Mac, Moving On: Watching Someone Spiraling Down on a Path of Destruction

Have you ever seen someone you thought you knew and loved turn into a completely different person? And then watch them dive head-first into a downward spiral that you know for a fact isn’t going to end well? Watch them sit there grabbing on to more and more weights, even though they  were in way over their heads… all you can do is watch them drown?

I hope you guys don’t mind me going back into what’s going on with the ‘ex files’ for me, but blogging about it is kind of therapeutic. And I guess it’s good to share these kinds of stories and experiences online, because we can draw strength from each other in that no one is above having trouble and difficulties, not even Witches.

I’ve been watching slow and agonizing ruination of a man who I counted as my best friend and lover for more than 20 years. I still can’t believe it is happening.

 

Oh, I’ve accepted the break-up, the inevitable divorce, I’m not in love with him, I have absolutely no desires to go back. I don’t feel vindictive or hateful toward him. But the shocks just keep coming, and I find myself in complete awe. He made himself vulnerable to one woman who completely used him and toyed with him, playing cat and mouse games. He’s put his job at risk repeatedly. He’s threatened suicide and even took half-hearted attempts (more for attention and pity than to actually get the job done). he started smoking and drinking heavily. He’s been held for a few days for an evaluation in a mental hospital, not once, but twice, in the last few months. He’s buried in a mountain of debt, part of it to creditors plus he owes me nearly $4,000.

Now keep in mind, this is a man who had no major drama before this. He worked steadily– he didn’t like his jobs, complained they were killing him, and didn’t earn much. I encouraged him to push himself for something more, not just for a better life for our family but so he would be more fulfilled, but he lacked ambition. But he always worked and was a good, steady earner. He was a homebody; not big on bars, drinking, or carousing. He never raised a hand to me, never cheated on me before, we trusted each other with everything. He was a family man and would spend time with us, we’d go to Disney or camping or watch movies or play board games on family nights.

A year ago, if I had to list my biggest complaints, it would have been things like he had bad eating habits, he didn’t clean up after himself, he could be lazy and he could have shown a little more ambition, career-wise, even if he didn’t bring in more money he could have sought better hours and something that didn’t leave him so grouchy and in pain.

Now, he’s barely a shadow of his former self.

And he continues to screw me left and right. He was evicted from his apartment and came to me, homeless, begging me to take him in temporarily. I took him in on the condition that he contribute a fair share and pay me back, and help with the general chores. he agreed enthusiastically to be cooperative.

But the week after his last suicide attempt and a few days in the mental hospital, he met ‘someone new’ online.

A week after that, he was going to move to her state after he finished paying me back and getting himself back on his feet in a few months. In the meantime, he was going to help me get things re-painted and cleaned and ready to move around here, where we’ve lived for 10 years. I said sounded like a good plan for both of us moving on.

A week after that, he was looking to leave within a month… he’s not going to be able to pay me as much as he promised. I said, “wait a minute…”

I warned him that if things don’t work out for him with her, he has no resources… no pocket money, no car, no friends or family in Indiana, no mental health resources out there yet… if things don’t work out and she throws him out, he’s got nothing. He said he was willing to risk it.

I said but if he has nothing, he risks leaving me and the kids with nothing of what he owes us. He said he’s willing to risk that, too.

So I told him that if he reneges on his promise to pay me back before he leaves, I’m contesting the divorce until we work out him paying back everything he owes. He’s absolutely furious –spitting nails– that I’m not allowing him to get off scot free with his irresponsible behavior, and I’m actually trying to hold him to his promises.

He says he feels like I’m holding him prison, but he’s too self-absorbed and too busy being plain stupid right now to realize he built his own prison by fucking up his life so much that he’s actually dependent upon me and owes me a shitload. He doesn’t understand why I don’t just trust him. He keeps saying his word is good, he had good intentions, he can be trusted. But he has done absolutely nothing to show he’s worthy of trust– not a single good-will gesture. Not even cleaning up after his own damn messes.

