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How do I make it stop?

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Haole posted 4/5/2019 12:09 PM

Please forgive my long-windedness, repetition, and, most likely, disjointedness, but I found out something today that’s really thrown me for a loop (and it’s gonna take forever for me to get there, so I hope you can bear with me long enough to read all this).

Six-plus years ago my wife walked out. I had received an anonymous phone call telling me about her affair. I confronted her, she confirmed. Said she’d been unhappy for “six years,” which coincided with my layoff from a longtime job. We’d been married 27 years.

We did not have a good marriage, though we always got along. We did not fight. We rarely argued. What that means is, our communication was crap. I’m sorry to say that the foundation of our marriage was distrust, fear, and passive-aggression. But I loved her -- sadly, I was always IN love with her... and “IN love” means “kinda stupid.” I was acutely aware of her flaws, but I accepted her as she was, and I was nuts about her. She was nuts about me in the beginning, I suppose. She did not really accept me as I was.

A year before all this, she got a very scary health diagnosis, and she went right off the rails. She started seeing this guy about six months after that. I had no idea -- though I knew the guy had a crush on her. I didn’t worry, though: He’s old, crude, and seriously, objectively unattractive. But somehow he’d done this before, so apparently his disguise works like a charm. He preys on damaged middle-aged women... and she’s all that. Her damage is severe, resulting in about 50 years of untreated PTSD resulting from sexual abuse. He, meanwhile, is a recovering alcoholic. Her addictions? Shopping and romantic fantasy (of which this guy is living proof).

I suffered, and I mean suffered, for two years. God alone knows why, but I wanted to reconcile. If you saw us together, you’d think *I* was the one who had done the cheating, abandoning, and betraying. I literally BEGGED her to come back. You know all the advice on this site about interacting with your wayward spouse? I read all that -- and still did the opposite. I was pathetic. She was unmoved.

Again, we had gotten along. Just fine. For the 30 years we were together. Guess I liked her better than she liked me, though. And she basically turned ice cold overnight. One day we’re more or less comfortably together, telling each other “I love you” every day; the next day she’s gone forever. There was a brief moment where she evidently considered reconciliation, two months after she left. I was crying like a baby -- really the first time she saw how horrific it was for me. I just couldn’t control it -- the tears, the howling, and I guess she got caught up in my misery long enough to suggest that reconciliation was on the table. I felt like an idiot: humiliated, betrayed, useless, worthless, hopeless, desperate. As the Beatles song goes, “And in her eyes, you see nothing: no sign of love behind the tears cried for no one.” That was her.

I started therapy within a couple days of her exit. I knew I couldn’t handle this alone, and I knew I’d be a wreck. Also started attending a men’s support group and got new antidepressants. Was able to function at work, more or less. Talked to EVERYONE about what had happened: friends, family, even clergy. Discovered that I had a wonderful, widespread support system.

Eventually I came to realize that I actually am a pretty lucky person, and instead of just telling myself I have a lot to be thankful for, I just AM thankful. I’m surrounded by people who freely tell me positive things about myself, and at some point I decided to start listening to these folks instead of the advice in my head that sounded like my former spouse. This doesn’t mean I walk around preening like I think I’m God’s gift, someone who deserves only wonderful things in life —I just know, objectively, that despite my flaws and weaknesses, I’m a good person, and I care about being a good person. I try very hard to treat people well. Top of that list was my wife, who, simply, was the most important creature ever to walk the planet, in my mind.

Wife remained unmoved throughout all this. Avoided me like the plague. Wouldn’t communicate -- And I had the nerve to be surprised, somehow, that an uncommunicative marriage might lead to an uncommunicative separation. I insisted that she file for divorce, since she was the one who wanted out. She said she would. She didn’t. Apparently she thought that if I filed, that meant she wasn’t the bad guy... and ultimately it took three and a half years before I filed (largely because I was afraid she’d try to get spousal support, which, ultimately, she didn’t). So I guess she won. Didn’t cost her a penny, and she got what she wanted. (What I haven’t mentioned yet is that we have a son, now 25, who was deeply hurt by her leaving and, subsequently, checking out as a mom. He recently told me -- again, she left over six years ago -- that “What happened between you and Mom fucked me up more than I’d realized. I need therapy.”)

(Let me digress here to let you know that, indeed, I’m leaving out TONS of detail. No need to thank me.)

I guess I’m technically an adulterer, too, because I started seeing someone just after those two long, horrible years, though it took me another year before I was able to file. I’m still with this woman -- she’s been a godsend. I love her very much, and this relationship is exactly what I’d intended it to be... in the sense of it being an absolutely separate track in my brain, not something that exists at all in terms of my marriage.

I am not, however, over my ex. (The sun is hot; water is wet.) I’m fine that we’re not together, and even if somehow she wanted us to be, I wouldn’t give up my current relationship for the world -- but... well, what I guess I’m REALLY not over is the pain, anger, and betrayal – not my ex herself. I hurt every day; I’m angry every day -- outraged, I guess you could say; I feel that betrayal constantly. And yet... my ex and I have neither seen nor even spoken to each other in over five years. (That’s not my choice, though I no longer feel bad about it.)

I don’t know what I want from her. I know what I want FOR her: to fix her relationship with our son, who, though he loves her very much, has lost most of his respect for her; to get effective help for her lifelong PTSD, which resulted from being sexually abused constantly for 10 years; and for her to get out from under the family-destroying monster she’s been with all this time.

Several months ago she sent me a letter -- our first communication of any kind since I filed the final divorce paperwork in 2016 and warned her it was on its way. She apologized for her “inexcusable” behavior: “I lied, cheated, ignored your needs, snapped at you...” -- she copped to a lot of what she did. She did not, however, really even scratch the surface of what she did, or acknowledge the fallout and all the people she’s hurt in the process, largely, I think, because she simply doesn’t understand how bad it is to do what she did. She asked if there was anything she could do to “mend my wrongs,” then added “Probably not.”

I’d heard she was in Al-Anon, which makes sense since her mom and two siblings are alcoholic, as is her boyfriend, and it was pretty clear that this letter was part of whatever step it is that requires you to try and make amends with those you’ve hurt. I don’t believe it came from the heart, though I know it had to be difficult to write.

It took her all those years to write this one-page letter that barely said anything. She said she’s sorry... but I still don’t know whether she regrets the things she actually did, the fact that my son and I got hurt as a result, the fact that she’s the one who did the things that hurt us, or just the fact that she got caught. My son received a similar letter, though he’s not sure what she’s apologizing for: “Near as I can tell, she’s apologizing for the way she left,” he said. Not THAT she left, or that she partly blamed him for her departure, or the way she’s distanced herself from him over the years.

