The Spanglish Girl Diaries
It’s Alive (Diary No. 5)
Our meeting was like a gathering at a funeral, and the death was our marriage. We were both dressed to the nines, and even more fitting, in black. We both knew we were meeting to say a final goodbye and get closure, but what happened shocked me to my core. To keep with the funeral theme, it was like the body rising out of the coffin, only our marriage was the body and it came back to life… #itsalive
The entire experience was surreal: from the moment I was seated at the table by the waiter, I felt I was dreaming and watching from a distance. He was there and still my husband, but I couldn’t have him in the same way. The only thing that stayed the same was that he chose the restaurant and was paying, so I ordered the most expensive meal on the menu and an extra one to go. #mymommadidntraisenofool
My ex began the conversation with his usual “order of business” tone by asking, “What do expect to get in the divorce?” I didn’t know how to respond, I froze. After a few seconds of silence, he looked me in the eyes with a cold stare and said, “I want you to walk away with nothing.”
I laughed to calm myself and to keep from throwing the glass of water in his face. I shot back in an equally cold manner, “Need I remind you I never signed a prenup. You also took my part of the savings, which I earned by working. I am not walking away with nothing!”
I found the conversation hard to swallow, especially when I think back to a time when we loved each other so much, we slept nose to nose just to be close. I can still feel the way he used to grab my face with both hands and tell me I was his gift from heaven. It is these moments from the past that torture me most, especially when he shows such little concern for my wellbeing.
Our conversation quickly turned into the blame game, and the pain we caused each other became leverage for who should get more. Our words became so tense we had to switch to Spanish, to keep from scaring the white people around us (#latinoproblems).
Our argument reached its peak when, at last, in a rage of tears, I asked the question I had really come for: I demanded to know why he left the way he did. His response blindsided me, I had no idea he knew… A week before he moved out, he caught me looking up divorce attorneys online. He said he left because if he didn’t, I would. I didn’t deny looking them up, instead I told him that I should have left years ago–when he first cheated–because by staying, I enabled his behavior. He surprisingly didn’t argue.
He asked why I didn’t leave, and I finally came clean: I told him for the most part I stayed because I loved him, but also, I liked the money, and I didn’t want to give him up to someone else. I think what is most ironic is how I felt that by staying and holding my spot in his life, I was somehow winning. In reality, my marriage became war, and in the end, I lost my dignity and sense of self.
My ex said he suspected I stayed for comfort and it was for that reason that he thought I’d never leave. He brought up my behavior, as well, and I instinctively went on the defense. Some of the things he said were true, others exaggerations to justify his affairs. I will admit to the following: although my husband cheated, I was determined to make him pay dearly and I did: I belittled him to make him feel as little as I did. I threatened divorce repeatedly, and I spent carelessly. I also refused to give him children.
By the end of the dinner we were both exhausted, and I think maybe even delirious. I say delirious because the most bizarre thing happened next. As I was defending my own actions in the marriage, and busy pointing out for the millionth time that HE cheated, I finally broke down and shouted, “Enough! We have two options: we fix it or get we get out quick. I can’t do this anymore!”
Now for the body (my marriage) rising out of the coffin: He agreed to “fix it” and finally agreed to go to marriage counseling, something I’d asked him to do for years. I didn’t point that out and instead simply said, “ok.” The conversation ended there. I agreed to find us a therapist and he promised to show. Before leaving we hugged goodbye and then went our separate ways like two strangers.
When I got to my car, I pinched myself to make sure I had not been dreaming: It hurt, so clearly I was awake. I couldn’t get his question out of my head, “Why did you stay?” I don’t doubt that I loved him–even now–but there came a turning point in our marriage when my love for him was secondary to my want for comfort. It was at this time that I needed to walk away, instead I sold my self-worth: I feel shame and I feel cheap. #thetruthhurts
When I finally got home and into bed I closed my eyes and pinched myself one last time to make sure I wasn’t dreaming or dead. Unfortunately, I was awake and still breathing, as is my marriage… #whatanight
Until next time Virgencita,