So even though I have been pretty adamant that I was not yet ready to date, I let a friend talk me into setting me up.  We met for lunch  yesterday, and I was really nervous.  It’s my first date in over 20 years!  Last time I dated, I was 23!

He was nice, but frankly, I am not really physically attracted to him.  He’s good looking, yes, but not the kind of good looking that makes me swoon and daydream about being in bed with him!  This has always been an issue for me.  I find very few men attractive in a way that makes me want them to have their hands all over me.  My ex-husband was extremely attractive, and I fear there are no good-looking single guys my age out there!

And, although he was very kind and seemed like a genuinely sweet man, and we seemed to have many things in common, and he has a lot of traits that I think I would like, he also has some that I know will not work for me.  Mostly, he is a talker.  Like too much talking.  Our lunch date was over three hours long and I think I maybe spoke a total of 20 minutes!  I know he was trying to carry the conversation because he knew I was nervous (I told him), but I left feeling exhausted!

I agreed to see him again, mostly because I now don’t trust my own instincts and felt that maybe I should give it one more chance.  This is yet another example of the lingering mental damage that an affair does.  I don’t trust my gut and I don’t ever know if I’m making a good decision.  So frustrating!

He’s already text me and asked about brunch this weekend.  I’m going to go and just make sure, but I suspect that I will have to tell him it’s not going to work.  At least he’s a nice guy and has a great sense of humor.  If nothing else, I got this whole first date thing over with and met a really interesting person in the process.  It really wasn’t so bad, and I’m not sure why I was so nervous.

Re-read this again and it really resonated with me. Everything in this post is so, so, true!

Being a Beautiful Mess

Most people say that they would leave a cheating spouse or partner when they have a clear head.  Before it has ever happened to them.

That is the right kind of thinking.  The way we think of cheating before it has happened to us is the thinking of a rational, logical brain.  It is the thinking of someone who is clear-headed, unbiased, and can see the reality of a situation.

You know how it’s always easier to give someone advice than it is to take it yourself?  That’s because when you’re giving advice you can step back and see the big picture.  You can weigh the facts and the likelihood of every scenario, and make a calculated, educated decision.  You can really see the truth of a situation as it stands.

Recently a blogging buddy (and real-life friend), Samantha Baker of Repairing Shattered Pieces, brought my attention to an article,

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During the divorce my mom and her husband felt so bad for me that they invited me to join them on a vacation to the Dominican Republic that they had planned.  I hesitated, realizing it was a bit of a sympathy invitation, but in a lonely moment, I went ahead and booked a room at the same resort for the first 5 days of their 8-day vacation.  The divorce was final last month, and the trip was this past week.  Pretty good timing for a lazy 5 days on the beach.  While I was looking forward to the beach and spending some time with my mom, I was hesitant about traveling alone and feeling lonely.  But, instead of being lonely, here’s what I discovered:

  1. I was on time everywhere (early even).  There was no rushing to the airport, to get checked out, to get anywhere.  The X was ALWAYS late to everything (a reflection of his self-centeredness), and I hadn’t realized how stressful that was on me.  Traveling alone meant I only needed to take care of me and no one else.  I actually enjoyed taking my time everywhere I went.
  2. My room was exactly the temperature I like.  He always wanted the room freezing cold, which meant never opening the balcony doors to get fresh air or listen to the ocean.  I got both on this trip!
  3. I ate when and where I wanted.  I’m not a picky eater, and he is, so I always just let him choose when and where.  I love to try new things, so I really enjoyed this new found culinary freedom.
  4. There was no complaining – about anything.  He always found something wrong with something or someone on our trips and complained and bitched and moaned incessantly.  And, because I was the one that had to plan and book everything, I always felt like he was criticizing me in the process.  I hadn’t realized how that had been ruining my enjoyment of travelling.
  5. Having a room to just me was pretty great.  I slept.  A lot. No snoring, no messes to clean up, no foul odors, no sharing of any space.
  6. I read.  A lot.  I didn’t have to entertain anyone.  The X needed constant entertainment and would never just read on the beach all day, but wouldn’t let me do it either!
  7. I never felt awkward or weird about being alone.  When I checked into the hotel and the gentlemen asked me “solomente uno”?  I was fine with telling him, “si, solomente uno.”  And, while my mom and step-dad were not far away, I was fine to sit at the lobby bar alone with a cocktail and catch up on emails or just people watch.  In fact, after the third day, I was ready for a break from them and ventured around a bit on my own.
  8. I didn’t worry if a man looked at me or came up to me to chat.  I didn’t have to shoo anyone away before the husband got back.  Most of them were locals just saying hello and wanting to talk to a blonde girl on the beach and practice their English.  Harmless stuff, and I got to learn about the locals more than I would have otherwise.

