When I got home later last night, I looked in the mailbox and found a large manila envelope. I knew what it was, and a huge grin crossed my face.
I went inside, put my things away, poured a glass of wine, sat in the recliner and opened the envelope.
A cover letter from my lawyer, encapsulating what is in the enclosed Judgment of Divorce, and what it means to me. Basically, the divorce is final and effective June 20, 2014. The settlement agreement is incorporated into the divorce and actually becomes an order by the court. I don’t have to pay “maintenance” to Lisa (and I was concerned I might have to given the disparity of our earnings). I can return to any previously held surname – I’m going back to Martinez. I can dump Lisa off my health insurance now (done). I get the farm in its entirety, as well as the tractor we bought (new) for the farm in 2010. Lisa keeps the debt to her mother for that tractor. I keep all other marital debt. Lisa keeps her truck, the antique truck, and the trailer. I keep my own vehicle. Lisa waives any claim, current and future, to ANY of my retirement(s), whether she is eligible for them or not. I keep my house. I keep the $12,000 Lisa liquidated her IRA for so we could buy the farm (in exchange for the marital debt). Lisa can’t make any claims to my estate in the future. Lisa has to pay her mother back the $17,000 still owed to her for the loan of money to buy the tractor.
It was a fair agreement, even though Lisa doesn’t believe it was. She got stuck with the debt to her mother and felt she was getting screwed on that. She said to me “Why should I pay that loan if I have nothing to show for it?” I don’t know, maybe for the same reason(s) I’m paying $80K in debt, some of which is YOUR student loans, and have nothing to show for it? Just a wild guess there. Financially, it all balanced out. In the end, Lisa walks away with no debt other than the loan from her mother. She also walks away with no assets. Conversely, I walk away with all the debt, and all the assets.
As I read through the documents, a flood of emotions washed over me. The finality hit me last night. It’s done. It’s over. And for all my bravado, I’m terribly sad. I had a good, long, cleansing cry. It will be the last tear I shed for her.
I’m going to try really hard to go back to those memories of when we were happy, and had those dreams of the future and plans for forever. If I dwell on the end, I will never again be able to believe in love, happiness and forever, and I’ll be miserable for the rest of my life.
What makes this so hard for me is that I truly still believe that Lisa is a decent human being. Cheating on her wife? I have no doubts that she struggled with it in the beginning. But she got so swept up in the emotions that she made the choice to commit adultery and once that happened, she became addicted to the titillation, the sex, the emotions and there was no turning back for her. What also makes it hard is the knowledge that I literally gave her the tools she needed to conduct the affair. The laptop and, later, the iPod. Before I bought her that laptop, she was rarely on the internet, even at work. I kicked her out because, in my heart of hearts, I knew she could not and would not give Wendy up. Would I be divorced today had I not kicked her out? I have struggled with that question a lot over the past year. Did I push her into cohabitation with Wendy by kicking her out? Or, would she have stayed with me and, eventually, try to work things out? So many “What if” questions and I could make myself crazy trying to answer them. I don’t think even Lisa could answer them then, nor can she answer them now.
The hardest thing for me to wrap my brain around is the fact that, because Lisa is, deep down inside, a good person who would never deliberately hurt someone, how could she have done what she did, and how can she live with herself for the hurt and grief she inflicted on me, not only by the affair, but by the continued purposeful hurtful things she did afterward? She stopped going to therapy. I would guess because she didn’t like having to look at herself. No therapist worth their salt would have declared her “fine” and not in need of therapy only 6 sessions after she started (sessions she still hasn’t paid for yet, a year later). By not having to look at herself, she doesn’t have to acknowledge the horrible thing she did. By not having to look at herself, she doesn’t have to look at me. And by not having to look at me, she doesn’t have to see the pain and the love that are still in my eyes. And that suits Lisa’s personality just fine.
So, this is the end.
And if I knew back in 2000 how it all would end, and after all we went through, I’d do it all again. I would have let myself love her anyway. She was not a waste of my life.