I’m just so disappointed in him… it hurts to lose all respect for someone you used to be so in love with, and who you have a bond with for life even if you’re not together anymore. But he’s still just thinking of himself.

After his losing his apartment, moving in with me (platonically, separate bedrooms), suicide attempt, hospitalization, coming back, owing me thousands, etc… he promised on his day off he’d clean the mess he’d made after being here 2 weeks in my son’s room. My son was getting frustrated with it… and what did he do that weekend? Went to his friends. Called me and told me ‘he’ll get to it’.

Then he promised he cleaned the porch– and when I asked, he said he cleaned his mess up. This is what I found after he said he cleaned the porch:

He’s the only one who smokes.

He gets literally shocked when you tell him you’re tired of waiting for him to make good on even the tiniest promise. Personally if someone did as many big favors for me as I’ve done for him this month, I’d be doing anything I can to show my appreciation, they wouldn’t even have to ask.

Now, he’s on another vacation. He rushed to take more time off work so he could visit his new girlfriend on Friday, and before he went he told our son that he needed to not pay me back because he needs to go be with this woman and pay her rent.

My 19-year-old son is really upset. He told my ex, “If you do this and things don’t work out for you and you screw us again, this is the last straw for me, are you willing take that risk?”

My ex tells tells my son, “Yes. I’m willing to take that risk, because she’s my priority and I know this relationship 100% won’t fail.”

Complete and utter shock… my poor son told me, after tossing and turning and feeling sick over that for 2 days. He is devastated that his father is so proud to admit he’s putting a woman he met 3 weeks ago on the internet before his children.

My heart is aching for my sons… because the 19-year-old told the 16-year old. The 16-year old is also completely disgusted with him and wants nothing to do with him, either.

I have to admit, all thoughts of spells to cast on my ex have crossed my mind– I could try to make him stick to his word, try to ruin his love life until he finishes paying us, to try to control him. I don’t want to hurt him, though, and in his mental state it could really send him over the edge by attempting to manipulate such a weak mind.

Also at first I really wanted to give him a chance to wake up, turn around, and do right by his kids. But that’s apparently just expecting too much of him. I’m just going to battle it out in the courts and cast spells that justice is served and debts are settled.

But it puts me in a terrible spot now, because I’m going to have to do this probably without being paid back, and without child support for our youngest son.  That and the divorce are going to be a really hard hit for me, financially, so I’m turning my efforts and energy toward increasing my earnings.

I’m also at a point at which I just have to say no to him, no matter what it does to him, because I cannot afford to sacrifice another minute of time, money or compassion for this man. I have tried to help keep him on his feet so he didn’t completely fall flat on his face but he obviously doesn’t appreciate it and doesn’t even have the common decency to show some gratitude by making some kind of amends. I can’t allow him to keep using us, to keep taking advantage of us, to keep treating us like we are his guaranteed safety net as if we owe it to him to be his clean-up crew when things become a mess for him.

I thought we could separate amicably and watch out for each other’s interests. I honestly wished him well with his relationships; I wanted him to go on and be happy, just not screwing me and the kids in the process. Above all, even if he no longer gave a shit about me, I thought he’s do what was best for the kids… but that is apparently not going to happen. He has stopped caring about anyone but himself and his whims… he’s got no honor, no integrity, has not a single redeeming quality. He has lost the respect of just about everyone who cared about him, including the people who cared most.

Watching this man come to this is heartbreaking. What he’s done to himself in the last 9 months, watching him use us, watching him risk everything, throw everything good in his life away, including his two children, is just heartbreaking. It’s like the good family man is dead, and there is some insane, self-centered, childish, self-destructive imposter in his place. He’s like a pod person, and I’m grieving for the husband I had who is as good as dead, and now stuck trying to untangle this legal divorce mess with a monster who was left in his place.

