Hello, SI Family.
I haven't been here in quite sometime. At least not regularly. I recognize a couple names here and there, but I am sure most of you have never heard of me.
I'm approximately 6.5 years post D-day, and 5 years post divorce. Mine was finalized at the end of 2018.
2019 pretty much sucked - lost my dad and a dog, continuing the downward spiral of depression, anxiety, fear of the unknown, all while trying to keep my kids on track with school and somewhat of a normal life at home.
Their mother moved an hour away, which pretty much limited her time with them to holidays. Otherwise, my two DS's were always with me, while my DD was/is out of state trying to do her own thing.
Then the lockdowns hit. My isolationist tendencies were now trending worldwide! Everything turned upside-down. People seemed to lose their minds. I tried to be the rock. Albeit, a rock with a very wobbly foundation, but a rock nonetheless.
Contact with my XWW was kept to a minimum. Texting or emails only, and only about the kids/logistics. This worked very well for me. I controlled the conversation, lessening my anxiety and steering me away from any drama.
Which brings me to yesterday.
My youngest son graduated high school! I'm proud because I got him through all of high school as best I could without totally falling apart in the process. Whew! Big milestone.
All that to say, I knew his mother was going to attend the graduation ceremony, as she should. And, of course, my son wanted to invite her to the dinner afterwards. Living in my conflict-avoidant / people-pleasing self, I obliged.
So over the last couple of weeks, apart from the mad sprint to the finish line, there was a sub-layer of anxiety in me, knowing that I was going to see my XWW for the first time since we finalized the divorce. In fact, she wasn't even at the final hearing. Just me. I believe the last time we saw each other was to transfer the title of her car from my name to hers. That was about three months before the divorce was final.
We sat with my eldest son between us for the ceremony. And then we were seated next to each other for the dinner. We had a pleasant conversation - talked about her new place, her family, life in general. We hugged after and exchanged some friendly texts, and that was that.
Long story short, I survived. The anxiety I had built up - fear of old feelings, the ptsd, the crushing gut-punch I would constantly re-live after D-day, was really for nothing. I could sit in a room with her, still remember the experience from years ago, but be okay in myself.
I'm not going to lie, I was emotionally exhausted after that dinner. But I made it.
You all will make it. All of the pain and feelings of universal unfairness that you are experiencing now, will eventually go away. It just takes lots of time and counseling and work.
I'm in no way my best self. But I'm working on it. I think after this experience I'm realizing I'm a lot stronger than I thought I could be.
So for you all thinking this is the end of your lives - yes, in a way, it is. But there's life on the other side of this.
As the saying goes, "The only way out of hell is through." Or something like that.
Be well, SI Family. 💗