Life After Divorce











Wow.  I am blown away that another year has come and gone.  2009 kicked my ass, both in a good way, and a less-than-good way.  Not bad, per se, but if you have been reading, you know that it hasn’t been a walk in the park by any means.  I am glad to see 2009 go, and am thrilled that I actually managed, perhaps for the first time ever, to achieve my New Year’s Resolution… divorce.  Sure, it took me 11 months to get it done.  Eleven long, grueling months, but it is done, nonetheless.

One year ago today, I was abducted from my miserable existence.  Last New Year’s Eve, my best friend, Lori, agreed to attend my family’s annual NYE party with me, since, as usual, my husband refused to go.  Not because he wanted to do something else, or even because he didn’t like going out on New Year’s, but because he thought I was going to leave him and didn’t want to get involved in a family function that would hurt him.  It was the same reason he gave for skipping Thanksgiving, and also Christmas.  Not really why he skipped those on other years, but whatever.  So, I dragged my friend out into the cold, dressed in our best approximation of formal wear, and we had ourselves a blast.  I think we rolled into the house about 6 am, and I put her ass to bed on the couch.  When I woke up around noon, Lori and I started discussing what we would do to enjoy the first day of the new year.  You see, New Year’s Day is a football day, which means that the husband would be sitting on the couch for hours watching endless games, highlights, and commentaries; leaving me virtually ignored.  So, I didn’t even think to include him in our plans.  This is, after all, what happened for the previous 10 years.  So, when he called me (from the bedroom, into the living room), he was less than happy that I wouldn’t be sitting there bored to death watching him watch football.  He started throwing around some of my favorite terms of endearment, such as ice queen, I rolled my eyes and hung up on him.  Then, when I went to get dressed to start the day, he started in again telling me how I was the problem.  Long story short (ok, not short… get used to it) Lori overheard everything he said to me, and as we made our escape she said, “Oh NO!  I can’t believe the way he was talking to you!!  I thought he was nice, but he is a douche!  This is an INTERVENTION!!!  YOU ARE NOT GOING BACK!  I AM KIDNAPPING YOU!”  At this point, I was pretty fried, I will admit.  She got on the phone with another friend and they plotted getting me out of the house.  I stayed pretty quiet, as most people hit with an intervention do, until the jerk started calling obsessively.  I finally answered the phone and he informed me that a process-server had just been to our door, and that I was being sued.  I lost it.  I finally came completely unglued.  The reason for the suit was due to a bad debt obtained during the three-year period when he just decided that he didn’t like his job, and wasn’t going to go at all.  He makes the decision, and I get burned with the consequences.  As I was attempting to get back in my car, the door wouldn’t open.  I finally managed to get it open, and the flood gates opened.  I cried all the way back to Lori’s house.  I laid on her couch and cried for hours.  I was exhausted…. mentally and emotionally drained… and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Lori told me that she and her five-year old daughter discussed it, and they invited me to move in to their apartment.  I will admit that I was resistent. I am stubborn… I will admit it freely.  I didn’t WANT to leave my place.  It was MY place, and if anyone should be leaving, it ought to be him!  But… I finally had to admit that the likelihood of that happening was slim-to-none… I had to make the choice.  Go back, be stubborn, and be miserable… OR take the leap and try to do it a different way.  It took me less than three days to decide I was never going back.  My friends, while happy I had done something, never really believed that I would stay gone.  But something my friend Jeff said to me really hit home.  He said, “You know… you can keep complaining about the situation and never doing anything – and eventually… we are going to get tired of hearing about it.”  I decided he was right, and I didn’t want to be “that girl.”  I am a smart, independent woman MORE than capable of supporting herself.  Hell, I supported myself AND him for YEARS.  It HAD to be easier to do it on my own.

Going back to get my stuff, since we left with nothing, was tough.  The first time, I told him that I was just going to spend the night with Lori because she was having a rough time.  Chickenshit, I know.  But, I didn’t want to deal with a scene.  We went over, and she put on her best depressed face, drawn hoodie and all, and I packed as much into two tote bags as I possibly could.  Poor little Em… she knew it was a secret that she couldn’t tell him… he tried to talk to him and she almost flipped out.  She comes running back into my room and says, “He’s trying to talk to me but I have a SECRET!!!”  Needless to say, we got the hell out of dodge as quick as we could manage.  We also bribed Em with ice cream, so you know, she was VERY motivated not to spill the beans.

The next day, Lori called me at work to let me know that Em was thrilled that I was moving in, and she had begun packing her toys up in Ziploc baggies so that I could move into her room.  The sheer thought and loving compassion from a then-four-year old girl brought me to tears.  I began going back home when I knew he would be working to get more stuff out.  It was hard, for sure.

I am so thankful to my many friends and family members who invited me out on a regular basis to take my mind off things, and to let loose and have a little fun for a change.  First was the “worst party on Earth.”  Yeah… it really sucked LOL.  Next was my cousin’s bachelorette party, which was a lot of fun and involved a party bus and copious amounts of alcohol.  I am not much of a drinker, but it was still a total blast.  I don’t remember a lot of the first few weeks… they really passed in a blur.  I slept in Em’s bed, and will admit that I may have cuddled up with a giant stuffed dog named Razaroo, and I might not admit to crawling into a giant purple castle-shaped tent.  Maybe.  But I kept telling myself… “I’m OK!!!”

February brought along my annual out-of-town scrapbooking retreat with some of my girlfriends.  It was a lot of fun, and I got a lot of work done.  It was also the first time that I can say I don’t think we will be invited back, but those people suck anyway lol.  I also convinced the girls that we should swing by The Salt Lick (outside of Austin) on our way home.  Rogna kindly pointed out that a 70 mile trip was NOT on our way home, but I begged to differ – Especially where the best BBQ on Earth is concerned.  They relented, and after we stuffed ourselves silly, eventually agreed.  Mmmmm… all you can eat BBQ.

