There are things that I need to let go. There are things I ought to walk away from. But… every once in awhile I see or hear things and my brain won’t let them go.
I was married to a man I wanted to keep with all my heart. I thought I loved him. I wanted to be wanted. I needed this with every fiber of my being. Where this uncharacteristic desperation of mine came from I have no idea, but it was there. Not in the beginning, but by the end at my breaking point it was suffocating.
It took two years for the care teams at two different mental health hospitals to get me to fully understand that what was going on with this marriage wasn’t just domestic violence, but predatory behavior.
It took me about another year for me to accept it and realize that I needed a divorce. I didn’t have an escape plan. Not really. He was enlisted in the US Army at the time and was posted out of state. So I moved the boys and I into my parents house. And even then, the reasons for moving were multiple. Mostly however, I played dead. I did my best not to take the bait anymore and not engage. I told him I wanted a divorce and just withdrew myself deeper.
Last July he came to visit on his leave and brought with him court summons for me to sign. He was filing for a mutual divorce but refused to explain why. The day after he returned to post to prepare to head out to South Korea, he friended a single mother on Facebook. I was pretty sure then I was given my reason despite the fact zero public communication ever occurred between these two in the year since.
Yesterday, I came home after a long bitchy day of errands and Dad rushed to inform me that on Facebook that someone announced their engagement to my ex. He just had to show me this before I could even get the groceries in. I didn’t want to look. I knew it would confirm what I already knew. Sure enough, it was the same profile that he had friended almost a year ago.
Our divorce hadn’t even been settled more than 8 months ago.
Well, this morning I couldn’t remember her name so I logged into Facebook to check. The woman is gone. Her profile is gone. She is no longer in his friends list. She is no where to be found. I know it existed because her profile pic was a photo of her with a friend. My ex recently friended this friend and her profile pic has this photo. Aside from this one photo, there is nothing of this woman for me to find.
So I told my dad what my concern is and my dad gets on his computer and finds the announcement on his feed. She is a real person. Since I have my ex set to restricted, the only thing I see is his profile when I visit it. His shit and mentions never hit my feed.
Some of you are probably wondering at this point what the deal is since there was a point in this seriously messed up relationship where I had suggested an open marriage with the hope he’d find someone else and leave me. Him marrying someone else isn’t my problem. In fact, it’s the opposite. It means he’ll be too busy to keep fucking with my life.
My concern here is I’m already seeing signs of him erasing another person.
This woman is also a single mother. Just like I had been. I’m willing to bet he made a point to befriend and bond with her child hard and fast first. I’m willing to bet he’s the bestest of buddies with her child right now. I have no doubt this is how he charmed this woman to start with. I have no doubt she is afraid of seeing her child’s heart being shattered. This is how this man operates.
This is how any predator operates. They figure out what makes their prey tick and go for their weak point. And with single parents, it’s their children. Every. Time. Play the hero and you win.
Right now, she’s not going to believe me. Right now, I’m just the crazy jealous lady that married him for money. I don’t need to talk to her to know what he told her. I don’t need to talk to her to know what his father told her. It’s the same shit I heard about his other ex-girlfriends. They cheated on him, broke his heart, their mothers wanted him out of the picture, etc. – it was never his fault. Yet despite this, all the while both him and his father kept tabs on their movements during our relationship and reported their findings to one another.
I know this is why his father came to visit last weekend. Not once during his entire visit did he voluntarily mention his son. Dad asked him how long he would be in South Korea and that was the only time he spoke of him. Normally this man brags about both his children. This time he was oddly silent. Instead all he did was brag about himself and talk about his daughter. Now I know why.
I can’t save her. I barely saved myself. Getting involved in this means entangling myself deeper in his shit when I need to be cutting myself free from it.
I am afraid.
Afraid to get involved because I know that to do so will wreck my wellbeing. Afraid not to get involved because I know that there is a very real possibility the destructive cycle of his is turning with someone new.
I was married to him for 8 years.
How many people turned away saying it wasn’t their problem? How many people washed their hands of it saying it wasn’t their circus? How many people reasoned to themselves saying it wasn’t their responsibility?
It’s not their fault that I was in the mess I was in.
But my family did not give up on me. The hospital staff did not give up on me. And there are many others here online that did not give up on me. Because of them, the boys and I are safe. We are doing better now. All of them can rest easy now. All of them can take pride in having a role in this. All of them have my deepest gratitude in lifting me out of the fog.
It took many hands to save me. This is the most frightening nature that is domestic violence and the way it engulfs you.
I’m already troubled with the knowing that his sister is stuck with their bullshit. I can take comfort at least in hearing from her that she knows her fog exists. She’s looking for a way to resolve it. I pray that she will and I’ve told her many times that I am here for her. There is no way to avoid the entanglement we share. These people are already in my life and they visit my children.
If I walk away from this new woman and turn a blind eye to what I’m seeing now and things go bad like I’m certain they will… am I doomed to suffer the guilt of not doing anything? Will I bear the shame of remaining silent?