Search

The Aftermath

aftermath [af-ter-math, ahf-] noun 1. something that results or follows from an event, especially one of a disastrous or unfortunate nature

“Everyday is Valentine’s Day”

Several years into The Marriage Before D-Day, a co-worker asked me what H and I had planned for Valentine’s Day. Without skipping a beat, I repeated the phrase I’d heard like a mantra from H so many times before – “there’s no need to do anything special on that one day – everyday is Valentine’s Day at our house.”

🤮 Whatever.

It wasn’t true, but I believed it, or at least I wanted others to believe it. I thought that what I had then was good enough. Or was all it was going to be, anyway.

Or…all that I deserved?

Aha. That’s it!

What a shame that I spent so many years thinking I didn’t deserve something special from the man who supposedly loved me more than any other – even if it is a Hallmark holiday.

Today, H is much more attentive and present, everyday, but I still would call him out if he claimed everyday is Valentines’s Day. And I’m interested to see what today brings.

Remember – you ARE enough, and you DESERVE to be loved, cherished, and made to feel special. Don’t settle for less.

**Edited to add – just as I hit “Publish”, guess who walked in with a lovely bouquet 💐 H may get this right yet. 🙂

☀️

Advertisements

Oh, the holidays 😐

I haven’t looked up any statistics on this, but I’d guess most people fall into one of two camps when it comes to the Christmas holiday season – love it 🥰 or hate it 😡. There probably aren’t a lot of people who are “ok either way”😬.

As a child, Christmas, and to a lesser extent, New Year’s Eve, was a magical time when my family of modest means found a way to bake, decorate, and celebrate in memorable ways. It wasn’t perfect, and there were not a lot of expensive gifts under the tree, but those that were there were appreciated. As an adult, I still look back fondly, am grateful for the memories, and wish I could continue on with some sort of happy holiday traditions with those I love.

<here’s where this post takes a turn, sorry 🤦‍♀️>

Unfortunately, among the deceptions committed by H early in our relationship was to feign enjoyment in celebrating holidays and gift-giving. Just two months after we met, he drove four hours to deliver many thoughtful gifts to me and spend Christmas with my family. I thought it was amazing that he was willing to skip his own family’s traditions to be with me and mine. (If only I’d known…)

He kept it all up for a few years, but eventually lost interest, and I found holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries to be “just another day” for him and sadly disappointing for me. He would say “don’t get me anything” and was incredibly anxious leading up to the day, which, you know, isn’t very much fun for anyone.

Thirty years later, and after lots of therapy, I now understand that he actually despises holidays, family gatherings, and receiving gifts, but understanding the reasons why doesn’t make it easier for me to accept. Sometimes it feels unfair. And sad.

I don’t ask for much, and I can and often do buy things for myself. Gift giving in itself is not so important, although I could enjoy it, with the right person. It’s not “things” that I want or need. It’s the experience that I crave – being able to enjoy Christmas songs while riding in the car, putting up decorations, wrapping gifts – every year, I do all of these things alone. H has no interest, or more accurately, loathes any and all of it. And to do it alone is kind of pointless.

Work and other obligations kept me close to home this month rather than being able to spend time with my family, and maybe that’s what I’m really missing.

Last week, for some reason that I’ve been unable to decipher, we took a little day trip to see an extensive Christmas lights display, at H’s suggestion. It was fun and beautiful, and I don’t know if it’s a hint at what’s yet to come as H continues to grow into maturity, or if this is all there is…is patience the key here, or will I just be let down in the end?

Anyway, I woke up this morning to iPhone videos from my siblings’ family celebrations (a few hundred miles from me) and that, along with the usual tension from H about Christmas was just too much. (He actually expressed relief, while still in bed at 8:30 am this morning, that “Christmas is over” since we’d survived dinner with his mother last night.” OK, then. 😬)

I haven’t cried in a while, but today I spent most of the morning in tears, curled up on the couch with Girl Dog. These are not the feels I was hoping for. Merry Christmas, indeed. 😕

I know that this is on me – if I want to feel joy, it’s up to me to do things that bring joy. What I know is that I need more than I have today. How and what will I change to ensure next year doesn’t go down in tears? I’ve gotta do something differently.

☀️

Busy, busy…taking down dragons, one by one…

Let’s see…my last post was in early October.  Gosh, it seems like a year ago!

🐉 Since then, my MIL was moved into assisted living, without her agreement.    She is experiencing early onset dementia, and when she was last hospitalized, APS got involved in her “self-neglect” case.  H and I agreed with APS that MIL needs 24 hour care, even if she doesn’t think so, and the two of us are neither capable or willing to personally provide the care that she needs.

🐉 H realized he would need some extra emotional support at the start of the situation, since he is getting pushback not only from his mother but also her siblings, so he started sessions with Therapist again.  He invited me to come along, but it’s not meant to be a couples therapy type of thing – H acknowledges that he’s “damaged” and essentially wants me to help him keep up with his therapy homework, to continue using safe coping strategies and learning to sort through his emotions in healthy ways.

