My screen name is galing. My name is Dana. On October 9, it will be a year since my divorce was official. I haven't posted to these boards in quite some time, and it felt appropriate to do so around the "anniversary" of the divorce.
Quick review, in case you don't know me. I'm from the midwest, I'm a teacher, and I'd describe myself as social, happy, and comfortable to be around. My life has its challenges but I'm surrounded by great people, I have a good head on my shoulders, a big, caring heart, and the strength to get through most things. I've learned patience of plenty and to take one day at a time. I've learned to judge less, to love more, and to appreciate what I'm given. I laugh and smile a lot. I am loved.
My life has changed a lot in the last few years, and there was a pretty crummy period where I wouldn't have described myself or my life like that. I've changed a lot.
In October of 2007, my divorce became final. I was 31 at the time. I was the one to file. My now exhusband had been gone for quite some time, but he also wasn't letting go or totally leaving. I discovered the affair in June 2006. I didn't expect it. Things had felt "off" for about 6 months, distant. I didn't know what was happening, but I actually remember jokingly telling my sister that I thought my husband might be having an affair. We never thought it actually possible. I chaulked it up to the normal ins and outs of marriage, and the stress of life, and something that was just a fleating moment that would improve and kept living my life and planning our future. I had been working full time and going to school at night to get my teaching license. My brother had been diagnosed with a brain tumor a few years earlier, and I was finally feeling that I was handling that caregiving situation better and not letting it interfere so much with my day to day life. It was a stressful time but it was finally almost over. I had my license, I had my teaching job, and I was ready to begin moving forward with planning the next step of our life, having children, which we had been putting off as I went back to school.
In June of 06, one week prior to finding out I was pregnant with our first child, I learned my husband had been spending time with a woman on his volleyball team. He had taken a day off of work to be with her and go to museum. 8 weeks later, I miscarried our child. I was devastated and I felt very alone. I think I told one sister about the baby. I didn't tell anyone for some time about the affair. I was ashamed and scared. During that summer of 06, I hoped the affair had ended, and was told that it had, that it had only been a few coffee dates, some emotional conversation, a friendship, and it was done. For a period of time, things seemed to get better, and then I noticed a shift again. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was, but I knew something was off. I tried everything that I knew at that time to fix things, to make myself great, to make the marriage great. I felt like I kept falling on my face. Plus, I was angry, hurt, frustrated, and sad. I lost my self esteem, and I began to allow someone to treat me with complete disrespect on a daily basis. I was told that I wasn't loved, that I wasn't even cared about. I talked wrong, walked wrong, folded laundry wrong. Everything about me was wrong. In November of 06, I discovered the affair was continuing (his best friend confirmed it), and I kicked him out of the house. It was like a scene from a bad movie. I felt insane that night. I threw everything he owned outside on the lawn. For hours he sat and tried to talk to me. Circles of lies and lies. Finally, hours later, he left the house. My parents drove to the house at 4 in the morning and were told about the past 6 months of my life. The next day, they made my husband and I sit down and talk. Not much was said. He said he'd live with his brother for a while. We continued marriage counseling. I allowed him back into the house in January. I wanted my husband and my life back. I think he wanted a place to crash. Or he just didn't know what he wanted.
From January to March of 2007 we lived together and I was miserable. He was verbally abusive, disrespectful, lying and having an affair, and I felt as though all the joy was being ripped from me daily. I was constantly trying to stay afloat by telling myself that I was good, that I was beautiful, that I was smart, that I deserved more, that I was lovable. I was being told so many negatives that I had to do self talk all too frequently to try and save myself from dying (or at least my joyful soul from dying). I continued to have sex with him on occasion. I think I would have tried anything to get him to love me again. I'm not sure if I was loving myself in the process. I've never learned the details of the affair and I never will.
In April, I asked him to move out. He rented a house. We spooke a handful of times during the course of the months between April and October. I remember feeling lighter, happier, more joyful, more like me again. With him out of the house, I could breathe again and find myself again. I didn't have someone putting me down every day. I didn't have craziness surrounding me. I set goals. I made action items to reach those goals. I became really happy. I met new people, made new friends, looked great, and felt great. I was happy despite the fact that I really missed the man I loved and my marriage. I remember in June he asked to have dinner with me on our anniversary. I said no. I wasn't anymore in a place where I would do ANYTHING to get him to "see me" and "see us" and try and convince him I was worth it. I knew I was worth it and I didn't want him popping in anymore to decide if he wanted me or not. He did or he didn't and I didn't want to see him until he knew for sure and I didn't want to be a part of the craziness. It wasn't healthy. I couldn't do that to myself anymore.
