Please, God. Give me a Chance.

I doubt I will ever post this, but I have to write it. I doubt it will be as truthful as it needs to be, but I will write it anyway.

My husband before the cheater was a very good man. He was the best thing to ever happen to me, and will ever happen to me. But he’s gone now and happy with his new partner. He deserves happiness. His eighteen years with me were probably a nightmare.

Within a year of our marriage we moved to the Pacific Northwest. It was just he, myself and my then 14 year old daughter. He was the best stepfather you could ever want. He taught her to drive. She went to him when she was afraid to tell me bad news. They are still close even now and she is 39.

We bought a small house and began working and making our way in our new city. I’m socially awkward so we never had a social circle. He loved to go to the library each week and come home with three or four old science fiction books. We’d watch Star Trek: The Next Generation together.

We lived within our means. We had one car for all three of us. He rode his bike to work. I often took the bus. We had a big garden in the backyard. I was learning all about gardening, owning a home, being a grownup.

I don’t know what happened first, the computer or the prescription drugs. I feel it must have been the computer. I didn’t want a home computer. I somehow thought that only perverts got home computers and I thought it was sickening what they did on line. But he bought one and set it up and I was never the same.

I very quickly was fodder for the people who prey on others on line. I was terribly naive about it all. This was before anyone sent photos, or spoke on the phone. It was all just text. But the technology moved quickly and I soon found myself in chatrooms which were innocent in name, but not behind the scenes.

I realized that I could pretend to be someone different. In particular, I could be younger. It thrilled me to pretend to be in my twenties instead of in my forties. I was gaining weight and I was extremely nervous about a job I had gotten which I felt unqualified for.

Depression set in. I knew I was spending far too much time online. I was leading a double life. I would leave work early just to go home to go on the computer and pretend. I got really good at everything you can imagine the depraved do online. And I let strangers call me for phone sex. This is especially insane given that this was all before cell phones.

Everything just kept escalating. But I never met anyone or spoke to anyone who lived in my state. It was a fantasy world.

The suicide attempts began. I remember my husband saying to me once that he feared that we would find that we weren’t compatible. I told him no, it’s not you. It’s all me. But I began to be drugged and hospitalized with regularity. Ironically I could  not achieve orgasm with the drugs and I gained even more weight. I began to go to individual counseling but I don’t think I ever really examined myself or what I was doing.

This went on for many years. The suicide attempts and hospital stays were wearing him out. I could not break away from my fantasy life online no matter how I tried. We even put a tracker on the computer so that he could read my messages to know I was behaving, but I figured he’d never read them so I kept up my bad behavior.

We really drifted apart and he had a job that had him work twelve hour days, four days a week. I then worked 3/4 time. I asked for vacations or special nights out, but for some reason we never did anything. I wonder how crazy I was. Perhaps he was afraid to take me anywhere.

I also asked him to find a hobby. He seemed to need something. To my shock in the last years of our marriage he joined a gun club and began buying guns. He’s not a hunter, he just target shoots. We always had a deal where we’d talk to each other before big purchases, but he began to lie and hide gun purchases. Naturally they were all locked up, due to my suicidal nature. But he got a lot out of it and went once a week or so to the indoor range and met people that way. There were occasional nights where spouses were invited, but he took me once and never again, even though I asked. I am pretty sure he was ashamed of me. Not sure if it was my weight or insanity or perhaps both.

I can’t talk about this in the detail it deserves because it’s incredibly painful and I can hardly type it.

In desperation I tried electro shock therapy. I can’t believe I put myself through that. I had two sessions and then on the third session he could not get me “under” enough so I stopped that form of treatment. Sometime later I was back in the psych ward and my husband came to visit me. He said, “I cannot take another twenty years of this.” And in that moment I knew I lost him. I must have lost him years before, but was oblivious.

We went to couples counseling and for once I was motivated and stopped all my bad behavior. I was trying to communicate with him there, but he was closed. He was done with me. I thought, well, I can’t be with someone who doesn’t want me, and we started the divorce. I was delusional.

