On my last post, I shared the story of how I reconnected with my former high school boyfriend, Sam.
When Sam found my blog in 2010, he was concerned that I might think he was “stalking me.” It turned out that he ran into an old friend of mine. She told him I was an artist and had a website where he could see my work.
He certainly wasn’t expecting to find my blog with a song written about him!
I am currently separated and have been living on my own now for 11 months. For this post, I want to share my email correspondence with Sam after I told him I wanted a divorce from my husband. Sam never met my husband until the day he visited my home with his wife in 2010.
Just last week, I wrote to Sam to get his permission to share our emails for this post.
On Aug 4, 2013, Judy wrote:
Hi Sam, I finally got around to recording a new vocal for “You’re Not the One” and wanted to share it with you. I would like to write something about you and I for a new story about “the very first song I ever wrote”.
Also, you counseled me in regards to my wanting to leave my husband. There were a few personal things mentioned that I wouldn’t share – but overall you made many good points and it was challenging to have that exchange with you. How would you feel about my sharing it? I would definitely run it by you first before I put it out there.
I’m also attaching a recording of “You’re Not the One” to this email so you can hear it. But I don’t imagine you have time to listen.
Judy, I don’t think there is any problem with sharing that correspondence, but would certainly appreciate it if you would run it by me. Not listen to my very own song?? It’s a nice version, much softer and well vocalized. I like the harmony at the end!…Sam
A week later, I sent Sam my story. He wrote back:
On Aug 20, 2013, Sam wrote:
I think the story is fine…I’m uncomfortable that you are sharing so much that is so personal about yourself…have you ever thought of making your blog subscription only, so that you get to see who is reading it? There are some strange people out there, and I still wonder if just anyone should have access to your thoughts…Sam
I love being honest and touching; I know it is refreshing and unusual. I haven’t ever worried about strange people; I actually worry more about what my kids might think. But they don’t really seem to care and I always tell them what I’m doing, so there are few surprises. They know how open I am. Glad it’s okay for you if I share it. Take care.
My dialog with Sam began not longer after I had written a new song with unsparing and heart-breaking lyrics. That song was named “The Unknown.” I have not yet shared it on my blog.
“The Unknown” changed my life. I wrote the lyrics late at night while I was on a family vacation. Before I wrote those lyrics, I had never acknowledged my true feelings before.
I dug deep into my heart to verbalize my pain.
My honest song lyrics gave me clarity about my readiness to face “the unknown.” But readiness did not immediately translate into courage. After I wrote my song, I agonized over my decision to get divorced after 31 years of marriage and four children.
If there was one lyric line that wasn’t completely true it would be: “Your heart is like stone.”
The truth was that it was my heart that was like stone. Both of us lived with coldness and accepted it for decades. One day, I decided I didn’t want to live that way anymore. In order to find my courage, I froze my heart even more because I couldn’t bear thinking of how much my decision was going to hurt my husband. I knew he would be completely bewildered by my drastic turn-around.
Having a heart “like stone” allowed me to cope with overwhelming isolation and sadness.
Writing this story was extremely painful because he and I never even discussed why I wanted to separate. Our communication was non-existent for years and years. When I finally was able to tell him that I wanted to end our marriage, there was little discussion other than how we would tell our children.
I was actually relieved because I did not want to feel his wrath.
Below is my correspondence with Sam when I realized I wanted to end my marriage:
Hi Sam, unfortunately, I thought my chest pain was going away. Because it got worse yesterday, I’m going to my doctor mid-morning today. Thanks for suggesting I be checked immediately.
I wanted to share that I’ve finished composing a new song I’ve named “The Unknown.” The problem is I can’t share anything about it because the song is too personal. It is about my marriage and very sad. I can’t put it out there, but I will share it with you sometime.
Well, us old boyfriends can come in handy! I’m glad that you are seeing your doctor…just ordering an x-ray usually doesn’t solve anything…it can be part of an evaluation, but shouldn’t be the entire evaluation.
I know you like to share, but how will your husband feel when you put your new song out there? I don’t want to see you have to deal with new stress that you don’t really need to deal with right now…seems like you have plenty to worry about already…really think about it. Feel better!…Sam
Hi Sam, your first line had me laughing on the floor; you are a handy old boyfriend!
Hypnotherapy reminds me that perhaps my chest pain was brought on when I wrote the lyrics, “I feel my heart break.” It’s amazing how the mind can manifest physical symptoms.
Don’t worry; I am not going to put my new song out there. For me, a song is a way that I can express myself to heal. Lots of songwriters write songs of projection and people wouldn’t think anything about it. But I don’t plan to perform my new song in public or put it on my blog until I feel ready.
But in order to cope and feel less alone, I do share with friends. I have shared my song with a few close ones and it helps. But I feel horrible, like a traitor. It is quite hard. I don’t want to change my life at this moment and add stress. But the time is coming soon for me – It’s harder and harder to contain all of this.
