Choices, Limbo, and Exhaustion

October will be a year of knowing this is not going to work. I’ve been living in this limbo state for that long. No wonder I can’t get past this depression. There has been zero forward movement. In fact, we are starting to fight.

His boundaries are slipping or are nonexistent. I guess if he’s just living here and doesn’t have to pretend anymore, then he doesn’t have to do anything he said he’d do, even if it would make him healthier and a better dad. That’s asking too much. So he has never gone back to therapy. The other day, I saw that he is back on Facebook. That is how he reconnected with the first sexting partner from high school that I found years ago AND the physical affair partner. You know, the one who got away. If you know you have issues with using social media, why get back on it, unless you are planning to hook up or get validation in some way? Sigh. Then there is the texting with work colleagues. It’s over the line and borderline inappropriate. The day a guy from work calls me “babe” is the day I drop kick him–especially if he is married. I’d venture to guess they all know by now that this is not a marriage, so why not?

Why do I care? There is something about it all going on under your nose and not being able to do anything about it. It’s like being rendered “impotent.” I guess I also hoped that even if our marriage didn’t survive, he’d have this desire to be a better person for himself and the kids. Hilarious. I always have high hopes.

Under all of this is an anger that takes me back to those early days after finding out and a deep sadness for the life I wish I had. I rarely feel safe. I am waiting for him to do something to me that affects my health or leaves me homeless. It won’t take much at this point. I am taking the kids to see family and friends for a few days, and I have a fear he will use the house and my bed. Why not? Why bother with boundaries when you’ve never had them, and you no longer even care to try because you know your marriage is over.

I guess that’s the “change” that is most prominent. At least then he appeared to be trying to be a good person and to change. Now, his jabs are more intense, and the mindfuckery is more often. I know my patience is gone, so I’m sure that I react, even when I try not to.

I don’t understand people. I really don’t. Why was it all worth this end result? My kids are paying the price. How did he not care? Why in the heck do grown adults lie to go sleep with other random people? My favorite part is that they used her friend’s house! Who lets their friend use their house to sleep with a married man?! And the one that really astounds me is why he is here now. Clearly, he wanted anything or anyone else. Ok. Cool. GO for hell’s sake. Yet here he is, sleeping on the couch for almost a year. What the hell? Is his goal to make me slowly go insane from having no peace? I rarely feel comfortable in my own home. I hole up in the bedroom when he is here so I don’t fight with him or give him any reason to say I was trying to start a fight.

Yesterday, as we were walking into the house, one of my girls said, “Mommy, please can Daddy keep living with us.” My heart broke into a thousand pieces. I told her, no, that he’d hurt me and that I could not stay married to him. I told her I loved her and that we would be ok. As she’s crying, she says, “I know. It’s just that sometimes, I forget.” Damn. Damn him. Exactly. Because he’s STILL HERE. They have no idea what is happening, and I can’t do a thing about it. I certainly cannot explain that their dad is a serial cheater and likely has cheated on me more times than I know about. I want them to have a relationship with their dad as much as I don’t want them to leave my side for one day. I don’t know how I’ll do it. Add in the women he’s likely to bring around them, and I want to scream. I pray I’m strong enough to deal with this, as he’s already clearly trolling. It does not seem to pay off to be the healthy parent or the good person. You just get shit on over and over.

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Loneliness and the Dreaded D Word

It’s funny. My parents divorced when I was a teen, and I SWORE I’d never be in this position. Sigh. It’s not like I chose to be cheated on, yet somehow, there seems to always be a way I blame myself for this situation.

What I’m finding very difficult at the moment is the loneliness that is almost sucking me in. There are few adults to talk to when you are not working. I never thought I’d miss working so much, but I do. I miss the comaraderie. I miss feeling as if I was part of a team and supporting others. I miss people asking me how I am…even if they don’t really want to know (ha!). This loneliness is the craziest thing. I’ve never had a problem being alone; in fact, I crave alone time. However, I think that now that I know I can’t get time to be an adult and use my intellect in some way, I feel trapped. I don’t have any close friends who are single or divorced. In fact, I can only think of one person who is divorced, and she just got remarried and is having a baby. I cannot just call someone up and ask them to meet to have coffee for an hour. I don’t even LIKE what I know as the single world. I’m certainly not heading to a bar anytime soon.

