7 years feels empty

7 years ago, I felt like a knight in shining armor. She had filed for divorce after a 4 year marriage that had really been an escape for both of them. He was joining the military and she was trying to figure out what to do with a baby from another relationship and no direction. Soon after they were greeted with another baby. She battled mental health issues and lots of addictions. They were both unfaithful. Fast forward to 7 years ago. She files for the divorce while in the midst of a full blown manic episode. She had driven 400 miles to be with another guy who she knew wouldn't accept her kids for a week long sexcapade. When she started coming back down and realizing what happened, she moved back to her parents. 1 child was 800 miles away with the father. The other she was doing a 50/50 custody arrangement. She posts on myspace that she wanted to go to St Augustine for a day but did so on a weekday. I responded that I would love to go but had to work so she decided to wait until the weekend. Now we had known each other in high school but lost touch until 7 years ago. We went and had a great day. I didn't go with any inentions but she made some hints before eventually just grabbing and kissing me in the evening shadow of the fort. 

Over the next few months we dated and talked regularly. I wanted to help right her ship. Bring some stability. She would tell me to not worry about her and break things off then call 15 minutes later and say she was scared of hurting me. Things started getting serious and we moved in together. She started going back to school. Unfortunately her inability to focus on 1 thing caught up with her. When the custody fight came back to being a big deal, she stopped going to school. Then she had a car accident that put her on the shelf for a while. This whole time I am working full time and starting up a freelance business. All with the intention of providing for a family. A lot of my income went towards attorney fees. We got married but she was apprehensive all the way through. It wasn't a good sign.

Before our 1st anniversary, she starts exhibiting signs of mania again. I had educated myself ahead of time so I knew what to look for. Her mom was filled with misinformation about me and didn't believe me and was actively pushing for her to spend time with a guy they knew. I filled out papers for divorce and left them at the house and went to a pastors house to talk. The pastor encouraged me to fight for the marriage. When I got back home, she was on a rampage with that guy and her mom. They fabricated a story that I had pushed her against a wall and I was arrested. She continued to lie in court and had a restraining order placed against me. I lost 20 pounds in a month from stress and grief. I was raised by a cop. I am not abusive. She had the other guy move in.

She eventually circumvented the order herself and contacted me. We started talking covertly. She admitted to having slept with the other guy and having been flirting with him while I was home with the kids. She worked with her psychiatrist and they adjusted her medications. We reconciled and things were good for a bit. Then she continued to not take care of her body and her health declined. I spent more time with her in the hospital than I have ever been in the hospital with anyone. She spent a week in the hospital many times with different neurological issues. She didn't eat right, continued to smoke, was sedentary, didn't deal with stress properly and kept an irratic schedule. 

Last fall her mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer after having not gone to the doctors at all in 30+ years. Within 6 months she passed and my wife lost it. She slipped right into mania. Started drinking and going out every night. Started spending time with her exboyfriend against my objections. Slept with him several times. I knew it was mania and tried to not focus on the negative. I was getting really close with the kids afterall. She realized she was manic and admitted it to me. This didn't really change much of her behavior though. She continued to sleep in other beds in the house instead of ours. She then started spending time with other friends and called another guy her best friend. I was supposed to be ok with this and was being ridiculous according to her. When she received an insurance settlement check, she lied to me about its availability. Soon after, she was planning a trip overseas (after telling me she didn't want to do that without me). She goes and gets her passport and new clothes. Tells me her sister had paid for it knowing she needed a vacation to get away from everything for a bit. When I called her out knowing that she was flying to meet with someone else, she told me I was again being ridiculous. That guy was 700 miles away from where she was going to be. That night was the last night the 4 of us were a family together. She grabbed my hand in the car as we went to run some errands and told me "there is still something there".

