Tag Archives: divorce

Learning to Trust – Again

As earlier promised, I am no longer publishing posts about my relationship with Brad. While this post has Brad’s name tagged in it, is categorized under “Dating” (among others) and I briefly mention him and a recent issue, this post is about me – not us.

 

I recently almost destroyed my relationship with Brad. We are on the mend after quite a few long days of talking about what happened, discussing how to move forward and taking things one step at a time.

I became angry over something he did, grew silent in my fury, eventually threw out hurtful accusations and cried burning tears as I watched my relationship deteriorate.

All because of a lack of trust. A lack of trust on my part.

Eight months I’ve been with this wonderful man and I still have yet to learn to trust him. He has done nothing to destroy my trust. He has been kind and patient through all the garbage I’ve given him. I’m no good with math, but probably 90% of the troubles we have had come from me, and about 75% of those can be attributed to my lack of trust.

Little by little the trust I’ve given to people close to me has been ripped apart. It started with a husband who (among other things earlier in the marriage) surprised me on our 3rd wedding anniversary with a request for a divorce. Later, a friend who’d become as close to me as a sister abruptly stopped talking to me and left my life after a small disagreement we had. Then it was a boyfriend who returned home from a trip with a confession that he’d kissed another girl. Child-less girlfriends stopped including me in nights out. People in leadership roles abused their power with the mantra of “ask later for forgiveness.”

I’ve learned to rely on very few people for very little. And now this beautiful creature is placed in my life and I’m having to re-learn how to trust him. I can’t count how many times I’ve apologized to him for screwing things up. I’m sure I sound like a broken record by now, saying I’m sorry, that I’m trying so hard, that I’ll do better next time, that I’m learning.

But I’m so scared. Scared of truly opening up and being myself. Because I’ve lost people who weren’t happy with who I was. And I know – I KNOW – that I’m not supposed to care about people who don’t like me for who I am. But I let them get close to me, I let them in my heart and they blasted their way out. I’m still mending the holes they left behind. It’s no easy task, just as I’m sure it’s not easy to watch and wait as the person you love learns to live, trust and love again.

It’s instinct now for me to look for the worst-case scenarios in my life and relationships. It’s worked for a long time, protecting my heart. But it’s not helping me now.

I’m trying. Really I am. It just takes time.

Real Tears about Real Thoughts about Imaginary Scenarios

I have to keep reminding myself that things are different this time.

That I am pregnant and subject to big mood swings that I don’t recognize as mood swings until later, sometimes days later.

That Brad has never said an unkind word to or about me.

That Brad doesn’t play head games to get what he wants.

That everything Brad says and does is intentional and uplifting.

That any frustration I feel about things Brad does or doesn’t do is a byproduct of my divorce from Jake, not Brad purposefully pissing me off.

That Brad is not Jake

Somehow in the process of “growing up” I picked up a horrible habit of equating love with physical touch. “He hasn’t kissed me in (insert stupidly small amount of time here), I must have done something wrong/he doesn’t love me anymore.” And I learned how to play head games with myself, psyching myself out about something because he crossed an invisible line I’d drawn. “If he doesn’t do this, then I won’t do that. If he can’t figure out that something is wrong (or WHAT is wrong), then I’m not going to cheat and TELL him what it is.”

I don’t want to be that person. I don’t remember when I started thinking that way, but it’s likely it started after I separated from Jake and finally got that helpful yet annoying hindsight. Little signs and clues as to what might have caused the end of my marriage have seeped into my subconscious and now I’m looking for them in Brad. If Brad does something that isn’t what I had in mind (or doesn’t do something I wanted to have happen) I start to freak out and look into the past to see if Jake did (or didn’t do) that to me, trying to figure out Brad’s “motive.” Eventually I realize that the only thing Brad and Jake have in common is a Y chromosome. It’s not fair to Brad to keep comparing him to Jake, even if the comparison only ever happens in my head.

It’s keeping me from letting go, relaxing around Brad and allowing our relationship to go where it’s supposed to. It’s holding me back in this infantile stage where it’s all about us being us when we’re together. For the day or two that I get to see Brad each week, in my head it’s “all Brad, all the time” and I try to cram as much “us” time in as possible. I get upset when we don’t have a lot of time for just the two of us. I get upset if I start to think I’m not enough to hold his attention, that it’s only been a few hours and he’s already tired of me.

We’re still so new in our relationship that other than holding hands, any other physical touch is a cue that something more is to come. There aren’t random kisses “just because.” There aren’t back or neck rubs or cuddling just because. These last three months, cuddles and touch have always led to something more, so I freak out when we don’t touch because I know that nothing will be happening and then I wonder why nothing will be happening. Jake withheld affection as a way of getting what he wanted. Since I don’t get any physical affection during the week while Brad and I are in our separate worlds, in my head I try to make up for the lack when we are together; when nothing happens, I immediately wonder what I did wrong. When it gets really bad in my head, I swear I can tell that he’s re-thinking “us” and trying to figure out how to tell me. Because, in my head, I was the reason Jake didn’t tell me he wanted a divorce until we’d moved out of state, because something is wrong with me that makes it difficult for men to tell me the truth. Sometimes that’s the “logic” in my head, and if that’s how it was with Jake, that must be how Brad’s doing it. Illogical and stupid. I know. But that’s my brain. Or, at least, that’s my brain now.