She was absolutely crazy about that kid – when he was a baby. Once the bloom was off the rose, she mostly just argued with him and treated him as a kind of unwelcome responsibility. Once, during an argument about homework, I heard her yell “I hate you!” at him. (Luckily, my son has no memory of this.) In one of the few times I put my foot down, I ushered her away from him and into the bedroom, closed the door, and said, “I don’t care if someone is holding a gun to your head: You do not tell your child you hate him. He can tell us he hates us all he wants, but you can’t say it to him. Ever again.” She’d said it in the heat of the moment, I knew, and she was terribly contrite, but you just don’t DO that. And then, the night she left, as I say, she partly blamed him for her departure. It’s true that he wasn’t an easy kid, but he loves his parents, and he’s turned into a terrific adult.

My ex had wanted a baby more than anything else in the world, and, indeed, because I wasn’t quick enough to make sure she had one, she had a fling with an old boyfriend five years into our marriage, and I was stupid enough to believe it was an “emotional” affair; but her strategy was that if *I* wouldn’t give her a baby, she’d by-gosh find someone who would. You note that I said “wanted a baby,” not “wanted a child”; she also loves kittens and puppies WAY more than cats and dogs. I shouldn’t have been surprised. And because I was so afraid to lose her, I made myself want that baby, too. I mean, I have no regrets about that – I’m lucky to be this guy’s dad -- but he exists because she demanded that I show my commitment to her in the form of having a baby with her. “Havin’ mah bay-beh! What a lovely way to say how much you love me!” Anyway, you’re seeing the foundation of our marriage right here: fear, distrust, passive-aggression. I’m not proud of that, and not proud of myself.

Not long ago, she e-mailed me -- weird in itself, because she’d sent that 12-step letter only six months previously; I mean, it’s like suddenly we were regular correspondents or something -- to ask if there was “something up” with our son. (Yes indeed, there is: He’s been going through some difficulty, and a lot of it’s because of her.) It’s the first time, in all these years, that she’s initiated contact with me regarding our son. But I’m living with him at Ground Zero, so I’m SEEING his pain and doing my best to address it; she’s not there at all.

What I have wanted, for so long, is for all this pain and anger I feel to go away, and for her and her rancid beau to get the hell out of my head. I have been unable to let go of all of this -- in large part because apparently I don’t know how to let stuff go. (That’s really why I’m writing this. I suppose I could’ve saved you a lot of time if I’d said so up front. Right now, the “not letting go” thing is what’s really plaguing me.)

Early on, I blocked her and her monster from my Facebook account, not out of hostility (well, not out of hostility for HER; him I loathe) but because I didn’t want to see any mutual Facebook friends, say, congratulating her on her decision to dump me in favor of her boyfriend, Beelzebub. I managed to prevent myself from stalking her online, which would’ve been my natural inclination. I learned through others, who saw it on Facebook, that (a) she was leaving the area and would be moving three hours away from our son, who doesn’t drive; (b) her sister, whom I adored, died of acute alcohol poisoning (and I had to break the news to our son, whom she had not told); (c) that she’s listed everywhere she’s lived -- except with me; and (d) this new thing....

Yesterday I saw that one of her cousins, with whom I’ve been Facebook friends for many years, has become a grandparent for the first time. In leaving a congratulatory note along with many others, I noticed a mention of my former wife... only now she apparently has Beelzebub’s last name. (It’s Pusbag. Mr. and Mrs. Beelzebub Pusbag.)

I haven’t spoken about it with my son, but I’m guessing he knows nothing of this -- after all, for at least the first two years after she left, she pretended she wasn’t even in a new “relationship,” and she’s kept him in the dark in much the way she kept ME in the dark; also, he said recently that there’s been no indication that they’d be getting married.

Now... she and Beelzebub have been together long enough for it not to be a surprise that they’d get married. She’s the type who can’t handle life without a man to take care of everything anyway, so it’s even kind of weird that they hadn’t been married before now (or, at least, recently). But seeing her with her new last name really threw me for a loop.

All of the horrible feelings came up for me, of course: the anger, the pain, the betrayal, even the sadness... along with some relatively new ones: nausea and disgust. Somehow I wasn’t prepared for them to get married, perhaps because it doesn’t look like my girlfriend and I will be getting married anytime soon, though we’re both in it for the long haul.

It’s been years since I’ve entertained any notion of my ex and me getting back together, so I don’t think I got so upset because “Now it’s permanent: We’ll NEVER be together again!” That ship sailed long ago. So I don’t know why I’m so upset and angry.

It might be a continuation of the horror of knowing that my beloved spouse found me less preferable than a duplicitous, manipulative, narcissistic sociopath, serial adulterer, and sexual predator... and her actually MARRYING this walking chancre is just the cherry on top -- I don’t know.

I was in therapy for five years after my ex left, and I’ve been in the same men’s group all this time. I continue to have wonderfully supportive friends and family, and I have what I think is a very good relationship with my son. My girlfriend shows me every day how lucky I am, and our relationship is far more satisfying than my marriage ever was.

So why can’t I get over this nonsense with my ex-wife, or at least past it? Have any of you been in this situation? If so, have you managed to get past it? How? HOW DO YOU LET STUFF GO, especially stuff that has caused you more pain than you ever believed you could feel?

It might be easier if I didn’t still love her, but I do, and I always will. My girlfriend doesn’t understand how I can, especially since she managed, rather quickly, to stop loving HER longtime but adulterous jerk of a former husband, but *I* don’t understand how one can STOP loving someone. But I also don’t understand why all this still affects me so much. I have to believe there’s truth to the idea that all this anger and pain centering on my ex-wife has become a habit that I need to find a way to break.

I have tried so hard, all this time, to find a way to forgive her, but to no avail. I even want to stop hating Beelzebub -- not out of any regard for him, but because I don’t want to CARE enough to hate him. But now, seeing that they’re married, I’m finding that I care a lot less about any of that. I feel disinclined to forgive her, and I don’t see my extreme hostility for this asshole going away. And yet... I don’t want to keep carrying all this with me.

One thing I find interesting is that those I know whose spouse cheated and left -- admittedly, only a handful of people -- primarily blame their own wayward spouse, whereas I’ve focused so much blame, hatred, and outrage on Beelzebub. He SHOULD be just an incidental element, right? But I wish the worst on him. I’d never truly hated another human being before, and it doesn’t feel good at all.

Just so you know, I am “spiritual but not religious,” as the dating sites say. (That, by the way, is how I met my girlfriend. I did NOT enjoy online dating... but without it, we never would’ve met....) I am not a violent person, either in deed or word. My ex never had to worry about me harming her or Beelzebub. (That tells you how lucky he’s been -- or maybe just smart enough to pick women whose husbands are unlikely to maim him, or worse.) She had 27 years of marriage to a nice person who never abused or neglected her, a husband who loved her more than his own life. It was quite sobering to realize that to the extent that she loved me at all, it was for who she wanted me to be, not who I am. (Who I am was never rich or successful or, I guess, fun enough for her.)

