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i don’t hate you for this.
people seem to think i should. and i guess it would be easier, in many ways.
but i can’t go from loving someone so much to hating. i don’t know how to turn off love.
you and i always disagreed about the fundamental nature of people. but i can’t change the way i see the world; i believe that people are good.
i hate what you did, and i truly hate feeling this way. i am angry and sad and frustrated and grief-stricken. i don’t understand it, and i don’t want to let you off the hook for any of it.
i feel sucker-punched.
but i won’t – can’t – hate you. i will always care about you, wish you well, and hope you find peace and happiness.
For a while there, I felt like I was in some kind of purgatory… waiting, trying to make it work, scared, unsure of the right thing to do.
But then I went from purgatory straight to hell.
The shock of it all is wearing off and I can feel it now. It’s excruciating.
Infidelity is an awful thing. It seems so… common, and dirty. And yet there is something worse than infidelity, and that is betrayal.
I figured you could hurt me – you already had in smaller ways. And of course there was always the possibility you might eventually leave me. People do leave each other, often. But I never, in a million years, thought you would betray me.
Why, why, my brain can’t keep asking, couldn’t you just have broken up with me? Why did you have to string me along, talk about our future, tell me you loved me, all the while lying to me over and over?
You say you were afraid I would never talk to you again if you told me, that I wouldn’t be your friend if you broke up with me. How is making me suffer the humiliation of discovering your affair myself better than you telling me? Or hey, how about telling me you wanted out BEFORE you cheated on me? You ensured the very thing you say you were trying to avoid.
The two of you picked literally the single most destructive course possible. How did you think it would come out? You threw a grenade into my life, our life together, her marriage, our mutual friendships.
What the fuck were you thinking!?!?
I lie awake at night replaying conversations and struggles we had in the last months – months that I now realize you were cheating on me. The time you accused me of hiding things from you, and told me even a hint of deception would send us 3 steps backward. The time you told me you were embarrassed by my child’s behavior at my own family function (none of my family was bothered). The time you got angry at me trying to “pass us off as a family” at school. The time on our vacation when you posted only photos of you and your children, as if Elsa and I didn’t exist.
I took in all of that hurtful shit, and I worked so hard to understand it, to give it reason, to be compassionate. Because I loved you.
I gave you my wide-open heart, and left it in your hands even as we struggled, because I trusted you.
You threw it on the floor, then stomped on it for good measure.
a anonymous commenter on the previous post pointed out that it’s reasonable that the au pair found Elsa overwhelming and i should probably lighten up.
if that was truly the only reason for her departure, i would not fault her for that. but i truly think it was not, so i am a bit cranky about the whole thing.
the au pair made the decision to go home because she was homesick and lonely – something that happens a lot to au pairs after they’ve been here a month or two, before they have gotten settled and made friends. she later said she decided she doesn’t really want to care for children, or live with them. she refused all other re-placement offers from the au pair agency, even to easy placements, like families with one older child. she just wanted to go home. i think she wanted a fun adventure in the US, and the childcare part was not for her. which is fine – we’re better off without her, in that case.
(also, for the record, i would never expect a child-care provider to deal with Elsa when her behavior spirals out of control. i am the person to deal with it when it happens… so, far, Elsa’s saved those behaviors for me.)
so, i don’t like her pointing to Elsa as the sole reason for her departure when in reality it was that au pair gig was just not for her. Elsa has enough labeling and judgement from the world – she doesn’t need more. and we are dealing with a 5-week gap in childcare because of her hasty departure, which is a total nightmare. so i’m not in the mood to be touchy-feely and supportive of her now that she is feeling regret over her decision.
and that’s the end of my rant about the old au pair.
the new one is showing up Sept 10, and i’m hoping he’ll be great (yes, you read that right – it’s a manny!). we were excruciatingly clear with him about what he’d be signing up for, and he’s interested in working with special needs kids (and has experience) and incredibly enthusiastic, so i’m optimistic.
got two weepy facebook messages from the ex-au pair today (the one who said Elsa was “too hard”).
apparently she is not having a good time at home, she really misses us, and although she was only with us for 7 weeks, she loves us.
also, she now regrets quitting and going home.
cry me a river.
thanks to you all for the response. i had written and deleted the previous post many times, for fear of… i’m not sure what. fear of being judged. fear that people wouldn’t believe me. fear that no one would respond at all.
