Power Over Me

I have spent most of my life with a low self esteem in regards to my appearance. It wasn’t always about the way I looked. As a teenager my low self esteem was because I was incredibly shy. Then as the years went on and I started to gain some more social skills, my body also started to change and acquired more curves and weight as it tried to morph into the obese gene that I carried from my mother’s side of the family. So my self esteem issues transitioned from being painfully shy to then being uncomfortable in my own skin. In my early 20s I went on a strict eating plan and started running 5 times a week and I lost a bunch of weight. I looked great. Best I had in my life. But like most things, if you don’t keep consistent with them, the weight crept back on. I then had a bad “injury” in both of my legs that took more than 4 months to diagnose and almost a year to get surgery on. Because of this, I couldn’t exercise. I dove into a dark place and the weight crept back up. I dated a lot while trying to find my “Mr. Right” and every time I didn’t get a second date with someone I assumed it was because I didn’t fit this image that every guy seems to want in a girlfriend. My thighs rub together, my arms are not slim and will never be slim no matter how much weight I lose, I’m tall, and I have large hips and a big butt. I’m not a cute little package that a guy can just swoop up into his arms and carry off into the land of happiness. I set my sights on finding a tall man, because then at least when around him I would feel small, for once in my life. I remember going on a date with a guy who was 6’5 and I absolutely LOVED how tiny I felt walking beside him. It was a shame he had the sense of humour of a rock though. So this has been my life. Dealing with the fact that I am taller than average, but not one of those tall, slim women that often seems to go hand in hand with each other. Tall and society’s idea of plus sized isn’t a great confidence booster.

I then met my now ex-husband. He was nothing I had imagined myself falling for. He’s only 6 feet tall, a more burly barrel chested man. But he made me feel beautiful despite almost being able to look him directly in the eye when standing face to face. He complimented me, loved hugging and cuddling me, loved holding my hand when we walked around, like he was proud to show the world that I was his. Because of this love boost, I had an easier time maintaining my weight and getting to the gym. And for quite awhile I looked the best I had in my entire adult life. But as comfort in the relationship crept in, so did eating and alcohol consumption and weight came back on. But nowhere near what it had before. But I never felt any less attractive because of it as he still seemed to love the way I looked. But then came pregnancy. This is when everything changed. It was the time of my life where I lost complete control of my body because it was no longer mine. You can’t lose weight while pregnant. And even though I ate incredibly well (thanks to awesome healthy cravings) I still packed on a lot of weight. It was during pregnancy that despite my husband loving touching my belly so he could “feel” his son, I started to feel unattractive to him. He stopped complimenting me. He stopped hugging me unless I asked. Then our son was born and I was thrown into the life of the post-baby body. My body went into a direction I had never seen before or even heard was possible (even though I know it is common now) and I would shield myself away from being seen without clothes covering every inch of myself. I felt ashamed of what my body chose to leave me with after having a child. Stretchmarks and a bit of loose skin I could handle. But it isn’t what I got. My husband stopped compliments all together at this stage. I had to seek them out and even then I would get sort of a brush off type of compliment. I no longer felt like the person he was attracted to in our first two years of being together. I was just the vessel that carried his child into the world. Since our separation, in one of our many lengthy text conversations about where we both failed in our marriage, I pointed this out to him. He said that not once was he ever not attracted to me. He said that he always thought I was beautiful. I told him that it is fine that he thought this, but his actions did not connect to that as he stopped actually verbalizing it and showing it. He recognizes now that he failed at that. But it doesn’t make me feel any better as we still are where we are. And he is now already dating another woman who is prettier and has a much, much better body than me. He didn’t waste any time at all.

But now I am stalled out. I am in a position where for the last four years I have felt unattractive even to my own husband who is now with someone else. My self esteem is at its lowest point it has ever been. And this time it is in regards to both my social skills as well as my feelings on my appearance. I am left with the “war wounds” of my pregnancy, a metabolism that has stalled out and I’m going to have to go see a doctor about, a hormone imbalance that causes migraines as well as the inability to lose weight despite best efforts, and a brain that is telling me that I’m not someone that any future man is going to find attractive. Because the man who was supposed to love me forever no matter how I look left me. The one man who appreciated the state of my stomach, my most vulnerable area, because it grew his child in it, is gone. There won’t be another man out there who will appreciate it or be able to look beyond it in the same way he did. And it kills me inside that I sit here and compare myself to the woman he is now dating. How she has the confidence to wear a string bikini, and look good in it, despite having a 5 year old daughter. How she is stylish and bubbly personality and I am not. How she is everything, in at least looks, that I felt he wished I was…despite him not being anywhere near perfect in his own weight and appearance himself. But I sit here and compare and end up in this pit of despair as I look down at my own body which I cannot, for the life of me, learn to love.

Don’t let the high waisted workout tights fool you…they do a great job at flattening and sucking in my large belly.

And in the future I am going to have to dive into the dating world, despite feeling skeptical that any man in the small town we live in will find me attractive. I know that I shouldn’t be worrying about this right now as everything is fresh and new. But it’s really hard to settle down my brain from jumping from two different views. First one being me wanting to really take the time to focus on myself and finding my own happiness, including with fitness and diet as well as mental health. But the second one being wanting to show my ex that I too can meet an attractive man who is everything he isn’t and to shove it in his face. I know the latter one is not remotely healthy whatsoever, and that if history has any say in anything, me just meeting someone right off the bat never happens. It just goes to show how much of a jumble my head is in right now. But what I hate the most about this all is how much power my ex holds over me when it comes to my self esteem and ability to feel attractive. He doesn’t even know how much power he holds because he has taken what little self esteem I had left out the door with him when he left me. And I hate that. And I don’t know how I’m supposed to work through that and take it back from him. It is mine. He shouldn’t have any hold of it. But I’m somehow letting him.

