Wednesday, January 6, 2016


"Reflections at Timmys" edited, written 29 March 2014

So now I am near the end of  the first leg of that journey begun so many long months ago. How much has happened since then? How much will happen now? It's not just my education I've been working on.

That, in fact, is the only thing over which I truly feel control. That, and my career, which is directly dependent on my education to a large extent. I know I will finish whatever degree(s) I set out for. I know I will push forward in my profession(s) to eventually get what I think I deserve. It will only be a matter of time and perseverance, and human limitations aside, I have those things in abundance.

The real question is what I am doing with my life--my marriage and my family life. I have allowed these things to become my life. That's how it's supposed to work, right? I chose a life partner; we made a family; that's supposed to be the end of it. But of course it isn't the end of anything.

I had hoped it would at least become a beginning. Indeed, it has, but I am not satisfied with the progress of this life. The early denial of affection in marriage resulted in my bad choices to seek it elsewhere. That destroyed trust never came back on either side, and has crept into every other aspect of the relationship, slowly poisoning not only both of us, but our children.

I know I know the right thing, for now, is to be alone, and heal. I need to rediscover myself, redefine who I am, what kind of man I want to be and what that will take. I can not do this without hurting people I dearly love. TV common sense tells me if they love me, they will also want the best for me, but deep in my broken core, I am too afraid their pain will overcome their love, for they are broken too. And so I am once again paralyzed.

I am not impressed with the man I am. I have lied and been unfaithful. If I am completely truthful, I stand to lose the privilege of watching my children grow up the way I really want to--the way they really need me. I am only now starting to see see the effect my brokenness has had on them; what if, in an effort to heal myself, I inflict on them even more damage? Which decision makes me least selfish: new honesty or continued deceit?

And so I float in this Purgatory, on the edge of a blade, never knowing which side to lean toward, never sure where lies Paradise or Inferno. It is a painful reality to wake up to each morning, to retire to each night. Every smile of my children almost hurts me: they believe in the reality I show them, they rely on it. It breaks my heart to know that reality is laced not with a history of fierce protection and providence, but of desperation and deceit. It tears me to fucking pieces.

And so I am no further forward than I was 20 years ago, except that now I carry the baggage and guilt of the last 20 years on my shoulders. I know I am wiser, but I must dig out that wisdom and sort it from the bitterness I still surely feel. And then apply it to some as yet unmade plan.

Divorce Announcement

Written 10 July 2014.

Last night I told Nx I wanted out of the marriage. We had the talk with the kids. It was shitty.

I am more scared now than I have been at any other time in my life. I know this intellectually, but do not feel it. In fact, I feel like almost nothing's changed; I feel the same as I did every day I woke up unhappy and unresolved about how to change my life. I thought a weight would be off my chest, but I still feel just as burdened as I did yesterday and a hundred days before this.

I also feel guilty, not about Nx but the kids. Sx was devastated, heartbroken. I fear I've ruined her for the rest of her life. I worry, too, about the boys: of course they'll deal with this differently. They didn't really respond appropriately at all, which worries me more than Sx's response. They will have to deal with this, just like they dealt with all the silent bullshit for years before this, but I know (both intellectually and emotionally) that they will be better off after this has settled, and real happiness comes into view. (At least for me.) I also feel guilty about not feeling guilty about Nx.

I have fucked this marriage up, it's true, and it's on me to end it. I have not fucked it up alone: I bear no more or less than 50% responsibility for its slow, agonizing demise. Nx knows this in her heart, but has never accepted that it needed to end. She may never. What I did yesterday was nothing more than pointing to the situation as a whole and calling it what it is, what it has been for a long time.

Today's Facebook status should be: "Looking forward to living without pain."

And to think this all started with a really productive day at work. I had a fire under my ass about unfinished business. (unfinished)

FFF-55 draft: Disappointment

(Written 23 March 2011.)

I made up my mind a long time ago. I resolved to set expectations for myself that were higher than everyone else's. That way, I'd at least satisfy most people, probably impress some, and hardly ever disappoint anyone but myself.

So far, it hasn't really gone as planned. At least, not from what she says.

* * * * *


There are times in the life when the soul says, "ET, go home, I don't like it here, it's a terrible squalor nasty place, and I wanna go back to Heaven...I wanna go back to the Garden of Eden, and merge back into the Whole, and  God's eternal grace." But I can only have that I if I die, but I wanna live, so I choose not to do that. At that point we begin to look for something in this world of reality to take the place of connecting with GOD.


(Written 17 October 2011. Notes to myself from the trenches. Time to publish.)

Now you're being punished. Now you have to finally be a good man.

What makes a good man:

A married man honors his vows.

A father protects and provides for his children.

But before and after than,
 - a good man is strong enough to protect the weak
 - a good man develops himself equally for its own sake and also to provide for the people he loves

What are a man's responsibilities to himself alone?

Be honest with yourself. Speak your mind and ask for what you want. Expect what is reasonable. Express opinions and make a difference. If ashamed of something, decide why, and either abandon that behaviour or embrace it.

Be tactfully honest with others. Be the guy everyone can count on for the truth, and from whom it will come gently, even if it's harsh.

Do not remain in a situation that is unhealthy. Determine what needs to be done and see to it, or speak out as to why it's unhealthy and make an exit.

A good man makes mistakes and then admits them. A good man does not hold others' mistakes against them.

