Resurrection

I came across a video that my ex-wife made a few months back. The video is filled with lies – the same lies she has been saying since we separated – but I wasn’t upset by this video. In fact, my feelings about this video are highly positive. Why is that? Well, that’s going to take quite some time to explain. This will be a very long post…

In my perception, she grossly misunderstood nearly everything that happened between us. One thing I realized watching this video was how much I failed to understand her. It seems I misunderstood a lot, and because of that, she greatly misunderstood me.

I transcribed everything she says in her video. I won’t state my ex’s name, so instead I will have to refer to her as ‘Wife’ or ‘ex.’ Her words will be italicized.

Response

“I got pushed into another relationship almost immediately after leaving one. I really wasn’t ready. Everything was pushed way faster than I wanted it to be.”

This is mostly true. So, here’s how she and I first started dating…

She was in another relationship with a guy named Dylan. I think she and Dylan were together for about 4 years. One day, I told her that I have feelings for her. She didn’t really respond to that, so I had no idea what she thought of it. A couple days later, she texted me and said that she respects me immensely, which is difficult for her to say about most of the people she knows. That text didn’t really say whether or not she had feelings for me, too. But then a day or so after that, she told me that she’s leaving her boyfriend because she realizes she hasn’t truly loved him for a long time and doesn’t respect him anymore. She indirectly told me she needs a place to stay, and that she doesn’t want to go back to her family. She was living with Dylan to escape her family in the first place. So, I offered her to stay with me. I was living with a single mother and her son at the time.

When she moved in, I was present when she told the single mother that she just got out of a relationship and needs time. So, again, this didn’t really indicate whether or not she had feelings for me. Then, for about two or three days, she and I lived together, and not just in the same house, but in the same room. We conversed, but that was pretty much it. After two or three days – actually it was at night… On the second or third night, I finally approached her and said, “To be honest, it’s very difficult having feelings for you while living with you, not knowing if you feel the same way at all or not.” She told me she’s been thinking about it, and has realized with each passing day that she is growing more and more in love with me. So, I asked her if she wanted to be together. She said yes, but it was a rather reluctant yes. The reluctance was probably from the fact she wanted more time before getting into another relationship… I realize that in hindsight. But after she said yes, I asked if I could touch her. Not in a sexual way – we didn’t have sex that night – but I just wanted to touch her. I just wanted to know her touch. And that was the beginning of our relationship.

At the time, I didn’t know she felt pushed. It wasn’t my intention to push her. The only time she had ever been reluctant to do anything with me was when she answered the question of being together. After that, there was no reluctance whatsoever, not with sleeping on the same bed, not with kissing, not with sex, nothing. It’s certainly possible she still had reserves, but she didn’t act like it. I fully acknowledge I should have been more careful. I should have asked how far was going too far. Or, at the very least, I should have at least assumed what too far was. Again though, the only reluctance I ever saw or sensed, to any degree, was when I asked her if she wanted to be together.

“I was constantly guilt-tripped and manipulated. They knew that I was a pretty big empath, so they made sure to constantly say that I was hurting them. Knowing that that would really hurt my feelings, to get me to do whatever they wanted.”

This is far more false than true, but there is an element of truth to it. (If I put a number to it, I’d say this claim is 96% false and 4% true. You’ll know how I came up with that number later.)

During our first month together, she did something that deeply hurt me, and I told her how much it hurt, as well as telling her how wrong it was. Then, there was one more instance about a month-and-a-half later when Trump got elected, which deeply disturbed me at the time. Apart from these two instances, we got along perfectly well. We were in a honeymoon phase, or at least I felt like it was a honeymoon phase, for the first three months of our relationship. I asked her to marry me after we dated for two months. She didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Here’s the first instance I referred to. We had started dating in early September, and it this took place at the end of September. We had been dating for about a month. At the beginning of our relationship, I consciously chose to lay out and cover everything I thought she needed to know about me. I told her I had been cheated on in a previous relationship, and I carry fear of that happening again. To my surprise, for this first month of our relationship, I had no fear of her cheating at all. None at all. She seemed lightyears from being capable of doing anything behind my back; anything at all. Then, at the end of the month, I got a bad feeling that I couldn’t make sense of. I asked her if there was anything she wanted to tell me. She said no. I had to go to work, so I accepted her answer and then headed off to work. When I got back from work, the feeling returned. So, I asked her a second time if there was anything she wanted to tell me. She said no. But this time, I asked, “Are you sure?” Then, she came clean about something. She told me that Dylan, her boyfriend before me, had been talking to her, and he told her she had mail at his house. She told me that she went to his house while I was at work, and this took place two weeks ago. So, that would mean she went to his house about a week or so after we had started dating. She told me she had been at his house for at least half an hour “to talk.”

I was deeply upset by this. Deeply. I asked her if she knew how messed up it was to do this behind my back and then only tell me about it because I had to ask, more than once, for the truth.

The second time something went wrong during our honeymoon phase was when Trump got elected. I was working that night, but she wasn’t. I had to leave work early (it bothered me that much, yes). When I got home, she was reading. I told her that Trump got elected. She showed surprise and disappointment at the news, but then went back to reading. I expressed how this election made me feel, but she kept reading, as if ignoring me. So, I asked her, “Do you even care?” What followed wasn’t really an argument, but I guess one could call it a minor argument. In hindsight, it was a pretty stupid thing for me to be upset about. It’s not like she had power over who wins presidential elections.

