How do you know that you’re good enough? Smart enough, pretty enough just enough? I struggle with this often. There are days I look in the mirror and think how can anyone find me attractive? Why would they? I do have my good days when I look in the mirror I actually like what I see but often I don’t. I know I’m smart, kind and generally a good person. It’s the outer beauty that I can’t find in me. The man I’m with now showers me with compliments, sincere ones. He truly sees me as beautiful. When he tells me how much he finds me beautiful I laugh and tell him he needs glasses. I’ve always found it hard to accept compliments. He’s gotten me to the point where I just say thank you now but inside I still shake my head and wish I could see me as he sees me. At work we have elevators that have mirrors on all walls. Ugh riding in those are the worst because I can see myself from every angle. And all I can think of sometimes when I see myself is why me? What does he find so attractive? There are so many more attractive women out there than me. It’s pathetic really. They say for someone to love you, you must love yourself first. That’s the kicker, I do love myself. I know I have good qualities it’s just that outer beauty thing. I guess I just have to learn to see the beauty that others see. Maybe I’m the one who needs glasses.
I was standing in the kitchen at the sink washing dishes and thinking. I came to the realization that the one thing I’m always afraid of doing is rocking the boat. When I was married I never wanted to rock the boat because I never wanted to argue. I hated arguing. Still do. And really who does anyway? But even know in my new relationship I’ve realized I don’t want to rock the boat either. That doesn’t mean that I’m being a puppet and agreeing with everything but it does mean that sometimes there are things I want to question or talk about and I don’t because I don’t want to argue for fear of him walking away. Crazy huh? Here’s an example; he and I share most of the household expenses. We don’t have a joint bank account. I have mine and he has his. He’s seen my online banking page and knows pretty much what little investments I have. I have a rough idea of his finances but I’ve never actually seen his online banking page. The few times I’ve asked him to see it he says either “you know everything I have” or “I don’t have my wallet handy to sign on to the page but I’ll do it later.” And the later never comes. Most of the time I let it go. Last night I asked again and he asked me if I didn’t trust him. I do but I’m just curious. Is that wrong? If any of you reading this have individual bank accounts are you privy to your partner’s bank accounts? Do you care? Or am I being too nosy??
One thing that always is on my mind is how will the kids be with my decision? Will they be scarred? Will they resent me for my choices? The few people who I’ve talked with say no. They tell me kids are resilient. I should know considering I also am a child of divorce, though my parents split when I was 16. Though I’ve always felt they would’ve done it a lot sooner.
So far I haven’t seen any negative behaviours. The transition days ( the day where J or I pick up the kids for our turn) is usually the hardest. The youngest is usually a bit clingy and/or tired and doesn’t want to eat dinner. The oldest doesn’t want to listen and acts like an 8-year-old going on 18. But the next day is better. Yet I worry if they’re truly happy. I spoke with my oldest and asked if she wanted to go to counselling but she said no she’s happy.
I’ve taken another huge leap with my new relationship. Let’s call him P for short. We’ve moved in together. I could not imagine not doing this. I’ve known him for over 15 years and taking our friendship to this next level was amazing and beautiful. The kids have taken to him right away. L is his best bud. They play and cuddle and brings a smile to my heart. L even let him put him to sleep one night last week and actually wanted P to give him his milk in the morning rather than me. S gets him to help with homework, snuggles up next to him while we watch TV and holds his hand when we talk a walk to the nearby coffee shop.
The only issue that has come up is the discipline aspect of our parenting. I have no issue with P taking an active approach with me in making parental decisions. I welcome it. And for the most part the kids have been okay with it. Save for last Sunday night when after 45 minutes of asking, then demanding, S to go put on her pjs and turn off the computer, she would not listen. I’ll admit I lost my patience and yelled at her. And P stepped in and asked her to listen to me and turn off the computer and put on her pjs. She looked at him and yelled I don’t like you telling me what to do and ran up to her room crying. She proceeded to call her dad and cry to him. I was on the other line and spoke to my ex explaining to him that all we asked was what any other parent would do. Put her pjs on and go to bed. Well he completely flew off the handle saying he did not want someone else disciplining his child and other nasty things. The phone call ended and S ended up going to bed, but the repercussions went on the next day where he called me at work and proceeded to threaten me that he would get full custody if his daughter called him again crying. I was at work so I couldn’t argue, but I emailed him and basically said a judge will never award him sole custody simply for the fact that I was parenting my daughter by telling her it was past her bedtime and to go to bed.
That was one of the issues we always argued about, J would let our kids do anything, I was always the disciplinarian. He would always undermine my decisions with the kids. If I said no they’d always run to him and he’d say yes. Or worse still was if I stood my ground and said no, the kids would cry and cry until I changed my mind because J would get mad at me for being too tough and he didn’t like the kids crying. Crazy huh!
So that is my one issue, two different parenting styles. We need to work on parenting the kids the same way and he needs to accept the fact that P will also be involved in our lives. Hard but oh so worth it.
It’s amazing how being in a new relationship is. First off the happiness in my heart is immeasurable. The relaxed feeling is wonderful. But since its been 11 years since I’ve done this, its hard dealing with all the insecurities that crop up inside my head. Now that I am outside of my marriage and am with someone else I look back on the last 6 years of my marriage and realize how empty I became. I think back on how I never rocked the boat, voluntarily, never asked for something I wanted, or if I did I never got it. I just went along with the flow giving in to all his demands and ideas and plans because I never wanted to fight or argue or didn’t want to face the rejection of being told no. So now its a strange feeling being with someone who cares about what matters to you or asks with sincerity what would you like to do? And sometimes I say whatever you want is fine with me, or anything you’d like to do is great. Which more often than not it is, because truly I am such an easy person to please.
