Even as I write the title, I still can’t believe that it happened.
I warn you now, there are going to be times when you shake your head and think, "WTF is wrong with this seemingly smart woman?"
I was raised as the only child of a manic-depressive/bipolar widower. My first memory is being 4 years old and sitting on the couch with my father, not long after my mother’s funeral, while he holds up a single bullet and says to me, “If it wasn’t for you, I would eat this.”
Needless to say, my journey into normal male/female relationships started off fucked up and, unlike wine & cheese, did not get better with age.
In hindsight, I should have known that the marriage was not going to work. I knew from his ex-wife that he had cheated on her during their marriage, but he had always said that they were separated during that time.
After we got married, there were whisperings that he was seen with other women. Each and every time I confronted him, it was always the same song and dance -- denial, denial, denial, and then the inevitable turn where my questioning him meant that I didn’t trust him. Somehow he always turned it around to where I was the one apologizing.
And what was I supposed to do? Take my children (from a previous relationship) and leave the only man who had ever loved me without hitting me? Turn my back on the man who worked and provided well for us? Nope, not me! I had doubled down and was all in!
About 7 years in, we owned our own business and home, the children were older and things seemed pretty good. Due to the nature of our business, he was out many nights until late and that was OK with me, although there was always that gut feeling that there was "something" going on that I didn’t know about.
Why was there, all the sudden, a screen lock on his phone? Why wouldn't he answer its ringing if he was in the same room as me? Why did I feel like I wanted to vomit every time he left the house? Cause my brain/gut was trying to tell me something and I was definitely not listening.
Several years later, the inevitable happened. One Saturday morning, his phone had been blowing up with phone calls and texts. He was being very sketchy about it and I knew something was up.
Then the doorbell rang. He begged me not to answer it. Something told me that whatever or whomever was on the other side of that door was going to change my life, and not in the Ed McMahon “You’ve won a MILLION DOLLARS” kind of way.
It was a woman that I had never seen before, who proceeded to inform me that she had been engaged to my ex-husband for 18 months and she wanted to know why his car was in my driveway.
While I stood there, not really believing I had heard her correctly, he was losing his shit. After quite a heated and loud argument in our driveway, in which he called her a liar and told her to stop causing drama with his family (understand, that by this time, neighbors had started to come outside and watch) I couldn’t take the humiliation. I just went inside.
He came in all apologetic and making excuses as to who she was. She was a stalker who he had met through our business and that she had been the person texting and calling him non-stop. But I knew she was telling the truth.
When my mouth finally caught up to my brain, I asked about the ex-husband statement. He said that proved she was nuts and was trying to start trouble cause she wanted him for herself. We went on and on like this for hours…around and around the same subject. (Really, it makes me nauseous and gives me a migraine just thinking about it, RIGHT NOW!)
He finally just left the house to "blow off steam" and I cried for the rest of the night. I knew there was more to the story and didn’t want to face it. I could only hear "ex-husband" ringing in my ears.
The following Monday, I went straight to the local courthouse and had them pull up any legal document that pertained to me. I felt sorry for that poor court clerk who handed me what was left of the family I had 72 hours prior.
When the printer spit out the first sheet, and I saw the heading "Final Decree of Divorce," I nearly vomited on the floor. I just sat there flipping through the papers, my mind racing. How was he possibly able to do this without me knowing anything about it?
Then I got to the last page, the signature page, and the signature definitely wasn’t mine. The papers were notarized by someone we both knew.
It turns out that you can download certain documents from the Internet and, in our state, all you have to do is fill them in, have them notarized and filed with the court, and as long as it is signed by both parties, a nice little divorce referee will end a marriage, with only the petitioner present.
That’s it. That’s how my marriage was ended without my knowledge. When I asked him why he did this without so much as a discussion, much less my knowledge, his response told me all I needed to hear.
He said, “I didn’t want to hear your shit.”
I know, I know. I should have taken him to court. I should have nailed his ass to the wall. That would have required me having the forged decree rescinded, which would have made me his wife again. Honestly, I didn’t have the strength for that.
I just wanted out. I will tell you, when someone commits a felony in order to no longer share their life with you, it’s a big, fat, fucking “FUCK YOU!” with a judge’s approval.
I left for many reasons. The most important were my children. I did not want my son to think that what he was seeing was any way to treat a woman, and I was ashamed that my daughter might grow up to think that she should accept that sort of treatment from any man.
We are in a much better place now and have put all of the garbage out on the curb. The three of us are closer than ever and I am thankful for that. I know what "normal" love is now and I am blessed to have found someone who was looking for it, too.
If I learned anything, it would be to always listen to your gut -- the fucking thing is pretty smart!