After that, for almost the rest of our dating and our marriage, we only argued about once a month on average. I remember a couple of months where we didn’t argue at all, but I’d still say it averaged about once a month. So, that’s where I got the 96% figure. When we argued it was always about the same subject: The time when she went to see her ex-boyfriend behind my back, and only told me when I asked, three times, that she tell me. Why did I bring this up about once a month? Because it kept bothering me, of course, but this was greatly amplified by the fact she didn’t think there was anything wrong with what she did. Talking to him, seeing him, staying there far longer than it took just to retrieve mail, and doing all of this without telling me about it at all, until two weeks later when I had to ask multiple times for the truth. Why did she think she did nothing wrong? Because we had only been dating for a week at the time, and because her intentions (just picking up mail) were innocent. She strongly believed that intentions and actions are the same thing, always, and I tried to explain to her that they are certainly not the same thing, and that’s why this topic always led to frustration from both sides. For the longest time, it sounded like she didn’t want to admit the full truth.

After 2 years of being together, and after my ex left me, my best friend Mitch tried to reason with her on my behalf. She admitted to him that we almost never fought during our relationship. I’ll never forget that. To me, it sounds like an admission from her that our marriage was not a tumultuous one. Only after she decided to get divorced did I start hearing through the grapevine that she was telling everybody how horrible I was every single day we were together…

As for the final line of this particular claim, where she said I ‘got her to do whatever she wanted,’ I am actually quite baffled by this. What did I want her to do? That’s what I’m wondering. I never asked her to do weird sex acts, I didn’t order to go get things from the store, I didn’t try to get her to things for me (such as ‘go get me a soda from the fridge’ or something), I didn’t order her or try to manipulate her to do anything, period. Unless one wishes to qualify the time she was pregnant and I said she’s not allowed to eat ramen, which is immensely bad for one’s health, and one of her favorite foods. I remember being very conscious about the fact this ramen thing was indeed an order, because I strongly believe spouses, husbands or wives, should never give commands to each other, and I kept wondering to myself whether even this was violating my own rule. It technically was, so maybe it was wrong. Even still, it’s not as if I would do something extreme if she started eating ramen while pregnant. Apart from the Dylan thing, the Trump election thing, and the eating-ramen-while-pregnant thing, I find this whole claim to be really bizarre.

“Almost daily, I would be ranted at, belittled, and just whatever you name it, it was brought up, no matter how small. If I hadn’t done anything that they thought was wrong, well then everything I liked and everything I did was bad or horrible or childish. It never stopped.

This I find particularly strange, because she uses the word ‘daily.’ As far as daily routines go, our marriage was hardly eventful, in a good way or a bad way. We really seized every opportunity to be homebodies, and she spent most of her free time reading fantasy books, while I spent most of mine trying, and failing utterly, to start a business.

I had my blog, this very blog, if I felt like ranting. There were times when I ranted out loud, but it was never at her. My rants were never about her, so that wouldn’t make any sense. If she was present if I ranted out loud, I was just hoping she listened and maybe gave me her opinions on the topic. It wasn’t always about the political climate, sometimes it was even about philosophical crap. I am a deep thinker, I am highly opinionated. My wife was neither, and I actually appreciated that about her. Still, I sought her input when a particular event or general subject was on my mind. I figured she understood sometimes I needed to get my frustrations with the rest of the world out of my system, or there was a philosophical problem I just couldn’t think of an answer to. I assumed she always thought, “Here he goes again… Just nod and pretend to care.”

As for the ‘belittling’ claim, the closest I ever got to that was criticizing bands she frequently listened to. I never outright said what my opinion of those bands was, I only criticized what they did. I do not like whiny boy bands, and K-pop artists like to awkwardly sprinkle English words in their lyrics. What I wanted to say was that these bands only make whiny or autotuned noise that doesn’t even qualify to be called music, but I never once said that, because she liked the music, and I didn’t want to take that from her. It’s the same reason I stopped trying to disprove Christianity to my best friend: He needs his faith and I didn’t want to take that from him.

Did I ever insult my wife? Absolutely not, unless you would qualify banter in this regard. Every couple banters. I guess if everybody does something, that technically doesn’t make something right, but still, I don’t think banter is wrong…

How am I so certain I never belittled her? Because I vividly remember during our marriage that I actually had a high opinion of my wife apart from her taste in music. My opinion of her did not plummet until the moment she stated her reasons for wanting to divorce, and I’ll get to that later. As for the word ‘childish,’ I never thought of her as childish until after she had already left me, and I know this because it was her own uncle that put that thought into my head, during a discussion we had after I found myself single. It literally did not even occur to me think of her as childish until after we separated. Now, obviously, none of this means she couldn’t have ever felt belittled. Feelings are feelings, whether they are based in fact or not. If I ever said or did anything that made her feel belittled, she didn’t tell me. I can’t make things right if I don’t even know. Her lack of communication was actually … I could almost call it one of her trademarks.

“He was able to ruin really all of my relationships. Anyone that I was super close to, he made it a personal mission to make sure that I had nobody but him.”

This is a gross misinterpretation of the truth. It’s comments like these that makes me think she forgot I was her partner, her man, her other half. Comments like these make me think she forgot what my role is as the male in the relationship.

I have never desired anybody to lose all of their relationships; not even close. It’s actually very rare for me to desire that a person disappear entirely from someone’s life, or my own. Especially with Wife, it never crossed my mind to make her lose any of her relationships. No one person is sufficient for anyone, regardless how in love they are. I have never believed otherwise. I wouldn’t even want that if I did believe otherwise. I’ll go over the major figures that she is probably referring to, just to be extra clear about this.