In other words, she had it pretty good, being married to me. Every day she came home to a place in which she was loved very much and very deeply. She had a husband who had her back, even if she didn’t really have his. She had loving in-laws. In short, she had a life in which love did not entail any form of abuse... and which, therefore, was vastly different from what she grew up with. We weren’t a perfect couple, and I can’t pretend to have been anything close to a perfect husband. What I was was loving, kind, attentive, faithful, and supportive... and probably pretty annoying in a number of ways. But she had it pretty good.

If she’s happier now, God bless her. I do want her to be happy and, especially, healthy. (I mean, heck, I’M happier now.) But more than that, I want to get rid of the pain and anger -- and the hatred for Beelzebub. I’m not sure I care now whether I forgive her or not (and I KNOW I won’t be forgiving HIM), but I just don’t want this awfulness in my head and my heart all the time. I’ve had it.

For any of you in the same boat... how have you managed to make this shit go away?

Thanks for reading this far, and take care.

EvenKeel posted 4/5/2019 12:32 PM

Welcome Haole!

I wanted to let you know that I did indeed read your entire post

I am sorry you are "stuck". As you know, the healing process is a long one full of rollercoaster highs and lows....and it is a long one.

My ex has also totally screwed over his children. Never in a million years would I thought he would/could do what he has done to them.

Like you, I hope he becomes a better person. Not for me, but for them. No luck. Ten years out and all the BS continues with them. So sad.

You have to remember that is on THEM though. All you can do is continue to be the best parent you can for your DS. If he needs help, get him help or whatever. You can't fix what she did, nor is that your responsibility too.

It saddens me that you are stuck though. Sounds like you have a person in your life you really enjoy and this has to be effecting that new relationship (whether you see it or not).

There is nothing you did (or didn't do) that caused her issues. Could you have left sooner (or later), sure. Would it have mattered in the process? Probably not. I hung in nine years longer than I should have but I won't consider that wasted time. I know I was trying so that is all that mattered.

You are right about your ex's letter. That was ALL for her and nothing to do with you. Best response is crickets. Ditto to her asking about if something is going on with your DS - her relationship with him is on her. It is not your role to fix it for her.

I don't know how to tell you to let it all go though because is all sort of stays in the back of our minds. Sure we move on and reach a point of indifference. BUT if any of us think about it long enough, we can definitely stir up some old anger.

Sending your strength in your recovery! Hope you can find an answer because you and your new relationship desire to be free of this part of your old world.

Haole posted 4/5/2019 13:06 PM

Hi, Even:

Thanks for your thoughtful reply, and for reading that lengthy post.

I guess I'm becoming really impatient. I've been in my current relationship for four years, and you'd think the anger about the old one would at least fade a bit, but... it seems as though every time I stop giving it so much airplay, something new and stupid happens (like my ex getting married).

Throughout my nearly 60 years on this planet, I've had all kinds of problems getting stuck in one context or another, so I guess it's no surprise that my marriage, which was so hugely important to me, is yet another context for me to get stuck in. It's just frustrating not to be out of this hole.

I wouldn't say that my ex has totally screwed over our kid, but their relationship seems to consist largely of her sending him "I LOVE YOU!!!!!!" texts, you know? And... well, I don't know for sure that he doesn't know his mom is married, but still: for her to express worry about him and *still* not to tell him she's married -- that's kinda sick. But it's appalling how, as you've seen, one parent can so easily lose his commitment to his kids. I don't get it.

I have managed, over the years, to convince myself that my ex's behavior is on her, not me. I definitely spent a lot of time blaming myself -- if only I'd done X, Y, Z... -- but I'm not responsible for her underlying mental and emotional health. I'm terribly sorry about what happened to her (which, basically, is that her dad made her and her siblings available to the neighborhood child molester... and I've long felt that old an Beelzebub is basically a combination of her father *and* her molester -- which is to say "rapist"), but none of that is my fault. I do feel as though she tried to blame me for the parts of her life she doesn't like. Whatever one may think of my maturity, hers is nowhere near up to scratch, and it took me a while to realize that.

I do indeed take whatever action I can to try and help my son. He saw the guy who runs my group a couple of times, but I think he's looking for a different style of therapist. I just want him to DO it, though, and not be apathetic about it. I am perfectly aware of how depression causes apathy, though, and it's a difficult tide to battle.

I would agree with you that my current relationship -- though I really do view it as its own entity, not something that exists in terms of my marriage -- is in some way affected by my feelings about my marriage. I just try to focus on my girlfriend. I know she doesn't really wanna hear about any new developments regarding my now-longtime ex, and I also know that she focuses on me, not HER ex... so I do my best to return the favor. Results are mixed, but I know she knows I love her.

I felt like I gave all of myself to my former wife, to the point that when she left, I felt like all I was, anymore, was Her Husband. So the whole chain of events really caused something of an identity crisis for me. I've figured out since then that I'm a lot more than that -- stuff I knew anyway, like: I'm a dad, a son, a brother, a friend, a guy who does the work I do, a guy who has the interests I have, a guy who also wants to help people who are in emotional situations that suck, etc.

Indeed, I did not respond to my ex's letter, for exactly the reasons you say. Though I'm glad she's in a program, she wouldn't have written those letters to my son and me if she didn't feel she had to because of the program, and I feel as though we deserve better than to be part of her "class assignment." I also know that my response would've been about 45 pages, single-spaced. Tiny font.

As for her e-mails about our kid, I did say that yes, he's going through some stuff, but that I would leave it to him to share the details. That's about all. I was cordial if not friendly, nice enough if not loving. I think she just wanted me to say the kid's okay and she doesn't have to worry.

Generally I don't spend hours and hours each day ruminating on her and what she did. At least not anymore. But things flash through my mind, and it starts me off on a tangent. Sometimes I'm able to just distract myself and think of something else, but not always, and not often enough.

I thank you for your kind wishes and response, and I really appreciate your input. I know it's something I'm gonna have to work out for myself, but... I'd still love an easy answer, you know? It all takes a lot out of me, and I absolutely do not want it to harm my relationships, my work, etc.

LilBlackCat posted 4/5/2019 13:19 PM

I heard recently, that as men.. We despise failure.. Which will make us do things far and beyond what we should. It also ties us to notions that we should not be tied to.

When I first heard that, I instantly agreed as I put up with more that I should have when my WW started her shit.

It seems like you regret that loss (failure of the marriage/relationship) moreso due to the amount of investment you put in.. which was everything and anything you could grasp at.

For me, I focused on my kids and only what I could control.. I hated that WW had eventually left and was happy with someone else.

