Tuesday, November 17, 2015

11-17-2015 Entry: My Life is the L Word (not really, but still...)


Good morning my darlings. I hope you are off to a better start than I am on this Tuesday. I want nothing more right now than to go back to bed and pretend like I don’t have to adult today.

Yesterday didn’t go as well as I would have like or as well as I expected it to when I wrote my entry in the morning. I spent the majority of the day going back and forth in rather confrontational tones with Sarah about the house and getting her off the mortgage. Amidst our escalating bickering that was going on she told me that she was going to be removing pretty much every picture she had on Facebook of the two of us. All of our wedding photos, all of our engagement photos, and all of our fun and silly pictures from when we were dating (she didn’t specify at the time but as she has gone and done this I am able to tell you what she removed). As of now there are only 4 pictures of her and I left.

She framed it in such a way that if I wanted some of them I had better go grab copies before they disappeared forever, which really just pissed me off. She has done just about everything in her power to leave behind or erase anything that might serve as a reminder to her of our life together. It sounds silly but there are little knick-knacks and random items that we have collected over the years together. For example, when we went to Madison this summer for our weekend getaway, she bought a coffee mug from the botanical gardens we visited. That mug, for me at least, serves as a reminder of that trip as a whole and the ridiculous time we had walking to the gardens. Although it wasn’t all that fun at the time, the memory of the experience was one we would both come to laugh about. That mug is still sitting in my cabinet. The coffee mug that she bought from the resort we got married at is also sitting in my cabinet. Every picture we had of us in our house was left behind as well.

I cannot express how much this hurts me or how low it makes me feel. I understand that she wishes to move on, and so do I, but her behavior tells me that she also wishes to forget we were ever married. She wishes to forget that we spent years together stumbling our way through our 20’s. I understand not wanting a 100 pictures of you and your ex kissing on Facebook when you are considering dating again. That doesn’t exactly scream “this relationship is totally over” to any would-be suitors, but to leave only 4, seems cruel.

I have the benefit that my profile on Facebook that includes all of our pictures over the years has been deactivated and my new profile contains only pictures since my transition to full time, so I do not have to worry about this. Regardless, I would never take down my wedding photos like it was some shameful thing to be hidden or not discussed. I am, or at least was, very proud to have married her. I am, or at least was, very content with that being a known and understood part of my past. I am the person I am today in no small part because of our relationship together, and the same can be said of her… yet I seem to be the only one willing to acknowledge that publicly.

Sure, she tells me that she has fond memories and that she won’t pretend like we were never married or together, but her actions send the completely opposite message. The only benefit of the doubt that I can grant her is that perhaps she is still feeling guilty about what she did and how she (in her words) failed me. Maybe she doesn’t want the pictures, or coffee mugs, or little knick-knacks we collected over the years because it will only serve to remind her of how she betrayed the person who loved her more than anyone in the world. Maybe those items are as painful if not more painful for her to be around as they are for me.

Which it is, I’m not certain. Is she this cold-hearted person who wants to pretend like our 7 years of love and 4.5 years of marriage didn’t happen or that it meant nothing to her? Or is she still the woman who loves me, feels that she failed me, and cannot stand the thought of being reminded of that perceived failure? I wish I could resolutely say it was one or the other, but I won’t lie, I honestly don’t know. She has shown me colors in the past few weeks I didn’t think she was even capable of. She has brought a person to the surface that I wasn’t even aware existed within her. Her capacity to be hurtful, selfish, and uncaring about my feelings has been astounding lately, so I’m not positive who she is anymore.

Is she the woman I’ve known and loved all these years? The one I know better than anyone? Or is she this stranger I’ve had the unfortunate experience to get to know over the last few weeks? Where does she end and her defense mechanisms begin? How deep does the rabbit hole go, so to speak?

These are the thoughts and questions that keep me awake at night and the ones that drive my sub-conscious to continuously dream about her. I have dreamt about her nearly every night since she had the affair. She is the last thing I think about before I fall asleep and the first thing I remember upon waking. There is a verse in a Meg Meyers song that truly encapsulates how I feel (you can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8imFxu4Jbo ):

You're weak, broken in a motel

You blink, tears are falling down, down, down

And you're free, free inside your own hell

You speak, someone let me out, out, out

And I can't stop this pain, it only grows

 Tell me why I always feel alone

 And I can't fight this feeling anymore

 Show me what I'm really living for

The part about being free in your own hell is the one that really gets me. That’s how I feel. I am free now that we are no longer married. I am free to be who I want to be, go where I want, do what I want, and see who I want, but that freedom exists within my own personal hell.

We studied a concept called ambiguous loss in grad school, and basically there are two kinds of ambiguous loss. One is where they are physically present but psychologically absent (think stroke victim who can’t really speak or understand what’s going on but is still there physically). The other is when they are physically absent but are psychologically present (think of a child who goes missing, they are constantly on their parents’ minds, but physically absent). Although this concept isn’t usually applied to divorce, I’m getting a crash course in that second type.

She is physically gone, but she is still so present in my mind. I can barely go 10 minutes without some thought about her popping into my head, whether I want it to or not. The first thing I become aware of in the morning is that she isn’t there anymore. I hardly have a conversation anymore without her being brought up, either by me or others. It’s completely awful. Couple that ambiguous loss with the fact that she is expunging her social media of my very existence (she’s even already changed her name on FB back to her maiden name) and you can probably see why this is so difficult.

