Winning back your husband. I know the heartache and pain of having your husband leave you and say, “I don’t think I love you anymore,” because thirty two years ago my husband left me. It was 1986 the week before Christmas. I was Christmas shopping with my brother at the local mall. So cocky was my persona in those days as I basked in the Holiday spirit of purchasing presents for the family. I was at the top of my game in life in that I believe I had everything I ever wanted. A beautiful house in a classy neighborhood, a Mercedes-Benz, a rock of a diamond ring, and a successful hunk of a husband. Everyone said we were the power couple and everywhere we went we made some kind of impression as the success got bigger and better. I was 29 years old and had just given my husband a 30th birthday celebration at the Hotel Intercontinental in downtown San Diego. A party you wanted to attend due to the “see and be seen” factor. It was a big success and everyone, including my husband had a wonderful time. He was elated and showed me off as if I was the celebrant herself. We talked about it for days.
A week later he said he was attending a conference that would last all day so I should do whatever I needed to do that day. It was a week before Christmas so I thought I’d go shopping and didn’t come home until 7 pm that evening. What was a happy day turned into a nightmare and would change the course of the rest of my life. I approached the garage door to the house and found a post-it note saying, “Grace (my nickname), please don’t be mad but I can’t take it any longer. I’ve moved out. I need my space. Please don’t contact me for a while.” My eyes just about popped out of my head I was so shocked and dismayed. I never knew what a panic attack felt like until that moment. I raced into the house, checked the closets and to my awful surprise saw his side of the racks emptied. I was pissed, sad and hurt at the same time. I called my brother, who had just dropped me off at home and demanded he come pick me up and went straight to my husband’s office to find out what the “F**k” was going on. It was a rainy evening and I remember feeling so helpless and scared. Panic set in as I was acting out my emotions of fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, and abandonment. “What I am suppose to do now?” I kept feeling like I wanted to control something and my obsessive-compulsive self-kept me in a tailspin as I could do nothing and was overwhelmed with a feeling of helplessness. What would this look like to people we know, how am I going to explain this to the family, how does this make ME look? Never once thinking about what this is doing to my husband. How he is feeling having to say what he said to me and leave the way he did….so secretively. My lack of empathy for him during that period of time was so typical ME as I had none for him. My fear of being “left” tapped into my abandonment issues and my acting out behavior consisted of calling him a “jerk” while placing all the blame on him blinding myself to what I might have contributed to making a loving person who thought the world of me do what he did.
As I entered my husband’s office building I tried to maintain a calm appearance while my entire body was shaking with anger and fear. I burst through his office door to find his secretary, Sheila, finishing up for the day. I asked her where he was staying and she said she didn’t want to get involved. I scolded her and barked some harsh words at her but didn’t push her for further information as I didn’t want to appear like the lunatic I felt like. I went to his desk and searched for anything that could give me traces of what he had been planning and where he could be staying. With my diligence during that search, I came across a message pad with what appeared to be indentations of a phone number on it. My obsessive-compulsive urges had me grab the pad, shade off pencil markings across it to make out the number and called it. The number was to a local Marriot Residence Inn. I called and asked for his name. The operator said policy states they are not allowed to inform one way or another if a guest was staying at the facility. I told them I was his wife and I insisted they put the call through. They apologized profusely upon my insistence and said if I had his room number they would be happy to transfer the call. Of course, I was livid assuming their lack of cooperation meant they were implicitly confirming he was there and was protecting him….from ME. As I knew where that hotel was located I decided to make the drive down there to check the parking lot for his car. I dragged my brother with me who apparently was thinking it was not a good idea but couldn’t say anything to the contrary because my strong personality was something that most of my family members feared. He reluctantly drove me to the hotel and we swiped the parking lot to no avail. I was upset, to say the least with underlying emotions of hurt and disappointment. “What am I going to do now,” I asked? My brother recommended he take me home and he did. He stayed with me for awhile trying to console me and talk about what could have happened. I kept going over the events of the past few weeks where I thought everything was fine. I was blindsided and that was awful to feel. During that evening my brother did add some insight about how my personality and behavior can be a bit intimidating and how I can rub some people (family members in particular) the wrong way. As I defended myself as I was obviously in denial about my behaviors in those days, I sat alone in my 2300 square foot home when my brother left for the night feeling vulnerable and tired. During that period in my life, I didn’t know what feeling vulnerable meant as all my life I have tried not to feel or emote any feelings except anger. I told myself being vulnerable would mean having to be more exposed, open, sensitive, subject (to), being in situations where I am likely to be hurt, taken advantage of, or used. Being vulnerable or showing parts of me that are soft and nice would make me appear weak, sissy-like, and I didn’t want to be perceived as not strong like my perceived persona. To keep my self-protected from being vulnerable meant no one could hurt, break or damage me.
The story continues in next week’s blog
Me at 29 years of age