a good friend to the man I married.

He hasn't earned that friendship as of late and, at least in the long run, I wouldn't be doing him (or me) any favors by making this incredibly painful and sad time easier on him. I'm going to be a better person when all this is said and done and I hope he will too. Just not with my help. Even if so much of me feels like I should.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Out of Practice

It occurred to me today that I haven't broken up with anyone since I was 20 years old. I am now 35.

Back then, the primary concern was "am I ever going to find someone I like as much as this person I am breaking up with?" That sentiment seems sort of quaint now, as most of my contemporaries are building their lives with their spouses. Back then, no one knew what the hell we were doing and we were sort of bouncing from potential long-term relationship to potential long-term relationship. Hell, during our marriage, I knew a lot of single people who were always lamenting about the dearth of available men. I was sort of indifferent to that whole concern then, but have a new appreication for it now. Starting over at 35 was never in my game plan, but life is what happens when you are preparing for something else.

I am not even the least bit interested in dating or whatever. I would love to rediscover or find some male friends who I can hang out with and have platonic outings, but truth be told, dating is the farthest thing from my mind. I am not yet the woman I want to be and I don't want to get involved with anyone while I am getting my shit back together. Now is a time for friends, not replacements and I would be a horrible girlfriend to anyone right now. I fully intend to take some unapologetic "me time" and travel, read, spend time with friends and rebuild a lot of things that have been shattered.

What is different when you break up after a long (10+) year relationship is the mourning (cheesy? hell yes ! OPRAH!) and disentangling of the life you built over that term. That involves some serious pain and reflection and rage and sorrow. Back then, it meant getting your sunglasses and favorite boxers back from him. Now, it means almost erasing a decade long history together. Separating stuff from memories and realizing that you will always have the latter, no matter how hard you try.

I take a walk almost every night around Lake Union, where we lived most of our life together. I walk past our former regular haunt, the boatyard where that crazy thief ran off to, our first home, our former coffee haunt, his workplace, our friends' breakfast joint, where we got married, and a thousand other different memories. I need to remember that these aren't only "our" memories, but also milestones of my life. I told myself the other night that I need to forge a new route, as I've been walking around this lake for almost a decade. I may well do that, but until a blaze a new trail, I can see all of those milestones of my life, not just sad reminders of days gone by.

One of my best friends tonight remarked that she believes B and I will be friends again, someday. I remarked that one of the hardest things about this whole thing is that I am worried about B -- he has many, many buddies but few friends. I am who he would talk about this, if it didn't involve me, and I know for certain he isn't discussing us with his closer friends. It is part of the reason I don't want to talk to him on the phone -- my instinct, my pattern -- is to help him through it all and ease his pain. Truth is, I don't want to make this easy for him. I don't want to make it really difficult, but the friend in me (and the really pissed off, soon-to-be-ex-wife) wants to make him feel the loss.

If P is true and perhaps one day we will be friends, then my conduct now is constructive. As I am fond of saying, those who don't learn from their history and mistakes are bound to repeat them. I do wish for B happiness and peace and he won't get it until he realizes just how valuable and meaningful a relationship he pissed the fuck away. I don't want to live in a world where he is unhappy -- I've loved him far too long to wish that upon him, even after all of the indignities. Despite everything, I do believe I was once married to a great man and I hope he can rediscover or relearn all of those traits that made me love him. I hope the same for me -- that I can once again become the kind of woman that garnered the love and affection of a great man.

I am woefully out of practice but am willing to do the work.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

An Apt Observation

You take your humor where you can find it in these sorts of situations, particularly when you realize something obvious has been staring you in the face.

B and I didn't fight about normal things, at least, as far as what I've heard. We rarely fought about money, although interestingly, we sort of are now ("you take this", "no, it isn't mine, you keep it"). Looking back as objectively as I can these days, we fought about (1) cleanliness of the home (I might have mentioned he likes things to look like a museum, not a home); (2) what to do investment-wise (I am pretty conservative and hard to sell on riskier propositions, he flies by the seat of his pants with a better-than-average success rate)' (3) emotional vs. physical intimacy (this one will need to be fleshed out later, as right now it seems too personal to even write down) and (4) social things -- it was bad if I had a few drinks, it was not if he did (another topic to be more fully explored later). In any event, our fights usually culminated with me in tears and him sort of apologizing later. I diffused tension with tears, although they were usually appropriate.

