I had an appointment to see a divorce attorney today.
Things between my husband and me had spiraled so far out of control and had deteriorated so badly that I had no choice.
My husband and I probably couldn’t be more opposite. This was very clear from the moment we met. It’s probably what drew us to each other initially.
I know it’s what drew me to him.
I was a partier. A big smoker. I was outgoing and the life of the party and impulsive and reckless.
I was a runaway train in many respects.
My husband was the yin to my yang.
He was quiet and shy. He liked to be alone and he liked to read and talk about books and he was intellectual. He was a single dad and a good old Midwestern boy. He went to church, he never smoked and he had a two beer limit.
A two beer limit! Can you imagine?
Plus he was the most handsome man I had ever seen.
The circumstances leading up to our first meeting were a little crazy. We never should have crossed paths.
But we did. And I was sure we did because I needed him and he needed me.
Then life happened and the problems started. We have had problems for years.
We have also been plagued by years of bad luck coupled with some bad decisions followed by more bad luck.
The downturn of the economy. A miscarriage. Unsubstantiated and frivolous lawsuits. A failed house flipping venture. Followed by another failed house flipping venture. Followed by another failed house flipping venture! (I told you we made some bad decisions).
(Clearly we are no Chip and Joanna Gaines).
This led to financial trouble. Bankruptcy. Then there was the unexpected total knee replacement surgery which rendered my husband unable to work. That resulted in the loss of my husband’s business. That led to food stamps and medicaid. Then there was the accident which nearly left my husband paralyzed and in need of a second major surgery. Again he was unable to work.
Things were especially bleak when the house went into foreclosure.
Blow after blow after blow was taking its toll on us.
It was relentless.
Things started to look up for us about eighteen months ago. My husband got a decent job. It wasn’t a job he loved, but it put money in the bank and food on the table.
This led to another job. An even better paying one. We managed to get the house out of foreclosure.
We were no longer in foreclosure. We weren’t on food stamps. We were able to relax a little bit.
But now, in hindsight, I am able to see things a little more clearly.
We spent a good four years thinking constantly about money.
We don’t have enough money. We need to make money. How are we going to make money. If only we had enough goddamn money, our problems would be solved.
Money money money fucking money.
Then after years of struggling, we finally found ourselves in a position where we weren’t constantly scrambling for money.
And you know what we did?
We started disagreeing over how were were going to spend the money we finally had.
We fought (a lot) over other things, too.
But money was the constant. It ripped us apart.
Actually, it wasn’t the money that ripped us apart. It was our inability to discuss it.
This led to massive amounts of anger on both sides which in turn led to serious power struggles over money.
My husband and I were literally driving each other insane. For real.
That was when I knew we were done. I called an attorney and made an appointment. It was the right thing to do.
And then last week, out of nowhere, my husband lost his job.
No severance pay, no two week notice. Nothing.
We have to let you go. Today.
After I had a couple days for the new reality to set in, I realized something.
Now that my husband was out of work, now that he suddenly had no income, there was no money to fight over any more.
And I wasn’t so angry.
The wind was taken completely out of my this-marriage-is-over sails.
Because I also did some reflecting.
Filing for divorce is a game changer. Once that’s officially been done, you have altered things forever. And you can’t really unalter them.
But at this point things had deteriorated to such a low level that I knew my husband had completely fallen out of love with me. I was sure his only goal was to make me as miserable as possible.
So I went to him. I told him I had made an appointment with a divorce attorney. This prompted another slew of hurtful comments coming from both of us until I finally said, “I know you don’t love me anymore.”
And my husband’s response was,
“There is almost nothing I don’t love about you. It’s the one or two things I don’t love that I’m afraid are never going to change.”
I was blown away.
Because I honestly thought he hated me.
And then an hour or so later, something else happened.
Just after this conversation and this realization with my husband, I happened across this picture a friend of mine posted on Facebook:
You know how things appear for you at just the right time and you are like, I needed to read/see/hear this today?
When I saw that picture, I got goosebumps.
And then about ten minutes later, I saw this picture:
Yikes. What the fuck?
Someone or Something was sending me a message through Facebook. I am sure of it.
(The fact that Facebook is the chosen method of delivery is a whole other disconcerting topic, but that’s another blog post).
But after seeing those two pictures, I realized something. And if I’m going to be totally honest, I need to share what that was.
I have spent the past couple months bashing my husband. Sometimes I’ve done it to his face, sometimes I’ve done it through text, and sometimes I’ve done it behind his back with my friends.
In fact, I’ve done quite a bit of husband-bashing to my friends.
And with my friends, I have made sure they are looking at the number on the ground and seeing a 6.
But I haven’t given my husband an opportunity to explain to them how he sees the number 9.
And if I’m really going to be honest, I’ve done some shitty and unfair stuff in this marriage. Not just in the past, but recently.
My concerns are definitely warranted and can surely be rationalized.
We absolutely have serious issues. And I don’t know that we will be able to overcome them.
But we sure as hell won’t be able to if I keep feeding the angry, resentful, jealous, greedy, egocentric wolf.
And I’ve been doing that for quite a while now.
I am an active participant and contributor to our issues. I can point the finger at my husband as much as I want, but the truth of the matter is that I really need to be pointing it at myself.
Once I do that, perhaps he will be more willing to stop pointing his finger at me and do the same thing himself.
If I stop trying to drive him crazy, there is a possibility he will follow suit.
And here is the other thing.
The other morning Number 7 did something really funny. Something very Number 7ish.
And my husband was there to see it. We both had a good laugh over it. And I thought to myself, There is nobody who would ever appreciate that like my husband does.
As angry as I’ve been at my husband these last few months, I sure would miss sharing those little moments that only he can truly appreciate if we were to split up.
I still love him. A lot.
So yesterday I made a phone call, and I canceled that appointment with the attorney.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I am hopeful it’s a picture where I see the number 6 but also understand why and how my husband sees the number 9.
Without feeling the need to make him see a different number.
Because goddammit, I really want that peaceful, joyful, loving, empathetic, honest, and happy wolf to win.