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Our story…

Call me “murphy.”

I’m in the midst of one of the biggest life crises anyone could ever have.

I’m a stay-at-home father of two boys, 9 and 12. That’s my primary job, anyway. The eldest was born in March 2004; the youngest in October 2007. My wife, Demi, is an attractive, hard-charging insurance executive in Portland, Oregon. We’ve been together since 1996.

We live in Vancouver, Washington, located just across the scenic Columbia River from Portland, in an affluent neighborhood where the cars are all flashy and the schools are all stellar. We’ve lived here for almost two years, after moving from the small town of Battle Ground, where our family thrived together for ten years.

At present, our boys are really great students. They are both at the top of their classes in the most important subjects, and they appear to be developing a sense of responsibility that will last a lifetime. They are also very civil to each other, something not always expected from male siblings.

The eldest, Lee, has played soccer (not his jam), and has run both cross-country and track. While he isn’t the fastest guy in his sports, I’m especially proud that he’s no quitter. He’s dark-haired and dark-eyed and growing to be quite handsome. He wakes himself every morning at 5:30 am, takes his shower, has breakfast, and gets himself ready for school—all without parental prodding. For at least the last two or three years, I’ve never had to check to make sure his homework has been completed, because it always has. People who’ve come to know him describe him as intellectual, responsible, kind, gentle, and compassionate. Lee is clearly on the path to becoming a great man.

My youngest son, Sam, is physically small for his age, and that’s a challenge for him. I’ve taught him to understand that it won’t be forever. Sam is blond and very fair. His bright eyes are so strikingly blue that his freckle-dusted face often arrests the gaze of passersby. He likes to play soccer, and like his brother, he’s no quitter, either. Third Grade in Washington is the first year for “real” grades, and initial reports from the teacher indicate that he is developing into a top student, just like his brother. His habits are developing well. Although we still need to remind him about homework, he’s developed a wonderful habit of reading for up to an hour after climbing in bed at night. He’s getting results: his teacher said he’s by far the best reader in the class at 105 words per minute with 100% accuracy. Again, some things have been going very well.

Now for the bad news.

In March 2016, Demi chose to be unfaithful to me after 20 years together. Chose. That’s the operative word here. Chose. And not just once. Since then, I’ve been deceived repeatedly—so many times that the situation might best be described as “grotesque.” I’m deeply hurt and angry, my masculinity stomped and crushed. I’ve lost the connection I once had with her, and, although we still live under the same roof, I can’t see a path back to her. I’ve resigned myself to my greatest fear—losing her forever. She was the one and only person in my life whom I ever regarded as my true love, my best friend and my soulmate. She was even my drinking buddy. She’s also the capable mother of my two intelligent, charismatic sons. The entire situation makes me deeply sad. Even if she returned to me repentant and contrite, I’m not sure whether I could ever love her again as a man should love his woman.

Something happened to our little dream. And this is our story.

Our story has all the twists and intrigues of an international spy thriller—it’s a story full of passion and anger, intrusion, mistreatment, violence, and imprisonment. It hasn’t been good for me, for her, or for our children, and I know I must eventually bring it all to an end. My finger is on the trigger, but I can’t seem to pull it…

I will begin our story by owning my own truth—my battles with depression and intellectual boredom; letting myself fall into poor health and indolence; difficulties controlling my emotions during the past seven months; and my attempts to assert control over my wife and my marriage situation when I should have just let go, turned my back, and walked away.

Our story is one of compassion and rage, love and hate, but it’s also about revenge and recklessness. For me, it’s been constant work to drive out the pain and darkness. I have never felt pain like this before. Let me say that again: I have never felt pain like this before. My inner Catholic voice says, “surely, some Good shall come of it.”

There’s an unexpected denouement that has yet to play out—my process of turning the pain and bitterness of my wife’s betrayal into a catalyst for personal change. For the last seven months, I’ve been living a life that wasn’t what I signed up for. It wasn’t what I pictured for my kids. Because of how I’ve reacted to the profound level of trauma thrust on me, I’m a very different person today than I was a short seven months ago. But that’s not all good—I have some new characteristics that are going to make it very difficult for me to trust anyone but myself in the future. I would have imagined that I could have handled this episode in my life gracefully, but I haven’t. Instead, I turned vicious. I regret it, and I’m ashamed about it now, but I wasn’t when I was doing it. In any case, I’m in a better place mentally and physically than I was before, every day refocusing and strengthening a cerebral firewall against the recent past.

