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10:14 a.m. - 2013-03-30
baby steps
Maybe my life is starting to recover from the implosion of my marriage.

Almost exactly four years ago, my husband told me he was cheating on me, he was in love with her, and he wanted a divorce. We had been together for seven years and I was pregnant with our second child. We'd just moved to a new state and, in part because his job conflicted me out of working in news (he was in charge of most of the newspapers and magazines within commuting distance), I had started staying home full-time. Shortly after his announcement, the girl he was "in love with" moved to California, but he quickly took up with someone else. He moved out exactly three years ago.

I didn't have a Plan B then. I loved him and I had spent our entire time together putting my career second to his, and then eventually last to our family. My job was to make his life easy so he could shine. I didn't have a plan for anything else.

Eventually I decided that my plan B was to go after what I had always dreamed of doing with my life -- working for an organization like Doctors Without Borders and writing about it. I went back to school a year and a half ago.I didn't realize how long it would take for me to get a nursing degree -- four years -- but when I found out, I figured, what are my options? This is what I want. If it takes four years, it takes four years.

I'm halfway through. I should hear within the next two weeks if I got into nursing school (the first two years were prerequisites; the next two are actually nursing school) but realistically speaking, I don't think it's possible that I'm not in. I have a 4.0 nursing GPA and I scored in the 99th percentile on the TEAS, the nursing school aptitude test. I don't think it's really possible that I could be more qualified.

And a couple of minutes ago, I found out that I got the first CNA job I applied for -- part-time, night shift, which is exactly what I wanted. The pay is terrible, but I need a reliable source of income and I need the CNA experience to help get a job when I finish nursing school. I'm planning on writing freelance too, but first I need to get my car registered so I can actually go places to interview people, and M has been unable to come up with the money for me to register the damn thing for the past 16 months, even though he makes over $100,000 a year. (We have been sharing his car, ie I get it when he doesn't need it and I'm carless most of the time.) (This is the main reason I needed a night shift job.) With the CNA money I can register my car. With my car registered I can do work that actually pays decently and that I'm good at (although I plan to keep the CNA job).

With money of my own, I can file for divorce. (I'm fairly sure that's why he can't come up with the money for me to register my car, btw.)

When I am divorced, I can marry A. And have a happy life and a happy family back. And my independence. And all the things I was before I met the uungratful, self-centered, chickenshit loser who was kind enough to father my children.

Of course, as much of logistical mess as he made my life, the biggest mess was my heart and my mind. I loved him and he was my "one good thing." I trusted him completely. We had our problems but I thought we would get through it and be better -- not just "better" but "great" -- in the end. His cheating wasn't what ended our marriage; I forgave him every time because I loved him unconditionally. What ended our marriage was that he wanted it to end. His explanation: "I changed my mind." That and, "I just don't love you anymore. And I don't want to live a lie."

I didn't want to live without him but I'm OK. Life goes on. A makes me happier than he ever did. If he hadn't left I wouldn't have decided to go after what I really, really wanted in life (and feel called to do). I would have spent my whole life facilitating his life and probably ended up getting treated like crap anyway.

As devastating as his leaving me was, at least it happened when I was 29-30 and not 60 or 75.



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