While my blog seems so quiet to me comment wise, I get PM’s, DM’s and inboxes constantly telling me that people relate, they understand and just reaching out in case I need a friend. I appreciate that more than most people know.
This has been a semi-rough year as I have navigated the waters approaching a second divorce. The most often asked question, is… why?
“Why are you getting a divorce?” “What happened?” “Did one of you cheat?” “Why did you leave him?”
The answers are both simple and complex and I thought I’d take a moment to answer them.
But before I do, I have to explain a few things.
First, both of us were rebound relationships for each other from the very start. I think we both knew that.
Me – I had come out of a rough two year relationship with a man I had considered my soul mate. (I still do). There were circumstances that caused us to break up and there was a lot of loss and depression surrounding that decision.
Him – He was going through a divorce to the woman he considered his soul mate and that was not final yet. I rode that rocky ride with him, and it was difficult but she gave us her blessing (as she is the mother of his children) and I was about to become a full-time mom to five, so well, that all mattered then.
Because we were a rebound relationship, neither of us had healed from our former relationships. Both ended on terrible terms, both of us had a lot of healing and depression to get through. While we were there for each other, we never really expressed our concerns, fears and loss. This may or may not have attributed to our future problems, but regardless it occurred.
Moving the Babysitter In
We’d known each other since 2000. Not well. In fact, not more than a side glance and a quick hello or goodbye from time to time. But when we connected in 2006 is wasn’t in a relationship way at all. In fact, it was friends and then after a couple of weeks, I realized he needed a babysitter for his three girls, because he worked nights. I was looking for a place to move, since ending the previous relationship, I wanted to just start a new life. We talked about it, and about a month later, I moved in. Yes, his room was my room. But again, I stress… he worked nights. We were never in that bed together for nearly 9 months. It was just not that kind of relationship. He’d concur. But yes, after several months, we did develop feelings for each other. I’m sure it was because we were both lonely and well, we did care about each other for sure. In a lot of ways, he was my best friend at that time. And that’s pretty much how it all started. But then…
Illness & Fear
A few years after we were living together, he suffered from 2 heart attacks and scarring from another was discovered, meaning he had previously had an undetected heart attack. Yes, it scared us all. I had difficulty with dealing with the hospital, bills and other things I couldn’t take care of, not being his wife. I also would have no say, or no control over what would happen SHOULD something happen to him regarding his three children (who lived with us full time) the house and other property, etc. On a whim, we discussed getting married. I don’t think either of us were wanting it at the time, but I think we were scared and we didn’t know what else to do. So in 3 weeks we threw together a pretty decent wedding, invited our closest friends and family and said “I do.” The problem was….
I Married His Children
I didn’t so much marry him that day. I married the kids. I focused completely on blending our families and lived for the kids. I had always wanted a big family and with my two and his three, we instantly became a family of seven (though we had all lived together for three years before we got married). Even every detail of the wedding was planned around the kids. I was so focused on blending us as a family, I forgot to notice why I should or shouldn’t marry this great guy. Now, don’t get me wrong. He is a great guy. He’s a great dad and to someone would be a great husband. He did take care of us, and very well. About 3 years into the marriage (having never CONSUMMATED it.. yes you read that correctly!) the disaster that was our marriage was becoming more and more obvious… and there was still ONE major problem…
You Never Stop Loving Someone…
Him – I started noticing that when his ex wife would come to take the girls, he would make sure to be out, visible or accessible. He smiled constantly. His eyes shown and he couldn’t wait to talk to her. He’d sit outside and talk to her for 30 minutes before she left and he’d repeat the whole process when she brought the girls back.
The rest of the time (which was literally ALL the time) he was either working or sleeping. And when he wasn’t working or sleeping, he was hidden back in the bedroom in the back of the house, watching TV, movies or playing XBox or on his computer. We never saw him. I never spoke to him. Maybe a handful of sentences a week. He seemed grumpy and unhappy 24/7. I know I didn’t make much of an effort either. I was so wrapped up in the kids lives, shuttling them back and forth, listening to teen drama and honestly spending time with them, that I hadn’t noticed how bad it had gotten. When I finally did, I just didn’t care anymore. I had seen him with his ex wife and knew that we were not happy and he was still very in love with her. I missed my previous relationship and never really got over him. I was still deeply in love with him, but knew there was just no chance.
This all went on for about two years. Both of us pining for something that couldn’t be, but struggling to stay together.
