A STOMACH-TURNING END
It was a short-lived reconciliation: Nine days, to be exact. It wasn’t a good sign that I felt better when he left than when he arrived. It came to an end over dog barf. Of course, that was but a symptom of the disease.
He came over Friday, early evening, and we had an quiet night together because he was tired from a long week at work. Okay, I was good with that. We don’t have to date and go out every weekend. For some reason, though, I didn’t sleep that well Friday night. Maybe it was the dogs, curled up around my head and shoulders, afraid they’d be kicked off the bed they’ve used to sharing with me. Maybe it was that Mark curled his body around me when I got back in bed after getting up to take a leak, and I was practically falling off the edge of my king-sized bed.
Or maybe it was something bigger…
On Friday, he told me that the paralegal’s office had called to say there was a problem with the way his notary had signed the Stipulation we’d hoped would cancel our divorce. The paralegal’s secretary hadn’t submitted it to court, as promised. That meant waiting until Monday. It pissed me off because we’d rushed around getting all the paperwork done, and Mark had even overnighted it to me so she’d have it by Friday morning. I called her up to complain, and she gave me a lot of attitude about why she hadn’t sent it to the court. In conclusion, I realized this Stipulation was a bit more complicated than she’d let on initially, and maybe she didn’t know what she was doing. I contacted some free legal services online and got different answers from four different attorneys about whether or not the Stip would be legally binding.
Put this part of my post on hold for now…
Saturday night, we decided to order pizzas and then sat down to watch some movies on Netflix. I noticed Mark was nodding off on the couch during one of the movies, even though he’d pop his head up every once in awhile and deny he was sleeping. You ladies all know what I’m talking about! When I needed to take a leak, I put the movie on “Pause.” On my way back to the living room, I went into the third bedroom to close the blinds. As I did it, I noticed some clear-colored dog puke on the rug. I think one of the dogs might have licked some bleach I’d poured on a stain and it had upset his tummy. So I got some rug cleaner, sprayed the carpet, and blotted up the barf. I warned you it was a stomach-turning ending!!!
The whole thing must’ve lasted about five minutes, max. When I returned to the couch, Mark was sitting up, wide awake now. He launched into a tirade about my lack of consideration for him that I’d put the movie on pause while he was watching it! Really? I was honestly stunned by the level of rage he had about this stupid issue–but then almost ALL of our previous fights had been about stupid things. Perhaps the stupid things only masked deeper issues…
Each time I tried to discuss the situation calmly and rationally, he berated me more. Now, he claimed I was minimizing his feelings and disregarding/deflecting them like I always did. Nothing I said would get him to stop. He got more and more animated, pounding on the couch, flipping his body from side to side, and pointing at me to “Deal with it!”
The rage in his voice and his irrational actions brought tears streaming down my face. I asked him, almost begged him, not to make such a big deal out of this. Each time I tried to reason with him about the “facts,” it only infuriated him more. I’ve learned Mark is an angry, angry, angry man–though he tries to hide it under a “nice guy” exterior to the world. He also manages to charms me each and every time after we’ve broken up. It’s very similar to physical abuse: rage, acting out, then remorse and flowers. I guess it’s considered emotional abuse.
While I sat there crying, he intensified the attack, insinuating that I thought he was an asshole and worse. He said it, not me. His language was full of expletives. Though I may have felt like retaliating with a few choice words, I actually kept a fairly cool head. But when he started to get totally disrespectful, I’d had enough. I’ve come to believe, over the past six months and more, I’m worth more than that.
I got up, still crying, and walked into the bedroom after cleaning up everything we’d left out. I changed into my pajamas, cleared a spot on the bed for my dogs, and finished the night reading a book. I thought about what had just happened and actually gave him a slight pass by concluding he’d probably still been really tired from the week. OTOH, I gave him no excuse for the vengefulness of his words and attitude.
As my tears dried on my cheeks, I made a decision: I am really through with this marriage. I’ve had enough. Done. Yes, I’ve said it before, and yes I’ve taken him back. But it feels different this time. In the past, we ended our marriage through emails. That allowed me to have hope. It took away the sting and memories of his festering anger.
This morning, he approached me sheepishly as I made my coffee. “Hello,” he said–as if nothing had happened last night. Then he jumped into the shower. I wondered if he planned to leave or stay. Either way, I’d made my decision. Nothing more needed to be said.
I heard him in the other room, packing a bag. I was actually relieved–he was leaving. As he walked to the front door, he made one more nasty remark that I needed to f**king realize the meaning of “commitment.” He added a comment about how I had mistreated him last night. And he left.
I waited till he drove off and headed straight to the phone. I left a voice mail for the paralegal asking them NOT to messenger the Stipulation to the court and to let the divorce proceed. It will be final in one month. Then I followed it up with an email.
I can breathe again.
Later in the afternoon, I got a friendly email from Mark. In it, he said we needed to talk. If we couldn’t work it out together, after getting “real” with each other, then perhaps we needed to go to a counselor. He felt that I’d given him a “deaf ear,” as I’d done so many times in the past.
He did apologize for making me cry.
Too little, too late. I wrote back and told him so. This marriage cannot be saved. I’m listening to my gut, for a change, and running for my life.
I’ve heard from many people that others are put in our lives to teach us lessons. Well, this relationship has taught me quite a bit, mostly about how I am willing to be treated and what is no longer acceptable. In just the past six months, I’ve learned the following:
1) I don’t need Mark, or any man, to support me financially. I’m totally self-sufficient. Although I’m far from wealthy, the money I get from my pension and social security is enough to pay all my bills. Maybe I have to live a lot more frugally than before, but my peace of mind is worth a whole lot more than money.
2) I have been able to handle a lot of tough situations all by myself, without Mark. The major ones were getting my mother into assisted living and taking care of myself following back surgery. I have also been able to handle things that break and need repairing around the house. If I need help, I can hire a handyman.
3) My life is full without him. I volunteer at the VA, I’m finishing the editing of my book, I have the dogs for company, I love to garden, and I attend regular meetings to maintain my sobriety.
4) My friends love me and support me much more than any man ever could. I can live without a man but not without my friends.
and probably the biggest one:
5) I can be by myself without shriveling up and dying. In fact, I love my own company!
I’d say those are some pretty major lessons I’ve learned. Why would I ever want to go back into the shackles of a relationship like the one I had with Mark? No, I won’t say I’m done with men. I’m sure I’ll want their company again–probably sooner rather than later. But I never, ever want to revolve my life around a man again. I’m worth more than that. I can say that aloud today without worrying or caring if that makes you want to barf. I’m pretty good at cleaning that up too!