He was a gentleman and we cut everything down the middle. I had earned as much as he had and what we had we built together. He even committed to spousal support since I had now been on disability for several years due to my psychiatric problems. I took my half of the money and bought a condo in what I thought was Portland, but turned out to be Gresham. A horrible, gang filled place.

I immediately met the current ex in a chat room. And within three or four months he came to Portland and we were on again and off again for eight horrible years.

But I think back on my marriage, the good one, in horror now. Because he was truly my best friend. He had an unbelievable sense of humor and I loved him from head to toe. He didn’t do ANYTHING to make me stray. It was all me, trying to pretend I hadn’t lost my looks and that I was still desirable.

My only wish is that he would have told me earlier that he was miserable. Because now that I know that it is possible to pull oneself up and change, I wold have made a great effort for him. But I’ll never have that chance.

He lives in town with his partner of several years. I’m not sure how I’ll behave if I ever run into them. But I’ll always love him for treating me with respect and dignity. He never called me a bad name. He never struck me. To think I went from him, a man of honor and integrity, to a slimy con man just appalls me.

And I know I am being punished. And I fear how long the punishment will last.

I see men who remind me of him and I feel like falling to the ground and sobbing. I remember every detail of him from his head to his toes. I cannot believe I had the man of my dreams and I let him go. I’m sure I never thought I deserved him.

And now, at my age, 58, there will be no more men. The good men are partnered up and they realize that leaving a partner at that age isn’t a good idea. I’d give anything to turn back time and be back with my good husband. I’d give anything to wake from this nightmare. I still have so much love to give. I have learned so much.

But there will be no waking. And I feel as though I should whip myself across the back until I bleed to pay for what I’ve done. I don’t deserve love. I don’t deserve respect. I will never find it now.

And now I am sobbing. It’s far more painful now to think of him than to ruminate about the ex who conned me and took me for every penny I accumulated in my 18 year marriage.

I feel like such a loser. I feel I can’t make eye contact with anyone. I feel there’s no point of trying to go on.

I’ve lived with my parents for two years now, since discovering the recent ex was cheating on me. I’ve been working full time since April of this year and I could move out, but haven’t because I’m saving for a deposit on a home.

I couldn’t buy this year because I had to declare bankruptcy thanks to my ex and have to wait until it’s two years old to buy again. That’ll be mid June, 2016. But now my fear is that I’ll find out in June that I simply don’t make enough money to buy a home. I’ve only re-entered the job market in April of this year. I earn more than I thought I would, but not enough to really live on. What if I find out that there is no home cheap enough for me?

The low income programs say I make too much money, which is just so absurd. They don’t even take into account my age, or how I’ve struggled to pull myself together emotionally, or to re-enter the job market. I’d take a second job if I could figure out one I could handle. I’m pretty exhausted from my work day as it is.

I’m resigned to being alone now, but part of me still hopes someone special will come along. I won’t sign up for dating sites. I don’t go to bars. Everyone at church is matched up. Everyone at work is much younger. That’s why I’ll be so disappointed if I can’t get a home loan — it’ll mean that every one of my dreams is squashed and unavailable.

If that happens I’ll still do my best to move out and keep getting up each day and working. But I know I’ll be depressed. I will not thrive. I will not move on with a fresh new beginning.

I haven’t been this truly sorrowful in many months. I am so ashamed and regretful that it is my own actions that ended me up where I am. Oh, and there’s more. Stuff so shameful I can’t tell you or my priest. Things only God and I know and I have to live with.

Please, God, give me a chance to show I can do better.

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17 responses to “Please, God. Give me a Chance.

  1. Ok. I have lots to say. And youre starting to hit the dark smudgy edges of deeper depression.

    One: your actions at that time don’t determine who you are now, or what you can accomplish, or your ability to find love. Lots of people who are older may be ‘good’ and alone- widowers or those who were also chumped. And your soul is beautiful so that makes you all the more wantable.

    As for your husband, ‘the good one’ … It sounds a little weird. You seem to think he was perfect. I’m sure he did his best, but lovey- so did you. Mentally ill, obviously very deeply depressed and lonely, you became addicted to the feedback and attention without failure that is only possible online. It’s not real, and it basically made your issues escalate. I wasn’t there, but your description seems to put him on such a pedestal that I can’t for a moment think that there’s more too it- he was there, but it sounds like emotional desertion. And then guns. Holy smokes. That’s weird.

