This is my future, try me.

We did attempt therapy and when I raised the topic of his affairs he laughed and assured the therapist he had left no evidence.

This is my future, try me.
Rebuild yourself before getting a divorce

I was recently divorced from my childhood sweetheart and enjoying my freedom to be young and selfish for once. One of my girlfriends had heard about a house party and we decided to gate-crash it. It was the 80's and house parties were the best. We walked in, made our way to the kitchen to grab some drinks when I spotted Dave. Dave was sexy, with that twinkle in his eye and a cheeky smile, the kind that said, ‘Let’s spend the night together and leave it at that.’ Which we did, but then we didn’t. He was intoxicating and a blast. The party had been his farewell party, he was moving to the city a few weeks later, so I presumed it would end when he left. We both struggled missing each other and even though I had my own home and an amazing job, I packed my bags and moved in with him three months later. It was fab. I found a position in a corporate company where I worked my way up the ladder, but more importantly, I loved where I was heading. I worked long hours, was paid great money, and came home to a man I was crazy in love with. Dave also worked hard and was succeeding. We were a dynamic duo until four years later he confessed to having an affair. I packed up and moved out the following day and did my best to get over him. I ignored his calls for quite a while, his repenting and begging for forgiveness was annoying and quite frankly, disrespectful. Dave refused to give up, and I took time to reflect on what I wanted and if that included him.

I told him if he wants me back it’s the full commitment and family or nothing. He agreed, even though he wasn't up for being a father, he wanted to do what I wanted and I was OK with that.

I worked for the first 6 years of motherhood, we had help and I knew Dave wasn’t able or willing to reduce his hours. He wasn’t in an industry where it was remotely possible. When our daughter was born with health issues and in need of constant care, I quit my career, knowing I was the only person she could rely on to get the best care and education possible at the time. Meanwhile, Dave was traveling twice a week and then three and then I guess I came to terms with the extra days being a lie to spend with his mistress, lovers, who knows what. I closed my eyes to the reality and enjoyed the time he was away. When he did come home, it was as though the weather could read my emotions and his demanding presence was like a brewing storm. He was tired, He wanted to watch TV, He wanted to be left alone. Which would have great had the kids not wanted a father to take an interest in them. He paid the bills and never grumbled about my spending or needs. This arrangement kind of worked in that I didn't want the kids to grow up in a split household, but at the same time he was mean and demeaning and it took a significant time for me to become aware of how financially dependent I had become and how emotionally spent I was. 

Me! If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone, I had even started doubting my sanity every time he laughed that I had forgotten things he had said.

We did attempt therapy and when I raised the topic of his affairs he laughed and assured the therapist he had left no evidence. I realised there and then I would have to bide my time until the kids left home, but he stupidly left his phone in the kitchen one morning and our eldest glanced at a message, an image that he can never forget. Poor kid tried to hold it in, tried to protect me, and thank goodness told my best friend. She told him he had to tell me, and not to worry, that it’s for the adults to sort out. Bless him, he sat me down and told me in almost a whisper what had happened. I didn't care that Dave was hurting me, but I was furious that our child had been exposed to his infidelity and pictures that a child should never be exposed to. That woman is long gone, and she will never know the damage her selfies caused a child. That night, when he walked in, with the kids at my parents, I confronted him and told him,

I've packed your bags, now you can fuck off.’ And he did.

Except he couldn't seem to stay away and kept turning up on weekends expecting me to tend to his needs. He was so used to me caring for every small need of his that I think he still felt entitled. I filed for divorce. It was obviously all his fault, and almost immediately, the games began, yet he always paid the bills, and the mortgage, and continued to fund our life as though he hadn’t left. I never understood why, but we argued over everything else. 

It took seven years to divorce, and it wasn’t all because of him. It was me too. There were times I didn't want to respond, times I couldn’t make a healthy decision. I became very aware of my mental and emotional state and I knew I shouldn’t agree to anything until I got my shit together. And that took time. I had to unravel myself to rebuild myself to fight him. At the time the literature on the internet was thin on how to divorce an asshole, narcissists and narcissistic behaviour wasn’t something I knew I should look up.

We continued life separately, and he never appeared to care that I didn't respond or sign documents. That was until he met this woman, Jessica, who refused to stay with him unless he was divorced. It sparked a fire in him to fight me on every detail in a downward financial and property market. I decided what my terms were and I didn't budge, I wasn’t unreasonable, I knew what the kids and I needed and he needed to respect that. Besides, he claimed he had nothing, but I knew where everything was and where he stored his receipts. 

This woman is tough as nails and she doesn’t appear to be damaged at all. Strength exudes from every pore and I need to know how. 

Don't get me wrong, I wasn’t in a good place, and I had to learn to heal and retrain my mind. I got help and I made decisive decisions that built me up to where I am today. If I hadn’t slowed down and taken the time I needed I would have nothing today. Instead, I told myself this is business. I guess I tapped into my historical ability to make things happen at work and utilised it throughout our divorce. Taking care of myself meant that Dave couldn't wear me down, and that drove him nuts. He was used to being in control of me and eventually, we had our day in court. Hours and hours of negotiations between the barristers running back and forth trying to get us to agree. I refused to leave unless he signed everything there and then in front of a judge. An agreement isn't legally binding unless signed sealed and stamped, it didn't make sense to waste all that time and money for him not to whilst I was paying my own legal fees. 

My advice to women out there who are considering divorce is to take care of yourself first, learn what you don't know, be curious and don't be in a hurry. Each of us has a different experience, but once the ink is dry on the legal work it can be almost impossible to change. Slow down if you aren't sure. 

If you want to share your story or you are a professional who wants to share some insights please email me at contact@angryexwife.com