I am doing a couple things for myself. Because I have been able to recognize that I need to take back complete control of my mind and body, I also know that I need to start doing the slow slog to make it happen. The first thing I’m doing is incredibly vain, but I don’t care. I’m getting coolsculpting on the saggy fat that has been left right at the front of my stomach, surrounding my belly button and hanging down. I went for a consultation the other week and she said I have the perfect stomach and skin for it and she says she knows that she can shrink it down nicely. If it is successful then it is going to go a LONG way to my body discomfort and self esteem issues. It isn’t a weight loss thing. It is just reducing the stubborn fat cells that have accumulated there and, as she said, will likely forever stay there in that exact way no matter how much weight I lose down the road. I don’t care if I’m left with some loose skin or even if a little bit of sag is left. As long as it is an improvement to what is there now that is causing me so much embarrassment, then that’s all I care about. The second thing I’m doing is meeting with a woman who is sort of a life coach in a way. But not in the “let me help you achieve your dreams” kind of person. But more so in helping people find their inner power, connect to themselves, learn to find happiness within themselves, that kind of stuff. When I reached out to her I was fully up front and said that I am at the lowest point in my life in regards to my self esteem and self worth and that I want to gain control over that for the first time in my life. She isn’t a counsellor per se. She won’t necessarily talk about my failed marriage. She will help me learn to better connect to myself. I will be talking with her on Monday and I’m hoping she can help me move into a more positive, self love direction.

Time will tell. That is all I can hope for. That time will be on my side and help me through this.

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Loneliness

I’m pretty fucking lonely right now. I won’t lie or beat around the bush about it. I’m lonely. Today is the last day of my son being with his dad for five days straight and I have spent the last five days coming home to an empty house (besides the dogs) and no one to talk to. I have been riding the emotional rollercoaster and most of the time crashing into feeling down and near tears with nobody around to give me a hug or offer to just sit with me.

I could really use a hug right now. And I am not a hugger. But all I want right now is a hug.

I spent pretty much the entire weekend on my own. I thought I was ok because I had things to do to keep me occupied. I did reach out to a few people to see about hanging out, but everyone was busy playing happy family and didn’t have time to give up to hang out with me. So I spent the weekend alone. My brother stayed at my house on Monday night, but didn’t arrive until it was almost time for me to head to bed. So we had brief conversation where he was gently trying to ask questions and pry on my current situation. I felt like he was compiling a report to give back to his wife and my parents. So I maybe put on a slight act of feeling better than I actually am. Then yesterday I was hit with one of my migraines and I stayed in the house all day long except around 6:00 when I realized I needed a few groceries so I went and got those then came home and took the dogs for a little 20 minute walk. Alone. I then came home and watched a movie and then went to bed. Alone.

I am not one of those people who has ever been uncomfortable with doing things alone or spending time by myself. I have always enjoyed it and found it a good way to re-set and find a happy place again. But now that I think about that, I only enjoyed it because I knew I had a husband at home. I knew that I would also get my fix of comfort being around the person I loved. It was the balance that I loved. And now that I don’t have that balance I am finding that I am hating being alone.

My husband and I have spent a lot of evenings lately texting and communicating about things. He’s been an open book of emotions and sharing what major realizations he has been making. It helps to hear these things from him, but at the same time it hurts. I know he is lonely too, but at the same time it isn’t the same loneliness that is consuming me. He has many friends in town who he is filling his time with. Just today I saw a little boomerang video show up in my facebook feed by someone we both know who has a child the same age as our son and I know he has been hanging out with them so our son has friends in town. The short video clip is of the child in a big pool, but in the background I see my husband, resting on a floaty, with a large smile on his face. Looking carefree and happy. I know he is struggling too. I know this for a fact. But seeing the smiling face in the background, where he is surrounded by other people who want to spend time with him, hit me hard. I told him that I’m so incredibly lonely and he responded in a way saying that even though he’s surrounded by people all the time, he knows how I feel. I responded back to him saying that he has no clue how I feel. That he can’t possibly know how it feels to spend an entire weekend alone with no one reaching out to hang out, or when he does reach out to them, nobody has time. He has people embracing him and his new situation. Ensuring he is fed. Ensuring he is occupied. Ensuring he doesn’t have to feel alone.