When I was married I never cared what J would do. I never cared if he chose to stay out all night or if he went out with his friends and met other women. I never cared if he had lunch with a female friend or went out for drinks with them after work. I never cared what he did because the love was gone. I actually fully expected him to do whatever he pleased because I never felt like I was of any value to him other than being the mother of his children. I was never told if I looked beautiful, we never smiled at each other and held hands, we never said good night to each other or good morning. We merely just existed side by side. I don’t know if he felt that he never had to do those things anymore because we had been married for 9 years already and it was just understood? I never felt appreciated. Instead I felt disappointment that I never measured up to what he wanted me to be or how I should’ve acted. I often felt like a little kid wondering if I was doing something wrong. How can you live like that? When we went for our counselling he admitted to being neglectful and hurtful but it was a little bit too late. Never mind a little, it was a lot too late.
That’s what makes me angry. That our marriage was nothing. I tried to work on it back in 2008 but he didnt’ want to. So I withdrew and just lived like a robot. Sure we did things together as a family and we even did things as a couple but in my heart I was just going through the motions. I knew the momentary feeling of happiness was fleeting; that the next day we’d be back to arguing. The counsellor mentioned that it takes two, that both of us were at fault for not communicating to each other our concerns. Yet I did, in the beginning. But when you get shot down saying you’re crazy and you need counselling alone and not jointly well you give up after a while.
And it makes me angry that 11 years of my life went by with me living such a shallow and unhappy existence. Especially the last 2 years. Dreading the drive home because I knew we’d only argue. Dreading the weekends because again, only arguing. Going to bed each night, basically alone. Lying in bed thinking that never again would I know what it would be like to be in love with someone and to feel loved. Never to be kissed passionately again or just a simple loving hug. To never feel joy upon waking up in the morning beside someone you want to share every moment of your life with. To know when you’re having a bad day or a tough moment with the kids that someone is there by your side to go through it with you.
I wake up now knowing that all the things I’ve longed for are here. Here for me to cherish and treasure and to never make the same mistake twice. To appreciate the person I’m with, to live life freely and without insecurites or doubts.
Its been almost exactly a month since the kids and I have moved into our new home. Its been exciting, comforting and a bit stressful. But its home. It feels like home. The beds aren’t made, the dishes are drying in the dishrack and there are clothes laying on my chair in my bedroom. Those may seem like very trivial things but to me they mean a lot. There is peace. Yes there has been arguments between me and the kids but that is normal. There hasn’t been any adults yelling and to me that is everything.
J and I have worked out an arrangement where the kids spend every 2 days with one of us and alternating weekends. The counsellor advised us that since L is young it is best this way so he doesn’t get a chance to miss one of us too much. When he and S get older, then we can work out different schedules. The kids have adjusted pretty well considering the huge change that it is. We do have moments where they want their daddy, but those moments are always when I put my foot down about something and they’re not getting their way. And of course those are the moments that I feel horrible for saying no to whatever it is they want but usually about 15 minutes later they forget whatever it is they were wanting.
I have my days and nights when I feel guilty for leaving. Wondering if I’ve ruined my kids lives with all of this. But then I remember all of what i felt for the last 6 years and my friends always remind me of the tears I’ve shed and the stories I’ve told them. And then I see my kids laughing and happy and I take a deep breath knowing I made the right choice.
What is the most wonderful thing about all of this is that I have met someone. I’ve known this person since 1998 and while there was always an attraction on my part to him, never in a million years would I have guessed that he felt the same way about me. I am connected to him on so many levels. I don’t want to compare my relationship with him to my marriage but lets say that this is what I’ve always been searching for. With him I can be myself. It is natural and comfortable. It is bliss.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and retrospection on myself and what the last 5 or so years of merely exisiting in this marriage has done to my self esteem and self worth. I’ve been reading past posts and in the last year or so I only wrote one on the state of our marriage. But now when I think of how we truly lived I see why I don’t value myself at all. Where others see me as kind and good and beautiful I think they’re only being nice just to be nice and that they don’t mean it. Yes somedays I do look in the mirror and I see a pretty face or I know that I am a good friend but most days I don’t see any of it at all.
When the person you’re with rarely gives you a compliment and only tells you what you do wrong in life it really does a number on you. So much so that when someone you know tells you you are stunning and an amazing person you can’t believe it.
I don’t doubt my mothering skills; in that respect I know I am a great mom. I see it in my kids. I just need to stop doubting myself as a person. It will take time but I know I can do it.
After 9 years and a day, J and I have separated. This has been a long time coming. For those who have been around here since the beginning; 2005, you’ve read about my struggles. For those on the outside we appeared to be like any other married couple. But as I’ve said, many times these past few months after my decision became known, you never know what goes on behind closed doors. It wasn’t an easy decision. I waffled on and off as to whether I was making the right decision. And then I realized that by me choosing to stay was only to make others happy, not me. I knew right there that by leaving I was doing the right thing, for me.
I knew I couldn’t live anymore waking up to each day wondering how many times we’d fight, how many times I’d get yelled at, how many times I’d cry. Life is short and it shouldn’t be lived unhappily or as a robot.
I’m at peace with my decision and I feel like a can breath now without having a huge weight on my shoulders.
S is okay with my decision. She is happy that there will be no more fighting and we will have peace. There will be a lot of adjustment time for her but in the long run I know we will be okay. L is only 2 1/2 but he too will be okay. Having one happy parent is better than two miserable ones.