What this brings me to is our current means of communication. For a while there, I was an utter wreck and couldn't make it through the day without a really powerful sob session. This was exacerbated greatly by telephone conversations with B in which we discussed practical matters, as the indifference I heard in those discussions was gut wrenching. Whatever strength I was mustering, it would dissolve upon talking to him. I can't explain why -- I just have loved him for so long and always believed that we could weather anything. I guess it was an unanalyzed "love will conquer everything", but with a little more reality. We built a life together, a rich life, and I couldn't imagine dismantling it like we are now. I couldn't imagine that he would want to abandon all of that, either.

To regain some semblence of comtrol, I started emailing him and designated that as my preferred means of communication. I have control over my emotions and thoughts in that medium and can start and stop as needed. I have posted many of those emails here -- in fact, I usually wrote them here first, just to collect my thoughts. I got out some healthy rage, pain and hurt in those emails, but in a more productive way (most of the time).

The first one I sent was the Top 10 list about how to communicate with me. To say it provoked a reaction is quite an understatement. In the 14 years I was with B, I don't think I ever was that direct and never did I have that palpable of rage in any communication with him. He called me three times before 8am and I finally answered on the third call. He was angry, defensive and probably a host of other emotions. He kept saying "that was a fucked up email....I have never read such a fucked up email and I've read a lot of fucked up emails....." Yadda yadda yadda. I finally asked him which part bothered him the most (I knew the answer) and he said he wanted to talk later. I was on my way to work, but when I got to the office, I emailed him and told him there was really nothing more to talk about and that we just needed to move forward with the divorce.

He responded to my email about dividing up the art collection (also posted here) with a plea to talk on the phone again. He said he hated that email and apologized for the pain and hurt I was enduring. I didn't want to talk to him, as the time prior, I broke down in tears again. B had told me that he would communicate with me however I wanted, but after that one, he didn't want me to email him again. Oh well.

I emailed him again (posted here - the Finish Line one) and he didn't respond. I waited until today and emailed him twice about wanting our signed papers and other remaining items. His response? To call me. We communicate about as well during this as we apparenty did during our marriage. I want to talk via email, as it affords me a place to separate emotion from practical matters, and he wants to get me on the phone, where I revert to his best friend.

The number one killer in relationships is communication. Here, I want to communicate via written words and he wants to do it via voice, where I am vulnerable.

That is funny shit and I can't believe I never noticed it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

With Friends Like These

Today wasn't as good of a day, but then it was. Never underestimate the healing powers of a good, long, vigorous walk.

One of the things you always hear about when a couple divorces is the allocation of the mutual friendships. When the divorce is acrimonious and public, these lines are neatly and boldly drawn. With us, it was much quieter. We have been separated for over two years and we still maintained a somewhat public front, although it became one of the worst kept secrets. Known, but not discussed. I pledged that I would not air our dirty laundry or otherwise gab to our mutual friends. I never, EVER wanted to be that kind of a woman -- who politicized the friendships and made them choose sides.

I am still proud of that decision and will steadfastly adhere to it, but it came at a cost. I isolated myself from any and all of our mutual friends during the past two years, save for one, who ended up betraying me in the worst way imaginable. Perhaps partly owing to his profession and position, but largely owing to who he is, B did not isolate himself and was still quite visible to our friends and did not surrender anything socially. I don't know when he began telling them we were separated, but because we were once a very visible pair, I think it was inevitable. B is a hard guy to dislike, so I would hazard that some of our mutual friends drew their own conclusions. I have no interest in reshaping any of those conclusions.

What it did make me really think about was the age-old cliche about discovering who your true friends are in a crisis. We've had friends who have split before us and I almost always took the position of neutrality or, more often, avoiding them both. I know now that that was a mistake, at least in some of the cases. I wish I had reached out to some of my then-divorcing friends, as I imagine a few of them feel the way I do -- not wanting to rehash the divorce or the reasons therefor, but just wanting to know that not EVERYTHING has failed. That notwithstanding their loss of a relationship, our friendship was still intact. When all is said and done with all of this, I am going to make a few overtures. And it also needs to be said that many of our mutual friends have reached out to me but I rejected them because of the shared affections. Dumb.

But all that said, I keep coming back to a recurring theme. People really show their committment to a friendship when the going gets tough. And I am not now speaking about mutual friends -- I'm talking about my own friends that have no connection to B. I have been both disappointed and pleasantly surprised by my friends. For the most part, I have great judgment in friends and for that, I am both proud and thankful. I can't tell you how many times I've received something at work from Andrea, just to let me know she was thinking about me and wanted me to know that. That kind of thoughtfulness and friendship is something I will continually strive for.

