Toxic

8:00am

I feel like I have so much anger about Michelle building up inside me. Look at my post from yesterday fuck’s sake!! I know anger is part of the grieving process but Jesus. It isn’t feeling cathartic anymore. It’s starting to feel toxic.

I’m still on this rollercoaster of emotion. Elation and joy when we talk or text (yes we’re texting even though we said we wouldn’t communicate for 4 weeks…we made it 2 weeks) to despair and anger when we don’t. I keep thinking about the quote, “the only way out is through”. I think the only way through is cut off communication with Michelle entirely. That means on social media, her visiting with the boys, on the cell phone, texting, email…a clean break. I need to move on.

She is done with us as a couple. I need to quit holding onto the notion she will change her mind. That she will take me back. That she misses our family enough to work on our relationship. I need to not be angry about that. So that’s where we are then.


1:00pm

Michelle,

I love you. You are the great love of my life. I have never felt the happiness, ease, and contentedness in a relationship I feel with you. You are everything I want in a woman: smart, complicated, strong, ambitious, tender, loving, interesting, maternal, beautiful, sexy, and gentle. We are so happy together. I miss being home with you. I miss how much we have in common. I miss talking to you. I miss the way you are with the boys. I miss laughing with you. I miss the way people talked about us as a couple. I miss making love to you. I miss our life together. I miss you!

It’s hard to accept the person you planned your life with, the first and last person you want to see every day, doesn’t want you anymore. I know you aren’t trying to hurt me but it hurts you won’t work or fight for our life together.

It’s been interesting reading my journal from the last month. I’m a cliché of grief. I’ve hit all of the stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and (only very recently) acceptance. I know exactly how I contributed to where our relationship is today. My anxiety and insecurity drove my drinking and my need for control. It’s too early to say I’ve fixed those things. I will say, I can see myself from today and into the future…it’s the man you fell in love with.

Do you know how you contributed to where our relationship ship is today?

In order to grow, as a person, you must be open to the possibility you are wrong. Personal growth requires you are uncomfortable. It isn’t easy and demands courage and objective, self-deprecation. You’ll never be able to grow using your family as your therapist. They lack objectivity. You know this, and your sister knows this.

I have been harboring some resentment (which manifests itself as anger) towards you. It feels like you’ve been treating the life we built together as a kind of buffet. It feels like you are picking and choosing what you want and leaving out the things you don’t want. In fact, I’m the only thing you don’t want from our life together.

Like I said before…I know how I contributed to our breaking up. I told you to leave. I will regret that for the rest of my life. I wounded us. You decided the finality …you killed us. From the outset, you have told me not to have any hope of us getting back together. Now, you want things that take you away from Omaha and preclude us being a family. When you decided you didn’t want us to be a couple any more, you didn’t leave me. You left the family we built.

I need to move forward with my life and accept we are no longer a couple.  I need a clean break.

To that end, you have to get your own cell phone plan by the 18th of this month. After that date, I am having your line taken off my plan. You will no longer have a relationship with my children. This is all very confusing and hurtful for them and your continued presence in their life is making that worse. You’re not their (step) mother. You decided that when you decided you didn’t want us to be a family anymore. I will be blocking your ability to communicate with all three of us via phone, text, and email. The only way to communicate with me after the 18th is via letter. I will carry you on my health insurance plan until January 31, 2018 (roughly 6 months from our breakup).

I’ve read this letter over and over. I know how harsh it sounds. I’m not trying to punish you. I’m trying to move on with my life. Nothing about our break up is fair.  We are un-equal partners (but partners none the less) in where our relationship is. I will never get over losing you. I will always hope against hope that you will change your mind about us and take me back. In the face of that unlikely event, I will never bring another woman into Dennis and Brad’s world. In hind sight, where you and I are at and the hurt the boys have in their hearts, it was a mistake bringing you into their lives.

I wish I had asked you to marry me. I love you.

To hell with Robert Frost

for her, it’s the path

most travelled. fuck R. Frost! what

the hell does he know?


10:00am

When Michelle left, she took only what she wanted and left the rest for me to clean up. She left things all over the house. Is the way she moved out a metaphor for her approach to our relationship?

Sometimes it feels like instead of taking our life as a whole, she is treating it like a buffet. Working at a relationship is hard…I don’t want that. Working on my panic attacks is hard…I don’t want that. Working on my anger issues is hard…I don’t want that. Being a (step) mother is hard…I don’t want that. I’ll touch base with the boys every other week for an hour or so, that’ easy…I want that. I definitely want health care and Joseph’s is the best I’ve ever seen…I want that.

I am responsible for the mess (literal and figurative) she left behind. She can continue on with her lovely, easy, selfish, “relationships-are-hard-and-require-work” life while I clean up.


1:30pm

So I’m feeling like I should write something positive this afternoon.

We always talk about the “greatest love(s) of our lives” in poems, movies, books etc. It’s always implied the great love of our life is romantic. Michelle is the great, romantic, love of my life. The greatest love of my life is Dennis and Brad. No one will ever mean more to me. Like I said before, “as long as I have my boys, I’m okay”.