But I am the woman in the failed marriage. The one who has worked hardest to keep everyone else happy and cared for. The one who has tried numerous times to make new friends in the town we live in but am met with bitches who don’t seem remotely interested in gaining a new friend. So I have trucked along and just kept life going, not realizing what kind of a shitty situation doing this was going to land me in when one day my husband decided to leave. I put everyone else’s needs and wants before my own, and now I’m lonely for it. But because I’ve kept this battle of being ok going for so long, everyone likely thinks that I’m doing fine now. “Oh she is tough. She is a fighter. She’s got this.” is what I think people are saying. So it means that nobody really has to check in on me. Nobody needs to say “hey I’ll come out to your town and hang out this weekend.” Yeah I hear from a few people here and there, but it’s just about every day stuff. My two oldest friends haven’t asked once how I’m doing. My fucking parents don’t even ask. I called my mom out on it yesterday by text and her response was that she doesn’t want to make me feel smothered or that they are imposing. I actually didn’t respond to her because there is a drastic difference between smothering someone and just once in awhile picking up the phone and sending a text to see if I’m doing ok. When I do mention to my mom that I’m lonely I get a frowny face emoji message back. That’s it. Or her standard line of “this whole thing makes me feel so sad.” Well how the fuck do you think I feel if it makes you sad mom?? I’m not messaging about being lonely so I can talk about how she is feeling. She tried facetiming me later in the evening and I didn’t answer it because I was in such a dark place. I texted her and said I don’t really feel like talking right now as it had been a bad day. She asked if I want to talk about it….right after I told her I didn’t. I wrote back with “no” and she followed it up saying that she’s here to talk if I need it. But now today she hasn’t bothered to check in on me. Despite my glaringly obvious indication that I am NOT doing ok and for once I would like for her to actually initiate contact with me and not just sit there waiting for me to come forward. I won’t lie. I’m actually quite dumbfounded by my parent’s sudden decision to back off and not “smother” me when leading up to this situation they were very involved or would be upset if we didn’t involve them in some decision that was made. They would facetime just to chat about nothing. They were always there…every day. And now that I’m in this situation they seem to have suddenly decided to back off…at a time when they shouldn’t be…and all because they are fearful of making me feel smothered. [sister…i know you’re reading this so please don’t mention any of this to them….i will find a way to do it myself soon.] My sister is one of the few people who has actually made sure to keep in regular contact, even if it’s just sending me pictures of dogs that visit her at work, or to talk about our workouts. So many people only seem to want to message if I want to bitch about the situation. It’s like they just want the “fun” part of dragging his name through the mud and not the not-so-fun part of picking their mess of a friend up off the floor.

I had the option last night of going to a gathering of a bunch of women in town. Two women started up their own social media company to try to embrace motherhood and help make new moms or even experienced moms feel less alone. Like they have a tribe. They hosted a gathering last night at a cidery in town and one of them messaged me encouraging me to buy a ticket and come along. I could have gone. But I didn’t. Because I didn’t want to walk into a room full of women I don’t know and have to have that awkward conversation, multiple times, about how I am newly separated. It would have forced me to put a fake smile on my face and pretend that I’m embracing this all like a champ. So I didn’t go. I also didn’t go because after finding out that other women in a town facebook group (which I have since left) were reporting basically every post I made to my husband, I have zero trust in any woman in the small town I live in. So I haven’t found a way to tell the organizer of the event the real reason I didn’t go. Because she is a woman who is very happily married and has an incredibly loving and supportive spouse. She won’t get it. She would have told me to still come along and feel the support of other moms. But I couldn’t bring myself to go. I just couldn’t. This weekend I have to go to a family event for the first time officially alone. It will be incredibly difficult for me because numerous people are going to ask where my husband is and I am going to have to tell them that we are separated. I am going to have to have to have the awkward conversation where I will instead want to dig a hole under my feet and bury myself instead of talk about it. I will have to see the sympathetic “I’m so sorry” faces that I’m really starting to dislike seeing. Part of me just wants to lie and say that he is busy and couldn’t make it. But I know that there are enough people who will be there who do know the situation and I won’t be able to go that route. And I can’t hide this forever. At least I will have my son along with me and he will likely keep me occupied by having to chase him around and entertain him. So I may be able to avoid a lot of adult interaction. Or at least I am hoping to.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about fixing this loneliness. I’m in no frame of mind to be making any new friends right now because who wants to take on the severely wrecked, newly separated woman? I can’t even reach out through the mom’s facebook group I mentioned above to see what some of the ways to meet new people are in town, because I know for an absolute 100% fact that it will be reported back to my husband. And I know that I shouldn’t care or worry about what he thinks about it, because it is my own life to worry about now. But just the fact that I can’t even feel like I can sneeze in this town without someone watching me and reporting me makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable and untrusting. So I just retreat into myself more.

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

Sharesies

Ok….I survived the first week of our new co-parenting schedule and did it with only minimal tears. So I consider that a success. Truthfully though, I did get to see my son twice during it. Once because my husband was scheduled for a meeting that he wasn’t aware of and there was no way he could change it, so he asked me to help out and pick our son up from daycare and take him to the birthday party that happened after. And last Sunday my husband asked if I wanted to spend a little time with our son because I said I was struggling that day. So I picked him up and we went swimming, ice cream and then a little trip to the dollar store to pick up some new bubbles and a small toy. So it wasn’t as though I didn’t see him for the five days he wasn’t with me. This won’t be normal though. There will be times where during those five days I will only get to see him through video calls. We do have an agreement in place that if one of us is having a tough time when he isn’t with us then we are open to that person to come and spend some time with him. The only stipulation to that is that it is to go out and do something. Not to bring him back to the house that he isn’t staying at. It could get confusing for him to be at the house he isn’t currently staying at and it would cause some challenges convincing him to leave that house in order to go to the other one. Even with me picking him up on that one day this week it caused some confusion and there were some tears from him because he didn’t want to go to the apartment, he wanted to come home with me. But we worked through it as best as possible. With lots of hugs and kisses later, he happily walked into the apartment, holding his dad’s hand and talking about the birthday party.

