Thursday, August 26, 2010

Frustration, Heartbreak, Love, Disappointment

This roller coaster is not fun. To be honest, I hate it. I'm too human to let go and trust God. I'm trying, but... Mostly it's because I know some of this isn't so much in God's hands as it is my wife's hands, and if she won't listen to God, then my understanding of God is He isn't going to step in any time soon. I pray for a softened heart, but if God gives us our agency then doesn't that mean a softened heart doesn't happen until that person is at least slightly willing to allow it?


I realize I should clarify. I trust God and believe He has my best interests at heart. My problem has been that I find it hard to stop worrying about whether my wife will pull her head out or continue down the path she's obviously chosen. I have always had a hard time letting go of something to 'let the Lord handle it'. I always think I should be doing more. This is where I'm hitting the wall. Anything I say to LeeAnn seems to make things worse. She doesn't see at all any problem with the way she's been acting (or says I'm making a big deal out of nothing). Her favorite seems to be, "So, you weren't perfect either!" Okay...


As a more full knowledge of the last year and a half of my marriage unfolds, I feel sicker and sicker. My stomach knots and ends up somewhere near the bottom of my throat. My heart feels both pain and deadening as the realization of the lie I've lived in becomes more real.

My wife had a "no-sex" affair from March to May or so last year, with a guy she'd dated in the 90's and pronounced a weird, hopeless loser any time she ever mentioned him (once she'd moved out of state he stalked her mother and young sister as a way to feel closer to her). We reconciled, she cut it off, and swore that she'd spend the rest of our lives proving to me that she loved me and I'd never get rid of her. Until October or so of last year when, fresh into a new job, she started meeting up with him again, unbeknownst to me. Meeting every 'couple' of weeks, or 'weekly', or 'whatever'. Lunch, make-out sessions, whatever. In the meantime, I'd been getting all sorts of weird feelings about how she was acting and every time I brought it up she lamented the fact that our marriage would be ruined if I couldn't learn to trust her again, because she loved me, would be with me forever, etc. etc. Except for when she was with him, I guess, because those assurances happened in the middle of her 'other' activities...

Over the last few weeks I've been trying to show her I would reconcile if she chose to. She'd told me that she was repentant. Sorry for what she did, but afraid that she'd do it again if she came back. She said she wasn't ready to make that commitment. Not to me, mind you. What she meant was she wasn't ready to cut off seeking physical and emotional attention from other men.

I may be mistaken, but I always thought a repentant heart meant you'd at least stop what you were up to and start looking for a way to fix it. Not with my wife, I guess.


So the boys were with her yesterday and when I got to her mom's to pick them up, my wife (yes, we are still married) met me at the door with the blood drained from her face. She informed me that our younger son had fallen off a table at the park at noon that day, but shown no evidence of the injury until 7:00PM, when a small but obviously deep cut began oozing blood over his corn silk hair. My mother-in-law's sister was pronouncing him fine (no Dr. needed) over the phone when I told my wife to give him to me so I could take him to the hospital. I took her as well and the boy ended up with one staple in his scalp. Not a huge deal, but I would have heard nothing about his injury if I hadn't seen the blood. If he'd had a concussion or subdural hematoma I wouldn't have known as he drifted off to sleep once we got home because my wife thinks keeping me from knowing anything that might put her in a bad light is the proper way to go. She did the same thing when she lost the same son at the mall a month ago and it took long enough to find him that other adults (and maybe security or police) were involved. I know this because, unlike my wife, my sons talk to me. A lot. They both repeated their version of events many times since and I was just waiting to see if she would bring it up.

Am I wrong for thinking that her withholding that type of information (especially in light of her general deceitfulness over the last 3-4 years) is troublesome? They are our children, right? She seems to think I want to know these things so I can 'get her in trouble' and 'take the boys from her'. I tend to look at it as wanting to know anything of importance about the boys when they've been with her for the day or longer. If the boy had woken up screaming in the night after having been lost I might have been able to comfort him, knowing what the source of that fear was. As a matter of fact, that happened... Good thing the three year old had explained it to me first.