I hated that no matter how much I tried I still ended up single. Which ended up leading to a bad short term relationship.. Which snapped me out of that, and sadly (while hurting the other person) cleared my vision of what I needed to be doing... versus what I wanted.

The road since then over various reasons, slowly got better. I then learned that in order to truly find that ray of sunshine.. I needed to focus on my needs, and that of my kids..

Eventually I started losing the "feelings", good and bad, toward my WW. As she was not in my focus of concern.

I think focusing on your new relationship and your son is the thing you should be doing as much as you can. Cause once she left you.. and correct me if I am wrong, that's when your new relationship started.. or after she was already "doing her thing".. You are not really a madhatter (the term used here for when the betrayed spouse also cheats), cause there was no reconciliation or even the actual attempt at one.. So let that notion go as well. It is also burdening on you as you are bringing yourself down her level.. where you truly do not belong.

I would avoid her like the plague, includes communication.. Spam folder for email, and don't even open letters.. toss them in the trash. That letter you got, was her step process. Which in her mind.. Cleared her of her wrong doing.. Crazy, I know.. but it's how many think. Also, known as rugsweeping.

Good luck, and hang in there...

Haole posted 4/5/2019 13:54 PM

Hi, Cat:

Funny thing about failure -- the hatred of it, but also the fear of it, which often keeps us from taking important steps because we're afraid we'll crash and burn.

During my marriage, I certainly entertained thoughts of leaving now and again, but nothing I took seriously. I suppose one could say that I hung in as long as I did in the hopes that things would change (i.e., get better between us), but things don't seem to change back very often. I don't know that we ever had a happy marriage, per se, but we were content and comfortable for quite a while.

I'd say that you're right, though: We see failure as bad... even though failure, in theory, provides opportunities to learn from mistakes. It definitely hurts that my marriage failed, especially after so long, and especially in a family (well, TWO families) in which divorce is way too common.

You're wise to have chosen to focus on what you could control. That's something I still struggle with (obviously). And she's the main thing I couldn't control. It's not that I really tried -- had her on a short leash or anything like that. I very much encouraged her to be herself, pursue her interests, etc. But she sure tried to curb *my* interests, even tried to push me into certain directions related to work. I'm not going to claim that I ever idealized her, but, for the most part, I THINK I loved and accepted her for who she was. I wasn't out to try and change her. She did not do me that courtesy.

The funny thing is that Beelzebub is NOT someone she's going to have any luck trying to change. The dude is about 70 now, and if somehow any woman's willing to sleep with him outside of their relationship, my ex is not gonna make it stop. He won't be molded by her -- I daresay he's not nearly as scared of losing her as I was (which, in itself, was a pretty damn big marital problem).

You're right about focusing on what I have now. I know that. And I make what I THINK is my best effort. I make damn sure that my girlfriend and my son know that I'm in their respective corners, that I won't blow them off, etc.

Meanwhile, I long for the days when I'll start "losing the 'feelings,' good and bad" toward my ex. Also, here's the timeline, just to clear up any confusion:

12/12: Wife leaves.
10/13: I force myself to try online dating.
2/14: I meet my current girlfriend; we become close friends right away.
3/15: We start actually dating, rather than being just friends.
5/15: I file for divorce. I sit on my hands rather than handing in final paperwork because I'm afraid my ex will try to bleed me dry. She doesn't.
7/16: I FINALLY file final paperwork.
11/16: Divorce is final.

So there's actually a gap of over two years between my wife leaving and my girlfriend and me beginning our relationship. However, I was still legally married. I guess I think of myself has having "technically" cheated, but I didn't feel like I was *really* cheating because my actual marriage was over, and I hadn't even spoken with my almost-legally-ex for over a year by the time my girlfriend and I got involved. I absolutely had intended not to get involved with someone until the divorce was final, but I managed to overcome whatever guilt I might have been feeling. Right or wrong, I really feel as though my ex was the only one who cheated.

I do pretty much avoid her. I don't stalk her online. I'll ask our son how she's doing, but I don't expect much of a response. (For instance, I gather her cancer never got worse, and it's something I'm genuinely concerned about.) I didn't respond to her letter, ultimately, because it seemed appropriate not to. Even if she's firmly lodged in my head. I don't yell "How high?" every time she yells "Jump!" -- anymore. There definitely was a period where, if she'd have whistled, I would've come trotting along like s desperate puppy.

Meanwhile, I don't worry much about hearing from her. These two instances were the first since I filed final paperwork three years ago. She avoids me like the plague, unless she feels she can't for some reason. She is indeed the queen of avoidance, and she can't handle conflict or confrontation. So she won't be, say, calling me to shoot the breeze anytime soon.

I agree with you that her letter was meant to clear her of wrongdoing, in her mind, but I also know that she knows better. I'm pretty sure that the reason she avoids me is the guilt I know she feels. Guilt and embarrassment. Remorse? I tend to think not, since remorse is about the person you hurt, while guilt is about you. I think that when these guilty thoughts enter her head, she cuts them off as quickly as possible and moves onto another topic -- it's so much easier to hide her head in the sand.

Thanks very much for your feedback -- I really appreciate it. I'll keep plugging away -- it's all I can do -- and focus as much as I can on my son, my girlfriend, and my other loved ones. And I'm glad that you've been able to give your ex way less airtime than before. That has to be about three-quarters of the battle right there.

Cheatee posted 4/5/2019 13:56 PM


I ready your whole story. You've shared a painful story beautifully. It's clear you've given this lots of thought.

A few thoughts:

I think it's silly to consider yourself a technical adulterer just because the legal divorce had not been final. She abandoned you and you mourned two years before intimacy with someone else. That's near sainthood in my book.

I wonder if you're in love with some fantasy version of her, rather than the deeply flawed woman you see in reality. You can clearly recognize you're better off without her and that she never had your interests at heart.

She sounds like a typical addictive personality. She's charismatic, emotionally unstable, engaging to be with, but ultimately unable to extend the same amount of empathy she requires from others. This is typical of whom I've been drawn to, with similar results of infidelity and selfishness.

My first ex haunted me for a long time, much as yours still does. We managed to co-parent our kids who have turned out wonderful and successful, but it was a difficult road and lots of anger. I finally see her as she is - whacky, life-of-the-party, and deeply uninterested in others' feelings.

My next ex was far easier to fall out of love with. The pattern was the same, but her meltdown was more obvious and pathetic, complete with saying awful things to our daughter, as your ex said to your son.

I really try to recognize that we had a good thing for a while, but she changed into a person who deliberately sought to harm me, not just knowing that I was suffering harm from her affair, but trying to cause me as much pain as possible.