I guess the situation is a bit unusual, since I’m in this in house separation hell, and he works nights. I have not had an hour to myself to go anywhere in a long time. I’m not against taking myself to the movies, but other than that? I don’t even know what I would do. Money is an issue, so those fun painting nights or things like that are out. In my head, this all translates to “I will always be alone.” I know. It feels that way. People KNOW I’m going through all of this and they are not reaching out. It hurts. I know they are busy, but a two second text would be amazing at this point. I spent 25 years with him, creating this life. Was it perfect? Heck no. Having to extricate myself from him and all that I know WHILE LIVING WITH HIM is insane.

I am not even sure if I’m communicating all of this in a coherent way, at this point. I mean, heck, at times, we are all a little lonely. I think I’m just completely blindsided by the extent of it. I’m dreading moving forward and losing time with my kids at the same time as I’m looking forward to a chance to take myself to a movie or even just watch an uninterrupted rated R movie here. I’m sure other parents can relate. I just can’t imagine what this new life will even look like, and in my head, it’s not full of life and joy. In my head, it’s full of less time with my kids, less money, more stress, and tons of loneliness. Ugh. Tell me it’s not the way I imagine it. I’m certainly hoping one of you is having a joyful single life.

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Two More Rejections

You’d think I’d be great at taking all of the no’s. However, I’m exhausted, and I just don’t know how to keep getting up. I don’t even know what else to try at this point. That’s seven interviews and seven rejections. The last one was because I was overqualified. Clearly I did not care or why would I go through the interview process. I just want a chance.

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Another day, another interview

Yes, I interviewed again today. I always think it went well, and then I get the dreaded rejection. It’s crazy that we never know if they already have a candidate in mind. What is worse are all the thoughts in my head. I replay the entire interview and then berate myself for how I responded or for the things I should have said. It’s exhausting. I’m ready to go to Walmart (ok. Not yet).

Have you thought about the ways our self-esteem has taken a hit since dday? I know that I not only feel bad about how I look and the fact that I clearly chose someone who could do this to me, but I also am so angry with myself for not seeing the red flags. I no longer trust my own judgment. I missed so much. What makes me want to curl up in bed even more is the fact that there was so much work drama and betrayal during and after my husband’s betrayal(s) that I now don’t trust work situations. After every interview, I wonder if they are truly kind people. I simply do not trust my own judgment about people or even my own skills. It certainly makes it very difficult to “sell myself” during the interview. I’m a terrible actress. Every day, I pray someone SEES me and knows all I can do if I am just given some support. This is all so frustrating.

Do you have self-esteem issues after all of this? How are you coping and supporting yourself through the madness of it all?

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Fears…They Continue

I have had SIX interviews in the last six weeks. SIX. Guess what? No job. My self-esteem was bad enough, but my LIFE depends on getting a job that I can support myself and my kids on, and it is taking its toll. I have three master’s degrees. THREE. Geez. Instead of making me more marketable, no one will hire me because they think I cost too much. I’m about to write that I’ll take the first year salary, if only I could just get back to a normal life and stop feeling like I’m free-falling.

I have so many fears that I could spend all night typing, and you’d get tired of reading. I’m still in that bad place in my mind, and while I am there, I am apparently, rolling around in the shit in my head. It’s rather deep in there. Can you even guess what else I’m afraid of? I have this fear he will get a young girl pregnant. Yep. I am done having kids, but you know, men can have kids quite long after us. I fear that my kids will end up losing their dad to some other girl, who just happens to believe whatever lies he spews at her this week. It’s unbelievable to me that people buy into this bullcrap, but we all know they do. So now I worry not only about the “women” he will bring around the kids, but I worry there will be new kids for my kids to have to compete with. How messed up is that? I will never say those words out loud. I won’t. But I’m telling you, based on what all has gone down already, this is a realistic fear. It certainly goes without saying that he has not used condoms in any of his cheating, and he continues to go after girls in their early 20s. How is this my life again?