And yes, I would still rather reconcile than divorce, but I'm wondering if that would be a fool's errand no matter what my wife ends up deciding?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Forty-Five Year Old College Freshman? Maybe...

From about the age of 12 my biggest wish in life was to be a rock star and tour the world. Over the next 14 years I tried to figure out how to do that while staying true to my religious ideals. Growing up in the Sunset Strip 80's Glam era, that wasn't such an easy task and obviously it never happened quite the way I'd envisioned it.

Fast forward to 1994 and I was in the middle of what would become about 20 years of working in TV and film. At the time I was still near the bottom rung and decided I'd use my weird work schedule to go to school and see if I could figure out a 'grown up' career. I'd gotten through one light semester before my 'day job' (done from 11:00PM to whenever I got out in the morning) picked up and I had to make a choice. I decided I'd better stick with what was working and ended up in a pretty killer job for the next few years.

Which brings me to today.

For various reasons I'm almost positive I'm not going to leave this world as a colorist (not the least of which is I'm not working as one now). I've been trying for three years to see if there was some way I can go to school and squeeze yet one more career out of this worldly sojourn of mine.

Earlier in the year the wife and I discussed the next few years in detail and had it all worked out. I would get a BA online and right about the time our boys were both in school and moving along, I'd get down to business and go to law school; law being something I've always been interested in, and also a career I could still get 25 years out of even if I was starting out in my early 50's. I've known quite a few 75 year old attorneys...

Well, if you're reading this then you know what happened to the wife part. With all that I figured I'd better drop those other plans and quick. The problem's been, I can't. I still want to do this. Or at least start it and if the Lord has other plans, I'll certainly find out at some point.

So I did some more research this week and found a few schools that offer online education, but the programs and degrees are no different than the 'brick and mortar' versions those schools also provide. I checked accreditation and spoke with the head of the department at one of the schools and have been pretty impressed with what I found. So I got online and sent in my application this weekend. If I can swing it I'll end up doing one to two classes per 8 week term toward a BA in history (or 'American Studies') and power through it over the next few years until I'm ready to look at law schools.

When I was supposed to be in college I was doing this instead:


Now I'll be that old dude in the corner, muttering to myself as I try to bang my way through English 115. ;)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mormons *Are* Different

I have a confession to make. I've lived such a sheltered life that I'm not sure if the issue I'm facing now is a 'Mormon' thing or if other people who live by prayer and seek spiritual guidance face the same dilemma. I'd be interested to know. Even the few friends I had growing up who weren't Mormons ended up becoming one, so I could be way off the mark here.

Here's the thing. I am a very objective person. In my politics and in my outlook on just about anything, my opinions come from what I see and understand. Emotions have their place, but I don't totally base decisions on them any more than I would map out a 1000 mile car trip with them.

Yet there is a spiritual outlook I try to live by that I have no objective reason to believe. At least not in the literal sense. I have not seen God. I have not felt the hand of my Savior, yet my hope is to live my life based on how I've been taught they would have me live. With lots of mistakes and failures, mind you, but still...

One of my favorite political theorists is Ayn Rand. Her whole philosophy is called Objectivism, and as far as politics and things not related to God are concerned, I believe she had it right. Yet my belief in God is something she would reject as superstition, believing that it would cloud my thinking in every other topic.

I live in contradiction.

But I don't see any other way that makes sense and I suspect that type of contradiction is one of the things we're called to accept as Latter-Day Saints. If any of my Christian friends ever read this, I would love to know if you ever feel this way. Not from any doctrinal standpoint because we'll just have to agree to disagree on that account. Even factoring that in I think we may have more in common than not.

I see the world in an objective manner (or strive to), yet I'm totally open to seeking Spiritual direction in making the decisions I face in guiding my life. Are you?

