Exhaustion.

Tania El Koury at Forest Fringe Weekender

Image by TheArches via Flickr

That is the best word for what I’m feeling now.  Exhaustion.  I’m mentally and physically drained.  Even the blogging the last few days has worn me out.  It seems that each new day brings something else for me to stress over and worry about.

Here’s the latest drama (and let me apologize for my continued rant.  These are password protected so that not everyone is exposed to my daily dose of insanity.)

The X and I have had a (mostly) friendly working relationship since the separation.  Though it has taken some time, and a lot of convincing on my part, he now realizes that this is the best thing for everyone including the kids and that what he needs to do is to focus on himself and get some therapy.  He had a “plan.”  He was going to get a job, go back to therapy, take some anger management classes, get his license back, save his money and move back here to Virginia to be closer to his kids.  With a little help he was looking at the positive sides of being single, of how to maximize all his free time into something productive.  And then.  And then.

And then comes the morning when my email inbox is FILLED with message after message from him.  From 10 pm until nearly 4am the next morning.  Wedding pictures with the caption ” this was the best day of your life.”  Long, rambling emails filled with how he cannot live without me.  His insistence that we try again.  Long plans about how we should stay separated and get couples counseling to fix this.  Lines about how he “knows” that I still love him, that I want him back.  Interspersed with all this is the usual blame.  If I had just done/not done than we wouldn’t be here.  I should’ve/could’ve/would’ve.  It’s still all my fault, and its my job to fix it.  I made it through half of his tirades before I gave up.

We were back to square one.  Again.  Then came the emails asking me why I wasn’t responding to his emails.  I sent him one, very brief reply which turned around and bit me in the ass.  My reply wasn’t long enough.  I didn’t answer his questions.  Was I ten?  Could I not hold an adult conversation?!  I didn’t know what to do, and I was actually beginning to have an anxiety attack over some of the veiled threats.  I forwarded a copy of his last email to TBA (who is away on business) and one to my mother.  I’ve kept copies of each email he’s sent, but the more drastic ones I also send to my parents if I should ever need someone outside this house to corroborate my story.

I ended up sending him an email right before bed.  I was as plain as I dared to be.  I told him in very plain language with bolded words and underlines that I DID NOT want him back.  I did not want to try again, go to counseling, or rehash the same arguments over and over.  I then explained that the only two topics I wanted to discuss with him either on the phone or via email were the kids and the divorce papers.  I hit send and hoped for the best.

I wake up to a very well written and long email detailing how I was 100% correct and he was just having a rough night and has since joined a mens divorce support group.  That he is researching why he reacted the way he did and looking for answers for his emotional breakdown.  He reassured me again that he was not going to take the house or the money for the children’s support (oh…did I forget to mention how he threatened to have us tossed out of the house?  Yeah.  Classy guy.)  Right now, its calm.  I can’t help but have that knot of anxiety though for next time.  And there will be a next time.  I don’t know when or how or what will set him off, but the Drama isn’t done yet.

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In the meanwhile…

115: No More Dirty Looks

In the meanwhile, I changed my Facebook relationship status to “it’s complicated.” I know, it’s a huge step in social media 😉 This was in September, after our first “I want a divorce” talk and I didn’t change it to “separated” because I thought that would be tasteless with the X still living in the house. Virginia doesn’t have a “legal” separation, by the way. If you aren’t living together as a married couple, you’re separated. I figured that if it mattered I’d change it in December. I digress, though and it’s kind of irrelevant.

Several days after my Facebook status went from “married” to “it’s complicated,” I received a message on Facebook from an old college friend. It was a short note, basically telling me that he was halfway through a divorce himself and if I wanted someone to talk to or vent at he was at the “been there, done that” stage. He offered an ear and support. I’m going to call him TBA for now, because I have to call him something.

There were several weeks of sporadic Facebook messages. He needed someone to talk to that was outside his immediate circle of friends and family and so did I. Sometimes you need an unbiased opinion. I’m going to point out here an important fact: this was totally innocent. TBA knew exactly what was going on in the house. He knew I was still married and the house was filled with Drama. There was no flirting. I was gritting my teeth biding my time until the X left in December, but I wasn’t doing or saying anything that I wouldn’t have if I’d still been happily married. Does that make sense?

We started talking, first via Facebook and then through text. About our divorces at the beginning, mostly. We complained about our other halves and lamented about things not being easier. I told him about my three kids ( he has none) and filled him in on our home school program. We chatted about random things and mutual friends and had discussions about Aristophanes and Socrates and Plato. (TBA and I went to a school with a Great Books curriculum, and something always seemed relevant to what was happening at that moment of our lives.). He’d tell me about bad dates and I’d fill him in on funny kid quips. Eventually, slowly, something changed.

We figured out that we were compatible.

We tried to find things to disagree on and couldn’t. We found that we could have a healthy debate without either party being offended or taking it personally. He made me laugh, which was a rare thing at the time. We found we had the same tastes in movies and books and music. TBA and I hadn’t been in the same area code in 14 years, and it was almost like picking up right where we left off. That being said, he lives a time zone and a 13 hour drive away, so we both assumed that romance was off the table.

I made a decision towards the end of November. Looking back, I don’t know if it was the “right” decision, but I stand by it with no regrets. I asked TBA to fly to Virginia in December and spend a long weekend. I was facing the prospect of 4-6 weeks alone in the house, and the invitation was innocent. I didn’t hide the fact that he was coming from my friends or my family. I did NOT tell the X due to his volatile nature. The plan with TBA was to decompress, de-stress. Drink some wine, watch old movies, debate politics and discuss philosophy. We jokingly called it an “immersion cohabitation experiment” to see if we really were as compatible as it seemed we were. Writing it makes it seem tawdry, somehow, as if I knew or planned all along what would happen.

Can you guess what happened next? I bet you can.

There was three and a half seconds of awkwardness when he stepped off the plane. It took me time to adjust to how tall he was. After that? It was easy. “We” were easy. There were no awkward pauses in the conversation and the silences were comfortable. We just kind of slid into a relationship. A weekend turned into a week. A week turned into two. Then he stayed to meet (and impress the crap out of) my parents. Christmas was next, and neither of us wanted to be alone. It. Just. Happened.

I had done everything for everyone for so long that I had forgotten how nice it was for someone to make you a cup of tea or start a load of laundry or cook dinner. I took him to my friends homes and he just fit in. TBA was social and funny and everyone loved him. He wanted us to go out and do things, he encouraged me to dress up and feel pretty. TBA was cool with sitting home in sweatpants all day and watching kung fu movies, too. More than once we sat up until the sun rose singing to the oldies on Pandora. I felt like I had an equal partner in the house for the first time in years.

There is more, so much more.  There was daily drama from the X the entire time he was here.  There’s the story of the blowup when the X and TBA got on the phone.  The adventure of fetching the children from the Great White North and and anxiety that TBA had over meeting the kids.  So much more.  It has to wait, though.  Its late, and the children wake up early.

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