I can’t believe how many emails, messages, and comments were left for me after my last post on my face plant after divorcing my husband of almost 20 years. I am so moved by all of your stories of strength and equally embarrassing face plants. I feel surrounded by so many strong and beautiful souls! πŸ™‚

I also received so many questions… I tried to reply to everyone but some questions kept coming up over and over again so I didn’t answer them all. I just mulled them over and decided to post my answers to reach as many of you in one shot as I could. Hopefully, I don’t offend anyone. (Screw that… I’m sure I will…)

The most often asked question was for me to tell my story. I will give you the short version here for time’s sake:

I met my ex-husband when I was 14 years old. We dated for four years through high school and I was married to him shortly after high school. I was 4 months pregnant at the time. I should have known what I was getting into… he cheated on me all through high school and had a major affair just 2 months prior to getting married. 😐

(I KNOW!!!!)

So, anyway… we went on… had two children, lived our super stressful lives… Along the way, we moved several times. We were never really stable but I thought we were happy. We ran a business together that was extremely stressful for me but was what he wanted and he was good at it and loved it. We had a stable home, two great kids, a dog, a cat, a boat, and two cars. Living the dream…

Then, one day, 11 years later, he decided he didn’t love me anymore. A month later, he left me. Another month later, much to my relief, he came home. We revamped our lives, moved again, and started over. Five years later, he began another affair while I was at my mother’s bedside as she passed away from breast cancer. The affair lasted a year. I was in shock when he confessed and didn’t know what in the fuck to do. I let him stay. I stayed. (I was so stupid.) We continued on and tried to rebuild.

In 2007, my son graduated high school. I saw pictures of myself at his graduation party. I was the fattest I have ever been and I looked miserable. And I was. I started reading self help books and blogs online. I started losing some weight. I started to care about myself again. I began educating myself on how to take care of me. I began seeing everything in a different light. The only redeeming reason that I could think of to stay in my marriage at that point was our family (HIS family… not mine… as I later realized…).

By the beginning of 2008, I began to start freaking myself out. I knew the signs now of the precursors of my ex-husband’s infidelity. He began showing signs of it again. Little things. Not taking his meds for his bipolar disorder, taking me for granted, being selfish with our finances, treating me like I was always the bad guy… I assumed that pretty soon he would start another affair. He wasn’t yet. And I know it was wrong to assume… but I did. I talked myself into it. I just knew I was in for it… I was convinced.

By the time he had a heart attack in the Spring, I was done… I knew that I was just done… When I look back now, I realize I was done when he confessed to the second affair. I just was not a strong enough person to recognize it at the time. πŸ˜• Aaaannnd… I really, really, REALLY loved my family… (aka HIS family… not mine… once again… duh.)

This man, who had devastated me by that time TWICE in my lifetime, was still someone I would have called my best friend. I realized I needed to tell him how I was feeling. Did that. He began acting super crazy after that. Paranoia on his part just settled in.

He was so emotional… like super freaky emotional… at the thought of me not being with him that I just shut down. Completely. I couldn’t handle his super emotional-ness, so I went the other direction… I became non-emotional. Now, if you know me, this is NOT me. At all. I am usually the super emotional freak. I just flaked out. I could not handle it.

Anyway, his super emotional paranoia caused him to leave the home. I told him before he left that he should not leave and that if he did I would not ask him back. He left. I didn’t ask him back. (I know I confused some people by saying in my post that I decided to separate… I feel like it was my choice because I didn’t ask him back.) It was all downhill from there…

All that followed was Jerry Springer shit. I heard a barrage of confessions on his and other women’s parts… stories of past indiscretions on his part… some in the first year of our marriage…Β  I, myself, entered into a rebound relationship with an ex-childhood boyfriend that was stupid and misguided. (He was a lying asshole at the end of the day…) I found out who my real friends were… two. My ex started just making up random stories about me that were completely fabricated but everyone thought they were true. I lost almost my entire family… my daughter was the only one who had my back. My husband fought me tooth and nail during a divorce with no real assets or anything just so he could have some kind of power trip.

I did try once to reconcile after separation. He came home and lived with me. I felt suffocated. He knew I had been seeing this ex-boyfriend even though I was not seeing him at all during the reconciliation. Yet, he was suspicious of everything I did. I had to sneak around to even just see friends. (Stupidity on my part… I should have told him to fuck off and leave me alone…) I found out he came home and had lied to me about his prior living situation (and romantic involvement with a roommate, apparently). He finally violently blew up at me and it was over. Done.