The next weekend was the wedding reception for my cousin and her awesome new hubby.  They got married in Mexico, but then had a reception back at home so that we could all celebrate with them in style.  Enter the soon to be ex.  Unfortunately, our invitation arrived while we were still together, so he wanted to go.  I told him I didn’t care if he went (it is a free country, after all), to which he said, “but I want to go as your husband!”  [yawn]  He did end up going, but I was much too concerned with catching up with my favorite cousins to spend any time around him, much to his chagrin.  After this (and before, too), I started to receive a barrage of texts, voicemails, and calls from him asking me to come home and reminding me that our lease was set to expire at the end of the month, and he didn’t have any place to go.

About a week later, I started feeling sick.  I had been on meds for anxiety for about a month, but they didn’t seem to be helping.  As you know from my Panic at the Disco! blog, I do not do well with anxiety.  After three days straight of throwing up, my body had enough.  Enter the Three Stooges of ambulatory care.  These bozos tramped through my room in muddy boots, got lost on the way to the hospital, and couldn’t get a vital sign right to say their (or more accurately MY) life.  I was admitted into the hospital for 5 days.  Many gory and horrible things occurred (read the old blog), and I was released on Friday night, still anxious and vomiting.  After a miserable night where I very nearly lost the will to live, literally, I was taken to a different (aka BETTER) hospital, where they performed emergency surgery to remove my lap band.  I felt SO much better immediately after surgery that I probably could have skipped all the way home, IV and flappy gown blowing in the wind.

I recovered at my mom’s house for a few weeks… because, seriously?  Who takes better care of you when you are sick than your mom?  No one… that’s who.  And can you believe it?  That dillhole shows up at my mom’s house while I am doped up on pain meds with that stupid apartment lease for me to sign.  Douche nozzle.  I am referring to myself, of course, because I signed the stupid thing.  Idiot.  Guilt trips will take you far, but you will discover they do not accumulate the frequent flier miles associated with that much travel.  He kindly took off as soon as my now-roommate showed up, probably afraid that she would take his ass down with a Xena Warrior Princess-like jab to the throat, or perhaps a swift kick to the [fake] knees.

March & April had me feeling better than I had in a long time.  We were eating better (South Beach Diet), working hard, and getting things into a groove.  I even bought myself a new bed.  I didn’t really mean to… really… I was just looking.  But when the guy showed me the floor model… a $1400 bed marked down to $500… that felt like heaven… I was sold.  I always wanted a new bed.  I was so sick of hand-me-down beds.  I bought that sucker and had it set up to be delivered to the Chateau (what I have lovingly been calling our apartment).  Talk about Red Carpet service!  If you are thinking of buying a bed from the Mattress Firm… do it.  Pay the $60 for delivery.  They literally showed up with a red carpet.  And booties to cover their shoes so as not to make the same error as the Stooges.  And they set up the frame and mattresses for me.  And the bed was a good 3 feet taller in my room than it was in the store.  I had to take a flying leap to get into the thing!  I call it my Princess and the Pea bed (aka The Princess Bed), and it is heavenly.  To this day, people cannot lay on this bed without wanting to snuggle down and fall right to sleep.  [sigh]  I am writing this from my bed now lol.  But a few weeks later, once my bank statement came in to his apartment, he called and gave me the riot act over buying a new bed and how that told him I wasn’t coming back.  It couldn’t have been the 5,000 times I TOLD HIM I wasn’t coming back… it was the bed.  The next day I had my mail forwarded to a new PO Box.

I also had to lock down my Facebook account, for crying out loud.  At some point, I started getting “Friend Requests” from him.  I kindly ignored them.  After a week or so, he asked me if I was ever going to add him as a friend, to which I said, “hell no.”  After that realization, he decided to have other people spy on my FB status updates to extract information, which he would later call or text me about, generally at 3:00 am.  I locked that sucker down tighter than a drum.  To my knowledge, there haven’t been any other breaches.

While my new found freedom was nice, the paying half the rent at two apartments really sucked.  I was so pissed about that damn lease, but there really wasn’t anything I could do about it.  He wasn’t going to move, and I couldn’t get my name off the lease without him signing off on it and qualifying for the lease on his own (which was never going to happen).  He also started hounding me about doing something with our dog (namely, he didn’t want to take care of him anymore).  Around the middle of June, the anxiety started creeping back in.  I ran directly back to the doctor for help, and he doubled my Lexapro prescription.  I am fully convinced that this threw me over the edge into full-blown panic attacks 5-6 times a day.  Another trip to the ER, countless doctor’s visits, and every test known to man (btw my gall bladder is operating at 94%, thank you very much), and I come out with a diagnosis of “Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome and a prescription for antidepressants.  Basically, the long and short of it is that my nerves in my stomach are highly sensitive and easily irritated.  Add that together with an acid stomach and raging anxiety issues… Boom.  Misery.  Since that day, I have taken my meds (meant to dull the nerves in the tummy) and haven’t had another episode.

During this time, I also took a little trip to a Psychiatrist, because holding two Psychology degrees myself, I find it important to keep a tight watch on my mental well-being, and let’s face it… my marriage did little to help my self-esteem and massively exacerbated a low-lying depression that I had probably been dealing with for years.  After a few talks with whats-her-name (seriously… I don’t have a clue what her name is), I felt better about my situation and my choice to move on with my life.  Oh, and in July I got an early Christmas present.  I found out that our lease expired in AUGUST, not September, like I originally thought.  Weeeee!  Oh Happy Day!  I immediately began packing, got a storage unit, and enlisted my girls to help me pack.  I also begged some loving family members to help me with the actual moving.

