That conversation that changed your life.

We all have one.  You know that point when someone was being honest with us and it somehow changed our perspective, our outlook or even our life.  We all had that one defining moment when you realized that life is not working out for me.  Well most of us have.  Some of us ignore it and continue on.  Some of us have to have it multiple times before we realize what is happening.  For me I have had many, but the most significant conversation happened a month after my husband left me.

On October 29, 1999, I had a realization.  I sat down with my husband, and I cried as I told him that I was not in love with him anymore.  There was no spark there was no passion.  I was lonely, he never tried to do anything with me.  I do not know why things would change, they had always been that way.  But alas, I had hoped that telling him this and pointing out that there were several men at work that were starting to pay attention to me and that I liked it, would nudge him to….. Well pay more attention to me.  You see he blamed me for everything.

We married in 1990.  I went back to school in 1993, against his wishes.  He told me that my going to school would be our downfall.  He never acknowledged the fact that his desire to have the biggest and best of everything before anyone else was a problem.  I actually hated our stuff.  It was, to me, a burden.  Financially we were sinking.  We were so deep in debt that I worried about buying milk and food for the kids.  For 10 years we lived like this.  I got a job shortly after I got my BS.  Not the kind of job that I wanted, but it was not waiting tables at Denny’s, which my husband once told me was the greatest job ever.  I do not know what kind of fantasy world he lived in, but that job sucked donkey balls.   Seriously waiting tables is  decent  job, if you work at a decent restaurant.  Denny’s however has low-class clientel that treat the service members like secondary citizens.  Once, I was told I needed to go back to waitress school because I ran out of coffee.  I had all the tables in the restaurant and no other servers were helping me.  I looked at that guy and told him that if I went back to school, it sure as hell would not be to wait on assholes like him.  I got a new job a week later.

My husband’s family treated me and my kids as though we were second-rate citizens.  I would be talking to them and they would just walk out of the room like I wasn’t even talking.  At times all the grandkids would be over for dinner.  I would have my homework and be working on it, and my father in law would yell at me “Why can’t you control your children”.  My kids were doing the exact same thing that the other grandkids were doing.  I would then make them come sit still  with me and then my mother in law would berate me for not letting them be kids.  It mattered not what I did, I was always wrong.  I eventually stopped going to dinner over there.  My husband went twice with the kids and realized I was not crazy and that they did treat our children differently.  He stopped going for a year or so.

I had lived with this bitterness at my husband for a few years.  I always felt like he should confront his parents and that it was not my place to do so.  I felt like he should have protected the children from their cruelty.  I could handle them berating me and telling me I was the cause of our financial problems.  The children were to be protected from this berating in my view.  He never told them how we felt.  He just avoided them and kept them at a distance, unless he wanted something from them.  It made him less of a man in my mind.  It may have been my perspective that truly drove him away.  I always felt like we were trapped my his inability to move away from his family, even when they treated us rotten.

The marriage was in trouble before my realization. I knew we were just roommates sharing a bed for a long time.  I had lost respect.  The idea of having sex with him, literally made me vomit in my mouth.  I stayed because I was too scared to leave.  How would I live, how would I make ends meet while in school?  How could I allow my children’s family to disintegrate?  It would be far worse for me to leave him than to stay with him.

Two nights later, Halloween, I took my children and my nephews to go to a roller skating Halloween party.  It was the first time I had relented and allowed my children to have Halloween.  I had tried to be a good christian and boycotted everything that was not uplifting.  I brought the kids back to my place and my sister-in-law to be arrived to collect her children. She casually stated that she guessed Phil had moved in with them.  I was like what?  WTF?  He moved out because I told him I was unhappy?  No I told him I was lonely.  No matter what, the point was he took a cowards route and moved out without facing me or the children.  Now I had to tell them daddy was not coming home.  I had to be the bad guy, the one to explain what I didn’t even understand.

