Monday, February 8, 2016

2-9-2016 Entry: The Unfortunate Reality of Estrangement

I should be here writing about the wonderful things going on my life right now. There are so many good things that have happened in recent weeks and so many exciting experiences I’ve had, yet I can’t think about anything but this rift that exists now between my ex-wife and I.

My last entry was about me dealing with the trauma of my sexual assault and rape as a young child, but what I didn’t really delve into was how that conversation with my therapist even began. You see, all of that unpacking of the trauma I was holding onto about the rape was triggered by an experience with my ex. I have recently cut my hair and in my excitement of the new look I had, I allowed myself to let down my guard with the ex. She had been texting me about money issues regarding our divorce and amidst our discussion of those monetary issues I decided to ask her what she thought of my new haircut.

I don’t really know why I did it except, perhaps, out of habit. She has been the go-to person these past 7 years to ask about my hair, and so, it felt natural to ask her about it. Sure, I was seeking to rekindle some degree of friendliness between her and I after months of frigid and indifferent communication. She had done some pretty nice things when I allowed her to borrow the car while I went to see my family in North Carolina, so I thought that she and I could maybe begin to rebuild the tattered friendship her actions during the month of November had all but destroyed.

So, I asked her what she thought about my haircut. I knew if anyone would give me an honest opinion that I could likely rely on, it was her. She had never steered me wrong when it came to personal appearances, so I felt safe asking her. I was wrong, apparently, in that assumption. Not only did she hardly give me a response to my inquiry about the new haircut but she went on to set a very firm boundary that she wasn’t interested in being friendly. She gave me the same increasingly hollow promise that she wanted us to be friends one day but said today wasn’t that day.

And that’s what triggered it. Her response was so cold and so abrupt that it left me feeling like I didn’t matter. She couldn’t even be bothered to comment on an innocent enough question without making sure I knew how little I meant to her. I wasn’t her friend. She didn’t care about me. I didn’t matter. My need for honest feedback didn’t matter. Even just asking her was me getting in the way of her business about money.

Can you see how all of that brought up the awful feelings I’d been burying for years over the sexual abuse I experienced? Can you see why, when talking to my therapist about this experience with my ex, her question of “Who made you feel like you didn’t matter? You made you feel worthless?” would result in me finally addressing this ancient trauma?

In that sense, I suppose I am grateful for my ex-wife’s cold and somewhat (in my opinion) unnecessarily cruel response to an innocuous question. It knocked loose a rock in the dam of emotions I’d been trying to keep locked away regarding my rape, and that loosened rock created a chain reaction, ultimately releasing those emotions to finally be dealt with. Regardless of that, the experience itself was still quite awful.

This person who I used to love, who used to love me, who I spent 7 years in a close relationship with, wanted nothing to do with me. The most confusing part? She was the one who fucked it all up to begin with. I felt, and still feel like I am being punished for the sins of another person. I am the one serving the sentence for the crime that was committed against me. She’s the one who cheated after 7 years of monogamy. She’s the one who torpedoed our marriage and our friendship because she was too immature to just own up to her desire to get a divorce and yet, I am the one who must suffer estrangement. I am the one who has to be told we can’t be friends? What in the fuck is that shit?

I really need someone to explain this to me because I really, truly, do not understand it. If the shoe was on the other foot, if I was the one who had had a one-night stand with a coworker and did all of the numerous other awful and selfish things she has done to me over the past few months, it would make sense. All of this would make sense. I would be the asshole who didn’t deserve her friendship so it would make sense that she wouldn’t want me in her life… but I’m not the asshole.

