Your story is much like Rob's with his ex. It really is. It's amazing.
With my previous marriage, when I think about it, I'm not sure from my perspective now if I feel I could have done some things to make it better. But I don't feel I ever just really liked him in a way that's conducive to marriage. Even when I consider the ways I screwed up, and I wasn't perfect, there's still that feeling that the real mistake was marrying someone I didn't just like enough.
On paper, Rob has more problems than my ex. But I also just like him more. I don't like everything about him, and really don't like some of his past behavior. But I like HIM a lot.
And I'm glad you shared. Sometimes sharing in a little more detail helps.
Despite the fact that I don't think I liked my ex enough to marry him, I still see the qualities that I did like, and still do.
I'm sure that underneath all of the other stuff, your wife likes things about you as well. You seem likeable enough
I don't know Mike, on one hand I don't regret getting a divorce. On the other hand, I sure wish I had been smarter about something - I would love to look across the room to my child's father and share in a look the pride, the joy, the pain, of having a child. It's a big void. Not one I dwell on, but there nonetheless.
And not, mind you, that my ex would have really provided that sort of communication. He's not really capable of it (not my interpretation, but too long of a story for now), and yet.... no one else is as capable of it as him, because my son is no one else's child.
Children are a big source of meaning.
I will tell you this, though, I wonder if Rob would have drifted so far afield if there had been a better match of a wife in his life. His ex can't be judged for the depth of Rob's actions, she only had the tip of the iceburg in her sight. But she chose not to deal with even that.
Like you, I'm sure Rob felt unseen even as he feared being seen.
I've sometimes gone too far in being furious with Rob. But at least I'm not indifferent.
It's a good thing you express your anger. Rob hates, hates, hates, admitting he's angry. He'd rather drink himself to a grave and all kinds of other crazy stuff than admit he's angry about anything.
When we watch movies, it's the movies where there's interpersonal strife that gets to him the most. Horror movies aren't so horrible. It's funny in a way.
We recently watched a movie about a couple who were growing apart and bickering and the guy handled it by escaping into his sleeping dreams and began trying to control the course of them. In order to sleep better and dream more, he put up black insulation on the windows and walls, etc.... His waking hours were just what he got through in order to go to sleep and dream.
He found this movie very disturbing. Think it hit too close to home.
Our waking life has to be adequate enough to want to stay there.