Tuesday, May 22, 2012

First Birthday Planning

Rit is quickly approaching 10 months old (next week!) which means his first birthday is not far away.

When ExH and I first separated, we hoped that we would be able to have a joint birthday party for Rit. However, as the separation and divorce progressed, it became apparent to me that a joint birthday party would simply cause a lot of stress for everyone there at a time that is supposed to be a celebration. To be honest, I am not ready to be around his girlfriend yet. Not because she is his girlfriend, but because she was once a friend that betrayed me in the worst way. I also want to invite several friends and family who do not want to be around ExH, some of whom ExH does not want to be around either.

In my gut, I knew he would not take it well so I came up with a compromise: we each throw our own, separate parties and on Rit’s actual birthday the 3 of us go out to dinner. This way, we could invite whomever we wanted to the parties without issue, yet still celebrate Rit’s birthday together. I felt this was fair as per the divorce decree, I have Rit on his birthday this year (ExH will have him on his birthday next year) and this way ExH will still get to see Rit on his birthday. When I messaged him this proposal, his immediate reply was “I guess that works. Kinda glad to know I’m still a monster. Though I really don’t like being excluded from that kind of thing.” This response upset me as he seems to think that everyone should have forgiven him by now and that he should no longer have to deal with the consequences of lying and cheating. Later on, a friend sent me what he had written on Facebook about it where he was saying that I was keeping him from his son’s first birthday activities and that he would never do such a thing to me. Both times, I bit my tongue to keep from saying what was really going through my head.
Later on, ExH did message me again and apologized, agreeing that this was probably the best option. I was glad to see that and I hope that these negative responses from him become less frequent and he realizes that I am not doing this to be spiteful or hurtful towards him, but trying to do what I feel is best for me and Rit.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Divorce Hearing

The divorce hearing was just as anti-climatic as I expected.

My friend S came over that morning to go with me to my hearing. We dropped Rit off with my parents and made it down there with 30 minutes to spare. I am a stickler about being early or on time. Finding a parking spot downtown was not easy, but we were able to find one close enough to the courthouse.

Once we got inside and through the metal detectors, we found our way to the 3rd floor and checked in with the bailiff. My lawyer had not arrived yet, so S and I waited out in the hall. ExH arrived and checked in as well, then sat next to me. It made a little uncomfortable, but my lawyer showed up soon after. She let the bailiff know she was there and off we went to pay additional fees and finish signing all of the paperwork. Once we got back, we went to court. My lawyer asked me several questions, essentially making sure that I understood everything I signed, that I felt it to be fair, and that I believed that ExH had told the truth when he filled out his paperwork. Then she called ExH up and asked him the same thing. Then the judge granted us our divorce. We left and finished signing all of the paperwork (I swear we signed more that day than when we got our marriage license!). After that, I looked at ExH and said “See you Thursday,” and we left.

To celebrate, S and I met up with our friends J and B and the 4 of us went out for sushi. I had a great time. Later, J gave me a ride around the parking lot on his motorcycle, so now I can say I have ridden on one.



I am very glad that it s now over and done. I feel like I can officially start a new chapter, just me and my son. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Story Before Divorce

With the divorce done, I feel ready to share my full story.

There really were a lot of red flags in this relationship. I should have left ExH a lot earlier than I did. There were so many little lies here and there. I would catch him in a lie and he would apologize. Just as I would trust him again, I would find out about another lie. So why did I marry him? Honestly? Because I loved him. I truly loved him. And I kept hoping that if we got married, he would stop lying to me. Naïve and stupid I know.

The marriage did not even start off great. The one request I had was that ExH not go to a strip club for his bachelor party. And that’s where they went. Everyone told me that nothing happened there, only to find out two months later that he had several lap dances. I was furious. Not because of the lap dances, but because that the people I considered my friends had just lied to me.
Our honeymoon did not go well either. We had rented a cabin in Gatlinburg, TN. Earlier that year we had gone on vacation there with a couple friends of ours and had a great time. I was excited to go and see everything with ExH. He wanted to stay at the cabin the whole trip. He did not tell me this until later. We had a lot of miscommunication about what we expected and as a result, I felt like I ruined our honeymoon. He moped the entire trip and rebuffed every attempt I made to make things up. I wanted to go home early since it was obvious it was not salvageable, but we stayed. Its funny how for the first year and a half I was married, I remembered all of the great things about the trip. Now, I also remember the bad things. A defense mechanism I suppose.