For What it's Worth, that pain really helped me consider myself fortunate to be free of her. What helped a lot through therapy was to imagine the relationship continuing and to project how that dysfunction would have made me increasingly miserable. In a way, she did me a favor by completely falling apart and making it obvious ours was a hopeless marriage, void of any semblance of trust. It probably helped that I finally called it quits after it became clear, I couldn't trust her for a damn thing.

Find a good therapist. (s)He can help you put all this into a healthy perspective.

Good luck on your new relationship!

Haole posted 4/5/2019 14:31 PM

Hi, Cheatee:

For what it's worth, I don't honestly think of myself as an adulterer. And except perhaps for the especially religious among my friends, I doubt anyone else does either. I guess the "technically" thing is just some kind of hedge against... well, I don't know what.

But I certainly never thought for an instant that my ex had any grounds for complaint when I became involved with my girlfriend, and I wouldn't have cared if she had. She relinquished all claims to me long beforehand. Oh, true, a part of me wouldn't have minded if she'd felt a little jealous, but... though she had a couple bouts of irrational jealousy in the first 10 years of our marriage or so, that stopped long ago.

I've asked myself many times if I've continued to idealize her, or whatever. I have an uncle, about 80, who said he still loves his first wife -- "the woman she was," which he doesn't seem to associate with the woman she now IS, assuming she's still alive. On the other hand, he's been with my current aunt for about 45 years, and they seem happy as clams. I think he just has happy memories of the courtship leading to his first marriage, and the fun parts up until she started cheating on him.

I don't feel like I'm still in love with my ex, however much I do actually love her. I sort of think of "in love" as that early, twitterpated stage, where you can't keep your hands off each other. "Infatuated." And as long as we were together, I was infatuated with my wife. Which makes sense because "infatuated" comes from the word for "stupid." I'm not saying saying it was stupid for me to love her, or anything -- just that there was so much I was willing to overlook for way too long.

I agree with you that she has an addictive personality. So would she. As I've said, her addictions are shopping and romantic fantasy -- I don't mean just in terms of "romance" per se, but her visions of what a man should be like, what a relationship should be like, what "Dad" means, what it should be like when you have kids, etc.

She is indeed all of the things you describe: charismatic, unstable, a delight to know. She can be very kind and generous and, in her own (fairly skewed) way, loving. But this story kind of typifies her and her family: Her sister once described herself to us as "extremely extremely extremely sensitive." Yeah, they're ALL sensitive -- but not about other people.

My understanding is that those who've suffered sexual trauma as children often, if not usually, become unable to develop a sense of empathy, and that's my ex right there. She has empathy for HERSELF, if that makes sense -- she would, for instance, get teary about something that reminds her of how she would have felt if it happened to her as a kid -- but I honestly don't think she either understood or cared much about how I felt.

Her selfishness was always a "thing," and our marriage became "The 'Her' Show: All Her, All the Time" (especially, if somewhat reasonably, after she got her cancer diagnosis).

I'm sorry you wound up in a situation like this, with a wife like this. I mean... as I say, she's a delightful person, but... well, she never had any deep, lasting friendships, because, I figure, the longer a friendship lasted, the more the other party realized how demanding she was of their time and attention. I have no idea how things really are for her now, but as long as I've known her, she's had a pretty lousy self-esteem -- pretty normal for sex abuse victims -- but, at the same time, has seemed to believe she deserves way more than she has in life.

What's kind of funny is that one of the things she disliked about me... is one of the main characteristics of her new husband. That is, I've always been an avid baseball fan... but he's more rabid than I ever was, and about other sports, too. She used to bitch to me about being a baseball widow... so I wonder how she feels now.

You mention managing to fall out of love with your exes, and it kind of reminds me of a couple things I've had my attention drawn to: a site called Sociopaths and Love, and another called (I think), which is about extreme narcissists.

You make an interesting point about the ex changing into someone who deliberately sought to harm you. That's exactly how I feel, although for me it might just be semantics: She knew perfectly well that getting involved with someone else, and leaving me for him, would devastate me and ruin my life for the foreseeable future, but she did it anyway. I consider that a deliberate, active effort to harm me -- and keep rubbing it in. (And you're thinking, "Yeah, gee, no WONDER you missed her so much....")

A lot of folks told me she'd done me a favor by leaving, which was hard to fathom because it felt so awful, but... well, it's kinda true. If we were still together, she'd still be cheating on me, we still wouldn't communicate anywhere near adequately, and I'd be miserable and scared all the time. So I do recognize that.

By the time we were apart for a year, I no longer trusted a thing she did or said. I mean, there were always these little bits about how she ought to have me over for dinner because I'd cooked so much for her over the years, etc. So much bullshit. I came to understand that words stop having meaning for her the moment they cross her lips.

So here I am, painting an unflattering portrait of someone I love so much. I don't know if that counts as cognitive dissonance or what. All I can say is that there's just no logic to feelings.

I was seeing a therapist from two days after my wife left until about a year and a half ago, when I could no longer get nighttime appointments. I think it helped on the whole, but I never felt it was great. I think my shrink worked harder than she expected to, though. I kinda don't want to start therapy again because (a) it's hard to find a therapist who'll do nighttime sessions, and (b) the commitment of time... well, it doesn't sound like much, but: My girlfriend and I live an hour apart, and I'm there one night during the week, plus all weekend. Therapy and the men's group are, of course, regular appointments, and I go out to dinner with my son once a week and catch up. So there's almost no time for me just to go home, flake out, and rest. Might not be a great excuse, but... oh, well.

But I do think my therapist made some things clear to me -- possibly the main one being that my wife probably will never be able to hear, or read, everything I want to say to her, or, indeed, anything. Actually, the main helpful concept was that if I was never gonna get what I wanted, I needed to change what I wanted. That really stuck with me.

Thanks for your thoughtful and kind response here -- and thanks again, Even, Cat, and everyone else who wants to chime in. You've all given me ways to look at it differently, and it helps.

KatyaCA posted 4/5/2019 15:30 PM

Haole your entire story resonates with me in many ways. I think to get unstuck you have to start re-framing the way you think of her and remember her. You have to give up all hope for a different past in regards to her and accept that she is very warped and sick. I hate the word broken BTW. Waywards aren't broken, they failed to grow up into healthy adults. Your ex is no exception. Given her childhood she can't see anyone beyond her own pain and fantasies. How could she properly love you or your son when she can't love herself? She can't face herself, let alone you and your son. She knows deep inside that she is a failure and it is easier to mentally hide and run. Facing you and or your son in any real way is like looking at her own face in the mirror and seeing a demon. She can't do it and at her age, she likely never will. It is weak, sad and pathetic.

