Tag Archives: married

The Annual Holiday Party — At Least I Wasn’t Insulted This Year

Over the weekend I went to an annual holiday party given by  friends from my old neighborhood.  It was nice, uneventful and   “Met Expectations”   which is very significant, at least compared to last year.

I expected to be the only uncoupled, hell, the only unmarried person there.  Yup.  These were many of the same people  I saw when “I  Went To A Wedding Alone” and was seated with four other couples.   The party was hosted by  the very cool woman who had been there for me “When I Needed a Helping Hand,”  and her husband, my former “Go-To Guy.”  Good people.

As expected, I got the same inquiries about the kids, the new house (though I’ve been there for two years now),  how the “new” neighborhood is, work, career, how I spend my time, etc.  No questions about whether I’m seeing anyone.   I hardly ever get that question.  What’s up with that?    But I digress.   That is a topic for another post.

What was different this year was that I was ready for the whole scene.  I expected the questions and the topics of conversations that really did not apply to me and to which I could not relate.  I had my stock responses. I came to the realization that this is how it will be with these folks as a group, people  from a past life.

It was a step up from last year.

At this same party last year, I found myself chatting with two very different women.  One  is a true, down-to-earth angel who has been such a  huge help and selfless friend in my time of need and thereafter.  She was the mother of the bride when “I Went To A Wedding Alone.”   The other  woman is the wife of my old boss.  SeeRiding With My Boss.”  This woman, who I’ll call Ellen BlueBlood,  has been a long-time acquaintance, but never a good friend, we never really clicked.   She always seemed a bit snobbish to me.  Ellen BlueBlood was going on and on about her University graduated daughter who was doing all of these wonderful things, being offered all of these fabulous opportunities, she was becoming such of special woman of substance, blah, blah, blah.    It was ridiculous, really.  Then the topic turned to  the daughter’s boyfriend.   This was infinitely more interesting to me, it had to be better than hearing the enhanced overview of her resume.

Ellen BlueBlood, however, was not impressed with her daughter’s boyfriend.   She slowed her speech, shook her head, sighed.   I don’t know if she clucked her tongue but she might as well have.

As if this universally summed up the reasons for her distaste of this young man, she said,

“His parents are divorced.   We don’t like that.”

It just hung there. It just hung there like a fart.

My angel friend, intimately aware of the  toll that the  end of my marriage  took on my family,  knew that this was just a stupid thing  for Ellen to say — in front of anyone,   let alone me.   I don’t  remember exactly what my angel friend said,  but she tried to correct and diffuse the  sheer stupidity and insensitivity of  Ellen BlueBlood’s remark.   It didn’t work.   Mrs. BlueBlood didn’t get it.  It went right over her head.   She went on to discuss the boyfriend and made truly legitimate complaints about him — i.e. he tried to break up with her daughter at a funeral.   Yeah, she should have led with that.  Now that’s a good reason to dislike the boy.

I said nothing.  At the time,   Ellen BlueBlood’s stupid comment hit hard.  I was already feeling so vulnerable, being single at a party for couples, and  embarrassed that everyone in the room knew of my troubles, etc.  But then, having to hear such hurtful stupidity,  and suddenly realizing she might not be the only person in the world who feels that way, . . .  wondering whether some idiot  will unfairly judge my children because of my failed marriage —  well,  her comment, as I said, hit me hard — last year.

But this year,  when the same woman went on and on about her daughter’s international travels and appointments, blah, blah, blah.  I was just  bored.

Okay, maybe part of me hopes her daughter shacks up with a truck driving, gun rack mounted, sleeve tattooed, home-made cigarette smoking, tooth challenged, GED failing and criminal record having, good old boy named Bubba, — that is, until Bubba kicks her out  of the trailer and she ends up with an unemployed, black as night rebound guy, who is a  multiple baby mama having, “Up and Coming” Rapper chasing a record deal,  whose grandmother  raised him (of course),  yet she is ten years younger than Ellen BlueBlood and cleans her office at night.  Maybe part of me would enjoy that. I mean, really, if  Ellen BlueBlood is scared of a stereotype, let’s give her a boatload of the really offensive ones, right?   Yeah,  I’m human— and perhaps a little evil.  heh heh heh.  