And the husband… he was a prince.  Of frogs.  He wanted everything.  He “needed” it.  Blah, blah, blah.  A friend of mine told me that typically in a divorce, one person gets the stuff and the other one is happy.  Guess which one I am??  I gave it all up.  I didn’t care.  I was so tired and ready to move on, and sick of arguing about every little thing that I walked away from some very nice things.  Oh well.  Come to find out the jerkwad sold it all.  Butthead.  I really miss my TV.  But, my little 13″ color TV with the built-in VCR my parents gave me on my 18th birthday has been getting me by.

September rolled around and I was getting really edgy about the divorce.  I really couldn’t afford a lawyer, and I just didn’t know what the hell I was doing.  All of the things you can Google wanted you to buy this fool-proof kit bullshit.  I don’t really go in for things like that (though I am strangely compelled to buy things as seen on tv), so I was skeptical to say the least.  I asked for advice from a friend who is a lawyer, but it didn’t really lead me where I needed to go.  And then, one day, I had an epiphany. You file for divorce with the District Clerk’s Office.  I used to WORK for the District Clerk’s Office.  I had 500 friends working in the District Clerk’s Office.  I just bet one of them could help me!  So, I called one of my favorite people and she says to me, “Oh, honey!  That’s easy!!!  This is what you do…”

One week later, I had officially filed for divorce.  My husband was kind enough to eventually realize that we didn’t have anything to fight over, so he signed the waiver to contest.  All we had to do was wait 61 days.

And then he remembered the camera.  For Christmas 2008, he went out and bought a bunch of expensive stuff that I told him not to buy as a “present” for me… including a Blu-Ray player (long since hidden by him), a ridiculously large, pink Coach purse, and a really nice HD camcorder.  Since he knew he couldn’t get anything for the purse, I guess he decided that was the “gift”, and promptly started demanding that I return the camera to him.  Suck it, asshole!  You got EVERYTHING!!  This was my inital thought.  After 2 weeks of constant harassment, threats, and basic stalking, I decided that the old stubborn me was never getting anywhere, so I gave the camera up.  Yes, it was a nice camera.  No, I don’t for one second believe he was going to “sell it to pay off the debt” like he claimed.  But, it was one less thing for him to hold over my head.  One less reason for him to ever contact me again (not that it has stopped him).  So, I gave it up.  I wish I would have had it to record my niece’s awesome reaction to the tricycle I bought her for Christmas, but whatever.  The picture of her riding it in a princess costume will live with me forever.

By mid-November, I was so ready for everything to be over.  I was counting down the days on my calendar.  As I got close, I called the clerk’s office again to make sure I could go in on the day I wanted to… good thing I checked.  They did not hold the uncontested docket on that day.  So, I went the next day instead.  I was very nervous… especially since I seemed to be the only schmuck there without an attorney.  But, I just followed behind one of the attorneys and eventually landed myself on the 9 am docket.  After being called in front of the judge, sworn in, and reading my testimony (pre-printed, courtesy of the courts, thank you very much), I was waltzing out the door mentally singing Freebird.  A celebratory jewelry party with friends later, and I was waltzing through the door of the Chateau a single lady.  I thank all of my friends, family, blog readers, and random other people for all of their support and encouragement.

The rest of the year flew by in a blur.  Thanksgiving came, and with it a visit from my brother.  I was thrilled to see him, since he lives in New York and doesn’t get down that often.  I had my first date in over eleven years, and it was… well… a disaster.  I mean the date itself was fine, but the guy ended up being a tool after the fact.  In fact, a week later he called and begged me to “take him back.”  Umm… dude… it was one date.  Weirdo.  I had another first date… and then a second… and a third (that’s three dates with the same guy), and so far so good.  He is a nice guy, and it is fun to hang out with someone and just be yourself.  No pretenses… no self-consciousness.  Good times.

And then it happened.

And I laughed so hard I almost wet myself.

And I believe I wrote a Facebook status that went like this:  “Dear Baby Jesus in the Hay… THANK YOU for the gift of laughter… and for the fact that the last person to view my online dating profile happens to be my ex-husband.”  That’s right, folks.  On a site that doesn’t ask or list you name or even your email address… the last person to view me was him.  And of course, he started to send me the most horrible, vile, and mean texts you have ever read.  And trust me, one day you WILL read them.  As will the courts, if he doesn’t leave me alone.  So, I blocked him.  Good times… Good times.

So, another year has come and gone, and with it I am happier, healthier, and a lot wiser.  I have high expectations for 2010, and I am thrilled that I get to continue my journey with great friends, a terrific family, and myself.  Because that is truly what I have gained this year.  I have the self I always wanted to be.  I will always have goals and will always move forward, but life after divorce is about to get a whole lot more interesting!

Happy New Year to you all!  Please continue reading, and leaving me those comments.

xo,

Liz

(PS – Sorry for the 3,600+ word post.  It was a hell of a year!  If you stuck with it to the end… kudos to you!  And to me!  LOL)

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{November 28, 2009}   Changing Your Life in 61 Easy Days!

I know… I know…

It’s been a while since I have posted anything.  No, I didn’t go back.  No, I didn’t abandon the blog and spiral down into the abyss of depression eating ice cream for days.  I gave up ice cream this summer.  And the depression, well, that was no worse than usual.

What I HAVE been doing is getting an uncontested divorce!!!  If you live in Texas, have no children, and want to get out of your sham of a marriage relatively painlessly… let me tell you how!

I was really dreading the actual divorce part, but only because I knew that I really couldn’t afford a lawyer.  But, I remembered that I have like 500 friends in the District Clerk’s Office, where I used to work, who could probably give me some advice.  I called my dear friend Joella and asked her what I needed to do.  She says, “Oh honey… that’s easy!”  And she walked me through the steps.