So I now have him for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week. Then he goes to his dad for two days and then back to me for three days then back to his dad for the weekend. Basically our sharing agreement we came to looks like this:

Husband: Monday and Tuesday

Me: Thursday and Friday

Wednesdays are alternating days where one week he has him for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and the following week I have him for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

Weekends: alternating

It isn’t perfect by any means and some people would look at it and think that it is too much upheaval for a little boy. But we had a very thorough conversation with our counsellor about it before committing to it. She said that right now it is important for our son to get a lot of time with both of us. She said that is still incredibly connected to us and we need to ensure he feels he is getting equal love and time with both of us. She mentioned that this kind of schedule allows him to have a strong bond with both of us as well. She also said that because he is so young and doesn’t understand what is going on, by having shorter timeframes where he is with us means that he won’t go into a deep place of missing the parent he isn’t with and making it difficult for the parent he is with. That it is easier to tell him on a Tuesday that he will see his mommy on Wednesday after daycare instead of telling him that he has to wait all the way until Sunday, if we were doing a one week on one week off agreement. Basically she was saying that at his age his attention span is short for so many things, so having shorter times with each parent will be beneficial to his development. A friend of mine told me that her neighbour has a similar sharing schedule with his ex-wife and he told her that their daughter is thriving way more and is far happier than when they were trying to do swapping weeks. Our counsellor also confirmed that other couples she counsels do similar sharing and it has worked well for the child.

We have both agreed that we will give it a couple months of sticking to it and if we find it isn’t working then we will reassess the plan. We also know that once he starts kindergarten we will likely have to go into a more consistent week on week off schedule. The counsellor said that at that stage it will be easier to do with him as he will be older, his brain will be more developed in a way that understands things and he will be more independent. Basically he won’t be as reliant on being around his parents. Which is hard to believe as that’s only a year from now and he is still so incredibly dependent on me. It’s like he re-fuels himself by sitting on my lap and having a quick cuddle. But the counsellor assured us that moving to that sharing schedule will be harder on us than it will be on him. She said that emotionally we will struggle to not have him around for 7 days, but that because we plan to have him in extra-curricular activities/sports that we can always make an arrangement to swap turns on taking him to those things or if it’s a game, we can both be there for it. There is no reason that we can’t both stand on the sidelines of his soccer game on a weekend and cheer him on even if it isn’t our own weekend with him. That is still a year from now and so much can change in that time, for better or worse, so I don’t really like to think much ahead on it as it just starts to give me anxiety and stress that isn’t necessary right now.

On my weekend of “freedom” (I put parenthsis on that because physically I was free from parenting duties, but emotionally I was definitely not free) I had made myself a list of things I wanted to get done because of not having to work around entertaining an almost four year old. The list was likely overly ambitious, but good to have. I had:

  • mow the lawn – didn’t happen because it rained 90% of the weekend
  • plant my new succulents into planters for my front step – also didn’t happen because of weather
  • buy new bedding for me – it did happen but i have not put it on the bed yet. my heart isn’t ready for that change quite yet
  • set my son’s room up to accommodate the new dresser i ordered – partially happened
  • declutter the giant kitchen island – achieved
  • tackle the laundry war on my dining table – 70% achieved
  • meal prep for the week – achieved
  • carpet clean the giant stain on the stair landing thanks to one dog’s explosive issues one night – not achieved
  • swim laps at least twice – definitely not achieved
  • watch a movie (yes this was on my list) – achieved x 2 as I treated myself to going out to a movie in theatre too! First movie I have seen in in theatre in over 3 years!
  • pedicure with my cousin – achieved
  • drink some wine – achieved

That was the general idea of my mental list I had made. I am pleased with the few things I did accomplish and I am almost more pleased that I allowed myself to use the time to actually just sit and relax without feeling the pressure of having to get things done or the guilt of not playing with my son. Not only that, but I also accomplished something that’s been bothering me for a really long time. In my son’s closet I had bags upon bags of clothing he grew out of. I hauled all the bags downstairs and sorted them all into sizes and then into seasons followed by grouping shirts, shorts, pants, etc together. I then took pictures of everything and posted things for sale on the Facebook buy and sell pages. I put almost everything up for $1 each, which was a little painful when I knew some of the items were only worn once and cost more than $20. But it’s the only way to get rid of things quickly. My Sunday afternoon quickly became all about managing the sales as people were snapping the items up incredibly fast. I was answering messages, bagging and labeling everything and updating the posts to say what had sold. It was a full-time afternoon job because I had so much to get rid of! I really enjoyed doing it as I put Friends on Netflix and wore sweatpants and totally vegged out while doing it.

Going forward I will continue to try to set goals to achieve over the weekends I am child-free. They may range from going for a drink with a friend to ensuring I exercise to tackling the crawl space cupboard which became a shoving all the crap into zone or going through my son’s playroom and getting rid of broken or unused toys. It will help to give me something to focus on that is positive while I am missing my little boy.

But man, was I ever happy to have him back under my roof with me yesterday!

The Disposable World

Straws, plastic cups, plastic bags and relationships. I’m beginning to feel these things all have one thing in common in today’s society. They are all easily disposed of. I made a comment to a friend, probably about 6 months ago, about how the world we live in right now allows people to abandon their commitment to their relationship with ease. It also allows people to never be able to be happy with what they have currently and are always looking out for something better. Blame social media. Blame dating via apps. Blame everyone wanting to prove themselves to everyone else that they are successful. The world we live in right now makes it easy for us to just pack up our belongings and say “well it’s been a slice, I’m out.”

I didn’t think that when I said that to my friend that I would be the one who would end up in the disposable marriage.

