A long time ago, like more than a decade I think, I read a story (in the New York Times?) by a woman whose husband had a midlife crisis and decided to leave the marriage because he wasn’t happy enough, and she was like, Nope. She just didn’t believe him, went about her life as if his bullshit wasn’t happening, and eventually he just got over it.
(Oh look, found it on my first try, and it was almost exactly a decade: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/fashion/02love.html )
And I can’t help wondering why I didn’t remember this article back in April when he was leaving me. The story did stick with me through the years, and I thought of it – well, not often, but from time to time. But it left me when I could have used it. I wish I’d tried that. I don’t know that it would have worked, but it would probably have enabled me to show a little more dignity through a really grueling time. Even if it hadn’t worked, I might have less to regret now.
A co-worker in our old building has an empty desk in her office which she offered to me, so I’m no longer working a block from his new flat. I took a ballet class this morning and loved it – it really used all of my attention, which is such a rare thing. I really enjoy working with my students; their progress makes me feel useful. I have a plan that gets me out of here in November, with a whole house to fill with furniture and color and light and purpose. And a cat. I’m moving forward, however slowly.
It’s been five months and five days. I have better days now, and sometimes it feels like I’ve started healing, but sometimes I wonder if I’m just putting gauze over a very deep wound. And often I wonder if the wound was even necessary, if someone a little better at remembering things at the right time could have dodged that bullet entirely instead of sitting there like an idiot, weeping while it tore out her lungs.
Because of course I did. Come on, it’s only a block from my office. You know you would have too, just as I know it was a terrible, terrible idea. I knew it at the time, but I did it anyway.
Their names on the doorbell. Hyphenated as if they were already married. And oh look, here comes another tailspin.
Change of plans: Moving to Bavaria tomorrow. The tenants aren’t moved out yet, but I’ll just bring a sleeping bag. Their couch looks fairly comfy.
It has to be a coincidence, because he couldn’t have known, there is no way he could have done this on purpose, but still, the synchronicity is just way too much.
So you remember that he got a flat with the Whore in Bergheim, which is my favorite neighborhood and also the neighborhood where I work. And he didn’t tell me where it was because we both didn’t want me crying under his balcony at 4am. What I may or may not have mentioned is that ’round about June, someone figured out that there’s exposed asbestos in the building where I work, and we were moved to a different building about half a km away. And I asked him, via WhatsApp – not where he lived, just if it was anywhere near my new office because I didn’t want to have to worry about running into him, or even worse, Her.
It took him about three days to answer, and then he said “No.” That three days should have been a hint. And yesterday he “accidentally” told me his new address.
Look at it. LOOK at it.
Seminarzentrum D2 is where I work, and the red pointy-thing is where they live. A literal block away.
Now, he could not have known about the asbestos, or that they would move the Editorial Office to D2, and the Heidelberg housing market is bad enough that no one can choose where they will live with that degree of precision, so there’s no way that he can be blamed for this, but still. This should not have been allowed to happen.
Come the fuck on, Universe. Now you’re just being mean for the hell of it.
Um? It’s been a day and a half, and I’m still kerflummoxed. So remember my possible future, wherein I move back into the house in Bavaria that we bought after my mom died, and I set up as a private English tutor and teacher? It was just an idea, but I felt kinda good about it, and I emailed the tenants to say I’d be in town the last weekend of August and wanted to stop by. She wrote back immediately, a panicked oh god, are you selling the house? You’re selling it right? Oh ack the suspense!
And I mean I wasn’t selling, but while I was thinking about how to write my response she called me because she couldn’t wait any longer. So I told her the whole story, and she was all sympathy, and I told her they had a legal right to nine months’ notice but of course if they needed more time, like to finish out the school year or something, I could be flexible, and it was really just a thing I was considering because I felt a strong need to get the HELL out of Heidelberg and I really didn’t want to turf them out because they’d been the best tenants EVAR (strooth), but I didn’t know where else to go (also strooth).
And that was maybe ten days ago. So then last Tuesday she called and said they’d found a place and wanted to move in by 1 October but they hadn’t gotten it yet and they’d let me know and then yesterday they said yep, they got the place. And it’s only a km away and the younger kid won’t have to change schools and it’s really great and um.