Her stepfather, Jeff. From day one, literally day one, she didn’t have a single nice thing to say about him. The entire reason she moved in with me before I even knew what her feelings were for me, is because of her stepfather. According to what she told me, Jeff constantly belittled her, blamed her for things that her brothers did, she was punished for things her brothers accused her of without even being asked for the truth, etc.

So, I disliked her stepfather before I even met him. After I met him, everything she told me about him was reinforced. It was reinforced with steel. I have been there when Jeff yells at his daughter, his own biological daughter. On 2 occasions, I have been there when he yells and belittles his own mother. The guy has always struck me as an outright misogynist. From what my ex-wife told me, and from what I observed myself, the guy treated his two sons like they’re perfect angels, but when it comes to literally all the females in his life, he doesn’t respect any of them. He tolerates them at best. I was even told one day that he and his sister avoid each other, and I don’t even care what the reason is, because it sounds just like something he’d do. So, when it comes to my ex-wife’s stepfather, the man who raised her more than her own real father got to, despite how much I grew to hate him, I never desired that he vanish from her life.

Wife had a particular aversion to alcohol. She never wanted to be anywhere near the stuff. Where do you think she got that from?

Her own mother told her, several times, while she was growing up, that she wonders if it was a mistake to marry Jeff. Her mother even expressed this to me, of all people. She told me, “They always had a troubled relationship, and I told ***** if I made a mistake marrying Jeff.”

What I wanted from her stepfather was the exact same thing I wanted from all the other people I’m going to describe: I wanted them to be better. I wanted her stepfather to stop being a piece of shit. I wanted him to apologize for everything he put her through when she was growing up. I wanted him to put in some effort, immediately, in repairing his relationship with her. But to say I wanted him just … gone from her life … is demonstrably false. I never want people just gone, I want people to be better. That’s why I criticize. That’s why I’m a highly critical person. Not of everyone, just people who have far more to fix than to maintain. I want everybody to do better than they are currently doing, and that applies to myself.

Next, there’s my ex’s best friend, whose name I won’t state because it’s highly unique, making anonymity impossible. From the moment we started dating, my ex’s best friend started outright harassing her. She was angry that my ex chose not to move back closer to where they grew up, and her best friend was angry that she started dating a guy she had never met. This didn’t happen just once, this went on for months. It continued even after our wedding, which her best friend was invited to. And I will say the same thing about my ex’s best friend that I said about Jeff: I wanted her to be better. I will also never apologize for defending my wife against harassment, even if it came from her own best friend.

Speaking of defending my wife against harassment, there’s Sally. About two weeks before our wedding, we went to Sally’s house. Sally is … I’m honestly still not sure … her cousin? My ex let it slip that she did not intend for Jeff to walk her down the aisle at our wedding. Sally completely lost her shit, and proceeded to harass my ex about not liking her stepfather enough. I wanted to explode at Sally for her audacity, but I didn’t, because society says it’s not okay for a man to stand up to a woman. Clearly there would never be a need for that, right?

Jeff, the best friend, and Sally … same thing for all of them: I just wanted them to be better. All three of them failed to apologize to my then-wife for their behavior, and thus I always held their actions against them. My ex said that Sally, in particular, ‘apologized in her own way,’ and I read that message, but I strongly disagreed that it was an apology at all.

All perspective, I guess.

And from my perspective, when I entered into this relationship, damn near everybody my wife valued treated her like garbage. She once cried right in front of me for feeling like she wasn’t her stepfather’s little girl. She said, “I know he loves me, but I don’t know why he treated me like that…” So, from my perspective, my wife had a lot of love to give, but everybody she valued treated her like garbage, and therefore, yes, there was a degree of me feeling like I had to be a barrier between them and her. It’s extremely fucked up that I felt I had to protect my wife from her own best friend making her feel like shit, or her cousin, or the man who raised her.

Maybe these people have drastically improved since our separation? Maybe they’re united by making me a common enemy. Maybe these people saw me as their ticket to getting a pass for all the ways they used to treat my wife like shit.

I can’t think of any others, really. There were plenty of people in my ex’s stepfamily that I wasn’t fond of, but I don’t recall ever speaking much about them. I just simply didn’t like a lot of them. I didn’t think they were unhealthy for my ex to be around, I just didn’t like them. Maybe I’m forgetting someone here. As far as I currently remember, though, my only issues, the only people I actively had problems with, were Jeff (most of all), the best friend, and Sally.

Sally in particular strikes me as someone who thrives off conflict. I have no doubt, absolutely no doubt, that she fueled my ex’s animosity toward me both before and after our separation. I could be wrong; it’s just perception.

“He would constantly accuse me of cheating, of flirting, of whatever. “Oh, I can talk to other guys, so that must mean that I’m gonna just make out with them and then have sex with them,” because I’m saying hi, or some weird crap like that. If I was three minutes late than I normally am from coming home from work, then it was this big thing of, “Oh, did you even go to work, or what were you really doing? Are you cheating on me?”

This excerpt really just … saddens me, because it’s based on something my ex sensed, rather than things I actually said. Yes, of course, sometimes she made mention of guys she currently knew, and sometimes I saw her talking very comfortably with guys who weren’t family, and yes, I always asked about them. But I never once accused her of cheating or flirting; not even in my own head did I accuse her of those. As for the ‘three minutes late’ comment, there were, I’d estimate, a grand total of 10 times in our marriage when she was late coming home where I asked her why. When this happened, she wasn’t late by three minutes, she was late by at least an hour. One time I remember it was 4 hours. It wasn’t interrogation, it was just asking. I very, very consciously kept my tone low and calm, so that she wouldn’t think she’s being interrogated, because she wasn’t. She sensed I was scared of cheating or flirting, because I was always open about what my insecurities are, but to claim that I outright accused her, or even indirectly accused her, is a bastardization of the truth.