Before I go any further with this, I will acknowledge that I played a part in the failure of our marriage when I lost the ability to communicate effectively with my husband. When I unintentionally distanced myself from him.

But I can say with absolute confidence that NONE of our issues that we had that have now lead to my husband moving out were marriage ending. Our counsellor has told us numerous times that they are incredibly common issues married couples with new kids have and that with hard work they can be repaired. But here we are. My husband made the choice to dispose of “us” and not put in the work required. Despite the heartbreak that he is saying he feels. Despite the tears he has said he has shed. Despite him saying how upset he is that we have come to this place. Despite it all….he still won’t budge on making any attempts to try to first repair his own feelings that he has allowed to grow and then to do the hard work to repair us back to where we once were. We have spent numerous nights texting one another, being open and vulnerable about our feelings on where we are at right now and on things that happened to lead us here. He has opened himself up, been apologizing, actually listening to what I say instead of arguing against it. By all intents and purposes, he has gone back to the man I knew before we had our son. But even though we have finally found a place of communication again, even if it’s through text messages, he is still disposing of us.

But this is what he does. He has even said it to me in the heat of an argument about two months ago. He said when things aren’t working he finds a way out. He knows this about himself, yet he doesn’t realize how flawed and fucked up that statement is. I get that in his work world, yeah, get out before things can go sideways. But that’s not how relationships work. Just because he’s feeling the strain of a struggling marriage it doesn’t mean he can just snap his fingers and be done with it. But that’s pretty much what he has done. He now wants to work on things so we can be good co-parents to our son. He doesn’t want to work on them because he sees a possibility of us one day being “us” again.

I’m sitting here with growing resentment over how nice he is being to me right now. It’s like a fucking smack in the face. He picked up a new phone for me last week because I needed one. He has offered to pay for a vacation for me. He is being sympathetic to my cries of missing my son on the days where he is not with me at my house. He is inquiring about my days. And I’m really growing to hate it. I hate it because it’s just reminding me of the person that he was. The relationship that we had. The one I yearn to have back. It’s making me angry because where was this man when everything was falling apart? He has said numerous times that he will forever regret how he handled the last two months and his treatment of me. He will forever regret how he could have tried harder to get through to me when he was falling out of love for me. I told him to stop saying that because it doesn’t actually repair anything. It just hurts me more. I hate how he is being right now because deep down in my heart I know that the man he is trying to be is one that will benefit a future relationship that he will put his heart into because he won’t want to fuck up with her the same way he has fucked up with me. He is opening himself up to being a supportive, loving, doting future spouse. Looking like the good guy who is making right with his ex-wife. Meanwhile I find myself, day by day closing up tighter and tighter to the idea of ever putting myself out there to try to find love again. As I said to him last night. I have spent 12 years of my adult life in two different relationships with two ambitious men where I gave my all to, and both where I have ended up hurt and burned at the end. That’s 12 years I have “lost” because of believing I had found love. I can’t even begin to think of trusting another man again because I fear that this disposable world will just make him up and leave the moment things get difficult or into a more comfortable and less “honeymoon phase” of things. And now I have a little human to worry about being affected by relationships as well. So while my husband may find himself using our situation as his learning curve for future relationships, I am using it to put a very high wall up around me because I cannot deal with going through this a third time. He told me that it upsets him to hear me talk like that. That it makes him cry to think of me feeling that way. Yeah, well buddy….you did that to me. So fucking bawl your eyes out all you want. It isn’t going to change how you are going to go about your own life. It is me that is the fucked up one now thanks to you. He will continue on his rosey life. He will make his money. He will be a loving father. He will be the ideal spouse. He will find someone who will give him that second child he yearns for. And I will become the ex-wife who he has to give money to and share his first born child with. Eventually he will be less receptive to my feelings and emotions. Eventually I will become more of a nuisance than someone he says he won’t ever leave struggling. Eventually another woman is going to come along who is going to have an issue with the fact that he has a previous wife with whom he shares a child with and she will drive a wedge in. And I will just be the person he has to legally give money to. He can go ahead and try to deny any of this, but I know, deep down in my heart, that it is true. His life is already continuing to carry on while mine feels like it has stalled in a place I can’t get out of.

He says that he is hurt too. He says that maybe his hurt is a little different than mine, but it is a feeling of hurt as well. I want to be receptive to the fact that he has feelings in all of this too. But at the same time I want to scream out at him that HE is the one who grew to the point of falling out of love without once telling me this and so he created his own hurt. Not me. My hurt is caused completely by him. His hurt he could and can control because he made it. Mine is harder to. My hurt is caused by a choice that was made that was NOT my choice and that I was given NO say in it. He chose this situation and so forgive me for not feeling as though his feelings of hurt are even comparable to my own. He isn’t still in love with someone who is no longer in love with him. Even when he was falling out of love with me, I was still loving him unconditionally. He has ALWAYS had my love, despite the distance that had grown between us. My love was always there ready to be given when he needed me. But for me….I no longer have his love. Rather, I haven’t had his love in a long time, and now, when I need love in my life the most, I can’t get it from the person who I still love. If he had been able to pull the blinders off of his eyes then he would have seen that my love was still there and he would have found another way to get through to me with how he was feeling.

But…no. My husband, the one who disposes of jobs when they don’t work out (and then blames everyone else for them not working out). Who disposes of his own parents and sibling when they aren’t on the same page or have a misunderstanding (and then blames them for it all). He has now added me into his disposal list. But the difference is that this disposal he’s learning from, and one day some other woman is going to reap the rewards of it.