And oh snap, Ellen BlueBlood also has a son– a less accomplished  son attending a second-tier  (oh, the horror) college.     Hmmm.   Maybe I should hit that.  Ha!    But I digress.

In the end, this year’s party was uneventful.  I deserve that.   My realistic  expectations were met, nod to my fellow Tweeter   @blogginglily who described it as such.  Unlike last year, no one insulted me (to my face) and I was– if not entirely comfortable–  at least accepting of being with this group of couples.  Bonus, since it was a white elephant Christmas gift exchange party, I got  a present:

We  all thought it was a candle holder, but a smart Tweeter @TX_Lisa pointed out that the side candles would drip and suggested instead  that it might be  a vase.   So yeah, the party  “met expectations”  and I got a scary, hideous, slightly pornographic vase.     Not too shabby.

Just Me With . . . the ugliest vase ever . . . and  expectations met.    

Hmmmm, I wonder when  Ellen BlueBlood’s boy gets home from college for the holidays . . .

(And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson)

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?   Ha!

Other holiday related posts:

Blowing Off the Holidays — Just say no.

Time Management,  Procrastination, Holiday Shopping and Moving — Some things will take exactly as much time as you allot to them.

All I Want for Christmas is My Kids — Splitting the babies after divorce.

A Good Neighbor, An Accidental Friend, and a Christmas Surprise —  You never know the impact people have on each other.

Keeping It Simple At Christmas — Bells and whistles are not always required.

My First Grown Up Thanksgiving — Kind of  — Thanksgiving in my house, without my kids

Craigslist Angels — One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure  — Giving Away Christmas Decorations Can Be A Very Good Thing.

Friends Without Benefits — Married Men

I know, it sounds juicy or scandalous.  I assure you, it’s neither.

The Confession.

I spend time with married men from time to time.

These men are happily married.  And it is not one of those situations when the men are unavailable for or forsake their wives and family to hang out with me.  No, these guys are good to their families, first.  And these are not “emotional affairs” either.  Nobody’s saying, “Oh, if I wasn’t married . . . (wink wink)” or “My wife doesn’t understand me.”  No, nothing like that.  These are men I’ve met professionally or from my old neighborhood.  It’s lunch, every once in a while during the work day, it’s dropping by to say “Hi,”  while out on a run.  It’s helping with a household project, or moving or carrying something which requires man strength and then staying for a cold drink.  It’s random phone calls to chat.  Although my girlfriends and I check in from time to time, I would say my face and phone time has been with married men more frequently than girlfriends or family recently.

The Benefits.

I confess also that there are benefits, plenty of them — just nothing sexual.  In addition to having  someone to move the refrigerator — which, I’m convinced is a man’s true purpose on this earth — but I digress . . .   The emotional benefits are that they make me feel like more than  —  a mother.  One even asks if I’m seeing anybody and thinks that I should.  I rarely get that question from family or girlfriends, a fact that may be the topic of another post . . .  but I digress again.   When my married male friends  tell me  I look nice or that it was good to see me, etc. . . .  it makes me feel good.  Occasionally, I can even go a semi-professional event with one of these married guys, to avoid the dreaded and frequent “The New Walk of Shame for the Single Woman: Going Out Alone.”   So, it’s nice.  These married guys genuinely like me as a friend, still acknowledge that I’m a woman, and offer statements of admiration for me and what I’ve accomplished in a difficult situation.  It’s nice to see that in a man’s eyes.

Yes, benefits abound, with pants on.

The Problem.