**Please note that, although I can argue like one, I am not, in fact, a Lawyer, and therefore can provide zero legal advice.  This is merely what I personally went through**

Step 1:  Visit http://www.texaslawhelp.org and choose the divorce paperwork that best meets your situation – No Cost!

Step 2:  Complete the Petition for Divorce paperwork, make two copies, and take it to the District Clerk’s office (Family law) to file the papers.  Make sure they stamp all three copies. ($220 for my particular county)

Step 3:  Serve your louse… I mean “spouse” with the papers, either personally or hire a process-server.  I chose to serve mine personally, to cut down on the cost.  The spouse needs to sign either the Waiver or Citation, or the Answer papers.  By signing the Waiver, with a notary, they agree that they do not need to be served, informed, or present for anything further in the case, and allows the judge to make decisions on his behalf.  (This was the option I chose).

Step 4: Return the Waiver of Citation or Answer (where they want to be there for the court proceedings) to the Clerk.

Step 5:  Impatiently wait for 61 days after the original filing date.  And I do mean impatiently.  Also, make sure you worry over totally unnecessary things… allow him to harass you stupidly, and border on threatening.

Oh… wait… you can probably skip most of Step 5.  I wish I would have.  The only thing you really have to do is wait the 61 days.  During this time, complete the “Final Decree of Divorce” paperwork from the above-mentioned website.  If you plan to represent yourself, as I did, make sure you get the Volunteer Lawyers Association to review the case for you before you show up to get on the uncontested docket.  I missed that step, and it add a little extra stress to my divorce court day to run down there and get them to approve it before I could go to the judge.

Step 6:  Show up (early) to your assigned court and sign up on the uncontested docket.  There is a paper to fill out, and then take the form immediately to the Clerk.  She may have other things for you to fill out, so allow extra time.  It is also wise to call the court a day or two before you want to go so that you don’t show up on a day where they do not hear uncontested cases.  I almost got burned on that!  Glad I thought ahead to call!!!

The divorce proceeding itself took less than 5 minutes.  The judge called me up, and I literally had to read testimonial from a form they had in the courtroom stating who I was, who I was married to, and stating that I request a divorce, no chance of reconciliation, blah blah blah.  That was it.  The judge granted my divorce, signed my papers, and sent me on my merry way.  I was out the door by 9:15 am.

As I exited the building, I had to pause as I swore I heard “Free Bird” playing softly on the wind behind me.  It was a liberating and overwhelming freedom.  I do not hate my ex-husband.  I don’t feel sorry for him, and don’t really love him anymore either.  He was an important part of my maturation process – good, bad, and ugly – and I wouldn’t be the same person today without those experiences.  Not to say that I wouldn’t be a happy person, but it would have been different.  I wish him the best… but it is time for me to move on.

I will eventually segue this part of the blog, with many more amusing/humiliating stories into a book… but not this day.

Moving forward, I will be transitioning into a “Life after Divorce” section where I can recount my struggles as a newly single lady.  Lord help me!!

Thank you for helping me through this transition.  As I sit now, I have been divorced for 9 days and it has already been a million times better than I could have imagined.  For those out there thinking about divorce, let me give you this piece of advice…  As soon as you KNOW that it is really over… file.  I mean you REALLY know that you don’t want to go back and never want to be married to that person again.  It is the scariest feeling in the world, being in Limbo.  It sucks, and trust me when I tell you to rip off the band-aid as quick as you can.  You will be so much happier later.

 

**Funny quirk about the Texas legal system – You MUST wait 30 days after your divorce is final to marry someone new…… UNLESS that person is the person you just divorced.  There is NO waiting period to remarry the person you just divorced.  Doesn’t this seems a little backwards???  Just my opinion…



{May 8, 2009}   Anti-versary

April 21, 2009

Playlist Choice: Over You by Daughtry

This day, eight years ago, I married the man I was in love with.  The person I loved most in this world.  The person I wanted to be with more than anything… It should be a day of celebration.

But on this day, eight years later, it is a day of sadness and reflection.  Sadness because things did not work out the way I planned.  Sadness for the children I never had.  Sadness for the misery I allowed this man to inflict on me over the years.  Reflection for the red flags I saw and ignored, and the ones I never noticed.  Times like this allow you to look backward with perfect clarity and see every misstep… every altercation…. every indication that ‘he’s just not that into you.’

The days of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole are over.  A friend reminded me that even when you try to trim the edges to make it fit, there is always friction.  I am not looking for perfection.  I wouldn’t even desire that, being a behavioralist… I know that is not possible.  I know that passion and desire don’t always come in a neat package.  We don’t always fall in love with the person who is best for us…

Sometimes it is just the person who fills the void.

Other times, we love that person with all our might, but it just isn’t enough.  Sometimes you have to make the ultimate sacrifice and do what is best for BOTH parties.  That is what I feel I have done.  It would be EASY to stay.  To ignore things.  To keep moving in a quasi-forward direction.  To grow further apart until we are that old couple living in different rooms and rarely speaking… oh wait… we were already there… at age 32.

It is HARD to implement change.  It is even HARDER to stick with it once the decision has been made.  Not because I wanted to go back, but because it was what I knew.  People never understand this concept until they are in the situation.  Believe me… it is HARD.

But, on this day, I gave myself a silent pat on the back for sticking it out and doing what I feel is right for me, for once.  If he really thought about it… he would realize that too. 

But he didn’t.  He asked me out to celebrate instead. [shaking head]

But what can I say?

I’m a catch!  And it is HIS loss.

😉



{January 23, 2009}   Dear Younger, Dumber Me:

Dear 21-year old Me,

I am writing to you from the future.  Hey!  Stop thinking about Michael J. Fox, the Fish Under the Sea Dance, and a flux capacitor! – Focus!!  I am writing to you to tell you a few things that might save you some pain, and also identify a few red flags that you missed.