I know that I need to see a counsellor again to work through these intense feelings that I am dealing with. I know that. But right now I feel about as wanted as a wet leaf that attaches itself to a shoe and gets picked off and tossed back on the ground again.

Letting People Know

We have more or less launched into what will be the new normal for co-parenting our son as a separated couple. It still feels foreign to use those words and I still find myself saying “my husband” to people. I have started to tell a few people here and there, but for the most part I am keeping the situation to myself. At work my boss knows as it’s something I couldn’t keep to myself as I’ve been needing to discuss with her taking sick leave to attend counselling appointments. Other than her there are only two other coworkers who only sort of know what is going on. One seems to have an idea that something is up, but he doesn’t know the full extent. I’m not comfortable talking about it to anyone and I really don’t feel it is any of their business, so I just keep it quiet. My parents asked permission to start mentioning it to extended family as they said that they are starting to get to the point of having to lie to them when they ask about why I’m visiting them solo with my son and no husband in tow…again. They said that they won’t be going into any major detail with anyone as it isn’t their place to do so, but they felt that family should be aware of what is happening. My dad said that not keeping it from everyone will mean that my support system will widen. I hesitantly told them that they could proceed with telling family as it comes up. The reason I was hesitant is because there are certain members of my extended family who are giant gossips and love talking about/trying to figure out what is going on in certain family members lives. I don’t think it is to be nasty in any way, but I just know that I have sat in on many conversations others have had about other family members who have shit going on and it makes me incredibly uncomfortable to know that this will now be going on behind my back. I told my parents that if anyone has any questions beyond the standard information, then they have to tell them that they can come to me and ask and I will choose how much I want to share. I said that my counsellor told me that the facts of the situation aren’t needed for anyone beyond my immediate circle of support. That the message I should be putting out there is that yes, we have split and that the focus is 100% on ensuring a happy and healthy life for Hunter and working towards finding an amicable place as co-parents. She said the nitty gritty stuff is nobody’s business but my own. So that’s what I relayed to my parents. But I’m still nervous. Mainly because I know that my mom is holding a lot of anger about the situation and in her overly emotional state that she can get in, if someone finds her at the right time, she will likely have a good vent about it all. It would take my dad telling her to shut up. My goal, despite how much I’m hurting and upset, is to not villainize my husband in anyone’s eyes. If family members were observant enough over the last few years they will likely not be overly surprised by this chain of events and will have already made their own minds up about him. It isn’t my job to change that. It isn’t my job to try to protect him in any way either. But it is my job to ensure that the people who my son will be spending time around are not trying to talk to me about my husband being a horrible human being or wanting to slander him when my child is within ear shot. It is my job to ensure that the world we are moving forward in remains as neutral as possible. As, again, my feelings on the situation are mine and nobody else’s and they can stay between me, my husband, close family and friends and my counsellor. On the weekend I went for pedicures with my cousin who is divorced from her husband and kid’s father. I found myself having to tread very lightly on every answer I gave to her questions as she is one of the family members who will go running fast to her sister and parents with any information I give her. I provided her with the basics and attempted to remain vague. But I know there were a few moments where I likely gave her a bit too much information that she likely latched on to immediately. I know her separation and subsequent divorce from her husband and dysfunctional marriage was and still is a very messy one and incredibly different from my own. And it actually pained me a little to hear her occasionally comparing our two spouses. She had me questioning my husband’s honesty when I told her that he has ensured he will always make sure I’m taken care of. All because her own dirt bag ex isn’t capable of that without it going as far as possible in court. Rational me knows to not compare the two. While they may have some similarities in their personalities, they are also greatly different. Or so I want to believe at this stage in things.

My closest friends know the situation going on and I have also started to send a couple texts here and there to other more distant friends. Those ones are getting the super vague messages about the situation. There are no details provided. Just facts about what is going on and how we are moving forward. That is all any of them need to know. If they want to know more then they can arrange to meet up with me and I can talk to them. But in the meantime, all they need to know is the positive place we are working to keep our son in.

I know a lot of people who have supported me up until this stage likely want to say his name in anger and talk about all kinds of bad things about him to anyone who will listen. And truthfully, at times, I want to as well. But I just don’t see anything positive coming from doing that. We can talk and talk and talk about his actions, my actions, where we both failed each other, how shitty this all is….but that doesn’t change where the future is headed. It also doesn’t change the past. Repairing feelings on the past is up to me and my husband to do together. But sitting and ranting about things to others isn’t going to get me anywhere. I have enough low moments about my world being completely turned upside down and flipped around and forever changed that I don’t need to be dragged down by friends or family who want to try to get me to bitch and moan about it all. I don’t need that on top of how I’m already feeling. Because, in the grand scheme of how separations can be….mine is actually pretty tame. Comparing like that doesn’t mean that I’m ignoring and pushing aside any of my feelings, but it is making me have an easier time looking at the bigger picture and how I will work through everything.

What I Won’t Miss

There are a lot of things I”m missing about my husband since his departure from our home and marriage. But the one thing I won’t miss is his lack of respect for our house space and the time I take to keep it clean.

I went away for a weekend with my oldest friends and my husband was on dad duty but he also took our son away to see his grandma for the weekend. They were in the house for Sunday afternoon and Monday morning though. When I got home around 4:00 on Monday and I walked in the door I was instantly hit with a weird smell. Nothing horrific, but just a different smell than what I’m used to in the house. I realized that I didn’t take the garbage out prior to leaving so that was likely the culprit. Hot house + full garbage can = stinky. But then I walked a little further into the house and was met with a bombsite of toys everywhere, blankets strewn about, a few dishes left on the coffee table and a filthy floor. My heart just sank because it was so disheartening to arrive home to this when I was so happy to be back.