I did, however, miss my dog terribly!  And, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was at least one night when I couldn’t sleep and I felt really alone.

Yesterday the X came and got the last of his things, finally.  It took him more than three weeks to finish moving all of his stuff (he closed on his house on September 9).  The last few weeks, I was so annoyed by his slow paced move, and what felt to me like disrespect of my space and time.  But, after he left yesterday, the finality of it all hit me – that I might never see him again, and I cried a good cry.  I am alone.  It’s scary.  And, last night, I was tempted to call him and tell him I miss him and just talk.  I miss having that closeness, that ease we had in being able to talk about anything.  But, he lives with his girlfriend now, and calling him would not be fair to her, and I’m not going to be that woman that calls her ex and depends on him for everything.  It’s over and our friendship is over too.

Nights are difficult and lonely.  Weekends are even worse.  Tagging along with my married friends on their outings is going to get old really quickly.  It already is, and I usually feel a bit out of place when I go out with them and their husbands.

I’ve kept myself busy buying new furniture and trying to redecorate the house.  He took about half of the furniture and decor, so there’s quite a bit to do.  I realize that soon, all of that will be done, and then what?  I’m afraid that another wave of loneliness will hit.  In fact, I know it will and I dread it and am starting to think of something else that I can busy myself with.

My mom came out for a visit, and that helped too.  I’m trying to convince my dad to come out for Thanksgiving since I don’t have enough time off work to make the trip back home.  I know that the holidays will be extra lonely since all of my family lives in Illinois, and I am in Colorado.

The idea of dating freaks me out.  I’m totally not ready, but I know I will be ready some day.  I have so many trust issues now, I’m not sure I will ever fully trust someone again.  I worry that my distrust will sabotage any future relationship.

I thank God every day that I got to keep the dog.  I have become so attached to her, I have to admit that it’s actually a bit weird.  I was never one of those people that treats their pets like a human, but now I am.

I don’t mean for this post to sound so dismal and sad.  There are good things too.  The house is so easy to clean now!  I am amazed at how much of a mess he made that I was always cleaning up.  Laundry is way easier to do now too.  I watch whatever I want on TV.  No boring racing anymore – Yay!  I eat and cook what I want and even no meat for many meals.  I find that I spend very little on food.  I do what I want when I want – I read at night, I go for walks with the dog, whatever, because I have no one else’s schedule to deal with.  I can find everything because it’s always exactly where I left it.  I decorate how I want – I don’t have to consider whether things are “too girly” or not.  I don’t have the stress and worry of whether he is cheating or lying or doing something disrespectful of our marriage or of me – that’s a big one.  I don’t have to tiptoe around his moods (he was very moody), be his cheerleader, or deal with his constant complaining about work, his mother, etc.  I’m sure I’ll continue to discover good things about being on my own, and I don’t regret my decision.  It’s just that things are very different, and I’m adjusting.

He closed on his new ginormous house yesterday; the one he will soon be sharing with his new girlfriend and her two daughters.  He is moving out today.  I am just so sad.  I wish things were different.  I wish he had been different.  I wish we both had communicated better – before he had his affair, before so much resentment was allowed into our hearts.  I wish he wasn’t a liar.  But, he is.  And, we can’t go back in time and re-do anything.  In my mind, I know that I will be better off without him.  In my heart, I am broken.

When I made my last post on June 18, I really thought that I had seen all the hurt that my STBXH (soon-to-be-ex-husband) could possibly inflict.  His ventures into Ashley Madison and similar sites was only the beginning.  Two days after my last post, on June 20, he was on Match.com.  And, he wasn’t just browsing.  He was actively pursuing several women.  A week later, on June 27, he went on his first live date with a woman he met on Match.

My world was crushed.  I was so hurt, and couldn’t possibly understand how he could go out with someone while at the same time professing his love for me and asking me to work through everything and drop the divorce.  Never mind the fact that we are still living together until he finds a home to buy.

