My Concrete Heart
Okay, bear with me. I don’t often speak in metaphors, or similes or whatever you call them, but I had a moment the other day.
I was driving down a street near where I live. It was a block of row houses with very small front yards and a sidewalk in front of the homes. It’s a very walkable area, not just for residents from the block but for dog owners and people going to nearby restaurants. One of the block’s homeowners was replacing the sidewalk pavement. I could clearly see this as I drove by because every piece of porch and outdoor furniture available seemed to be propped around the drying cement. The owner clearly wanted to keep people off of it. Completely understandable.
Having gone to great expense to replace the sidewalk, he/she didn’t want some random person to come along and write his name in the cement. Because if someone did that, then the owner would be stuck with it. Clearly, the homeowner wanted a fresh start.
It got me to thinking, am I guarding my heart like the homeowner guarded his/her new cement sidewalk? And I trying to keep someone from coming and leaving their mark before it’s had a chance to harden?
Well, if I am, that’s okay. Everybody deserves a fresh new start. I don’t want someone else to mold me, write on me, make permanent markings on my facade. I’m still in the midst of fixing what had crumbled. I’m working on it.
In truth, I’m not really keeping people out, I’m preparing to let someone in. If I’m permitted the luxury of guarding my brand new concrete heart until it heals and hardens, then it will be open to someone coming by for a visit. It’ll be smooth and pretty and, yes — inviting. Moreover, it’ll be safe for visitors, who can come to my home without tripping and falling on the rubble of what happened before (and then suing me for their pain and suffering).
So yeah, like the homeowner, I’ll go to great lengths to protect my concrete heart, until I’m/it’s ready .
So keep off.
Actually, in the biz they call it “curing” —- concrete doesn’t harden, it “cures.” I like the sound of that. When my concrete heart has/is completely cured, I’ll move the blockade and invite someone to my porch for lemonade. The pathway to me will look good, it’ll be safe, and . . . I will have complied with Township Ordinances . . . but I digress.
Just Me With . . . my curing concrete heart.
Post script: I went back later to try to snap a picture, but the barriers had been removed and I’m not even sure which house it was.
I Have An Admirer
I have an admirer. Let’s call him Rocky. There’s a reason why I’ll rename him Rocky here. First, I want to protect his privacy. And, second, he’s an ex-boxer. These days I think he works as a bouncer. Yes folks, my admirer is a bruiser with a heart of gold.
We met years ago when I was still married and working as a contract attorney for my former neighbor, see Riding With My Boss. My boss was representing Rocky and his union in some kind of complicated dispute. I was doing background legal research in a back room. One day when Rocky had to come by the office my boss introduced us. As I recall he complimented me, my smile. Thereafter, when Rocky stopped by he always had a smile and compliment for me. He also gave me his card, which I stashed in my wallet and never used. I must have given him my contact information as well, though I don’t remember doing so.
Rocky’s case went nowhere. Consequently, there was no reason for him to come to the office anymore. In fact, most of the work disappeared for my boss also and I didn’t have a reason to come to the office anymore either.
For years since then, Rocky has sent me a text on or near my birthday and about every other month saying things like, “I was just thinking of you, lovely lady.” He’s my age or probably younger, but he is always so polite, referring to me as “young lady.”
After I became separated and sought to test my new status, I tried to call in some favors. Specifically, I developed a list of guys I already knew who might go out with me. I was on a mission. See The Best Advice I Never Took. I figured Rocky must like me and I’ve got to go out with somebody so — I called Rocky. He seemed to pleased to hear from me. I invited him to come to one of my gigs. As he always works at night he could only make it if he came early and he wouldn’t be able to stay long. This was good, since I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out. Plus, this was good because I had scheduled another guy come to see me for the second shift of my one day dating frenzy. Yeah, I was a player, and I was on a mission.
So Rocky was date one for the night. At that time I hadn’t seen him in person for a couple of years.
He still looked good, bigger than I remembered, a burly Teddy bear of a guy, soft-spoken and so sweet. I found out that evening that although he is such a tough guy, he spends his free time writing poetry and songs. Who knew?
It was as close as we got to a date. We hugged good-bye and I haven’t laid eyes on him since.
By the way my second date of the evening was with the man who would become my stalker. I should have stuck with the boxer . . . but I digress . . . If I’d Married My Stalker
Since that early evening “date,” I’ve received semi-regular texts from Rocky. This has gone on for years. He tells me I’m beautiful, refers to me as a friend or wishes me and my family well. I don’t get them often enough to feel like I’m being stalked or harassed but I get them often enough to know I’m still thought of. These texts never request a date or phone call, they are just — complimentary. Recently he sent a picture of himself — just his face, and it was NOT, I repeat, NOT taken in the bathroom. He asked me to send one in return, which I did not — yet. Oh snap, what if his memory of my appearance is better than my actual looks in real life? Wait, what am I saying? Clearly, this could not be possible. heh heh heh
Last month Rocky’s text said:
“You made a positive impression on me from the time I met you. That helped me survive some very tough times. Thank u. :p lol”
I’m not really sure how the “lol” works with the rest, so I’ll just ignore that part. And I don’t know what “tough times” I helped him through, so I’ll just accept that part. All in all, it was a nice message. Sometimes we help people without even knowing how.
