If you are coming over for MugSwap you will want to start here: http://danaraeb.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html
Oh man, I’ve been avoiding this topic. I’ve wished I could skip it all together and just move on to where I reached my bottom, but last week I realized I cannot fully explain how I got to rock bottom without sharing my relationship with my second husband: the good, the bad and the oh, so ugly end.
There is one thing I want to make clear before we get started:
I am a strong believer that people can see the error of their ways and change - I believe I am proof of that in some ways and part (a large part) of me believes that when I ended our marriage my ex-husband got the awakening that he needed. But, I cannot sit here today and analyze my ex-husband in his current state. Right now, in 2015, I do not know my ex-husband. I do not know his feelings on life or what is happening in his current marriage. It really isn’t any of my business and to be honest we really haven’t had any type of relationship in the past eight years (except for some pretty heated fights). I wish him the best, which I feel is serious growth from where I was when our marriage ended. In the past I’ve written about my marriage and it was done out of anger, it was meant to hurt. Today, I do not come from a place of hurting, but I have to let people inside the walls of our marriage, I have to share stories and things (that both of us did) that ended our marriage and sent two people who once loved each other to feelings of detest.
And I feel before I begin with this story that you need to know that are going to get to see some of my raw areas. There is still, probably, healing that needs to take place with my ex-husband and yes, some forgiveness that I have not allowed to take place. I hope that turning my feelings into words will initiate that healing and forgiveness process.
Shortly after Shelby was born I went to work for a municipality (city government) as a human resources assistant. The job offered me a great outlet for my creativity, the ability to really develop my public speaking skills and the opportunity to meet so many new people. Things were going great in my career life along with my spiritual life. I was still very tuned into the bible church that I started attending before Shelby’s birth. Even though Jesus had a strong hold on me I still did not feel that I deserved the best. While I had received God’s forgiveness, I still hadn’t forgiven myself - not even close.
I tell you this because I allowed my relationship with my ex-husband to start off badly. We met almost a year after I started working at the city - while I was working on his floor. Since we were both in pretty high profile departments (and he was going through a divorce) we decided to keep our relationship a secret. Since this was the first relationship (if you could call it that at the time) that I was in since getting pregnant with Shelby I wanted it to be “the one” - the perfect long lasting, wonderful relationship. Unfortunately, I let the relationship turn physical way too quickly and that was really what our relationship was based on for almost a year. Naively I got Shelby involved way too quickly as well, although she was just one and really didn’t know what was going on. On the weekends we did things as a fake family unit, but during the week we acted as if we barely knew each other.
I could barely contain the excitement and shared our relationship with my girl friends at work, they completely understood the secrecy we were living in and were supportive. My long time friends, the friends who were more family than friends, had different feelings about the relationship I had begun. My ex-husband refused to meet my friends, he would pick me up at their houses by honking and made no effort to even say, “hello.” I can see now, that he had no plans at that time to continue this relationship - he got what he needed to out of it and had no intention to start any type of relationship with my friends.
This continued during the first year of our relationship. Many times he would suggest that I should see someone else, I should date someone else, but I couldn’t I felt like I was in love. I felt all of the secrecy was just part of the deal while part of me felt like I was being hidden due to some feelings of shame on his part. This all became completely clear to me when I was told by one of co-workers that she had seen my ex-husband with another woman and she had learned that they were dating. I knew this woman who also worked with us and I probably broke twenty human resources laws when I called her desk and confronted her. I was straight with her and explained I had a child involved in this and I needed to know the truth about him. She confirmed everything and I was heartbroken. That day I ended our relationship and spent the evening crying with my best friends whose suspicions were confirmed.
During the next week things changed for my ex-husband. He came to me saying that yes, he took her to lunch, but nothing more. He proclaimed his love for me. I went back into the relationship that quickly (my insisting) went public. Little did I know at the time that while our relationship went public, his relationship with this woman went on in secrecy. I wouldn’t learn this for two more years.