God, how did I allow myself to get so messed up by Jake??!!??

The strong single mom I show to the world is constantly second guessing herself when it comes to love. Because I can’t rely on what I feel. What I feel is only half of the relationship. I’m always second guessing Brad’s love and affection for me, not because he says or does something wrong, but because I just know that one day he’ll decide he’s done with me and it’ll just take him a while to tell me. So when I’m doubting things, when I’m scared that this is it, I wonder how long he’s been trying to let me down gently and I try to find the clues and signs I didn’t see before with Jake.

I didn’t cry when Jake told me he wanted a divorce. Not right away. I couldn’t; I had to plan how I was going to get home. Aside from the tears of frustration that came with realizing that I was going to be a single parent, I don’t remember crying over the end of my marriage. I was angry, sure, but I knew Jake enough to know that he meant it, that he wasn’t just manipulating me to get something. I didn’t cry over the loss of Jake. I cried over the loss of my life as I knew it and I cried in the shadow of the giant mountain that loomed ahead that I’d be forever climbing. Alone.

Whenever I think of losing Brad, whether by his choice or by chance, I am instantly in tears. My heart breaks at the thought of not having him in my life anymore, and yet I can “see” it happening. It wouldn’t happen in at his house because then I’d have to drive home in a bad state of mind; he’s too considerate to let that happen. It wouldn’t happen in my house because who wants to drive that far just to break up with someone? It wouldn’t be in a public setting because I’ll cry; not to make a scene but because I’m a crier. I’m crying right now and I’m dealing in irrational hypotheticals. It would likely happen over the internet, just like the rest of our relationship has. It doesn’t take 140 characters to break up with someone. And really, it’d be easy for him. He could unfriend me on Facebook, block me on Twitter and other than a few friends at my church we have in common, he could easily never have a reason to come down here and we’d never see each other again. And he knows that I can’t just drop everything to drive up to see him and persuade him to change his mind. It’d be so easy.

This is my brain. I just spent 195 words and two Kleenex tissues on a breakup that hasn’t happened, and that likely won’t happen. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t creep into my head at least once a week.

I am insecure.

I am fragile.

I am in love and I am scared

Single is (apparently) the new 4-letter word

Today I have the privilege of introducing to you my first guest post on Single Mom Sanctuary. The writer of this post is a good friend of mine whom I met through my sister.

Today a friend of mine, a pastor in Arizona, posted on my Facebook page a link to an article on the Huffington Post. The subject of the article enraged me and immediately I took to writing a post on my blog. I could not get the thoughts in my head onto the computer fast enough. The author of the post below saw the link my friend posted and I offered to have her write what SHE had to say about it. I ask you to read and share this (and my) post even if you aren’t a single parent.

To Senator Grothman, in the words of Lily Allen, F*ck You (warning: explicit language)

Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman’s political record reads like an SNL parody of the GOP. If his stances on kindergarten, the celebration of Kwanza, and his belief that sex education is apart of the liberal agenda to make more children homosexual weren’t bad enough, he has now introduced SB507 to the Wisconsin Senate floor – and single parents (as well as citizens and parents of other varieties) are up in arms over it.

On it’s surface a bill that refines what the contributing risk factors to child abuse are doesn’t sound so vitriol as to leave single parents sputtering in disbelief. So what makes SB507 so enraging that the single mother writing this article literally spit all over her monitor in an embarrassing display of barely controlled rage? The fifteen words tacked onto the end of two proposed amendments.

The full amendments read as follows:

Section 1. 48.982 (2) (g) 2. of the statutes is amended to read: 48.982 (2) (g) 2. Promote statewide educational and public awareness campaigns and materials for the purpose of developing public awareness of the problems of child abuse and neglect. (Writer’s note: Hey this sounds great so far!) In promoting those campaigns and materials, the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.
Section 2. 48.982 (2) (g) 4. of the statutes is amended to read:
48.982 (2) (g) 4. Disseminate information about the problems of and methods of preventing child abuse and neglect to the public and to organizations concerned with those problems. In disseminating that information, the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.

Wait, did I read that correctly? Is this oddly phrased legalese that I just misunderstood? Let’s read that last part again.

“the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”

I have to stop right here for a moment and let that sink in for you. EMPHASIZE […] AS A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR. That is added as an amendment to not just one, but two current statutes in Wisconsin law. Senator Grothman’s proposed SB507 claims and wants to enforce the “fact” that nonmarital (also said as SINGLE) parenthood is a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.