“If you are [cheating], I’m gonna find out, and I’m gonna beat you up, and I’m gonna destroy all your stuff. You’ll live to regret it if you do.”

With everything in this video I’m addressing, I don’t want anything to be chalked up to a simple lie and then I move on. I have been, and I will continue to try to see where my ex is coming from. So far, I think everything she has lied about has come from something that was true, however minutely. With this excerpt right here, though, I can’t remember a single thing, a single tiny thing, that she could be referring to. This sounds like outright lying. Or, fabrication, I should probably call it.

Before I proceed, I want it noted that outright lying doesn’t always come from the same place. It doesn’t always mean ill-intent; it could just as easily be derived from faulty memories. Things got quite ugly between us after our separation, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she merged how she feels about me now, with how I actually was when we were together. This excerpt right here might (might) be one such instance of this. Hopefully, it’s the only one.

Anyway…

These would be threats. I never threatened my wife. I have never threatened anybody in all my life. There was one time in my life when I gave someone a warning, and it coincidentally involves my ex-wife. At the job we worked at, there was a guy that increasingly crossed his boundaries with her, even though he knew she and I were together, until finally she asked me to stand up for her, and I did. I told the guy, “She’s not available, she’s not interested. Back off!” And I absolutely 100% believe men need to have an aggressive side for those kinds of situations, especially in case of far-worse situations. Men cannot afford to be skittish. Women are built to be mothers, not fighters, and thus I do strongly believe men should have an aggressive side for these things.

But to claim I routinely, or ever, adulterated that side of myself is egregiously false. I never once used that tone with my own wife. I’ve never outright threatened anybody, especially someone I love, especially the one woman I chose to devote my life to. So, it bothers me that she would fabricate things like me threatening to beat her up, destroy her stuff, etc. That’s not within my character. Most people who have known me for years, for decades, and even countless people who are no longer in my life would not even imagine me saying this.

I’d like to say that I stood up for myself when my boundaries were constantly crossed.”

I don’t appreciate my ex implying she never stood up for herself as if she’s not the type to fight back. This might be the one instance in her video when she lied for attention, implying she always had to endure being yelled at, and that she just kept her head low and took it. Firstly, it is unthinkable for me to cross boundaries literally any time they are laid out for me (more on that in a bit); and secondly, she is absolutely, undoubtedly someone who stands their ground. At least, she was with me, and she was from the beginning. How else would we have argued about once a month if she wasn’t? How else would she vehemently claim she did nothing wrong involving Dylan? I never wanted her to feel like she had to curl into a ball, and she was never the type to do so, anyway.

I am not someone who raises their voice. Ask literally anybody else. I mastered remaining calm because I grew up with hothead older siblings, and developed a disgust for outrage very early in life because of them. I cannot emphasize this enough: Ask literally anybody else if they have ever once seen me yell, including my other exes, my siblings, my parents, my friends, my ex-friends…

I am not sure what she means about her boundaries being constantly crossed. Like I said earlier, I never gave her orders (except once saying, “No ramen while you’re pregnant”), and I certainly never asked her to do things that would have compromised her dignity or self-respect. Never a sexual act she wasn’t okay with, never any sex itself without her consent, never asking her to go somewhere she didn’t feel safe, never saying things like “Why isn’t dinner ready yet?” etc. Not once. And I will swear by that.

One reason my first girlfriend, the very first (of six years) left me was because she found me too pathetic, even outright laughing at me at times. She sometimes pushed me to cross my boundaries (some girls like danger), and I still couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m not ashamed of that, by the way. After growing up with my siblings, I take immense pride in my self-control. Always have.

“There was a time when I was even too afraid to talk to anybody. God forbid it be a male because I couldn’t be friends with anybody. He wouldn’t let me. It came to a point where I said, “You know what? Fuck it. I’m done. I can’t live like that.” And my coming to terms was, well, if I talk to people at work, and make friends at work, he’s not gonna know about it unless I tell him, and that’s messed up.”

Agreed, that is pretty messed up thinking. I think this is another example of something she sensed. It’s more understandable, now that she stated in this very video that she’s strongly empathic.

As I stated earlier, when we first started dating, I covered everything I thought she needed to know about me. I tried being very transparent about this: When it came to other guys, I just wanted her to let me know. Whether it’s going to a movie or even out to eat, I just wanted to know. That’s all.

I never once reneged on that. I never tried restricting her freedoms (except with ramen while pregnant), I never said she needs permission for anything involving another guy. (Obviously, I would have quit the relationship/marriage if she actually slept with another guy.) I was okay with whatever, just as long as she is honest with me. I said this before she went to see her former boyfriend behind my back. I just wanted honesty and openness. Doesn’t everyone want that in a relationship? I don’t believe partners or spouses should have rules for the other. I don’t appreciate her saying that I limited her freedoms involving guys.

Regarding other guys, she knew what I preferred, and she knew what I wanted, but to grossly exaggerate my internal struggles as physical restrictions and oppression is just reprehensible. It’s like over-interpreting my feelings instead of remembering what I actually did or said. Maybe this just goes back to being strongly empathic, which she acknowledges she is.