Just today I woke up to a text from Rocky which said,
“Good Morning to a very special young lady who is so very sweet. In case no one told u this morning. You r very unique. :p Have a great day.”
Awww. Is it strange? Maybe. Weird? Perhaps. Whatever. I don’t care. It’s nice to have an admirer. And currently there is no one to wake me up by telling me I’m very sweet, so Rocky was right on time. I’ll take it. (Plus, it doesn’t hurt to know someone who could and would kick somebody’s ass for me. Just sayin’ . . .)
Just Me With . . . an admirer, via text. Absolutely.
See also, “Another Text From My Admirer”
My Bucket List of Men To Do
I’ve known many different types of people in my life. But having been in a committed (ha!) relationship for most of my life, I was constrained from “knowing” in the biblical or romantic sense many different types of men. Still, in my now single state I think about men a lot and wonder what I missed, and whether I could still sow a few oats.
So, without further ado and in no particular order, here is my —
Bucket List of Men To Do:
1. Rich Guy — You know on those movies and sitcoms and women meet those guys who buy them a designer dress and fly them to Italy for dinner and crap. Yeah, that would be nice.
2. Too Young for Me Guy —
Let me first say this. I am not a pedophile. The boy-man must be legal and look like a man. That said, a boyish cutie pie would be nice. I just want a hint of immortality. I young man will never forget his first quality real grown-ass woman. Plus they have good music and not a lot to do.
3. Celebrity —
a. Actor— Preferably a screen actor so when a movie is rebroadcast on television or a TV show is put in syndication I can casually walk by the TV and say, smugly, “Yeah, I hit that.”
b. Musician– I am a musician. I would like to be able to hang out in a larger-than-life musician’s home studio and jam. I want to ride in the limo to concerts, and listen from backstage. I want him to play/sing, only for me a song that has made millions of other women swoon. And I want to play for him. And, Prince, if you are reading this, DM me.
4. Really smart guy — A scary smart guy. All he’ll have to do is talk to me or debate with others and I’ll be putty.
5. Country Guy— Okay, I cannot explain this. I’m black and not a southern woman. I don’t keep livestock or even go horseback riding. I don’t own a gun or a truck. I have a toy dog. But a good old boy would be fun for a minute. He must not call me ma’am, though.
6. A delivery guy. (I don’t know. I just don’t know.)
7. A man who does not speak English. I’m American. I only know a wee bit of French — wait, excuse me, un peu bit of French. I want to be required to communicate in other ways. I bet I could become bi- and tri-lingual given the right teacher. I’m a fast learner. Maybe it’s this WordPress Views by Country that has me on this.
8. Too Old For Me Rich Guy – At this point in life this is my only route if I want to be photographed as the pretty young thing on someone’s arm. I mean Dick Van Dyke (86) just married a 40-year-old. That’s all I have to say about that –except that I love Dick Van Dyke, so I ain’t mad at her, or him.
9. The Dangerous Guy — “Sir, he drove off the building.” I don’t have a death or prison wish, I just like the Bourne movies. I could live off the grid for a while, with my five kids, and my minivan . . .
Anyway, I reserve the right to edit the above list. I also reserve the right to tick some of them off as — done!!
Oh,I forgot the most important one of all —
10. Really Nice Guy (Perhaps one day I’ll be able to insert his picture here.)
Just Me With . . . things to do.
The Adultery Diet
Anyone remember that scene from Sex and The City where Miranda, after the birth of little Brady, discovers that she can fit into her skinny jeans?
(And by the way, for you people who don’t know, the original “skinny jeans” do not refer to a particular cut of denim pants. They refer to those old jeans that women keep in their closet in hopes that losing enough weight to be able to wear them again.)
Well, Miranda shows up at the club looking great in her skinny jeans and Charlotte asks how she lost the weight:
- Miranda: Well, I got pregnant, became a single mother, and stopped having any time to eat.
- Samantha: Oh, that’s a diet I won’t be trying.
There’s also another weight loss regimen that women don’t rush to try. I call it,
“The Adultery Diet“
Simply put, it is when a married woman suddenly drops the pounds, without the assistance of a gym membership or Jenny Craig. No, it’s none of that pesky diet and exercise stuff. Rather, a woman is on The Adultery Diet when her husband is having an affair and it is making her sick.
There’s just something about finding out or suspecting that your man is screwing somebody else that really kills the appetite.
This revelation may or may not end in separation or divorce, that’s not really relevant to this diet, it’s just a sick, sinking feeling that suddenly makes food intolerable, hence the weight loss.
