Hopefully my story can help someone
My wife is the best thing thats ever happened to me. And we are getting a divorce. It's the single greatest pain I've ever gone through. You know how they say when a member of a long married couple passes away, the other often goes within 6 months? I completely understand why. I feel physically ill and its been dragging on for almost a year. She is the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing before I sleep. The break-up was my fault. I've heard some people say that relationships are a shared responsibility and everyone plays their part when things go awry. And although this may be true... (awry? Really? Ive never used that word in my life...okay, awry it is) in this case it was all my doing.
It started out excellent. We were (and are) best friends. But after a time I was depressed and felt stuck. Then she had enough one day and it was done. Initially I reacted poorly. It took me 6 days to regain my composure. You know that scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall where Jason Segel is playing the piano and arguing with himself? Yep... Anyway. The very idea of us not being together hadn't even crossed my mind. Honestly. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean I wasn't completely oblivious. I knew we had been having problems, but I thought that it was something that we would overcome together and be stronger for it. We seldom argued, but the intimacy was dwindling. This was mainly due to a combination of several things:
#1- I took her for granted. I didn't appreciate everything she did for me.
#2- I was taking a specific antidepressant that I now know to be a "libido killer." I had been on it, off and on, for 20 years. I have had dysthymia since forever and I thought at that time that the symptoms of this was inherent in my personality (low energy, low sexual energy, a struggle to complete tasks & a general foggy feeling when interacting with people, like you are in a daze or something.) We didn't touch each other for months. She assumed it's because I wasn't attracted to her anymore. This was not the case.
#3- I thought that I "had her." Not that I owned her or anything, more like I didn't celebrate her or cherish her (which was in my goddamn vows!)
I read 5 relationship books within the first two months of our seperation. I learned that even though the news of our seperation had hit me in an instant, that when women are faced with this decision it occurs in stages and sometimes over the course of a long period of time. I never asked her about when the thoughts of a divorce started to creep into her mind. But I imagine that it must have been difficult for her. I mean after all, aside from all the aforementioned faults, I am awesome. And more importantly an awesome father.
Yes we have a young son together. I hope that he is young enough that this won't have any latent, negative impact on him. I often worry about that. I wonder if the seperation hinders my ability to father in some way. We essentially split him in half with she and I working opposite work schedules and he switching back and forth between homes.
Here comes the curveball: the seperation ended up as the best thing that's ever happened to me. Not because I was away from her, but because I was able to reframe my life. I changed my diet, started exercising and lost 55 lbs and counting. I created my first ever bucket list. I took some of the constructive criticism she gave me and ran with it. I found an antidepressant that works better for me. I now have my sex drive back. I addressed the issues she had concerning my dependability and maturity. I actually transitioned from being a young adult to an actual real live adult. I used to irresponsibly ignore phone calls because of sales calls and creditors. Not any longer. I made a game out of answering my phone, remembering the number of times I successfully answered my phone in a row and then trying to break the record. In case anyone needed me, I had become reliable. Consequently I had fixed my credit.
The seperation happened in May. Since then our conversations were excellent. We were always joking on the phone and via text. I saw her twice a week for a kid exchange and we even went a few places together. Everytime I saw her it was bittersweet. I learned in my buttload of reading that the body processes emotional pain the same way it processes physical pain. You can actually take over-the-counter headache medicine to ease you through a heartbreak. You're welcome. It worked. I dont have any sort of problem with addiction, so I wasnt concerned with that. But on days when I would spent a considerable amount of time with her I would take one. I called them Briana Pills. FYI, her name isn't actually Briana, but to screen her identity I made up a name.
Then in December I was in a near fatal accident. I woke up in critical care not knowing fully what had occurred. I had suffered a broken back in two places, my jaw was fractured and later wired shut, I couldn't move my left arm and I had a couple broken ribs. I recall asking the nurse for the phone in-between consciousness. I think I asked several times over the course of several hours and I distinctly remember her asking me "WHY??" with sassy attitude on one occasion. Once I got my hands on a phone, I dialed the only 3 numbers I knew by heart. 1- My childhood friend's number; I was deeply confused and had dialed the wrong area code. I probably left a very strange message for someone. 2- My parents home phone number; they never answer. They still haven't listened to the message I left. Probably where my non-phone answering comes from. 3- And lastly Bri; that's the last I remember. I had passed out again. When I awoke she was by my bedside. She had rushed from work and never left my bed. Even when they downgraded me to stable and moved my room, she was there. I don't recall much from the first two days, but I remember her being there, by my side.