 I haven’t been entirely blameless, especially when she was leading me on with false hope that maybe we could salvage our marriage, but my transgressions truly pale in comparison. Wanting to read her messages with the guy she fucked and was continuing to text while she was allegedly reconsidering her desire for a divorce (when all she was really doing was buying time to figure out if she could afford to divorce me AND keep the house) was hardly unreasonable given the circumstances. I couldn’t trust her and I needed to know if she was continuing to two-time me if I ever had the hope of truly forgiving her and one day trusting her again. It’s what the wounded spouse almost always does when they discover an affair. But I gave that up quickly enough when the divorce decision was final. I stopped trying to get into her phone and invade her privacy because it was over and it didn’t matter anymore.

So, why then, am I the one being treated as if I’m the cheater who destroyed our marriage and then torpedoed our friendship? Why, when I graciously offer her opportunity after opportunity to prove that she isn’t the horrible monster I’m afraid she has become, does she so spectacularly fuck up again and again? Why does she think she gets to determine whether or not we get to be friends when she was the one who destroyed the friendship by her selfish and uncaring actions?

In the end, it will be me who decides if she’s worthy of forgiveness after everything that’s happened, not her, but that doesn’t change the fact that this situation continues to suck. I miss my best friend. I miss having her as part of my life. I miss being able to be normal and nice and friendly with her, and I do not understand for a single moment why things have to be this way. Why do we have to have this distant, cold, and indifferent relationship we have now when I don’t want that at all? I don’t want us to despise each other. I don’t want to hate her. I don’t want to think she is some coldhearted monster who only cares about herself and has somehow suddenly expunged any feelings of kindness or love she ever felt for me. I don’t want that to be the way things are.

I am finally happy to be alone. I am finally happy that we aren’t married. I am finally able to embrace my new life as polyamorous Emma with open arms and enjoy all the new experiences I am having. I love going to the bar on a Sunday night only to meet someone new who is totally hot for me (not to mention fucking gorgeous/sexy) and quickly takes a physically affectionate shine to me. It is so fun to kiss someone I met 2 hours earlier and to have them kiss me because that’s just how things go in the realm of non-monogamy. I am happy. My life is great. I’m finally getting to be me, truly me. I am uninhibited Emma!

I got a tattoo two weeks ago. I’m piercing my nose on Wednesday. I’m getting a second tattoo on Thursday. My poly g/f is coming over tomorrow morning to wake me up and spend a few hours with me. I have so many new friends and am growing closer to many of them. I have crushes left and right, and I have a few people crushing on me too. Everything is awesome!!!

Except one thing… my relationship with my former best friend and wife. You know the song that goes, “if you’re having girl problems I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems but a bitch aint one” by Jay Z? Well I have 99 amazing things going in my life, but my best friend aint one.

I don’t want my marriage back. I don’t want our old relationship back. I don’t even want to see her all that often, but I absolutely wish she and I could talk like the friends we used to be. We even managed it once after she moved out. We spent the day together and it was wonderful. We were so easy with one another. It was as if we were still the friends we always were, even if we weren’t lovers anymore. That’s all I want. To be able to talk with her like friends and have it be okay and have it not mean anything. I don’t want her back, I don’t even know that I love her the way I used to. I suspect I will always love her to some degree because how could I not? She was my wife and I would have given her anything she asked for before all of this happened. That doesn’t go away, even if she hurt me and has been cold/distant in the last few months. But even if those feelings of old love will never go away, they don’t rule me anymore.

I finally see our relationship for what it was, a mess of codependence where neither one of us was truly fulfilled. She didn’t want to be with a woman, even if she fell in love with one who just happened to look like a man. I didn’t want to upset her because of old programming caused by past trauma, so I was holding myself back on account of her. Neither one of us were truly happy together, even if we loved one another. I see that now and I’ve made my peace with that. I am so much happier now than I was then. I love getting to be me and taking care of myself. I finally don’t need anyone to validate who I am to be confident in myself. I don’t need the presence of another person to make me feel whole or complete. Nothing is truly missing while I am home alone.

