"When people divorce, it's always such a tragedy. At the same time, if people stay together it can be even worse."
"A divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there's less of you."
"Divorce is just the most awful thing in the world."
"Divorce is probably as painful as death."
"I was so devastated by my second divorce that I had a nervous breakdown."
"People that go through what I went through and people going through divorce, it's really a difficult process; it's heartbreaking and it hurts really bad. It can really mess with your head."
"Breakups are a horrible thing for almost everybody I know. For someone who is a love addict, it's debilitating."
"To get over my divorce, I got a prescription to live at the Playboy Mansion for a while."
Year after year, I told myself that I wasn't going to put up with her crazy bullshit anymore. I told myself that the next time she had one of her totally pointless, unreasonable, uncalled-for tantrums, I would get a divorce.
But then the next time we had a huge fight, because she didn't want to go to the movies, or she accused me of purposely buying the wrong kind of peanut butter, or I supposedly fucked a whore in the backseat during the few minutes my phone had no signal, I always felt like I would be totally overreacting if I got a divorce because she didn't want to go to the movies. That just sounded so silly. Why did you get divorce? Because my wife didn't want to go to the movies with me.
But I was really just making excuses, because getting a divorce and totally changing my life was scary. She had managed to drive away all my friends with her tantrums. If she didn't want to go see a movie, I figured maybe I could go with my friend Kenny. But she became insanely jealous even when I hung out with other guys. She acted like any time I did not totally focus all my attention on her, and I dared to speak to another human being, I was doing something wrong, and it had to be met with fierce vengeance.
Even when I talked on the phone with my mother in Germany, Donna acted like my mother was "the other woman." She always accused me of conspiring against her with my mother somehow. And she often asked me, if I had to choose between Donna and my mother, who would I pick?
I did ask Kenny to come over once or twice, so we could play video games. Donna acted normal for the first few minutes, and then started some kind of argument over nothing that quickly escalated to the point where Kenny was really uncomfortable being in the middle of all that screaming.
Of course he didn't really feel like coming over anymore after that. And I didn't really want him to come over anymore either, because it was embarrassing to have one of my co-workers witness what a psycho Donna was.
Little by little I lost all my friends, and Donna was now the only person I hung out with. Especially after I quit my newspaper job and I didn't have to work anymore.
To be honest, I didn't even mind hanging out only with her. I'm not exactly a social butterfly. I'm perfectly content spending my nights cuddling on the couch with my special someone, watching a good movie or playing video games. I'm not a big fan of parties or large social gatherings.
I would have loved being married to Donna, if she didn't always go out of her way to make me miserable. She wasn't just my wife, but also my best friend. She really was the only person I wanted to hang out with. If only she could have stopped throwing these pointless tantrums and if she could have gotten over her damn agoraphobia and come on little road trips with me, or go to the mall or a county fair with me or something. I would have been sooo happy and content.
One day, while I was at the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor waterpark in New Jersey, alone as usual, I finally had to admit to myself that no matter how much I wished for things to get better with Donna, they were never going to change. I was floating down the lazy river on a rubber tube, alone, while watching all these happy couples around me, floating down the river in double tubes, kissing, laughing, splashing, and holding hands. It hit me like a brick wall that day that I was never ever going to have that kind of experience with Donna.
That was the day I decided to get a divorce, because I realized that she wasn't just ruining her own life with her behavior, but my life as well. I didn't want to wake up one day, and be old and gray, and my whole life passed me by.
I knew that if I told Donna I wanted to get a divorce, she would fight me tooth and nail, to make my life as miserable as possible. Whenever she got something in her head, she couldn't let it go, like she was OCD or something. And she was relentlessly vindictive.
So if I was going to go through a long, drawn out divorce with her, she would sit there day and night, trying to find new ways to make my life miserable. If I was going to get a divorce, it had to be over as quickly as possible.
I started googling divorces. I knew that Las Vegas was the capital of instant marriages. I was hoping that getting a divorce there was equally easy. But, turns out, it's not.
Then I read that you can get a quickie divorce in the Caribbean. That sounded promising. But then I read in the small print that US courts don't necessarily honor a foreign divorce, and Donna would still have been able to contest it in a New York court and make my life miserable for months.