Lo and behold, day 3 of her trip, she whispers to my stepdaughter that she was spending a couple of days with that guy. I heard it because I was 15 feet away cooking. I called her out on it privately. She then puts this guy on facetime and say she wants to be with him and wants him to move to the US to be with her. I hang up and fall apart. 2 weeks later I find out that she had spent the entirety of that settlement check before her flight and all the times she had sat with me and budgetted it out were pantomimes by her. She also managed to drain the checking account before things could get transfered over. So I had to borrow some money from my parents just to get to work.

She ends up staying there for a month. 1st flight was missed because she was not cleared to fly due to illness. 2nd date was never booked. It wasn't until I had filed for divorce and notified her I was moving out of the house that she then suddenly got a plane ticket back. She ended up being there for over a month. Now everything that was discussed while she was there, she claims was under duress. So our simple divorce is now contested. We were married 4 years. I fought like hell to give her everything. I cooked. I cleaned. I did laundry. I worked 50+ hours a week. I took the kids to their extracurriculers. All while she dealt with fabricated or embellished drama. 

The kids barely talk to her. 1 is back 800 miles away. The other is still in town but doesn't want to be alone with her mother. On the flip side, I talk to both all the time and the 1 in town spends time with me all the time. We go out and have fun together. 

Top all of this off with the fact that a week after I filed the divorce papers, I lose my job. So I am now living at my parents during Christmas with no direction. The kids are the only good things I have and I know that I will never again have them living in my house again. I had to rehome many of the pets. My life is in boxes in the garage. I hate all of this. 

I want my family back. It was all right there but she threw it away by not being responsible and mature. I was disrespected and made to feel inconsequential for so long that I actually miss just having someone to come home to. I don't sleep worth a damn. My motivation is nonexistent. If I'm not communicating or spending time with my stepdaughters, I am a ghost. I would welcome death but don't seek it out. Its so alien because I am here spending time with the people that I had spent the last 7 years fighting in court with my wife. They have opened their doors to me and its been very cool of them. I spent all day Thanksgiving with them at my stepdaughters request. I'll do the same on Christmas.

To mitigate this, I have been trying to find a new position. Unfortunately many places aren't hiring right now. They will typically start next month. I signed up for dating sites (match, POF, okc, bumble, etc) but haven't received any responses from the ones that I would actually be attracted to. I've sent out over 30 messages with a very small response rate. Throw in the fact that my younger brother just got engaged to the type of woman I always hoped my wife would be (honest, loyal, affectionate, hardworking) and I hear my parents beeming with pride when talking about the proposal to friends. 

I am not social either. I have very few friends as I have always valued quality over quantity. The activities I enjoy are mostly solitary. Fishing, kayaking, video games. I have no identity. When it comes to being out socially, I don't talk to others. I went to a concert last month by myself and really only talked to this one couple when I overheard them debating whiskey vs bourbon. That was just a few minutes between sets though. I lack selfconfidence in unfamiliar settings. The friends I have are either busy with their families or pretty antisocial also. I know I'm a good guy with a good heart, upstanding character, decent looking, honest and loyal. I do my part and then some with housework.  Many of the qualities women say they look for in a man. I regularly offer my jacket to people I'm with when they look cold. I open the door for others. I want to be with someone who I will look forward to coming home to on a daily basis. Who I can go experience new things with. 

I have plans for next year but they all depend on getting a job. I want to go back to school. I want to move closer to wherever I work and go to school. I want to travel. I don't like living at my parents. Its makes me feel like a failure and a loser. Especially since I have no job. I set my alarm to get up at 7am and do things but snooze it every time. I'm not building towards anything. Just treading water waiting for a sign of shore. 

Until I my insurance lapsed, i was seeing a therapist. I just know that without an identity, a job, a family, I'm useless. I lost my family and have a mountain of debt. Take that back. I didn't lose my family. My wife threw us all away. There is nothing I can do to fix that. Powerlessness like this is too alien for me to accept. I do not do well with this level of radical change, especially in such a cataclysmic fashion.

There is much, much more to the story but this is the 10,000 foot view. 

User Comments
Anon-1

Thank you for sharing this - I am in a similar situation and it helps to know there are others out there who feel the same way I do.