And today, I finally told the boys from ND. I have three really good male friends from ND and these guys -- these men -- they humbled me today with their friendship and love. I hadn't cried in a while (yes, at this point, you measure your days by tears or the lack thereof), and Sean moved me in a great way. These three guys, and Sean in particular, are what most would describe as "frat boys" -- love to party, love to dance, love the ladies, everything is fun, light and breezy. While I have been the shoulder to their issues in the past, I never leaned on them for anything. I was the cool chick who drove them home when they were drunk, stopped them from stupid drunk hookups, was a silent companion when they just didn't want to be alone, and pumped them up when they were having an off day.

Sean sent me an email today that showed our friendship was a lot deeper. Sean is (fuck, I am terrible with ages) maybe 30 (he was a baby in law school) but he has a maturity and kindness of men twice his age. I just want to thank him for showing me that. The woman who marries him (and I think he's with her now -- but he won't even consider that until I meet her -- long story) will have a great man for the rest of her life. School B (one of the other two) is already married and ToD (the other one) just got engaged. There were a lot of shitheads in law school, but I am proud to know these three. And thankful that all three of them have demonstrated that it was more than just an older sister thing -- that when I needed a net of sorts, they were more than willing to step up and catch me.

I have done just fine in the division of friends department.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

We Are Family

I am so very lucky to have a family that, despite our oddities, can rally and support one another.

Also? I love my dad. Truly one of my biggest fans and supporters.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Eternal Optimist

I never really considered whether I was an optimist -- I just knew I wasn't a negative person. I think I was always a generally positive person and certainly easy-going and even tempered. I was never the chick who started crying when she drank (I'm a happy drunk) and I wasn't prone to teenage angst. It was probably a whole coping system, but there it is.

I have had a better week. Not nearly as weepy as last week and not nearly as volatile in terms of wildly contrasting emotions. Part of it is that I have tried to assert control over these things and organize it mentally -- if I need a good cry, fine, but no more than necessary. Wallowing and obsessing are not productive and right now, I need to be productive.

I confronted some outstanding issues (taxes, to be one) and as it turns out, nothing is ever as bad as we imagine it to be. The tax thing is cool like Fonzie and no longer taking up valuable space in my "need to worry about," red-velvet roped area of my brain. It is amazing how much time and energy can be wasted on worrying about the unknown. It is fucking unknown -- such a waste of quality brain cells. In any event, I nearly skipped out of there and felt twenty pounds lighter. I found myself smiling and hopeful and realized that for the first time in a while, I felt good. That is the upside of depression and rage -- when it lifts, you can feel it and that feeling is fantastic. I have no delusions that I'm through the worst of this and know that there will be setbacks again, but asserting control over things I can control? That is better than any pill or drink.

On the way to work this morning, I saw a girl clad in some plastic wrap, and she wasn't some Project Runway reject. She had fashioned some plastic tarp into something approximating clothing and her tennis shoes were literally on their last threads. The sight really took me aback and I was suddenly really ashamed for all of my angst and pain. Yes, it could be yuppie guilt, but I don't think that is the extent of it. There is a lot of pain and suffering everywhere and the degrees are pretty staggering. It is funny -- B used to react to my rare outbursts with this sentiment. "There are people starving in the world, people who don't have law degrees or family members who are there to catch you when you fall and yet you think you have it bad?" I hated it when he did that, as it completely belittled whatever I was feeling. But there is truth and wisdom in those dismissive words.

This loss, these profound feelings, all of it is real and hurtful, but in the grand scheme of things, I am much to be thankful for. I have some really amazing friends and family who would do anything for me if I asked. Andrea has been a touchstone for the past year and we have a growing and deepening friendship that I absolutely know will last a lifetime. My aunt Arlene, as always, remains my core -- my family -- and the place that feels like home. My sister, from whom I am often estranged, has offered unconditional support and has become a most unlikely source of advice and strength. My brothers and I have spoken more in the past month than we probably did all last year. I am one email away from having a breakthough with my parents -- I can feel that -- and I can't wait to talk to my dad.

I am really fucking lucky to have these people in my life and I don't know that I would have fully realized it had my marriage not come to a successful conclusion. Yes, it sounds glib, but that is my positive spin. It is superficial and masks a great deal of pain, but fuck it, I like it. I have a beautiful home, a great dog, a job (and boss) that has allowed me to have my meltdown, friends and family that really give a shit, and, most of all, I have a character that will emerge from this new and improved.