First, I would like the opportunity to congratulate you on being focused and working on your degree.  You will go on to obtain your Master’s degree with little or no effort on your part.  A word of warning – put some effort in and fix your grades undergrad.  I will thank you later.  Don’t worry – your graduate GPA is MUCH more impressive.  Hehe

Second – and this could be the most important lesson – You will become a REALLY cool chick.  Someone who is WAY too cool for lessons learned in this blog.  Seriously.  I know it doesn’t feel that way now.  You are insecure about your weight, looks, intelligence – everything.  That is normal at your age.  PLEASE don’t settle for the first guy that sticks around for more than three months… especially when the first three months suck.  You don’t know who you are yet.  You will grow into a really amazing, successful person and can be ALL the things you want to be without settling for something crappy.

Here’s the deal – Steve is not a bad guy.  He is just not that into you.  You can keep pushing the relationship where it doesn’t want to go, but it WILL end badly.  He will love you, but he will also take you for granted.  He will marry you – but you have to decide if the pain that will come is worth it.

Red Flag Identification:

  • 2 weeks into the relationship – He will stop calling you.  He will blame you for some fake illness that he doesn’t actually have.  He is a hypochondriac… this pattern of behavior will continue for YEARS.
  • 3 months into the relationship – He will cheat on you.  RUN, MORON… RUN!!!  Do not stick around for that!  I don’t care HOW much he cries… or how badly it hurts.  Accepting this behavior will really mess you up for a long time.
  • 6 months in – “I love you, but I am not IN love with you” – Again… You are too smart for this kind of crap!  Please stop self-deprecating and thinking that you won’t find someone new!  The man of your dreams was waiting to bump into you at the grocery store, and you were doing some asshole’s laundry.  Fantastic.

I think you can see where I am going with this, Liz.  You won’t really come into yourself until you are 30, or so.  You will be much happier and more confident.  Maybe you need some of these experiences to shape who you will become, but I hate to see you suffer needlessly.  Other words of advice:

  • Never marry a man who has you buy your own wedding ring
  • If your groom has to be on anxiety medication to walk down the aisle… think about that.
  • If he wants to Honeymoon in COLONIEL FREAKIN WILLIAMSBURG – RUN!!!!!!!!!!
  • When he just stops going to work for no particular reason… move out.
  • If you catch him on the phone, internet, etc. with other women…. hit him in the head with a frying pan on your way out the door (Not really… ).
  • When he says HORRIBLE things to you to make you feel bad so he can feel better about himself… Tell him to SUCK IT…. as you throw all of his things into the gutter.
  • When you tell this man, who has hurt you more than anyone else on the face of the planet EVER could, that you want a divorce… and you will… and he cries… and begs… and pleads… and snots on everything you own…. Walk away.  Do not allow one minute of his crying manipulative rhetoric to convince you to give him another chance.  He has perfected his line of bullshit over the years, and you are too forgiving.

Here’s the bottom line, Liz… You have an AMAZING heart.  You would do anything in the world for the people you love.  To a fault.  You are easily seen as someone to try to befriend and use.  It has happened time and time again.  You don’t deserve that.  Sometimes, it might feel like your penance, but believe me… it is a series of bad choices made out of love for someone else.

It is time to take back your life and become the person you were born to be.  It is time to stop holding back due to fear of success… and failure.  You can do SO much more than you already do… you just have to allow yourself the space and time to do it.  It is time to do what we would tell our friends to do, if they were in the same situation.  Be the grown up and take care of yourself.

Love Always,

Older, Wiser, Separated Liz



{January 7, 2009}   Quick Update

I wanted to post a quick update to let you know what has happened, and why I haven’t been posting.

Christmas was OK.  Steve acted like a big baby and refused to come to a family Christmas party unless I wanted him there.  Whatever.  But, he got me massive Christmas presents, in the form of a Blu-Ray DVD player, a HD camcorder, and a massive pink coach purse with a smaller clutch because he wanted me to have a good Christmas.  And probably to guilt me into buying him a TV we can’t afford/don’t need.

New Year’s Eve… he once again chose not to attend because he wanted me to basically beg him to go.  Here’s the deal… I have been to almost every event ALONE for the past 10 years.  I don’t really care if you come or not.  It will NOT affect my good time.  Unless you are a douche.  Then it will affect me a lot.  I took my friend Lori as my husband instead.  hehe  We had an awesome time.  Lori had a little too much to drink and ended up crashing out on my couch.

The next morning (ok.. afternoon… we were out REALLY late) we were sitting around talking and deciding what to do for the day.  I already decided that I would let Steve watch football and we were going to go watch Steel Magnolias.  I invited Steve for good measure… and he started in with his whining about how mean I am… how cold I am.  A robot.  The Ice Queen.

Suck it… I’m out!  We left to go pick up Lori’s daughter, Em.  She said, “I finally get it.  I heard the way he talked to you.  That is totally unacceptable and I am going to stage an intervention!”  Along with another friend, they helped me see that I really needed to do something drastic.

As I was walking out to the car, Steve called me and told me that there was a note left on the door by a process server… I am being sued.  By a debt collector.  A debt that was incurred and went unpaid during the time when Steve just decided to stop working.  I snapped.  I was driving down the road sobbing.  Why did I let this happen???

I decided to stay the night with Lori.  I couldn’t go home.  I was angry.  Hurt.  Miserable.  We went and grabbed clothes on the pretense that Lori was having a bad day and needed company.  Poor little Em was trying so hard to keep the secret that I was coming to live with them.  He asked her how she was doing and she flipped out and ran into my room and said, “Mommy!!  Steve is talking to me!  I can’t talk to him!  I HAVE A SECRET!!!” 