Perhaps, however, there is something sinister going on here.  Not with them, but with me.  And no, I would never be the “other woman.” Never.  I was “the wife”  I know what that’s like, I wouldn’t do that to another woman. And these guys wouldn’t do that to their wives anyway.  No, what is sinister is that I’m getting my “man fix” without any chance of getting involved.  It’s safe. Too safe.  How will I find the courage or interest  to have dinner with an available man, and all that implies, if instead I can hang with a man who I know I will never have a romantic relationship with, but who will, most likely, share a meal with me, tell me I look nice, and pick up the tab.  I don’t have to worry about a kiss goodnight — or more,  or when he should meet my kids, etc.  Hell,  these men either already know my kids or it is completely appropriate to introduce them to the guy because he is just another adult.  Bonus —  I don’t have to shave my legs or stock my goodie drawer since nothing will ever happen. I get to hang out with guys, but I don’t have to deal with any of that pesky dating  stuff.  Great, right?  Wrong.

Armchair Analysis.

At a time when I have to literally force myself to be more social with adults, when I do socialize it is often with unavailable men.  Sounds like a bit of escapism, don’t you think?  No need for a degree in psychology to figure this one out.  What about hanging with some women?  Well,  my female friends are a force to be reckoned with.  They are smart, successful and together.   They do not judge me — but I wish I was more like them and sometimes that makes me uncomfortable.  Escapism and avoidance.  I see it.

The Solution.

The solution is obvious.   I need to spend time with men who are potentially available to me in all ways.  I know this.  And, frankly, it’s  probably a good sign, a healthy sign,  that the married, platonic friend thing is starting to bother me a bit. It’s not good for me to be so safe.  I’m single.  I need to spend time with single people. The married guys are all cool, and I want to keep our friendships,  but I need to add an available man to the mix.   While I’m making that happen, I need to  reconnect with my female friends, and make new ones.  For me it’s easier said than done, but at least I see it.  I own it.

Still, I’d like to give a shout out for the proper married men who do the right thing at home but still take time out here and there to check in on,  hang out with, or just help out  a single woman going through some tough times.  There are true gentlemen in the world.  I just need to find one who doesn’t  already have a wife.

Just Me With . . .  a bit of armchair analysis.

What the Heck is My Relationship Status?

This post is inspired by another post on Tango.com where it was noted that this new Google+ site doesn’t have “divorced” as an option for a relationship status.   I tend to think that was not an oversight and also probably a good idea.

It led me to ponder something that really bothers me.   What should my relationship status be on social networking sites?

Here’s the technical truth:  I am not dating anyone, casually or seriously, no one, nada, nothing.   BUT, I had been married for many years, had children, and my divorce is final, done, released from the bonds of matrimony, papers signed and stamped.   So ordered.  That said, what box should I check in the cyber-world, what boxes should there be,  what do I say when meeting someone?   What exactly is my relationship status?

We all know what “Married” means.  I’m not married.  Next . . .

Single? The meaning of this word has changed in usage.  Some very young people might not even know that traditionally single meant unmarried, period.   Didn’t matter if you were in a committed, monogamous, serious relationship or even engaged.  If you aren’t married, you are single.  Thus, it was a term reserved for adults of marrying age.   It wasn’t a relationship status, it was a marital status.  Now the word is used to describe one’s availability for new dating/romantic/sexual relationships.

But in this society is a woman allowed to say single if she’s been down the aisle?   Ironically,  it’s okay to say single all you want if you’ve been around the block many times, or have  a string of horrible failed relationships, but once down that aisle,  you are forever DIVORCED, according to social networking.

Yet “Divorced” is not really a relationship status at all, really. I mean if  I  say divorced  I am  really talking about how one — not even my last — relationship ended.   To be fair,  if I have to  check “Divorced” and constantly reference the end of  that  relationship, shouldn’t others have to say how their last major relationship ended?  For example, there should be boxes for broken engagement,  runaway bride,  kicked out,   restraining order,  etc. . .  ?

Isn’t “Relationship Status”  supposed to be a description —  a snapshot of the here and now?  Isn’t it just asking whether you already have somebody or if are open to meeting someone?   The Facebook dude Mark Zuckerberg created the site while he was in a four-year, private, residential  university. No undergrads were  married or divorced in his  demographic, so the whole marital status thing was completely irrelevant to the original Facebook users, and its concept.

