“All of the clarity I thought I gained yesterday became clouded. In that moment, I again became submissive and he regained all of the control.”
Picking up where the last post left off, I woke up that morning in my friend’s guest bedroom. The rays of the sun shined through the windows lighting up the entire room. I could still smell the bonfire on my hair and clothes from the night before. I got up from the bed and gathered my belongings. I opened the bedroom door to hear the sounds of her children playing and laughing. I walked down stairs with a smile on my face and was greeted with hugs from each of my friend’s three kids. She offered me breakfast, but I politely declined. I wanted to get on the road and head home to my (ex) husband as soon as possible. I was anticipating that we were going to have a big discussion, and I wanted to get it over with. My friend reminded me to be strong, wished me well, and gave me a hug goodbye.
The drive home was smooth and quick. The closer I got, the more anxious I felt. My stomach began to knot up as I pulled into our driveway. I got out of the car, walked up to our front door, and walked in. I closed the door behind me, turned around, and saw him sitting in the living room on our couch. “Hi,” I said surprised as I was standing in the foyer.
“You ready?” he replied. He seemed calm but I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. He stood up and walked towards me.
“For what?” I asked.
“To go sign the papers,” he responded.
I was now even more confused. He didn’t seem angry or upset, he wasn’t yelling; he seemed calm. But, this type of response was far from rational. “I think we need to talk about this first,” I suggested.
He grabbed the car keys and began walking towards the door. “No, you made your decision last night. I swore on my grandfather. Did you think I was bluffing?”
“Wait a minute, let’s talk about this” I begged.
“I’ve already made the arrangements. We have an appointment so let’s go,” he said as he opened our front door signaling for me to get back in the car. I was speechless and confused. All of the clarity I thought I gained yesterday became clouded. In that moment, I again became submissive and he regained all of the control. I grabbed my sunglasses, threw them on so he wouldn’t see my tears, and followed him to the car.
We got in, buckled up, and drove to an attorney. I tried to talk during the car ride, but he refused to respond. So, we made the twenty-minute drive in silence. I couldn’t believe he was actually going through with it. I wasn’t sure if this was an overreaction, if he was really serious, or if this was actually about to happen. His mind seemed made up, and it seemed there was no turning back for him at this point. I remember the feeling of the cold air conditioning blowing on me in the passenger seat and looking out of the window as the sun shined down. I saw so many other people along that drive, other couples, families, people walking their dogs, and even people by themselves. I wished that I could be any one of them, anyone other than me. I thought about what those other people’s lives must be like, and how anyone else’s life was better than mine.
I tried to think about what would happen at the attorney’s office once we arrived to prepare myself. I assumed that we would file some sort of initial paperwork today to begin the process. I told myself to be strong, and to try as hard as possible not to cry. I knew we would need to go in front of a judge, so that would mean that the divorce wouldn’t be final until a later date. Even if we did file the initial paperwork today, I considered that I could convince him to change his mind before things were final; that we could find a way to come back from this.
We pulled into the attorney’s office building and walked right in, still in silence. I was surprised he knew exactly what door to walk in, which direction to go down the hallway, and what office this attorney was in. It appeared he really did call ahead and schedule this, which meant he really was serious about it. Tears began to fill my eyes under my sunglasses as we walked into the divorce attorney’s office. He walked up to the secretary and I stood behind him. He turned to me and said, “Go sit down,” as he pointed to the chairs in the waiting area. I walked away from him and had a seat. My eyes were too big for the tears, and the first set streamed down my cheeks. I quickly wiped them away, telling reminding myself again to be strong.
He turned to the secretary and said “Hi, I need to meet with the attorney today to divorce my wife.” I was amazed that he showed absolutely no emotion when he spoke those words. He responded as if someone was asking him what size coffee he wanted. It made me feel disposable and it seemed so easy for him. The secretary immediately responded and told him that the attorney was out of the office today.
I remember thinking WHAT? It seemed he didn’t actually make arrangements to meet with the attorney at all, because if he had called like he said, he would have known the attorney was out all day. He didn’t make an appointment like he said. This was just another game, an extended version of the manipulation I had already come to know. I couldn’t believe it, another rouse. I kept telling myself, “this can’t get worse”, but my (ex) husband always managed to find a way.
He responded to the divorce attorney’s secretary and said, “Then can I just have all the paperwork to file for divorce?” She gathered all of the papers and handed them to him. She pointed to certain pages and showed him where we would both have to sign. He then looked over at me and said, “Come on, let’s go.”
On the walk back to the car, I felt a volcano of emotion rise inside of me. I had been telling myself not to cry, but I couldn’t control it anymore. Tears began to flow down my face. Once we got in the car, he passed the divorce papers over to me and said “Hold these,” so he could begin our drive back home. As we drove away, my crying escalated to sobbing. My breathing became uneasy and face began to turn red. He was not fazed by any of it, he continued to look straight ahead at the road and ignore me.
I was so hurt. How could this man who said all of those lovely vows in front of our closest friends and family not be bothered by my tears? How could he promise my father that he would take care of me and then treat me like this? My mind continued to wonder. After about five minutes, I couldn’t stay quiet any longer. I burst out saying, “I can’t believe you are actually going to divorce me!” I felt like the volcano inside of me just exploded. I didn’t know how he was going to react but I felt relief. It felt better to let it out, to say something, and to express myself.
His response (remember, I told you he always finds a way to make it worse): He chuckled and said, “I could never divorce you.”
“What?!” I said in disbelief. I was so confused. Was this a joke to him?
He responded with a smile on his face, “I actually thought about it and said that even if I did divorce you, I would just propose to you again and marry you.”
It was all about manipulation and control – and also emotional abuse, name calling, bullying, threats, tantrums, sex deprivation, and disrespect. And I, being as fucked up as I was, felt immediate relief that he would stay with me.