After that, things started getting a little better. I had not found out about any other lies in awhile. I was starting to trust again.
Before I go into this next section, I need to give some background. About three months before we got married, one of our friends, L, moved into our spare bedroom because he needed a place to stay. Things were going pretty well. About a month after the wedding, another friend, S, moved in. They began dating at that time. Two months later, T moved in.
The first few months of everyone living there seemed to go okay. Then it started going downhill. I was clashing with S very badly. Before this we were best friends. She was used to having and running her own home where this was my first home and I wanted to have it set up our (my & ExH’s) way. L sided with S on almost everything (obviously). The problem was that ExH was siding with them too. ExH had lost his job about a month before we got married and was now working at a shop in the mall for 11 hours a week and paid minimum wage. This meant that 1) he was home all day and becoming closer with L, S, and T and 2) I was the one working and making the money. Of the five people living there, I was the only one who worked steady hours and made a steady paycheck. As time went on, I began to resent them for it. No one helped me with grocery shopping despite repeated requests. If cleaning was done, I was made to feel guilty because I had not kept things cleaned or I did not immediately recognize that something had been cleaned by ExH. I believe the worst part was when they would all go out and do things during the day when I had to work, yet were always too busy or tired to do things when I was home. I was feeling rejected in my own home. With ExH siding with them on almost everything, or making me the “fall guy” when he did agree with me on something, I was feeling like it was me against everyone.

To add to the stress, in April (6 months after we were married) I received notice that I would be losing my job that September due to outsourcing. I had hit my breaking point and from there, I fell hard and fast. My bipolar disorder became out of control and I could not see it. I was mood swinging very hard, very fast, and lashing out at everyone around me. In July, I finally started seeing a psychiatrist and started a mood stabilizer. I could feel it working. I was very hesitant about taking medication because the last time I had taken an anti-depressant, I went through some very bad side effects. After a few weeks on the medication, the psychiatrist upped my dosage. ExH and S kept saying that they needed to up my dosage again because it was not working well enough. I said no because I wanted to see how I did on the current dosage before I asked to have it upped again. Later on, ExH said that this is when he was ready to end it. We never got a chance to up the dosage again because in early December, I found out I was pregnant despite being on the birth control pill. I had to do some digging, but I discovered that the mood stabilizer I was on had a chance of interacting negatively with my birth control pill. This was not in the original literature I was given and came as a surprise to me. I was weaned off of my medication and I started taking prenatal vitamins.
As I advanced through the pregnancy, I was more insistent that S and L move out (T moved out shortly before I found out I was pregnant). I also started to realize how bad my actions had been and started apologizing. More than one night, I would lie in bed crying, afraid that ExH would leave me, and him assuring me that he loved me and would not. (With my bipolar disorder, something happened during the pregnancy that stabilized everything. I continue to see a counselor and she says that she sees no reason for me to return to medication at this time. We continue to do check-in appointments to see how I am doing.)

In March, almost a year and a half after I was married, S and L moved out. Two days later, I found out that ExH had been having an emotional affair with a friend of ours. I was completely crushed. I was so angry but I wanted to try and work things out for our unborn child’s sake. I told him that I was ok with him talking to her as long as they did not hang out alone and she did not come over unless I was home. That did not last long as they soon made the affair a physical one. For the next several months, she lied to people about what was going on, ExH lied to me and others about what was going on, I was lied to by others so that they could be together, and desperate to try and save my marriage, I believed ExH. He would tell me he was not talking to her, but then I would find out that they had been texting for weeks. He would say that he was not seeing her, only to find out that they had been hanging out together after work when he had told me that he was working late. In August, our baby boy was born. I was dealing with a failing marriage, a newborn, and being a new mother all at the same time. It finally got to the point where we separated because what we were doing was not working. I hoped that time away from me and the home would help him realize what he was giving up. Instead, he broke more and more promises to me and lied to me even more. It was becoming apparent that even though he said he wanted our marriage to work, he was not willing to do what it would take to do so. A month later, just over a week after our 2 year anniversary, I told him that he needed to choose between her or his family. He chose divorce. I cried for hours after that. I never thought I would be divorced, or a single mother. Yet, I was about to be both.

Over the next few weeks, I dug deep and found the strength I needed to get me through this tough time. I knew I needed to be strong for my son. I needed to do this because staying only gave my son the message that lying and cheating were okay. He deserved better than that.

Even now, after the divorce, I continue to catch the lies that ExH is telling me; lies about such small things that it makes me wonder if he is even capable of telling the truth.