But, it gets worse.  He is still dating this woman.  In fact, they are making plans to move in together (with her two teenage daugthers).  And, all this time, he has been lying not just to me, but to everyone about everything.  The number of lies he has told in the last two months and the hurtful nature of those lies actually makes me ill.

While the lies are hurtful and so is the fact that he so easily moved on, it is only more proof that I made the right choice.  He is simply not the person he has pretended to be.  He is certainly not the man that I thought he was.

More details to follow, but although sad, I am going to be okay.

I told my husband that I wanted a divorce on May 28.  We’ve been cordial and even friendly with each other – both of us seemingly heartbroken.  In fact, we went to dinner for his birthday last week and had a really nice evening.  We didn’t talk about the divorce, and we’re both fine as long as we don’t talk about it.  It’s been so hard, because I still love him.  I cry all the time and have had so many doubts about whether I’ve made the right decision.  And he has been professing his love for me and telling me that he does not want a divorce.  Yet, his actions say something altogether different….

The week after I told him that I wanted a divorce, he stopped wearing his ring, unfriended and blocked me on Facebook, and unfriended and blocked all of my friends.  I maintain a fake FB account (to investigate employees for my job) and looked him up.  I was saddened and hurt to see that he immediately friended and had conversations with the old girlfriend that I wrote about in my post What was the Final Straw. On June 9, he signed the joint petition for divorce (and handed it to me in tears).  On June 11, I filed it with the court (and fell apart afterwards, and he again said he didn’t want me to file it, that he wanted to work on our marriage).  On Monday this week, I happen to see an email flash across on his cell phone from the Ashley Madison website.  And Saphrina.  I hacked into his accounts, and sure enough, he has set up a profile on both.  In case you’re not familiar with these websites, take a look.  They are dating websites for married people who are looking to have affairs.  He hasn’t responded to any of the messages he’s received (most of which appear to be scams), nor has he contacted anyone on either site.

Nonetheless, I am so hurt.  Words cannot even express it.  I knew that he would move on quickly; he cannot be alone.  But, how does he profess such love for me and yet do things that reflect that he does not care one bit?  And, after seeing the destruction that his affair did to me, how can he possibly consider doing that to anyone else?  How can he justify hurting someone that he does not even know?  There are innocent people that will be hurt!  I am disgusted and hurt and humiliated and sad and angry and confused and so many other emotions that words cannot describe.  Who is this person I married?  How could I have mis-judged him so badly and for so long?  I get that he is feeling rejected by me right now and needs a boost to his ego, but this is taking it too far!  I am so confused about so many things.  That being said, I am no longer confused or doubtful about my choice to divorce.  Though my heart is still aching over it, my mind is telling me that I made the right choice.

A few people have asked what was it that finally made me make my decision to ask for a divorce after three years of trying to heal.  I thought about this too in the months leading up to now – when and how would I know?  I thought (hoped) I would have an epiphany; one where I would suddenly see everything in my life so clearly and I would know exactly what I wanted to do and there would be no doubts, no confusion, no second-guessing of my decision.  That epiphany never came really.

What did happen was that I finally realized that he will never change certain traits.  Traits that I used to accept, but post D-day, can no longer overlook.  Traits that aren’t bad necessarily, but not good for me.  Not anymore.  Perhaps the incident that really made look at this more closely was the “picture with a scantily clad cocktail waitress” incident that I wrote about in December (Still insecure; but am I overreacting?).

I also began to realize that I was never really going to trust him again.  Certainly, I know and trust that he is not having an affair, but I will never trust him like I once did.  I will always have doubts in the back of my mind.  Those are things that I now realize may never go away.

I then began to ask myself:  Are these things I can live with for the rest of my life?  I was beginning to realize that the answer was no.  I didn’t want to live like that.  As much as I love my husband, and even though we are so compatible, and have such a good time together, I do not want to live out my life not feeling confident about myself or my marriage.

