Just A Hole, Part 1

Yesterday I messaged my husband that we would need to set aside time to discuss the 30th – the day we tell our kids about the divorce and make a public announcement. He wanted it to be sooner rather than later, so we arranged that we’d discuss it at Starbucks Thursday night after supper.

I waited until we were out of the house and informed him I’d be driving myself there. He was miffed about that. I knew I wasn’t going to let him control transportation or have me alone in a vehicle, though. When we arrived, I went inside and ordered hot chocolate first, and then we sat outside as before. I asked him if he wanted me to show him my phone – he did. Once it was established I wasn’t recording the conversation, we began the discussion.

He commented on the fact that we drove here separately an was upset about that. Said it was because I couldn’t handle having been called a child and rude. Not an accurate summary of what happened, but it also amazed me that he felt entitled to be able to verbally berate and belittle me and that I should just suck it up in the event that happened.

We didn’t have a lot of ideas for just how to explain the divorce to them or how to field their questions, and what had started out strained but fairly peaceable went downhill fast.

He didn’t want me to move into the boys’ walk-in closet that’s being used for books at the moment. Said they would need to be able to cope and they wouldn’t be able to do that if I were in their space. That we should stay in our bedroom together to help keep things ‘normal’ for the kids.

He mentioned that he wanted to give the kids the ‘road map’ of what to expect in the coming months. Knowing how things have changed in his mind I said we might have different ideas about what things were supposed to look like and asked him to explain how he thought things would be going.

Turns out, he was expecting to file for divorce in January. I said I did not want to. He asked me to elaborate and I had to first explain it wasn’t advised to file while still living together, but also that I wanted to be able to remain on the health insurance (there are, of course, other reasons it’s better to wait but that was the first important thing that came to mind).

He was mad about that. Talked about how I’d broken the agreement; that I agreed to get a job as soon as we got here. (Not true.) Said I needed to better myself and get a job. That there were plenty of jobs and then I’d have health care. It was rich hearing this from the man that insisted on starting our family in our early 20s in spite of my objections that neither of us had a degree and that we didn’t have a good financial situation. The man that got a degree and a career because I stayed home and dealt with pregnancy, breastfeeding, childcare and domestic chores for the children he didn’t want to wait for.

During this part of the conversation, I could see his pupils changing size and his eyelids twitching. I think he knew very well that he was spouting bullshit.

He also accused me of assuming he’d do things like drive me to my medical appointment. I asked him if the wanted to see the chat logs where I said I wasn’t sure he would. (I had, in fact, said I knew how long it took for the valium & norco to wear off and that if he wouldn’t drive me, I’d wait in the lobby or my car until I was safe to drive – which might end up being as much as 3 hours.) He brushed that aside and moved on.

There was more talk of me breaking the agreement. I haven’t. I was supposed to have a year to get back on my feet and become independent. Yes, 5 months have passed. That doesn’t mean I’m out of time, and I’ve been pushing myself to get things accomplished, like training classes, in spite of continued sleep deprivation, still fighting depression, constant anxiety, and physical health issues as well. I haven’t dated or pursued relationships and I’ve been celibate.

Some of what he said, without explicitly stating such, was that I’d “changed” or “broken” the agreement by cutting him off sexually – that helping me out and paying my expenses was “before” I cut everything off. First off, I was allowed to do that per our agreement – we’d explicitly stated we’d only continue a sexual relationship with the full consent of both parties. But the implication of what he’d just said was staggering – that he was okay paying for the things I needed and helping me as long as I was having sex with him. There wasn’t the slightest hint he saw a problem with what he’d just revealed.

There wasn’t any point in arguing with him, though. It was abundantly clear he was rewriting history and rewriting conversations and uninterested in facts or evidence or explanations. 50% of my dialogue last night was ‘okay.’

I did have to take things in a regrettable direction, though. He wouldn’t drop the idea of filing in January. I had to tell him I wouldn’t cooperate with that – and when he didn’t seem to understand what I meant by that, I told him I wouldn’t cooperate with anything – not even custody arrangements. We’d be retaining lawyers and it would become a legal battle.

