Telling stories about love is not simply the same as telling love stories. Love comes in many forms. It's the earliest emotion we feel, the one that moves us the most, for better or for worse. This week, as we always do, we’re talking to people. And the tie that binds all of this week’s people is their hearts. Everyone has a story of the heart. It’s the most common of threads in the enormous tapestry of life. Sometimes our hearts tell a happy story, sometimes it’s a sad tale. Sometimes our stories involve putting our pieces back together and moving on.
Each day… a different person… a different story…. a different reason… a different heart. One love.
"Correct. I'm the process of divorcing my wife."
WHEN DID YOU GET MARRIED?
"About 19 years ago."
WHAT MADE YOU MARRY YOUR WIFE?
"Truthfully, I wanted to live together to see how things would be, but two or three months into our living together, she became pregnant. I felt I had to step up to the plate and get married. So I pretty much rushed it."
WHEN DID YOU START TO NOTICE THAT THAT WASN'T THE BEST DECISION?
"About 20 minutes after I said "I do"."
WHAT MADE YOU REALIZE THAT?
"Just looking around in the church at everybody and just realizing that this was a bad decision."
HOW MANY KIDS DID YOU HAVE DURING YOUR 19 YEARS TOGETHER?
OVER THESE 19 YEARS, WERE THERE OTHER TIMES YOU CAME CLOSE TO DIVORCE?
"Yes. Approximately 7 years ago, and as little as 5 (years ago). Twice this road's been traveled to a degree but this time it's full-fledged."
WHAT WAS DIFFERENT THEN THAN NOW?
"My kids were a bit younger and I didn't want to put them through the hardship. Just bite the bullet and continue."
IN HINDSIGHT, DO YOU FEEL THAT WAS THE BEST THING FOR THE KIDS SAKE?
"Right now, it's a 50/50 call only because my son is no longer a minor and my daughter is. But she's old (or young) enough to be completely manipulated. I have no say or control. I've lost all of that. So she just goes by whatever her mother says cause that's her best friend."
IT'S ENDING BITTERLY, IT SOUNDS. WHAT HAPPENED TO PUSH YOU TO THE POINT OF GOING THROUGH WITH THE DIVORCE?
"We both have had affairs in the past, but I only had one, where she had, I'm told, more than one. She had one with a specific person for about the last 5 years. When I found out about it, it was actually on Valentine's Day night."
SO YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT A BIG FAN OF THIS "HOLIDAY"?
"I wasn't a huge fan of Valentine's Day anyway 'cause I think it's a Hallmark thing. It's a bullshit holiday and shouldn't even be considered a holiday. I mean, for the amount of money that people spend on Valentine's Day, they should give it to our veterans, to way better causes. Ya know, cure for cancer, Down syndrome, Alzheimer's, you name it, in my opinion. It's nonsense. The same restaurant that you frequently go to, all the sudden, for that day or those four days your eating off of a set menu that's priced twice as high and it's the same food you'd get any other time. A dozen roses that would normally cost $30 now cost you $67. Along with everything else that goes with it. It's meaningless. If you're in love, a Valentine's Day is every day, not February...whatever the date is."
I LOVE THAT YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT DAY IT IS (laughter).
"I've always felt like it's a bullshit holiday. Even since high school. It's a made up day. "
GETTING BACK TO WHAT YOU'RE GOING THROUGH, WHAT HAVE YOU HAD TO DEAL WITH DURING THIS PROCESS?
"It's a lot of stress. A lot of mental anxiety. I'm dealing with someone that's not level headed. Selfish and worried about themselves. A sociopath in one way. Valentine's Day never meant that much to me, but it did bother me that she did cheat on me on Valentine's Day."
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU FOUND OUT?
"We had an argument. She was already out of the house anyway. I had gotten her an apartment for six months so she could "get it together". And wasn't so much for us to get it together (as it turned out) as it was for her to be able to have her affair guilt free. When you're sleeping with somebody else and coming home to somebody every day, it psychologically affects you. I get it. I'm not saying I'm not guilty, I'm just as wrong. But you don't tell somebody that they're forgiven and you take them back and you go and do it yourself and then use it as the excuse on why you did it. Only to find out that they never really stopped anyway. Because I've spoken to the ex-boyfriend. I have 167 conversations with him (in text). Which the attorney has all of them. And according to him, it wasn't just him. There was other people she's been with too. Even girls. Which I didn't know. I never knew that my wife was bisexual."