This sounds a bit strange to say, but at this point I’ll accept whatever makes the most sense: Her strong empathy seems to explain a lot of what she says in this video. Merely sensing things seems to cause her to remember things physically taking place that didn’t.

But this excerpt is just the preface of what she says next…

“When I was finally able to stand up for myself, I was stupid enough to say, ‘Hey, you know, this isn’t right. This is messed up. I’m willing to stay if you can man up and either give me the respect I deserve, or I’m flat-out just done. You treat complete and utter strangers better than you treat me, and that’s fucked up and that’s not okay. You can learn to respect me real quick, or we’re done here.’

She never said that; nothing even close.

I should have known it wasn’t going to happen, but I held out a little bit of hope because I wanted it to work. I didn’t want to give up on my marriage, but at the same time, I had sacrificed enough. Even after that, when I continued to give him a chance, it wasn’t until he had made it obvious that he was never going to respect me, I said, ‘Okay, well, I’m gonna go get the divorce paperwork. My ultimatum is minimal respect, and you can’t handle that?’ That’s when he got violent. We had been talking on the couch, and I’d been sitting in front of the couch on a chair, and he’d slammed his foot into the chair that I was sitting in, and pushed our six-month-old baby and me about a good two feet back. And then he stormed out and it took me a few minutes to get over the shock. I immediately got up, set her down long enough to grab a few days’ worth of clothes, and run out the door.”

This is a combination of confusing the order of events, and outright lying.

The short version of my response to this is: 1), She never once demanded respect, or even spoke the word ‘respect.’ 2), The incident with the chair happened very differently than what she will ever admit to. 3), My behavior after she left me was that of kindness and an eagerness to talk things out (with, admittedly, trying a little too hard at times to talk things out), but hers was that of hostility, and that was when she got the divorce papers.

Here is the long version…

We didn’t have a single conflict for several months before the end came. I finally got over the Dylan thing a few months before our separation. We had a rather perfect streak for a while, before this…

We had been asked to dog-sit for her grandparents for a week. Her siblings would just come into the house without forewarning or even knocking. By that time, we had a baby – a baby that was still breastfeeding. When nobody was around, of course, there was no reason for her to cover up her chest. But one time, her siblings came into the house like they usually do, she was breastfeeding, and it was very obvious, from my perspective, that she didn’t try covering up until I looked up at her one or two minutes later. I had been typing on my notebook. So, it seemed she left her tits out for one or two minutes while her two brothers were walking around us.

We had an argument about that. I asked, “Why didn’t you cover up until I looked at you?” She denied it; she said she covered up as soon as her siblings barged in. It was during this argument that I asked her to ask her siblings to respect our privacy a little bit, such as knocking before they come barging in. I acknowledged that it wasn’t our house, but we were still living in that house for a week, and not to mention, we had a little baby that definitely needs her peace and quiet on a frequent basis.

She said she won’t ask that of her siblings. She didn’t even try to explain why. This was a rare instance when I refused to accept her answer, because it wasn’t even an answer, it was a dodge. She refused to ask her siblings just to simply knock before they storm into the place we were living for a week, and she couldn’t even do it for our the sake of our baby sleeping peacefully, during the day or night.

So, our argument got pretty heated. It was one of those on-and-off arguments, where it went on, then paused, then it went on some more, then paused. This lasted until nighttime, even when it was everybody’s bedtime. She started replying to me by saying, “Well, it just is,” or, “I just can’t!” … For example, when I started asking, “Why is it so hard to ask something so simple of your siblings?” she would respond with, “It just is!”

I used this ridiculous argument against her to prove a point, which I completely admit was immature. Our baby was sleeping, and I scooped her up from bed while Wife was lying next to her. I scooped up our baby and walked into the living room, knowing it would upset her. Wife was telling me, repeatedly, to put her back to bed. Our baby was still sound asleep, but she kept telling me to put her back. So, I responded with, “Well, I just can’t put her back. I just can’t! … See how logical that sounds now?” Then, I said, “I want to be out here with her, because our infant daughter probably cares more about what I feel than you do.” Wife just gave up and went to bed.

Baby never woke up, by the way. I know that doesn’t make what I did any more mature, but I think this fact matters in the context of this post and my ex’s video. This was our worst argument ever. Easily the worst. If either of us had been yelling, or throwing things at each other, or punching holes in the wall, or even God-forbid one of us tried to assault the other, at the absolute very least, our baby would have been disturbed by that and woke up. She didn’t wake up, because even this argument, our worst one ever, did not include yelling or violence.

A few days later, post-dog-sitting, that’s when Wife said she wanted a divorce. She was sitting on our bed, doing nothing at all except stare at the floor. I saw this from my desk, and rolled my chair over toward her, asking her what’s wrong. She said very simply, “I think we should get divorced.”

It was all downhill from there.

I don’t remember how, but I talked Wife out of seeking divorce for all of just a few days. But that argument at her grandparents house just wouldn’t leave her mind. I could tell, because she kept sitting silently on our bed. Each time she did, I approached her, and tried to talk about it. She insisted that we don’t talk about it. She wanted to be left alone. I said that’s absurd; couples need to communicate and talk their problems out. She said, “Well, that’s not what I do. I’m someone who needs to just let bad thoughts go away on their own.” That led to another argument, she concluded we need to get divorced (again), but then I somehow talked her out of it, again.

Frankly, when I say I talked her out of it, I don’t think I really did. I think her mind was made up from the first time she raised the subject. But she acted like I had talked her out of it. She pushed for it twice, then stopped pushing for it twice. Until finally, the night she left me.