My divorce took 2 years to complete. We had no assets we were fighting over. His dispute was a freaking life insurance policy that he couldn’t afford and has probably lapsed. I just wanted my kids to be able to afford to bury him if need be in the future. Now they’ll have to foot the bill. He hired a very expensive attorney. My legal fees went from $600 (which would have paid for both of us had he been amicable) to over $2000. I realize that’s cheap by city standards but it’s alot of money to me. He was court ordered to pay $600 of my legal fees but he has never paid it. Oh well.

So that’s my story of the divorce. That’s a short version, obviously. So much more went on. My long time readers and EPers know what I went through. As soon as he left, I made a series of horrible decisions. I was an emotional train wreck for about a year to 18 months before I started pulling myself together. This was the time it took me to find myself.

I’m going to now answer the top 5 questions people asked me repeatedly in emails and messages and comments since my face plant post:

1. Weren’t you scared to be alone?

Well, yes. Yes, I was. Which is why I immediately dropped into a rebound relationship. Mistake numero UNO. You should learn from my mistakes, but I know you won’t. πŸ˜‰ That’s okay.

I did not really realize how incredibly alone I was going to be. You can kind of imagine it for yourself, but believe me when I tell you, take that times 10. I felt so incredibly alone. I lost everything and everyone in my life. My son hated me. My daughter was a Senior in high school. She was supportive but at that self-absorbed age. My extended family… well, I didn’t really have a family myself at that point… my unemotional father and my brother. My husband’s family virtually disappeared. Our friends didn’t want to take sides… such a lonely time…

During this time, I tried to nuture an untrue rebound relationship out of desperation. That was a big part of my FACE PLANT. I also went out and partied like a college student with money. πŸ˜† I never went to college or had any “college” years so I guess it was a way of making up for lost time… and a way to make me feel like I wasn’t really alone… but I was.

BUT… let me say this… You WILL come out of this phase. Hopefully, it will last for less time than mine did… But I assure you that you WILL emerge from this loneliness. You just really have to love yourself enough to know that you are worthy of someone’s company. Spend time with friends that support you. I had two friends who supported me. I practically lived at their homes. Join a meet up group or two. I met some pretty great people through those and it gave me something to do. Say YES to every invitation to go out. Don’t be afraid to experience new things and places and things to do. Stay busy!

One morning, I woke up in my bed, all alone, and thought… I slept great, I feel great, and shit… I look pretty damn good, too! πŸ˜€ I didn’t wake up feeling alone and lonely and full of despair at what I had done… it was all smooth sailing from there… that was May 10, 2010. Almost two years from my date of separation… it’s a process.

2. How did your kids take it? (aka Why didn’t you stay for the kids?)

First and foremost, I am a staunch believer that staying for the kids is STUPID. It’s like one of the most moronic things ever. Ever. Because children pick up on tensions and unloving actions. And then they just mimic that later in life. I am not a fan.

Secondly, my kids were grown (17 and 21 years old) and I thought they could handle it. I was wrong. They handled it better when they were younger and their dad left me for another woman… As adults, they were much less “okay” with it. I think this has alot to do with the parents…

Look, I would have loved an amicable split and remaining best of friends with my ex. Seriously. Every day of my life I wish that is what had happened. It is not. He is incredibly bitter and angry, even to this day. He has turned into his father which I never thought I would see. Those TV shows and movies showing exes having nice divorces are just LYING TO YOU! 😑

But I digress… My son was very bitter and spent the next couple of years in a bipolar spin of sorts. He was constantly breaking down into a poor me state… I think if he didn’t have bipolar disorder this would have went down much differently but that is not my reality… he lost it. Other bipolar people tell me that he probably would have lost it anyway on his own… He was partying too hard and failing at college. He had broken up with his high school sweetheart shortly after my separation. He was unmedicated and I couldn’t force him to take meds since he was now an “adult”.

My daughter was on the opposite spectrum. She was supportive but admitted that she was sad that we were divorcing. She understood, though. That’s because she saw alot more of my anguish than my son did during the years. My daughter is a homebody. She didn’t go out with friends to play or have much of a social life in high school. She was always home. She saw some of the things that happened. She experienced the ex-husband’s emotional outbursts with me and several even without me. She was witness to many scary things. So I think she understood, but was obviously sad.

Today, I feel my kids are doing fine. My daughter has her regular everyday twentysomething moments but I feel she is a very strong, stable, independent woman. I am super proud of her. She does tend to fall in my footsteps in terms of the men she picks for herself, but I am happy she is getting those mistakes out of the way NOW. I would hate for her to be almost 40 years old to figure it out.