I bet we’ve all seen the signs.
In walks a female friend you haven’t seen in a while. Her clothes are literally falling off of her. Unfortunately, her eyes are sunken, red, swollen and downcast, and she’s unnaturally quiet. She’ll explain, perhaps, that she’s had a bit of a cold. In her mind, however, she’s screaming, “Oh my God, this is not happening. What am I going to do? How could he? ” And then, she simply doesn’t eat, while continuing her daily responsibilities. She functions, but just knowing that there are some very uncomfortable silences, discussions and possibly life changing decisions that will have to be made in the near future — well, it just doesn’t make her want a sandwich. In fact, the mere thought of the situation makes her food taste bland and causes nausea.
Then there’s the time alone — while it is quite possible her mate is not spending time alone — well, it can make a girl literally sick to her stomach. Pounds melt away, baby weight — gone, along with muscle. Suddenly skinny jeans fit and she needs to tighten her belts.
He has to work late. Again. I fed the kids; they’re good. Everybody is fine. Everything is fine, except that it’s not. So I’m just gonna sit here in the dark on the kitchen floor while my life falls apart. I’m not hungry. I really don’t feel well.
And the coolness of the kitchen floor is somehow so comforting . . . but I digress.
This Adultery Diet is usually available to married or cohabitating women — because there is something about living with someone who is sleeping with someone else that is particularly offensive to the palate.
So if you are surprised by a sudden weight loss of a friend, don’t just tell her how wonderful she looks and ask about her dress size, her diet, or whether she’s working out. Ask about her marriage. Ask if she needs — anything.
Don’t ask me how I know.
Just Me With . . . a weight loss regimen no one wants to try.
Just found this pic of Demi Moore:
Message to Demi: Give me a call. We should talk.
See also: On Angelina Jolie — At Least No One Will Say She “Got Fat”
I Went To A Wedding Alone
Between an earthquake and a hurricane, I went to a wedding. I think all three could be seen as surprising and unfortunate acts of nature.
I haven’t been to a wedding in years. Well, except taking my kids to see their teacher get married. Actually even before my marriage ended, I swore off most weddings. I married young, my parents didn’t really approve and didn’t rejoice in it. His family was, well, not traditional. And although it was okay, I started to envy the grown-up, joyous, better funded and better planned weddings I witnessed later. I usually went alone to my friends’ weddings anyway, my Ex hated weddings more than I did. After a while, I just stopped going to the very few invitations I got, unless it was a command performance family thing.
But this wedding was of the daughter of a woman who is a good, special person. The mother of the bride, Liz, her husband and daughters are former neighbors. Liz selflessly helped me — and my family — for a prolonged period in my prolonged time of need. She’ll be a topic of another post at a later time. Suffice it to say, as much I am usually disgusted by the mere thought of going to a wedding and reception, the fact that I haven’t been to one since my separation and divorce (even blew off my bridesmaid’s destination wedding — and she understood, see Remote Attendance at Weddings — Royal or Otherwise), I had to go to this one. I wanted to go to this one. Kind of. I wanted to see, but I didn’t want to go. In my fantasy world, I’d be the proverbial fly on the wall, I would materialize just long enough to congratulate the family, and then — Poof! Gone! But as I’ve discovered over the years, I am not magic.
First, let me say that the bridal shower was the day after my ex-husband got married.
(Insert knife, turn) See, I Was “The Nanny” When My Ex-Husband Got Married.
Next, I was invited, but the invitation did not allow me to bring a guest. Liz had given me a heads up earlier that they just couldn’t invite all of my kids to the reception, though they could come to the ceremony. I completely understood that, no problem. Five plates for kids, totally not worth it. And I also understand that it is appropriate to invite a single guest without including an invitation for him or her to bring a nameless date — some stranger to share in the bride and groom’s a special day. I get that.
It’s just that I’m a bit sensitive and unused to being single — truly legally single, at a wedding. But that was what was going to happen. As I said, I’ve gone stag before to weddings, my Ex skipped the receptions for both my best friend and my sister’s weddings, he didn’t want to go with me to my college friends’ weddings, which was fine, I had more fun without him with that crowd. So I’m used to doing things alone, before, during and now after my marriage. See, The New Walk of Shame for the Single Woman: Going Out Alone. But this was different. These people, to varying degrees, witnessed my nervous breakdown.
My kids love the mother of the bride, Liz, know her well, and the Bride and her sister used to babysit them from time to time and were my mother’s helpers when I had infant and toddler twins — so that I could, you know, wash myself or something. So I thought the kids would want to see the ceremony at a local church. Wrong. Only one managed to get off of the couch to go to the wedding. One daughter.
We walked in together. Me and my girl.