The Social Network

Who can forget that scene in the film “The Social Network” where Zuckerberg has the realization that what was missing from Facebook was the “relationship status” option, and he says,

“This is what drives life in college: Are you having sex or aren’t you? It’s why people take certain classes and sit where they sit and do what they do … that’s what The Facebook is gonna be about.”  

Duh.   That’s what social networking is about.   But again, the category “Divorced” does not  give any information about whether I’m having sex or am looking to do so.

But can I check the Single  box if I’m divorced? 

Do I want to?

Does it negate the fact that I was married?  A marriage which yielded children? 

Am I selling myself short by checking Single and  not acknowledging that I have in the past committed to a relationship (read:  gotten someone to marry me)? 

Actually, I think this is more of an issue for older men.  Women are leery of a man past his mid-thirties who has never married, wondering either what’s wrong with him or assuming he is afraid to commit.   Although, I guess a woman benefits from checking Divorced if she wants to sidestep the “Spinster”  label or false Lesbian rumor — which is sometimes the unspoken assigned fate or status  of an older unmarried woman.  Sigh.

Or does Single mean never married?  Suggesting someone who is single is somewhat virginal, pure?   Well, if it does, let’s just call it that.  But I still don’t think that’s the point.    And never having walked down the aisle does not mean you’re a virgin.   I mean you can tell your mother that, but c’mon folks.

Sex And The City

For “Sex and The City” fans, remember when Miranda, a never married mother,  was shopping for her wedding dress and instructs the saleswoman,   “I said, no white, no ivory, no nothing that says ‘virgin’.  I have a child. The jig is up.” ?   Well, I have children.  The jig is up.  I’m not virgin.   I was, however,  married before I had them,  and my Ex-husband is their father.  So according to my mother I should get credit for not having been an “unwed” mother, or not being part of  the stereotypical baby mama/daddy drama.   Okay, but all of that relates to the status of my relationship with my children’s father.    It’s not my current relationship status?   Must I forever be defined by my relationship with him?  humph.  I don’t want to stamp my forehead or profile or chest with “Failed Marriage”  forever —  or until I marry again.   That’s just not fair.

The Divorced option shouldn’t even be there.    Really, it doesn’t make sense.  My Ex-husband is also divorced, obviously.   Yet he has remarried.   So how can his relationship status be married while mine is divorced?   No! No! No!   He’s married, I’m single.  I mean someone can be divorced or widowed previously and  yet currently be in a relationship, engaged, married or completely available.  I should be able to wave my naked left hand and do Beyoncé’s Single Ladies dance even though I was once married, just as he has been able to have a wedding and sport a new ring  even though he had been married before  — and the social networking sites should acknowledge both my new singleness and his new marriage — without reference to our past divorce.

In conversations in real life I  prefer to  tell people I’m single and then add as part of conversation, yes, I have children,  and yes, I’m divorced.  For a minute I thought I should create a new status, “Dwingle” — it would acknowledge an earlier marriage (for the children’s sake), but still sounds almost single.    But really, the last thing any of us  need is another relationship status, another option, another box to check.

I think I’m going to refuse to reference my failed marriage as my calling card.   It’ll come up in conversation, but I don’t have to wear it as some sort of a badge or sign.  The ring is off.  It’s done.    I mean there are some “never-marrieds” who have just as much baggage as I do that they don’t have  to check (pun intended, get it?).