Even back then, I was convinced she hadn’t truly changed her mind. I chose to be a devoted husband in all things, even this, and so I got this idea to start looking for an apartment to stay in a little while. By that time, I no longer had my own car, so I asked Wife to use our car (it was technically our car, but she never thought of it as such, and whenever I used it, it put her in a shit mood, as if I had stolen the thing). She did not answer the question when I asked to use the car. I didn’t say what I needed it for, because I was trying not to bring up heavy topics for a while. The plan was: If I found an apartment, I’d fill out an application to secure it, then I would ask her if she was willing to have space for a while, and if she wasn’t, I wouldn’t go through with it. I thought it would make her feel better. I wasn’t on the edge of giving up – she was my wife, which meant giving up was never an option in the first place – but I knew full well she wanted out of the marriage.

But she needed a good excuse, in the eyes of her conservative relatives, for leaving me.

After I asked to borrow the car, she didn’t answer. She came home in a very poor mood. I didn’t ask her why she was; I left her alone. But her mood didn’t improve as time passed. We usually hung out in our bedroom, but ever since she arrived home, she avoided any room that I was in. If I was in the living room, she was in the bedroom, and if I was in the bedroom, she went to the living room. Finally, I concluded that this was ridiculous, and I had to know what was wrong with her.

In the living room, I saw her sitting on the loveseat, which was strange, because she always preferred to be on the couch. She had our 7-month-old daughter on her lap. She was on her phone. Now, at this point, she wasn’t avoiding me at all. She was on her phone, on Facebook, sending messages to someone. I asked, “Who’s that?”

She said it was a friend from work. I immediately knew who it was, because she had mentioned this guy several times in the past. Even to my surprise, I never brought him up. I still remembered him, though. Anyway, I asked her what they were talking about, and she said she was saying sorry to him; sorry for treating him poorly. I asked what that meant, and she, basically, explained that she treated him poorly because I made her treat him poorly, because I was too jealous to ever allow her to have male friends.

I tried reminding her of something I had tried reminding her of many times in the past: I just wanted her to let me know, whenever it came to things involving guys. She said nothing, and just kept typing. I think I said something else, but I don’t remember what, and she didn’t respond to that, either.

So, finally, I said, while she was still glued to her phone, “Why didn’t you talk to him before about this?”

She said, “Because it would have hurt your feelings if I did.”

Which directly implied something obvious…

Then, I asked her, “So, are you saying you don’t care about how I would feel now?”

She finally looked up from her phone, stared me in the eyes, said, verbatim, “No, I guess I don’t care anymore!” and then once again went back to typing.

That was when I snapped. Never in my life have I snapped before.

Without thinking, I kicked her chair, pushing it back maybe 9 inches. Then, I stood up and threw one of our baby’s toys out of my way (the opposite direction of Wife and Baby), and left the room. About 5 seconds later, I walked slowly back into the room, starting to cry. I apologized for exploding (even I was shocked I did that), but Wife wouldn’t listen, and commanded, “Stay away from me!” She packed her things and left, taking our baby with her.

I never blamed her for leaving in that moment, by the way. In the moment, if I were her, I wouldn’t know if I was about to be attacked or not. Personally, I think the fact she was so shocked by me kicking her chair makes it unmistakably self-evident that this was unusual for me. The fact she was surprised by this, in my opinion, proves beyond any doubt that I was not a violent husband. The fact also remains: I kicked her chair, not her.

That was the night of November 5, 2018.

From that point onward, she never came back, except to gradually gather the rest of her belongings. And from that point onward, I tried to make things better, but she never allowed things to get better. She never wanted to talk, and whenever we had to talk, she misconstrued my words. For example, she only allowed me to see our daughter on Saturdays and Sundays, and only while she was at work. So, I called her one day asking to have Mondays with our baby as well. I said, “Two days out of seven doesn’t seem remotely fair, so I’d like to have her on Mondays, too, which is still less than half the week.” She refused. So, for the sake of my baby having a father at all in the future, I consciously chose to push. In other words, it led to an argument. Anyway, at one point, I said, “I’m her father. I deserve to have more time than just two days.” She argued even more. At one point, she said, “You think you deserve more time than me, when you don’t!” To which I retorted, “I never said I deserve more time than you! I said ‘I deserve more time with her than just two days.”

These kinds of things, which became very regular now, made me uglier as a person. That’s where that started.

I kept trying to talk to her, and she kept refusing, except one day, to my surprise, we met in the car (which she now claimed was solely hers) to talk. I’m guessing she agreed to finally talk because this particular request was buttered up more than my other ones. Whatever the reason, she finally agreed to talk one-on-one. I gave her a promise to not bring up anything she’s done since we separated, or anything else from the past for that matter, if it means keeping our marriage intact. I promised, basically, to surrender my individuality by never speaking my mind about anything she doesn’t actively desire to hear. She said she would think about it. The very next time I saw her, she said, rather calmly, that my promise isn’t enough, and that she’s choosing to get divorced simply because she’s convinced we would never work out. Then, the very next time I saw her after that, she had the papers with her.

So, I rather resent hearing my ex say that she made it all about respect, when she never said a single thing about who respects who. That claim is wildly untrue. I also resent her implication that she chose to get divorced because I didn’t change. I absolutely made the decision to change, (in my opinion, I was an imperfect, but never bad husband) and the promise I made her was literally the point when she essentially said ‘no thanks, I’ll just get the divorce papers.’