So here I am going through this marriage thing and what I'm thinking and feeling are nowhere near what I would ever have guessed if you'd told me about this ten years ago. I can't describe it or begin to predict an outcome, but I'm as surprised by my line of thought right now as I have ever been. It's not logical. It's not objective. But that Spirit which tells me to do what is right has opened my mind and heart to things I could not have imagined one month ago.

Where do I go from here? I don't know. I can't foresee how other people in this story will move forward. I can't even say for sure what I will do because those decisions will be colored by the choices they make.

If nothing else comes of this, at least I can say I have once again been surprised by the degree to which God can change my heart and outlook. Now if only He (and I) could make it permanent...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Achin' To Be

I got on a 'Mats kick tonight. That was probably a mistake but it's too late now. I'll deal... When I was getting to know my wife this song was all I could think of whenever I flew home from New York after seeing her. Good thing I love this band so much or I couldn't listen to it anymore.

OK, I needed one to lift me up a bit. This one always works. There's something so beautiful and melancholy about this song it always gives me hope. Does that sound weird? Oh well... :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

One of My Father's Favorite Scriptures

has new resonance for me these days. I've heard just about every argument people have for why Joseph Smith wasn't who he said he was. The Doctrine and Covenants tells me he was.

D&C 122

1 The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee;
2 While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under thy hand.
3 And thy people shall never be turned against thee by the testimony of traitors.
4 And although their influence shall cast thee into trouble, and into bars and walls, thou shalt be had in honor; and but for a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion, because of thy righteousness; and thy God shall stand by thee forever and ever.
5 If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
6 If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;
7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.


Before you get the wrong idea, I don't think I'm a prophet. Not even close. I'm just a husband, father, brother, and son. I hope I'm a friend.

Most of this section deals with Joseph directly, but verse eight is one I've thought of again and again whenever I've gotten to that place where I'm feeling sorry for myself about some little thing. That verse, along with the next, is my answer every time. The Son of Man descended below them all. I am certainly no greater than He. My days are known and the Lord has counted them. I have nothing to fear when those truths are held in my heart. I pray I'll always be willing to remember that.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Little Bit Lower Now...

Bloody Hell!

I tried writing a post this morning. By the time I was done I wanted to jump out a window. After editing it I felt even worse!

I know some of this has been sad and all, but I'm really trying not to turn into that guy.

I was totally lost the Fall after I graduated high school. I was 18, my hair was finally how I wanted it, I had pro bass gear, high heels, and all the make-up I'd ever need. What could the problem be? I'd even auditioned for a band led by a local rock star and been invited to join. I turned them down because they rejected my best friend (who'd auditioned on guitar), but said friend still seemed bent out of shape about it and I don't know that things were ever the same after that. Anyway, he'd discovered the joys of pre-marital fornication and that may have had more to do with why I never saw him anymore. Either way I was left in a funk, not wanting to blow off my responsibilities to God but also not wanting to lose out on my biggest goal in life to that point, which was to be in the next Mötley Crüe. Don't laugh, this was 1983 and I lived just over the hill from Hollywood. Guys a lot less talented than I made millions on that wave...

Anyway, I had this friend named Steve. I'd known him since seventh grade and we'd been pretty tight (ask me sometime about driving around all night in the stolen Millennium Falcon). So I must have spent three weeks straight, crying to Steve about how sad and pathetic my life was at that very moment. He listened patiently like the friend he was for two weeks and six days. Then he exploded. His words have never left me; "Dude! EVERYBODY'S life sucks! My life is great and you're even depressing ME!" "Nobody wants to hear how sad you are. Get over it!" "If all you can talk about is how depressed you are and how everything is crap, nobody's going to want to have you around anymore!"

It took me a while to figure it out but you know what? Steve was right.

My post this morning was all about how freaked out I am because my life is in limbo. My wife, though she may be depressed because she lost her job and can't move out of her mother's basement as soon as she wanted to, is not in limbo. Our marriage covenants obviously lost all meaning to her so she can blow them off and move on even if we aren't actually divorced (OK, she did that even before she left). I can't. I'm married. So I'll just deal with it. It'll take a few months and then I can move on. It's not like everyone reading this doesn't also have a life full of trials and challenges, right?