My son… well, his bipolar disorder limits his maturity level. Even without the divorce, I think he would still probably blame me for all his problems. I chalk that up to bipolar and selfishness… because it’s been almost 6 years now… and even his own friends think he is ridiculous sometimes. And almost all of them have divorced parents…

Your kids will be okay. Someday. All I can tell you is to just be open and present in your children’s lives. Always. Don’t stop. Always be the bigger person and be willing to talk to them about anything. And always answer their questions truthfully. I have always done that and I think my kids are better for it. Do NOT be the parent that is so bitter that you make an ass of yourself trying to avoid your ex. Been there, done that… and it wasn’t me that looked like the ass…

3. Do you regret the divorce?

I used to. I actually had a time where I felt bad about everything that had transpired and sent a letter of apology to my ex. I even contemplated asking him to come home, but I refrained, figuring he would see between the lines of my apology and just do it. Thank goodness he did not.

I am almost 6 years post separation… I have never been happier in my whole life. I have a whole new life now and it’s a fucking AWESOME life! I now can honestly say that the only thing I regret is not leaving my ex-husband sooner. You will eventually get there, too, as long as you make the right choices for yourself eventually. Be true to you and love yourself. I know that sounds very cliche but I am serious.

4. I am (enter derogatory term here… fat/ugly/unemployed/stupid/etc). No one else will ever love me.

This isn’t really a question, but I felt like I had to address it… STOP. Seriously, just stop. You need to take your time and assess the situation and be honest with yourself. Everyone has faults. Everyone. If self esteem is an issue, you need to get that in order FIRST. Fair warning, once you start gaining self esteem, your tolerance level for mistreatment will be NIL, so be prepared…

At some point, you have to own the fact that you are what you are making yourself to be. Are you fat? Start exercising and dieting. Are you ugly? Start finding the great features about you and enhancing them. Are you stupid? Pick up a book, enlighten yourself! Are you feeling helpless and unemployed? Get into a training program, find any job possible, go back to school…

Be completely honest with yourself and how you feel about yourself. I highly recommend journaling or blogging. That’s what I did… although I am not a private person… Journaling is private, though, and allows you to look back and reflect on stupid shit you said about yourself. Once you have figured out what you hate about yourself, work to abolish those items on the list one by one.

I guarantee you that you will one day wake up EMPOWERED by your own courage and intelligence and beauty. And I hope that it makes you STRONG. It’s a really rough world out there… but no one has the authority to make you feel second rate… you allow that. So stop it. Right fucking now. And DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

5. How did you “get back out there”? (The “I’m scared to date” and “I’ll be alone forever” question)

This is my cautionary tale. Don’t do as I did…

By the time I separated, I was so done with my marriage. I had spent about 3 years living in utter regret and I was over it. I had an ex-boyfriend that heard I was separated right away and contacted me. I jumped in feet first and took off running. HUGE MISTAKE! Then, I proceeded to try dating and went out with a series of really shitty dates. So much fun. Not. 😐

The fact of the matter is, if you have been married a long ass time, you need time to be by yourself and learn to enjoy being alone, waking up alone, loving yourself wholly before being able to find genuine interest in other people. It truly was not until I was able to do this that I was actually worthy of being loved by someone else again.

Don’t skip steps… don’t jump in to anything… work on yourself first and love just being you… once you do that, THEN jump in. I didn’t do that. I jumped into the first shit pot that came along.

When I was truly ready, I started becoming more socially active (sometimes without alcohol πŸ˜† ). I went out with the meet up groups to get some social interaction. I said yes to every social invitation. I made an effort to make new friends and try new things. And that’s how I met my husband…

I like to think that my new found confidence and dazzling personality were what drew him in. The fact of the matter is, we met on an online dating site, realized we went to the same high school (albeit different crowds and years), and decided we were not each other’s type… but we both had similar interests and just decided to hang out as friends. That’s where I just assume that I won him over, because I was not his type at all… he always went for the skinny blond chicks with no personality. πŸ˜‰

You will find someone if you want to… there are single men everywhere… but I suggest you love yourself enough to really not give a shit if you end up alone forever before “getting back out there”. It really is true that you find love when you aren’t even really looking. Just be open enough to accept it. You are worthy of someone amazing coming into your life and loving you…

 

Alrighty… I know this post was super long… if you read through all that crap, you are either really a super fan or you are really hurting and needed it. Either way, take from it what you can and leave the rest. Don’t let anybody tell you how to live your life.

Everyone is unique in their emotional journey in this life. All I can do is let you into my personal journey as a warning of what NOT to do, but we all know you will just go do whatever it is you want to do. You will make mistakes along the way. It’s okay. Really. It’s all okay. You’ll make it through. And you’ll be smarter, more beautiful, and better than you ever imagined. I promise.

Much love.

PEACE!!!

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