Two years has passed since I found out my now ex-partner, Jennifer Christine Wester (nee Dickey) was cheating on me with not one man, but two. Her physical therapist, Joe Elmer of Tupelo Mississippi, and her student, Chuck Baughman, the most mentally challenged human being I've ever known. I name names because all three of these people can die for all I care, and certainly, their reputations deserve to take a hit. Two years later, I can say that I've grown, and I've grieved, and I've become glad that such a faithless woman is no longer weighing down my life. I moved. Got an improved job. Started over.
Despite her being an essentially ugly person, a non-person, a person with no aspirations nor an original thought in her head, I do, from time to time, miss her . . . well, not her as in, her, the non-person, but the wife, the partner. At this point, I can't even remember what she looks like. Her face is smeared and nebulous. I can't see her clearly anymore.
It took two years to get to this point, and I'm not fully recovered just yet. They say it takes three years to begin to feel okay with things, and I'm hopeful that by this time next year, I can write about this with much more wisdom than I'm displaying today. Nevertheless, I don't miss her, as in her, but the idea of her, but it took me two years to get here, and I had an insight I wanted to share about divorce, or it could be the death of a loved one. It's about what happens when someone we know, we are used to, departs from our company forever.
The brain is a sophisticated pattern recognition engine. People see patterns in split seconds, and in fact they see patterns where none exist, which demonstrates how central pattern recognition is to our thinking.
In our split and divorce, I could predict with high accuracy what she was doing, what she was going to do, and that scared me, that I knew her that well, but I didn't know her as such. I knew her pattern, as it was hard wired into my brain after 18 years of marriage. Then, all of the sudden, she's gone, physically gone, but her pattern lives on, and the brain can't make sense of it. The brain panics. Where is the familiar pattern? I thought about her all the time. I cried all the time. I'd yell out, quite to myself, where are you, baby? My brain ached for her. My dreams were about her, recurring, every single time the same dream: That I pleaded with her to stay, but she wouldn't listen. She'd made up her mind.
This went on for at least a year and a half. I was miserable. Then, somewhere at the 18 month mark, the dreams changed. I no longer was with her; she was just someone I knew. And today, I don't dream about her at all, except maybe once in a blue moon. And what has happened, or my theory at least, is that my brain has finally rewired and deleted her pattern. I no longer wonder what she's doing, or think about her at all. The only thing left is a sick feeling when thoughts about the past inevitably arise, and it is a terrible feeling, but it passes. It's a hard pill to swallow that I spent 18 years with a woman, only to have all of that time corrupted so that not one memory that has her in it is good. I'd erase all of it if I could. I'd do it in a heartbeat.
I haven't written about this on the blog, not explicity like this, but maybe I ought to do more of it, because maybe it could help someone. If you know that you're not going crazy, that you're brain is having fits to rewire and delete a pattern, and that it takes time, that could help, and it certainly would have helped me. People say, when you're struggling, to move on, but you can't move on until your brain rewires.