The church was full of familiar faces, familiar friendly faces. This wedding was a neighborhood affair, the neighborhood where the “marital” home was, the neighborhood to which I had brought all of my kids home from the hospital and neighbors showered us with gifts, the neighborhood where we were living when my family fell apart, the neighborhood from which the kids and I moved when I had to downsize. Most of these people knew my story. Many had seen me cry. So it was at once a very comfortable and a little awkward reunion.
A very sweet woman and her husband sat in the pew in front of us. Sally, I’ll call her. She used to live across the street from me. Correction, I used to live across the street from her. This woman has always been very supportive. She has suffered horrible tragedy in her life. After surviving breast cancer, including all of the necessary multiple surgeries and treatments, her oldest son died in a senseless accident at college. Unspeakable. Still, Sally is very outspoken, says whatever the hell is on her mind and adores her family. She has no love lost for my Ex and is one of the few people who has refused to exchange pleasantries with him. If looks could kill I would have been a widow long before I became a divorcee. She’d heard of his wedding.
Before the ceremony began, she turned to my daughter and asked, with a hint of a sneer,
“How was your Dad’s wedding?“
Me, in my head:
“Uh,What the hell? Oh no, make it stop, don’t show emotion, ahhhhh”
Me, in my head:
“Ahhh. No, please don’t talk about that. Not now. Not with my daughter. Not in front of me. Not at a wedding. NOOOO No No No NO NO NO. Please don’t say anything more, please.”
Sally pursed her lips; I held my breath. I could tell she was holding something back. I didn’t want her to say anything else. Thankfully, she turned around without saying more. I could tell she couldn’t figure out what to say that would express her opinion but wouldn’t be inappropriate to say in front of my daughter. So she self-censored, thank goodness. But it was a bit too late — for me. Oh my daughter was fine, but it made me feel like crap. I’m at a wedding and have to listen to my kid being questioned about my Ex’s wedding? Ouch.
(Insert knife, turn, twice.)
The music was Stevie Wonder and Jason Mraz, the bride was beautiful and spoke intelligently as they read their own vows, the groom looked thankful and promised to walk beside her — but also behind her as she achieved her success, and in front of her to shield her from danger. There were meaningful readings, and a very short sermon. (Actually, the minister was the one who referenced that this was a moment in time between an earthquake and a hurricane, I don’t want to use the words of a man of the cloth without giving him proper credit — lightning strike averted.) Anyway, the wedding was elegant without being stuffy, comfortable without being tacky. I would expect no less from and want no less for this family. They are good, good people. (And I barely had any of my normal internal negative running monologue about how everybody says the right things in the church, and may even mean it at the time, but . . . ) Perhaps I still believe in love after all. Huh. I just wish I could forget my regrets . . . but I digress . . .
During the ceremony I saw Sally grab her husband’s hand and squeeze it. He squeezed back. She laid her head on his shoulder. It was a sweet moment for the long-married couple. They have been through hell. This man eulogized his own son, for God’s sake. Through it all, though, they love each other, deeply. I was happy for them, too.
But as I was sitting there, it occurred to me: I had not felt this alone in a long while.
After the ceremony while still at the church Sally apologized to me for her comment about my Ex’s wedding. She explained what I already knew, that in her mind she was thinking it was nice for my daughter to see a young (but old enough) couple get married, both for the first time, with no baggage or no kids, from nice families, etc., kind of “the way it should be” — in contrast to what she imagined my Ex’s wedding was like with his five kids in tow, after a really cruel breakup and nasty divorce. I get it. And I know she meant well, but the apology made me feel worse. I just wanted to forget about it.
I had to drop my daughter back home before going to the reception. While there I had to mediate arguments over dinner and television. It was bad enough that I was going somewhere, a wedding reception no less, alone, but I also had to fight with my kids first.
Walking into the reception alone, I panicked for a second until I found my old friends, couples from the old neighborhood. Some of these folks have been beyond good to me, from sending me dinners, lending me money, to appearing as witnesses at court, one I’ve written about already, When I Needed a Helping Hand, and I may write about others. It’s important to share stories about goodness in the world. I’d seen some of these people recently so the greetings were more casual. From others, however, I got that “So how are you doing?” head tilt. Does anyone remember the Friends episode where Richard (Tom Selleck) tells Monica about how people greet him after his divorce? Yeah, that.
On a positive note, though, I also got the “You look great!” comment. That was nice, because these people had seen me when I didn’t look so great (huge understatement).
It was a sit down dinner, and we (meaning me and the couple I was talking to) made our way to our table where I discovered that —
I was seated at a table with four couples.
(Insert knife, turn three times.)
I felt so, so SINGLE — but not in a good way. Plus, I was also the only person of color at my table, which isn’t a big deal nor unexpected but it just fed into my feeling of being so obviously, visually ALONE. (Singing the Sesame Street song, “One of these things just doesn’t belong here . . .”)
Plus, these long-time married couples reminisced about their own weddings and remarked about how the bride and her friends probably just think “we’re the old guys” now.
(Insert knife, turn four times.)