I hope that B has all of these things as well. As odd as it may sound, I am more worried about him. He is a flawed, but he is a good man. Just no longer my good man. This will sound weirder, but I am pained that I am not being a good friend to him right now. A few weeks ago, I didn't think it was possible for us to have anything approximating a friendship but I feel differently now. It will probably change, but right now, I wish that I could sit down with him and talk about this situation as a disinterested party. Yes, I realize that isn't possible and it might be the endorphins talking (5 mile walk, anyone?), but I hope he gains something good out of this and becomes the man I always believed he could be.

It feels good to feel good, or better, is all I'm saying.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The (high) Road Ahead

Continuing on my touchy-feely entry last night, I am trying to focus on the positive things and set forth a plan to becoming the woman I want to be. It sometimes seems easier to focus on the things I don't want to be, but here's trying something new. This is probably going to be a thinly veiled indictment of how I contributed to the failure of my marriage, but at least it is framed in forward-thinking terms.

1. Openness: I project a great deal of self-confidence and self-assuredness. It isn't a misleading projection but it often masks the issues that are troubling me. I am not one to open up about things that are bothering me and instead internalize them and/or deny them. This results in more troubles and internal stress, which leads to isolation and escapism. I don't want to become a person who overanalyzes everything out loud but I do need to reveal the chinks in my armor. I cannot always be together and I need to rely on my sources of support.

2. I want to feel equal in every relationship I have and not feel intimidated by a power differential or more vocalized emotions. If I'm pissed off, I want to express it in a constructive way and I want the freedom to do that without reprisal. I know that there are consequences to such expressions, but I want to form relationships where the consequences aren't so unknown. I want to be treated the way I treat people.

3. I want to stop relying on self-medication when I feel silenced. I drank entirely too much over the past couple of years, often using wine as a sleep aid or numbing element. I enjoy wine and want to return to a time where I enjoyed it for taste, not for its potential to help me escape whatever emotions I don't want to feel.

4. I want to rejoin my profession and build a fantastic practice. I have sort of maintained the status quo and put little effort into becoming the attorney I really want to be. No one ever got anywhere maintaining the status quo and I know that I am really good at what I do. I want to make a name for myself as a skilled, reasonable and enjoyable to work with attorney.

5. I want to spread my interests around and engage in activities that I enjoy socially and recreationally. I want to play soccer again, run my five races a year, go on weekend hikes with my dog, resume my culinary tour of Seattle and beyond and travel to all those places I want to see again as an adult.

6. I want to nuture my friendships and deepen them. I want to be a friend by example, as I still believe that you are the best example for demonstrating how you want to be treated. In the course of the past two years, I have really let some friendships go and I want to rehabilitate them. There is nothing, NOTHING, like an unqualified apology to get things started.

7. I want to regain that energy that I once had -- that made people want to introduce themselves and get to know you. This includes taking an interest in other people and engaging them on things they want to tell you about themselves. It means being the kind of person you yourself would want to get to know better and develop a friendship.

8. I want to be more organized and equipped to deal with setbacks in a non-self-medicating way. Confront the big issues, not just avoid and hope they work themselves out. Nothing ever gets solved that way and I know better.

9. I want to learn how to solve more problems myself and not keep throwing money at people who can do it for me. I'm not quite ready to give up the cleaning gal, but I do need to tell her how to do it the way I want. If I do pay someone to help me, I need to be able to say "do it this way, please."

10. I want to reclaim the joy in life. I am truly a happy person, but I have forgotten how to suck the marrow out of life. I need to relearn that and rediscover the little things that enrich my life.

Additional action items: dog has attachment issues and needs to find her own independence; want to buy a house in a year or so, preferably one with a yard; I want a Dyson; I have some really old and stupid credit things that I just need to clear up; I WILL quit smoking in the next six months; I WILL go back to the gym on a daily basis and nourish a sound body and mind; I will return to my reading regimen; I WILL reclaim my social life and start attending things that I avoided like the plague in the last couple of years; volunteer for things things that I feel passionately about and give of myself to others; I WILL become a parent, either by foster, adoption or perhaps even biologically.

