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No. We’re Done.

As I pulled into the court house parking lot, my wife’s car was just ahead of mine. We exited our vehicles and approached the front door. Awkwardly, I said hello. My wife remained silent, only displaying a quick smile through her sullen face.

I asked my wife if she knew where to go. She reached into her purse and showed me the notice of hearing for our divorce. Tears began to well in her eyes. Reaching for tissues, she turned around and headed back to her car.

Part of me wanted to comfort her. I stopped myself. After all, this is what she wanted. This was her doing. And the way she went about doing it lacked any consideration for my feelings. Still, it was difficult not to feel compassion. I then noticed an FOP badge on her license plate (her boyfriend is a police officer). I turned away and walked into the court house.

My wife joined me in the waiting room about five minutes later. She sat down on the bench next to me. I flashed back to the first time we both went through this…September 3, 1999. The way it played out the first time had always sickened me. We had sat down on the same bench. We exchanged a light banter, as if nothing was wrong. My insides churned, knowing what was coming next. I imagined similar awkward pleasantries being displayed towards death row inmates just before their execution.

This time, I decided not to talk with her. I was not going to let August 3, 2012 be filled with the same type of nice/phony conversation. Such words would only serve as an opaque mask over the true gravity of what we were about to do. I got-up from the bench and leaned against the wall next to it. Instead of engaging in small talk with my wife, I texted a friend. My wife was silently crying. Time passed slowly. As luck would have it, the proceedings were delayed by about a half hour. Felt like four.

When we were finally called into the court room, my wife continued to cry. A bailiff gave her a box of tissues. Each of us answered the judge’s questions – our last words as a married couple. The judge thanked us for our cooperation. The gavel sounded. It was as if it came from an executioner’s firing squad.

Our marriage was officially over. Outside of the court room, my ex-wife asked me if there was anything more she had to do.

“No. We’re done.”

Nothing more was said.

Uninvited Contact

“So…I was told that you had been ‘researching’ me. True? If you have questions please ask. I have a feeling that this was a lie told to me by my ex. There have been so many lies I really don’t think they know how to be straight with people (me). I know [she named my wife’s boyfriend] warned me about talking to you. Respond if you’re comfortable with this.”

About two weeks or so ago, the woman who wrote me the above message “Friend Requested” me on FaceBook. I accepted, not knowing who she was. I was busy at the time and didn’t think much of it. As it turns out, she’s apparently the ex of my wife’s boyfriend.

I’m not sure what to make of her contacting me tonight. It bothers me. It bothers me that she knows who I am. It bothers me that she got to lurk around my FaceBook page. And I also find it odd that she used the term “they.” Does she have contact with my wife as well? I’ll certainly be more careful with accepting future friend requests.

I un-friended this woman and sent the following reply. “Hi. When I received your friend request, I was wondering how I knew you. Then I forgot all about it. No, I have not been researching you. Never even knew your name. Never did any research on [I named my wife’s boyfriend] either.

“Now knowing that you’re associated with [I named my wife’s boyfriend], I’m not comfortable with you being my friend on FaceBook. Rest assured, I have no interest in you or [I named my wife’s boyfriend].”

The woman replied quickly, “Thank you and very sorry to have bothered you.”

I suppose there’s a small part of me that is curious about what she could tell me. That likely stems from my need to figure out how all this happened. However, any curiosity is overshadowed by a sense of ugliness to which I’d much rather remain oblivious.

In some way, this woman’s message is actually helping me confirm that ending this chapter of my life is definitely for the best.

Text Inquiry

“I sent you an e-mail and I don’t expect you to respond. All I want to know is if you received it?”

On Monday, I received the above text from my wife. My guess is that she did indeed expect some sort of response. She had almost gotten one. I wrote several. Each one seemed to inadequately express my feelings. I couldn’t compel myself to hit send. Eventually, I decided it would be best not to reply at all.

My wife’s text almost changed my mind. I felt like she was finally asking for a heart-to-heart conversation. The type of conversation I had been asking for since this whole mess started. Instead, I merely answered with “Yes. Got your e-mail.”

This blog entry was originally going to explain why I chose not to respond. But on Tuesday, I received notice from the court that our dissolution date was scheduled for August 3. So I spent that evening trying not to think of the loss of my marriage. Wednesday was a holiday. I didn’t feel much like writing on Thursday either.

That brings us to today. Today however, it’s an entirely different e-mail that’s on my mind….

I’m Sorry

This past Sunday, my wife dropped off our dissolution papers. She did so without fanfare. When I took them out of the envelope, I had hoped to at least find some sort of note. Nothing. It appeared our last communication would be nothing more than a wave (save some sort of exchange at the courthouse, when the judge makes the end of our marriage official).

