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July 5, 2018 12:08 pm  #1

My story

Here’s my story.  At this time, I am 3 full months divorced.   My ex-husband, in October of 2016, decided to “come out” to our daughter who was 14 at the time.   And please to not tell anyone, because that could really damage his partner.  She shattered.  I really thought something traumatic must have happened.  I was thinking maybe something at school.  Keep in mind we have been an extremely open and welcoming family to LGBTQ, so when she said, I can’t tell you – it’s too personal for dad, I was able to guess that he was gay.  It had never entered my mind that he was gay.  Ever. I look back now and I see how carefully constructed that was by him.  From the beginning of our relationship, he was straight.  I would never have dated, much less married someone gay or even questioning. 
I confronted him in just a few days.  We were married 18 years.  We have 5 wonderful kids.  He is abusive.  The personification of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.   I am shaking, just writing this now, in fear of the retaliation if he sees this.  His carefully constructed world is very different from mine.  In his world, the kids are lazy, dirty, disrespectful and so much more…  All things he felt his duty to explain to them to motivate them to change.  He would say, “Well, they were!  Can you honestly tell me they aren’t?”  And point out several conversations where I “agreed” with him.  “Honestly, don’t you remember?”  Enter the “mom is losing her mind” face.  My reality is different.  The kids are amazing young people who have been traumatized in fear of their dad’s disapproval on a good day and fear of his angry outbursts on a bad day.  And for me, I had the wrong hair, wrong clothes, wrong cooking, wrong housekeeping.  Everything about our family revolved around him and keeping him happy, which he of course never was.  My cognitive abilities are just fine, thank you very much.  The first time he wanted to have me tested for early onset Alzheimer’s was in 2002.  I had just had twins and their older brother was 17 months old.   I’m fine.  I know now, he was always threatened by my intelligence. 
When I confronted him about our daughter, he cried.  He actually swooned and could not stay conscious.   For days.  Over the course of a couple weeks, he said he didn’t want me to find out like this.  That he had a two-year plan.  He was indeed seeing somebody. He has always known he was gay. I told him he had to move out now.  That this was not right and not fair to me.  I will not be your closet and you cannot expect that of me.  He was SOOOOOO sorry and yes, I didn’t deserve this.  And he never meant to hurt me.  I believed him then but I do not now. 
He moved out in February into an apartment with his partner.  He could have just walked away.  He could have left it at, “I’m so sorry. I have to live my authentic life.”  But he didn’t.  He spent the next 8 months building up resentment on how it’s all my fault.  Building up a new base where he was the victim.   He went at the kids.  In his world: “Your mother has ruined my life.  Ruined my credit.  Our marriage has been dead for years.  This can’t just all be about me.”  And” Partner’s name  is the love of my life.  I never knew that love could be like this.”  Not to me, but to the kids.   My reality is different.  He could have just left.  I would have been hurt and reeling, but ok.  The smear campaign on me has been unreal.  I didn’t ruin his life.  He built it on a giant lie.  I didn’t ruin his credit.  His father did.  That’s another story.  I have spent the last ten years trying to financially recover from that blow.  Somehow, that became my fault.  I did eventually become too scared to talk to him about things financial.  I have been the main breadwinner our entire marriage.  He has been under-earning the whole time.  Working these huge long hours in his profession, but only being paid for maybe 35-37 hours a week.  And that’s on the high end.  Our marriage wasn’t dead to me.  It was definitely in trouble for the last 4 years, but I truly thought it was my fault because I had been so sick.  (Lupus and fibromyalgia).  I’m remarkably better now that he is gone.  
These tactics did not win the kids over to his “side.”  It just created division.  And more pain.
We started the process of legal separation when he got his apartment.  I had my lease changed to my name only.  That was Feb. 2017 and the divorce was finalized in March of 2018.  I had no money for a lawyer and no resources to borrow money, but we did the mediation route and divorce by ourselves.  I started the process through an amazingly helpful service at our county courthouse through the juvenile court.  They helped me file petitions for custody, child support, and visitation.  15 petitions in total.  It cost me about $35.00.   The divorce part had to go through the circuit court and took much longer and more money.  I would not recommend this route unless you basically can get free legal advice.  I made a lot of mistakes.  Not in the filing, or the how-to’s.  But I unknowingly let my ex get away with way too much.  Too much freedom in visitation and not enough child support.  His sob stories about how poor he is worked on the judge.  Too bad the judge didn’t see his vacation to Europe, and other trips out of the country.  Too bad the judge didn’t see his new Volvo – oh, excuse me, 2 Volvos.  So many excuses, on why he can’t provide for his own children.  He never did.  Why should I expect it now.  (Oh right, it’s all So many excuses, on why he can’t provide for his own children.  He never did.  Why should I expect it now.  (Oh right, it’s all my fault!  *sarcasm) 
So, while he takes his vacations, we don’t have enough food.   Don’t worry, I have a healthy support system in my church family.  (Oh yeah, he hates them too.)  Meanwhile, I adjust to being a single mom.  I sit up with the suicidal kid.  A lot.  I’m there with the kids as they’ve gone through so much therapy.  The abuse was so much worse for them than I ever knew. 
Meanwhile…we have passed some important milestones.   It gets better.  It got worse for awhile, but then it got better.  It took a year and a half.  In that time, the kids and I have learned or are learning:

  •  We’ve been learning to get along better.  Learning to talk, think, feel, communicate for ourselves. 
  • The kids are learning to not hold grudges. This is a very hard lesson. (That was a major tactic of their dad’s, to pull up out of the past a great list of wrongs as proof of his right-ness)
  • To think the best of others. 
  • To not live in fear.
  • To try new experiences.  (We’ve had some success with new traditions at holidays.  It really helps!) 

It’s starting to feel more stable.  (That being said, I just took a razor away from my son last night and spent a couple of hours talking him through….stable is relative.)  We do have some really sweet moments.  I love these kids so much.  I’m starting to be able to get some healing in for me now, too. I wouldn’t wish the straight spouse life on anyone.  It’s more than any of us can bear, but with help we do it anyway.   


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