I'm healthy. My boys are healthy. Shoot, I still have a few basses left (though the high heels are long gone). In the great scheme of things I don't really have so much to complain about, do I?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Need Something Light

Grandpa Jack sent the older kidlet a MacBook for Christmas. Having invented the PC, he was hip to get the boy started out on one. It took a couple months but now I can't get him off of it! He's been looking up countries, capitals, flags, and constellations. A month ago he discovered the Photo Booth application and then found it took video a few days later. He likes the special effects as well.

A friend remarked that the second video sounds like Klingon. It kinda does!

Something Other Than Divorce

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For the past 18 years I've gone back and forth with the facial hair thing. It didn't even occur to me to try growing something other than sideburns until I was around 26. This past year was the longest I'd gone without seeing my upper lip, and with everything else going on I figured I'd grab the razor and hack it all off. After getting a haircut as well I almost look respectable. Almost. So anyway, I figured I'd better change my picture here and on Facebook to reflect the current me. It seems to surprise my friends when I don't look like Charles Manson. I guess over the years they've gotten used to me looking a certain way and think of me with that look whether it's current or not. Facebook has been interesting with all the people from my past that I've virtually reconnected with, and the comments on my 'new' look have been most interesting from them.

One of them brought up a memory I'd completely forgotten... Picture a ward Halloween party, circa 1983 or so. At the time, I looked something like this:


Now some people in the ward were just a little uncomfortable with my presence at the Sacrament Table each week, even though I was usually better dressed than my peers, but our Bishop didn't pay them much mind at all. In fact, when someone complained to him about me one day (while insisting I shouldn't be sitting up there), he countered by saying something along the lines of, "Well, he holds the Priesthood, is worthy to be there, and he doesn't judge people behind their back." Did I mention I thought that Bishop was pretty cool?

We moved to Burbank five days after my tenth birthday. Our next door neighbors were the family of N. Kay and Jo Stevenon. My parents didn't go to church a whole lot while I was growing up so it was pretty convenient to have Mormons as neighbors who were also generous enough to haul my two sisters and me back and forth to church every Sunday (and this was even before the Sunday Block). Brother Stevenson and I actually got along pretty well (we even share a birthday, I think), and after a few years he was Bishop Stevenson instead (something I had long predicted). Bishop Stevenson was a graphic artist and worked from home. Ever see those trippy covers for 'My Turn On Earth' or 'Saturday's Warrior'? Those are his work. I used to spend hours talking with Bishop Stevenson. The rule was, if his light was on I was welcome to knock. There were many nights over the years that we spoke past 1:00AM about every gospel topic under the sun. This man's door was always open to me (though he had to close the literal one sometimes because my stereo was so loud he couldn't think). I'm active in the church today, in part, because of this great man.

So back to that Halloween party. Bishop Stevenson shows up in a huge black wig. Everyone looks at him like he's gone insane and asks who he's supposed to be, to which he replies...


Sunday, August 8, 2010


This has been one of the most emotionally taxing weeks of my life, but it's turned out to be one of the most rewarding as well. I'm awed, amazed, and humbled by the gifts of the Spirit in my life.

I started this week with a great deal of anger. I was feeling vindictive and looking for some way to make someone, anyone pay. I was angry at knowing what had really gone on, as opposed to the story that most of my wife's family had decided on, which was that the life of hell I'd put her through was finally over and she had broken free.

Last weekend I composed an email that I'd planned on sending to my wife's mother, siblings, our marriage counselor, and the many close friends she'd confided in during our marriage (rather than keep it between us), and anyone else I thought should know the 'real' story. It may not seem so, but what I've written here has been very restrained. Even though these words aren't being read by many, I've known they might be read by somebody, so I've tried to write with that in mind. This email, on the other hand, had all the anger and (un)righteous indignation I'd been feeling all month. I included examples of my wife's writings and inappropriate communications and felt I'd be completely justified in exposing what had 'really happened'.