Sure, I still get lonely from time to time and I definitely need human interaction in order to be happy, but I don’t need it in order to feel complete. I’m not trying to fill a hole inside of me with the love or attention or validation of another. I can be Emma all by herself and be as happy as a clam in its shell. It’s wonderful and it’s a first for me. I’m me and that’s enough. I can be me and be beautiful and smart and accomplished and no one else has to tell me that in order for me to believe it. I am those things and being alone has allowed me the room to finally come into alignment with that.

But I miss her. I miss her smile. I miss her laugh. I miss being her friend. I wish over and over again that we could have ended our marriage that Wednesday night before she cheated on me. I asked her to. I asked her if she wanted a divorce and knew that the answer was yes but I didn’t make the decision that I should have. I should have asked for the divorce knowing that she wanted it, but I didn’t. Had I just insisted that we get a divorce, that we just figure out a way to lovingly part ways, we could still be friends now. That’s all we really were anyways, just friends and roommates who slept in the same bed. There was no sex and almost no physical affection that lovers share.

Things could be so different than they are now had I just insisted then that we end things like adults, but the past cannot be undone. I want so much to salvage that lost opportunity at friendship but for some unknowable reason she will not allow that to happen. Just as I try to close the gap between us, as I try to rebuild a bridge that we can meet in the middle on she does everything she can to undermine that effort, and I don’t know why. It’s truly heartbreaking.

She promised me time and again that she wouldn’t do what she is doing now; that she wouldn’t treat me like I didn’t exist and like our 7 years together didn’t happen, but she is breaking that promise, like so many of the ones before. Part of me wishes I could just shut out the love I have for her forever. That I could somehow never want to see her again and not be bothered by it, but I can’t. I miss her. Despite myself, I miss my friend.

I want her to see how happy I am. I want to see how happy she is. We promised each other that we wanted one another to find happiness. We laid in bed that last night she lived here and we told each other such sweet things and I have to believe that she meant the words she spoke to me. I told her I wanted her to find happiness. She told me she wanted me to find happiness. We promised to be friends and to be happy for one another as our paths parted in different directions. I am happy now and I really truly hope that she is too. I just want to see that she is. I want to have the comfort in my heart to know that she has found happiness in her new life as I have found happiness in my own.

That’s what friends do, they are happy for one another when their lives improve. I want to see her and know that she is happy now. I want to share in her happiness like I always did. There were few things in this world that warmed my heart more than seeing her truly happy. I loved when she was happy. I want to know that some beauty has come from all of this pain; that out of the ashes of our destroyed marriage that beautiful flowers of happiness have taken root in both of our lives.

I want her to see that I’m okay; that everything we went through made me a stronger person. I want her to know that it’s okay to let go of the past. I want her to understand that there is no need to lead separate lives divided by a cold barrier of indifference; that it’s okay for us to share in each other’s happiness. Maybe I don’t want to know every detail of her love-life but it would make me so happy if she could just be my friend and tell me that she’s found happiness. I want to see her smile. I want to know she is okay. I want to be happy for her and I want her to be happy for me.

If I could have that, if I could find some peace and some warmth between us, I believe wholeheartedly that I’d have 100 amazing things in my life instead of just 99. I believe that I’d finally be able to let go of the past myself and truly move on with my new life. If I could know that she and I were both truly okay, I could finally close the last chapter of Robert’s life and dedicate all of our time to the new novel of Emma’s uninhibited life.


  1. There are many things that could be said about this. It seems to me that she is riddled with guilt about what happened and her way of dealing is to be cold and distant. Because you are the better person that doesn't sling negativity makes her feel even more guilty and ashamed of what she had done and she, in turn, lashes out. What you are doing now is the best way to heal.

    Joanne Krueger @ Kurtz and Blum

  2. Relationships are so difficult. I feel that with every passing year I have a new relationship struggle. And it is actually not in any romantic sense. I will have a long disagreement with my dad and we will not talk for long periods of time or I will have an argument with a long time friend and will not speak.

    Stephanie Waters @ Chastaine Law