This was a huge blow to him and he did not respond well. He immediately accused me of leveraging the kids and using them to get what I want. I told him he could put any interpretation on it that he wanted – but that I matter, too. The conversation continued but was devolving further, until the point he started to tell me “you should be ashamed for using your kids this way.” He said it a second time. Opened his mouth to say it a third time.

I told him goodnight and walked back into the Starbucks.

Gee, I have no idea why I wanted to drive separately and why we’re having these conversations in Starbucks. It’s a mystery.

I went and hid in the bathroom so I could text A and H about what had just happened. I also wanted to make sure he left. When I finally came back out, he wasn’t sitting in the seat outside any longer. I sat down and waited longer in case he was still in his vehicle in the parking lot. When I finally got up to leave, his vehicle was gone so I drove home.

Either he’d been waiting, or he’d moved to another spot and followed me, because we basically arrived at the same time. A messaged me around that time that my husband had just made a post on facebook about a current earworm: it turned out to be Sting’s ‘A Thousand Years.’ This was, I believe, a song my husband would bitterly listen to years ago, after his ex broke up with him.

It’s a melodramatic love song.

I rolled my eyes. I messaged him asking if he was coming inside. Texted him in case he didn’t look at messenger. Walked over to his vehicle. He rolled down the window. I asked if he was coming inside. He rolled the window back up.

I went inside.

Our children were in our room, happily watching Toy Story 3. I sat down with them. They asked where their dad was, and I said he had something to do and he’d be along eventually. After a little, they asked again and I gave them the same response. Eventually he came back inside.

I have a thing – when faced with something that could be emotionally devastating, a safety mechanism seems to kick in. It’s like an air bag, or protective foam, or a material that hardens protectively after absorbing the force of a blow. So I knew I should probably be having stronger feelings about what had happened and what was happening, but I felt… comfortably numb, on that score.

Anxiety, not so much. I can’t shut anxiety off or stop the response. So when the last child went to bed, I slipped into the bathroom and got ready. As soon as my husband took my place in the bathroom, I was off and out. I did not want to be alone with him so I hopped in my car and made my way to I69 and drove northeast. I wasn’t sure where I’d go or how long I’d drive, I just knew I needed to not be home.

I stopped in Anderson and checked messenger, and saw that my sister J had messaged our group chat, asking for prayers and needing to vent. Her boyfriend – a very nice man that she is head over heels for and has only been with for a few months – is manifesting symptoms of a serious medical condition and she’s very worried for him. I messaged her back and let her know that while I’d be on the road, I’d stop and check in with her again and that she could call me if she needed to, since I’ve got hands free calling with the car’s bluetooth.

I ended up heading south to I70, from I70 to I465 and from I465 back to I69 and then exited I69 for the drive home, feeling weary and tired and hoping that would be enough to sleep. I’d been out for over an hour.

It’s a feat of will to enter my home when anxiety is saying ‘what if you’re met with a shotgun blast to the face?’ It doesn’t matter what the facts and evidence are, or how unlikely it is that my husband would be one of those men, the adrenaline has already kicked in along with the knowledge that even if the chance isn’t high, it’s also not at 0.

When I got back our bedroom was dark. I used the toilet and then put my headphones on and slipped into bed, hoping he wouldn’t do or say anything. I really was genuinely tired and was able to set aside the headphones shortly after, roll over on my side to face the wall, and fall asleep after a few more minutes.

I still love you
I still want you
A thousand times the mysteries unfold themselves
Like galaxies in my head
On and on the mysteries unwind themselves
Eternities still unsaid til you love me

-Sting, A Thousand Years

2 thoughts on “Just A Hole, Part 1

  1. Thank you for sharing your stories. Mine held a very similar flavor. My ex convinced everyone he was the one being hurt because of my anxiety, and yes, the sex thing too. He actually raped me the Christmas Eve before our divorce. I cut him off from sex and he had his dad send me a parenting plan. My mom told me I had to file at that point. You are so strong for being able to write this. Sending hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

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