So this morning I was out of the house just after 9. Went to the library, started charging my phone, tried to calm my nerves a bit and then called legal aid. The automated message informed me that if my hold time exceeded 20 minutes, I’d be disconnected. At 17 minutes, someone answered. Now I have an appointment next week.

I then called my insurance to find out if the CNS my therapist recommended was in network. She was not, so they found another one in the region that was, and forwarded me the info. At that point I’d been on the phone long enough I knew I needed to contact my husband if I was going to catch him before his lunch break. So I sent a message via messenger and text that we needed to have a conversation, and he could either meet me at Starbucks or we could talk via messenger. He opted for Starbucks, and said we could meet now instead of waiting for his lunch, so I packed up, left the library and headed to Starbucks.

My anxiety had gotten so bad that I’d gone from my hands trembling to my entire body trembling. I sat down in a chair and watched for him. I think about 20 minutes after he texted that he was on his way he showed up. It’s only a 5 minute drive, so I wondered if he’d contacted anyone else or sat in the parking lot or something before coming to the door.

When he got there, he’d put on a mask. Body language, facial expressions – all of it communicated a world-weary man of professional decorum. He visited the bathroom first and when he came out, I asked if he wanted to order anything. He said no. So I took him outside, where I assumed he’d probably be calmer and less defensive during a conversation. I showed him there were no apps active on my phone. I didn’t feel a need to record the conversation.

Then I told him if at any point in the conversation he began verbally berating me, I’d walk back inside the Starbucks.

I told him we’d have to change how we communicated. In public locations or through messenger whenever we were talking about things like the divorce or parenting or such.

I told him I would not consent to getting passports for the kids right now. Not until after we were divorced and had a parenting plan in place.

And I said I had an idea for how we could have our own separate sleeping spaces. Move the bookshelves out of the walk-in closet in our sons’ bedroom and put my mattress in there. That way neither of us have to sleep in the living room. Realistically, it would have been me sleeping in the living room and a walk-in closet is preferable. At least it has a door, and I don’t think my husband will try to force any confrontations at or after I go to bed when I’m adjacent to our kids.

He accepted everything I had to say and stayed calm, though he made sure I knew he felt we were both to blame for Wednesday evening “getting out of hand.” I didn’t bother to counter that him verbally berating and belittling me over a facial expression was hardly blame on both sides.

And then he once again wanted to know if I needed to tell him about anything “changing” about the agreement. By which he meant, was I being a ho, aka exercising my autonomy in regards my body and sexuality. Because if he can’t have me, no one can, after all. It makes me feel awfully warm and fuzzy to know the thing he’s still most obsessed about is losing access, but especially exclusive access, to my sexuality.

He was questioning why I’d tell him if anything changed. Good question, asshole. But as it happens, I’ve been trying to operate with open and honest communication from the beginning, and I’m not planning to be sexually active at this point, so for me it’s moot. I told him he has two choices, trust me when I say I’m not sexually active, or put surveillance on me. It’s not like I can provide him evidence that I’m not sexually active.

The conversation ended, without dragging on very long. He went home and I went back inside and talked to A & H for 30-60 minutes until I stopped shaking and felt like I was safe to drive. I was intending to return to the library but instead I realized it was 1pm, drove to the store for some food, and then back to the library. I stayed until it was close to the time the kids would be arriving home from school, then waited in my car in our parking lot until I saw their bus, so we could all walk back inside together.

Now my husband and I are acting like everything’s juuuust fine and I’m waiting to find out when the blowback hits. At no point when I attempt to set a boundary or restrict his access to and control over something in my life, my body or my psyche has it gone without some kind of negative response from him. So, I guess I’ll be finding out what that is, at some point.

In the meantime, I’m here, and I’m doing the best I can.

One thought on “Communication

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