Incidentally, Em told me, “Lidabeth, you can stay in my room forever!  And I am moving into Mommy’s closet!!”  A correction for CPS records – her TOYS are moving into Mommy’s closet.  She is moving into Mommy’s ROOM.  She also got so excited that I was moving into her room… that she packed up her toys into Ziploc bags and began moving them.  Adorable!!

So, that is where I am right now.  I am living in a room, donated by my sweet friends, that, until yesterday, contained a pink & purple castle tent and a ginormous stuffed dog the size of a Buick named Razaroo.  Today it is empty… waiting for me to make decisions and possibly start a new life. 

It’s amazing how you can know so fiercely that you want something… and then it begins to happen… and it scares the living shit out of you.  My husband has nowhere to go when our lease expires.  He is not close with friends or family, and does not earn a steady income (real estate agent + tanking market = holy shit!).  I am riddled with guilt and anxiety about his future.  People tell me that isn’t my problem… which is true… but how do you just STOP caring about someone you have been with for 10 years?

I think this will be a very interesting time for me.  To see what I can do to love myself again.  To give myself the same advice I would give a friend in the same position.

Stay tuned for my next post:  Dear Younger, Dumber Me: An Open Letter to Myself



{December 3, 2008}   Sticks and Stones

Sticks and Stones may break my bones

But words will never hurt me

Whoever made up this little rhyme was a.) full of crap and b.) an idiot.  Here’s the deal.  Words do hurt.  I have personally found the more insecure you are about something, the more the words hurt.  I know that I am not an idiot, so if someone calls me an idiot, I just blow them off as having a severe mental retardation and possibly Turrets.  But, if someone comments on my weight, or something that I am insecure about – I lose it.

Unfortunately, the ones who can hurt us the most are the ones who know our every insecurity and plays off them to their own advantage.  This is one area where my roommate husband excels.  He knows exactly what to say to hurt me.  Every.  Fucking.  Time.

When we moved into the one-bedroom apartment in February 2006, it was a difficult time.  We were trying to cram as much crap out of the 5 bedroom house into a 1 bedroom, while still being able to move.  We were constantly surrounded by boxes.  Dogs were everywhere.  The place was a wreck… and I couldn’t breathe.  In July 2006, Steve took a 5 week trip to Alaska.  It was FABULOUS, because I had to stay home and work.  During this time, I managed to get the place unpacked (finally!) and organized.  I was so proud of it.  I even made him a plate of cookies to welcome him home.  When he came home – he blew it off, saying, “It doesn’t look that good.  What were you doing the whole time?  Those cookies weren’t homemade.”

Unfortunately, during this time, we also lost our tenacious dachshund, Major.  I came home from work one day to notice him limping (he was not limping when I went to work).  I took him immediately to the emergency vet, who thought he might have disease in his back (common for wiener dogs) and recommended taking him to his regular vet first thing in the morning.  Unfortunately, I had to teach a class the next day, so my mom agreed to take him in for me.  I got a call 10 minutes before the class started that Major had actually ruptured a disc in his back and would have to be put down.  Talk about heartbreaking!!  I gave the go-ahead and sobbed until it was time to teach.  When I made it home, it was dreadfully quiet, and the poor other dog, Pico, didn’t understand where Major had gone.  He kept running to the crate and looking at me like, “Let him out!”  I had to throw the crate out, because I couldn’t bear looking at it.

2006_0326march20060006

Steve’s response every time someone brings up Major, “You killed my dog.”  Fucker.

Other bits of love from Steve:

  • I am going to marry a really pretty girl next time.
  • I will go on and get married again and be happy… and you will always be unhappy and alone.
  • I am going to find a younger woman and have a baby with her right away (OUCH).
  • You would make a terrible mother.
  • If I could afford to support myself, I would be out of here.

He also accuses me of being bitter and angry.  Gee… I wonder why that is?

No, Mister Bad Poetry… words hurt.  A lot.  The emotional scars from this kind of abuse are long lasting and damaging.  But the great thing is that I now know the following things:

  • I have a job with good pay and benefits and can completely take care of myself.
  • I have a wonderful network of friends and family who support me in whatever I do.
  • I have my degrees (Bachelor’s and Master’s) under my belt.
  • I am a good person.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Jerk.  Hmmm… Maybe…. it’s YOU.

nina-mala-flip-the-bird



{November 5, 2008}   Busting Out

During all of Steve’s bipolar craziness, we were still living at my dad’s house.  As I mentioned, I found out that Dad was no longer paying the mortgage.  I lived in a constant state of panic and fear that one day that knock on the door would come and my greatest fear would be realized – Homelessness.

In January 2006, after having a heart-to-heart with my Dad (not an easy task, I will tell you) – I decided that I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I had a job I hated.  A husband who broke my heart daily.  And a deep seeded fear that any day now, I would be discovered and evicted.  I couldn’t breathe.

One Saturday I was hanging out with my mom and we decided to go look at apartments in the area (we both have a great love of looking at houses, apartments, cars – whatever).  We went to one of the “luxury” apartments in town and found that they had a 1-bedroom unit that I could totally afford, even on my crappy salary AND a $200 move in special.  I signed my name on the dotted line right then and there to reserve the unit.  I would be moving in a week.  It was the first really impulsive thing I had ever done, and I felt amazing.  I planned to go home and tell both Steve and my Dad that I was out of there.  See ya suckers!

But… somehow… he convinced me to bring him along.  [insert Debbie Downer’s music here]  My pretty, clean, little apartment was invaded by a giant slob who was still talking to other women behind my back.  Why, oh why was I so dumb?  I should have taken the therapist’s advice and moved with no forwarding address.  But I didn’t.  Because I am actually the sucker.  About this time, Steve was called by his job who said, “Look… it’s been nearly 2 years… you haven’t been to work in most of those 2 years.  You can either quit… or we can fire you.  Your call.”  He chose to quit.

