Part 1: The Inevitable
You know it’s coming but you simply want to escape – to avoid the inevitable – hoping things get better and we can reclaim our life together. Marriage can be a wonderful experience but as any human relationship becomes raw and exposed, it can degrade into a dark abyss that traps your heart and soul. I always felt my marriage would survive the most difficult times but now it is clear I was mistaken and naive to think as much. I have added my share of difficulties to this relationship but worked diligently to try and change, to become less self centered and more genuine. It worked partially. My wife has become sad and angry and her repetitive response to these emotions consistently comes across as sarcastic and detached; lashing out whenever and wherever. This only leads me to an inflection point with a strong and unyielding desire for an “in-kind” response, an overwhelming need to “set the record straight”, and pure overriding disappointment. There does continue to live within me a formidable underlying desire and conviction to stay the course and try to salvage what was once a very meaningful and intimate relationship. We were once soul mates and I often fantasize that we can return to that place, knowing we truly can’t. I have always loved my in-laws and supported them and their extended family as much as I could. I love my mother-in-law deeply and have always felt a very close bond; a bond that allowed us to have private and open conversations about life, marriage and other topics generally considered taboo in both their concrete and amorphous forms. I will miss this always. It was at the moment my bigger-than-life father-in-law was about to die that all hell broke loose. My wife’s facts became fiction, her feigned happiness became sadness, and her loving acts became hurtful flashes. I tried to gather myself and to stay steady. I however found myself wanting to leave and unable to eliminate the aggravating sense of agitation, frustration and growing undercurrent of “…I have had enough…”. It became more difficult to watch my wife focus only on a few family members, an occassional friend, and primarily on an unhealthy personal need; one that unfortunately has coexisted with our lives as far back as I can remember. Her integrity became broken and her anger became abundant. The warmth and love replaced with a mean and spiteful persona run rampant. This brought back way too many ill feelings and sentiments of my mother and her inability to contain her own habitual fixation; her explicit unwillingness to cultivate the nice person deep inside. I have a very disheartened view of my mom and remain frustrated that her beauty and skills were never used to promote positive and honest ideas and actions. Unfortunately, I am reliving this “bad dream” and forgetful experience and beginning to wander down a path that I no longer desire. I am an impassioned decent person but one who is no longer equipped nor motivated to accommodate situations that force unappealing images and uncomfortable negative thoughts about my mother. One night I reach out to my wife as she takes a bath, cries, and continues to unravel. I make a major mistake trying to reason with someone who is legitimately in no rationale state to do so; trying to be caring and pragmatic with someone who has never been willing to address two very fundamental and problematic issues in our marriage; issues that require a meaningful step relative to outreach and assistance. Threats of leaving fall on deaf ears. Acknowledgement by her that a functioning person with a “habit” is a bonafide excuse for not wanting to give up a destructive force only makes matters worse. I overreact and leave. The flashpoint of her anger and the depth of her insults draw me to the point of no return. We call each other the nastiest, meanest names. We appear to deliberately achieve a level of mutual indecency that exceeds any modicum of respect relative to our verbal assault of each other. At this juncture we have trespassed way beyond the tipping point and can never take back what has been said by both. It becomes a race to file a petition for divorce. Our hearts become hardened and our sense of dignity and fairness go out the door. Only a great deal of time will notionally heal the hurt and sadness that we are about to experience. What I don’t realize at this point is my wife’s lack of judgement in her next tactical step; her inability to select a decent lawyer with a foundation for the promotion of civility and basic human decency. This will unfortunately begin a war that sees no end. I continue to be curious which one of her so called “good” friends took her down this path. I doubt the friendship will survive the final outcome. Her attorney has no desire nor innate ability to provide the best possible outcome for my wife; a result which is simply a by-product of a clean and expedient resolution without “war like” collateral damage, and more importantly, without the sickening transfer of our community property and assets to a soulless law firm.