This afternoon, I received the following e-mail from my wife. The subject read, “I’m Sorry.”

“It has taken me a long time to be able to stop and see how my actions have impacted you and everyone around us. I am truly sorry for putting you through so much pain. It was never my intention to hurt you the way I did and I understand I can never take anything back. I so wished we had family together. I have always loved you- more than you will ever know or understand.

“One day things just changed for me and I have not been able to get back to myself. I don’t know when or why this happened but I felt so alone and uncomfortable in our life. I didn’t feel like we had a marriage at all. I never shared this with you because we lost our connection (or at least I thought we lost it) and I felt like I couldn’t share anything with you about my life. It was a daily struggle for me to try and be happy. I know I should have tried harder but I didn’t and now I can’t change anything.

“I have been seeing a doctor trying to talk out my problems-not sure if it is helping but at least I realize what a complete idiot I was to you. I want you to be happy and I know you will. You will find someone that truly deserves you as a husband. I hope you can take some comfort in what I’m saying but if you hate me until the day I die I understand. I am truly sorry.”

I’m still trying to digest my wife’s e-mail. I’m not sure what to think or how to respond. I know I had hoped for more than just a wave. Somehow this seems worse.

A Wave Goodbye

This past Thursday made it one week since my wife had picked-up our dissolution agreement from my house. I still hadn’t heard from her. She was supposed to sign the documents, have them notarized, and return them to me. On Saturday, I decided to text her.

“Do you want to drop off the documents sometime tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

“Anytime after 12:00 is good for me.”

“I will call before I drop them off.”

Part of me was relieved that my wife agreed to everything. There would be no messy divorce. Another part of me was sad. This is really it. We’re ending it.

A little after 12:00 this afternoon, my wife texted me. I was outside on the lawnmower, so I didn’t see it. “I’m dropping the papers off to you in a few. I can leave them in the mailbox.”

I was cutting the backyard, when I saw her car stop at my mailbox. As I made my way towards her, she was already driving off. We made brief eye contact. She waved. I waved back. That was it.

I suppose I anticipated something more dramatic. Maybe some kind of discussion or exchange of emotions. But our 22 year relationship ended with nothing more than a distant wave.

As I finished cutting the lawn, it was all I could do not to cry. This isn’t how it was supposed to be. We were supposed to grow old together. I feel so empty right now. So alone.

The emotions I’m experiencing now are something I might convey in private to a significant other. It’s not something I can relate to a close friend or family member. I’m not even sure how to express them in words here.

As I embrace the sadness, I see the image of my wife waving goodbye.

I need to really let go.

Another Step Closer

At around 7:30 this evening, my wife arrived at my house. I was outside doing yard work. As she got out of her car and approached me, I gave her a brief smile and said hello. Without waiting for a response, I went into the garage and retrieved the documents.

My attorney completed the final draft of our dissolution agreement on Monday. My initial intent was to e-mail it to my wife for her signatures. I figured it would make the process a little less emotional. Unfortunately, my attorney prefers that our signatures be on bond paper. So my wife and I made arrangements to meet today.

As I handed the agreement over to my wife, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she looked. She took a few moments to shuffle through the papers. I could see tears starting to well-up in her eyes.

There, standing before me, was the woman I loved. I felt like I needed to protect her; make things okay. Instead, I reminded myself of what my wife has done. I imagined her with her boyfriend. The feelings of love were soon mixed with hints of disgust.

Holding back her tears, my wife asked if she should return the papers to me after she signs them and has them notarized. I told her that would be fine. She turned and walked back to her car.

I returned to the garage and took a few deep breaths.

Out Of Town Visitors

My sister-in-law and her fiancee are in town this week visiting family. They live about 14 hours away, traveling by car, so they don’t make it here very often. This is their first visit since my wife’s affair was revealed.

The two of them came to my house last night. Most of our conversation revolved around everything but my wife. I think they were waiting for me to bring her up. Quite frankly, I had no desire to spoil the mood.

When the topic was finally breached, they expressed both their support for me and their disdain over what my wife has done. Both of them were trying to adjust to the fact that we were really getting divorced.

My sister-in-law and her fiancee were both concerned that the end of my marriage would also sever my ties with them. My wife’s family has been my family for more than half my life. Losing them seems just as wrong as losing my wife. I assured them that I would continue to think of them as part of my family.

After they left, I couldn’t help but share their disbelief over the end of my marriage. This is really happening? None of this has made sense to me. Part of me wished the entire mess could somehow be cleaned-up. Of course at this point, I know that is impossible…

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