Jen’s husband was diagnosed with cancer at about the same time she was coming to the realization that her marriage was over but between juggling work, her children and her husband’s treatment, she needed time to think about the future. Here’s Jen:
I waited. I didn’t even know what I was going to do when he was sick. I was so occupied with trying to move my house and making sure my kids were alright. They were scared.
“Is dad gonna die?”
The kids were terrified about that, so I was trying to console them. I was working all these extra hours to keep our insurance and I felt guilty about that because my kids needed me.
I just was so busy with everything, that I just put my head down and thought,
“I’ll just deal with everything that has to be dealt with right now.”
I took that time to figure out what it was that I truly wanted to do. I really didn’t want to get a divorce, but I remember my first night back at my parents house. They were out of town, and the boys and I moved our stuff in. I tucked my kids in and I climbed in bed. I remember thinking,
“I don’t remember feeling this safe in a long time.”
There wasn’t anything else in my life that could be taken away from me. It was already gone. My house was gone. I didn’t own anything. He had forged my name on my IRA and cashed it out. There was nothing anybody could take from me. I was in my mom and dad’s house and I felt safe.
That was when I started going,
“I really think that this is going to be best for everybody. I don’t think he’s going to change. It’s been four years of me going ‘do I know everything? Are you sure you’ve told me everything?’ ‘Yep, I’m sure.’”
I just didn’t see it getting any better. In December they told him he was in remission and I still was struggling with what I was going to do. At the end of January I got the number of a mediator and said,
“I think we need to go to a mediator.”
He was angry with me. He didn’t want it.
Of course, he didn’t because I cleaned up all of his messes. I kept everything neat and clean for him. Nobody had to know he was gambling and lying.
Looking back sometimes, I get mad when I look at some of the things that I was doing to try to keep our family afloat and he was gambling it all. He had started betting and was borrowing $10,000 to cover that. I’m not positive on this, but I’m pretty sure he sold our car. He called me one day and said he’d been in a car accident and the car was totaled. It was a car we’d just gotten, it wasn’t covered with insurance just yet, he hadn’t called. The stories go on and on. So the car disappeared, we never got any money. I begged him to give me the phone number of the insurance company so I could call and find out what was going on but no, he said he would take care of it.
It was just one thing after another after another. Big things, like come on, a missing car!
I do remember thinking it would just be easier if he died. Then there would be no explaining to my kids, none of the community would have to know I was getting ready to go through a divorce, that he had been lying, that I felt like I fool. I just thought it would be the easy way out. At the same time, I felt terrible for thinking it, like
“I’m such a bad person, what’s wrong with me?”
When he told me he was in remission, and again, it’s hard to even admit this because it sounds so terrible, but I was slightly…disappointed.
The Divorce Coach Says
It’s very telling when Jen says she was at her parents home, having lost everything and yet feeling safe for the first time in a very long time. I remember a similar feeling of calm, when my ex moved out. I could home without tensing up the moment I walked through the door, I didn’t have to worry about what sort of mood he’d be in or if something had upset him. No more feeling of walking on broken glass. It was home now.
I also remember having thoughts about my ex having a car accident and not coming home. Like Jen said, it’s very hard to admit those thoughts to someone – we’re not supposed to have thoughts like that but I’ve talk to other women who’ve had similar thoughts. Pippi couldn’t see her way out of her marriage and thought it would be easier if her husband died.
Candace also had thoughts that maybe her spouse wouldn’t come back from a business trip and she would be widowed. She sees those thoughts being rooted in deep unhappiness, in misery and it means that you would be responding to natural consequences rather than initiating something as painful and traumatic as divorce.
I know now I was just looking for an easy way to avoid the confrontation, looking for a way so I wouldn’t be the bad guy. I think if you’re having these thoughts, it’s time to listen to your heart, find your courage and talk seriously to your spouse about the state of your marriage.
Photo credit: takomabibelot