THAT'S GOTTA BE TOUGH; BEING WITH SOMEONE THAT LONG AND FINDING SOMETHING LIKE THAT OUT. THINKING "WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?"
"It's mind blowing. The fact that I've been with somebody for 19 years and I really have no idea who they are. It's way worse than I ever imagined."
YOU MENTIONED LOSING SAY AND CONTROL OVER YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR KIDS. SO YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM HAS SUFFED OVER THIS?
"Absolutely. I have no relationship with my daughter over this, at this stage right now. She was included on the restraining order against me. She didn't care for me anyway because I won't give her everything she wants like her mom does. I have guidelines. My son is affected in general. He doesn't wanna choose sides, but he really knows, deep down, what's going on. It's hard for him. I don't get to see him as much right now, cause I can't live in my own house. Under a complete lie."
MEANING THE RESTRAINING ORDER?
"None! How she got it was, when you go down on the weekends or nights, they give you a master, who's an attorney. The city of Philadelphia is afraid to get sued because God forbid, something could happen. So you can pretty much say anything, and all you have to say is that you are in fear for your life and they'll hand it to you like a piece of candy. It's easier to get a restraining order at night than it is to get a pack of cigarettes at Wawa where they'll card you even if you look 80 years old. That's how pathetically easy it is to obtain one in this city. "
I GUESS ON ONE NOTE, IT'S GOOD TO BE ABLE TO OBTAIN ONE IF YOU TRULY NEED IT. BUT FOR SOMEONE THAT DOESN'T REALLY NEED IT, THAT'S TERRIBLE TO BE ABLE TO OBTAIN ONE SO EASILY AND RUIN SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE, WITHOUT CAUSE.
"It's a disgrace because it's abused. Unfortunately, and I don't mean to classify this as a "woman" thing, but women know how to abuse the system. Men do too, but it's done more so by a woman than a man (in this case). Once one girlfriend talks to another girlfriend, and you're in a lower class of mindset, it's real easy to do. It's all about conniving at the end of the day. Let's lie and tie things up longer so we can live for free. I'm paying for a house I don't live in right now, all the bills."
DOES SHE WORK?
"Yeah. She works, but her money's for her and nothing to do with anything but herself. Although she does pay our daughter's tuition because she goes to catholic school. I refused to pay for that because she has a learning disability, and they don't have a program for her. They just modify her work and acknowledge it. That's not really helping her, I don't feel. She needs to go to a school that has specific programs to help her learning disability. I'm so wrong, but her teacher even wrote a letter for me to present to the courts that she needs more one on one help, and not in a classroom setting."
WHEN DOES IT LOOK LIKE ALL OF THIS WILL BE BEHIND YOU?
"I wish I could put a timeframe on it. I don't know. It just gets deeper and uglier and uglier. I'm probably gonna have to go through every phase imaginable to have this done. Either that or I'm just gonna have to pick up and move to another state. And I'm told I'd be able to obtain what they call a no fault. Which is something I'm contemplating."
IF YOU HAD IT TO ALL OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENT?
"I would've never gotten married. I would've just had my child out of wedlock. And probably that would've been it. We probably would've lasted no more than two or three years. Had my visitation, took care of my kid, paid support like I did with my other child (from another relationship). I never had a problem in the world with my ex. Never went to court. That's probably the one I should've married, looking back now."
DO YOU REGRET THAT YOU DIDN'T MARRY HER?
"To a degree, yes. But at the same time I never would've had my other children. I wouldn't want to lose that."
DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD EVER GET MARRIED AGAIN?
"It would have to be the right person. I mean really the right person. Somebody completely different than who I was with for 19 years. I don't mean to sound like a Neanderthal, but I mean, I'm interested in a woman that is interested in how my day went, what I want, what makes me happy and vice versa. Someone that's domesticated. I'm not saying someone that cooks 7 days a week but maybe 3-4. I cook 2-3, I have no problem with that. But she's not leaving EVERYTHING on my shoulders.
I also have certain other restrictions. I'm not interested in going out with somebody that has young children. I'm not being mean, but I've already raised my kids. I don't want to have to deal with that many personalities. Cause who's to say that the father doesn't have a wife or a girlfriend! I mean it could be all lovey dovey like it was with my ex. We were all always very cool, never problems or confrontations."