My wife and I are in the middle of what should be a very cut and dried divorce. Our kids are older. We are each spending roughly 50 percent of the time with them in a court approved joint custody arrangement. Our earnings are close to equal so child support is non-existent either way. No alimony or spousal maintenance is at issue. We have joint accounts that could easily be split down the middle and neither of us want to continue living in the family home. Most divorcing couples would just agree to the obvious and move on, right? Not a narcissist.
Oh, there is one thing I forgot to mention — or maybe two. One of us had an affair that precipitated the entire dissolution of this 20 year marriage. One of us refuses to agree to anything, preferring to argue about every single issue and non-issue possible. That “one” is my apparently never-to-be-ex wife, who is now two years into her relationship with my replacement. You would think her moving on from me to him in her life and her bed translates into an urgency to get this divorce done. I am trying to be easy going despite the betrayal for the good of the kids and to get on with my life.
Unfortunately my take on it is as far from her “truth” as we can get in this crazy situation. Even though I have agreed on the 50/50 split on custody and property we will ultimately receive in this state if the case finally goes to trial my wife will not allow even one of the dozens of issues to be settled. Each of us has spent over $35,000 in lawyer fees on a divorce that could have been settled two weeks pro bono.
My wife also coats every exchange between the two of us in hatred, contempt, and sarcasm. No suggestion I make is ever right, no settlement offer my attorney and I make is ever accepted. She has created a completely illusory narration that I am vicious and unreasonable yet will not run the other direction as would most arguably “mistreated spouses, counting the seconds till they are rid of their tormentor.
Why is this happening? I believe that my wife is a narcissist. She certainly showed all the characteristics during our life together, even though I was oblivious at the time. Her need to continue this fantasy fight over our no-fault, 50/50 divorce all boils down to this: I filed for divorce before she did and refused to wait until her extramarital fling was over. Not happy making for a control crazed narcissist.
My narcissistic wife controlled every move I and our children took over 20 years of marriage. She blinded me with her initial devotion to me during the beginning of our relationship. I gave up family and friends, promotions and hobbies because she said I was her everything. But that position came at a tremendous price and required that I never, ever question her or her decisions.
And my decision to stand up for myself at the last, filing for divorce after she refused to end an affair or to attend counseling unleashed a rage in her that never waivers and instead seems to get more intense as the months and now years go by. We have decimated our kid’s college funds and raided our retirement funds. Furthermore, we have enriched our attorneys beyond their wildest dreams.
All this because I dared call her bluff and refused to wait for her affair to end. Which was a somewhat wise move because she is still with the guy 24 months later.
I stand by my decision. But it would be nice to see a light at the end of this tunnel.
And I would like to find some shelter from this storm — a rage I had no part in but cannot extinguish.
[Reader story by Samuel Davidson]