I too am a child sexual and physical assault survivor. In my teens I was tormented, suicidal, and filled with rage to mask the deep wells of pain. I will likely always suffer from PTSD. All that said, I reached a point in my teens after my third suicide attempt where I realized I had to face the failure of my father, the other adults in my life, my rapists character and my own demons if I was to become healthy. I decided I was going to get healthy or die. I left home at 16 and by 18 had walked away from almost all of my FOO entirely. That seems black and white but my pain was so immense, I think I had to be that hard core about getting healthy. My FOO is filled with drug addicts, alcoholics, abusers and mental health issues. I knew I could not live that way. It took years of intensive work to get to a healthy place. I work on it to this day with as much care as a marathon runner takes into training for a new marathon.

It is extremely common for sexual assault survivors to relive the experience in new relationships or to put themselves into relationships that are similar so that they can overcome and conquer the situation in ways they were helpless to as a child. That is why she left you for him. Not because he is better. Because she's never overcome and conquered all of the myriad of negative emotions that come with being sexually abused as a child. She thinks with him that this time she is in control. She may well not be but she wants to believe she is. She is comfortable at that level. Her marriage to you, for even as long as it lasted was the aberration in her life. It was too good for her and she could not measure up. Not as a woman, not as a wife and not as a mother. Ultimately, it became too much for her, too adult and she had to flee.

I am not suggesting you stop wishing her well mentally but you really need to start taking a long hard look at who she is and not as who you wanted her to be or believed her to be. If you can really do that you will stop loving her and just wish her well because she is your son's mother.

[This message edited by KatyaCA at 3:33 PM, April 5th (Friday)]

Haole posted 4/5/2019 16:07 PM

Hi, Katya:

I'm pretty sure everything you've said here is dead on. She was, at one point, fond of calling herself broken, but that was one of the little mantras she used to make excuses for bad behavior: I'm broken, I'm unworthy, I'm so hard on myself. "Sure, I cheat and treat my husband and son like shit, but that's okay because I'm so hard on myself."

I do think of her as someone who is very mentally ill, and that the illness is not her fault. I do hold her responsible for her actions and behavior, though. She absolutely did not grow up into a healthy adult, and I know she can't face herself. Even the 12-step letter was a sham: Although she did manage to go through the litany of "I lied, I cheated," etc., it was pretty clear that she wasn't internalizing it or attaching any real meaning to it. I feel as though I should not feel bad for her, but I do because I love her... and you can't help who you love, I guess.

I am very sorry about your history of assaults. This is not something I would wish on anybody. I had the "experience" of a much older cousin who tried to have sex with me, but (assuming you don't count the constant mind-fucks over the course of a couple years) that was an isolated event. It still haunts me, though I'm fully aware of all the "rational" stuff about it -- not my fault, I wasn't the adult, etc. -- but I can't help thinking I should've been able to completely avoid it. I know that's not rational, and I know it doesn't compare with what you, my wife, and her siblings went through. You have my sympathy, my empathy, and my hope that whatever help you seek will be effective and worthwhile.

I don't know all the particulars, but according to the guy who runs my men's group, who's a trained trauma therapist, the "common wisdom" in approaching PTSD patients has been wrong for the last few decades: that making people relive the traumas isn't a good approach. What is? I'm not sure, but I gather it has a lot to do with movement and physical activity. I wish I could offer more (and more helpful) details.

I cannot imagine what you have gone through in your life, both during and after the assaults, and I can only say that I'm deeply sorry that all this has happened to you. And I've read what you said, namely that such assault survivors often relive their experiences in their relationships.

One thing I haven't mentioned is that my ex left 13 days after my dad died. She'd watched him struggle with Alzheimer's for several years, and it tore her up. I really think he became her father figure, and that she turned to Beelzebub in part out of the desperation of losing her "father." Here REAL father had died many years before, but he was the one who facilitated her abuse. MY father just plain loved her. And with him gone (or even just virtually so), I became the father figure to rebel against. Beelzebub became the father figure to "cuddle." I might be full of shit, but that's how it seems to me.

But I have indeed read that women in her situation sometimes will take their anger toward their actual fathers out on their male partners, and I have no doubt that happened in our case.

While I do believe that in turning to Beelzebub, she has returned to not only her dad but her abuser, I don't think it's so she can overcome the situation "as an adult" -- but, rather, it's just a return to the comfort of the familiar. She absolutely is not in control.

And I know our marriage and her relationship with my family were not the norm for her. The norm was her first 18 years: filled with sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. That's what she knows. I would be shocked if she even PRETENDED to believe she's in command of her life. She's been like a busted washing machine throwing parts for years now. I think she just got fed up with having to be responsible, especially for our son. She kind of reverted to being 19 again: old enough to do what she wants, but without any real responsibility. I don't think she likes adulting.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that our marriage was "too good for her," but... okay, maybe I would. I'm just some guy, nobody special, but I'm the first male human to genuinely love her rather than consider her a burden or something to molest, and I know she wasn't all that comfortable with being loved. I'm sorry that's the case, and I have harbored a fair amount of resentment toward both of her parents for a very long time.

Basically, too, she wanted to be "kept." Sure, she wanted to work in a field that mattered to her -- in this case, chillingly, as a preschool teacher -- and my role, I'm pretty sure, was to work myself to death in an effort to keep her in nice homes, cars, and vacations. (I did none of that, sadly, which is another issue. I mean... I worked, but I never made much.)

I do feel that I've managed, over the last six-plus years, to see her for who she is. True, "the woman I loved" has gotten in the way somewhat, but I really do feel that I understand her a lot better now than when we were together. I don't wish to stop loving her, but what I do want is for the obsession to fade -- the obsession that, I think, is fueled more by outrage than anything else. But I certainly do wish her well just as my son's mom, and I do wish for both of them that their relationship gets onto some positive path or other.

Thank you for baring your soul here and adding so much perspective. I really appreciate your take.

KatyaCA posted 4/5/2019 19:51 PM

What I mean by control is a bit different than I think you took it. By control I mean that he has similar characteristics to either her father, her abuser or both. She is choosing to be with him. Yes, likely for comfort because she imprinted abuse and alcoholism in her childhood as the known and/or comfort. Even with all of the associated pain it is still the familiar and therefore what she is comfortable with. Choosing to be with this F'd up guy is the control. The relationship may be an all holy mess but she is choosing to be with this man who is not good for her, who is unhealthy and sick and that is the choice. That is the control. She is not his victim. Does that make sense? It's not that she has control over her life or the relationship overall. By choosing to be with him she may believe she can fix him or the part inside her that feels desperate shame over the abuse in her childhood.

When I say you and your marriage were too good for her, what I mean is that you are healthier mentally, emotionally and are able to genuinely love her. That to her is terrifying because she can't be all of those things back to you. She probably wanted to. She wanted to fall in love and have the fairy tale romance and marriage. The problem with that is she thought she could have that and not face her demons. People who don't face their demons carry them all along their path through life and in doing so leave a trail of destruction behind them. She tried and failed. She failed because she hasn't faced that childhood. Your father's death was likely the trigger or catalyst but there is nothing you or anyone but her can do about that.