Leaving the Nest…
When our two oldest (my son, his daughter) graduated from high school in 2013. Something changed in me. I knew I had to set him free, and I needed to move on. But the kids made it nearly impossible since my life had seriously revolved around the five of them. I worried about what they would do when I left, I worried about where we’d go. I worried if they would all maintain a relationship, after all they had been sisters and brother for 8 years! I didn’t want to hurt Mike, but I knew he wasn’t happy either. I started looking for apartments, checked out new areas we could move to, and just generally began working more to save money so I could leave. Shortly after graduation, my step daughter enlisted in the Navy, and there was yet another immediate shift in our household. The kids were unhappy, I was unhappy and we definitely had a case of empty nest syndrome that started before anyone was even gone. The tension was terrible and the silence deafening. Nobody spoke, the laughter was gone and it was so stoic and quiet. It lasted like that for about a month. (October 2013)
My step-daughter didn’t do well in the Navy and wound up coming home early (November 2013). It was what it was and we were dealing with it, but because we had drifted so far apart, it was a bit of a mess and she came home, only to leave and go live with her mom. That shifted our dynamics again as we were all hurting and confused about why she made that choice. Yet, we are a family and we support one another, so Mike and I and our children all supported her.
But as much as I didn’t think it could happen, we drifted even further apart. Some days never even speaking to each other. Not because we were angry, we definitely weren’t. We just didn’t have anything to say. He stayed in the bedroom full time, I stayed in the living room working full time (from home). It was just a mess. Just before my step daughter got home from the Navy, something happened.
An Answered Prayer? Or just a random message?
At the very start of the month of November (2013) while we were waiting for my step daughter to return home from bootcamp, I got a message on a popular social network from the very guy I’d never stopped thinking about. The very guy I had spent 8 years trying to forget and move on from. Since I am in web design, he contacted me to work on a project for a home business he has, and I happily accepted and obliged. We met a couple of times to work on it at first, and nothing was said about the past. But not to terribly long after that, we began spending much more time together and the past of course came up, as well as our feelings. He was about to file for divorce and I kept thinking… yeah right. There is no way that this man was going to wind up with me after all we’d been through in the past and what he was going through at the time.
We continued to work on the web design, but we also became best friends again and shared much of what we were going through with each other. I think both of us felt relieved to have someone to talk to. Both of us had changed so much from our relationships since each other, that there were definitely times that we both questioned whether we would actually be able to start or have a relationship.
Life Changes Quickly, Hold on Tight!
Within six months we were both separated and made the agonizing decision to move in together. We both had many issues we had to deal with stemming from our previous situations. I don’t feel at liberty to discuss his, but mine were all too painful. The fear of losing my three step daughters was greater than anyone could have anticipated. I cried myself to sleep many a night lying next to the man I love but feeling more alone than I ever had. He tried desperately to support me, but I didn’t let him because I didn’t want to talk about the rejection I was facing from “my girls”. I barely spoke to them for a few months, but still saw them at least once a week as I moved things out of the house and to storage or to our apartment.
Mike and I are still friendly. He is back together with his ex wife (mother of his girls) and I couldn’t be happier for them. When parents can reunite and learn to love again, I think it’s amazing and should be encouraged and cherished.
But the relationship loss has still taken it’s toll on me.
I have had dinner with one of my step daughters and her boyfriend several weeks after I officially moved out. Once. Only once. I see her at the house often, but we haven’t really talked other than to text a few times a month. That breaks my heart.
I have a semi- online relationship with my youngest step daughter. She is an instagram addict, so I see her photos regularly, comment and have conversations with her there. I miss her terribly.
But my oldest step daughter was MIA. Admittedly, she has said she needed time and I knew I had to give her that. It killed me and hurt as we had grown SO close since graduation and to lose that after the Navy broke me apart.
I won’t go into all the emotional details of all of that, but I do have a happy life change that occurred very recently and I will be disclosing that in tomorrow’s post. So you’ll have to come back for that one!
If you read this far, you are a truly devoted reader and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without my readers, I’d struggle alone.
And 2015 is my year of transparency and change. I am an open book at this point and feel like if I tell my story, others won’t be afraid to open up about theirs. Yes, we make strange choices in life that we think are the right thing at the moment, but then later… they bite us in the butt. My marriage was one of those things. I live with no regrets, I only take a learning experience away from this. I was blessed to have an amazing family of 7 for 8 years. I will always be a mother to my step daughters, no matter how far away we are from each other and if you have enough hope, positive change is inevitable.