The hardest part about the way my marriage ended is trying to live without always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I mean, things are great now. Really great.
But things were great before.
Sometimes I wish that my ex had been a jerk to me. I hear about these spouses that put on a good show in public and then belittle and guilt-trip their partners behind closed doors. I read about growing tension in discussions and growing distance in the bedroom. I see couples at dinner barely containing their contempt for each other and eyeing the door for escape. Whenever I used to see or hear about those behaviors, I grew ever more grateful for my husband, who was always gentle, generous, patient and attentive towards me.
But now I feel otherwise.
Because while I was happily wrapped in his arms, he was sliding the blade of betrayal through my ribs. Between intimate conversations, he was spreading horrific tales about me to others. And apparently the attention turned towards me only lasted as long as I was in the room.
If he had been a jerk to me, it would be so much easier now. I would know what to avoid and what warned of a problem. But a covert jerk is difficult to spot.
And that’s what makes me wary about that other shoe.
My rational brain works to calm me. Brock is not my ex. He is direct and faces problems head-on instead of trying to tuck them away. He is naturally loyal and reviles deception. I grow closer to him every day and can now, with certainty, say that I trust him. Plus, he knows if he screwed me over, I’d have to write about it:)
Apart from him, I now trust myself to recognize similar patterns or behaviors that may hint at trouble brewing beneath the surface. I will never be so naive again.
But the rational brain isn’t always the one holding the reigns. And my emotional self keeps looking up, ready to dodge the flying boot.
15 thoughts on “Waiting for the Other Shoe”
I so understand this. My ex was the same exact way. Covert. She left so suddenly and the betrayal was so sneaky and unforeseen, and therefore all the more painful. I understand this completely.
Have you ever found yourself wishing that she was a jerk so that the end and behaviors weren’t such a surprise?
YES! All the time! All. The. Time!
The thing about my ex that should have thrown up red flags for me and will be something I watch for in the future, is she talked rudely about other people to me in their absence. I never thought about it too much, because she was always sweet towards me, but now I realize that if she could say those things about other people when they weren’t around, she could be saying those things about ME to them.
So now I watch closely at how people speak about others, in addition to how they treat me. Chances are people reveal their true selves to us in some form or fashion.
Agree! My ignored flag was that he could tell (and seem to enjoy) little harmless lies to strangers. Ex. “I’m diabetic” instead of “no, thanks” when offered a cookie at the grocery store.
We are both definitely more aware now!:)
Absolutely. I often wonder how I’m going to tackle that. It’s sad to think that part of you may always be a bit broken but also hopeful that you get to give it a go again anyway, even with the occasional ‘duck and cover’ from an imagined flying boot. 🙂
I certainly prefer the imaginary ones! 🙂
Wow… I can totally relate…”while wrapped in his arms, the blades of betrayal…” Such deception is so painful! Thanks for sharing.
OH my oh my I know exactly what you mean. I am currently in a relationship with a wonderful, considerate, thoughtful, INTUITIVE man who is not the man-child I divorced. And yet, sometimes I feel I punish him for my ex’s mistakes. I get so fearful that one day, just like before, what I thought was a solid, committed relationship will end up slapping me in the face again with infidelity and lies. But this man (Kyle) has done nothing wrong. It pains me that he sometimes gets the brunt of my post divorce PTSD, without me meaning to. Ironically, my ex moved on without any trauma and is happy in his third marriage. It angers me so much that the PTSD sometimes allows my ex to win all over again. For though I have no feelings for him now, the residual effects of his devastating actions allow silly, fickle fights to happen in my current relationship. My ex can become “the other man” in a negative way if I allow it. I’ve found mindfulness practices, particularly meditation and healing crystals, help me a significant deal when I try to engage in spiral-thought about the past. Great thoughts <3
The hardest part of a second marriage?
Not inviting your ex.
I’m with you on the mindfulness practice – it helps. Glad you found it:)
Not sure which is worse. My marriage was a slow death march pretty much from the day we walked down the aisle. 20 years later I finally got up the courage to walk away from it. The facade we presented to friends and family was Oscar worthy stuff.
Both scenarios suck.
Ain’t that the truth!
YES. I was just thinking about this the other day. It would be SO MUCH EASIER if the ass hat had been an outright jerk. Instead he spent months lying, deceiving, and hiding things from me while outwardly acting like the perfect husband. There were no warning signs so how can you learn to spot the warning signs? I hate the thought that it could so easily happen again…
It’s not actually that much easier if he was a jerk before. Because he’s also a jerk after. But I understand. Hugs.
My husband is not perfect, but wonderful. And I have to work at not wondering if I’m being naive, like I was in my first marriage which I thought was good. Yet my X was not that wonderful, not a jerk, but not as well-suited for me, so I choose to enjoy the gift of the present. It helps to think of how my husband is different from my X. More responsible, more spiritual, smarter. And I’m smarter, too.