Somehow your story reminds me of the relationship I had with Josh, which was right before I met you. He made $250,000 a year at a big corporation, used to brag about "getting people fired." Mean alcoholic who skiied and worked out all the time. alternately charming and ingratiating - and very cold. Controlling. Not a team player at all.
He had zero imagination and no sense of humor. My friends and family always hated him. He is the one person I have left who I never, never spoke to again. I ended up being "friends" on Facebook, only to perversely spy on him, but I get satisfaction in knowing he is still exactly the same as he ever was, just older now, and looking rather sad -- and I'd still be trapped there, being an arm decoration.
Your story reminds me so much of the woman my friend Jeffrey married (a younger, blonde, gorgeous, perfect smart achieving fashion designer from a blue blood family who, after the wedding, replaced him with her obsession with thoroughbred horseback riding, criticized and castrated him and moved to a city that was great for her career, but made it very difficult for him to succeed in his own career. Wives are supposed to build a man up. She tore him down. It's a partnership, not a competition. Jeffrey's career finally thrived after the divorce.
I think we both have something in common -- (in the past) that we both may have a tendency to fall for "narcissists" who demean us and cut us down--or use us for their own egoic advancement. Dig back into your childhood for the roots of that (probably a narcissicic parent who either ignored/neglected you or never was satisfied with your accomplishments) ... and sever those roots. Cut the chords that are pulling you and manipulating your life to this day.
Don't let that wounded little boy make the decisions for your adult life anymore.
The idea that life is a struggle in the middle may be your own spin on it.
When you get away from the incessant striving for perfection, it's not a struggle anymore. You were obviously spending your last 7 years with a major achiever/striver, and that (or her grand expectations of YOU) may have colored your perception of what's an acceptable happiness quotient ... a bit.
Seeing my ex "before" and "after" that relationship, I wonder if that woman hammered your self esteem and identity. Would anything you did make her happy? Did she ever love you for your essence -- or for the outward the image you gave her?
Ask yourself that before you blame the end of your marriage on yourself. Was this a relationship where you could comfortably be your own authentic self?
I really do feel that you need to separate yourself from her as much as possible (hard to do with a kid, I know) and develop your OWN identity and worth again. Keep distance. Build your own life and friendships. Don't look back. It's got to be brutal watching her exhausting pursuit of perfection.
Eventually it might implode -- or it might continue forever. Until she loves herself she--or her partner--will never be "good enough." I don't know her, but I can imagine the kind of ghosts of self loathing and the deep insecurity that haunts her, as I've been there myself.
It usually takes some kind of major life trauma to compel women to rise to the top of the corporate ladder. I used to always feel like nobody would take care of me.
By the way, if we get back into the MOMENT of now, and are present, I realize that you/I have a good 20 years ahead of us...
...in which either of us could write a best seller, have a fantastic relationship, have a great family, start a thriving business, join a hot startup or flip another fixer upper. I'm trying to focus on that possibility, and avoid looking back, because the past is so painful sometimes, so filled with regrets....and because we can't change the past, but we can change the future.
So focus there. Present. Forward. Don't look back.
What do you want those next 20 years to be? (And don't blame the potential on the government or whatever--times are always in flux and often challenging. It's what we make of them that matters.
I appreciate the busting -- I'm not here to hang out with a yes man. And I'm not a yes girl. I enjoy the stimulation and the challenge of hanging out with you on many levels...
Yeah, why is just making love and having fun such a chore sometimes?
Like, why can't people just hang out and enjoy each other and not let all their baggage get in the way?
Like, we could probably be doing that right now, but, you know, it's so much of a commitment, and it would then "mean something," and there would be all kinds of "expectation"...
And why is everybody so busy all the time that they don't have time in life for the "best things in life that are free"?
Really, i think all these "issues" around "relationship" are just another way that "they" can control us and ruin all of the fun we could be having. It's just another way, now that sex before marriage is no longer a big taboo, to turn the most precious things in life into yet another commodity that can be controlled and manipulated and people can make a profit from.
All worthwhile spiritual issues to consider, as long as you're on that topic.
I call it the Double Zero Decade. That is more or less what this decade summed up to for me in my relationships, career and just about every other metric except money, in which it got off to a roaring start, and then, as it has for all of us, fizzled out.
After an incredible relationship and engagement to the man who stands out as The Love of My Life, my late 30s to 40s...whizzed by. A few "why did I let that nice guy slip away?" and a long list of users, losers, slippery liars and one or two men who could probably qualify as outright con artists and sociopaths. (I think at least one appeared on "America's Most Wanted," and there were two guys I dated briefly who bragged that they'd been: "Kicked out of Burning Man," and several who had been banned from the wildest, most swinging nude hot spring on the West Coast for blatant attempts to hit on women repeatedly. Not a good sign.
How did another decade of life experience lead to so many poor choices?
I think that can be summed up in one word: "Insecurity."
As I got older, I started believing the societal programming that says "you're too old" and started demanding less, and getting more...desperate. Desperate choices lead to a life as a Desperate Housewife. Or an aging hottie on the prowl in Cougar Town.
Or so it's Seen on TV.
Ah hah! Unless we get realistic about the men we choose and actually start to date in our own age range, and perhaps lower our societal programming standards while raising our standards for the real qualities that matter -- like heart.
This is the list of intentions I wrote a few months ago. Shortly after that, they started to materialize in my life. One thing that helped is just making this very clear to me, and stating my intention out loud, to the current men I was dating. (It made them run like hell. That's what you want the America's Most Wanted types to do.)
I released the "society tells me I shoulds" -- and have started following my heart. I also listen, carefully, to the impressions of friends and family, and I watch how other people in community react and respond to a man I am dating when he is introduced. If they recoil in horror, I no longer take that as a bias, and I actually pay attention.
Here is my list of New Year's Relationship Resolutions for 2010 and beyond. It's a new decade.
I want to make love every morning and every night, to be touched and held.
I want to eat healthy, clean, vibrant food.
I do not want to be pressured into drinking hard booze, doing hard drugs, breathing smoke, or eating meat just because my partner has a junk diet. I am not going to slip back into addictions just so I can be "loved."
I want to be with a man who is radiant and who respects his body like a temple.
I want to be surrounded by aesthetic beauty, gardens, nature, clean air.
I want community, live music, art, shared meals and extended tribal family around. Maybe children and pets too.
I want to have a healthy body and to feel beautiful.
I want to finish writing my books some day -- have a relationship/partnership that grounds me with someone supportive of that, who is not threatened by the fact that I have some ambition to make a difference in the world...and who sees how that ambition can benefit US as an interdependent team/partnership.
I want financial abundance -- there is nothing wrong with having money to buy nice things, travel and eat well. Or the abundance that is created from the land and community around you.
I want fulfilling work that does not require commuting to work in traffic and smog and sitting in a cubicle in a sealed room under florescent lights.
If I work for a corporation, they have values I believe in and products that are making the world a better place, and I own a share of it.
Dream business - create multiple internet revenue streams (with a partner). Work all summer traveling the world on festival circuit, then spend winters in a nice funky small town on land, build simple, eco-type green home, off grid.
I am looking for someone to team up with, who is a "together we are greater than the sum of our parts" kind of guy.