Stay tuned.

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Blog Moving

Hello, followers. I hope you’re having a lovely holiday season. I’ve experienced a good deal of personal growth since I began this blog–so much so, I think, that I’ve decided to refocus it and move it to a new location. Hindsight allows me to be more analytical and less visceral. Here’s the new location:

despair2deliverance.wordpress.com

 

Rethinking….

I started this journey with the idea that it would provide me with a way to vent my frustrations, but I’ve changed my mind about that. I’m going to redo this blog as a result. Too much of what I wrote a year ago still sounds quite “raw” to me. I believe a post hoc analysis of events as they unfolded will have a better chance of helping that one person–someone, somewhere–who finds themselves in a similar situation. I’ve done some things right, but I’ve also made some mistakes, and I’ll talk about those as well.

My divorce is still dragging, and I expect it to drag into next year.

So that’s really my goal now: to take the adversity I’ve experienced and roll it into something that contributes to the greater good. I know I’m not alone.

What Happens To the Ones Who Leave?

What Happens To the Ones Who Leave?

This is a really great piece. Please take the time to read it and think about it. Unlike the author, I do have kids. Still, she is right on point with regard to what I’m feeling at this point. I’m terrified for my kids, but I don’t know how to convey any lessons to them from this episode in my life. I am also still holding on to some anger. Today, a Sunday, Demi left me and the boys at 11:30 am to run off to her paramour. No sign of hesitation or remorse. She’s trapped in the world she created, and can’t seem to find the door. But perhaps she doesn’t want to, and is simply oblivious.

Lessons From the End of a Marriage

What happens to the ones who leave?

The ones who lie and deceive and then walk out the door into their next chapter without so much as a glance behind.

Do they feel pain? Guilt? Remorse?

Are they happy with their decisions and in their new lives?

Or do they regret the choices that ended their marriages?

For many of us, we will never know. Even if you still have contact with your ex (or keep tabs on his or her whereabouts), the life they put on display for the world may well be a front. And even if they do come back, crying about how upset they are, do you believe the tears? Or are they of the crocodile variety?

It’s common to wonder how your ex is doing. After all, they were once your partner in life, and how they felt directly impacted you. And now that they’re…

View original post 1,068 more words

Read This If You’re Facing Relationship Collapse

I’ve read a great deal of things since discovering that my wife was cheating on me eleven months ago. At first, of course, I sunk into an emotional abyss and wallowed in self-pity. Eventually, I came around: I knew that I could find solace if I only looked. I looked hard. Really hard. It took me a while, but I found the ONE THING. This is the book:

Bruce Fisher and Robert Alberti, Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends (Oakland, CA: Impact Publishers, 2016, 4th ed.)

This is the single most important work I’ve found to help navigate the uncertainty, the clouded thoughts, and the raw emotional trauma of the pre- and post-divorce process. In my case, there was a section that described the situation between Demi and myself to a T. When I read it, I was so overcome that I threw the book across the room and stared straight ahead in horror. I wish I had seen it earlier. It was a section about rebellion. Her rebellion. And it wasn’t rebellion against me at all. Instead, it was against stress and everything else in her life and in her past. I remember that at one point last summer, when Demi found out that I had sought the company of another woman, Demi had said to me, “I never expected that you would abandon me.”

“But you abandoned me,” I had said.

I didn’t understand then, but now I do. Yes… she abandoned me first, but then I returned the kindness. I shouldn’t have.

I retrieved the book from across the room and read the section again. Could I have seen that coming? Maybe… if I’d only read this first. Then it would have been in the forefront of my mind. If only…

If you’re facing the end or potential end of your love relationship, I strongly suggest you read it.

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The 12/22 Stalking Event

On December 22, 2016, a couple of days after returning from Mexico, I texted my wife while she was at the office and suggested that we meet for a cocktail and dinner at a restaurant of my choice. To my surprise, she agreed.

I selected Cafe N*** in Portland, only a mile and a half from her office. I thought she would appreciate not having to queue up in northbound traffic. She arrived at 7:30, a bit prickly because she assumed I had learned about Cafe N*** from another woman. “How dare you invite me here,” she said as she joined me at a table in the window. She was wrong. I had discovered the restaurant quite at random, and had checked it out once by myself.

