Saturday, April 9, 2016

An explanation to friends and family

The past two weeks have been very difficult for me, and many of you who are aware have sent messages of support, advice and love that I greatly appreciate. Others may not quite understand what my family has been dealing with.

About 11 days ago, my wife came to me and after some brief arguing, told me she felt we needed a trial separation. She wanted to take our daughter, Fiona, and get an apartment in a better school district. I was struck by this, and didn't want any part of a situation that involved her taking Fiona from me. Some of her issues were practical. Fiona needs to be in a better school district for first grade. We have talked about moving for years but several factors held us back, like credit, money, how we would handle getting rid of our house that we have borderline negative equity in, and the biggest issue, my toy personal/business collection, which I had planned to sell off so we could move. But, between being a stay at home dad and house husband, trying to build my resin casting into something I could do as a career, and putting out our normal borderline catastrophic fires that were a result of a laundry list of issues, I didn't get anywhere near enough sold off to afford moving right away.

Also of note is, my wife has said that she feels she has no place in our house. It has been an issue for a while, one I have made attempts to fix, but was never able to do so to either of our satisfaction. Between my stuff and Fiona's stuff (I buy her a lot of stuff), it gets crowded. But I completely admit, this has been an issue I didn't handle properly.

Her plan seemed to consist of her taking Fiona at the beginning of the summer, getting an apartment, and I stay in our house and sell off all my stock/collection until the house is empty. The issue became fuzzy when I asked her where I fit in this new apartment situation...I apparently didn't. She gave excuses like "Well, it will be really small..." and "Maybe you will prefer living alone once you get used to it...". I was scared. I tried coming up with any solution, spoke to neighbors about local schools, bounced some ideas off her, and at one point, she said separation wasn't really a foregone conclusion. Maybe I could fix this. I could try to get rid of everything I owned by summer and we could use the money to buy a new house or rent a nice apartment somewhere in a better school district.

I started planning along those lines. Over the next few days I had to prepare for a toy show, so I dug deep and packed a lot of things that in the past I wanted to keep, but now they just needed to go. The stress of the work ahead started building on me, and I was waking up at night with anxiety attacks. As I got worse, my wife was quickly becoming more distant, avoiding eye contact, any physical contact was obviously forced. She was going out late with her friends every night, leaving me at home to stew and wallow. The day of my show, last Sunday, I was a mess. I was scared, I wasn't sure I could handle everything I needed to do to try and keep my family together. She came to the show with my daughter, but was visibly distant, which some friends remarked on.

After the show, I came home and began melting down. I had started sleeping on the couch because I couldn't sleep through the night, and my wife was all but ignoring me, which made me worse. I was getting in my car and driving around at 3am. I visited every house I grew up in, every school I attended, drove through old neighborhoods...My heart was constantly on the verge of beating out of my chest, I was shaking and cold. This went on for a couple days as I spiraled further out. One morning, Fiona came downstairs, I think it was this past Monday or Tuesday, to find me sobbing on the couch. She could tell I was sad and scared, and though I didn't tell her why, she said she would sit with me to keep me company so I would not be lonely. This became a daily ritual for us, we talk, share stories, and draw.

On Tuesday, I'd had enough. I asked my wife what I did to deserve the treatment I felt she was giving me.

She told me, in no uncertain terms, she was no longer in love with me. It had been a long time coming, and she was finally acting on it. There really wasn't any hope for me, so all my planning and scheming the previous week were useless. She was leaving with Fiona, she needed her life to be something different, to find out who she was and what she was going to do or be, and there was no place for me in it.

Her words had a physical impact on me. I was doubled over in pain, I couldn't move. I've been having daily emotional breakdowns, not sleeping or eating, and doing damaging things I'm not proud of. She softened her demeanor in her admission, and cried with me out of guilt over what she was putting me through. I've been trying to leave the house or hide some of my episodes to make it easier on her, but I'm not always successful.

I haven't made it through a day yet without some kind of anxiety attack or emotional breakdown. I've been suicidal, my behavior has been erratic towards everyone but my daughter, and I'm barely functioning as a human being. I'm fucking broken right now. My 40th birthday is in 4 days and I'm starting that decade with virtually nothing.

Just to put some perspective on this, a little over a month ago my wife and I were still actively trying to have a second baby. Two weeks ago, on Easter Sunday, we were taking family photos on the steps of my Sister's house. And even a week ago, I was busting my ass in hopes to fix the issues she had presented to me. To say I was not prepared for all this is a huge understatement. My wife carries a lot of job stress, it is almost crippling for her. So for the past two years, I did my best to help her through that, not realizing her issues were not just with the job, but with me as well.

Even though this was her plan to put in motion, my wife takes no joy in this and has been carrying enormous guilt over it. She has spent a lot of time comforting me as best as she is able under the circumstances, even when my state of mind caused me to lash out at her.

While my wife doesn't want me to be part of her life, she doesn't want me out of Fiona's, and has made it very clear that there will be no attempts to keep us apart, and she wants me to commit to being permanently and constantly available to my daughter. Since I'll be rebuilding my life alone, I honestly don't know where or how I will end up, or how my mental state will be. So I feel like I can't make any promises until I know how I'll be coping with this all. But, for my legally minded friends, this is a separation, not a divorce, and my wife is being very clear that she wants me to be able to rebuild my life without her making it any more difficult than it will already be.

Through all my pain and grief, I still love her deeply. I still feel drawn to her. She says I'll hate her eventually and she hopes I do so I can begin to heal. I really don't want to hate her.

But, today, we are telling my daughter about all this. Like, within the hour. My wife can hurt me, damage my heart and head, and I will still love her, I would still take her back if she said she needed me. But I'm worried about how my daughter will react, and how I'll handle her reaction. I don't want my baby to hurt, and I tried one last time to convince my wife not to go through with this. It didn't work or help.

And it's fucking snowing in spring.