So, now, not only was I without an escort and a third wheel — or more accurately a ninth wheel, I was one of the old guys, hanging out with happily middle-aged, comfortable, prosperous, tipsy, married people. After all, they had each other, good jobs, good times — past, present and future. And, they were having a good time at the wedding. It was all good. Except for me, I felt like I was watching everyone else have a good time, hell, a good life. I know things are not always what they seem, I know that couples are not always happy and certainly not all the time. Oh yeah, I know that. I mean, I was married once, you know. But I didn’t really want to talk to couples as couples and the truth is, as couples, as a group, I have less in common with them than I did before. If I had I been feeling better or had been drinking, I might have gone out to dance with the young singles, but I know that would have been — weird. My time for that is gone (and I’d never really experienced it, having married so young, and not been a drinker).
Eventually, we got up to mingle and dance.
I danced with other couples.
(Insert knife, turn five times.)
One married woman commented on a cute younger single guy, but added “not that he’d want a broken down broad like me.” This woman is not broken down, and is attractive (as is her husband). Suddenly I felt old by association. She was cool with it, because she does not need new male companionship. Well, I do. And what if I’m a broken down broad, or at least categorized that way? Remember that early Sex and the City episode when Samantha dates a younger man who actually refers to her as an older woman? She was shocked, like “Is that how he sees me?” It’s one thing to be alone, it’s another to feel like you’ve been put out to pasture. Especially when you’ve never even been to the Rodeo (enough bad analogies, I know). See Undateable, Part II.
My friend Sally had had a few drinks, or not, she didn’t really need it. She doesn’t need alcohol to express herself. It was so good to see she and her husband out and enjoying themselves. After the death of their son — well, I didn’t know if Sally would be able to go on. I can’t blame her. But here she was, loud and sassy, dancing with her husband. At one point she said to me, “It’s so nice to be at a wedding instead of a funeral.” Then she flitted off.
Later, out of nowhere she pulled me, actually grabbed and pulled me from my conversation with another ex-neighbor, and dragged me to the dance floor. I thought she just wanted to get me to dance.
Wrong! To my horror, she was dragging me out there to catch the bridal bouquet. There I was with the 28-year old, child-free, professional, drunk friends of the bride and groom. Awkward.
(Insert knife with serrated edge, turn six times.)
“You didn’t even try!” She scolded me when I failed to catch the bouquet.
She was right. I didn’t even try.
“You deserve a good man,” She said.
See, you gotta love her. Her heart is in the right place. She wants me to believe in love. She still does. And apparently she believes that the bouquet thing actually works.
Sally does love, deeply, even though she has suffered so. She calls her husband her soul-mate, yet outwardly they seem to be opposites. Anyone remember the show Dharma and Greg? The flower child woman who marries the blue blood attorney? Yeah Sally and Rob are like that, but older — she’s an artist, a former dancer, a wild child, dog-lover, mouthy and loud — he’s a straight-laced corporate type. But their love has survived cancer and the death of their first-born, along with the debilitating depression that followed. That’s some serious love. So I can’t be mad at her. I was happy to see her smile. And I’m glad people care about my happiness and wish me the best.
But being dragged out onto the dance floor to catch the wedding bouquet? Awkward. I’m not going to fight bridesmaids who used to babysit my kids to catch a freakin’ wedding bouquet. No.
When I returned the self-described “broken down broad” whispered to me when I got back, “I tried to warn you.” I hadn’t heard her. Damn.
Well, I made it until it was an acceptable time to leave. I walked out with another couple. Liz gave me a centerpiece to take home. Beautiful flowers, but hard to carry home — ALONE. Damn thing fell over as I drove, I had no one to hold it for me or drive while I held it. Another pang of loneliness hit me. It was pretty. I like flowers, but I didn’t need a souvenir from a wedding. You might recall that my kids brought me back leftover flowers from my ex-husband’s wedding. See I Was The Nanny When My Ex-Husband Got Married.
Bottom line is: I love this family. That’s why I went. But in going I had taken a trip back to a prior life and felt that I didn’t belong there. It reminded me of how much my world has changed, and moreover, it reminded me that no matter how single — free — I am now, there is no complete “do-over” for me. It was appropriate for me to be seated with those couples. They are my friends. But it did cause me to be fearful that it was a snapshot of what I can expect from now on . . . feeling like a kid at the grown-up table . . . but too old to be at the kids’ table. The night was also a painful reminder of how bad the bad times had been for me and of how many people at this affair had witnessed them. I look forward to seeing these people individually, but the whole wedding thing was just too much for me. I’m a sensitive sort.
I left feeling happy for the bride, groom and the families. But I came home feeling pretty down. I had tried, but I could not have fun. Just couldn’t do it. Still, I’m glad I went to this particular wedding, the bride being the daughter of an angel and all, even though it took an emotional toll.
I know I have much to be thankful for; but I’ve been known to suffer from the melancholy anyway (another understatement).