I heard little from him. I was sure he was still having some kind of relationship with the other woman. In June or July of 07 (I can't remember which) he stopped by to borrow a tv from the house. I pushed him on if he wanted a divorce. He said he did. He never filed. Never did anything about it. I finally did it myself. I wanted a husband. Mine was gone and even if he wanted to come back some day, I couldn't imagine how we'd get past the fact that he had already left, that there no longer was any trust, and no respect. It is one thing to have an affair - it is horrible - and it is topped off by the lying, trust breaking, the abusive someone puts upon you so they feel good about what they are doing, and the abuse you allow yourself to take in order to try and convince someone to love you. I refused to be a part of that anymore. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I don't believe in divorce, never have, never thought it was a solution. I talked to my parents, his parents, my pastor, and pleaded with God often to try and figure out if divorce was what I should do. I still feel guilty sometimes, like I gave up on the man I said I'd love forever. The thing is, I do still love him, I always will, but I refuse to have a life with him. I love me and I want a life for me. He didn't want to be a part of that.
I made mistakes, we both did, but in the end, committment is everything and without it there is no marriage. Respect and Trust are needed. I feel like I did all I could, and I couldn't save my marriage, but I did learn so much from it.
My exhusband and I no longer speak. He has tried contacting me several times. He has written me a few letters. I've read one of them, I think, and my therapist has the rest. He sounds like he is sorry. He may even have regrets from what I can tell. He also still sounds very selfish and has not respected many of the boundaries that I've established. A month or so ago, he sent me an invitation in the mail to meet for drinks. I declined. I'm not ready. I'm not sure if I ever will be. I'm not sure what my purpose would be in meeting with him. I have changed my phone number, I have blocked his emails, and I do not want to know about his life nor do I want him to know about mine. I want new memories, a new life. He isn't a part of that. I don't wish him harm. He honestly was a wonderful man until around 2006 when things turned. I never expected any of this, nor did any of our family and friends. I hope he has learned, that he is healthy, and that he can find a way to ensure that this never happens in his life again. That is my goal - to ensure I have great relationships and do whatever is in my power to prevent this craziness from every getting to a point where it can happen in my life again.
How? I'm still working on that. I know I've changed. I no longer take life so seriously. I realize that people are who they are, and I try and appreciate them for who they are rather than try and change them. I accept and appreciate the love and friendship I'm given, as it is given. I don't expect much anymore. I don't mean that to sound bad - we should have high expectations in life, but often they become demands or things we think we are owed - we should be happy to get great love and friendship and appreciate it, rather than expect things that are gifts. I talk less - not about the fun things in life, but about the serious things. I give my friends and my boyfriend more time to think about the serous subjects and I try and respect whatever opinion it is. I communicate far better than I ever did in my marriage. Part of that may be due to the partner, but a lot of it is due to how I manage the conversations and guide the relationship. I am far from perfect and I have a lot of learning to do, but I'm doing it. I'm living.
I'm scared often. Getting divorced, losing the person you loved and trusted most, makes you fearful. Fear of the future is frequent in my life. I have a day by day mentality. Sometimes I think I need to focus more on the future and less on living in the present. That is completely opposite of how I used to be. I worry about how this will all impact me long term. Will I get married again? Grow old with someone? Will he be faithful and committed forever? Will I have children? Will I get too old to have children? I don't have any answers. But I believe. I believe in me. I am a good woman (oddly, my boyfriend has described me that way fruquently and I think it's appropriate). I'm a catch. I believe that I deserve love and that I have a lot to offer someone else. I believe that I want to get married again and that I will not accept mediocrity in a marriage. I want a partner who also will not accept that and who will work on it with me. I believe - I think I have to and want to.
In the meantime, I've been dating a great guy, I'm enjoying my job, my time with family and friends, and I set new goals and try to achieve them.
Our lives don't often turn out as we expected or planned, and that may just be what makes us who we are and makes life meaningful.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius
Hi Dana! Thanks for sharing your story. wow.. you have been through so much. Just reading it made my jaw drop. I am so happy your life is going good now and you seem really happy. You ARE a good person who deserves all the best in life.
found out about affair 8/06 H moves out Nov/06 D final 8/07 X re marries OW 5/08 _________________________ Courage does not always roar, sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying... " I will try again tomorrow". -- Mary Anne Radmacher
Hi Dana, Thanks for stopping by and sharing what's up with you. We do wonder sometimes what's become of our old friends.
You sound truly wonderful, and I am sure that whatever the future holds for you, it will be fantastic - because you are in the driver's seat now, and I am confident you would not settle for anything else.
Keep being strong, brave, and (I completely agree) one h3ll of a good woman. ((Hugs always!))
Thread #10 22 year M, MLC, Piecing since 1/07 Goal: Live with confidence & enthusiasm!
I was not here when you were but thanks for putting your story up. When I read other threads as a newcomer, I would often ask for a short bomb to now story as I believe they help (certainly in newcomers) to understand that you are not alone and also where you are in this 'journey'.
Go live your life now and try not to have fears based on past experiences. Enjoy and be happy as it seems you are.
Dana-- I was so happy to see your post and read how you have gotten on the other side of this! You are a wonderful illustration of success, and sound so good. Have you stayed in touch with any of the other "oldies but goodies?"
Dana I think you don't have to worry about marrying in future soon. Most men with warm heart might fall in love with you just by reading your story. I don't doubt you'll have a great future! Don't forget that divorce is a blessing as long as you can survive and grow spiritually.