All in all, Zuckerberg’s initial simplicity, me-thinks, was right, except for the word “single.”   I suggest we all  use, simply:

In a relationship

Not in a relationship

It’s complicated

As a bonus,  these categories work whether one  is gay or straight.   And, they give an out to the people who have a friend with benefits, but  don’t know what to call it. A “Married” option is really redundant, because if married, one is, by definition,  in a relationship  and therefore it doesn’t need to be there.  Jokes abound, though,  “Yeah, I’m married, but it’s not a relationship” or “Dude, you’re not in a relationship, you’re married.”    So why not just keep the married option?   Well, then it raises the whole marriage equality issue  and whether the state the gay couple  is in permits same sex marriage, or whether there was a civil union, etc.   Really none of that matters when the information truly  sought is current availability, so why open up the marriage option at all, to anyone?  (Answer:  Married people would freak if it wasn’t there.  Gay or straight, many people want to acknowledge their marriages. Whatever. )

Well, that’s it, that’s all.  Either a person is  available now or not.  The sites don’t have to provide a box for every possible scenario or every past event.   We  aren’t talking about filling out  tax returns, passport applications, or federal background checks here.   It’s freakin’ social networking!!!     But unfortunately  now, a simple,   “Not in a relationship” seems never to be an option, and “Divorced” often is.   For me?  I guess I’m just Single, or Dwingle or damn it Divorced, if you force  me to say, or depending on my mood.   Geesh.

Just Me With . . . a relationship status question.

Where Did I Put My Fake Boyfriend?

I recently took The New Walk of Shame for the Single Woman:   Going Out Alone.  I had attended a jam session/fundraising event by myself. Something happened on my out, though, that I could have handled differently.

The jam session  was nearing the end.  People had come and gone throughout the evening, but the night was almost over.   When a group of guys left I decided  to walk out with them so I wouldn’t have to navigate out of the creepy building  and out into the night alone.   I waved goodbye to the host, who was busy playing keyboards.   He gave me the “call me” sign as I followed the others out.   The others were father and son guitar players  and an Up and Coming Rapper (Question:  Why do so many Rappers call themselves Up and Coming?)and his Manager. Together we figured out where to take the stairs down (no one knew how to work the freight elevator), and we walked out together making small talk on the way out.

The Up and Coming Rapper and his Manager’s conversation  was spiced with curse words about how tired they were because they had come  from another industry event.   I tried to pin them down about where they were coming from (they were late arrivals at the jam session, just there for some face time I think),   but the Manager was vague.  Exiting the building, the father and son disappeared, leaving me with the Up and Coming  Rapper and his Manager.

The Manager, who was lighting up a cigarette, called to me:

“Hold up, you married?”  And the evening had been going so well, I lamented.

“No”  I responded, because I’m not married anymore, I have not been legally married for five months (but who’s counting).

I kept walking.   He followed.

“You single, you got a boyfriend?”

“Yes, I’m single.”

“So you single?”

“Yes.”   Because I am.  I am so damn single. 

“You got kids?”

“Yes.”

“How many?”

“Five.  I’m divorced.”   (With so many kids, sometimes I feel the need to explain that I was once married.)

“Yeah, I’m divorced, too.”   He said.   “Well, can I give you my number?”

“I’m not into hanging out with anybody right now.”    My stock answer.

“Neither am I, you know we can just  . . . (he ran through a littany of over the top activities I have no interest in, then other tamer activities, I have no interest in sharing with him.) ”   Then he said some other stuff.   But I wasn’t listening.  I just wanted to get in my car and go home.

“So can I give you my number?”   He was persistent, and my stock rejection line hadn’t worked.

“Uh, sure.”  Why? Why? Why?   Because I’m an idiot.   See  The Landscaper Guy  and The Female Chandler Bing.

Have I mentioned that I’m not really used to being single?

As  I started to put his number in my phone and hoped for a sudden attack of dyslexia,  he  said, “Let me see,”  and actually leaned over to look at my phone  to make sure I was really  entering his number!     Geesh.

Then I said, “Well,  I gotta go.   Nice to meet you.”  He made some other small talk I can’t remember —- or I just wasn’t listening.

As he started to walk away  he turned and said,

“So are you gonna call?”

Ohhhh. I was just minutes from a clean get away (like Jack Nicholson in Terms of Endearment).

“We’ll see.”  I said in what I thought a nice voice.  I am so freakin’ bad at this crap.

“We’ll see,”  he parroted back, mimicking my nice voice, in a not-so-nice way,  and he jogged up the block to join the Up and Coming  Rapper, who was waiting for him, smoking.

