Needless to say, I was beside myself.
I asked my best friend H what I should do. She’d been there through all of it. She felt he was testing me. I’d drawn the line after 3.5 years of hemming and hawing, I’d issued my ultimatum…and he was letting me know exactly where he stood.
I’m not saying our marriage was perfect otherwise – far from it. I was working too much – he always felt I favored my career over him. He was emotionally abusive. There wasn’t a day that went by where I was told I was fat in one way or another. And in addition to “Baby” the other names he called Robbie were “Stupid”, “Ugly” and “Trouble.” How any one could call a 1 year old baby stupid or ugly is beyond me.
I could put up with all of it. But if you put my child in harm’s way, I draw the line.
That night I told him I wanted a divorce.
His response? He had to drive into town to get a bottle because the liquor stores out by us were closed. He came home with a bottle for me, too. Drinking was not really what I wanted to do.
On Monday, I found a daycare for Robbie. If my #1 reason for leaving was that I couldn’t trust him alone with our son, then I wasn’t about to leave him there and go to work.
On Tuesday, I got my hair cut. Robert had always joked that he’d leave me if I chopped off all my hair (it was down to roughly my chest). I knew he didn’t mean it…but I also knew that if I cut it, he’d realize just how serious I was. I came home with my hair about chin length. First words out of his mouth were, “Oh my god, you’re not kidding.”
I was definitely not kidding.
On Friday – exactly one week after I’d told Robert I wanted a divorce – I was laid off. Wow, what timing!
Thankfully, I found work again right away. I kept Robbie in daycare and used my severance to fill the gap. The following weeks were not easy, to say the least. Thankfully – and I am thankful every single day for this – my grandmother heard about what was going on. She called me and told me to find a lawyer and tell her the cost. She was going to pay for my divorce.
I won’t hash out the rest of it. He moved back to Oz in May ’08, just a couple of weeks before the divorce was finalized. He took two suitcases and told me he didn’t want anything else.
With him gone, Robbie and I were suddenly spending a lot more time together. I went from the workaholic that never saw her kid…to a single mom who had a lot to sort out. Lucky for me, I had an amazing kid. So smart! So independant!
Robert came to visit once – April of 2009. He was here for a full month. Entirely too long, but we made the best of it. I don’t think he’ll be coming back. He shows little to no interest in his son, but I think it’s his method of self-preservation. If you don’t think about something/someone, it’s less painful.
I’ve always said that I will never speak poorly of Robert to our son. I’ll stick to the facts. I’ll answer any questions he has. He’s only 5 now, but I’ve already explained that to him more than a few times. I’ve also told both father and son that if they ever want to video chat or talk on the phone, all either of them has to do is say the word and I will make it happen. The last request was made by Robbie almost a year ago. I talk to my ex-mother-in-law more often than I do my ex.
Robbie’s always been a sharp kid. Once, when he was about 3, someone remarked at how well he speaks. “That’s rare in an only child,” she said.
“Well, I’m an only parent,” I responded. “I don’t have anyone else to talk to!”
I’ve always talked to Robbie as if he were a little adult. That probably wasn’t always the best move, but we’ve grown together over the years and I hope we’ll always be close. I’m a firm believer in being a parent first, not a friend, but I love how close we are.
I was very careful when dating. Before Rick, Robbie only ever met two of my boyfriends – I had to be sure they were going to be around for a while before I wanted Robbie to meet them. Rick was different. We both knew it before we met – this was different.
My family took some convincing. When we announced we were moving in together after dating for just 3 months, my brother was beyond angry. After what I’d gone through with Robert – what we’d all gone through – it was going to be a long time before they’d trust another man around me.
In December 2011, my brother married his college sweetheart. We all went to the wedding and that was the first time Rick met the majority of my family. They all approved. They saw how happy we were. They saw how kind he was. They realized he was the complete opposite of Robert in every single way.
I’ve never been happier. We’ve been married a year this past February. Every day, he treats me better than anyone has ever treated me in my life. Every day, I try to do the same for him. I always feel like I come up short.
I see so many relationships – including my first marriage – that devolve into these petty little pissing matches. So many people trying to trick their spouse or get “even” with them, etc. He’s shown me how marriage should be. It should be full of love and respect. The “golden rule” isn’t just for strangers! It applies beautifully to marriage. If we both spend every day trying to treat the other the way we could only dream of being treated ourselves… we end every day just as in love – or more – as we were the day before.