  2. Alex, I’m not sure what’s brought me so down lately. When I spoke about my “good husband” in therapy my therapist always said I was putting him on a pedestal, just like you said. I think it’s hard because while I remember some things very clearly, I think due to the psych drugs, i can’t remember so much it’s incredible. So I don’t know what happened. It’ll always be a mystery in my life. In spite of being so down when I posted this, I had an okay day. Church. Painted my nails. Tried a simple recipe. And glad that work is tomorrow.

    Yeah, I could never figure out the gun thing since he was an educated and non violent man. But maybe he was just trying to escape me.

    Thank you for your kind words.

    How was your weekend?

  3. I think that it’s fall, so there may be less sunshine? And you’re not exercising as much, your endorphins are down. And your past year was really set on taking big steps, to fix your life. And now you have lots of good things in place- job, savings, etc, but it’s not focusing entirely on those things anymore. So doubt is creeping in. And you’re lonely. But also afraid- last man took you down a rabbit hole. So here’s your next project- 1) back to swimming! 2) fix your picker. Part of that comes with understanding that you have value. I want you to acknowledge that. Especially women of older generations, but in general women mistake being humble with being meek or value-less. And that’s bullocks. Especially if they are unattached they feel like they aren’t worthy, or that it’s even undesirable to know that you are good- baloney, and part of the patriarchy meant to keep women in loveless marriages and low level positions of work in order to keep being in charge and be fed off our labours. Screw that. You in the deepest dark days, volunteered to be with children in their even scarier times. You now man that ship, knowing that the people who come through your doors need every ounce of humanity you can give them so they can maybe build their life back from what they have been through. You are mighty. That’s so huge. That’s compassion, and altruism. Showing your light is part of what will make their heart hurt a little less. You also are laying in the bed you made- you love your parents but you’re also entitled to want your own space. But waiting and living with them- one- helps you learn patience. Two, it helps them. You may not think it, but I do bet your mom thinks more about what your dad shouldn’t do anymore. And your dad gets a breather, and also lets you fight for his respite. Having someone play interference- winning with those two. And it means that sooner rather than way later if you rented right now, you will be able to buy a place. Maybe not perfect, but knowing how careful you are being, And also- how much you and your church folks will pray for you to be led to the right one- you will find home. Hope. New start. It will be clear when it needs to be, put your focus on the faith which is bringing you comfort. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight. I don’t think that’s saying easy, I think that means- God is gonna hold your hand and he won’t let you get too far from the mark.
    You do have him on a pedestal- and I guess that’s totally because he wasn’t overtly abusive and you were in a drug addled state. But you know what? He didn’t save you. He didn’t really try. Putting trackers on the computer but still not working with you- why were you lonely, how can we get out and do some things so you don’t need the vapid reinforcement and sexual excitement of a chat room- he was ok to let you fail. He sounds like a very nice man, and it sounds like he did the best he was capable of, but he really wasn’t able to be resilient and share the load when you needed him. When a husband gets cancer, a wife doesn’t just walk away- ‘sorry, I know I totally did sign up for the sickness thing but I didn’t know there would be bed pans. I thought flu, at the most’ … And when they do, because yes I know it happens- it’s seen as a bit terrible. Selfish bitch (or bastard if it’s the husband… ) but because it’s mental illness he gets a pass? Give your head a shake. Even the story you tell- you suggested activities, you asked to go out, none of it happened. Look at yourself now- you’re shy but you’re finding new ways to
    Go out and try, and you’re alone. He deserted you. He was nice and fair in the dissolution- because he knows that his climbing partner on the mountain of life had a broken leg and he was cutting and running. Of course you get half the food. Or you would be hungry as you freeze to death, heaven help! Is he better than your other husbands? Sure I guess. But he is still not the man you need. Yours needs a heart.