Our relationship became more public with our family. I started becoming a fixture at his family events. I even mended the relationship between him and my friends - we started doing more and more together as couples.
As time past we grew closer together and I started to trust him with my ugly stuff - my past. The details of my teenage years, my first marriage and Shelby’s biological father. I’ve always been an open person, but I do not think I had experienced the feel of true shame until I shared my past with ex-husband. As I type this, I still believe it was the worst mistake I made, but at the same time how can a relationship flourish without being real? Self hate multiplied when he asked me to list all of my sexual partners (don’t ever do that - it’s really not anything that needs to be written) and then tell me how ashamed I should be of myself. I should have ended everything then, but I thought I deserved being made to feel ashamed.
During our second year of dating I started to notice things that should have been red flags. I threw him a really big birthday party at a small Italian restaurant. His mom, his sister, his aunt and uncle and cousins along with my mother were all there. I had a gorgeous cake made and had a big present for him. I put my all into planning it and I even gave him lyrics to a song that I thought was so us. Simply Red’s You Make Me Feel Brand New. Listening to it today I am not sure what I was thinking, I wanted so badly to have the relationship in that song. I wanted him to make me feel brand new, but that evening I felt horrible. He was so angry at me for throwing such a shindig and thought the entire thing was stupid. I stood there smiling as his family thanked me for the evening not knowing that he was miserable and let me know how he felt. This should have been a foreshadowing of the life I was getting into.
One of ex husband’s biggest threats was Shelby’s biological father. I shared with him too much, when I let him read my journals that dated back to when I was 19. He didn’t understand how I could continue to forgive him for his actions, how I could still let him in my life and how I could have ever had his child. Around this time I let him do one thing that I have regretted so badly, I let him destroy all my journals. He believe it was the only way that we could move forward - was to erase the past. I journaled almost everyday from the age of 18. I had so much in there that I would love to have today. Man, I wish I could get a do over there.
Despite all of the bumps in the road I moved into my ex-husband’s home as we started our third year together. I so wanted marriage and pushed for it, probably too hard. I compromised my feelings with cohabiting. A few months after moving in, I left my position at the city for a new career. I started representing public speakers that I met during my time in training and development at the city. I thought it would be wonderful because it allowed me to work from home and learn so much about public speaking. Unfortunately, I got a crash course in how conceited people who make their living selling themselves can sometimes be. I journaled on May 11th that, “I am really going to try to work harder tomorrow, but it gets more and more difficult to work with Al. His better than everyone else attitude gets me.” That will probably make someone reading this giggle - I’ve been pretty consistent with my dislike for conceit.
Also during that time Jesus found me again. I had wandered off my path and I was getting those little taps on my shoulder. This is not where you are meant to be. What example are you living for Shelby? I reconnected with my mentor, Renee, and she helped me sort my feeling with God’s word. I made the decision to move back into my parent’s house. I encompassed my self in God’s word. Before meeting ex-husband, Renee wrote out a scripture during Easter Service (I still have it hanging my craft room). It was Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you desires of your heart. I focused on that verse during this time, I got myself right with God and prayed that this verse would come to fruition.
Also in the journal entry mentioned about I wrote, “I am getting excited about going on vacation. I hope that he and I do ok being together that long. I hope he doesn’t use this as a chance to bring up my past.” I was still living with a pretty consistent reminder of how terrible my past was to ex-husband. My reconnected with God and getting involved in Bible Church did help my ex-husband to reconnect to his faith, unfortunately it did not change his opinion of my past. Before leaving on vacation that May I ended my working relationship with Al and was in the processes of receiving a position back at the city - this time in the Police Department. I thought things were going exactly as God wanted, so when my ex-husband asked me to marry him the night before we left I thought for sure I was getting the desires of my heart.
To be continued…
*just so you know after writing this I went back and changed my ex-husband’s real name to read “my ex-husband”. I know it’s a little awkward in some places, but I felt like it needed to be done.