I had court today. Not for someone else, like it’s been the past several times, but for me. Let me state for the record: I hate going to court. Court sucks. It’s great for people-watching and if I’m yearning for a security check, but other than that, court is just awful.
But today, I sat in court, fighting for something that was super important to me – otherwise, trust me, I wouldn’t have been there – and I heard my ex-husband’s lawyer say these words about me:
“She refuses to speak to him even when he begs and pleads.”
My knee-jerk reaction was the totally mature laugh-and-eye-roll combination. Lovely, I know. You can sign up for my etiquette class really soon.
But then here I am, eight hours later, sitting under the weight of those words. Not because that sentence was a slanderous lie, but because that sentence was one hundred percent true, minus a bit of the begging and pleading part. (And let me clarify, I do text him; it’s not like we haven’t communicated in over four months, it’s just not verbally on my part.)
But the truth is: I do not speak to my ex-husband and I haven’t spoken to him in person or over the phone since March.
I am telling you this because it’s one of my biggest embarrassments and I’m guessing I’m not the only person who doesn’t – I’ll go so far as to say can’t – speak with her ex.
I absolutely hate this about myself. I hate the knowledge that I do not have the apparent maturity or strength of character to say even a few words, let alone attempt to discuss something with him. It makes me feel small and childish and ashamed and less-than. It makes me cringe thinking down the road to weddings, hoping and praying that someway, somehow (though nothing changes ever), we will be able to talk to each other, or visit grandbabies in the hospital at the same time or whatever life brings us.
Most people do not understand this in general or about me. Not that I’ve got a skyrocketing emotional IQ by any means, but I have sustained some pretty amazing friendships for many years…there are real people who have chosen to be in my life for a long time and actually like me. And I can talk with them. And we’re not unkind to each other. And I don’t get exasperated.
But I do in this case. I become someone I don’t like. I lose all of my footing. I revert. I feel that tightness that I used to feel. That being told what to do feeling. That I’m stupid feeling. That backed into a corner feeling. And I hate that feeling.
But you know what? Though it may seem immature of me that I can’t do this apparently simple thing – i.e. talk to another human being – it’s not so much that I can’t…it’s that I won’t. I have made a conscious choice not to. Because I hated how it made me feel. And not to get all I-am-woman-hear-me-roar on you or anything, but I really am allowed to decide who I will and will not speak to. In a sense it’s actually more mature of me to know myself well enough to know what I can handle, what’s good for me and what’s bad for me, what I will tolerate and what I just don’t have to anymore than to just keep putting myself in a horrible situation over and over again when I can change the situation.
So there you go, Mr. Lawyer, that is correct, I do refuse to speak to him. But not without just cause and because I am allowed to refuse to speak to him. Case closed.
If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here or “Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman”, found here.
I’m still married and living with my husband and sometimes even I choose not to speak with him. Not in a childish,”I’m not talking to you” sort of way. Rather I recognize that he relieves internal discomfort by attacking me and repeating the false narrative he’s created about me. And he’s incredibly adept at using any interaction with me to do that. By refusing to interact when possible I’m protecting myself AND forcing him to deal with his own internal discomfort. It’s not immature at all. Just wise.
Beth, I just reached the realization that I’m not able to speak with my ex. The derision, sarcasm, and attacking are all too excruciating. The damage that is done to my heart is too much. I’m just plain ol’ not mature enough yet to not be crushed and walk away in one piece. I hope that it’s “for now”, but who knows. I do think it’s wisdom to recognize that and stay away, though. Baby steps toward healing.
I totally understand – with me it was if I speak to him then I feel like I have to lash out or bring up the hurtful things that he did to me. Time will help and just remember what a dynamic young woman you are. Hold your head up high and remember what a difference you have made to so many people. Remember God is guiding us and wants us to be a forgiving person, he knows we can’t forget but he is sure we have it in your heart to forgive just as he has always done for us!
I am readeing a book “Forgive and Love Again” by John Nieder and Thomas Thompson and have found it very helpful. Some days I really feel like I need counseling but have just spent time reading and praying for guidance.
Always do what is best for you!
I couldn’t talk to my ex for months and months and maybe even years. The only way I’ve found it to be possible is by speaking very sorry honest comments about the issue at hand and if something else comes up in conversation that I don’t feel I can discuss rationally or that I just don’t wish to talk about I either say “that isn’t the issue at hand” or “that’s a moot point” or simply, “I have nothing to say about that at this time. ” Quite robotic almost, but it is the best I can do.
I still talk to my ex. Quite a bit. And I’m not sure it’s a good idea, because I hold it together 90% of the time, but a predictable 10% of the time, I totally lose it. And that’s a pretty big margin for ugly.