Let me be clear, though. I do not miss being married to my Ex, or being married at all. I did not wish he was there and did not wish I’d had a date or boyfriend. In fact, I can’t imagine ever getting married again, let alone being someone’s girlfriend. My sadness stems from all the crap I’ve gone through (and the fact that so many of the people at that wedding knew about my crap, and have seen me at my worst), and it all leaves me wondering,
“Where do I fit in? ”
You see, I didn’t envy the couples I was seated with. Well, maybe I envy their prior youthful shenanigans that I missed out on, but I feared their present state of being settled and okay with being “the old guys” or a “broken down broad.” That’s not me. Yet I didn’t belong out there catching the bouquet either. Truth is, I didn’t belong at any table. I should have been a fly on the wall.
I haven’t felt right since, to tell the truth. It was a hard, beautiful night. And the next night, well . . . there was a hurricane.
Just Me With . . . some leftover wedding flowers . . . again — But NOT the bouquet!
How Do I Feel About My Ex-Husband Getting Married?
I heard somewhere that a good lawyer can take two inextricably related concepts — facts that are fused together, if you will — and think of them separately. Yin from the Yang. Well, I’m still a lawyer. When I was practicing, before all the children, depression and heartbreak, I was a good lawyer. I can do this.
So “but for” the kids, how do I feel about my ex-husband’s wedding?
Up until now my concerns about the wedding have been the poor way in which it was announced to me via the kids (unsuccessfully, see How I Found Out that My Ex-Husband Is Getting Married), the kids’ reluctant involvement in it, dealing with one kid’s downright hysteria about it, and the other kids’ unusual silence. Also, I’ve had to deal with the happy couple taking the children shopping to dress them for the event and the changes in the visitation schedules necessitated by the preparation for and the event itself.
On a personal level, I admit that since this will be the first time since they were little that the girls have all gotten dressed up for anything — and it’s for their father’s wedding — and I am not involved –well, that smarts a bit — but again that has to do with the kids. Additionally, I worry that if I do become upset about the wedding, either teary or angry, how will that make the kids feel when they get home? But that’s still about the kids. Plus, I have thought about how it will be to have to deal with this woman with respect to the children going forward once she gets her “Mrs” since there have been some issues. But again, the issues are all related to the kids. It’s all stuff all related — directly or indirectly– to the children.
So I’ll do the lawyerly thing and take the kids completely out of the analysis.
Accordingly, with respect to making a determination as to how I feel regarding my ex-husband’s impending nuptials, I hereby order that for the purposes of this post, and this post only, such determination shall be made without any consideration whatsoever of the minor children born to me and him during our now dissolved union.
It’s a stretch, but . . . okay — be gone– thoughts of children!!!
Now how do I feel about my ex-husband getting married?
F*ck if I know.
Really, sorry for the profanity . . . but I guess I’m a little freaked out by the fact that I don’t feel much about it.
Is this going to be one of those things when I think I’m fine and then I end up in a heap on the floor calling my counseling hotline? I really don’t think so.
I’ve had two friends volunteer to “do something” with me that day. Am I gonna need that? I mean, okay, maybe I shouldn’t do “nothing” that day, but really, I’ve done the nervous breakdown thing before and this doesn’t feel like that. And I’d like to, need to, spend more time with friends, but not necessarily on that day simply because it is his wedding day.
It seems that people are afraid I will fall apart because of all that I’ve been through. But, for once, perhaps because of all that I’ve been through, I don’t think that I will — fall apart.
Again, taking everything else away (and there’s a lot) . . .
I really don’t think that my ex-husband getting married is a matter of my concern.
I don’t care.
Huh. There you have it.
So ordered. Judgment in favor of “I don’t give a f*ck.”
That said, the kids will be gone for a few hours that day. Now that I’ve established that I don’t have feelings about him getting married (again, taking the real crap out of the analysis), what should I do on his wedding day? I don’t feel like planning something particularly special or completely out of the ordinary because that seems so . . . well . . . reactive.
So . . . what to do? What to do? (Or, did I just completely sidestep how I feel by finishing up by talking about what I should do?)
Just Me With . . . no feelings about and no plans for my Ex-Husband’s Wedding Day.
Postscript: His wedding day has come and gone. I Was The Nanny When My Ex-Husband Got Married
Related Posts: He’ll Be Married, I’ll Be Free
I Don’t Love Him
Picture two women talking:
Friend 1: “It must be hard, because I’m sure in some small way, some part of you will always love him.”
Friend 2: “Of course, he’s a part of me, and part of me will always love him.”
Friend 1: “It must be hard, because I’m sure in some small way, some part of you will always love him.”
Friend 2: “No, I don’t love him anymore.” She pauses, thinking, considering, furrowing the brow, squinting her eyes and rolling eyes upward — to the left, to the right — for answers possibly hidden there, and then, with renewed authority states, “Yup, I’m sure. I don’t love him at all, not one little bit. But I would LOVE another cup of coffee, though.”