My sister-in-law to be called me almost nightly after that.  She was bitter that he had not wanted to date her so she dated his brother months before that.  But she was really bitter that he moved in with them and then never came home.  She called me to inform me that he stayed out with this other woman all night.  I have no idea why she thought I could do anything about it.  I got tired of the hysterical phone calls and the accusations that I had not tried hard enough.  I finally told him we needed to talk.  Initially he had stated he needed some time to himself.  He pulled that crap all the time, but he never spent time alone, always with a group of waitresses that he worked with.  To me this was a stab in the back, basically he wanted to be anywhere but with me and the kids.

We made arrangements to meet up at the house Sunday night the following weekend.  He had not seen the children in almost a week, maybe two.  I sent the children to another of his family members.  His aunt had children the same ages as ours.  I sent them there for the evening.  He arrived, surprised the children were not there.  I informed him that they didn’t need to be traumatized by us.  I then asked him what he expected from me?  Do you think I should just wait for you to come back or should I just move on?  Seriously I am not thrilled about you spending so much time with another woman, so are we finished or do you need time?  Is there a possibility of us fixing this or is it over.  His response, the same response that I had grown to hate, was that he didn’t know.  This is his passive aggressive way of not dealing with the issues.

Upon hearing this, I flared up.  I looked at him and told him that since he had no idea what he wanted, I was telling him what I wanted.  I want you to turn around and walk through that front door and I never ever, ever want to see your face again, EVER!  He was shocked, you cannot mean that?  Oh I do, and be prepared for divorce papers by the end of the week.

As submissive as I tried to be, he bullied me one too many times.  I had, had enough.  I was done being blamed for everything and I was done watching him chase skirts to claim it wasn’t like that.  I was just done in general.  I was 27 years old with two kids a Bachelor’s degree and a husband who never really supported me.  Yes done was a great thing for me to be.

After a few weeks the realization of being alone sunk in.  I was going to be a single mom. I was going to have to figure out how to support two children alone.  You see he made a statement about how child support would mean he would never have a life again. He guilted me into not pursuing it for quite some years.  This is a whole different story.  I am not as cold-hearted as most people think, I can be guilted into and out of things.  Well I could, not so much these days.

One November Sunday, I broke down and cried for the first time.  It was raining and sat under this tree in the front yard crying.  I cried my soul out, I asked God why he hated me so badly?  Why things were falling apart around me?  The neighbor woman saw me and came across the street with a blanket and for the first time someone asked me what was going on?  For the first time I bared my soul.  I felt so alone and helpless.  I lost everything. I was leaving the house to him as soon as I got enough money to move out.  I was losing my health coverage and my stability.  How was I going to survive being alone?

This woman gave me the best sage advice I have ever in my life received.  She took me inside gave me some coffee and asked me what exactly I had lost?  I kept saying everything. She refused to let that dog lie.  She made me focus and go over what exactly I lost.  I stated my health insurance, my security, my stability and my home.  She then gave me the greatest gift I have ever received.  After years of his family telling me how I was the cause of all of our problems, she pointed out all of the things that I had that were strengths.  She asked me again what exactly I had lost, and then she told me what she had observed over the last 8 years of living across the street from us.  She noticed that I did all the housework, the shopping, went to school, took care of the kids, did the yard work, the auto maintenance, the home improvements and held down a full-time job.  She also noted that no matter what was happening or needed to get done, I never complained about it, I just simply made it happen.  It was a gift I had, was to make things happen.

It took a minute for all of this to sink in.  I have never thought of myself as amazing of extraordinary.  I always just thought that life happens and you have to deal with it.  Granted I have taken to drinking when I do not want to deal with life at that moment.  But for the most part I actually do cope and manage to get stuff happening.  I just thought this was part of what everyone did to deal with life.  I am not saying that I am anything special, just that to have someone notice and point out that you are not that dependent was a huge ego boost.

So the next time you go through some travesty of life, do not focus on your loses but what you can and will do. What have you done, what keeps you going and what is something that you do better than anyone else, because those are the things that will keep you motivated to actually cope and get though those really tough times.  It will boost your confidence and make you feel as though life is ultimately going to be ok.  And the reality is, all we can really ask for is that life is ok.




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