I will admit that right now the house is in a bit of disarray. Our dining table has become the clothes folding table and because of how life has been for the last almost two months, the clothes have then remained covering the table in neatly folded piles. My husband will be moving a bunch of stuff out this weekend into his apartment and so there have been stacks of things in various areas waiting to be moved. It also doesn’t help that our one dog, who goes on daily hikes with a dog walker, must be rolling in sand and dirt while on the hikes because I cannot, for the life of me, keep the floors clean. So, not that I’m making excuses for my husband, but it is kind of one of those situations where someone recognizes a mess and they subconsciously add to it. It’s kind of like my desk at work. When I’m super swamped my desk becomes a bit of a paper war. If I don’t deal with it within a few days then people see the space as a chaos zone and they start leaving other stuff around and it adds to everything I have to deal with.

So when I saw this chaos, I dumped my bag and launched into cleaning mode. I knew I had two hours before our son was being dropped off. I tidied up all of the toys. I folded and removed all the blankets and extra pillows that were on the couch (because it appears my husband couldn’t bring himself to sleep in the bed that we used to share and he chose to sleep on the couch instead on Sunday night), I put the dishes in the dishwasher, wiped down counters, opened windows to get some air flow, lit some scented candles, vacuumed the floor and then mopped it. I then went upstairs and tackled the basket of laundry that was growing in my bedroom as well as the mountain of clothes I was piling on top of my dresser. The dining table full of clean laundry is still in that state and I likely won’t touch that until my husband packs up all of his clothes off of it.

Once I finished up everything I had done, I stood back and felt a lot better about things. Not great, but an improvement on what I had walked into. I am not entirely sure why I felt so much disappointment in the way he chose to leave the state of the house. It isn’t abnormal whatsoever. It is one of the things I have been asking him to try to work on for the last two years. He would say that he would, but then I would continue to walk in the door after work to breakfast dishes still on the coffee table, our son’s PJs from the night before scattered on the ground, toys everywhere, socks that he took off the night before still crammed into the crevices on the couch, and just general mess around. I tried numerous different directions to try to get him to work on it from saying we have a very expensive house that we just did very expensive renovations on and we should want to keep it looking clean. Or I would try the route of how important it is to teach our son that once he’s done playing he should clean up after himself. Just as he does at daycare. I even tried leaving it all and let it build up and build up to see if he would touch it or get the hint. But nope. Nothing worked. He would often say that getting our son out the door was a disaster full of meltdowns and stubborn child moments and he got distracted. Yet I somehow, when doing the daycare drop off in the morning, was always able to get out of the house with our son without it looking like a pig tornado had hit. In the end I was always feeling like my evening spent cleaning was one step forward and three steps back because of his lack of effort. Unless he would go on his once every few months random cleaning spurts, this became the daily norm.

But once he is in the apartment as of next week, it means that I won’t have to stress about having his messy ways around. I will actually be able to stay on top of the war that is keeping the house clean with a 4 year old and two dogs. I won’t have to feel annoyance because he disrespects my time and efforts with cleaning. If there’s a mess, it will be only myself to blame on it. and that is enough of a driving factor for me to continue to try to keep it clean and organized. I cringe to think of the state his apartment will be once he is in full-swing of living. But what gives me a little stress about that is that when our son is with me, he will be (as much as possible) encouraged to clean up his toys when he’s done, put his dirty dishes in the kitchen and his dirty clothes into the laundry room. But I can’t control what he is allowed to do when at his dad’s home. So will I be fighting a battle every time he stays with his dad and comes back to my place? I guess this is something we are going to have to discuss with the counsellor at our next session. How to ensure he has the same kind of rule base at each home so there is no confusion for him and doesn’t cause either of us any unnecessary stress having to deal with it.

Even though I am still supremely upset by this whole situation and the way life is playing out, I can’t deny that I am somewhat looking forward to being able to maintain the house in a way that makes me feel like coming home doesn’t require half an hour of cleaning before I can do anything else.

I Don’t Even Know You

“I feel like I don’t even know you anymore”

A line loaded with heaviness that I heard from my husband on Saturday when we met for a short while to discuss how we are going to move forward with sharing our time with our son. This line came after I got upset because this whole change is going to be far easier for him as he has his work and numerous friends and activities to keep himself occupied on the days that he won’t have our son with him at his apartment. I got upset because the past almost 4 years my life has been committed to raising our son and ensuring that my husband has it relatively easy with an open calendar so he can be taking last minute work meetings or networking events without having to worry about us. But it turns out that me doing this has completely backfired on me.

Because I have literally put everyone else in my family before me, it made me struggle to make new friends when we moved to a new town, I didn’t take up any hobbies or activities, I allowed everyone else’s health and fitness to come before my own. Despite occasional encouragement from my husband, I allowed myself to get engulfed in the life of a full-time working mom who was too tired to take on anything more. And the whole while I said to myself that it is just a temporary thing as the husband’s schedule will start to become more consistent over time and our son will become less dependent on me.