Throughout the week I edited information each day and added or subtracted email addresses from the 'send to' list at the top of the page, carefully hitting 'save as draft' each time, and avoiding the 'send' button until the time would be right.

I had been waiting until I got the chance to speak one last time with my wife about what had happened. I wanted to see if she would finally offer a bit of truth and admit to things I already knew to be true. I told myself it wasn't just about being vindictive, but that my wife would need to face her behaviors before she'd be willing to change them. It's funny how we can talk ourselves into just about anything...

Well, our discussion finally came on Friday. I wrote about some of it already, but not how it all turned out. In that discussion I told my wife about the email and said I still wasn't sure if I was going to send it. In the end I promised I wouldn't so long as she let her family know, in an appropriate way, that her contribution to ending our marriage was at least as great as mine.

In the back of my mind I figured she wouldn't keep her end of the bargain and that I'd most likely send it anyway, but a funny thing happened yesterday. The boys had gone over to spend the weekend with her and when I called to say hi to them she told me she'd spoken to her mother. She also said she planned on letting her siblings know what had happened. I was rather shocked because this isn't something she would have done a week ago. After I hung up I deleted all the addresses I'd entered in that email and closed it up.

At church today (she was there with the boys), we spoke after the meeting while the kids were in Sunday School. We discussed how she was doing and feeling and how she knew at this point she might be called to a level of church discipline that will be something she'd never dreamed of nor expected. She's fearful of it, but seems to accept that those consequences are a natural result of the choices she's made.

As this transpired I felt an unexpected calm come over me. I felt great compassion and love for my dear wife, for the mistakes she has made, and for the road she will be called to travel now or at some point in the future. Our marriage is still over. She doesn't want to come back or even consider the idea that we might reconcile once again, but I can't help but feel the love that drew me to her in the first place, even in the face of these facts. I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face because I am not angry anymore. I'm sad. I'm heartbroken. But I'm not mad. I don't want to hurt her or anyone else. I feel sick inside for the pain she must now feel. I ache for the trepidation welling in her soul as she prepares to meet with our Bishop. My heart breaks at the realization that my wife is incapable of feeling the love that her Heavenly Father feels for her at this very moment. I'm ashamed that I ever put that thought behind my own petty disappointment that she couldn't (or as I'd decided, wouldn't) feel my own love for her.

I may have tried in my marriage, but I don't know that I ever understood that I just plain couldn't fix that part of my wife. When I decided I wanted to marry her I thought I could. I had fallen so completely for this beautiful, quirky, captivating woman that her past issues and insecurities seemed like nothing in the face of the love I felt for her. I knew that if I could just show her that love, she would one day understand that she most definitely was (and is) worthy and deserving of such a thing. But in the end, I was human in our marriage, as all mortals are. And humans can't fix what only God himself can heal.

Painfully, sorrowfully, I understand that now. But I came to understand something else today. And that is this; I still love my wife. That person I saw when we dated and married is still there. Worse for the wear but there nonetheless. And once again, Heavenly Father has blessed me to be able to see that. Christ has removed the anger and hurt from my heart and replaced it with love. I will never truly be worthy of that gift but He did it in spite of that fact. For me. And that is how I know that He loves me. I can only hope and pray that my wife will be able to feel His love one day soon. If you pray for me, please pray for LeeAnn. She is every bit as worthy of those prayers as any of us are, and more so to me.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ever Feel Like You're Living in an Alternate Universe?

So here's the deal. My wife had an affair last year which I discovered in late April or early May. After a harrowing week or so she decided to come home, cut the crap, and be my wife. We reconciled, continued to see a marriage counselor, and proceeded to have the best three or four months of our marriage. Really, I felt closer to her during those months than I had through the eight years leading up to that point. She seemed more open and loving, and it was a great summer. Then Fall rolled around.

