Posts Tagged ‘divorce’

The Wretched

Posted: September 11, 2010 in True Story
Tags: , ,

I’ve never been the bad guy before. I mean sure, there have been people who didn’t like me for whatever reason but I’ve never felt like a bad person. Until now.

It’s a very odd feeling to know that one of the best parts of your life has been completely destroyed and it’s all your fault. I watch Amy when she doesn’t realize it. She is so much happier now that she is free of me. I honestly didn’t realize what a draining effect I had on her until she was no longer burdened with my bullshit. She’s vibrant and alive in a way that I haven’t seen in years and I am ashamed of myself that I robbed her of years of happiness.


Life takes funny turns. I’m in the process of getting a divorce from someone who is still one of my best friends. I take her advice into account when I do things even when I don’t actually follow it. She and I will be linked forever because of our children but I think our bond is actually a lot stronger than that. We can still do everything we used to do as a couple. We talk about our day, we ask each other advice, we buy each other dinner. This is going to change soon because I am moving out at the beginning of October. For the past two years I have been a resident of the living room, sleeping on the sofa and generally trying to be as small as possible (a humorous visual for anyone who knows me). I’m tired of sleeping on an uncomfortable sofa and not having my own space. Amy would never tell me to leave but I know she’s looking forward to being on her own for the first time.

On the work front things are moving along nicely. My boss is still in the middle of his move to Norfolk and by the time I’m in my new place he will be in his. The plan as of today is for him to come up and work on Wednesday for new book day. My part timer will be moving around the same time so I’m trying to hire someone new. I have a candidate but my boss needs to interview him before making it official. I don’t know when that will happen but I hope its soon.

I tweeted a little while ago, “If you aren’t reading Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross I don’t wanna be your friend anymore.” I’m not exactly serious about that but it is the best comic I’ve read in a long long time. It is brilliantly written as a murder mystery / fantasy /crime noir /history of literary geography. It is impossible to put this book into any one genre of fiction but borrows heavily from several. The series is only 16 issues deep and the second volume collecting issues 6-12 just came out last week. This is one that would be easy to jump into from the beginning and for any of you I see on a regular (or semi-regular) basis I would be more than happy to loan you my copy.

I feel like I’ve given up on romance. I’ve always been the guy who made mixtapes, wrote bad poetry and brought the object of my affection flowers for no reason. Over the past four or five years of my marriage those things just stopped and I’ve recently started to examine why. I’ve stopped believing in “true love.” The thing that all great art is about, the reason songs get written and ordinary people become almost godlike in the eyes of us lesser beings just doesn’t exist. I found my “soul mate” and we just couldn’t make it work. Nearly fifteen years of love and happiness and surprise just kind of ended and I can’t really get a handle on why unless its just because love isn’t the answer. Is monogamy just wrong? Is being with one person forever an unnatural state that society has forced us into? Should I just hook up with random people until I die? Is loneliness fatal? I seem to have more questions than answers at the moment but I will keep looking. Right now I’m just feeling a little bit cynical.

I hope this isn’t it. As of two weeks ago I have completely sworn off marriage. I tried it. Twice. And both times it just didn’t work out. I want to believe in love, I really do but I just can’t figure out what it means anymore. I love my friends. Is that enough to sustain me?

On the flip side, I talked to a casual acquaintance online last week for an hour or so and when the conversation was over I felt really good about it and then started thinking too much. Were we flirting? Was it just a conversation about mutual likes and dislikes? What would happen if it were flirting? Am I an idiot? See, more questions. Up until now I would talk to someone and it was just talking. Now I talk to someone and I over think the conversation and make myself a little crazy. Is that single life? Is self doubt and gnawing uncertainty what I have to look forward to?

I’m rambling and I don’t think listening to Suzanne Vega while I write about love was a good idea.

So Amy and I are in a better place emotionally than we have been in years. We are great friends who we have learned can talk to one another about anything. Its a little odd to talk to the woman who has shared your life for so long about the girl you hooked up with but we are odd people. We’ve had several conversations about how I should get out there and date as much as possible without getting into a relationship. I have traditionally been a serial monogamist but she thinks (and I agree) that I need to go out and have some fun. Relive those “free” years that I completely skipped over. Then she mentioned boys. My “bi” revelation a few years ago was one of the things that I feel led to the dissolution of my marriage and while she disagrees she has made it a point to tell me that I need to date some men at some point. The problem with that is I have NO idea how to go about doing something like this. The closest I’ve come to a gay club is multiple watchings of Queer as Folk. My other problem is my work schedule. Monday is pretty much my only day that is completely my own. Tuesday is my day with the kids to go places and do things and the rest of the week is spent at work and while I don’t have a particularly difficult job my hours are long and I sometimes don’t get a lot of sleep on the weekends so even though I’m usually home by 7:00 on a Sunday, I’m too tired to do anything.

