Reflections by Richard Bleil
We were married for less than two years and dated only for a few months prior to that. She was angry, emotionally abusive, an alcoholic and had an affair, and yet she is the one that asked me for the divorce. When she did, I realized that even though it had been short, I was alone in the marriage, and couldn’t carry it on my shoulders alone, so I agreed.
That was over eight years ago. I was in my upper forties when we married, and forty-nine when we separated. Today, I’m fifty-seven. Wouldn’t you think that the pain of separation would fade after this long? Will it ever let me go?
In that time, I’ve lost nearly everything. I quit my tenured teaching position for her because she was suspicious and jealous of my female students. I don’t blame her for that; I let it happen, and to be honest we had a dean that had targeted me to try to get rid of me making the campus toxic for me anyway. I tried my own business, but with her greed she sabotaged that by refusing to let me spend any of my money on promotion and equipment to make it work. As my wife, she made me feel obligated to get rid of most of my possessions, and the ones we didn’t get rid of she kept and put into the house that we bought with my money, and those possessions stayed in the house that she kept.
I moved back into my original house, dilapidated and without heat or hot water, and about this time of year. Interesting that I just realized that it was around October/November when we separated; I’m guessing that’s why she’s on my mind so much recently. Sometimes, recognizing these connections help to deal with them. Anyway, that house should have been condemned when I first bought it, and it didn’t get any better, so when my dog and I moved back into it, it was a very bad situation. Eventually I found a part-time job as a chemist for a private water treatment company, and I worked with human waste. As disgusting as that might sound, it was a step up. Then I found the job as the director of the forensic lab from which I was fired. Then I found the job of dean from which I was fired. Each step was to something good, but a drop back into the mud and both times for doing the right thing rather than playing politics.
Today, I’m back to a part-time temporary position, and alive thanks to altruistic and good friends. It’s perhaps a good thing that I’m buying a new house (unfortunately also off of the back of a loss) in November as an opportunity to replace that negative memory with a positive one. But the inspiration of this post is reflection on my shopping experience for furniture just a couple of days ago. Yes, I often reflect on things like this. What occurred to me is the fact that as I was shopping, I was really very vocal about my divorce, although I never mentioned just how long ago it was oddly enough.
I made some odd choices, which I think was the start of the tone. For example, I explained that because I was divorced, I could buy anything I want and make the entire house my “man-cave” and decided not to buy just any kitchen table. Instead, I bought a game table with a reversible top. That means I could have the solid side up for a regular table, or flip it over for gaming, something that I suspect a lot of women would not like (it’s SUCH a guy thing). Okay, this may be an unfair assumption since it is a seriously cool table, but nonetheless. And although I never said this to the salesperson (who could have run screaming if I had), I bought an iron bed frame for bondage games. Clearly a waste of money as I expect I’ll never find a lover again, but still something just because I like it.
This is not really new. After the divorce, I made the conscious decision that anything I had to replace because she kept mine, I would upgrade. So, when I replaced the DVD sound system and television, I replaced it with a much better flat screen and Blu-ray surround sound system. But still, it’s stunning to me that after all of these years, I’m clearly still reeling from this loss, very hurt, and still way more vocal than I should be. Nine years, a heart attack, two job losses later, and many years of living off of the charity of others, and she’s still the one that hurts me. I guess I’ll never understand. If you’re still struggling with the loss of a loved one, I hope it helps you to know that you’re not alone. The only advice I can give is to accept the help from friends to deal with it. My friends are beautiful inside and out, and far more supportive than a bum like me deserves, but without them I wouldn’t still be alive today (quite literally by the way) to be writing this blog. I don’t believe one love can replace another, but each love can help you find strength, courage and healing.