She has no idea how to love her son deeply because as a child she wasn't loved deeply and didn't make it a point to learn and heal.

She is not to blame for the abuse in her childhood. She is to blame for her lifelong sickness related to not dealing with it. She can't help where she came from when she was helpless but her excuses ceased to have meaning once she reached adulthood and refused to deal with all that mess. Have you seen the youtube video by Will Smith on blame vs. responsibility? If not, please watch it. She is not to blame for what happened to her. She is to blame for refusing to take responsibility to fix herself so she could become healthy and have a better life.

Please don't feel sorry for me. I have faced my demons and all that pain. I lean into pain rather than shy away from it and it's become such a long term habit that I cope well now with life. I am a survivor and I have thrived despite nearly dying from my childhood. I have a good life, a good marriage and two wonderful kids I love with all my heart because I've done the work. My triggers are infrequent now and although I will likely always have them, they lessen in frequency with every year that passes.

My father had your ex's avoidance style. He was a malignant narcissist. He was weak and sad and in the end none of his family attended his funeral and very few even cared. They simply said good riddance. It's sad really. Very sad.

Cooley2here posted 4/5/2019 22:40 PM

You want revenge which is as old as human beings have been here. The problem is they got away with it. You and your son are going to have to live with the fact that she doesn’t attach to people but instead believes in fantasies.

As soon as she told your son she hated him you should have kicked her out.

Get real about her. Somewhere in your brain is an attic where all your memories are stored. It has cobwebs, silverfish, mice and dust. Clean house.

She really is gone.....and she is probably miserable. We take ourselves wherever we go.

destroyed1 posted 4/6/2019 19:53 PM

If you REALLY want to make it all stop, I can help you.

You are trying to do your bosses job. In order to find true healing you must let it go and give it to g-d.

Romans 12:19 King James Version (KJV)

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

You have been wronged in the worst possible way. I understand you have a need for justice.


But it will not come by your hand.

Let the boss do his job and you do yours.

and one more thing,

You do NOT still love your EX.

You are in love with who you thought she was.

But she was NEVER that person.

Haole posted 4/8/2019 13:01 PM

Hi, Katya:

What I mean by control is a bit different than I think you took it. By control I mean that he has similar characteristics to either her father, her abuser or both. She is choosing to be with him.

I do see what you say, namely that Beelzebub essentially reminds her of her father and/or abuser. In fact, I’ve believe for a long time that she in turning to this guy, she has, in essence RETURNED to her long-dead father AND long-dead abuser. Here’s a mildly scary bit: She met Beelzebub in community theater, about a year before they got involved. My two sisters and a brother-in-law, upon seeing Beelzebub onstage concluded immediately that he reminded them of her dad. They concluded this independently, without consulting one another -- WELL before he and my ex started “dating.” This is sort of what I mean when I say that love, for her, must entail some element of abuse. Otherwise, it doesn’t really make sense to her. She’s back in the “comfort” of the familiar.

To be honest, I have no idea what their relationship is like. As I say, we have not spoken in five years. My only indication was when she said he told her, “Look, I don’t need this negative shit from you.” That, right there, is kind her dad: dismissive.

Indeed, her parents DISCOURAGED their kids from, say, going to college: “No, you should just get a job and get married.” They clearly didn’t want their kids to have better lives than they had, and the reinforced that by telling a complaining kid that they, the parents, always had it so much worse. And yet, unlike her parents’ families, my ex’s family was on government assistance; some still are. They were not encouraged to improve their lives. And each one of them -- ex plus five siblings -- was Another Mouth To Feed.

You mention that this “man” she’s with is “unhealthy and sick,” and that’s certainly true based on what I’ve said so far... but it turns out he’s also had throat cancer for at least the last couple of years. So... given her lyphoma, I suppose they’re a mutual support group. Or something.

For what it’s worth, I do not think of her as his victim. I think of her as her PARENTS’ victim, somewhat, and very much her RAPIST’S victim... but she’s also her OWN victim. All this is why I really wish she’d get adequate help with her PTSD.

When I say you and your marriage were too good for her, what I mean is that you are healthier mentally, emotionally and are able to genuinely love her. That to her is terrifying because she can't be all of those things back to you.

You said that the fact that I could genuinely love her was terrifying to her, and I tend to agree. I think she knows Beelzebub can’t really love her (assuming he really is the narcissistic sociopath I genuinely believe him to be), but also, as I think I’ve said, I don’t think she was ever that comfortable with really being loved. She doesn’t think she deserves it -- and that she deserves no better than a slug like Beelzebub.

You note also that my dad’s death probably triggered her ultimate behavior, and I’ve felt that way for a long time. Alzheimer’s is a horrible thing, of course, but he kind of stopped being who he was maybe three or four years before he died. So she had a long time to let her desperation build up. I’m convinced this is the case. The fact that she was out the door less than two weeks after he died... I mean... wow.

What you say here -- “She is not to blame for the abuse in her childhood. She is to blame for her lifelong sickness related to not dealing with it” -- is profound. I know this about her. Without meaning to be disparaging, she’s simply not a strong person, certainly not a courageous one. I do know other people who were abused as children in various ways, and for the most part, well, the abuse is always with them, but they’ve overcome the sickness. Naturally there are problems, but these people have chosen to try and BEAT the thing -- or, at the very least, to face them. My ex, however, is a classic avoider. And, as you say, she never took responsibility for facing her demons. She did try therapy for a while, and she did wind up on antidepressants, but I think that was a case of putting band-aids on the symptoms rather than examining the illness. (I have not seen the Will Smith video, but I will; thanks for the lead.)

I’ve run into a number of folks lately whose dads are similar to the way you describe yours. In almost all cases, the guy basically lost his kids. It IS sad; people so often just don’t get how important their kids are and must be.

I’m lucky enough to have had a very loving dad (which is not to say that our relationship was perfect; we had some trouble while I was growing up, but basically never during my adulthood). He kind of taught me how you’re supposed to love your wife, though I know I fell short in some ways. My ex’s dad once called all his kids in turn, asking if they’d be willing to donate a kidney. (I swear.) They all refused. Had my dad ever done that (which would never have been the case), we each would’ve offered BOTH kidneys. Same with my mom. And it saddens me that my ex and her siblings never had a parent like that.

However patronizing it may sound, I am proud to know that you’ve done all this work and fought so much. I know there’s still “stuff” -- how can thee not be -- but you sound like a strong person, and I have all the admiration in the world for that.

Again, thanks so much for your feedback. I’m sad for what you’ve been through, but very glad that your approach has led to a life that’s so vastly better.