He decided on a new career path, which required him to go to school for a few months.  But, instead of starting right away, he decided to put it off for 6 months.  We began to fight more and more.  I kept hearing things like, “Just let me get my license, and I am out of here!”  Fine.  Get your damn license.  Oh?  What’s that?  Having the license doesn’t earn you money to live on right away?  Shocker.  “Just wait until [fill in the blank].”  “If I could afford to leave I would be out of here.”  So… what you are saying is that you are using me as a meal ticket?  Hmmm.

So that was my goal.  Get him to a place where he could afford to take care of himself, and be gone.  This was no longer a marriage.  I was not happy.  He was not happy.  He was too self-absorbed to care about what was going on with me.  So I waited…



{November 5, 2008}   Girls, Girls, Girls

Unfortunately, this post is NOT about my rabid love affair with Motley Crue.  Wait, I never had a love affair with Motley Crue.  [shudder]

This is about one of the dirty little secrets they don’t print in the “Welcome to Bipolar Land” pamphlet.  Well, maybe they do, but I always skim the pamphlets and go straight for the pictures.  I mean, come on… if it were really important, do you think they would put it into a pamphlet?  No, what I am talking about is a little more than the risky behavior of which some bipolar people partake.  I am talking about girls.

Now I have mentioned before my husband’s gravitation towards the opposite sex.  He’s kind of a dog.  But not a cool dog, like a lab.  More like a rabid horn-dog.  In Jabba the Hut’s body.  Once the bipolar news was broken, he seemed to explode into the stereotypes associated with the disorder.  There was no more holding back.

About this time, he became familiar with Yahoo Messenger and the adjoining chat rooms.  Since he wasn’t going to work, he would stay up all night playing on the internet.  I, of course, had to continue my normal bedtime routine so that I could support our family.  But, I wasn’t used to sleeping alone, so I would often wake up in the middle of the night disoriented since he was not in bed.  I would wander downstairs and find him chatting with “people” online, or worse, on the phone.  Typically, whomever he was talking to was quickly closed out or hung up on so that I would not see/hear the content of the conversation.  I would like to take a moment to point out that I am in no way, shape, or form, an idiot.  Sure, it might seem that way from the things I have put up with, but I really am not. I can definitely put 2 + 2 together.

So, I did what any good wife would do – Spy.  I will tell you, if the CIA is looking for a good agent, they should really give me a call.  I became a world class sleuth to figure out what he was up to.  I would check the internet history [shudder], chat archives, phone records, etc.  I was completely disgusted at what I would find.  One morning, I woke up a little earlier than normal and actually walked in on the bastard having phone sex with someone.  I was livid.  He is SO lucky that he is twice my size, or I might be writing this blog from the Texas State Penitentiary System.  Not really.  Yeah really.

This is about the time I start hearing, “What??? WHAT??? Leave him!  Leave him!!”  Believe me.  I have heard it.  I have heard it from the little voice in my own brain.  But the caring, compassionate person in me said, “He is sick.  He is having problems.  He isn’t working.  Where would he go?”  I thought I was doing the right thing – trying to support him both emotionally and financially.  But it was a major blow to my ego.  My self-esteem, which wasn’t great to begin with, went right out the window.  And I was trapped.  I was miserable.  I couldn’t imagine that someone I loved SO much… and had done EVERYTHING for would do something like this.  Especially after the last time

Unfortunately, this behavior continued for years.  Every time I would walk into the room, he would hang up on whoever he was talking to.  The cell phone bills were outrageous (anywhere from $300 – $1100 per month – which I had to pay for).  My heart was shattered.  I know now that I had fallen into the pit of despair with no chance of Carey Elwes coming to rescue me.

I have no evidence to say he actually ever slept with anyone during this time.  It doesn’t matter.  The phone and internet relationships were enough to kill off most of the feelings I had for him and destroy my self-esteem.  I felt trapped.  I don’t know why I felt trapped, as I had all the leverage, but I did.  I was told that it was my fault that he had to seek out these other women.  My fault for not spending enough time with him.  Yeah, asshole… because I am asleep.  Or at work.  Trying to support us.  Trying to keep us from becoming homeless.  Trying to keep my own sanity when those around me are losing theirs.  I felt useless.  Unloved and miserable.  Nothing will ever change that.



{October 29, 2008}   Down the Rabbit Hole

After my trip to the hospital, I began harboring some serious feelings of resentment toward my husband and his callousness regarding my illness.  It really sucks hairy donkey balls to feel that sick – to think you might die – and not have the support of the person who is supposed to love you the most.  It is really hurtful.

I remember a few months later, Steve came down with a 24 hour stomach bug.  I remember him wanting me to wait on him hand & foot and telling me that no one has every felt as sick as he did right then.  Um, excuse me, douche bag… wasn’t I just in the hospital???  How can you say these things to me?  24 hours later, he felt fine and I was sick as a dog (this is usually what happens when he gets sick).  But, he couldn’t possibly wait on me… he might get sick again.

From 2002 – 2004, I was doing consulting work – good pay, but never a solid schedule or paycheck.  The work would ebb and flow, depending on the company’s priorities.  In 2004, I learned that my project was ending and started looking for a new job.  I found one, amazingly, that started the week after my project ended.  I went to work for The Company in July of 2004.  One week later, Steve went in for day surgery to have a small cyst removed from his chest.  He was supposed to go back to work the next day.  It feels like he never went back again.

