Friday, April 05, 2013

System Upgrade

When you've suffered the embarrassment of multiple marriages, it is considered uncharitable to compare one husband to another. It is gauche to say that the new husband is taller, handsomer, richer, and has a bigger dick, even though he does.

When my last fairy tale ended up in the psycho-horror section, it felt like I was destroyed at the time. It was impossible to imagine my life ever righting itself after such a devastating wrong. Such feelings are transient, things are never as bad as they seem and in fact it wasn't very long at all before I realized that this was a positive move for me, an upward move, an improvement. And just as I was finding out what a relief it was to no longer be attached to 200 pounds of depressed man, he was finding out that he was still 200 pounds of depressed man.

In short, he refused to grant me a divorce. I live in Canada, where I do not need his permission, but the courts do not make it easy and so of course neither did he. He hid. I sought. I was made to take out ads in the newspaper, contact his relatives, hire a private detective. Marriage, in the end, is just a piece of paper, but that paper meant something to me, always did, always will. I didn't sign my name to it lightly, nor did I seek to have it removed without the same amount of thought and gravitas. I wanted to be free, felt I had earned it, and so I jumped through hoops.

This of course took years. Years during which I struggled to find the perfect moment during a first date, or a second date, or a third date to drop the bomb: yup, still married. But very, very separated, I assured them all. Years during which I still carried his dumb last name hyphenated to my father's dumb last name. Years during which I rebuilt my life without him in it, without the stuff that he stole, knowing that whatever I amassed now could still potentially be his. If I had been hit by a car, he had the legal right to pull the plug.

And yet, I found happiness. Big, crazy, banana-split happiness. You don't realize how much you're sacrificing of yourself until you don't have to do it anymore. When I stood on my own, I stood so much taller. And then I met Sean.
 
I had never seriously thought of remarrying, in part because I wasn't divorced, and in part because I never thought I'd marry in the first place. I had learned to never say never, but I was still surprised at how quickly and deeply I fell. I fell hard.

Within just a few months we were living together and engaged to be married. Engaged to be married, and also married. To someone else. Not a winning combination.

Ex continued to pop back into my life on occasion - sometimes mutual friends would report on his condition (generally not good, sometimes more alarming), other times he would randomly find me online through an old account and want to show me his pet rabbit (I wish this were a euphemism, but it's not). Obviously his mental health issues were persistent, as was his conviction to never, ever divorce.

Luckily Sean happens to be, among many a splendid thing, a lawyer. My fiance convinced my husband to divorce me by talking turkey. When my ex saw dollar signs, he signed the papers. I was on vacation in Mexico at the time, a bit stressed knowing we were planning a wedding that may or may not turn out to be legit, but sunning myself nonetheless. And then a call came in with the good news: my fiance could make a dishonest woman out of me.

It's still a bit surreal to me, that whole period of my life. The terrible end has coloured my sense of the whole relationship. I find it hard to remember the good times, and there must have been good times. The bad times are so much sharper. My family will not say his name aloud. It's as if they've wallpapered right over that decade. I gave away the old wedding dress, and threw out all his pictures. I don't need to forget, but I much prefer looking forward.

I don't hear from him so much anymore - most recently I had an email from him in my business account. He was shopping for wedding invitations. Small world? I'd say so. I wish I could say that I was happy for him, but mostly I'm just sad for her, whoever she is, and achingly happy for myself. Happy that I got away. Happy in a better life.

14 comments:

Mark said...

Glad to hear it. Well, read it. I wasn't clear on whether the new one (Sean) had gone sour, too. It all got mixed up for me in there, but I think the ending wrapped it up to make it more clear. Pre-Sean: bad. Sean: good

D. said...

So glad to see you back and even MORE glad that you have a wonderful partner to share your happiness with.

Maven said...

BRAVO! Love this post!

Congrats again! Your anniversary is coming up, isn't it?

Jude said...

I was with you (blogging) throughout all of that and all the crap afterward.... I remember how bad it was for you Jay. And so it is very easy for me to rejoice in the positive turn around in your life as it has become since the "dark ages"!

The Karma that everyone calls a bitch also doles out the good stuff to those who have suffered to earn it. She found you and delivered. :-)

Jay said...

Actually, things were quite good for a good chunk of time before I met Sean. I don't think I would have been in the head space to fall in love if I wasn't happy and fullfilled all on my own. Sean didn't make my life good because it already was, but he does make it better.

Lorna said...

I think someone has recycled my early life and passed it on to you. I hope you get the rest; it's wonderful!

LiVEwiRe said...

Nice to hear a happy ending every now and then. Unfortunately getting there isn't always so happy.

Jay said...

So cool to see you all!!

It wasn't easy getting here, but it was WORTH it. Totally.

kenju said...

I'm glad to see you are happy now. You deserve it.

Boris Stecko said...

I am so pleased to know you are writing again for public consumption. I've missed your your unique and always fascinating perspective on the world around you.

And it brings a great smile to my face to know you seem so very happy. I wish you and Sean many, many,many wonderful years...:)

Jay said...

Thank you, Boris, for the many manys, and for keeping in touch even off-blog :)

Melina said...

I always wanted to know the story! I am glad that you're happy and I can't imagine you living a life not worth living.

Teena in Toronto said...

After husband #1 and I split, I said I'd never do that again. He wasn't a bad guy ... just not the one for me. I didn't see any reason to get married again. Along came Gord and within six months, we married. I would have been happy just living together ... getting married meant a lot to him, though.

Navy Bean said...

So glad that you're back to blogging and that things are good. I remember, after my divorce, my mom asked me if I had any good memories (I left because he slammed my head into a wall and threatened to kill me). I had to tell her that no, I didn't. I'm sure there were some, I'm sure I loved him at some point, but he just killed it all. Second husband more than made up for it.