Sunday, January 02, 2011

Divorce is a strange critter

I have been divorced twice and left a committed relationship once, and I can tell you that divorce is a strange critter. My first husband became drug dealer and addict and quit coming home. Mississippi has no-fault divorce, and in 30 days or 90 days or something like that, we were free to go. That was after I told him to come and get all his stuff. He didn't come when he was supposed to; so I put all his clothes and other belongings in paper bags outside the door of my (formerly our) apartment. Eventually, he showed up, after the apartment manager contacted his boss, in his semi and stuffed all the sacks into the side compartment. Later he claimed that the side compartment came open, and his stuff left a popcorn trail along the highway somewhere in Oklahoma. At least, he thought that was what happened.

My second husband and I went through some rigorous pre-marital counseling sessions wherein he agreed that someday we would make the decision about whether or not my mother would live with us, and we examined the likelihood that I would continue to gain weight. After six months he threatened to leave me. I asked him where he was going - no good answer; so he stayed. This happened on a regular basis: he would decide to leave, I'd ask where he was going, he'd decide to stay. In between we had lots of fun together and went lots of places that neither of us would have gone alone. Finally, he stated firmly that he was leaving. I told him he couldn't leave without me (we were living with my mother and that was not good). So, we took off together to find a place where we could get jobs. We settled in North Carolina, and things went well for six months.

Mother was seriously ill, and I'm an only child with a severe guilt complex. So, I galloped down to Mississippi to stay with her. She didn't get better, and the decision about her living with us was a reality. He said okay. I found a house. We all moved in. I had part-time work; he was a teacher in high school. Then, I wrecked the car; he bought a clunker. He began spending late afternoons and Saturdays doing school things. He fell in love with the teacher across the hall. Finally, he said he wanted a divorce. I cried on his shoulder; I had no one else. Shortly, thereafter, I was fixing a problem with his computer and found his love letters to this teacher. We divorced. He paid no alimony, none of his tiny pension fund, but we divided the debts evenly. And, I paid for the lawyer in the settlement. I refused to pay for the divorce, and he finally filed a year or so later. So, we were divorced.

Then, he told me that he had married me because he thought he couldn't find anything better. That's a real confidence builder! No wonder his family hated me.

Okay, so far, everyone relationship I've had ended with the person leaving me. I've never left anyone. Over the years of relationships, I've lost two cars, many friends, a lot of money, and been left hanging out to dry. So, then I'm in a relationship with a wonderful woman. I love her, but living together becomes more and more hazardous to our health. Feelings of aloneness and desperation at not being able to enjoy similar things make us feel as if we are walking on eggs all the time. Something precious was underfoot - those wonderful blown eggs that have been decorated in intricate designs - that's what we walking on - and they're being destroyed. We have counseling for two years. Improvement - regression. Both of us got tired.

Someone came along who loved me long ago and who claimed to still love me. I seized the feeling to give me impetus to leave. Here was the love, the caring, the white knight who would save me. And, I felt swept up in the feelings of long ago mixed with the need to love and be loved in the now. So, I called it quits, packed up and left. The haggling over property began, and, with each step I took in the new relationship, the haggling became worse. I hastened the process. I came with nothing to the old relationship, and I took away a small sum of money, in relative terms to possessions held jointly. I had been supported and indulged for 11 years.

Being the one to leave was not easy. Love dies a hard death, even when new love is springing forth. My desire for a natural death (one of the legal papers to change) wavered towards self-destruction several times. A sense of meaninglessness overwhelmed me. Separating and packing took much longer than I had thought possible - how intertwined and interdependent we had become. I left a lot of "stuff"; I tried to leave the  house without much obvious change except my presence and my empty studio. My energy failed and someone was hired to haul my stuff to storage.

Holidays came. My best friend and my former partner were now big buddies and spent Thanksgiving together. My best friend no longer answers my phone calls or emails. Online buddies "defriended" me as they heard how awful I had been and misconstrued some comments. Why I even took my partner's old Christmas stockings! NOT. What on earth would I do with them?

I have come to the conclusion that being left by a partner and leaving a partner bring the same pain, grieving and loss. I'm looking forward to some sunshine, and I pray, if this relationship ends, that I die first.


Wormwood's Doxy said...

Sharecropper--BTDT, and I can empathize!

I do suspect that the timing may be different for different people. In my second marriage, I experienced the pain, grieving, and loss DURING the relationship, as it was dying on the vine. By the time I finally got the courage to leave, I felt nothing but relief. I've never had one moment of regret since then---only exasperation and anger at the way he treats me and the children.

I'm sorry about your best friend. I lost very few friends in my divorces, but I still grieve a couple of them.

I hope you will find great happiness in your new marriage. Best wishes for a long and happy life together!


PseudoPiskie said...

Leaving is hard on everyone even when the circumstances are ugly. Most people don't seem to be wired for change, especially changes in relationships. As remote as I am geographically, this has been tough for me too as I care for both. I wish the best for all three of you.

Mary Beth said...

Sorry about the BF. I am praying for you from over here.

sharecropper said...

I appreciate all the prayers, and I apologize for the moaning. It is hard when two good people just can't live together. I am doing well, getting unpacked gradually, gaining weight with all the great food, and really enjoying the countryside with lots of horse sightings and pettings, antique and junk shops, and thrift stores. Some days we hurt; some days we don't. Thanks, y'all.