Friends, all I want is to feel solid ground under me again. I want to feel a day off where I do not worry about money or finding a job or planning for an interview. I want to know my kids won’t just survive this disaster but will thrive and be happy. I want to stop feeling like I’m never going to feel good again. I hate that I am ashamed of what all is happening. I chose to trust and quit my job and move. I chose to believe that family had my back. There is no one to blame for the inevitable unraveling except me.

Truth be told, this week was very bad. After two no’s from jobs I really wanted and interviews I thought went well, I actually entertained suicide. I hate the idea of the kids being bounced from place to place and I just…I can’t accept that I will have to work in retail or a minimum wage job. I just cannot understand why I can’t catch a break. To be honest, I hate this life, and I am only here because I would not want to add to my kids’ pain. However, this can only last so long. Please pray somehow, some way, I find a position and begin to dig myself out of this in house separation and the nightmare of my life. Please pray I find meaning and stability in something.

It is so funny that only eight months ago, I believed we were on the way to reconciliation. I believed we were going to have a decent marriage and our kids would be in a stable situation. Now, I have lost nearly everything because I simply took a risk and jumped. What is it that they say? “Jump and the net will appear?” Umm…nope. No net. I’m still falling and falling and the whole damn earth has sucked me in. I cannot even find a way to start digging out. May you find the stability I crave and I pray that you are not reeling, as I am. May you find peace and solid ground.

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The Worst I’ve Been in a While

I think it’s all just crashing down around me lately. I’ve had six interviews…no job. I feel like I do not have a purpose and I certainly am not able to get myself out of this situation without work.

It’s funny. I promised myself I’d never be in this situation. I said I’d never be dependent on a man, and I took a risk for the first time in my life, and SLAM. Yep. Stupid me.

What is almost more hurtful than all of his betrayal is the silence from those I thought were close to me. They do not check in and they do not likely want to really know how bad I am doing. Someone today, who I am sure was well meaning, told me it was time I stood up for myself. I guess that all these interviews and planning and stress aren’t me trying to do just that. I suppose that moving back to my home state after only seven weeks is not doing that either. Ugh. I’m in a dark, bad place.

It all came crashing down two days ago, when I found out I did not get a second interview for my dream job. I sobbed my way through that and picked myself up. I had another interview a few days later, so I prepped and thought through all of the questions. I was ready. Ah, today, I find out through a listserv post that the position is going to be reposted. Don’t you think they should notify those they aren’t giving the job to first before they repost? Isn’t that the human thing to do? What is worse is that my friend works there and was the post originator. I guess she won’t be going to bat for me to get the position…

I’m tired. I hate what my life has become and I certainly do not want to work a minimum wage job when I have all of these stupid degrees. I’m hurting and I just do not want to try anymore. I do not care. What is the point, when time after time I get one “no” closer to a retail job? I hope that when I post next, I have something to add to this that is more positive; however, I am not feeling good and I am scaring myself a bit.

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…and the rollercoaster

It’s funny. I always think positively, and then I feel like I’ve been slammed with depression. It’s frustrating and exhausting.

Do you feel like you are constantly having crazy mood changes? I feel like I can’t even get a handle on where I am most days. I do know that I am lonely. You never realize how much you become so comfortable with having someone to share your day with. I certainly took it for granted, though if I were being honest, he obviously took me for granted. I miss the daily sharing and knowing that I had someone to watch my back. However, what is so disturbing and such a mindfuck is that I actually didn’t have him watching my back. I mean, in the end, he stabbed me in it. It still takes my breath away.