I hold no illusions that it isn’t over, because it absolutely is, but it’s starting to feel like that awful song “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye:

So when we found that we could not make sense

Well you said that we would still be friends

But I'll admit that I was glad that it was over

 

But you didn't have to cut me off

Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing

And I don't even need your love

But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough

No you didn't have to stoop so low

Have your friends collect your records and then change your number

I guess that I don't need that though

Now you're just somebody that I used to know

I hate that those words are resonating with me so much right now. It’s truly heartbreaking to think she’s just somebody that I used to know. /sigh

So, I’ve been watching the L Word lately because if I’m going to be a lesbian I might as well see how it’s portrayed in the media (I understand that TV and reality are far from the same thing, but one often influences the other) and in that show there is a love dynamic in the first season I’ve really identified with. Well, there are actually a couple (more on that later), but the biggest one so far has been the catastrophic relationship between Jennie and Tim.

For those that don’t know this or haven’t seen the show, their story so far has gone like this (I’m still in season one as an FYI): Jennie moves to California to be with Tim because they are in love. Tim asks Jennie to marry him. She says yes. Jennie ends up falling for Marina (who is very alluring woman) and in the heat of passion she sleeps with her (a few times, I think). Tim finds out, and flips out (naturally). They have this awful situation that they make worse by impulsively getting married. Jennie leaves Tim to wander around without any explanation of where she is or where she is going the day after they are married (forgive me if I’m mixing up details here, it’s been awhile since I watched these episodes). Eventually Jennie shows up at the house, Tim is fucking pissed, they argue, it’s awful, but they eventually decide she can live with him in her studio (because Tim still loves her, even if he hates her). Jennie meets a new g/f, things are super awkward, and eventually Tim has had enough of her flaunting her relationships in his face while they are still married.

So, hopefully some of the elements of this fictional situation are easy for you to correlate to my situation. Instead of a heterosexual relationship being wrecked and torn apart by a lesbian affair, it’s the inverse. A (sort of) lesbian relationship is wrecked and torn apart by a heterosexual affair. Also, I was the one who moved to be with Sarah, not the other way around. The rest, however, is spot on, and I really empathize with Tim’s position.

He must live with the woman he hates to love and he has to watch her go off making new relationships with members of the opposite sex (to him) all while knowing that it’s because she is attracted to women and not men, like him (or so he thinks). He makes concessions to give her space to go on dates with these people even though it kills him to do so. He tries to move on but Jennie’s selfish actions and insensitivity to his justifiably hurt feelings makes that almost impossible. Jennie insists on talking to him about how happy she is and how great her life is while he is left trying to put together the pieces of the life she demolished, practically overnight. Their relationship continues to devolve and become more and more hostile as time goes by until it becomes a necessity for Jennie to move out. Hopefully it’s easy to see why I empathize with Tim, since he and I have shared many similar experiences.

The next story that I have identified with is Tina and Bette. I identify with Tina in this regard because she is caught almost completely off guard by discovering that Bette has been having an affair; an affair that was brought on by Bette not being open about how she wasn’t sure if she loved Tina anymore. Even while in therapy where it was appropriate to discuss this, Bette is unwilling to confess the feelings she has, so she pretends it’s all okay with Tina (leaving her to believe that they are still fine and mostly happy). Eventually Bette finds herself sexually attracted to someone she works with and is unable to resist the urge to sleep with them. Tina figures out the affair and is fucking devastated. She decides to leave their house and stay with a friend.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten in the show, so I don’t know how this story plays out or if it will continue to mirror my experience, but so far, it’s been difficult to watch, honestly. It hits so close to home. The episode ended with Tina in sobbing painful tears as she tries to process how the woman she loves and has been faithful to for so many years has betrayed her and slept with someone else instead of just confessing that she wanted out of the relationship. Again hopefully it is easy to see why I would identify with Tina.

So, that’s kind of where I am. Sarah is gone, yet is constantly on my mind. I’m discovering that my experience is not entirely unique (even if it’s only a fictional representation that I’m identifying with) and I’m struggling with Sarah’s desire to completely expunge our past from her life. We were able to come to an amicable agreement about the mortgage situation last night, but what resulted from that interaction was Sarah suggesting that we talk to each other less. She basically told me to stop calling/texting her, even though I was only ever responding to her messages/calls and was only really discussing business we must take care of before we can be truly separated.

It hurt for her to suggest without saying that she thought I was being clingy and needed to back off. The fact of the matter is right now, I’m honestly considering never speaking to her again after we are finished with the business piece of this divorce. If she wants to pretend like our marriage and our 7 years together never happened or didn’t matter, then why shouldn’t I pretend like she doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter? She says she wants us to be friends after we take some time away, but I don’t know that I want to be her friend anymore.

I don’t think I’m in any stable mental state to make that decision yet, but I’m keeping it in my back pocket for the time being. If she wants to be my friend then she will have to prove she is worthy of that friendship, otherwise what’s the point? She’s already betrayed my trust, kept things from me that she should have been honest about, and broken my heart again and again, so why put myself at risk again?

There is no feeling in the entire world as disheartening or dreadful than to feel your love and affection for someone die within you. It’s like a piece of you dies with it. Your heart turns hard and cold, and you feel as though you’ll never love or trust again. The walls come up and guards are posted all around it to make sure no one ever gets inside. My heart was stolen and then broken to pieces by the person I allowed further inside than any before. What remains must be protected and hidden away if there is any hope of healing or survival. Can that happen if we are friends? Can I be around her while at the same time feeling this coldness within, or has this relationship been destroyed beyond repair?  I honestly don’t know.

-Emma

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