Week after week, he would make some excuse for why he couldn’t go in to work.  He just didn’t feel well.  He stayed up too late.  Then, he began to complain about being depressed.  I told him to go to the doctor.  He went to our family doctor who told him he was probably depressed, and prescribed him anti-depressants.  I was really annoyed with all of the time he was missing from work.  He had missed so many days over the past few years, that he no longer had any sick time and was on “restricted sick leave,” which meant he had to get a doctor’s release EVERY time he missed a day.  So… he wasn’t bringing in any money.  We still owed his grandmother money.  I had a new job which paid consistently, but not very much.  I was drowning again.

Then one day I got a call at work.  Oh My God… I think I am going crazy.  I might kill myself.  He was sobbing.  He never cries.  My whole world took a nose dive down the rabbit hole.  I could feel my heart spinning out of control somewhere around my ankles.  I couldn’t breathe.  Steve went immediately to the psychiatrist who decided that between the family doctor and himself, they had misdiagnosed him.  He was not depressed.  He was bipolar.  Apparently, the anti-depressants alone sent him into a high manic state.  This is a very dangerous state to be in.  We worked with the doctors and the psychiatrists to find him a medication which would keep him balanced.  They told him he was a rapid-cycling bipolar, which meant that he would roller coaster from extremely manic to extremely depressed within a very short period of time.  It seemed like it would switch within hours (this is not typical of bipolar disorder).

I knew some of what to expect.  My mother is bipolar, and has been all of my life – not that she would tell you that.  But I had seen the extreme differences in mood.  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.  I have read a lot on the disorder, and witnessed a lot first hand.  But nothing prepared me for being the wife of a bipolar man.  One minute – Liz, you are the greatest person I have ever known.  I would be lost without you.  I love you so much.  Fast forward 12 hours – You are suffocating me!  I can’t stand to be around you!  It was a nightmare.  I was so emotionally destroyed that I ended up in therapy myself.  I never knew what to expect and was constantly walking on eggshells.  He was never physically abusive, by any means.  But, the emotional torment of such rapid-cycling emotions was pure hell.

Between July 2004 and January 2005, Steve worked 4 days.  And not consecutively, either.  This was ridiculously stressful because not only was he NOT earning an income… he was spending money like it was going out of style.  $350 for a pair of cowboy boots (he is neither a cowboy, nor a person who wore boots)… Clothes he didn’t wear.  Cars.  OMG don’t get me started on the cars!  That will have to be another post on it’s own.

I did my best to be supportive to the situation – whatever that was minute by minute.  People told me to leave him.  They told me that he was running me down.  Even my therapist to me to get the hell out and do not leave a forwarding address.  But I just couldn’t do that.  I loved him.  I hated seeing him in turmoil!

And then came the girls…



{October 27, 2008}   Moving on, but not up

After we were married, we lived in our apartment for about another year.  It was a pretty good year, as they go.  For Christmas, I heard through the grapevine that Steve had decided to surprise me with a new puppy.  I was thrilled by this, until I learned that the puppy was really a way of placating my desire to have children.  Blah.  But, the idea of getting a puppy for Christmas was thrilling anyway!  On Christmas Eve, Steve came home from work carrying a large wicker basket wrapped up in tinsel and holding our newest family member.  He says, “Surprise!  I got you a puppy for Christmas!  His name is Major Apawwhite – after UT’s quarterback… because he has one white paw – Get it??”  “You bought me a puppy for Christmas – and named it??”  Interesting.

Major was SUCH a cutie.  I fell in love with him immediately. 

The rest of our first year was pretty bland, until it came to our anniversary.  I found out several weeks before our anniversary that I was going to be laid off from my job due to it becoming automated.  Fuck.  We decided to move into my dad’s house with the intention of buying it once I finished my Master’s degree and landed another job.  Also, Steve ended up taking out a $10,000 loan from his grandmother behind my back.  I was really aggrevated.  I knew we needed it, but I do not like to be in debt to anyone – especially family.  That became a major source of friction between us.  His grandmother wanted to be paid back almost immediately, and that just wasn’t possible with me between jobs.

I completed my Master’s Degree in August 2002, and was asked to stay on as a consultant with the company where I interned.  That was pretty awesome.  But right about that time, Steve started to take a lot of sick time.  Now, he has always been a person who used his sick time as extra vacation days.  I have warned him that this is not a good thing.  But he began taking more than one day at a time, and before long was home for weeks at a time.  He wasn’t sick.  At least not in a physical sense.

This time became exponentially more volitile, as my dad was having us pay all of the bills on the house.  Neither Steve nor my dad were helping out, and I was drowning.  We ended up living there in that situation for nearly four years.  I found out about halfway through our stay that my father had stopped paying his mortgage.  Every day became a new torture… always wondering when they would foreclose on the house.  Not answering the door because you never knew when it would be the cops coming to serve an eviction notice.  My health was declining.  My marriage was deterorating rapidly.  I was miserable.

I landed in the hospital in January 2003 due to physical decline related to panic attacks.  I became physically ill around November 2002.  I felt nauseated and panicked all the time.  Around mid-December I thought… if I could just throw up… I would feel better.  So I did.  And once I did, I couldn’t stop.  By January, I had lost 15 pounds.  The last Saturday in January, I began throwing up non-stop and could barely move.  Steve insisted that I go to the ER that night, because the next day was Super Bowl Sunday, and he wasn’t going to take me during the Super Bowl.  So loving!  I ended up spending 6 hours in the ER, only to still be throwing up when I left.  The following Monday, I was in my regular doctor’s office, waiting to get a shot for the nausea.  By Friday, I had lost an additional 20 lbs.  I was so sick.  I ended up in the hospital for 5 days having every test known to man.  My potassium levels were so low, they were afraid I would die.  And where was Mr. Husband-of-the-Year?  Sitting in a chair in the corner – telling me to suck it up and get over it.

If anyone wants to buy a husband, I am thinking about putting him on eBay for bid.

 



et cetera