Haole posted 4/8/2019 13:23 PM

Hi, Destroyed:

Thanks for your kind words and concern. I described myself earlier as “spiritual but not religious,” but I do believe in God, and the religion I grew up with, well, I don’t really practice it, but it still has some importance to me.

However, I’ve never been very “Let go and let God.” What that really means, which is pretty much what this has all been about for me, is that I’m just not good at letting go. I don’t know how people manage to do it. It’s not like I’m still angry over every little slight in life, so I manage to let SOME stuff go, but a huge betrayal like this... how does one do it? For various reasons, I’m not going to be turning to scripture or a congregation, though I know these bring solace to lots of people.

You mention revenge and justice, and I guess I do have a need for the latter, which I tend to think of as “fairness.” I’m aware that, on the whole, life isn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to want it to be sometimes.

There was a line on “House, M.D.” that still sticks with me and which I find depressing sometimes: “You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you get.” I don’t know what Beelzebub deserves, but nothing on this earth that could happen to him would make me feel as though we were even. Which means there’s nothing I can do to him that would help me any. So I won’t be doing anything to him.

Nor do I want anything bad to happen to my ex. I don’t wish death on her new husband, either, though I do believe it would make the world a better place, however awful that sounds. I have never come close to even planning to “do something” to the guy, partly because I don’t believe it would make me feel better. There are those who say his throat cancer is karma or comeuppance or divine retribution, and maybe they’re right (though, especially having watched cancer do its dirty work recently, I wouldn’t wish it on him or anybody else).

I was with my ex for 30 years. I definitely do still love her. I am not “in love” with her, and I have no desire for us to be together again. I believe I got to know her very well during that time, and I just kept loving her more while we were together, but since then I believe all the curtains have fallen away and I really do know who she is. Even now, I can’t imagine taking steps to hurt her, and I wish her the best -- but it saddens me that what she has isn’t within light-years of the best.

I also believe, though, that what’s going on in my head, as regards her, has become habit more than anything else, and right now the challenge is to break the habit.

Thanks again for weighing in and for your thoughtful comments.

Haole posted 4/8/2019 14:29 PM

Hi, Cooley:

As I've said, it's not revenge per se -- it's more about "fairness," which I guess is a pretty silly concept. I don't want anything bad for her.

My son and I have adjusted to her fantasy-over-real-life approach, and I'm sorry to say that it's cost her a lot of his respect. His relationship with her is a lot like hers with her own mom now, but probably worse. I do want him to have a good relationship with his own mother, so it saddens me.

You said I should've booted her as soon as she said "I hate you!" to our son. I doubt I could have, even if it had occurred to me. I know she didn't hate him, and doesn't, but it was such a childish thing to say, and believe me, after I had my say, she never said it again. (Not around ME, anyway.) I tended to cut her lots of slack about her stress.

But believe me, I wish I had kicked her out... as soon as I got the anonymous phone call about her affair. Instead, I hung on, whined, begged, wished, all that other crap. But the fact was, I wanted HER to pay for the divorce, do all the legwork, deal with all the inconvenience. Instead, she refused -- while pretending she would. I'm just lucky that we didn't own anything together, so the divorce didn't cost THAT much.

But apparently, though telling her I wouldn't tolerate her infidelity, I would have -- because for two years I would have accepted her back.

I'd say I'm real about her. Again, what I want is not for us to be together -- it's for me to be able to let go of what she did, let go of the anger and pain, and not care enough to hate Beelzebub anymore. I recognize who she is.

I agree that she's probably miserable. I've never seen her happy -- though she certainly pretended to be. What was weird was that, starting a month or two after she left, she looked worse and worse to me. I'd hoped that was me detaching, but... oh, well. Anyway, she certainly did not look like A Woman In Love. Just thought that was interesting.

Anyway, I really don't want to be around her misery and bullshit. The relationship I'm in now reminds me every day that not all relationships are like my marriage, and I'm really thankful for that.

And thanks for weighing in.

KatyaCA posted 4/8/2019 14:53 PM

God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can,and the wisdom to know the difference.

I wish for you serenity, wisdom and the peace that comes with wisdom.

I am not religious but the serenity prayer through the years has helped me to let go of things and situations I would otherwise have held onto tightly.

Haole posted 4/8/2019 15:36 PM

Thanks, Katya, for your kindness and insight.

destroyed1 posted 4/9/2019 05:10 AM

but nothing on this earth that could happen to him would make me feel as though we were even. Which means there’s nothing I can do to him that would help me any.

The judgement will not happen on this Earth.

It will be more brutal than you can imagine.

[This message edited by destroyed1 at 5:18 AM, April 9th (Tuesday)]

Haole posted 4/10/2019 15:59 PM

Hi, Destroyed:

Again, I just don't have the faith that you have -- and faith is a good thing; indeed, I'm glad for those who are happy and fulfilled in their faith -- so it's hard for me to believe that things are going to get "awful enough" for Beelzebub. Also, I'm not delighted about even thinking along the lines of wanting things to be "awful enough" for someone.

He was diagnosed with throat cancer a couple years ago, and I gather he's had treatment in my neck of the woods. I'm told he looks terrible, even for him. One could say, "Well, cancer is a pretty harsh punishment, so you should be satisfied," but... well, I'm not happy about the cancer, and as I've said, I honestly wouldn't wish it on anyone, even him, and yet... I do recognize that feelings are feelings, and that there's nothing particularly rational about them.

There's just a lot of conflicting stuff going on in my head, even after all this time.

Haole posted 4/24/2019 15:02 PM

The latest:

Last night I finally asked my son, who just turned 25, if he knew that his mom had gotten married. He knows, but not where or even how long ago. She told him in a text, sometime after it took place, which is Classic Her. (For instance, before I filed, I learned she would be leaving the area, so I told her I’d get going on the divorce before she moved (largely because I didn’t want her to have me served from her new venue, and force me to drive three hours to court, if it ever came to that). She said she’d already moved. Hadn’t even told our son.)

I asked how he felt about Mommy getting married, and he said, “She made her choice.” That is, she’d chosen Beelzebub, and 150 miles of distance, over her lone offspring, which is quite the opposite of my fervent hope that she’ll fix her relationship with her son. “Relationship?” he said. “She’s in the middle of nowhere and we have almost no contact. Some relationship.”

He seems correct in believing that she’s not interested in him. He doesn’t want to have to make all the effort to fix things, and I’ve long felt that it has to come from her anyway.

But it really grieves me because he deserves a good relationship with his mother, and not the joke of a relationship she has with her own mother. It pisses me off, and I suspect it pisses him off more than he wants to say.

It’s one thing for her to avoid her ex-husband out of fear and shame (and whatever else), but not her son. This is inexcusable… and frustrating because it’s out of my hands.

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