🐉 Sometimes sitting together with H and Therapist is a little triggery for me, because even though he and I have come so, so far over the past three years, hearing him struggle emotionally reminds me that if he decided to, he could/would use women to cope with the stress he’s experiencing.  But he hasn’t, he’s not,  he chose to reach out to Therapist on his own, and to include me, so that’s a big Positive step in the right direction. 🙂

🐉 But when it rains, it pours, doesn’t it? So the weekend after MIL went to her new living situation, our Boy Dog seriously injured his knee, and required surgery.  You may recall that he had the same injury with his other knee just a few weeks before D-Day #1, three plus years ago.  Back then, nursing him back to health was one of the distractions that kept me just barely sane during that summer. This time, it hasn’t been so bad, since we knew what to expect.  He is on limited activity for 12 weeks, so I spend a lot of time cooped up in a bedroom with him, so that he’ll stay calm and quiet. So far, he’s healing well.

🐉 And I am too, but I guess it’s no surprise that November and December will continue to be a tender time for me for a while.  This year, I didn’t bother to bring up to H his brilliant plan that he came up with three years ago, where he was going to spend Thanksgiving Day with The Tenant, in order to “take her family’s Christmas card photo for them”. 🙄   It didn’t end up happening that way, and he was with me that day, but still that painful memory came to mind last week.   So.much.stupid.stuff was going on those last weeks of 2015!   🤥 It’s hard to believe he thought back then that he would get away with any of it. 🤦‍♀️ He didn’t get away with it, and we’ve both survived, and will continue to move on and grow.

🐉 I finally decided to steel myself and watch “Love, Actually” today.  Once one of my holiday faves, it was ruined for me when the Emma Thompson character’s story became too familar,  a lot like my own.😭  Anyway, I sat through it today, and didn’t flinch, didn’t cry.  Also – didn’t really enjoy it.  Probably won’t bother again.  At least I tried.

On to the next…🐉

☀️

0FA71E0F-69A4-4313-AD87-244AFCCE0FD6

Not sure whether to 😆 or 😭

H has been dealing with some family things lately.  His mother’s lack of self-care alongside her defiance to cooperate with her family on any level has landed her in the hospital, again.  This cycle has been repeated several times.  Only this time, APS was called to check on her for self-neglect, so going back to live alone again, even with outside help,  is really not an option.

H wanted his mom to go to assisted living six months ago, the last time she was released, but she refused, and her brothers, for their own personal/financial reasons, stood by her decision.  So H has been fighting a losing battle from all sides. He arranged for a home care aide to look in on her at home, with the goal of keeping her at the level of health and activity she had progressed to in rehab.  It was a six month long experiement, but really an exercise in futility.  MIL had no intention of doing anything but vegetate, even though she was told the next time would be the last time.

Its frustrating, and exhausting.  I told H several months ago, if you need to go talk with Therapist, please do, it’s ok with me.  He said then he was ok, he didn’t need to see Therapist.

So here we are.  Six months later, still fighting against the family to do what’s right (and now legally necessary) for his mother.  In order to afford permanent residential care, which is astronomically expensive, especially at her (young) age – only late 60’s- her home will have to be renovated and sold.  Yet another responsibility that falls on H.

And…so…he’s on his way right now to talk to Therapist.

Our last session was August of last year.  As a couple, we’re doing ok.  Individually we’re still healing from everything that has happened over the past 3+ years.   I have good days/bad days, all that.  He does, too.  We’re both trying to use the tools we learned over those two years in therapy to be better people, and better partners. We both know that we only have control over our own actions.

He just wants some peace, and the opportunity to be happy.  I want to help him.  But this thing with his family runs deep, obviously from the day he was born, and I can listen and be supportive, but I can’t make it go away.

A year ago, I had no idea if we were truly done with needing Therapist, but I hoped we were.  Even so, I am happy he decided to make the appointment.  I really am.  I’m glad he decided to go that direction instead working out the stress the way he used to!   This in itself shows how much he’s grown in the past couple of years. I’m grateful.

I just wonder if I should have a session, too?🤷‍♀️

☀️

 

 

About that sunshine… ☀️

Something about this meme reminded me of my mother, who in her recent social media birthday wish to my younger sister, stated that she was her “favorite daughter”. It’s funny when she says my brother is her “favorite son” because he is also her only son, but WTH? 🤷‍♀️

Anyway, she used to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to me as a child. And upon reflection, she also damaged me in ways I am only now realizing decades later! 😄

She can’t steal the sunshine from me. I’m keeping it for myself.

☀️

Sometimes, I’m judgemental when I shouldn’t be.

As I was tonight, and I regret it. Sometimes I’m opinionated and snobby, with no basis for being so mean.

H expressed a sweet sentiment about a group of people we often hang out with, saying how nice they always are.  I came back with my own (honest) opinion that some of them seem like posers who pretend to be “rebels” but are just really trying to be part of another “crowd” like anyone else.

And by saying so, I offended H.  He’s hurt.  For that I’m truly sorry. I wish I could take it back, or at least express myself in a kinder way than I did.  It’s too late for that.

I have no right to judge the way people choose to dress or live their lives.   It may not be my chosen way, but that makes no difference.   And they are nice.  That part is true.  I just don’t feel like I fit in, and don’t know that I want to anyway.  (Maybe I’m afraid of them? I don’t really know.)