Can this be true? This is so NOT Lifetime Movie, women’s magazines, or romance novels. We’re supposed to look into his eyes, brush back his hair and softly declare, “I will always love you.” And then walk away, carrying that love with us, forever.
I once got into this debate with my Stalker about whether once you love someone, you always will. No surprise where he came out on the subject. He could never let go of anything, including my phone number . . . but I digress . . . The Stalker truly believed that once you love, you love for life. Kinda like herpes. Sure the love may change or diminish and you can fall in love with someone else but the original love remains, according to The Stalker. He was adamant about this. He told me I will always love my Ex-husband.
I didn’t slap him, but I wanted to.
Sure, I believe that the love stays for some people in some instances. There are some loves that people carry with them for life, long after the relationship is over. But I do not believe that it is a hard and fast rule — or a “Love Sentence” — if you will. heh heh heh
“I will always love him.” We didn’t work out, we won’t work out, we can’t even be friends, but . . . “I will always love him.”
Sounds like when a random person dies and people automatically say, whether they knew the dude or not, “He’s in a better place.” Depending on your beliefs, he may be in “a better place.” But, if you believe in the better place there have to be some jokers who simply don’t make the cut and go to — the other place. Assuming and stating that random dude is in “a better place” might take the edge off the finality of death, but it ain’t always true. Similarly, saying you’ll always love someone might take the edge off of the death of a relationship, a failed romance, but it ain’t always true.
Then there’s the — Once you’ve had a child with someone you’ll always love him/her. Again, no. Not all the time. You had sex which created a life, not necessary a life-long love for each other. People may love and cherish the memories, the good times, and have lingering, hell even deep, respect for the person you made babies with — but required life-long love? Uh, no. Not in my case. Not for many. And you know what? It’s okay. People we love are not like cars or apartments or pets. I can say I really loved my first dog and I always will. But romantic love for people is far more complex, and fluid.
I loved — intensely. I married, I procreated. A lot of stuff happened, and now I can say, resolutely, “I don’t love him anymore.” And he had better not have any loving feelings for me. That would cheapen the meaning of love. I had what could be described as an epic romance just by the sheer length of it, but now? It’s over. If I didn’t share children with him I would happily never see him again. If he died suddenly I would grieve for the children having to deal with the death of their father — or as I would for anyone taken seemingly too soon, but that’s not love.
Because I don’t love him. And that’s okay. In fact that’s better.
I’m sure many of you have had someone in your life whom you feel you will always love a little bit — or even a lot. I happen not to feel that way about my ex-husband. It didn’t happen immediately. But it happened.
Still, the years spent together, the children born, the tears cried, the laughter shared, the good memories made — are all unaffected by the declaration that —
“I don’t love him, not even one little bit.”
Is there anyone else out there who is not afraid to step up to the Altar of Ended Relationships and confess:
I don’t love him/her anymore!
Just Me With . . . a call NOT to love.
If I’d Married My Stalker
Weddings, Weddings, Weddings. They are everywhere this time of year. But don’t feel sorry for me because I am without an intended. I could be married now if I wanted. Really, I could. I could have married the man I now refer to as my stalker. Of course, he hadn’t completely evolved into a true stalker when we were hanging out. The true stalker nature of a person is only realized after the relationship has ended. But I’ll just say that based on the events that transpired since we stopped seeing each other, well, I have reason, good reason, to call him my stalker.
Still, had things gone differently, had I been desperate for matrimony, had I lost my mind, I could be calling him my husband. We talked about it. Well, actually, he talked to me about it. He also talked to a priest about it, and he talked to his invisible friends about it, friends I never met. To be fair, I admit that he didn’t formally get down on one knee and ask me, because I was, at the time, still legally married (little issue), had not expressed any interest in remarrying anyone (bigger issue), and had not professed love for him (the biggest issue of all), but these little complications did not deter him from making plans for our life together, in holy matrimony.
So, since the wedding season is in full swing, the following is a fanciful fictionalized account of what could have been if I had said ” I do” and become . . . Mrs. Stalker.
- My house would be clean. Really clean. He had OCD (I believe) and liked to clean. Yes, things would be clean. Really. Clean.
- My dogs would be well-groomed also. What am I saying ? My dogs would be gone. He couldn’t handle such four-legged walking germ festivals.
- I would have sex, often and for prolonged periods of time. Then I’d have to talk about it.
- I’d be clean, hands washed as if for surgery, often and for prolonged periods of time. We wouldn’t have to talk about that — so long as he saw me doing it.
- I would have savings and new clothes. He liked me to look nice. He’d buy me pretty dresses.
- I would have an escort for everything. He’d never let me go anywhere alone.
- I’d be Episcopalian, because I’d have to be. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
- I’d have a storage unit, possibly more than one, because he was incapable of throwing anything out. And we would visit our things stored there, often and for prolonged periods of time.