After some more research, I discovered Guam. Lovely, lovely Guam. You didn't even have to go there. All you had to do was mail the divorce papers there, a judge stamped the papers, and you were divorced. Boom! Just like that. And since Guam is part of the United States (Surprised? Google it.) every court in every State honored the divorce. I had found the Yin to Las Vegas' Yang!
So if I filed for divorce in Guam, it would be over instantly, and then Donna would not be able to contest it in a New York court. The only catch was that she had to sign the paperwork before I sent it to Guam. I knew there was no way she was going to do that, unless she thought the divorce was her own idea.
I tried to figure out a way how to approach her, so that she would think the divorce was her idea. It took me four more years, until I finally had the courage to actually go through with it.
She had been the only person in my life for the past 15 years or so. I had no support network, no friends, and no family in the States. I knew that the divorce would be very very hard on me, and that was a scary thought. I knew I was miserable with the way things were now. But what if I was going to be even more miserable after the divorce?
Week after week, month after month, I made excuses why I wasn't going to file for divorce this week: well, it's almost Christmas. I can't divorce her right before Christmas. That would be terrible.
It's almost Valentine's Day. What kind of a cruel scumbag files for divorce right before Valentine's Day?
It's her birthday next week. I can't divorce her on her birthday.
The truth was, I was really just scared of the great unknown after the divorce.
By now I had heavily invested in real estate, and I owned two houses in Canada, a few condos in New York, four or five houses in Florida, a rental house in the Poconos, and the big mansion that was still being built in the Poconos.
After I had bought another house in Florida, I told Donna that since the mansion in the Poconos was probably never going to be finished, we should move into the new house in Florida. It was 3000 square feet and in a beautiful gated community called Olympia Pointe, on Lee Boulevard in Fort Myers.
Of course she didn't want to. I knew she wouldn't. But I wouldn't let it go. I kept asking her, showed her pictures of the house, and tried to convince her how awesome living in that house would be.
It didn't take long until she pulled out her nuclear option: "Well, if you really want to move into that house, I guess we are going to have to get a divorce, because I'm not going."
I had anticipated that response while I had learned to navigate around her tantrums. I didn't like to be manipulative, but it was really the only way to survive the relationship with her without constantly arguing about every God damn thing. I had learned that with a little bit of reverse psychology, I could make her think that whatever I wanted to do was really what she wanted to do.
If I wanted to drive to the Poconos the next day, to take a look at the progress at the construction site, I knew she would have a tantrum and find 10 reasons why I shouldn't go tomorrow. It was like that every single time.
Everything was some sort of weird mind game with her. She always had to have the feeling that she was the boss and that I only did what she told me to do. If something was my idea, and I wanted to do something without her explicit orders to do it, she was against it. Every damn time. And not only did she not approve of whatever I did on my own accord, she turned it into something horribly bad that I supposedly had only done to spite her, and now it was her turn to take revenge by doing something spiteful to me.
In the animal kingdom, when lions or apes live together in groups, they establish a pecking order. They fight to see who's the strongest, and once everyone knows their place, they get along just fine. Humans do the same thing. When you start to work in a new office, you quickly learn who makes coffee for whom.
The idea that I was going to take orders from Donna went totally against my grain. Not because I'm some sort of male chauvinist pig who feels it's my God-given right as man to boss women around. I believe in equality. I looked at Donna as my partner, with equal value and equal say. But she constantly tried to be the alpha, the one who got to boss me around. Since I was never a follower, that just didn't work for me. And I stubbornly refused to do what she told me to, even if it was in my own best interest.
If it was snowing outside, and she told me to put on a jacket before I go outside, I would leave the house without a jacket, just so that she wouldn't get the idea that she got to tell me what to do. And then I stood out in the snow, freezing like an idiot. If she hadn't opened her damn mouth, of course I would have put on a jacket. I'm not a child!