I am sitting here just accepting that this is where I am right now. Right now, I am sad and grateful for small things. Right now, I am finally taking small steps forward. Right now, I am grieving for the loss of my marriage and for my kids’ pain at our upcoming divorce. Right now, I am lonely and wonder if I will ever be able to trust again.

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Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by women helping other women, and it is such an amazing experience. There is positive energy, and each one is lifting someone up. Most of the time, they just met the other, and being a witness to such giving and loving people has been such a lift to my spirit.

Over the last few weeks, I have been working on having more gratitude. As many of you know, when we are dodging all that life throws at us, it is often so hard to find positive things. Still, I know that I have such amazing things to be grateful for. Each day, I pick the kids up from school, and we each list three things we are grateful for. Honestly, it takes about three minutes, and there is usually a lot of laughter about why we are grateful for the things we chose. It’s really been eye-opening because throughout my day, I’m looking for things that I will choose for one of my three things to share with the kids, and as I am doing that, I am noticing more good than bad. Who knew?!

Yesterday, I had lamented my situation and cried for a portion of the day. I have been thinking of what other job I might do that I would love and that would allow some flexibility to be there for my kids when they need me. It has been so hard because every day, there is some news story about a teacher shortage, but I cannot get an interview here because I have too much experience and schooling! I have been disheartened. Yet, there has been a woman who reached out to me. She has been encouraging me and offering professional advice. She seemed to look into my eyes and know what I am going through both personally and professionally, and just her believing in me helped me to believe in myself. At 7:34 last night, I opened my email to find an offer to interview for a teaching position. This particular district is amazing and supportive, and I would have the opportunity not only to work with students again but to learn and grow in my field! What a gift! I have since moved forward to prepare for the interview, believing in my heart that this opportunity is here for a reason.

After all that has happened, it is time to find some good. I am more than ready for changes that feed my heart and soul and allow me to continue growing toward the woman I am to become.

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Who Am I?

Who am I? This is something I have really been wondering over the last four years. It is interesting how we see ourselves–how we build our identity.

For many years, I was a teacher. I love teaching. However, I gave up my contract to move, and THEN I found out he had cheated again. So here I am, struggling to get back into teaching with master’s degrees and all these years of experience. It’s so frustrating to me to know the work I put in as a teacher and to see that I will likely never teach again…unless I move states again, and it is just unlikely. I need my kids to feel safe and happy. I did not realize how much being a teacher was a part of my identity until all of this. I mean, I had flashes of understanding when I switched positions, but this? This is unbelievably hard. I sub, and then I get in my car and sob. I am lucky to make $60 a day, and the kids certainly do not respect me. I have more experience than many of the teachers I sub for. I am so angry with myself. I know that looking back, we always see things more clearly, but I had no idea. I have no idea who I am if I can’t teach, and I cannot even think of what I would like to do. I am clear that I am I deeply struggling with stability, and I am holding on to this idea that someone will give me a chance. I do not know if they even read my application, but on every one, I write that I will take less just to get back into the classroom. Every day, we hear of a teacher shortage, and here I am, begging to get back in and giving up the pay I deserve to do it. How did I get here?

I am a mom. I can see it in the love on my kids’ faces when we snuggle. I am a good mom. Still, I am not sure how that fits in with divorce and what is to come. I’m scared to death they won’t be happy or feel joy once they know.

I am a strong woman with hopes and dreams. I love helping others. I love learning new things. I love being part of a team and feeling like what I do matters.

I am someone who longs for a true partner. I want to be loved for who I really am…and heck, I certainly have flaws. I have moments of intense anger. It is very difficult for me to trust. Am I destined to go through the rest of my life on my own? I don’t know.

I feel SO alone and as if I’m free falling every day. I keep trying to stay positive and to have gratitude. In the midst of it all, I certainly know I am still blessed in some ways. What I know, though, is that I absolutely need work. How will I ever accept that my choices (though done without all of the information) have led me to the loss of the career I am so good at and love? I don’t know how to move forward out of this loss and grief.