Apparently this was another bone of contention that my husband had building in his frustrations against me. Because he seems to really be getting good at this blame game and is spending time pointing out to me all the ways I failed to focus on our marriage or myself. It’s like he’s trying to justify his decision to leave by digging and finding whatever he can find that has irritated him in the last four years. He isn’t being aggressive when he brings these things up. He is almost masking it in a way to encourage me to take this time to find myself again.

But when I hear things like this I just want to rage at him. I want to tell him that millions of women, in the first years of having their first child DO get caught up in the struggle of motherhood and finding that balance between being a mom and being themself. It is completely common. There are some women that are amazing at keeping going with that balance and I remain envious of them. But what my husband doesn’t seem to understand is that part of the reason I became this way is because HE put me in this position. HIS work schedule and commitments made it so that I took on the role of number 1 parent for the most part. But if I say this to him he will now tell me that his schedule was always flexible and all I had to do was ask. Which I actually snort laugh over because the man never ever made himself seem flexible or able to move things around. If I ever asked about something that he had booked with something else, I seemed like I was being a pain. Or in the last year or two when I got migraines and he had to move his schedule around so he would be able to take care of our son so I could be in pain in bed, he made me feel like a giant inconvenience. So of course I wasn’t going to bother asking. It’s easy for him to say that his schedule was always flexible, but history has not proved that to me.

The first 2-3 years our son has been 100% a mommy’s boy who wanted mommy to do EVERYTHING for him. It would take me having to leave the house in order for our son to let his father play with him or help him with anything. Often if I would leave I would then get the text message from the husband asking when I thought I might be home as he had XYZ he needed to go do or that our son was crying for me. My husband would try to do things or help our son when I was around and it would just end in disaster where I would get called in to deal with the situation. There came a period of time where my husband was so broken from being rejected by his own son so often that he eventually switched off. Much to my frustration. Which only enforced the feeling of me having to step up and yet again be all consumed in our son’s needs while also trying to find ways to tell my husband that he can’t just switch off and wait for the day our son wants him.

So with all of this, how on earth did he think there was even an opportunity for me to get involved in some hobbies? I was plunked right into the centre of motherhood and I became stuck because I literally had no other option.

But what makes me the most frustrated about this line coming from him is that every day there are women who lose themselves in the role of motherhood. And every day there are men who stick by their wife’s side as she navigates the rocky terrain of motherhood. They love and support her through it because she is their wife. She grew a human being in her body for them. She nourished a child from her own body for a year (or more) for them. She is the one who the children call out to in the middle of the night and she is the one who gets up because the husband didn’t even wake up to the cries. She is the one providing comfort when the child is upset. It is a damn hard job and a woman can only do it to the best of her abilities if she has a supportive partner by her side. But apparently that was too much to ask for from my husband. Instead he failed to recognize our very different roles when it came to parenting and decided that even though he saw I was struggling, to instead allow himself to grow away from me and then point out that I lost myself. I lost myself with his unintended encouragement. But he feels good about himself because once in awhile he would suggest that I get out of the house and have some alone time. Or that he organized for me to start going to his fancy gym and got them to agree to hire a child minder for our son so I could go. Or that he said twice to go and take a spa day on my own. Or that he has taken our son on a couple road trips together or left for camping early so that I could get a break. But in his head he feels he tried incredibly hard to get me to find friends and hobbies.

My counsellor said that I can’t allow myself to sit and focus on what has happened because that won’t change. I cannot change the fact that for the last four years I have allowed myself to be there for my beautiful son while my husband pursues all of his interests. I cannot change that our son preferred me over him. I cannot change that I have become more comfortable staying at home instead of going out to late night events. I cannot change that we didn’t have enough date nights. I cannot change that I found a comfort zone that I struggle to get out of. None of it I can change. But it is really hard to try to focus on moving forward when my husband wants to remind me of what cannot be changed in an attempt to encourage me to find myself again.

Because if we really want to get down to the brass tacks about this. I don’t even know my husband in a lot of ways anymore. When I slipped off the “wife pedestal” and he placed me on the “mother of his child pedestal”, he changed too. I was no longer the number 1 in his eyes. His son was. Which I understand. But gone was the man who would come up behind me and hug me. Gone was the man who would randomly bring me flowers home. The man who used to enjoy cuddling disappeared. The man who would apologize first after a petty argument vanished. He became replaced by a career driven, money focused, constantly irritated, stressed out, busy, more aggressive (not in a physical sense but emotional sense), more distant man. A man I essentially would tip toe around to try to keep the household a positive and light place. But he is a man who somehow expected me to push through everything and continue to fill all the roles of Wife, Mother to his Son and Independant Me when I didn’t have all the support I needed to do that.

So here I am now. About to embark on a child sharing situation where I am going to have numerous days where I will be going home to an empty house. And he is suggesting I find some hobbies to fill those days instead of me sitting at home crying into a bag of chips and binge watching TV. It is hard. I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do. A small, teeny tiny part of me is thinking that it will be nice to have a break from motherhood. But then the moment I feel that way my heart crushes because it isn’t just a short break because they have gone away. It is likely a permanent thing where multiple days of the week I won’t be getting the joy of picking my excited son up from daycare and reading books before bed. Daycare pick ups are truly my favourite part of the day as he comes racing to the fence screaming “MOMMYYYYYY” when he sees me walk up and then body slams my legs into a giant hug. How do I go 2-3 days without having this moment? The one thing that can make the day better. It hurts. But it is a reality I have to face and be strong with.

I truly am sitting in the “Everything Sucks” category right now and am fighting, fighting, fighting to keep the three words my counsellor encouraged me to keep going with….”I GOT THIS”.