Trying to move on from this past year
I’m new to this support group and needed to find some people who could relate or understand what I have been feeling this past year. I have a difficult time taking advice from my friends and family (even when they have good intentions) but they have not been through what I have been through. They give me advice to move on and just focus on unicorns, rainbows, and rays of sunshine, but the reality is I don’t think they understand the betrayal I feel or the sadness and anger that comes when your spouse turns their back on you.
Here is my story:
I was married to a man in the military for nearly 10 years (it was 2 weeks shy of our 10 year anniversary that my ex was able to spit out that he wanted a divorce). We got married young, I was 20 and he was 21. However, that did not matter to us. We truly loved each other and I like to think the sacrifices we both had to make as a military couple made us even stronger. The military life style is not an easy one; however, I knew this before we married (my dad is a retired Marine). I knew the oath my ex had taken to serve. I loved him even more b/c he was so proud to be a Marine and I was very proud to be a Marine wife.
The hardships of military life became very apparent in our first year of marriage (we weren’t married even a year) when the events of 9/11 sent him off to war. I knew at this time that my ex could come home in a flag-draped coffin or return to me missing an arm or leg. When he did arrive back safely, I knew it was a blessing b/c the reality was that there were other military servicemen and servicewomen who weren’t so fortunate… nor were their families. When I heard of these stories (my ex also lost a buddy due to an IED) in Iraq, my heart ached. I counted my blessings every time my ex returned. With each deployment to Iraq, we missed and loved each other more and more. We also appreciated our time together even more so when he made it home safe and sound.
In 2009 I felt like we were out of the “woods” (worrying about him getting shot in Iraq) when he volunteered for Recruiting Duty. It was 10 years into his Marine Corps career and he was having a difficult time picking up rank (getting promoted) before the Marine Corps would kick him out. His decision to do a hardship duty (Recruiting) did help his career. As soon as we arrived to the mid-west (which would be our Recruiting Duty home for 3 years), he picked up rank. Again, I was proud of him b/c I knew he was willing to do whatever it took to stay in the Corps, which he was so proud of.
Our drive across country for this next chapter in his career and both our lives felt like a good change of pace for us. We had a positive outlook that no matter how hard the next 3 years would be, we could make it together no matter what. However, our move to a place that is cold ½ the year, was quite an adjustment for the both of us (we both were born and raised in warm, sunny states where you could wear flip-flops and shorts all year long). Now, we were out of our comfort zones… we had no family close by. We no longer had our good, close friends we could just go hang out with after work or vent to over coffee. Also, we weren’t near a large military base where we could draw support from the military community when duty got hard. The hardest thing for me was leaving my job of 7 years from an awesome company, where I loved getting up and going to work each day. However, we both knew that it only made sense to stick together and for me to follow him. 3 years would have been way too long to be apart. I thought love was all we needed when we knew this duty would be rough.
And, it did get rough. I had a hard time finding a decent job (everyone was looking for jobs at this time due to the economy and unemployment was at its peak). It began to take a toll on me that I was not as productive as I had been before our move. On top of this, my ex worked long, awful hours trying to get kids to join the Corps or to at least qualify! After 2 years into RD, I began to notice my ex becoming more and more distant. He now spent more time texting on his phone and iPad (even when he was home with me). When I tried to convey to him that I was sad b/c I didn’t have a good job or that I felt like we were growing apart, he began to get upset and tell me I had problem. (I had problem with only seeing my ex 30 minutes a day (only for dinner and he was texting at the table??? Yes, I had a problem with that!)
Date nights that used to be once a week or every two weeks became non-existent. He began getting upset over the littlest things like spilling water and in turn he would shout at me if I told him it wasn’t a big deal. Yet, the more I tried to get him to spend time with me so I felt a little better about how difficult things were, he told I needed to see a counselor. He said I was the one with the problems. And, I did go see a counselor because he was able to make me feel like it was my problem (not ours).
Shortly after seeing a counselor for a couple months, I had heard from people at my old company (back home) that there was a job opening that was perfect for me and they would love to have me back. It made me think. Since my ex was always working and unable to spend much time with me due to his job, why don’t I go back a year early? I could have a great job again and save money while we are apart by staying with my folks. This way we have a “head start” when he goes back to the fleet… we’ll be able to afford a house with me making good money again and we can then finally try to get pregnant b/c we’ll feel stable again.
I discussed this over with my ex a couple different times as I had always been honest with how I felt and valued his opinions and advice. I never made these kinds of decisions on my own. I told him I wouldn’t go if he didn’t want me to. In my heart, I didn’t want him to be all alone but was also considering what was best for the two of us. I really thought that the year apart would allow him to focus on work and not feel pressured to have to spend time with me b/c I was unhappy on Recruiting Duty. I thought it would benefit us in the long run to save $ again and so I could go back to build a career for myself. My ex didn’t seem super excited about it (we both knew it would suck being apart) but he did agree he missed me working for my old company and we would be able to save $ for a home. After a couple weeks going back and forth on the issue, we agreed it would benefit us more than hurt us.
