It’s now been almost 6 months since I filed for separation from my Soon-To-Be-Ex-Wife (STBEW). I’m thinking I need to change the acronym to my EEW for “Eventual Ex Wife”! The court process is neither simple nor fast, especially when matters are complicated. It’s excruciatingly slow when dealing with an ex who is unreasonable, dishonest, and manipulative.
I tried my best to come to a settlement without involving the courts, but no dice. My STBEW filed a response and a motion for divorce and custody of our children, and this has spiraled out into a mountain of paperwork for both of our attorneys, multiple (mostly) fruitless court hearings, and an insane amount of money spent.
During a conversation about how things were going, and me bringing up the very large sums of money being spent on my divorce, a very good friend of mine helped put things into perspective:
“It’s just a change of currency. Now you’re paying in dollars instead of bruises”.
This is true. I suffered years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of my STBEW. I missed work due to contusions and lacerations; hid black eyes and nursed fat lips; called in sick after being berated until the wee hours of the morning. I lived without the support of my friends and family throughout the whole ordeal. I’ve since reconnected with many friends, and with my immediate and extended family.
I’m getting back to being me again … It was my birthday this past week, and I spent the entire day alone. It was a sharp contrast to my adult birthday celebrations before I was married, and also much different than the past 5 years of birthday ‘parties’. Before I met my STBEW, my friends and I would all go out and have a great dinner, including drinks and festivities at someone’s house afterwards. I felt loved, secure, and happy with my family of friends.
While I was married, my birthdays were hollow and lonely. I didn’t have conversations with my family, there were no socially mediated well wishes of ‘Happy Birthday’. My STBEW would make efforts to make a cake, buy me gifts, and give a nice card. We’d have dinner with a friend, or two (her friends, as I had none under her rules). These efforts, while appreciated, could not make up for the isolation and fear under which I lived on a daily basis.
Two years ago, just a few days before my birthday, I was threatened with “You’re going to end up spending your birthday alone!” during a fight. This was also a fight when my STBEW had wailed on me with both fists, and my daughter bored witness to it. I will never forget her scream at what was going on. I told my wife then and there that the next time she hit me, that I was going to call the police and file for divorce.
Later that week, on the morning of my birthday, I woke up to wrapped gifts and coffee, and opened my presents with my daughter and wife. The presents were great, exactly what I wanted. My daughter had fun helping me open them. We got some great pictures. I should have been happy. But I wasn’t. I was lonely, miserable, and depressed. I put on a good face, but knew that things were over.
My heart wasn’t in it anymore. It had been beaten to death.
My birthday wasn’t nearly as much fun as I have had in the past, but it wasn’t as miserable either. It was bittersweet and lonely, more solitary than isolated. Think about that for a minute. Solitary beings are strong, self-reliant, comfortable in their own skin. Isolated beings are caged, fearful, utterly stifled beings.
I’m looking forward to next year …