but you guys did, and i feel much, much less alone.
some good news i should report is that the latest Rx we’re trying – a sustained-delivery system (in the form a patch) – seems to be working really well, without big swings. hard to say for sure (we’re just on day 3) but it looks promising.
also, Elsa had her first swimming lesson yesterday. i was afraid it was going to be awful – high potential for a very public meltdown of epic proportions. but it went, well… swimmingly.
finally, the rather epic bad news: today is the first day of what will be five weeks without childcare. the au pair quit (citing Elsa as the reason, which made me want to punch her) and the new one won’t arrive until September 10.
pray for us.
things I am doing:
- working at my (sometimes high-stress) job
- building a new relationship
- living in two houses
- figuring out how to become a stepparent to two wonderful kiddos
- worrying about Elsa’s reaction to so much change in her life
- doing a bedroom/bathroom/closet remodel
- consistently canceling social plans due to persistent sickness
- taking antibiotics in hopes of finally getting better
- slowly getting Elsa her SSN, Certificate of Citizenship, and passport
- planning a move, and then renting out my house
- interviewing au pairs
- preparing my annual report to Ethiopia (on Elsa’s progress, etc)
- planning a wedding
- planning a trip to Disneyland in a few weeks (gulp)
- applying to a new school for Elsa to attend next year
- hoping that friends and family won’t resent me for never being available
what I am not doing:
- doing a good job at my work – I’m doing OK but dropping balls here and there, which I hate
- holding up my half of my relationship
- feeling connected to my friends and family
- sleeping much
- calling people back
- responding to personal email
- checking voicemail. I haven’t checked my home voicemail since January 4 – I shit you not. If you need to reach me, I sure hope you have my cell phone number or my email address.
- opening mail
- writing thank-you notes on time. or at all.
- cooking or eating well
- keeping track of which clothes/shoes/whatever are at which house (getting dressed for work in the morning is either tragic or hilarious, depending on my mental state)
Elsa’s teacher asked me if I would volunteer to drive to a field trip they are doing later this month. I can’t even begin to imagine how I could carve 5 hours out of a Friday to make that happen. It’s not even remotely possible. The very thought made me want to laugh. Or cry.
One of my best friends is trying to schedule dinner with me. The first date that MIGHT work is literally six weeks from now.
There is so much goodness – really, an embarrassment of riches, here. Yet I just want to run away from everything and everyone. Of course, that won’t really fix anything – would probably make it worse, as most of these things only get worse with neglect.
I scored myself and my extended family a house at the beach for the week.
In my head, this meant that we’d all be hanging out relaxing and staring at a fire in between dips in the hot tub and chilly walks on the beach. And, given all the other adults in the house, Elsa would be blissfully entertained by others, freeing me to dabble in the kitchen and whip up scrumptious food for everyone.
In reality, my work schedule is a nightmare and I’m in the office all day and doing conference calls to France in the early morning hours.
This makes me cranky.
We were lucky enough to have scored an invitation to my friend Q’s fabulous Tgiving dinner, so I don’t have to crank that out (amen), but I have planned just about every other meal this week and bought enough food to last through a nuclear winter. Would be sad if we all end up eating hot dogs because I don’t have time to cook.
I should be feeling so very thankful right now – this year has been extraordinary in so many ways, and I am so blessed.
But instead I am a festival of bitchiness. Pity my family, friends, child and (especially) my girlfriend.
Bitch at the beach… maybe I’m just beachy.
It’s been raining and dark and depressing around here lately. The lack of light really affects my mood – and not in a good way.
It doesn’t help that Elsa has been a bit extra-petulant the last few days and really good at making me lose my patience. I’ve been staying up too late and not sleeping well. Plus K is out of town, and I miss her, and that is making me cranky.
Yesterday Elsa and I headed out to visit my sister Kate – it was a really welcome change of venue and I was so glad to have another adult around and someone who wasn’t whining and yelling “NO!” at me all the time. So, that was a bright spot.
We had a few moments of peace while Elsa drew with crayons in the cozy window seat of Aunt Kate’s beach house.
this, my friends, is powerful shit.
IMHO, it’s required viewing if you have a daughter:
Again, I’m lazy and also happen to have articulate friends.
So, please allow me to refer you to what Danny said.