Boy, was I wrong about that! When I first drove back across country and started working again, it was great. My ex and I facetime’d on our iPads every night. I believe the distance helped us to appreciate and miss each other again like it had done for us in the past. I would call him on my way into work each morning and then we would see each other’s faces at night (thanks to technology)! But, two months after I left, something happened (which today I am in the dark about). All of a sudden, my ex stopped calling and didn’t have the “time” to facetime in the evenings. My texts began to get responded to hours later (which was odd) and then he stopped taking my calls completely. When I suspected something was going on and questioned if he was cheating he denied it and blamed it on him being too busy at work. The more things started to seem off, I decided to fly back to see him unexpectedly. I flew, got a rental car, and went in our home before he got off work. When I went through the house I saw all our pictures were taken down off the walls and his wedding ring was in our jewelry box. I was hurt like I had never felt before. I felt sick to my stomach and was on a mission to find something that would explain this (I expected to find a sign of another woman being in my house). But, I didn’t.
When he arrived home, he was shocked I had just shown up. He had this look on his face like “Oh, crap!” I confronted him about the pictures being down and his wedding ring and his answer was once again “work.” He claimed he was so stressed from working long hours and trying to make his quota, plus we had been not getting along since I began questioning the changes in his behavior that this was the reason he took the pictures down and stopped wearing his wedding ring. He then admitted he was unsure what he wanted but thought we would be okay once he was finished with Recruiting Duty. I did notice he would go in the bathroom with his phone (I can only assume he was telling someone or people I had just shown up and he would be unavailable until I left).
After being in town just for a couple days to surprise him and try to figure things out, and talk to him, I had to return to my job. When I did, he started texting me more and more like when times were good between us. He sent me “I miss you pookie” messages and “I love you stinky” which were all playful names he used for me when we were very much in love. I thought we were just going through our darkest hour and things would get better if we visited each other more often and things will be great once he was done with Recruiting Duty. I was wrong. After about a month (Thanksgiving weekend), I received a text message that he didn’t love me anymore. Just like that. A text message saying our almost 10 year marriage was over.
Of course, I jumped on a plane and flew back again. I had to hear it, not read it. I deserved that much, at least I thought. This time he anticipated my arrival. He put shoes behind the front door so when I came in they would be moved. Sneaky bastard! I did find a Bath and Body Works lotion in his truck (not mine) which started to make sense. For the past month I saw online in our bank statement he was going to new, expensive restaurants and taking out more cash than normal so I couldn’t see all his activities). It should have been a red flag (maybe a rocket launcher going off) when I noticed he was dining out more and going to places he didn’t normally eat with the other Recruiters. I felt it in my heart, he was taking another woman out and the proof was right in front of my face… she had left her lotion in his truck.
Like the month before, I waited for him to show up and when he did the confrontation didn’t even last 10 minutes. I asked him to explain things to me and to look me in the eyes and tell me he didn’t love me anymore. He couldn’t. All he repeated over and over was that “he had changed” and the “MC had changed him.” I asked him several times if this is due to him meeting another woman. He denied it. I could tell that the man I had been married to for almost 10 years was lying and couldn’t look me in the eyes b/c he knew he was guilty (he would never admit to infidelity b/c the military frowns on this greatly).
I told him I was willing to come back to save our marriage (even if that meant I didn’t have a job). He declined the offer. I told him we should try marriage counseling, he declined this as well. I begged for him not to throw away our 10 year marriage and told him I was willing to be strong for the two of us even if he didn’t have the energy. It meant nothing to him. I could only see the blank, emptiness in his eyes. He had no emotion for me other than he wanted me out. He couldn’t even flat out say he wanted a divorce, I had to ask him. He told me “sure, whatever.” It was then I realized the man sitting across from me was a coward. “Semper Fidelis” or “Always Faithful” are not words he lives by! I tossed my wedding right at him and the diamond cross pendant I was wearing (he got me as an anniversary present one year b/c I have a strong Faith). People tell me today I should have saved my jewelry to pawn it, but I threw it at him b/c I felt so hurt and betrayed. In my eyes, there was no value in my wedding ring anymore b/c it was no longer a symbol of his love for me.
When I returned home and to work (I began working harder than ever to keep my mind busy), I waited for divorce papers. Today, I’m embarrassed to say I actually I hoped that the delay was that he was unsure and wouldn’t really follow through with the divorce. I had given him so many years and sacrificed jobs, school, etc. to meet the needs of his career. I didn’t want him to give up on us so easily. After waiting 2 months, I received a Mexican Divorce Decree by e-mail from him stating he was so sorry, sorry he ruined my life, and that he would never forget everything I had done for him. The Mexican Divorce Decree threw me into a fit of rage. Who had he turned into???? Neither of us were Mexican residents or Mexican Citizens and the dang paperwork was ½ in Spanish! I barely can say two words in Spanish! As soon as I looked it over I realized he sent this b/c he wanted me to have nothing (our property, $ from our accounts, his retirement, etc.) He wanted to sweep me under the rug and just disappear so he can move on quickly. It was then I realized with a document like this, there was no way I would be able to reason with him so I filed for divorce legitimately.