The rest of this video is my ex-wife talking about what it’s like to live with fear. I have thoughts on what she says, but in essence I would be repeating what I’ve already stated, which is that I have never been a threat to my ex-wife’s safety, or anyone’s safety for that matter. During the time period she talks about here, I was actually contacted by her family, asking if I’ve been coming by the place she lives, to which I angrily texted my ex, saying, non-verbatim, “If a car you don’t recognize pulls on to your property at night, grab a gun. If you think I’m in the area stalking you, call the cops. If you think I keep coming near your house, install security cameras and record the evidence. Otherwise, stop making shit up.” See the ugliness? I hated what divorce turned us both into.

Violence is not in my history, and unless nuclear apocalypse happens and I have to protect my daughter from mutated warlords in a nuclear wasteland, violence will never be in my future.

I also don’t believe it’s my place to share my thoughts about what she expresses about living with that kind of fear. It’s not anyone’s place to say someone’s feelings are wrong, even if they’re based on delusions, unless they mix in bold claims about someone else, which she doesn’t do for the remainder of the video.

Resurrection

This video, while it didn’t make me angry, it’s still a lot to take in. My emotional, irrational side is a bit stung after I heard so many things that weren’t true about what happened and who I am as a person. It still stings even if it’s not true.

One thing I have noticed recently, especially after watching this video, is that my ex-wife is extremely feminine. She’s quite the epitome of ‘woman.’ While I am extremely masculine, possibly too masculine, I still certainly have a softer, playful side. Our personalities are actually quite a beautiful balance, in my personal opinion, but since we are so different (as different as a man and a woman can be), it took a great deal of trying to understand each other, and we failed at that. We were both immature in a lot of ways.

I’d like everybody who watched that video, or just read my transcription of it, to think about what my ex-wife did not say. As someone who pays close attention to facts and details, often times, I notice what is not present is just as important as what is. My ex-wife never once accused me of beating her, of cheating on her, of being apathetic toward our daughter, of never paying attention to her (which can include forgetting birthdays/anniversaries, etc.), or even accused me of yelling at her. She never degraded my performance as a husband or a father, but instead focused, rather obsessively, on one of my flaws, which she exaggerated tenfold. Honestly, everything she said in this video seems to stem from the same thing: Over-empathizing with my greatest insecurity. My insecurity during our marriage was absolutely real, and ever-present. The reason I told her about it at the beginning of our relationship was because I was truly terrified it might ruin our relationship. And it did, but not because of what it made me do, but rather what my ex felt it might make me do, or what my words might really mean.

Overall, I don’t see malice or ill-intent with this video. I see misinterpretation. And that alone helps me tremendously with my anger toward her.

I don’t feel angry toward her anymore. Sure, this was already taking place about a week before I saw this video, but watching this video has only reinforced it. I don’t need to be angry with her, I just need to pity her. And most importantly …, well, I’ll save the ‘most importantly’ for the end.

My takeaway from this video was not my ex-wife attention-seeking, or attempting to ruin everyone’s perception of me. My takeaway was that this all came from a place of genuine heartache. I think something she said at the beginning of the video sums it up best: She is “a pretty big empath.” The full scope being that she has a lot of emotions, both internally and regarding how others in her presence feel. In fact, just that sentence alone, for her to say herself that she’s very empathic, that explains to me why she seems to have been acting heartless since she left me. She felt she couldn’t afford to care what my feelings are; caring is one of her weaknesses. She thought, and still thinks, that she cannot let her guard down. Her emotions are damn near her most defining characteristic.

I have heard her make similar points like these before. After our divorce, when the court chose to side mostly with me, she sent our judge a letter and wrote out many of the things she said in this video, but her verbiage was far more aggressive, direct, and above all, certain. In this video, I sense some certainty, but not the demanding kind, like it was in that letter, or like it was during court. When she’s not in a position to gain or lose anything, when she’s just speaking from the heart and nothing else … this is what her heart sounds like.

What makes me so certain she’s being genuine? Because virtually everything she says in this video, while they are mostly all lies, they echoed truths. I have a very fact-based way of thinking – it’s easy for me to remember things as they truly happened, because I remember most things as facts. (Not claiming I have perfect memory, but it’s not a sin to say my memory very rarely fails me.) My ex-wife remembers events as the way she emotionally interpreted them, and I think it’s safe to say most women do that.

I didn’t know she felt I pushed her to be in a relationship so soon after leaving her last one. I didn’t know she felt I was trying to ruin all of her relationships, and I certainly didn’t know she ever felt threatened (except that last day). She didn’t accuse me of these things because she wanted attention, or because she wanted to ruin my life, she accused me of these things because that’s truly how she felt at the time, and it carried over to now. I had no idea. One thing, I believe, she needs to own is the fact that she was not a strong advocate for communication. She outright admitted this to me during our marriage. She preferred to keep things locked in her mind; she didn’t want to talk about them. She preferred to keep things locked in her mind until they went away. If she were more keen on communication, I would have known all these things she felt during our marriage. I would not have been shocked to hear them after we already split up.

I’m not just a big guy, I also have a strong personality. I can’t speak from experience, but I can imagine that’s not an easy presence to be in the midst of, even if that person is your spouse, especially if you yourself have neither of those traits. My ex-wife does not have either of those traits. She’s not a big person, she doesn’t have a strong presence. She’s not highly opinionated – she couldn’t care less about politics, or philosophy. I think that’s something I liked about her, yet never found a way to blend with.