Sam Cooke

our home – diminished

by your absence. they need us

to be their strength again


together we were

their stability. apart,

we take it from them


8:30am

With Labor Day, it was a nice long weekend. The weekends seem endless with my getting up so early any more. I guess that’s one advantage to not being able to sleep. Brad asked me, again, about Michelle and I and if we’re going to get back together. I told him I didn’t think so. I asked him how he felt about that. He said, sad. It’s like I said before. Their greatest hope is Michelle and I getting back together. Their life was happy with a stable, and loving home. We (Michelle and I) provided that and then took it away from them.

I feel awful about that. I wonder if Michelle does. I wonder if she has even processed things to a point where she can admit her part in taking away a happy, stable, and loving home from the boys. We took our family away from them.

Sam Cooke broke me down on Sunday afternoon. It happened while I was cooking dinner – again. It is my absolute favorite Sam Cooke song ‘Bring it on Home to me’ that did it:

If you ever change your mind

About leaving, leaving me behind

Bring your sweet loving

Bring it on home to me

 

I know I laughed when you left

But now I know I only hurt myself

Oh, oh bring it to me

Bring your sweet loving

Bring it on home to me

 

I’ll give you jewelry and money too

That ain’t all, that ain’t all I’ll do for you

Oh, if you bring it to me

Bring your sweet loving

Bring it on home to me

What a dickhead favorite song to have when you’re broken hearted. I think I’m just not going to listen music while I cook. No more tears while I’m cooking. Funny, right?

Thomas called to check up on me. I think he was actually checking up on my feelings about Patrick. He said my brother told him I “blasted” him with my email. He told me Patrick was pretty upset and sad about it. I didn’t say much. I forwarded him the email.

Michelle sent me a text about the email I sent Patrick, I guess it was one of the journal entries I had shared with her. She was wondering what, if anything, he said to me after the email. I guess that means she’s reading the entries I send.

Last night, Dad asked me where things are with Michelle and I. It’s the third time he’s done that. I’m puzzled by the curiosity. It feels a bit out of character. Is he nervous about the prospect of Michelle and I getting back together? Frankly, he should be. Let’s say, by some miracle, Michelle takes me back and we are able to be a family again. He’s going to have to square things with Michelle. Now I assume she would be willing to compromise but I wouldn’t expect her to eat shit and have to put up with any nonsense. It’s her home as much as it is mine.

Maybe I’m just projecting a desire for him to be nervous. It would be indicative of some sort of contrition about how he behaved in the past.


1:00pm

A note (in a greeting card) I sent Michelle this afternoon:

Michelle,

I assume you’ve read a few of the journal entries I’ve sent you. I’ve been writing some poems as well. Haiku’s are silly, I know, but they’re easy to write. I like the restrictions the format imposes…it helps distill how I feel. They aren’t very good but they’re honest.

Do what you will with them: keep them to yourself, share them to mock me, throw them in the trash, use them to pick up dog shit in the yard (maybe it’ll be cathartic to do that), whatever you want.

The boys miss you so much.

I miss you.

I love you.

 

Joseph

It can’t be rage

hear its pulse in my

ears? it can’t be rage. it’s the

hurt of losing her


7:15am

The five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I guess it’s not normal to follow them in sequential order. It’s normal to bounce around between them. I haven’t gotten to acceptance yet. Up until this week I haven’t felt anger. Now I’m feeling (I don’t want to say rage because that feels like it implies violence) whatever is just short of rage. I want to vent all of it on Michelle. So here it goes…I’m not communicating this to her…but it sure is going to feel good getting it off my chest and onto “paper” (so to speak):

Do you remember with some of my friends how long it took me to face facts with them being awful and wanting them out of our life?

By our life I mean our family, you, me, and the boys…do you remember when you thought about us as a family? Do you remember laying in bed holding each other; I would ask if you were happy, and you would nuzzle in close and tell me how happy you were…how our life together was all you wanted? I do. What a fantastic lie!! We faced the first significant crisis of our relationship and you split. You have told me on several occasions how happy you were to be free of me – whether you admit it or not – that also means to be free of my boys. Not our boys, not your boys, you don’t want them…they’re my boys. You don’t want us as a family. You never did. We wouldn’t be almost 6 weeks into a break up. We’d be trying to recover from what I did in Arizona. I know exactly how damaging Arizona was. I know down to the smallest detail. It didn’t take me long to realize how wrong I was. How Arizona was a symptom of a larger problem I had created for my loved ones. How my drinking was hurting all four of us. I’m making a gross assumption here. I hope I’m wrong. You haven’t gotten any help for your anger issues or your panic attacks. The reason is simple, you don’t care. You only want what’s easy and comfortable. It’s hilarious if you think about it. You’re a cliché. You’re every millennial: entitled, lazy –as it relates to working on our relationship, impatient – you want what you want right now, and spoiled. We could have stitched us back up and been so much better as a family: closer, stronger. I wounded us. I cut us deep. You killed us.