The divorce took 8 months to be finalized. During the divorce process and still now, it seems all the odds have been against me. My ex somehow was able take me off insurance when he wasn’t supposed to by Court order (I found out when I received a dental bill and my insurance was denied). Furthermore, he cleaned out the account that had the majority of “our money” (the one I was piling $ into for a white-picket-fence-dream). Not to mention, our presiding judge had been in the Marine Corps for 30 years, so I feel he was very lenient on my ex in court. My ex has also decided he doesn’t have to abide by court order and can pay alimony when he wants or in the amount he sees fit. Today, he is behind and is constantly short each month. I’ve only decided to take alimony from him b/c he got away with cleaning out our account. I would much rather have no ties to him!
Many people have opinions on whether I should continue to fight him in court (the principle of it) or just let it all go and trust that this will come back to him full-circle. Since I needed to start over financially, I threw my hands in the air and just agreed for him to keep our stuff, etc. Those material things were just reminders of the life I shared with him, so they don’t matter to me anymore. More than anything, all I wanted was my maiden name to be restored and I wanted it back sooner than it being delayed b/c I had to keep fighting him in court.
My ex hurt me in a way I can’t express. There are days I just want to forget and move on and then I have the days where a part of me says I can’t let him continue to treat me like crap just b/c he wanted a new life with a new wife. (Yes, he’s married to a woman who sends me checks with smiley face stickers on the back of the envelopes). I keep wondering how I deserved any of this. What did I do that was so terrible? What did I not give enough of? I know in my heart this could have all played out differently. He could have been honest and forthcoming with his feelings. He could have been a decent man and said “Hey, take half of the savings and checking and your belongings from the house.” However, I know I can’t focus on “what coulda’, shoulda’, mighta’ been” b/c it only brings me down.
I’m slowly moving forward and although it is financially and emotionally difficult, I continue to count my blessings. I am surrounded by family who care deeply for me and want to see me healthy and happy. I have friends that try to pick me up when I have my rough days. And, I have met someone who treats me like I know I deserve. This special person is patiently supporting me and understands the baggage I carry. He really cares about my happiness and does everything in his power to show me each day. Although, I have trust issues now, I'm learning to place my complete trust in God instead of that "one person." It is He who sent me back to just the right place I need to be. And it is He, who has placed just the right people in my life.
I'm sorry to hear your mother went through similiar experiences as me... and I'm sorry you had to witness it. I also lost my appetite due to the stress (especially when I was states away trying to figure out what was happening). I lost 20 pounds in 3 months. I was 2 pounds away from weighing under pounds. People at work commented how unhealthy I looked and began leaving food on my desk at work. My desk looked like a food donation drop off for a food bank! It was terrible.
As far as military benefits, I don't have them anymore (once the divorce was final). It amazes me that he was able to take me off insurance by either a Mexican Divorce Decree or by his words. I'm not completely sure how he did, but I can assume it's by showing them a Mexican document. I do have insurance through work (which I should have gotten as soon as I suspected he was up to something). I sometimes wished I had been smarter rather than simply believing that the man I had been married to for almost 10 years would never betray me... never cut me from insurance before the divorce was final or clean out our account without leaving my half. I will say this, my eyes are wide open these days!
I am glad to hear your mom is with a person who reflect peace in himself. I think this quality is important and which is why I am now with someone completely opposite of my ex. I'm now with someone who is quick to listen and slow to anger. I'm with someone who tries to communicate rather than talk down or at me. And, I'm also with someone who doesn't just point fingers and shuts down.
I pray your mom is happier than ever and has been able to recover financially. Thanks for sharing your mom's story with me so I know there are others who have gone through similiar situations.
Thank you for your support. I'm holding onto my Faith and I know it will help me to see through this!
Continue looking to the present and future and give no energy to the past. You know that he what he did was disgusting and dishonest. But don't think about it anymore. Look to taking care of yourself, your needs and make your future great.
I'm glad that you have someone that is appreciating you. It is awesome to have people in your life that can uplift you when you can't do it yourself.
I'm sad that this was your past...but He has a better plan for you now. Keep relying on God to get you through those bad days.
You offered to work on things and he didn't...even when he was the one messing around. I did the same and I don't regret it. I wanted it to work out...despite the pain that my stbx caused me. Now I can't ask anymore...I let God take it. My pain...her pain and if we are to ever be together - that's on Him.
Hang in there...the future is yours, not his and it's up to YOU to take it back.