It is quite a list and Rome wasn't built in a day, but I am hopeful that I can become the person I want to be. I really look forward to hanging out with her.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Marital Gains

It is a good thing there aren't taxes on this, although my marital gains are largely priceless. I am a better person for having married and loved B and I need to remember that. I am leaving this relationship a richer person and that has nothing to do with finances. I have found that it helps to focus on the positives in this and always keep your eyes looking forward. I do need to take responsibility for my failures in this relationship, but tonight? I want to think about more positive things and how, even in this really difficult period, I can still appreciate how much I gained from my relationship with B.

I was so young when we married and didn't really know who I was. That wasn't helped by being "B's wife" for the past 12 years, but over the last few years, I have really started to examine who I am and who I want to be (and how to get there). I realize that because of B, I like who I am and who I am becoming and who I will eventually be. Setting aside all of the pain, hurt and rage, I get to walk away with the following:

  1. Generosity - not just of money, but of heart. Although I was rarely the recipient of his emotional generosity, B taught me how to live outside my own world and give of myself to others. I can isolate with the best of them but he doesn't. Ever. B cultivates relationships with a long term view (yes, I appreciate the irony here) and never forgets a face or a story. As gregarious as I am, I can be remarkably self-centered in my thinking and by his example, I am better at connecting with acquaintances. It is a work in progress, but I am better for his example.
  2. Staying in motion: Moving every two years of my life, you would think I already knew this, but in reality, I tended to nest and stick with the status quo (hell, this is turning into my confessional about my faults in the demise of our marriage). I am a creature of habit, to say the very least, and left to my own devices, would follow the same routine day after day, week after week. By watching and learning from B, I slowly managed to break away from my comfort zones. B simply cannot sit still and that was utterly frustrating but am am better for his shove to my inertia.
  3. Appreciation of family: This one is hard, as B has a different appreciation for family. He feels responsible for his mother and he generally throws money at the problem, rather than any direct emotional involvement. In some ways, I used our marriage as an escape from my family but they continue to astound me with their support now. B never bonded with anyone in my family and had no interest in sitting around, shooting the shit with them. I ignored that flaw for entirely too long and am so very grateful that I have such a loving family who would do anything to see me happy and can overlook my absence and indifference over the past twelve years.
  4. Thinking outside the box: Lordy, this is a big one. My dad is very much a "play-by-the-rules" kind of man and I was certainly an adherent. B has no concept of the box and is truly an entrepreneur at heart. Because of him, I live in both worlds now -- I can see and think in the box, but also can find solutions and unconventional opportunities because I learned from him. My dad did say, when B asked for my hand in marriage, that I had met my match in terms of smarts. You never have to worry about B - he will create opportunities even when the horizon seems utterly bleak.
  5. Cleanliness and the importance of an orderly home: I admit it - I was a packrat when I met him. B is......not. On a scale from one to ten, where one is a horder of the Jerry Springer order and ten is an OCD-freak cleaner, I was probably a three when we first met and married, and he was more of an eight by the end. I am now a more balanced six, I think, and appreciate how an orderly home helps focus the brain. I also now understand how a three hour cleaning session can be good for the soul.
  6. Taste: Truth be told, I had little to none when we married. I didn't think about it too much one way or the other and certainly had no vision. Hell, I remember when we bought this condo, I thought it move-in ready. B spent months getting hardwoods, concrete countertops and slate installed. He picked out almost everything in this place, with little if any objection or input from me. He was better at it, but I paid attention. I paid attention on a lot of things (and others, not so much), but I learned from him.
  7. Taking care of your belongings: I grew up a little overprivileged, at least by his standards, and things and objects were replaceable and/or reparable. I would park where I wanted, oblivious to door dings, never wash the car unless the mood struck and ignore coffee stains, trash, and whatnot. When you work for what you purchase and realize that you are trashing your own hard-earned dollars, you treat stuff better. B is still an 11 on a scale from one to ten, but I'm now more of a seven on that scale.
  8. Indulgences (food): Ingrained in my brain is a host of foods I can't eat because I'll get fat. I can't think of the last time I ate dessert, but that was always B's favorite course. If B had a craving for pizza, he ate pizza. Not everyday, but if it sounded good, he went for it. I need to eat dessert more, scale be damned.
  9. Nurture your long term relationships: Yes, again, I am struck by the irony, but B doesn't have temporary relationships (yeah, I know). B has a group of friends he has known since he was a teenager and, as a third-culture kid who moved all the time, relationships for me tend to be nomadic. I maintain them much better now and understand how those relationships help to define us.
  10. Partnership: I believe in it. There is no set formula and all couples are different in terms of their boundaries and operations. I can walk away from this knowing that I was always his partner and biggest supporter. I just know that the next time? I want someone like me, who is somewhat like him, but more dedicated and loyal to the marriage. I want as good as I can give.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Finish Line

At mine, it is just me, crossing the line.