Well imagine having to come to term with those facts with one’s family. The people you spent your entire life with, the people who are supposed to love and accept you. The only way it could have come to this was something like what happened in Arizona. I wish you could have been more understanding and more patient with me.

Do you remember ever doing the same with your toxic friends who treated you, me, and my boys like shit? Nick was openly hostile from the beginning and made assumptions about me and where I come from (I’m successful and a piece of shit because I grew up rich and privileged…I didn’t. I worked for everything I have). Caroline refused to come to our home and spend time with us because I have kids. Both of them, how they treated you when you decided to move in with me and start being a family? How about Laura and how she treats me because I am a man. She hates me because of my gender. She’s a sexist pig!!! Think about those things when you lament how much you “sacrificed” to be in our relationship. You have all of your friends (the good ones and the bad). You have your family. Do you remember the pressure you put on me to lose my friends? I do.

Short of my children and my career, I sacrificed so much to be with you. You sacrificed nothing but your time. In fact, you did quite well: you got your student loans paid off, cut work to part time to concentrate on school – making the dean’s list, were able to put more money into savings than you ever have in your life, (if you take out the California trips) took some nice vacations, took advantage of one the best health insurance plans in the country, got to practice having a family of your own (a dry run for when you are actually serious about being in a relationship), and the sex was always great. On balance, 3 ½ years well spent! Now you can put all that behind you (and you did…in the first week) and look to a bright future unencumbered and free of me and my children.

Best wishes,

The man and children who’s hearts you broke

P.S. The person in your family you said will never forgive me is your mother. I know her history. I know how much love, patience, understanding, and forgiveness she needed from her family. I can see the irony, can you?


3:00pm

Driving to school this morning Brad and I made a joke. He was all mumbling and tired. I told him that he shouldn’t drink in the morning – ha ha – I told him to not be an asshole like his father when he drinks. We both laughed really hard…he said, “that was a good one Dad!!” I’m grateful to be sober. I’m more present with Dennis and Brad. It feels good!!

Path of least resistance

you quit just as life

was poised to make us stronger.

now we are alone.


7:30am

Michelle and I had another one of our marathon (2 hour) conversations last night. I got more than a little frustrated with her. She talked about missing our family, being a mother, how not being at the “first day of school” on Thursday had her in tears all day. I asked her, if that was true why she has ruled out any chance of us getting back together? I posited she was not missing us at all and in fact prefers being free of obligations. She said she wasn’t. She had fun at a music festival Saturday night but she would rather have been at home with her family (the boys and I). She misses our family. I believe her when she says it.

So what’s holding her back then? It’s what happened in Arizona. She said she can’t go back because of the betrayal. She told me she loves me, she can see how much better I am now that I’m not drinking. She can see David, the loving man she fell in love with. She just won’t work on the relationship. It’s because she is too hurt.

Michelle has never been in a relationship longer than 6 months till now. I told her every, single couple she knows in a long-term, committed relationship has had a crisis of similar or varying magnitude. She didn’t believe me. I listed them off to her: her parents, my parents, Patrick/Rae, Thomas/Trinity, Rob/Pam, Tietdke’s, Gawecki’s, Derek/Cindy, etc, etc. Her response…yeah but they were all married. I pointed out those who weren’t when the crisis struck. I think this shocked her. I told her relationships require humility, patience, and forgiveness from each partner (and rarely at the same time or in equal measure). I told her it wasn’t easy. I told her if she didn’t want to work on things then she was lying about loving the boys and me or she was a coward. She didn’t disagree.

To date, she hasn’t worked on her anger issues or the panic attacks. She apologized and said she would make it a priority. I have to trust that she will. Based on her track record: she literally quit on our family when things got difficult, she talked about how difficult therapy is – how she doesn’t like it, I doubt it will happen. It feels like she is in a “path of least resistance” mode right now. Whatever is easiest. I get it. It IS easier to just quit on our relationship. It IS easier to not work on things. Unfortunately, there is also far less love when you operate that way.

I wish she could extrapolate to other relationships she has. I wish she could look at what her brother did after that horrible episode on Facebook where she publicly called him a racist. They talked, worked on it, and he had the capacity for forgiveness, and now they are better for it. Their love is better…she was forgiven and he forgave her. They both felt the joy and relief that comes with forgiveness.

For the third time, we both agree talking all the time wasn’t helping us heal and work on ourselves. We set a date 4 weeks out until we can speak again. We’ll see what happens then. She was clear she didn’t want to give me hope. As of last night, I have decided I won’t have any. She will never take me back. With what happened in Arizona, she doesn’t have the desire to work on our relationship or the capacity to forgive. She’d rather carry that hurt around inside. The hurt has become more important to her than the family we had.

So, we are finished: irrevocably and completely. I have to operate from that perspective. I hope when these 4 weeks are over I don’t have a desire to call or see her…wishful fucking thinking.