  4. And as for my weekend/ I went to the mountains with some girlfriends for a hen party, I don’t know the girls really well aside from the bride. It was lovely but very expensive, I am really struggling with fuss right now so I am just going to have to buckle down. If I eat mainly spinach salad, meat, and some soups I can probably keep groceries very cheap. (I have a pile
    Of allergies so I can’t just love off Kraft dinner. Lol)

    • I only heard the expression “hen party” when I lived in the UK. Are you there or is the expression making its way across the pond? But then you mention Kraft dinner and I think that’s just the USA. Lol. I’m glad you had some fun in spite of the cost. I’ll soon find out how to live entirely on my own income and I’m pretty fearful. I’m hoping that homeownership will take the sting out of the fact that there will be no extra spending money! But maybe it won’t!

  5. *funds. What’s wrong with my silly phone today

  6. I totally agree that your memory is inaccurate. He abandoned you. He didn’t help you. He was probably a poor husband if you were driven to seek attention online. I think creativerational nailed it and also has great advice. Eat healthy and swim, you will feel so much better and have a more positive outlook.

    • LOL, Cynthia. I have to laugh when I tell you this. I am now having horrible jaw pain with headaches and I’m not sure what I did to cause it. I’m finally going to the dentist on Thurs. to figure out what to do. I didn’t go before (it’s been this way for over a week) because I was convinced I was going to end up with some cancer and look like Roger Ebert did his last few years. I know. I’m sick. So needless to say, I am barely able to get through the workday right now. BUT as soon as I am better I will go to water aerobics. I really did enjoy it. I promise! xoxox

  7. Hahaha ML. I’m Canadian. Hen party isn’t common but it does get its use.

    I’m from Alberta, north of Montana.

    • Okay well, it all make sense then! My God you’re from COLD country!

    • ML, I am from cold country. I don’t bear it well. I hate the cold and my life here has been one of -‘this is a good job so I’ll stay… ‘ Which is very true- the job market is better in Alberta than much of Canada, and I have managed to find jobs in whah I am actually trained in. So it’s great, but reading about Oregon makes me think of the nice beaches, the chill hippy but educated vibe, the lack of piles of snow for 6 months a year… Yeh. I could move anytime!

  8. ML,
    I am sorry that you are in a funk right now. Please take good care of your health.
    There were some great responses from which you can draw strength. You were very mentally ill at the end of your marriage. I do have to agree that a spouse who withdraws emotionally when the sick partner needs support is not the perfect spouse. Since your “good husband” did not cheat on you or financially decimate you, you can look back and think that is better than LN.
    Neither one of those men have what it takes to be your man.
    What you are doing right now is the right thing, taking care of your health, working, saving money, helping your parents and being involved in an active religious group. You are such a thoughtful and caring woman who has grown so much in the past several years. Your past does not have to determine where you will be in the future. Rest assured that your life will continue to evolve and if you put in the effort and self love your situation will improve. Look at how much positive change you have created already!
    One thing I have noticed in my post chump journey is that even though these depressing funks can be so dark and deep, because of the hard work of recovery I have put in, I am not residing in the dark places as long anymore. I hope this is the case for you my friend. You have worked WAY too hard to set up camp in the rut.
    Peace and Love,
    ENM

    • ENM, you’re amazing — you all are, actually, to be comforting me when you carry your own burdens. Thank you.

      I was awoken today at 5:30 a.m. Law enforcement had a murder suicide and wanted to interview a child at our center. I was there by 6:15 a.m. and spent until noon with a child whose parent was murdered and who’s life is altered beyond belief.

      When the child left I cried, along with my fellow advocates. I’m home in my pjs because I’ve got nothing more to give the world today. This horrible incident has helped me see how precious and fragile life is.

      I suddenly, at least for the moment or the day, don’t feel I have anything to complain about.

      I love you guys so much. I am so grateful to you.

  9. ML, you find peace in prayer, and ritual. Can you please keep me in your prayers right now? I have an elderly relative who brings me joy and a simple procedure has uncovered that he will pass very soon. I need some peace. I don’t need a miracle- he’s old, I get it. But I need some calm.

    • Yes, Alex, of course I’ll keep you and your relative in my thoughts and prayers. I’m not sure why, but you made me think of my favorite hymn:

      If that link doesn’t work then maybe this will:

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