Then, he did something that reinforced all of the worries I had.  I went back to Illinois to visit my parents and attend my niece’s graduation over Memorial Day weekend.  I also wanted to talk to my mom.  I wanted to tell her about how I was feeling and that maybe I wanted a divorce.  When I got back from Illinois, I logged onto his Facebook account and looked at his activity.  During the four days I was gone, he unblocked two of his affair partner’s family members (Her mother and sister-in-law) and looked up their profiles.  (He can’t look up Her profile since she has him blocked.)  He also unblocked an old girlfriend and looked at her profile.  This old girlfriend is someone that I discovered, shortly after D-day, that he had been having some inappropriate conversations with.  Conversations that a married man should not be having.  Things like: You look great, haven’t change a bit; You were always my favorite girlfriend; I sure hope we can be friends again; I hope to get to see you next time I’m home.  To me, there’s no reason for these conversations.  Nor is there any reason he should be looking her up now, and I simply can’t understand why he would do that when we discussed this very issue at length in counseling.  I was very clear, and he agreed, that contact with old girlfriends and intimate conversations with them are just wrong and that he would cease it immediately and forever.  So, I guess this was the proverbial “final straw” that catapulted me into a decision that I had been mulling for almost six months.

When I told him I wanted a divorce, I did not mention the things I found on Facebook.  My reason?  What explanation could he possibly make that would make it okay?  There is no explanation.  There is no excuse.  And I didn’t want to hear any.  And, really, Facebook is not the reason for my wanting a divorce.  The reason is that he had an affair.   So, I didn’t bring those things up; instead, I told him that I simply could not get past what he did, I didn’t think I could ever really trust him again, and that I needed to find myself again, to get my confidence back.  I told him that I need to change the direction of my healing, and that direction includes not just letting go of what he did, but also letting go of him.  I feel like I need to choose between him or me, and I choose me.  That’s the reason why.

Today is so emotional for me.  Yesterday was the 3 year mark of the day that my world fell apart.  The day I discovered my friend, my partner, my protector, my one and only, had betrayed me.  We tried really hard to make it work, and I desperately wanted to get past that betrayal.  I just can’t.  Nor can I ignore the fact that he continued to keep little secrets from me and tells little white lies.  We are different people and we have different definitions of what it means to live honestly.  I accept that and accept who he is and his faults and limitations.  I am not angry about it.  Just hurt.  Deeply, incredibly, indescribably, hurt.  I am forever changed and permanently scarred.

I told him two weeks ago that I want a divorce, and not a day has passed that I have not cried.  Sometimes multiple times.  Sometimes for hours.  I am crying for many reasons:  because I know he is hurting and I cannot fix it; because of the loss of his friendship; because of the loss of my idea of marriage; because of the loss of my youth; because of the loss of innocence; because I am scared to death of what will happen to me; because of my failures in our marriage; because of his failures; the list goes on.

He signed the Petition and I’m taking it to the courthouse this afternoon to file it.

One of the things that my mother taught me that has always stuck with me is “don’t say things you don’t mean, because once you say something, you cannot take it back.”  So, I have been carefully considering whether I want to say I want a divorce.  I know that once that one little word comes out of my mouth, our relationship will forever be changed.  It’s probably why I never said the word even during the angst of discovery and hellish months following that discovery.  Not once.  Ever. Not even when I wanted to strangle him.  Not when I saw all of the emails, the texts, the money, the time and the love he gave her.

Then, I said it.  Last Thursday.  Divorce.  I want one.  I told him.  We both cried and held each other.  We are both now forever scarred by that one little word that we never wanted to hear.

He is sick with grief.  For the first time ever, I think he finally understands my pain.  He admitted that up until now, he never really comprehended just how much he hurt me, how much I have a right to be angry and resentful.  He is desperate to salvage our marriage, offering counseling and anything and everything I want him to do.  But there is nothing he can do.  He is who he is.  He did what he did.  There is no changing it.

I am simply heartbroken.  I can’t stand to see him so hurt.  I want so much to hold him and tell him that I take it back.  I never wanted this, and I never envisioned this as my life.  I am grieving the loss of what our marriage was and could have been, what I had hoped for our future together, our failure to make things right in our marriage before he felt the need to seek attention elsewhere.  But, I need to move on from this marriage for my own sanity and well being.  I need to remove myself from the worry, the doubts, the distrust, the insecurities, and find myself again; move away from the pain, and regain my confidence.

We are strangely civil and kind to one another.  I guess I pictured most divorces as some dramatic blow out.  That is not us… yet.  I hope it won’t be ugly.  I do care for him deeply.  Love him still, even.

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