I don't want anything relating to your career efforts. Yes, they clearly contributed to our demise, but that was your decision, not mine. I would have loved to have you engaged in our daily life, or planning vacations (we took two, first on our honeymoon, second on our first anniversary), but that wasn't in your plan or priority base. Yes, I spent a lot of time on your career efforts, but those were for our long term gain, not mine. Whatever you get for severance and retirement, it surely comes at the expense of us. However, you made that allocation. Everything was more important than us. I was relegated to a positition lower than the aquarium guy or the media guy. You earned your severance. You worked hard for it.

Please just make this easy. I don't want a commitment for fighting for you legally. You alone have the tools and the bargaining position and I've heard you make it. They can't afford a world with a less-than-happy-B and you know it. Take half and put it into trust for your mother. I am not here to claim anything that doesn't belong to me and you earned it, at the cost of your marriage. It isn't the only charge on that bill, to be sure -- you did more than enough to ensure that our relationship was over and done.

Just sign the papers and let the clock start. I don't think we can do anything in three months to save what you ignored in the past two years. You seem to think I was threatening to get more money out of you. You utterly missed the point. When you hire divorce attorneys and private investigators (two years ago, I might add), they coach you on how fighting dirty and pubicly will get you peace. Truth is, it doesn't. I wish I never looked at that fucking envelope that I commisioned two years earlier. But I don't want to become that person who fights to get peace. Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity.

I don't want any money out of you. I am refinancing the house to include a new car purchase, as I know that if you were sincere about the new car thing, it would have happened months ago. The good news is that the tax bill is probably smaller, so you can keep more of your bonus. I don't think we will need more than $30k, especially after I pay them a little now.

Just arrange through Damian a time to get the artwork and other stuff you want and I will make every effort to accomodate him.

I also need to know about your closing, as it affects me. I'm on a rapid fire and really expensive re-finance (as I need to accomodate your needs) and I also am trying to get the hell out of town this weekend. I wish I had had the opportunity to shop around on that whole refinance thing, but realize you want to close on your purchase.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Material Mementos

I have really been struggling with the issue of dividing the art collection. It seems ridiculous to quibble over such things right now, although it is pretty tame quibbling. Both of us seem willing to walk away from the issue and let the other have it. But the underlying issues are worth exploring.

On one hand, I am (again) hurt that he has tried harder to hold onto the collection than to me and our relationship. He isn't trying that hard for the art collection, but there is more effort directed toward salvaging that than us (although I realize we cannot be salvaged). On that same hand, I am just starting to get control of these profound feelings of loss, sadness and rage and may be making decisions from the wrong state of mind. To me, most of the pieces in the collection tell a story -- about us, where we were at the time, the cirucmstances of acquiring it, where it would fit in with our home, where it might be displayed in a future home, etc. To me, they are mementos of our life together, which has died a premature death. Am I holding onto those mementos because they are reminders of our now non-existent life together? That can't be healthy.

On the other hand, I am not responsible for this collection. I didn't pick out a single piece as far as I can remember -- most of them just appeared because B loved them and wanted them. He collected them, not me. Today he said something like "well, of course I like them or I wouldn't have collected them." In the next breath, he said "but, they are just material objects and not worth fighting over -- you can have them."

They aren't just material objects to me, they are mementos of the life we had together. As I walked my dog tonight, I thought a lot about that. Almost everything in my home is a memento of our life together because B picked most of it out. I have already been mentally redecorating to give this place my personal touches and change it so that it isn't a daily reminder of a life that no longer exists. Is the artwork so different? I don't think so -- just more personal, and probably all the more reason to give it to the person to whom it belongs. It once belonged to us, but there is no more us. The artwork is, to some extent, the story of us, but I think that is just how I regard it. I don't think he thinks of it in that way, but rather loves each piece for the reasons that he collected it.

I think I have decided to keep a few key pieces that hold special meaning to me and let go of the "story of us." I don't know that I am ready to do it, but think I probably need to be. No one moves forward and gets on with their life when they are holding onto relics from the past. I so desperately want peace and happiness and contentment and know that the only way to get there is to move on and accept what is lost.

He can have the material objects. I will desperately miss their beauty and all that they remind me about a happier, more hopeful time. But they don't belong to me anymore and probably never did.