In the end, I learned that while it does take two to make a marriage either succeed or fail, in the end, it was his choice to have the affair and his choice to repeatedly lie to me. And it was my choice to divorce him and pursue a better life for both me and my son.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bipolar Disorder

Several years ago I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It has been a rough time as I learn how to deal and live with it.

I have discovered two things about my disorder: 1) major stress is a trigger that makes it get worse. The entire year of 2010 is a great example of this. 2) I have realized that a certain type of event triggers the depressive cycle. These two things have helped me manage the mood swing cycles, particularly the depressive end of them.

Once I realize that the sadness is part of the bipolar depressive cycle, it is easier for me to handle and I seem to get back to normal quicker. I feel that pinpointing the reason for it is what helps me.

The hardest part is making sure that I don’t say or do anything that could alienate any of my friends. I am torn between becoming anti-social and hiding away while I go through it or reaching out to friends so I don’t feel alone (which can make it worse on me). I am always scared that when my friends see me going through a cycle of emotions like that as quickly as I experience them, it can throw them off and scare them away. I am not always the most coherent when cycling so what I try to say is not very clear. I tend to ramble as well because I am trying so hard to get that message across. The general message is almost always the same: Something happened that caused me to feel alone or unwanted and all I want at that moment is to be told/shown that I am not alone and that my friends do want me around. I know this thought sounds like an obvious realization that I should be able to reach on my own, but when I hit that state of mind, self-realization is a difficult thing.

Whatever caused me to be upset may seem petty, but telling me that will only make it worse (I usually realize that I overreacted afterwards, but it never seems that way during it). The best things to do is to try to understand why I would be feeling that way and tell me so, and help me realize that this was the exception and not the rule. When one of my friends did this, it helped me so much to know that someone understood, that I was not alone and I was back to normal the next day.

Unfortunately, bipolar disorder is one of those issues that not only affects the person with the disorder, but the people around them too. We know we can be difficult to deal with. I don’t know a single person out there who has this disorder that is happy that they have it. Some of us need medication to help control it, sometimes just counseling or therapy. We all need patience and understanding though. Every day, I want to thank the friends that have stood by me and been there for me during my bad days.

Do I worry about how this disorder will affect Rit? Always, which is why I am working so hard to control it and I continue to see a counselor about it. I worry that Rit could possibly inherit this from me (or ADHD from his dad). I am hoping though that he will end up “normal” in that sense. Only time will tell. I can only hope that by then, if he does have it, I will have the answers he needs.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Castleteers

Saturday I attended an event called Castleteers. Twice a year this event happens. It was started by a few for a group from a forum we are all on. The event happens at Loveland Castle.

Loveland Castle has an amazing history. The man who built it is just as amazing. It was started by Harry Andrews in 1929 for his Boy Scout troop whom he called his knights, and later became the first Knights of the Golden Trail. Sir Harry built 90% of the castle himself, and worked on until he died at the age of 91 in 1981. The knights are the ones who finished, and continue to maintain the castle. I highly recommend looking up the history and reading about the castle and Sir Harry Andrews. Better yet, visit the castle.

This was my 4th gathering of the 12 Castleteers events they have had. Many of us consider it the kick-off to our renaissance faire season. The next gathering in the fall is the closing of our season.

The day starts with me getting dressed up in my garb (a requirement for the party): skirts, leggings for additional warmth, chemise, corset, jewelry, boots, and cloak. All the while I was making a dish called Monkey Bread in the shape of a castle. My friend arrived and we loaded up my car with everything we would need to stay the night at the castle and our food offerings for the pot luck dinner.

Loveland Castle is a museum, a tourist attraction, and home to the Knights. They open their gates at 11 am to the public. Admission is $5 to be able to walk through the castle and the grounds (very much worth it!). We arrived at noon. I have been visiting the castle for several years. In 2010, D and I were actually learning the facts of the castle so we could help give tours. Whenever I am there, especially in garb, I try to help the Knights with greeting visitors and helping out around the castle. On this day, one of the original Knights came to visit! It was such an honor to meet one of the men who are the reason we have the castle today. The castle remained open until 5pm. After that, we “closed” the gates (I say that with quote because the gates remained open for those arriving late) and it became a private party. The bed-spots were claimed (I got the spot next to the fireplace!) and the food came out. It was a party of food and fun with friends. A night like that leaves me very happy and looking forward to the next Castleteers event. I lost track of how many times I went up and down those stone stairs. In fact, I am still sore from it all. But every pain, scrape, and bruise is also a reminder of the good times I had with my friends.

It is events like these that remind me that I am better off without my ex-husband. This was by far the best Castleteers event I have attended, and the first one I attended alone. I think single is something I need right now.