Within a few minutes of the first cocktail hitting the table, I saw her cheating partner, J*** O***, come stumbling across the sidewalk as though severely intoxicated, moving in the direction of the window where Demi and I sat. Her back was to him, but O*** made brief eye contact with me, then quickly turned his face away as if to conceal his identity and presence, and abruptly changed his pace and direction toward the curb. The man’s strange behavior caused me to realize that he was in fact stalking us that evening, and that he had likely followed my wife to the restaurant. I asked Demi if anyone knew that she was going to Café N*** that evening, and she answered “no.”

Just then, a well-dressed gentleman entered the restaurant and joined a group of people standing at the bar, just inches from our table. I overheard that man say to his colleagues, “Hey, did you guys see that? That’s J*** O*** from ______ out there. He’s really f*cked up. He’s just standing out there—all f*cked up.”

I was concerned. I attracted that gentleman’s attention and introduced myself and my wife. He was a local attorney, there with several of his colleagues. Neither Demi nor I had met him or the others before that night. At one point, the man described an attempt to speak with J*** O*** before entering the restaurant, but he reported that O*** had difficulty speaking. I also overheard a group of ladies sitting in a small, private, windowed room behind us complain about a man “leering at them through the window.”

I called the police on the way home that night. They took a recorded statement and informed me that they would have to respond while the behavior was happening. They also suggested that, since J*** O*** and my wife work at the same company, I might want to notify the company about the behavior I observed.

I did, through the corporate hotline (it’s a publicly-traded company).

Since then, Demi has told me that J*** O*** knew we were going to the restaurant that night, and that he came there because he “was concerned for her safety.” (!!!)

Really?! We had just returned from a family vacation in Mexico, and she was still coming home to me most nights of the week. Concerned for her safety?! That’s preposterous.

He was behaving like a drunken, possessive psycho.

 

The Process Begins

After being assaulted again on Sunday, January 29, I have decided to proceed with the process of divorcing Demi. Although this Sunday’s incident didn’t involve drinking, it did involve  great deal of anger on her part. She took a swing at me, and I caught her arm before she connected. She made a loud fuss about “don’t touch me!” “Keep your hands off me!” All in front of the kids. Then she came close enough to kiss me and said, “you’re a worthless piece of sh!t…” and spit directly in my face. The source of her anger that day is completely unknown. I haven’t given her any reason to explode like that in quite some time. Well… maybe it was the eye roll when she said she was “going for a walk.” I’d heard that many, many times before. It was never “a walk.”

She did leave, however, and returned about two hours later. Perhaps it was a walk. She also didn’t disappear for very long on Saturday—well, not the normal seven-eight hours.

No matter. I had a conference with my attorney this morning. She suggested I might consider a police report on the assault. I called the county sheriff and discussed it, learning that criminal charges would probably be in order based on a successful investigation, and based on the fact the she’d been arrested for domestic violence in September. I’ve decided to back off for now.

Stay tuned.

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Mexico: December 17

Earlier in the day on December 17, 2016, we both learned that the Domestic Violence IV charge against Demi was to be dropped by the county prosecutor. This was to be our last full day in Puerto Vallarta. We explored the downtown and returned to our hotel with plenty of time for sun on the beach. While the boys played in the surf, I went to get a couple of drinks for Demi and me. When I returned, I found her texting a sexy photo of her legs and feet on the lounge chair. With waves crashing, she didn’t hear me come up behind her. Horrified, I saw her follow the photo with the text, “Come visit me. Start with my toes.”

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked.

After spending eight days in Mexico as a family, we had begun having a good time together. She had just ruined it.

“That wasn’t for your eyes,” she said in a calm and measured voice.

I stormed off.

In that instant, everything became clear: she was living a truly double life. I knew she’d been having an affair, but I’d never quite heard the tone of entitlement like I had that day. I meant nothing to her. Her children meant nothing to her. The only thing she valued was herself and whatever happened to hold her attention at that moment.

I was deeply troubled. I didn’t deserve this; the boys didn’t either. This wasn’t what I signed up for. Somehow, deep inside, I realized that there was something wrong with her. This was all new behavior, a new attitude that had developed during 2016. She had never been this way before. My sense that something was psychologically wrong with Demi was important: up to this point, it helped me endure far more than anyone should have.

But after the events of December 17, something was turning inside me. Something big. I was evolving again.