So yeah. I was thinking how’m I gonna hold out until June, and now I could move next month if I wanted to. I’m really not sure how to process this.
He used to love me, but then he stopped. I want to understand why this happened, but I also don’t: I think that knowing would be extremely painful, but not knowing why makes it hard to find closure. But you don’t get closure from other people – that is, I will not get a true answer from him about why he stopped loving me; his answer will put him in the best light and me in the worst, and make me hate myself and want to die (yes I have tested this). The closure has to come from accepting that he doesn’t love me and he is therefore not worth my love, but I feel like a duckling who has already imprinted. It’s too late to take it back.
I am feeling very down today, very low in the self-esteem department. Not a very good copy-editor, not a very good teacher, yeah a pretty good friend but that doesn’t pay the bills. Wasn’t a good enough wife, and however optimistic other people are on my behalf, I don’t see summoning the optimism to try again. “You deserve someone who loves you unconditionally” is nice to hear, but what we deserve and what we get are worlds apart.
That said, I am doing better. The bad days don’t last quite as long, don’t go quite as low. I get things done. I find reasons to be cheerful. I’m starting to believe that I won’t always feel like this.
Yes I know you told me that ages ago. I believed you because I love you, not because it felt true.
In the previous entry I mentioned that I went to Bavaria with Thing Two and that was another story, so here that is. My fledgling has left the nest – he’s going to do a volunteer gap year thing, and he’s staying with my mother-in-law until he gets settled into the volunteer gig enough to look for his own place.
Seeing my MIL was weird. That’s probably enough said about that.
I stayed with a friend in the town where we used to live; she was my neighbor when I lived there, and she now has a super amazing and beautiful brand new house where I spent two days venting and slurping up tea and sympathy.
And advice! She pointed out that I can go anywhere and I mentioned that I need to find work, and she said there’s work right here in town: she had a business teaching English and she was swamped. Had to give it up because it kept her too busy. It might take awhile to build up to making a living, but the demand is there. She also made some smart observations about the house that we own – for instance, that the rent our tenants pay is just about what I would have paid for that apartment in Heidelberg, so why not just pay the €900+ to live in MY house, which I love and miss living in?
So, yeah. I have a house. I could start a business (NO idea how to do that, but I’m learning how to ask people for help), and – this is crucial – I could leave Heidelberg. Because at this point I am literally afraid to go to work because I know he and his whore are living near my office and I don’t want to run into either of them. Yes it really is that bad. This is a small town and you can’t avoid people forever, or even for very long. And me learning to just fucking deal is frankly not on the horizon: I already had a minor meltdown when I found out he took her to meet his mother this week. I would love not to be this crazy, but I am.
I shouldn’t make any hasty decisions. Also, the tenants are legally entitled to nine months’ notice, so I couldn’t do it before next May anyway. But I am really and seriously thinking about it.
So yeah, it’s been awhile since Sunday’s crisis. When the tears had abated and the migraine was taking a firm hold, I decided that moving to the apartment was actually not a good idea, but I decided to sleep on it, and then the next day I drove Thing Two to Bavaria and was afk until Thursday but that’s a whole-nother story. This post is about the apartment.
I’m not taking it. It’s too much to deal with right now. Moving twice. Figuring out internet and utilities and whatever-the-hell-else. Everybody said it’d be good to have my own space to set up as I like, but the damn thing is fulla butt-ugly furniture that I can’t put in storage and anyway, setting up a whole apartment is definitely more than I can imagine myself handling right now. It’s all just. Too. Much.
The shared housing will do until I can get my feet back under me and figure out what kind of life I want, now that the life I thought I was going to have has been handed to a fluffy little side-chick. “Keep moving forward” is bad advice when you don’t know where you want to go.
I really wish I’d decided this before Mr. Husband signed the rental agreement, and I recognize that it was a very expensive mistake, but you know what? My life has taken a MAJOR FUCKING TURN WITHOUT MY CONSENT and anybody who expects me to make grown-up responsible normal-person decisions after I checked myself out of a fucking psych ward because it was too stressful and am still figuring out my meds? Deserves to lose a couple thousand bucks.