I don’t know what’s going to be worse for him– finally self-destructing and ending up homeless, jobless, alone and mentally ill in a strange city, or snapping out of it one day and realizing everything he’s done, what an absolute monster he’s been, destroying his relationship with the very people who COULD have been there for him so he would never truly been alone: his children.

This has gone way beyond me getting dumped. That was painful, but he made things so much worse. A good man would have gone about it differently. He would have told me he was unhappy and left before looking for another woman. He would have gotten his finances in order and made more responsible decisions so he could move out, pay his child support and not have to ask the wife he left behind for help. He could have dated people and gotten to know them, instead of diving head-first into ‘falling in love’ and lying down to be a doormat for other women. He could have not gone thousands of dollars in debt to travel around the world in hopes of making a love connection, and just been patient and saved money for a vacation. He could have kept up with his meds, his doctor appointments and counseling, etc. to ensure his mental health was being dealt with during a big change of life. He could have made his kids a priority, spent time with them, reassure them that our divorce had nothing to do with them and that he still loved them and would still be there for him.

He failed on every single count…. Every. Single. Thing.

This is the most epic failure, by far, that I have witnessed in my lifetime and I am so saddened and utterly disgusted.

I have nothing to do now but try to look away and focus on myself and my kids. Cut my losses and move on. I have to work, scrimp, save, work magic like I’ve never worked it before, to get myself together so that when the lease is up here, I’m ready to move on from this place.

It isn’t going to be easy, but I can’t let my boys down… they were looking to move for two years. My 19 year old wants to go to a jr. college where they offer a culinary degree program, and he wants to save expenses by living at home and working. My 16 year old, who is not the most academically inclined, wants to go to a school of the arts. They don’t have any schools for what my boys want around here.

Now, after all the mess, we (me and my boys) all feel like we want to get as far away from here as we can… we are aiming for Tennessee, and have got to get a house this winter when our lease here is up. We have all got to start fresh and move forward with something to look forward to. I’m not going to  count on the ex making good on any of his promises, or doing the honorable thing and paying me back or paying child support, so I’m on my own.

Thankfully, I’m good at rising up to meet challenges. With my Gods and my faith, I know I can make whatever goals I set for myself.

Doesn’t make watching my ex crash and burn like that any less sad, though. What a complete shame.

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Mac, Moving On: Every Ending Is a New Beginning

Deanlaw/Wikimedia Commons

Do you know what tomorrow is? Tomorrow is me and my husband’s 18th anniversary. And our last.

My husband and I were handfasted 18 years ago by my High Priest & Priestess, in a circle surrounded by our friends and loved ones.

Eighteen years ago, I didn’t think a marriage license that ‘legalized’ our union was necessary. We’d been living together for a few years already and I was content. And I was right– it wasn’t the marriage license or the seal from the State of New York that change anything. That handfasting, however, seemed to deepen our commitment more than I ever had imagined. That rite of passage, having our vows sanctified before family and loved ones in a meaningful ritual was an incredible experience.

We saw each other through poverty, job losses, new careers, the birth of children, the ups and downs of parenthood, moving across country, illnesses– especially that mysterious one that put me in a wheelchair for two years, recoveries– especially the wonderful one that got me out of the wheelchair, the loss of parents, loved ones and friends, disappointments, celebrations, lazy summer days and rainy, bleak nights. I thought it was going to last forever.

One of my favorite things in the world to do was just to cuddle up with my husband with some take-out, watch television and crack jokes about whatever we were watching. As I worked harder and harder to build a career in writing, he fueled me with coffee and back rubs. He left supportive messages at my desk. As he went back to school to gain trade skills, looked for a new career, I cheered him on. I tried to make up for his lack of confidence by showing him the confidence I had in him.

We talked about our plans for the future… backpacking through Europe as empty nesters.  Buying a camper someday and living on the road. Or maybe just settling down so close to Disney World that we could pretend we lived there, and spend our evenings strolling down Main Street of the Magic Kingdom, hand in hand, watching fireworks burst above our heads, and forget the depressing things going on outside of the gates.

