I just need to reach out to people and write this down right now. I'm sorry for the wall of text. I don't expect any replies. If nothing else I hope somebody finds some similarities in their situation and knows they aren't alone. That loneliness can be crushing. Details in my posts, I am happy to elaborate here as well.
I'm a 28yo male in the US informally separated from his wife. We've known each other for 11 years, in a relationship for over 7 years, married since late 2017. First three years together were magical. The last four considerably less so.
She is filing for divorce soon, hasn't made the time. It is really painful to know she can't wait to divorce but just hasn't gotten to it. My STBXW left me March 1st and stayed for two weeks with her mom, then got her own house about 30 minutes away. We have a young daughter together who is staying with my wife. We were hoping to DIY this thing but I'm not sure what will happen. I've made my terms clear, they mostly involve our child. I'd rather not fight in court but I'll fight for them if I need to.
I see our child for several hours during the week and every other Saturday for about 9 hours. I am hoping to get her more regularly and for longer periods of time once things stabilize. She's doing well, not as well as her mom claims but still handling it as well as a four year old can. She misses me and tells me every time I see her she wishes I could live with them.
I am living in a car since May when our lease expired. I am in no danger of losing my job from that. I am looking every day for an affordable apartment or house.
In our relationship I was a selfish, angry tyrant for the past four and a half years. Not always, and we certainly had many wonderful days, nights, events, etc. too. Eventually, though, the bad outweighed and outnumbered the good. I yelled in arguments, I got angry about money being spent on non-necessities often. She felt anxious, unable to voice her thoughts or approach me. It was verbal and emotional abuse.
I don't know how I became that person. Neither of us was physically abusive or unfaithful and she has said some fucking horrific things to me over the years, even name calling me a few times, but I am to blame. I'm not being a martyr, it has taken me months of personal therapy, reading books, reflection, etc. to fully understand I caused this in general. I was abhorrent. She said she forgave me and loves me.
What I am not responsible for is her decision to divorce or the long string of 180's that came before it. I'm here until this very minute, if she called right now and asked to start over I would.
I changed from being her person and her best friend, lover and partner to a monster. I was no longer the boy she thought was special in high school, or the funny, sweet and loving man she fell in love with years later.
I've never thought she was God's gift to the world; but she was, and remains, my person. She's smart, funny and beautiful. She's the best mom our daughter could have. A really, really good mom.
I was a monster, but I also had very real things to deal with. Being the primary, at first only, earner. Long days at my salaried job. The only one to fix appliances and cars and broken things. Expenses far beyond our means regardless of how poorly I reacted to them. A lack of sleep. A lack of sex. These don't excuse me, but they do help explain me I think.
I don't believe anymore it was a choice to behave badly, rather it was a choice to not behave better. Perspective counts. Intention has meaning. I didn't want to be the man I was for a while, but neither did I apparently want too terribly to be better than him.
I am me again now. I was getting there the whole time, and I missed the rest of our life by weeks.
June 1st we were sleeping together, and I mean sleeping, and had a wonderful weekend. A calm, relaxing, fun weekend filled with laughter.
On June 17th she was exhausted, she didn't want me anymore, she "wanted to want it" but didn't. We went to our scheduled session. She told our therapist she was 98% sure, with 2% feeling guilty. She took her ring off that night or soon after. An ugly part of me wonders if it was decision fatigue and stress. She works 40-48 hours per week now, she has our daughter, etc. and I'm wondering how exhausted she was with our relationship versus simply being exhausted with life.
I missed it by weeks. More letting go on my part, more holding on from her and the rest of our life together was ours. Just. Weeks.
And what's going on
I am hiking often through illness and injuries dating to January. I'm in physical pain but I don't let it stop me from doing hard and beautiful things in the place that is my home. I am in better shape physically than I have been for years.
I go on trips by myself just to experience the world. I spend money on things I don't need, not a lot, I will always worry about saving, but it's not a crisis anymore to look at my bank account. I learned at 28 years old that it's okay to buy things I want.
As a child and teenager I went through thousands of books. I am reading again!
I am gentle again. I don't hold any resentment toward anybody over anything. I've become a better parent, I relate to my child instead of simply raising them.
I haven't had sex since February 21st and I'm not upset about it. It would be nice to know I'm attractive, but I have no interest whatsoever in seeking that affirmation.
I see my wife for who she is. She can be irresponsible. She can be hurtful. She can make decisions in life that I cannot fathom. There is so much more to her than her mistakes. I like who she is.
I see myself for who I am. I am funny, and kind, and genuine, and devoted. I care deeply for people I love with actions as well as words. I am me again, and better, and worse.
I am a hard worker and my employer is privileged to have me.
I am moving forward but I am not moving on. I will be hurt forever by separation, divorce and everything that preceded them.
My story isn't done yet, but that middle part is going to get rave reviews. The beginning was slow, and the ending kind of meandered, the middle chapters were dramatic, romantic, suspenseful, breathtaking, heartbreaking page-turners.
Divorce can be a horrifying thing, I cry every night and most days. My wife is done with us and that's okay. My ring is still on my finger. It's going to be there for a long, long time and that's okay too.
I have learned to not give up hope. Hope can be dangerous, it's a double-edged sword no matter how you cut it, but it's really, really important to have.
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