I have come up with a plan to get some exercise, lose some weight and hang out with more people. My nephew is 25 and lives in Carytown and gets off work at around 3:30 on Monday afternoon. Yesterday I played my first round of Disc Golf and it was pretty awesome. Of course, my entire body is sore from the walking and throwing as I am unaccustomed to doing any kind of physical exertion but it was a great time. The plan is to go to the park and play every Monday and play some disc golf.

One last thing. My first post at went up today!

Last night was yet another in a line of odd and surreal evenings this past week. The entire family went over to a friends house for dinner. I met Amy and the kids there and from around 6:45 until 11:00pm Jess, Butch, Amy and myself sat and talked about all kinds of things. We laughed and joked and had a fantastic evening. The reason it was so odd is that last Monday Amy and I decided that we shouldn’t be married anymore.

I woke up Monday with a dual purpose. My main focus was the interview I had that evening with Kevin from about becoming an editor at his website. My other obligation was to try and teach a 22 year old how to drive. That went poorly so I’ll skip over the details there. I had lunch with friends on Monday and we talked about relationships and what we want out of life. An hour before I needed to be there I arrived at Crossroads, a cool little coffee shop down at VCU. I wasn’t nearly cool enough to be there but I sat and read Style and sipped a cappuccino while waiting for Kevin to arrive.

My phone rang around ten minutes before my meeting and when I saw that it was Kevin calling my heart sank with the thought that the meeting would have to be postponed. Luckily it wasn’t that, he was calling to tell me that he was already there and when we both looked up at the same time I got very excited. I haven’t been an editor in a while but it was something that I was pretty good at once upon a time. We talked for about 45 minutes about my experience and his needs and he asked me about my life. As always when asked that question I replied that I had been married for almost ten years and had two kids. He seemed a little surprised and then asked me a question that I don’t think I really answered fully, “Why does someone who is married with kids want to get involved with a gay website.” It took a minute to find the right words and the first thing I mumbled was that I was bisexual and that was something I had been dealing with over the past ten years. I went on to tell him that I believed that the real reason I go to gay rights rally’s and protests is because I believe its a civil rights issue and one group of people shouldn’t have the power to deny rights to another group of people because they don’t approve of how they live their life. I may have quoted Dr King at that point because I love the line”If you see a good fight, get in it.” but I don’t know if I did.

The meeting went great. He offered me the position of section editor for Arts and Entertainment and I was on cloud nine. I sped across town to share my good news with the fine folks at WriteClubRVA who were properly enthusiastic about my exciting new editing gig. Our meeting seemed to me to be a much happier and productive meeting than normal which was a shame because I didn’t think to take my laptop along. After the meeting my friend Jess and I went to the Starbucks at Barnes & Noble to talk. It was there while sipping my mocha frappuccino that I realized that my marriage was over. It wasn’t a bolt of lightning or anything it was more akin to remembering where you left your keys. Its something you already knew but couldn’t remember. We talked for about an hour and I went home dreading the talk that I knew was to come.

As I drove into the driveway it looked like all the lights in the house were on. I didn’t know if that meant Amy was still awake or if she had fallen asleep without turning them off as she does sometimes. I walked in and stood in the doorway of our bedroom and shifted uncomfortably. “Hey,” she said. I could only croak out my own “hey” in response. She asked me if anything was wrong and I mumbled something unintelligible. The look on her face took on a new resolve and she said “Can we talk? We need to talk.”

This was it. The talk and I didn’t even have to initiate it. The coward inside me lept for joy.

“I’m really pissed at you right now. You were supposed to feed the kids before you left tonight because I had to work late.”

The coward then wept. I couldn’t believe what I had done. In my selfish pursuit of something more I had actually forgotten to feed my children. I felt about two inches tall and I expected her to yell and scream and possibly hit me with a frying pan because I felt like it was the least I deserved. Instead we sat and talked about all the problems we’ve had over the years and where we are right now. We care about each other, we are friends. Sadly, we are not in love with one another anymore. I know in my head that we both made mistakes to get here, she will tell you the same, but I feel like the bulk of the blame lays at my feet. A few years ago I fell into a black hole of despair and depression and I never quite climbed out of it. I basically checked out of our marriage and she did the same in response. By her reckoning we’ve actually been separated for about two years, the last nine months of which I have spent in a separate room from her.

She was mad at me Monday night, she said as much but she never actually got angry. We were at that place beyond angry where resolution resides and we are better for it. Once we were resolved that this was the end of it she asked where I would go. I knew I couldn’t be far from the kids so I told her I would talk to my mother and see if I could move in with her next door. “I can’t make you live with your mother.” was her only real response to that and I am now living happily where I had been living miserably, on the sofa with my family. Its incredible how the exact same living situation can seem to much better once the labels have been peeled off and the last remnants of a tattered relationship are shrugged off.

We will always be in each others lives and we will always be friends. My friend Ray thinks our ability to act like civilized people instead of the crazed ax swinging Norsemen most divorced couples turn into is that we’ve been through the horrible ordeal of separating but we did it over a year ago. We’ve already felt the hurt and betrayal and loneliness so now the separation feels like a promising start rather than a horrible ending.