About my little "vent"
... very simply put... anytime I spend more than just a few hours with Jo, something is bound to go wrong between us. This time it was a very long car ride after two days of being at home with her, instead of being at work (I never thought I'd see the day that I curse an extended weekend, but now I have).
Still, allow me to start with some background info that leads upto where we are at the moment. This will take some time, and some of this is a bit more 'personal' than most of you are used to, but I think you're all mature enough to handle it.
I supose that our divorce has been building for a few years now, but I didn't notice (or didn't WANT to notice). I had plenty of clues, not the least of which was Jo asking me flat out, after the insurance settlement for the fire
came in, if I wanted to buy another house or maybe we should use the money to go our own ways. I thought we could work things out in due time, like we always have before, but I seem to be wrong about that. Truth be told, we never really worked out any of our problems. They just always seemed to take a backseat to whatever larger problem came up in our lives. Now that all of the other big problems have come to some resolution, we only have the one issue left, and it's not coming to a very pleasant resolution of it's own. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
Another clue came even before she had her gastric bypass surgery. As she spoke to the doctor about the proceedure and the effects that it would have on her, and how quickly she would lose both weight and size, she began to ask me strange questions. The one that kept coming back was about her breast size. She asked me, several times, what would I do if she went from her DD's to an A cup, as if there were anything I could do about it. It was like she was asking me if I would divorce her just because her boobs weren't as big and full as I'm used to them being. Which is ridiculous to me. Yes, I do like large breast, but not so much that I would divorce her for not having them. So I allowed the questions to go by without consideration of what she might really be getting at.
More clues came in later as she continued to lose weight very rapidly. She was getting healthier, feeling better, and feeling better about herself. Her self-confidence had improved greatly, and it showed in the amount of activities that she became involved in. She started to go out with her friends more often. Something that she hadn't done in several years, because of how uncomfortable she felt about her weight and size. It was a big change for her.
At first, it was a 'girls night out' thing, once a week. I knew the people that she was going out with so I had no problem. Most of them were either married or engaged, or in a serious enough relationship that none of them were out looking to 'score'. But there's still a level of flirtatious behavior among them, and I've always known Jo to be one of the most flirtatious of them all. She would come home and tell me about her 'night out'. The people she hung out with, the new people that she met, the girls tending the bar, the bouncers joking around with her and her friends, and even about the guys that hit on her (and some of the lines that these guys used were beyond pathetic). This has never bothered me because she has always made a point of reminding me that she always comes home to me. And quite often, coming home to me meant "no sleeping in this bed tonight" (sorry if that's too much info), which was probably the best reminder of all.
Then it became more frequent than one night a week. She'd be out two, or three times, in a week depending on who was going, and whether or not she had to be at work early in the day or later in the afternoon. Soon, her friends began to question the reason and frequency of her 'nights out'. Eventually she began to withdraw from these friends and started to find a new set of 'regulars' at the places that she went to. Rumors were beginning to circulate that Jo wasn't just flirting with some of the guys that were always around. But I've never been one to believe rumors, so I let them slide and denounced the people who were speaking them as 'high-schoolish'. I still have no reason to believe any of what had been said back then was more than a rumor. Besides, the more frequent 'nights out' meant more frequent 'coming home', and what man, who is married to a beautiful woman, is going to complain about that.
Then she met Sharon. At the time, Sharon was working at the Puff Discount Tobacco shop that was just up the hill and on the way to work (for Jo, that is). Jo would stop in to grab a bottle of iced tea, and a snack for work, and that's how they got to know each other. As Jo's other friendships began to fade, she became closer to Sharon. All of a sudden, the two of them decide that they should go hang out together sometime. So they did, but they didn't stay very close to home, at least, not our home. Sharon lives in a little town called Herminie, way out in the boondocks. A little red-neck town about a 40 minutes away from where we live.
This was back in late July, a few weeks later, in August, I'm being given an ultimatum about getting things done around the house or else we're going to end up getting a divorce. Jo basically told me that I had to stop procrastiating about doing things around the house, and that I need to show a little pride in our home. She informed me that after 17 years of me procrastinating, and putting things off, she wasn't sure that she could take another 17 years of it. But she failed to remember that 1) we've never really had the kind of disposable income necessary for me to get all of the projects that need to be done taken care of, and 2) I am not a 'handy' man. I know a lot of 'stuff', but that's all inside my head. There seems to be a breakdown somewhere between what I know in my head, and getting my hands to perform what I know they should be doing... at least when it comes to things like carpentry, and remodling.
I don't respond well to ultimatums (who does?), but this was my marriage we were talking about. So, I gave it a bit more consideration than I might have given it otherwise. I weighed out what it was that I thought Jo was asking me to do, and it all boiled down to this: I have to change something about myself, a personality trait (perhaps a character flaw) that is just as much who I am as my name. In weighing this out, I looked back over the 17 years that we had been together and saw numerous other changes that I had made in some effort to make her (us?) happy, and none of them had ever worked. Perhaps some of the ones that she deemed to be important were fairly short-lived, but the ones that I thought important were permanent. Finally, I said "No.". And that was all she needed to know.