Way later, after I was recovering she sent me this text: "The same for you ya know. I was terrified when you got hurt." That was verbatim. I don't think she would mind me posting that.
We have a complex relationship. She is the mother of my kid. I love her parents and feel like I disappointed them as if they were my own. It would be hard to untangle her and I. Our shared Facebook friends are somewhere in the 70's. She is in all my family's photos. My parents have a picture of her beside my only sister, who unexpectedly passed away a year prior.
During our seperation I never tried to change her mind concerning her decision. I never begged or pleaded or cried. I was still upset, but I didn't let anyone see it. Especially her. Within less than a year I became more of the man she thought she was going to marry. I wasn't ready to be married then, but I didn't know that at the time.
Then Valentine's Day roled around. I brought her flowers & a few of her other favorite things, but she wasn't home. When she got in she called me on the phone and asked me to meet her at her place. I was a half hour away by then, but I doubled back. When I arrived I played with our son & chit-chatted with her (through my teeth which had been wired shut.) She told me, 'by now you are probably aware that I have been seeing someone else.' But I had not been aware. The 'other' was a female co-worker that I thought was only a friend to her. Briana wasn't gay, but I had known that she...how do I say...had an eye for females too.
I processed this in real-time, with the spotlight on me, with her staring at me waiting for a reaction. I asked if she made her happy. I asked how long have they been seeing each other. Two months. She was afraid to tell me. She started to cry. I gave her a hug and told her it was okay. I congratulated her, told her that I was glad she was happy and I wished her luck.
I excused myself after awhile and drove home. I don't remember the drive. I arrived at my Aunt's house where I had been staying during my recovery. I laid in my rented hospital bed and stared at this cloth tapestry on the wall. It had printed photos of my family having fun.
It had photo of Briana in it. I think I died a little at that moment. I had lost her. I did everything correctly during our seperation, sans the first six days. We had been rebuilding our connection. But the damage to our relationship had been done. I had neglected her, a form of abuse. She went and found what she was missing. What I had failed to give her. I deserve every bit of the pain coming my way.
I regressed some during that next week. I didn't eat and hardly slept. Whenever I conversed with Bri (which was still almost bi-hourly, everyday) I made sure not to let-on how much I hated myself. I was, however, legitimately happy for her. I want her to live a long happy life. I just wanted to be the one to provide that for her. I knew I was up for the task. Just like I had been positive that I was up to the task of being dad; it just so happened that my timing was off when we were married. I had yet to make my last move into adulthood.
Since that time I've done more reading, more exercising, and I'm tanning! I gave up video games and am hitting the books hard in preparation for nursing school. I promise to not give anyone a hard time who wants to use the phone.
I have a mild depression that is at bay now, for the first time in my life. But it was with me during my formative years, it altered my perception of who I was and it wreaked havoc in my connection with other people. I could have to wake up and go to chemotherapy every week. I could have to take insulin everyday. I could have been born with a missing limb and have to deal with that my entire life. Everyone has something (and if you don't, be prepared, it just means yours is coming. And that's a scary thought.) This was my SOMETHING. I get to watch my wife from afar. The depression may have been 'mild,' but it had far-reaching effects that even I was unaware of. And my something hurt other people. I hurt other people.
So thats where I am at right now. I'm not sure where to go from here. Do I move on? I tried dating but quickly realized that it's too soon. It's not really fair to anyone either. I found myself discounting perfectly good women because they weren't Bri. And what about my wife's girlfriend? (That sounds wierd) How is she going to deal with such a close relationship? Am I getting in the way? Now we have an unhealthy, unorthodox relationship. I have a feeling that I will lose my best friend, the love of my life and someone who changed my entire trajectory. I remember filling out one of those online dating profiles and it asked me who the most influential person in my life was. ****... I can't really put, 'my wife' now can I, lol? Anyone I date will be put off by my unhealthy connection with my soon to be ex-wife. But I can't really disconnect because of our son. I'm honest, good-looking, kind, loyal, funny, thoughtful, motivated and now completely screwed. I can blame this on a mental illness because I was unaware. But now I am fully aware of my situation and I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. If you are married and having problems like so many people do, go get help.