- I would know I’m loved because he’d tell me, often and for prolonged periods of time. And then I’d have to talk about it.
- I’d be having surgery and/or looking into surrogacy and/or freezing eggs to see if someone could bear a child he could call his own.
- I’d have someone to shop with, since he loved to shop. And no, my would-be-stalker-husband is not gay, but I’d spend a fair amount of time attempting to convince others of that— knowing in my heart of hearts that I could not be successful.
- I’d be on time, because he’d never allow tardiness. To that end, would call me in 15 minute increments to make sure I was ready for whatever we had planned.
- My computer would have the most up-to-date, state of the art, anti-virus software, because, you can never be too careful.
- I may or may not have mother-in-law issues, because I’m not sure whether “mother” is still with us. Don’t ask, it may have been a Norman Bates situation.
- To make him happy, I would have to answer these questions, often and for prolonged periods of time:
“Are you happy”
“Are you thinking of me?”
“Do you love me?”
And, the ever popular question that every girl wants to hear,
“Do you think that’s wise?”
Well, it was wise to end that relationship. Even though it took quite a while and an exchange of letters from lawyers for that ending to take effect. Actually, I only just recently received a post-Rapture text. Sigh.
In conclusion, while weddings are nice, and it’s good to feel loved and partner up, I didn’t want a husband that badly (or not at all, really). I don’t care that Mr. Stalker was good on paper, well endowed with stamina to back it up, wanted to be a provider for me and my brood, and that he really, really, really, really, really . . . loved . . . me. None of that matters, because if I’d married him for the sake of being married, and allowed myself to be swept away (swept, being the operative word), well,
. . . that would have been bad —- clean, but very bad.
And, if you’ve found my blog, Mr. Stalker, and are reading this, I want you to know:
No, I do not love you.
No, I don’t want to be friends.
No, I do not want to know if you are thinking of me.
No, my lack of love for you cannot be explained by alleging that I have lingering feelings for my Ex-Husband. I don’t love him either.
No, I will not be paying you back for any money you spent on me.
and . . .
Are you sure I’m really talking about you?
And, by the by, I just played with my dog and I haven’t washed my hands in like an hour.
Just Me With . . . no rings on my only moderately clean left hand.
Related, sadly, “He Lives With His Mother?”
The Rage Inside Me
I am angry. That is how my depression manifests itself these days. I’m off the floor. I don’t cry. But I have no patience for anyone and I’m pushing people away. That’s my M.O. I’m blinded by rage and can’t see anything but thankless obligation. Suppressing myself for the common good. That is what I do, that is what mothers must do. Therein lies my rage. It’s not pretty. It’s not good. Since I can’t let it out, it gets turned inward. And it waits. Customer service people and drivers beware.
No, I don’t bash my Ex in front of my kids, yes, I show support for his choices. Because I have no choice. blah blah blah And, I count my blessings for having healthy kids, living parents, a roof over my head, and an Ex who pays court-ordered child support. Yes, I know the drill. Those will tell me to put on my big girl panties, pray, etc. Yes, I know the drill. I’m not an idiot. I’m not a Stepford Ex-Wife either — though I play one in real life during every waking hour. I don’t drink. I never utter a profanity in front of my kids. I’m a good girl.
But just under the surface, is my rage, this is where my poor choices, failed career, and misspent youth doing the right things fester, while I watch, drive, stand in the rain, in support of everyone else or dry the tears and say the “right” things when someone comes to me crying because of something someone else did, or accept being ignored when it is not “my day.” I listen to crap to keep the peace and I bite my tongue while people pity me for not meeting my or their expectations. I say thank you when my mothering gets praised when I’ve never felt so alone. Yet I know that children are fickle creatures and will gravitate toward those who fulfill their needs and cling to those who fail them. I’m honored to have certain people in my life, yet curse myself for having needed them so badly. And I know that there are people suffering horribly from unspeakable disease, trauma and disaster, so how dare I be angry about anything? Yes, yes, I know, I know the drill. So again, thou shall not have feelings . . .
So I’m angry. And the perfect empowered, pump wearing, summer house, happily c0-parenting with one child, dinner party, career-minded, alumni event and conference attending, people can shake their heads and waggle their tongues, all because I have feelings and dare to get pissed. And, that’s why I’m pissed. I have feelings. I do the “right” things for my family — my broken home, but it is not and never has been enough for me and . . . I’m . . . pissed. I’m doing for my children, and I hope they do well and I hope to assist them to gain the tools necessary to do whatever they want to do — live their life, achieve what they want . . . happiness. But this —- this, is my life now and it . . . makes . . . me . . . mad. And I do not like it.
I realize I may get negative nastiness from this. Get in line, and take a number — Bash Me in Aisle Two, Use Me in Aisle One. These are, apparently, what I am here for, my true calling.
And this, my friend, is the voice of depression.
Just Me With . . . rage