H wants to be part of said group.  He seems to feel some sort of kinship with them. I don’t feel the same way.  But I was still wrong to say what I said.

I’m not sure how to resolve this one…

☀️

 

Damn you, iPhoto Memories

768C91ED-3219-45B9-8A3A-D68F0E0817780D095650-3CC4-43E7-B80F-1133941F89F1E349D917-8F9B-482F-A9D3-55CBE57AB596

 

 

 

I was texting with a friend, and searched on my phone for a pic to illustrate my thought.  While searching, I swiped by a photo of me from a yoga retreat I was on in the fall of 2016 – 4 months after D-Day #1.  Of course, as luck would have it,  the photo right next it,  saved to my iCloud account, was the graphic one that H had taken of The Tenant after leaving his own special brand of souvenir on her naked back and ass.  🤢 Now I know for sure what H was doing that day while I was away trying to come to grips with my new reality.

The photo itself is old news.  It was my discovery of that photo in his email archive at the end of 2016 that got the recovery ball rolling.  And I’m happy that I can say that.   That photo has been dealt with and was long ago deleted from my devices, but since it’s in The Almighty Cloud, I guess it’s the evil gift that keeps on giving.  Not so happy about that.

I have often thought fondly of that retreat.  I  made some progress on myself that weekend.  And it was just fun😀  But I didn’t realize it was THAT weekend, too.  Or maybe I knew but forgot, I don’t know….anyway, from now on, my memories of that weekend will be shaped somewhat differently. 😕  damn it. This sucks.  Sometimes, ignorance is truly preferable.

Thanks for listening, WP.  It’s Saturday night, but I’d really just like to sit in a corner and contemplate a blank wall for a while.

Breathe, Sunshine, breathe.

☀️

 

 

Just Another Day

agriculture bloom blossom clouds
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

July 1, 2015. Three years ago today, I woke up believing it was just another day.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

My dog had just had major surgery and was on restricted activity, so instead of waking up in my bed, I woke up in the living room, with the dog, in the makeshift kennel I’d created to keep him comfortable for the next few months.  (He’s still doing well, by the way.  I ❤️ my dogs.)

Also, July 1 was the official start day for a new project at work.  New responsibilities. A little stress.  But no big deal.

What I didn’t know is what would happen later that evening, and that I would receive a message that would change everything that I knew to be true, forever.

912B65CA-8668-4C71-AC53-2736918C3D06

If you’ve followed me on this journey through hell and back, thank you. 🙏 Knowing there were others with similar stories has meant the world to me, and I’m so grateful for the support I received on WP as I uncovered the lies and truths about H and the relationship I thought I had with H.  When I was in such a state that I was writing often, I was unsure how or if I could make it to the place where I am now.

I’m happy to say that I am doing much better three years on. H’s betrayal is part of me now, but it’s not on my mind all the time.   I still have a hard time with trust,  and maybe that’s a good thing.  I’ve learned that there is such a thing as trusting too much.  I need to find just the right amount.  I have also developed more confidence, although I still carry so much fear inside of me.  As I continue to work on myself, I know that I am enough, and no matter what might happen on another ordinary day in my future, I will make it through.  I have learned that self-care is important, not a luxury,  and was something I lacked in my pre-D-Day life.

5FF4A956-3E01-4C4F-B44F-6F9423AEDCD7.jpeg

H is doing better, too.  He’s done a lot of work on himself.  I can’t say he’s a completely different man, but he has evolved and grown over the past two-ish years. That’s not a typo – it took a while, but with Therapist’s guidance, he finally came out of the fog and got down to the hard stuff – realizing why, and discovering how to make changes for the better.

7CE67CFE-1ED8-455A-831B-516D6629B0BB.jpeg

Today – July 1, 2018.  Not just an ordinary day.

H is 1000 miles away, visiting with his father. We FaceTime frequently, and he sends videos often.  It’s almost like I’m there with them. (It wasn’t always this way.) Progress.

It’s about as hot as we like it to be in this part of the country.  So hot.  Too hot.  Even so, I had plans for extensive yard work while H was away, and now at noon on Sunday have accomplished most of what I set out to do.  I feel awesome.  I’m also tired and achy, but something about this just makes me feel alive.  It’s like a reminder of my vitality.

Next on the menu is a mani-pedi at a salon I’ve never been too, then a nice early dinner before relaxing with a book.

Not just another day, but the day I needed.

☀️

backlit beach dawn dusk
Photo by Cedric Lim on Pexels.com

And then there are those triggers I can’t plan for and just totally suck the life out of me 😕

Like when my Pap test results come back abnormal again, abnormal enough that I have to have more tests – again. The last time this happened, it was due to HPV. Even though this doc was the one that diagnosed HPV five years ago, she can’t just ignore whatever it is this time. It’s inconvenient, and will be expensive since my deductible is sky-high. Not to mention the possibility that it could be something more serious.

So back I go, and I’m reminded that there is one person responsible.

Well, actually two, as I am to blame for not remaining a virgin for life, of course.

☀️

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