I work in the medical field and I know that we speak a different language than normal people. I know the hospital lingo and as a oncology social worker, often find myself in the position of interpreting "medical speak" to the patients I work with. Patients who have been diagnosed with a cancer often describe it as walking into a foriegn country, not knowing the language, the landmarks, etc.
My state is a no-fault divorce state. This means than no matter what he did, he was entitled to half of everything we had. Period. However, if we could come to an agreement and a judge approved it, it did not HAVE to be that way. I put my cards on the table: I wanted to keep our 2 bedroom middle class house. I wanted full custody of our son. I would only allow supervised visitation of our son, for obvious reasons. I did not want to pay my husband any money or "buy him out" in any way. HE did this and I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that I could get out of this in a financially secure manner that would allow me to care for my son in the best way possible.
He fought me...every step of the way...for over a year. His attorney kept sending us letters with demands. We kept saying no and requesting a deposition. I was not afraid of testifying in front of a judge. I had nothing to hide. This was key. He had everything to lose by his secret life becoming public. The one thing he did not fight for was the right to see his son. In fact he dropped all requests for visitation because he said supervised visitation was unacceptable to him. This broke my heart in many ways, but it was also a relief, because I did not feel that my son was safe with him at this point in time.
Those are the facts...but the emotions are such a bigger part of the story. The week I filed for divorce and he was served with papers was traumatic for me. I cried non-stop. I don't think I went to work. Friends and family stayed with me around the clock and helped care for me and my son. I was a wreck. Slowly, I began to function again but the whole year was filled with roller coaster emotions. I would start to develop panic attacks every time I saw a grey envelope from my attorney in the mail. It was a bad year, but it got better. I got better.
Counseling helped immensely. One thing my counselor said over and over were that there were three things I needed to remember, "It's not fair. It will never make sense. There will never be justice." I kept searching for understanding, kept trying to make sense of all of it, but it was impossible. My counselor also told me to try to look at it in this way, that I crossed paths with insanity but I got out with my sanity intact, for the most part!
I moved from crisis mode to survival mode, which lasted several years. Just this year I feel that I have started to live again. I still have my moments. I still cry at night sometimes wondering what in the world happened. But I have learned how to take care of myself. I still make some unhealthy choices - like emotional eating - but I am working on it. It's a process. It's about choices. It's life. I may not have ended up where I thought I would be, but I ended up somewhere pretty good.