So, yeah, that caused a lot of conflicts, too. I explained to her many times that we can be equals, but I would never allow her to boss me around. If anyone was going to boss anyone around, I was going to be the one bossing her around. I really didn't want to keep fighting with her about who gets to dominate whom. But no matter how many times we went through this conflict, it was like it never even happened, and she tried to fight for the top spot on the pecking order all over again the next day. And the next day. And the next day. It was like the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. I fought the same battle with her over and over again. It was a giant waste of time and energy. So after a while, I learned to choose my battles wisely. Instead of daily conflict, I chose the path of least resistance to get through the day.
I knew that if I wanted to go to the Poconos the next day, and I didn't want to have yet another major fight over nothing on my hands, I had to tell her that I was going to have to go at some point during the next week, but that I really didn't feel like driving all the way out there.
Inevitably, she would tell me to go the next day, to get it over with. And I would reply, "Hmm, yeah, I guess you're right. I might as well go tomorrow, even though I really don't feel like it. It's such a pain in the ass."
Those kinds of crazy, manipulative mind games were really the only way to get anything done, without constantly fighting with her about it.
If we decided to rent two movies from Blockbuster, of course I had to go alone, because she wouldn't leave the house. If I picked out any movies on my own, she would make my life miserable afterwards, because somehow whatever movie I picked was the wrong kind of movie. If I picked a comedy, a comedy was the wrong kind of movie that day. If I picked a horror movie, that was wrong, too. You get the idea.
If a movie I picked contained brief nudity, she accused me of being a pervert, who specifically picked this movie for its nudity: "What are you looking at? You like her? Why don't you go fuck her?!"
But if she picked a movie, and it contained some nudity, it was no problem at all.
So whenever I was at Blockbuster, we were on the phone, and she told me to read off the new movies they had. If I made any kind of comment that I wasn't in the mood to watch a particular new movie, that would be the movie she wanted me to bring home. Every time.
So when I went to Blockbuster, while being on the phone with her, I simply didn't read the names of the movies I didn't want to see. So she could only choose from the movies that I knew I was going to like.
When I brought home her two movie choices, and it was now a matter of deciding whether we were going to watch movie A or movie B first, she would always, always pick the opposite of what I picked, and then start an hour long tantrum or walk out of the room, if I didn't cave in and we didn't watch the movie she wanted to watch.
So eventually I learned to always say the opposite of what I really wanted to do. If I wanted to watch movie A first, I pretended to want to watch movie B first. Then of course she picked movie A first and I politely gave in to her wishes like a gentleman.
I did the same thing with the divorce. I told her I really wanted her to move to that new house in Florida with me. But of course I knew she wouldn't, and that she would use her kill-all argument divorce again, like she always did. I was prepared. I had hired a lawyer in Guam, and he sent me the divorce papers. All I needed now was for her to sign them.
When she said we'd have to get a divorce, I said, "You don't really mean that. You wouldn't want to get a divorce just because I want to move to Florida with you."
"Yes I would," she replied.
So I pulled out the divorce papers, and told her, "I know you're bluffing. Here are some divorce papers. There's no way you're gonna sign them, just because you don't want to move."
"Oh yes I will," she said, and signed the papers.
Four years earlier, when I had first learned the fact that Guam is the divorce paradise, it wasn't necessary to go there in person, and you could just mail the divorce papers.
But by now the government of Guam had decided that they should make more money of all these people who wanted to get a divorce there. So they changed the law and suddenly there was a seven-day residency requirement, before you could get a divorce. In other words, they wanted tourists to spend a one week vacation in Guam, and spend some money there, before getting a divorce.
I hopped on the next plane and spent a week in paradise. Guam is on the other side of the world, near Japan. It's a lot like Hawaii, but because it's so close to Japan, most of the tourists there are actually Japanese, not American.
A week later the judge stamped my papers and I was divorced. On the way back to the States, I stopped over in Tokyo for a few days. It was the first time I had ever been in Japan. It was pretty cool. Tokyo is like New York on steroids.
When I got back, Donna said that I could have my divorce if I wanted to, but she would fight me every step of the way, and make my life miserable. She said she would take me for everything I have.
I told her: "Sorry, you're too late. The divorce is already done and over with. Remember those papers you signed last week? That was the divorce."
She couldn't wrap her head around that and called a few lawyers in New York, to see if the divorce could be reversed or contested.