Part 5 of 6.
Part 5: Our Separation
This is the part where I talk about everything falling apart.
The plain, simple fact is: Brooke changed after our daughter was born. She became standoffish, she became easily irritated, she became … just outright hostile, in some ways. I expected this to happen while she was pregnant, because hormonal changes usually happen during pregnancy …, but that wasn’t the case. She changed after our daughter was born, and it mostly wasn’t hormonal change anyway, it was outright personality change.
(Still not as significant of a change as when we separated, but that’s for later.)
Like I said at the end of part 3, even though living with Brooke’s aunt and uncle made things easier for us financially, adding a child was a whole new set of stress. I could tell things on Brooke’s mind were heavier, and I know my mental stress virtually doubled.
Brooke made a colossally-asinine assumption after our daughter was born. Before stating what that assumption was, I’ll cover some things in the next paragraph.
Since our daughter’s birth, I very consciously kept myself out of things involving our baby that I didn’t understand/wasn’t highly experienced with. Why? Because it’s always wiser to allow people with better know-how to do it instead. There is also the fact that we had 3 baby showers for our daughter. Yes, 3. We literally did not have the space for all the clothes and accessories we got from 3 baby showers. So, I did not think we needed much in the way of ‘baby items,’ and I consciously allowed Brooke to do what she was better at. Brooke helped raise all of her siblings, so she had plenty of experience with this. There is also the fact that men are always hyper-sensitive to their babies. This is very common, and I deeply wish Brooke cared to understand this. Men are overly sensitive to their child’s fragility. Good thing too: We are much stronger than women and children, and we are not naturally gentle creatures, so it’s good we evolved to at least be overly-aware of the fragility of our babies. For example, I never wanted to change our daughter’s diaper because it required holding her legs up. (I asked to do it once or twice, for the sake of doing it for once, but Brooke didn’t let me, and I didn’t object to her objection.) Even though it’s ridiculous, at the time I believed that if I held her legs up, it would somehow hurt her. That is what being hyper-sensitive means. It means you exaggerate, in your own mind, how fragile your child is. Another example is when our daughter was sleeping at night. I kept having to check if she was still breathing, because I couldn’t hear anything or see her lungs inflate. I had to check at least once a night to make sure she was still alive, because being hyper-sensitive made me frightened if I didn’t see her making enough movement.
Brooke’s assumption with all of this was: I didn’t care. She assumed that since I trusted our daughter’s mother with … motherly tasks … that that automatically meant I didn’t care. This relates to what I’ve been talking about on this blog for a long time in how it’s a good thing women aren’t the same as men. Well, when it regards physical strength, it’s a damn good thing women are not the equals of men, because it makes women far less likely to be too forceful when handling babies. That’s why I was hyper-sensitive when our daughter was an infant. I kept being terrified that if I tried to handle her, I’d bruise her, or worse. The only thing I trusted myself with was cradling her in my arms.
One thing Brooke did that annoyed me was never – literally never – wanting me to try to comfort our daughter when she was crying, and I kept having to tell her, “Brooke, I should do it sometimes.” I always knew Mommy could do a better job making our daughter calm down, but Daddy still had to try sometimes, because our baby needed to know her father cared as well. I remember it didn’t work most of the time when I tried to comfort her, and I’d always have to give her to Brooke, but I think my point still stands: Babies still need to know Daddy cares.
When it came to the things our baby had, I almost never worried about it. When there was immediate need, like new diapers, I was always on top of that (I was still paying all the bills for a short while), but when it came to … whether our daughter had a car seat or something, we already had those things. And this would turn out to be one of the things Brooke uses against me in court; claiming that I didn’t bother with anything, ever.
But this wasn’t the only reason Brooke changed; not by a long shot. I now have to cover the last thing I’ve kept out of this story so far: My fear of Brooke cheating on me, and the arguments it led to.
Recall from part 1 when, at the time Brooke and I started dating, I made sure to tell her the one thing she should know about. Well, after what she did with Dylan behind my back, my insecurity problem fully emerged. At first, it was very docile, because I didn’t think Brooke had the personality of someone who’d cheat, but when she admitted to going behind my back to visit her ex-boyfriend, erasing all the evidence, and only telling me when I pushed for the truth… I questioned what I thought I knew about her after that.