After our 15th anniversary, in October of 2015, we renewed our vows to each other, and took the honeymoon we never went on. In June of 2016, we went to the Florida Keys and watched the sunset, seemingly full of hope for the future. Last summer, were talking vigorously about our plans to move to Orlando in 2017. The future looked bright. We overcame a lot of struggles together.

Then life took a , major detour and our paths suddenly diverged.

Do you know what Friday is? Friday marks the 8-month anniversary of him telling me he didn’t want to be married anymore.

It came as a complete shock to me. I’d just gotten back from a weekend winter camping trip with the kids. He and I hadn’t been talking or spending much time together for months. He had taken more and more to his room, and busied himself with work.

He told me how exhausted he was. The overnight shift was killing him. I remember something nagging inside me, something was wrong. But I wanted to believe him, and it made sense. I thought when we moved, he would get a better job, better hours, and be better off. Things would go back to normal.

So I told him that night that we had only about two months to start seriously looking for a new place in Orlando, and that we had to sit down and make concrete plans. He had to start job hunting. We had to start house hunting. We had to start packing. The holidays were upon us, and as soon as the dust settled after New Year’s Day, I told him we needed to jump into action.

That’s when he dropped the bomb and told me he didn’t plan to come with me to Orlando. The whole conversation feels a bit surreal, like a dream, and I was confused. I couldn’t grasp it, so I asked something along the lines of, “Are you saying you’re leaving me?”

“Our marriage was over a long time ago,” he told me. I remember that line clearly. It’s burned into my memory forever. The tone of his voice. Him standing there near the front door as he headed outside. His his hands in his pocket. His hair a mess from just waking up. The stubble on his face. The piercing dark eyes with an unusually earnest expression. It’s like a short video meme clip that, if I let myself think about it, plays over and over in my head.

Was it over when we went to the Florida Keys for an anniversary weekend get-away just a few months earlier? Was it over last time we made love? Was it over in the last few months, in the countless hours I spent researching houses, neighborhoods and the job situation in Orlando? Was it over when we looked through home & garden magazines and pointed out the new styles and furnishings that we wanted to try out in our new home, in our new city?

If it was over so long ago, why was I only hearing about it on December 11th, 2016?

A LOT, and I mean A SHITLOAD LOT has happened in the last eight months. For a couple who tends to not like drama, our lives certainly did a remarkable job resembling a low-budget soap opera. I’ll go into that another time.

But tonight I sit here on the eve of my handfasting anniversary, planning a hand-parting ritual for tomorrow.

Tomorrow night, I will cast my circle and I will call my Gods and guides for comfort.

I will unknot our handfasting cord, which has sat in a prominent space on our bedroom shelf, unknotted, for 18 years. I will cut it and half. I’ll burn my half, along with a copy of my marriage vows.

We bought a special chalice for our wedding as well. It’s silver-plated with our names and wedding date engraved on it. It breaks into two separate cups. We liked the symbolism at the time: two individuals, but joined together, fitting each other perfectly, working together as a perfect team. It, too, sat on that shelf, along with a heart-shaped pillow that carried our wedding rings and an empty bottle of Chaucer’s Mead. The last edition to the shelf were our Mickey and Minnie Mouse wedding hats.

I plan to smash my half of the cup. I’ll take out a few frustrations on it, then later, after the ritual, I’ll bury it, along with the ashes of my vows and my handfasting cord. I’ll hold a little funeral for my marriage.

The divorce isn’t yet finalized; but it’ll be over to me. Dead and buried. It wasn’t the license or government seal that made me feel married; and it won’t be the signed divorce papers that make me feel my marriage is over. It was the ritual rite-of-passage that solidified my commitment and bound us together; and it will be a ritual rite-of-passage that unravels those ties.

And like all deaths and other transitions, I’ll get through it.

The musical mood of the moment:

 

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