I was starting to realize all of these things before I discovered this video. I had a pretty massive epiphany about my ex-wife about a week before I saw this video, and after watching this video, that epiphany was reinforced. I wrote my ex-wife a long email about this epiphany of mine. I won’t go into it here, because it’s entirely about what I think the psychological effects of her upbringing had on our marriage and still has on her now. It’s too personal, even for this video. But still, this video reinforced all of that. I do believe she is damaged by her upbringing, and I do believe she deserves to be pitied, not hated. And that’s still not easy to say, because she tried to do many things that would have utterly ruined my life. I’m glad I understand her better now; I’m glad I’m not bitter towards her anymore.

In fact, I’m starting to feel I’m not bitter toward anyone anymore…

I hated my ex-wife. Truly, seethed with hatred every time I so much as looked at her. It made my chest burn and my heart pound. I’m not like my siblings – no matter how angry I get, I can control it (though, now, one instance of failure). Even with the one time in my life that I snapped, I still didn’t hurt her, I just kicked what she was sitting on. My siblings helped me develop my self-control as we grew up. They had virtually none, so I overcompensated. Still, whenever my ex and I met to discuss getting divorced, whenever we met to exchange our daughter, just looking at her made my heart pound with rage. I could physically feel my heart pounding; it wasn’t healthy. But just in the last week, that’s all changed.

This is why I’m a deep-thinker. I need understanding, in all things. I’m someone who just needs to know. Everything there is to know, I need to know. Once I understand something, I can finally rest. This past week hasn’t just taught me important lessons about my ex-wife, but about the human condition itself. I used to hear people say all the time that everybody is just doing their best, and I never believed that even slightly. But this – my entire experience with my ex-wife, including this video – has shown me that people really are doing the best they can. Their best just wasn’t good enough for me; my best wasn’t good enough for me, either.

How has this taught me so much? Well, recall what I said just a little bit ago. I was living with immeasurable hatred. I kept asking myself how someone could be so heartless, so selfish, so evil…I wasn’t wrong about her actions, and I think that’s what blinded me to the bigger picture. I wasn’t wrong about my ex-wife’s actions, I just completely failed to understand they didn’t come from a malicious place. It came from a place of weakness and fear.

I am a big guy, I do have a strong personality, I am intelligent and tenacious… Put yourself in her shoes: If you thought someone like that wanted to hurt you, how well would you be able to sleep at night, regardless what safety precautions you take? If she thought I was capable of hurting her, or even if she thought I intended to, then it makes perfect sense why she took so many legal measures to not only keep me away from her, but our daughter as well. She took our divorce all the way to court, she sent letters, she filed restraining orders. All of them essentially rejected. My character was quite proven to the court during our trial, which is why the judge sided with me. And again, the most important fact in all this: Nearly everything she lied about in this video came from something true. She just didn’t understand the truths her lies echoed from.

Now, she has seen for over 1½ years now that I am stupidly in love with our baby girl. I think her fears about that faded away on their own, but her fears regarding herself remained. I’m sure they still are to this very day, despite how much I’ve been sharing my realizations with her. I would never hurt her in the first place – kicking her chair was shocking even to me – but she couldn’t read my mind, and thus she had no way of knowing for sure how far I’d ever go. Even her family knows I’m not a violent person, but again, she didn’t know that. She’s extremely emotional and it’s not entirely her fault.

When all of these things began dawning on me, before I even saw this video, I made the decision to forgive and forget everything, and additionally, to start treating my ex-wife as if we are still a family. Obviously, that won’t include things like saying I love you, but regarding all the other, appropriate things I can do in our current circumstance, I will do. And I have noticed after she started behaving differently like this, even before I told her why, she seemed to already notice anyway. She seemed to respond in kind. She seemed to let her guard down a little bit.

And all of this reinforces what I have been coming to realize about my ex-wife. She’s not a demon, she’s just hurt. There was a lot of misunderstanding when we were together. A whole lot. And I think that’s the true power of understanding. It can extinguish even the most fiery of negative feelings. Mentally, we couldn’t have gotten to this point without understanding. I don’t know where she is right now, mentally, but I know where I’m at, and it’s making a difference, in real time. If she was a demon, it would not be making any sort of difference.

The reason she was so hostile toward me when she first left me was because neither of us had any of the understanding we have now. Simply being nice wasn’t good enough. Our marriage was in jeopardy, she had a very, very negative view of my character, she was confused, and above all, she was deeply hurt by what she mistakenly perceived. Regardless if her pain came from a misunderstanding, the fact still remains that she was in pain.

Which brings me to the most important thing I have realized. It’s something she would never admit to me, but I know it’s true…

She can’t heal without my help. And I wasn’t able to heal without understanding. I myself have been deeply, deeply hurt, by a multitude of people, obviously including my ex-wife, but also my mother. Especially my mother. I know full-well that when someone hurts you, or you at least think they did (there’s absolutely no doubt when it regards my mother), the only person who can help you heal is the one who hurt you. They need to make take actions that are opposite of what they have done, and never stop. There may be other options for living with pain, such as blocking your pain from your mind, or trying to replace that person, or trying to forget about that person entirely. Still, the fact remains, for emotional wounds to heal, it requires the one it came from. There are other options, but not with healing. Because healing is being able to be around that person again and feel good, instead of hurt.

She needs me to not be consumed with emotion, like she is, but to be better. All three of us need me to be better.

I pity my ex-wife. She’s been troubled since before I met her. And I’m actually truly happy to be able to say this: I want to help her heal.

I no longer regret having ever known her. More than that, I am actually quite thankful for her now. I’m glad I married her. I’m glad we share a child. She truly has been doing the best she can, and I didn’t believe it.

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