Rather quickly, those nagging feelings came flooding in that something wasn't right with us. I was pretty sure that more went on in the affair than she'd ever admitted to, but she was very insistent so I'd dropped it and left that part to the Lord. That worked while my wife seemed genuinely interested in celebrating our marriage and family. Then her former attitudes and outlook started to return and I began to feel like we were on that path to ruin once again. She had started a new job and dismissed out of hand any concerns I had, saying I needed to give her room to settle in at work and stop being so jealous. She commented on my being so 'unforgiving', and warned me that that alone would ruin our marriage because she had changed and was dedicated to making it work, "You'll never get rid of me, George, I love you and will stick by you for eternity!"

I remember a few counseling sessions where the counselor told me I needed to let my anger and suspicion go, that the Spirit would let me know if my wife was straying again. I felt a great deal of guilt because I couldn't let it go. I had that Summer and it felt great, but now something felt different and I couldn't place it other than to think that I was an unforgiving bastard who couldn't see the good things I had. My wife was sure to remind me of that any time I expressed concern...

So, jump forward to yesterday. We had an appointment an hour away and we drove together. On the way home we discussed some issues and she finally admitted to me that she had begun sexual affairs with both guys she's involved with now (one being the guy from last year). She also, with much prodding, put an approximate date on when she re-established contact with the first affair. Last Fall. Shortly after beginning that new job.

Seems the Spirit was telling me all along, I was just too caught up in trying to 'do my part' to realize my wife had blown hers off already. LONG before I found out about the recent stuff. You could say I'm a little miffed at that. But mostly I'm disappointed that the kind, beautiful daughter of God I fell in love with, the mother of our children, feels more comfortable now betraying all those things for temporary, worldly pleasures. My marriage was over last year and I didn't even know it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

And The Papers Are Signed

Monday was an interesting day. I drove up to SLC with the boys and met their mother at work to sign our divorce mediation agreement. This framework will dictate how the divorce papers are drawn up and filed, so other than a judge somewhere signing off on them, it's basically done. I'm happy about it and mad at the same time. After coming to understand the extent to which my wife has been cheating and covering it up, and after hearing her assurances that she wasn't, I decided that the best thing for our boys was to insist on her granting me full legal and physical custody so that I might have a chance of shielding these babies from the choices and lifestyle my wife has chosen to pursue. She will have the normal visitation schedule granted here in Utah so it's not foolproof (and of course I don't think it would be fair to the boys to cut them off completely from their mother), but I think it was the best I could have hoped for under the circumstances. She also agreed to some specific prohibitions (no overnight 'guests', no overnights for the boys if she decides to cohabitate with a guy, no exposure to the two guys she's with now, etc).

Everyone I've told about the agreement is shocked. They ask, "How does a mother give up her kids so easily?" Our mediation lasted all of three hours from start to finish. There was no argument. I don't know whether my wife gave in to shut me up or whether she just doesn't want to bother with the work it takes being responsible for two kids 24/7. She's got other plans, so I fear this is the true reason. I also fear she'll wake up one of these days and realize what she's done and it won't be a pretty day for her.

Our older boy is beside himself tonight. The boys had their first evening visitation this week and will be going for the weekend as well. He doesn't want to go. He's OK with hanging out for a few hours but he keeps insisting he's not sleeping anywhere but his own bed. How do I now play the bad guy and tell him he has no choice in the matter? I'm over my wife leaving. After what she's admitted doing (at least to me and with a smile), I say good riddance, but I HATE seeing my son with watery eyes, trying to make sense of the absolute clusterfark of a family life we've now thrown him into. He doesn't deserve this. His brother doesn't deserve this. And this is the thing that will make forgiveness the hardest task I've ever been charged with doing. I don't want to forgive. I want to take her by the shoulders and slap the stupid right out of her. She's smugly gloating to me about sleeping with two guys before we're even divorced and doesn't seem to care one whit that her children are suffering for it.

This is the hardest part of the whole thing...