 - find and attend a 12 step group at least once a month.
 - speak to Rev. Kxxxxxn regularly
 - journal and write at least every other day
 - run, walk, or bike 30 minutes a day
 - focus on Nxxxxx and the marriage. Spend some time with her every day. Journal it.
 - try to stay positive. HALT when necessary. Do not dwell on the negative, but do not forget it. Laugh every day.
 - get more, closer male friends
 - share writing with Nancy to better expose the other side


MENTAL: Stay in school. Get good at your job. Read and act and think critically to stay mentally fit.
SPIRITUAL: Find God. Again.
PHYSICAL: Become strong. Use physical development as an outlet to frustration, and as a medium to concentration. Try to get off the hypertension meds.
EMOTIONAL: Solidify. Pay the bills, mind the business. Stay on top of your depression. Then reevaluate.

Because THIS, the guilt, and humility, is only temporary, but these are the only feelings that hard-focus on what is wrong, and what needs to be done.

But I am already a good man. But I am a flawed man. Who isn't flawed? Nobody, but few are flawed in the ways you've become, and these ways hurt those around you. That is unacceptable. But my flaws don't negate the ways in which I've stayed a good man? No, they will be your anchors, and your refuge when necessary. These are the places you will go when in doubt. When in doubt.

55: Days and Nights

(Written 14 December 2012. Time to publish.)

There are days
I can’t see it coming,
Days of laughter and smiles.

There are nights
I wonder why it’s taking so long,
Nights of tight-clenched teeth and hushed arguments.

And the times in between
I just don’t know what’s happening.
Maybe nothing. Maybe that’s why it needs to end.

But what if I’m wrong?

* * * * *

Christmas Tree 2014

(Written 8 December 2014. Time to publish.)

7 Dec 2014: "I had a really nice time picking out a tree with you today. We are a really good couple. Please don't throw everything away. I love you and want to have our marriage work."

Well, I love you too, and would prefer if our marriage worked as well. Unfortunately, it doesn't. You'll accuse me of looking to the past for justification, and rightly so. But in addition to being aware of our struggles six months ago or six years ago, I am also thinking of the past week, the past month, or sometimes even yesterday. What's taken me so long to reach this conclusion is the realization that all that arguing, all that conflict, is connected, and evidence that our marriage is broken, and every effort we've made to repair it has failed.

Our experience yesterday picking out a Christmas tree does not represent a potential for resolution of all those years of conflict. It does not show a glimmer of hope beneath years of dysfunction. It holds no answers to our inability to see eye to eye on financial issues, or form a sexual bond. However, I won't deny it was a positive experience. It does (to me) represent the very best we can be: friends and coparents. No part of the Christmas tree experience crossed a line of conflict or touched a point of sensitivity. It did not require an intimacy we've never had, or a major decision regarding our children or money. In this way, I definitely agree with you: I also had a really nice time picking out a tree with you today.

As for "throw[ing] everything away," I am certainly not doing that. I am choosing to live without you, my spouse, and our marriage, true. But I am taking every day of our twenty years with me. I will not discard it. I will remain the father of our children and your partner in raising them. I will, if you're willing, remain your friend, and do things for/with you that friends do together. Maybe we can, after all, enjoy a concert together, but won't it be a relief when it's time to go home and I'm horny and excitable from the show and all you want to do is go to bed? Won't it be freeing to drop all the baggage built up for so long and actually enjoy each other's company without the expectations that have soured our relationship for so long?

That's really what I'm looking forward to most with you: the ability to just be in each other's presence and emotional space without all the defensiveness, the guarding of information for fear of criticism, the sensitivity to the past, and the disapproval. This mistrust has killed our marriage.

So that brings me to question your first statement: we are a really good couple. Why? Because I disagree: We don't touch each other; even before I moved out of our bedroom, while I was still trying to make things work, you didn't lay a hand on me unless we were in public. We argue in the open because it's the most civil arena; arguing in private always breaks down to hurt feelings and accusations. We have little in common when it comes to how we spend our leisure time, what sparks our brains, and how we respond to emotional stimuli. These are just the public aspects of our couplehood. I don't think it necessary to get into detail about differences in our sexual appetites and interests, but this has been the single most challenging part of our marriage, and ultimately what I'm looking forward to changing the most.


(Written 12/7/14. It's time to publish.)

So here's the long and the short of it: I'm ending my marriage.

The reasons are myriad, convoluted. Here are some of them:

- Sex/Intimacy
- Inability to resolve conflict
- Differences in parenting priorities
- Differences in financial priorities
- Failure to resolve differences after 3+ years of therapy

None of this means I don't love my wife. It's just not that simple. In fact, part of the reason I need to divorce her is because I love her. I need out of the marriage because I can't love her the way she deserves to be loved; I can't give her the love she's earned after a marriage of twenty years. I feel this is two-sided: I no longer think she's capable of giving me the love I deserve or have earned after everything we've been through. For my own part, I have recognized this latter fact over and over again for years, and it's slowly broken my heart. Or perhaps hardened it, but at this point there is no hope for my situation either way.

None of it, in fact, is simple. We have three kids together. I can't imagine a life without seeing them every day, hugging them before bed every night, hearing about their days at school every time we sit down for dinner. Also, I provide the main income for the household and my wife can't make a living on her own salary. I am unsure about the ability for either of us to support a home and shared custody on what I make after it's split between us. Even our dogs complicate this mess. Frankly, this whole thing scares the shit out of me.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Marital Aide

Written 18 October 2013

It hurt, to be sure, but I had to say it. Within seconds, years of waning hope turned into anticipation of months of mutual agony and bitterness. We both knew it was coming, of course, but denial is a powerful marital aide.

Movement is good. When you’re at the south pole, every direction is north.