I appreciate your advice, as always. I just saw that you gave some medical advice to one of my good friends; that was very sweet and thoughtful of you.
Judy, one thing you always do well is to express yourself clearly. And not just in song. Have you talked with him about how you feel, or tried some couples counseling? I really think after 30 years (which almost no one gets to anymore) that you should make every effort to stay together…happily, of course…but as we both know, relationships take ongoing hard work and communication…its not good to retreat into separate corners if you can help it, because that usually just escalates everything.
I know from reading your blog that you are not getting everything you want out of your relationship, but have you asked for what you want? I know that you are spending a lot of time with your book, singing, and the blog, and these are great outlets for you, but please don’t let that time take away from your family relationships, which are so important…Sam
Hi Sam, I think you deserve some explanation since you knew me well all those years ago and have also been following my writing and “renewal.” Mostly, my retreat is because I cannot stand being around the criticism and anger that my husband exudes. I’m not interested in trying to change his behavior because frankly, there has been no intimacy between us for a very long time. I have never slept with anyone else in my life. The part that has me suffering is how to tell him. I know it will turn his life upside down. I hate breakups, and I hated it back then with you, too!
I figure I’ve suffered from far worse things in my life and this will be something I can manage with. There will be something better for me in the future. I am not afraid to be alone; I’m more terrified to think of any future relationships. I’ve made up my mind to face the unknown! Judy
Judy, I’m sorry…that must have been hard to share. You both have a lot of battle scars from all the difficulties you’ve been through…I would love to see you both give the other a break and see if you can make it work with professional help…a good counselor is much cheaper than an attorney, and from my friends I have always seen divorce take its toll on the two people involved, as well as their children. Obviously I’m supportive no matter what you do, and hope you choose the course that turns out best for you…Sam
Sam, I appreciate your writing. It’s been a few years since I went with my husband to a counseling session. I remember well how different he would act in front of a counselor. The problem for me is some basic things that I over-looked for many years.
The fact that he doesn’t understand me is very sad. He’s a good person and deserves being with someone who would enjoy his company. I hate being around him. Everything he says is negative, I actually get sick to my stomach when he comes in the door. When I began writing, I used every ounce of my strength to only see the good things; thank God, because without that I’d never crawl out of my hole.
Honestly, I’ve had these feelings for awhile but when I put my words into a song it was so crystal clear that I believe that’s why I’m manifesting physical pain in my chest. Thanks for being so supportive and sharing your opinion and feelings. I hope it isn’t too awkward for you. Judy
I feel badly for you…this must be the biggest stress that you have. I’m sure that it would be hard after years to reconnect…not impossible, but very hard. Just be careful with your timing…going through a divorce will overwhelm everything else that you are dealing with, and I don’t want to see the stress bring you down from the good place that you are at now…Sam
Thanks, Sam. Perhaps I was a zombie for years because I held it all in. I saw my father tonight and it was helpful for me to talk about things. Because he lived with me, he is completely supportive of me. I cry as I write this because I feel horrible for him to have the stress of this on him at this stage in his life. My father loves me so much and told me tonight how sorry he was that he allowed my mother to force my marriage early the way she did.
I suffered a lot from that and the very traumatic the things she said to me. I was very depressed in my 20’s and honestly thought that having kids would help.
I have worked miracles with my children out of love. You are right that a divorce could bring me down at the moment. I feel like such a traitor. But for years, I was numb and depressed. Now as I writer, I suddenly feel like the ceiling has been lifted from my life. The sky is limitless and life offers me so many possibilities that I never ever considered.
I thought it would be “until death do you part.” The truth is that I died inside and parted from him a long time ago.
I’m alive now and I have so much to look forward to! I love my life and appreciate every part of it. I hate to hurt him, but I pray that some day he will be happier too. He certainly isn’t happy with me. Judy
I would really limit sharing of this issue with your friends…I’m sure he would be upset if he found out how you were feeling, and then things could suddenly spiral out of control for you…you don’t need that…don’t let your emotions take over on this…think very carefully, and if you are going to proceed go slowly and thoughtfully.
I know you feel that your song was an epiphany for you, but not every epiphany is correct, and we can all let emotion get the better of us…important not to do that here…this decision is simply too big…if there is any way that you can both can work this out (as hard as it might be), I think that you will both be better off. For now, before you jump through that window, take a step back, take a deep breath, and think one more time…Sam
TO BE CONTINUED . . .
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Tags: adjusting to divorce, changing your life, coping with divorce, divorce after a long marriage, facing divorce after a long marriage, gray divorce, impending divorce, inspiration, loss, lyric development, lyric writing, lyrics, original songs, separation, separation after a long marriage, separation and divorce, songwriting, the unknown