When life gives you lemons…..

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As I go through this life, I find that not anything is as it seems and is rarely permanent. I say this of human things so there always is a beginning and an end, but the thing that I refer to in this instance is relationships. I have been together with my wife for 23 years and have three beautiful children that I would never give back for all the money in the world. My relationship has, of course, had it’s ups and downs caused in part by both of our shortsightedness, not not because of the fault of just one of us. I admit that I have not been the nicest person on the planet but my spouse has not been stellar in that area either.

From the time that we were first married, my wife began lending her mother money without asking and allowing her to live with us for extended lengths of time without paying rent and having no expectation that she would clean up after herself. When she was there the house was a constant embarrassing mess and my bank account anemic. I should have been a man and put the proverbial foot down on this, but I didn’t and it caused much friction between us.

For 20 years my wife would go on to give assistance to various neer-do-well friends and family who would take advantage of her good nature and eventually leave her with egg on her face every time. I attempted to be supportive at times, but mostly ended up asking her why, if she predicted that these people were going to screw her over, she allowed it again and again. I failed to see the signs of this dysfunctions and as the years ticked by, I watched a woman who resembled a young Cindy Crawford put on over a hundred pounds of co-dependency weight. I was very demanding at first that she get outside more and walk, or go to the gym with me, but she did none of this and my frustration grew.

Mother-in-law would go on to cost us literally thousands of dollars and ended up wrecking our brand new car in a drunken haze after living with us five times during a 20 year marriage. Her advice to my wife was to leave the relationship because her husband had no right to demand that his wife not lend money without telling him first. A childhood friend who had turned to meth use would end up living with us for almost four years, costing us thousands of dollars as well as bringing her drug crazed chaos into our home and around my children. Both mother and friend lived in the house at the same time. My wife would eventually evict her friend and she went right back to drugs and accomplished nothing from the help given to her.

I was never physically abusive but said some pretty awful things which I take full responsibility for. Between all of the people coming in and out of the house, we, in 20 years of marriage, had not been able to work on and solve the problems that most couples do during the course of a relationship. My wife said some pretty awful things, most of which she blames on me or forgets that she said, but she can remember absolutely EVERYTHING that I said through the course of our marriage. Those arguments I gave up on because I refused to lie and say that I hadn’t said something that I could have said in the heat of the moment.

Through the detractors, we stayed loyal to each other for the most part. We split briefly twice when I could no longer live in a house where I couldn’t get the truth about missing money or get the mother to quit trashing the house. This woman had been to state prison at 22 for forging checks and had also stolen our checks and cleaned out our bank account several years ago. To this I would have to reply that I should have amicably left the relationship permanently due to several breaches of trust on my wife’s part. Staying only fomented further anger and resentment created because decisive action wasn’t taken on my part.

In mid 2010 my wife excitedly phoned me one day saying that she had called the local technical school and had been asked to take the entrance exam for the LPN class that they offered. She had wanted to go to college and I had been pushing her to do so due to her self-esteem issues. I had offered to work two jobs in order to pay for school if she would only try because she is very intelligent and I knew that once in school, she would develop a sense of pride. She aced the exam and in 15 months graduated at the top of her class with a 4.0 GPA proving to herself that the mental beatings at the hand of her mother were not in the least her fault. She went on to work in the jail system acquiring the keen skills of an RN while working as an LPN, all the while eyeing her next goal in nursing. I pushed her towards it and actually DID end up working two full time jobs to make sure that she could get through RN school with as little debt and worry as possible. She graduated top in her class again and still ended up landing the best job among her peer group. As a matter of fact, she mentored several of her fellow students through their courses to help them pass the program while excelling in hers as well.

My wife shoved her mother to the side and informed her that our house was no longer going to be a flop house, and she held needy friends at arms length telling them that there were other places besides hers that they could seek assistance. The bank account became rock solid and the lies ceased as we finally found our footing as a couple. In November of 2014 she decided to get gastric sleeve surgery to lose the extra weight and in 4 months lost 60 LBS. I was cutting back on the extra job and we were spending more time with the kids and going to the gym. In January 2015, after almost two years of stability and honesty, we decided to move back to where we had met in Santa Rosa, CA and start a new life together near our families. A summer trip to Scotland was in the works and it would be just the two of us on the honeymoon that we were never able to take. In February, after spending three weeks at my jobs earning extra money for the move, my wife informed me that she wanted a divorce and that the decision was final. She finally had what she had always wanted, a new image, a career, a self-esteem, and I didn’t figure into this picture at all. The end game for me was that my loyalty and faithfulness had been repaid with broken promises.

I blame myself. 23 years together only to end up being flushed once her goals were realized. I felt betrayed and used even though she explained that she had come to her decision only suddenly. The person that I had told to do all of these empowering things years ago was now a totally different person who could only see that she owed me nothing simply because we had said some mean things to each other in frustration half a life ago!

I had apologized up and down over the years and had never withdrawn my support, always believing that she was worth waiting for and that she would eventually wise up and boot her mother once she got tired of the mental abuse, and when she finally did I rejoiced and so did she. I have never known betrayal of this magnitude and I’m probably better off being without her. I never saw the axe descend on my head as she obliterated our bond with just one fell swoop, and I never expected for her to move on as though the next chapter of her life was now just a party waiting to happen.

I move on with a black cloud over my heart kicking myself because I was so naive. I will live and I will enter the next chapter of my life far wiser than before but there is no trust in my soul at this point. I have lost part of my humanity in all of this and I am angry! The next step from here will most likely be a fling to assuage the anger, followed by some venting on the woes of relationships and the broken trust of giving everything to empower a person and shortly after, being hit with the door as you are pushed out of your warm and once happy home. I will live, but right now I am sad…..

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