She had decided that we would end it amicably, and uncontested. I would get to keep the house, she would get so much of the furniture and any of the decorative stuff that she wanted. We would share custody of the kids, and she wouldn't ask for any support. all in all, a good deal for me. Almost too good, but I'll get into that later.
It wasn't as if my decision was final as soon as I made my choice. It may have been possible to fix things within the following days, but I think Jo had already made up her mind, and this merely sealed it for her. In her mind, as far as I can tell, our marriage was now over. But I still entertained some notion of possibly saving it, I was just too angry to work towards it at the time.
Jo began to spend nights at Sharons trailer (yes, I said trailer... and a better poster-girl for "trailer-park-trash" you will never find). It was a lot easier than Jo trying to make the 40 minute drive home, especially if she'd had a few. And this was starting to bother me. As far as I could tell, she had begun to live as if we were already divorce... to some extent, anyway. At first this was nothing, but then one night (morning) when she did come home, I didn't like how things unfolded. I won't go into much detail about it, but I will say this. When Jo goes out, she has a routine that she follows upon coming home. Within this routine, which I am intimately acquainted with after being witness to it for 17 years, are some things that are easily picked up on... none of them were right on this particular night. And it left me with a multitude of unaswered questions and a slew of suspicions that remain to this day. But I've not shared any of this with Jo. I'm not sure if it's because I won't believe her, or because I do want to believe her, or even if it's because I just don't want to know for sure. In any event, the thought that she might possibly be 'seeing', let alone 'doing', someone began to haunt me. She is , after all, still MY wife.
But I've conveniently forgotten to place a few details that shouldn't be ignored, so I'll add them here. Back in September I recieved a late notice from the mortgage company. It was informing me that our mortgage was two months over due, and the third was not far behind. I went looking through our bills and found that none of them had been paid in the last two months. Like an idiot, I had allowed Jo to hold the check-book without ever questioning what was being done with the money. I trusted her to pay the bills and to keep food on the table and manage our money properly. But she wasn't. And to complicate matters I have no way of ever finding out what happened to any of it. Her favorite method of obtaining cash is to simply write a check to herself and cash it at the drive-thru window of our bank. Where the cash goes after that is anybody's guess.
I had to take a drastic measure to correct the wrong here. I immediately stopped my paychecks from being directly deposited into our joint account, and instead, I left her with a one hundred dollar "allowance". The remainder of my paychecks were now being deposited into one of my separate accounts, to which she has no access. Since then, I've managed to get most of our bills caught up. I still owe more than I would like to, but at least everything is staying on. I should actually be caught up completely by July.
Fast forward to recent events. Lately, Jo has been spending weekends at Sharons trailer. She's been coming home during the week days because of her externship at a hospital, but she still goes out a couple times a week. Anymore, when she comes home she will tell me how her weekend went. I've grown weary of hearing these stories.
They start out well enough, stuff that's been happening around the trailer, what Sharons kids are up to, that sort of thing. And then she'll tell me of how their friendship is being strained by Sharons reliance on her to help out with the kids, the cleaning, and other stuff. I admit that I take a somewhat sadistic pleasure in knowing that there is some strain in their relationship, but it's a short lived satisfaction because of the other details that she shares with me.
As it has always been with us, Jo still likes to tell me about her 'nights out'. This bothers me now because she is no longer coming home to me, especially not in the way that she used to. And I would be remiss to neglect to tell everyone that she's looking better and better. She insists on telling me about this 'young pup', or that 'old geezer', and anyone else that has shown her any interest (or as she has put it to Sharon, the guys that "... just want to get into her pants"). And while she has told me that she's "... not looking for anyone, or interested in anyone.", she has also told me that of some of the guys who've asked her out, her response has been "Not until my divorce is final.". I don't find such contraditions to be very reassuring. Now, combine all of this with the fact that she has also told the kids that she plans on starting to date right away, and you can see where I might get a little bit upset.
And that's why I get so mad. What man wants to hear about all the other men that are trying to score with his wife, especially at a time when she just might be a bit more willing if the right offer were to come along? It's also particularly disturbing that it really hasn't been so long ago that she and I were having some of the best sex of our marriage (sorry, again, if that's too much info). And I believe that she's aware of what she's doing. Just like I believe that she was trying to force the house into foreclosure so that she wouldn't be losing it in our "amicable" settlement.
And worst of all, if she were to ask... I'd take her back in a heartbeat. I know that I still love her, but I also know that we can't live with each other. So I'm dealing with that horrible conundrum of a love/hate relationship with someone that I have two beautiful childen with, and a lot of good memories... inspite of the rough spots.
I know that God has my best interests in mind. I know that things will work out for all of us, eventually. I just have to learn how to get past the pain and anger and resentment that I feel when she does the kind of crap that I've been talking about. In time it should get easier, but at the moment... well... you've read the earlier post
by now. I think you understand.
Labels: Divorce Sucks, Relationships