Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Don't worry, it's not contagious

I have recently come to the conclusion that I am too private of a person. I never would have considered this a bad thing until recently. I am getting a divorce. It was my decision and I know without a doubt that it was the right decision. Many people have trouble wrapping their minds around this concept and I think the main reason for that is because they didn't know or see the problems that we were having. I became so good at showing people what I wanted them to see that they must have got the impression that everything was just peachy. In hindsight, I realize that honesty and openness probably would have been better. It's amazing how people change when you tell them you are getting divorced. Some people look at you differently, some stop looking you in the eye. Some people no longer joke around with you about menial day to day stuff, and others keep the conversation to the bear minimum. But my favorite are the ones that disappear all together. Like I have some sort of disease.

Well, I'm going to do everyone a favor and clear up some details that I'm sure all of you were unaware of..until now.

Five years ago, we lived in Santa Cruz with my in-laws. Stop for a second and imagine the stress. We have a new baby, married a year and all squished into a small bedroom under someone else' roof with no jobs and no money. We decided to move up towards the Chico area and Cris found a job working as a hazardous waste technician. As we are reading the scope of the job and notice that it entails being on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays, I tell him that I don't like the idea. It was at that precise moment that he looked me in the eyes and said 'don't worry honey, it's only temporary. It's just going to get us up there so I can find something else'. I took him at his word. He is still employed there. Five years later, I've had to deal with calls coming in the middle of the night, middle of dates, middle of holiday celebrations, middle of kids' birthday parties, middle of his surprise party I threw him, among many others. I've had to deal with him going out of town for days on end, not answering his phone at times when I needed him the most. Such as when our dog was dying of parvo, when our new baby had croup, when there were creeps lurking outside our house, the list goes on and on and on. When he is out of town, there must be some unwritten rule that the guys have to go out for dinner and drinks and god knows what else. I've had the pleasure of hearing about threesomes with bartenders(supposedly, not involving cris), drinking to excess, inviting girls to drink with the guys, and even trying to go to 'ladies night' at a club. The amount of time, energy and happiness that this company has taken from me is indescribable. I had to form my life to be able to function without him. I couldn't ever rely on him for anything because he could be gone at a moments notice and his hours were too unpredictable. I know what many people are probably reading this wondering what the big problem was. Well, we were always attached at the hip from the beginning. We were each others life-line. This job, as any idiot could have foreseen, was going to be detrimental. As it stands now, I wonder all the time who that idiot was though. Cris was warned by me many times that this job of his was going to be the end of us. On the other hand, like a puzzle with an invisible solution, I find myself wondering if there was something I missed or should have done that was right under my nose. Now, lets take it back to a year ago. Actually, lets take it back to the first couple weeks of our relationship first. At one point in the very beginning, I told Cris that I had very strong feelings about strip clubs and strippers. I feel that if you are committed to the person you are with, then you shouldn't have to go look at live women do demeaning things with their bodies. You have a woman at home and you need to respect her. Once you are in a monogamous relationship, then you shouldn't seek that kind of satisfaction anywhere else. That's the point of monogamy. So, I told him that it was a deal-breaker in my mind. A year ago, in September, Cris was asked to be the best man in his best friend's wedding. I expressed my concern for the bachelor party and he assured me that it wasn't an option for him to be involved in anything involving strippers. The night of the rehearsal dinner, I am informed half way through my meal that Cris is going with the men to go bar-hopping for his bachelor party. The plan, unbeknownst to me, is for me to drive my 4 year old daughter and myself through the ghetto of Denver, at night, and back to our hotel. By myself, and low on gas I grab the keys and storm off to the car where he follows me and tells me that he will call me. I make it back to the hotel room where I stay up, physically ill, until 3am when he finally comes back. To spare everyone the lovely details, I'll give you the cliffs notes. He tells me that he went to a strip club, he paid for the groom to get lap dances, he drank, and he broke my heart along with the first promise he ever made me. He vowed to make it up to me and that he understood if I never forgave him. He was sweet and doting for a grand total of two days. Then it just petered off. It was a downhill slide from then on. Right up until the day our youngest daughter was born 5 months later. Yes, I was pregnant when he broke my heart and my trust.

Anyway, picture this: I just had a baby. She is perfect and beautiful just like the other two. She is only four hours old. I'm trying to fall asleep and have my eyes shut. He takes a phone call and I can hear him saying that it's ok, he will go take care of it and not to bother his coworker because he is 'with his family'. My heart is in my throat and I'm about to start crying. He then taps me on the shoulder and informs me that his work 'needs' him to go in for a few hours to load a trailer for the following day and to get some paperwork off his desk. I freaked out. I started crying and told him that I can barely walk myself to the bathroom, how am I going to be able to carry the baby from her bed to mine?? After telling me that the nurses will help, he puts on his passive aggressive front and tells me to forget it and he will stay. He went to bed and didn't say a word to me until the next day. Lucky him got to sleep through the night too. The best part is he told me in more or less words that nobody really had to 'hear about this'. He single-handedly took what was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life and turned into one of the saddest. It was on that day that I came to the conclusion that I was never going to be happy again. That I had signed a sheet of paper and trapped myself in the worst nightmare of my life.

In the end, I came to the realization that we both changed. And no matter what I tried, nothing was bringing us back to where we were ok. Cris changed in one direction, whereas I, lost myself. I woke up one day and realized that I was no longer the happy, carefree, and funny person that I once was. The more I tried to be me, the more I heard about how strange I was. Now, I don't think I'm a strange person, and to hear that from your partner, that's enough to make you question things. I grew tired of always having to hear of all the things that I didn't do right. All my flaws. How I had no sense of humor and wasn't funny. I stopped counting the days in between compliments and was actually shocked when I found myself telling him to tell me I looked pretty. The affection was gone. The resentment that I felt towards him every time he worked late, was unavailable during important times, and ignored me had built up. I could no longer find my way out of that resentment and back to the place where I loved him. It became a very lonely existence. I felt lost with no idea what to do. I even remember stopping and thinking to myself one day that I no longer felt excited when he came home from work or when he would call. My butterflies were gone.

When all was said and done, he didn't even fight for me. He was out the front door within 15 minutes and filed for divorce within two weeks. That's right, HE filed the papers. And he still hasn't shown any remorse or accountability for what went wrong. He will always and forever play the victim. It's what he's always been good at.

I look back through the last year or so and I can find numerous times when, if people were paying attention, they could have easily known that things were not good. But, in our busy society, do any of us really pay attention to the little details? All I know, is that it hurts that certain 'friends' form judgments towards me over something they know nothing about.