Who am I? I am a shell of the person I once was. Every day, I pray that something wonderful happens that moves me forward, and every day is another repeat of yesterday. I do very much want to curl up in a ball and give up. If I did not have these wonderful kids, I certainly would. I don’t see the out. I don’t see the escape. I pray. I show gratitude. I walk out in the world and sub and pretend to be good. But I’m not. I’m not the person I should be. I am not even half of what I could become. I simply am at a loss as to how to get there.

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Before D-day, I rarely paid attention to the judgments of others. Sure, things stung, but over time, I realized their judgments were based on their issues, and it was easier to move through the world. Now, I feel every judgment so intensely. I take every silence from friends as a commentary on my life or my choices. I feel abandoned, like they think I’m contagious. If they ignore my situation and my pain, they do not need to worry about it rubbing off onto them. Surely THEY will never have a spouse cheat on them.

I would like to believe that I would not abandon someone in their pain. I reach out weekly to those I know are hurting, even if it is just to say, “I’m thinking of you.” I really do wonder why this is such a lost art. I know that we are all scrambling to meet the demands of this modern life, but certainly in all of the time spent on a smartphone, we can find a minute to let each other know we are not alone.

It wasn’t until this past weekend that I really understood the type of judgment that is so destructive to my healing. My mom was here visiting, and she needed to stay with me. No problem. My kids love her, and I was happy to see her. However, my life is anything but perfect right now. I’m still living with my husband, and we both know the end is near. He does not want to move out, and I am in no position to force it. It is the worst kind of trapped. I know that my decision to trust ultimately led to this situation, and I beat myself up for it multiple times a day. It is something I am working on forgiving myself for. When my husband is home, I normally avoid the room he is in. It is ok…easier to navigate than when there is a guest. While here, my mom would get to hear the comments he would make under his breath. I have tried to ignore them. I can usually quickly leave the room, but for some reason, it has gotten harder, and it feels like I need to jab back in order to prove I do not just sit there and take it. I feel like I need to have a voice in some way in my life. Apparently, this happened one day. I do not remember the jab exactly or how it all occurred, but I can be sure it was less than two minutes in length. I am particularly annoyed that he dared to jab while she was here, but it is what it is. I own that I jabbed back.

My mom shared this scenario with my sister. It seems she just cannot help but share my slip-up and sit in judgment over me when I most need support. I feel betrayed all over again…by my mom and most definitely by my sister, who deemed it necessary to judge me as immature and as a mom who did not do what is best for her kids.

For anyone reading this who has not been cheated on, there really is no way to explain the pain and devastation of betrayal. We all say we will leave immediately if this ever happens. We all act like it is simple to cut and run. This may be true in some instances. Surely it was easier for me to do in high school, when I had no children. I had NO idea the trauma finding out would rain down on me. I did not have a clue that I would shake for weeks and be unable to sleep, eat, or think clearly. I could not feel safe. The fact that I am now able to even be in the same house as he is, knowing he did this to me again? Well, that feels like quite the victory to me. So why is it that in this pain, my family feels as if it is a grand idea to judge whether or not every decision I make or action I take is healthy? Of course it isn’t! I’m living in an unhealthy situation with no immediate way to escape. It’s living in a cage with your abuser. It’s knowing you still love that person who did all of these horrible things to you. It’s knowing that you are playing house with someone who has already chosen someone or something else over and over, leaving you no good choices.

I feel more alone than ever, knowing that I am being judged by those who should have my back. I am tired of the excuses of others. Certainly a person can only hear, “It’s because I care about the kids” enough to know that the other side of that is “you need to suck it up.”

Today, I was feeling very down and wanted to get out of this loop I have in my head. I reached out to someone and was given the gift of kindness, support, and guidance. It felt wonderful. May I soon have the opportunity to be there for someone in that way, as I look forward to moving ahead in my head and my heart.

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