After she did that, it was about once a month, all throughout our dating and marriage, that I brought up what she did and tried to figure out why she’d do that, and how she could think that was okay to do. Now, I really want to emphasize something: You’ll recall, and yes I also remembered at the time, that Brooke admitted it was wrong immediately after telling me what she did. So, ethically, I did not have the right to keep bringing it up. But I lived in fear after the night she told me. Fear makes people do stupid things.
Brooke reversed her position the very next time I brought up the subject. She insisted she did nothing wrong – a complete flip from what she said at first. So, that disturbed me, and was the majority of the reason I kept bringing the subject up. It wasn’t for nothing, but I still admit I shouldn’t have kept bringing it up at all. There came a point, about four months before we separated, that Brooke told me to stop bringing it up because she won’t put up with it anymore. I understood and agreed, and though it took a tremendous amount of willpower, I did not bring it up again. By that point, though, I think Brooke was greatly worn down emotionally by all the times we argued about it.
I’d say 9 out of 10 of all our arguments were about that one subject.
A very important fact: When Brooke and I argued, it never once got extreme. Not once did either of us yell, or even raise our voice. Not once was an object thrown. Not once was a fist thrown. In fact, not once were there any insults thrown, either.
Brooke does not heal. No matter what happens, light or severe, Brooke is not someone who ever emotionally heals from anything. I’m going to cover this extensively in the final part of this series, but for now I will just leave it there. Every single bad thing that happens in Brooke’s life scars her, no matter how small. This is important to keep in mind because it relates to why she wanted to end our marriage.
Before I start talking about when our marriage fell apart, there is one more thing I have to cover.
Two months after we got married, we moved into a duplex, and Brooke got a job at Red Robin. It wasn’t long after getting that job that she started frequently bringing up a guy she met at the job named Zack/Zeke. (She kept alternating between calling him Zack or Zeke.) Every so often, Brooke would randomly bring this guy up. “He showed me this song,” or, “Yeah, we talked about that at work,” were the types of things Brooke would say when talking about him. And she couldn’t stop talking about him. There was one time, only one time, when I asked about him, such as why they are friends on Facebook and have each other’s numbers. And since girls, especially Brooke, always have that one guy in their life who’s basically backup in case their current relationship fails (or they secretly want it to fail), she just told me they have each other’s numbers and are connected online … for work reasons.
We had just got married. I knew what was going on in Brooke’s head with this Zeke guy, but I think I was too scared to bring him up again. I was also too scared to walk out of my marriage when I should have as soon as I noticed how Brooke felt about this guy. So, we had just got married, and already Brooke was interested in another guy. So, since she let me have access to her Facebook, I went on there and deleted him from her friends list. I didn’t do it for my feelings, I did it for our marriage. That’s not justification, but it is the truth. If I had done that just for my feelings alone, I would have done nothing at all, and allowed this guy to destroy our new marriage from the inside naturally. My act of deleting Zeke from her Facebook was basically saving our marriage by tricking Brooke into thinking he deleted her. Yes, very immature, I know. Also very illogical in hindsight. If I had to resort to doing that to save my marriage, my marriage was already doomed anyway.
Now, this is the sequence of events that led to us separating…
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, and I mastered pretending not to notice Brooke’s feelings for Zeke. We had a rather perfect streak for a while, before this…
October 2018. 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. Of course, we had a baby – a baby that was still breastfeeding. When nobody was around, of course, there was no reason for Brooke 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 staying, 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 Brooke was lying next to her. I scooped up our baby and walked into the living room, knowing it would upset her. Brooke 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.” Brooke 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. 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 Brooke 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 Brooke out of seeking divorce for all of just a few days. But that argument at her grandparents house just wouldn’t leave her mind. (Remember what I said about how she never heals from big or little things.) 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. 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 Brooke 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 trad 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. You can all guess it: It was Zeke. 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 (or since).
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 Brooke and Baby), and left the room. Then 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 Brooke 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. When we first separated, I was patient with Brooke. I was calm, for the most part. Right after we separated, I still tried to treat her as my wife, such as asking her how her day was, if she had a good sleep the night before, asking what she wanted for Christmas, and I even offered to pay for her gas one time (though I still don’t remember the context for that one).
But she was hostile. She did not want to give it a chance, from the very beginning, as soon as she left me. 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 in the future, at all, 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.
That was the moment 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.
In the final part, I will bring all the points, from parts 1-5, together, and hopefully it will make sense to everyone why I don’t even see her as human anymore and it’s not at all simply because she’s my ex.