Let me get this straight. ANY nonmarried parent, merely by existing, is a contributing factor to the same child abuse that occurs when children are beaten, malnourished, sexually assaulted, etc. What??

Let’s put aside how preposterous it is to say that being divorced puts you on par with pedophiles and look at all the other ways a parent might become single.

Abandonment – We all know at least one person who’s child has a single parent because one parent packed their bags and flew into the night with no explanation or warning. Partner bails on you suddenly and out of nowhere sometime during the course of pregnancy or child rearing? According to Senator Grothman, you’re now a child abuser! (If you don’t know such a person, you do now – this is why my son has a single mother.)

Death – One spouse dies. DIES. Divorce doesn’t occur, no one is selfish and flees, someone unfortunately and tragically passes away. According to Senator Grothman, if you get sick and pass away unexpectedly not only does this automatically turn your surviving spouse into a child abuser, I’m inclined to assume it means he thinks you’re an asshole for dying. (Blog owner’s commentary: Does Senator Grothman then think that all widows and widowers of service personell who have died for our country are abusers??)

There was never another parent to begin with – If an adoption agency has cleared and vetted a single person for adoption (granted this is extremely rare, but does happen), does Senator Grothman think that the agency that charged exorbitant amounts of money to run psychological and background checks on this parent were somehow completely wrong and adopted a child out to an abuser?

I can barely even address the incredulity of claiming parents who become single via divorce become child abusers automatically. This one so clearly and obviously does not have a cause and effect relationship on child abuse that to even point out WHY it’s a blatant lie would cause several of my IQ points to cry out in despair as they shrivel up and evaporate out of my brain.

Setting aside the absurdity of these claims, let’s ask why we should even be taking advice on how to reduce child abuse from Senator Grothman: As far as I can tell from my research, Senator Grothman has absolutely ZERO experience with the issue of child abuse. I mentioned he had some terrible opinions on kindergarten at the beginning of this post. He also believes in defunding anti-smoking campaigns. I say this as a smoker myself – what you put into your body is your business. Period. But even I don’t want to defund anti-smoking campaigns because I don’t think you should be allowed to smoke inside a crowded family restaurant (you’re no longer putting it into just your body at that point). I certainly can’t say someone who thinks smoking in restaurants and businesses should still be legal has earned any right to call himself a crusader for the children.

My brain wants to reject that this man could possibly be real; that he isn’t indeed really some Orwellian character, pounding his chest and crying out “slavery is freedom!” with trembling jowls. To say I am offended by his stance would be an insult to your intellect.

I’m tired. I’m tired of constantly being assaulted by Neanderthals posing as political leaders who want to scream and rage and howl about social issues that aren’t ACTUALLY ISSUES. (And don’t even get me started on how spit-raving mad I am over the whole Limbaugh calling birth control using women sluts who should post videos of themselves having sex online so he can see issue). These are the same men (and women) who campaigned in 2010 on a platform of how terrible Obama was at fixing the unemployment rate in the country? Where are their solutions? Why are they wasting our time with legislation amendments that effectively criminalize being a single parent?

Senator Grothman, a few words: The day you start raising a child all by yourself is the day you can start pointing fingers at the evils of single parenthood. Until then you, and politicians like you, can step off and get the f*** out of my uterus, out of my bedroom, out of my marriage (or lack-thereof), and out of motherhood.

I’ll leave you with a few song lyrics from a man who understood the plight of the single mother:

You know it makes me unhappy (what’s that)
When brothas make babies, and leave a young mother to be a pappy
And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies, that make the babies
And since a man can’t make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
So will the real men get up
I know you’re fed up ladies, but keep your head up

To all the ladies havin babies on they own
I know it’s kinda rough and you’re feelin all alone
Daddy’s long gone and he left you by ya lonesome
Thank the Lord for my kids, even if nobody else want em
Cause I think we can make it, in fact, I’m sure
And if you fall, stand tall and comeback for more
Cause ain’t nuttin worse than when your son
wants to kno why his daddy don’t love him no mo’
You can’t complain you was dealt this
hell of a hand without a man, feelin helpless
Because there’s too many things for you to deal with
Dying inside, but outside you’re looking fearless
While tears, is rollin down your cheeks
Ya steady hopin things don’t all down this week
Cause if it did, you couldn’t take it

-Tupac Shakir, Keep Ya Head Up

 

Tanya is currently recovery from a nasty battle with Transverse Myelitis and maintains the assertion that her legs are on unpaid leave and will be fired as soon as they return from holiday. She has been fluent in sarcasm since she was old enough to annoy all the adults at the Christmas party with questions that were “too smart for her own good”. When she isn’t spending her free time enjoying Dr. Who and other sci-fi, she designs witty literature themed posters for sale through her store on Etsy. She moved to Colorado from Orange County in 2007 and currently resides in Colorado Springs with her beautiful four-year old son and amazing boyfriend.