*shudder*   I got in my car as quickly as possible.

Obviously,  I just was not feeling  this guy.  I did not like his approach.  I did not care for his manner of speaking.   I’m not a smoker.  I wasn’t impressed with his  industry talk.  I didn’t even enjoy his client’s music.  Just — ick.    It occurred to me later that the whole exchange could have been avoided had I just said,  “I’m seeing someone.”  After all, his questions about my relationship status seem to suggest that having another man in the picture was a deal-breaker for him.

Why didn’t I just comply and pull out the fake boyfriend?

The Fabricated Boyfriend can be very convenient.  Single women have been using him for years,

I think he dates back to the Stone Age.

My answer:  Because I thought I was supposed to be embracing my new single status.

Bullsh*t

In my tortured thinking, since I had been someone’s girlfriend or wife for many, many years,  I thought that I was supposed to say loud and proud — I’m single, unattached, free.  WRONG!!!  Isn’t it the prerogative of a true single lady to lie when necessary and expedient?  For safety?   To save time or someone’s dignity?  C’mon —  the ole  “I’m not feeling well” or “I’m not ready yet” or “It’s not you, it’s me” ?  It’s married people who can’t lie. If you are married, you’d better ‘fess up to your status. If you are single, you can be creatively coupled when necessary, in my after-the-fact humble opinion.

tenor-4

Jim, from The Office, introducing his fake girlfriend. She’s European.

The bottom line is,  I knew I was never going to call this guy.  And that’s okay.   Being single doesn’t mean that I have to entertain every offer of male companionship I receive, I’ve learned.  See Landscaper Dude  and a Phone Smarter Than Me.   That said,  I was standing on the street alone with Rapper Manager and was  in a situation where I had to  reject him and  provide a valid  explanation which would end the exchange  yet not piss him off.   I had to say something.  I should have lied.

So what have I learned from this?  Okay, yes, I am Single.  Not married.  No boyfriend.  But not every person in every situation needs to know this.   Being single doesn’t mean I that I have to be so damn  honest about it.   Had I lied immediately and said I have a boyfriend,  Rapper’s Manager guy could have walked away with his dignity, I could have walked away without fear of retaliation or passive aggressive nastiness.

Going forward with my new single status,  I reserve the right to pull out the fake  boyfriend as the situation demands.   I realize now that it is not a sign of weakness, especially when going out  alone,   nor is it a  sad attempt to cling to my previous “couple” status.   Some guys just need to go away by any means necessary and  I will  concoct  an imaginary boyfriend when I need to,  damn it.

Just Me With . . .  a boyfriend  . . . in my pocket.

For a rejection without use of a fake boyfriend, see “I Turned Down A Dinner Date With An Ex-Con.”

He’ll Be Married, I’ll Be Free

The Evil Grinch Smile, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I am the most bitter of bitter, clinically depressed and all around down in the dumps – – most of the time.     But something  strange happened, something occurred to me that made me  . . . . smile.  I think I just heard a collective gasp from my readers, it’s shocking I know, really shocking.   But I smiled  . . . I smiled . . .  regarding the impending nuptials of my ex-husband, a man I had been with since the tender age of 16,  a man with whom I share the only children I’ll ever have,  a man who, after many years of marriage,  suddenly told me, simply,  “I  have to go,”  on one snowy  night after we had put our children to bed.

Now, a mere four months after our prolonged and contentious divorce  became final,  he has announced plans to remarry (well, he left me a voice mail).  Though I do think it sets a better example for our tween and teen children,  I have many concerns,  many scowls and curses about the whole idea of it and the manner in which it has unfolded.   All fodder for another post  for another day . . . maybe,  . . .  or maybe not.

But the story today is not so vile

The story today is about my Grinch-like smile,

which started out small and then started to  grow . . .

it started, of course, when I realized and thought . . .

I thought and I realized  that them tying the knot

means  a knot will be tied and . . .  he’s all knotted up!

In other words, minus the bad Seuss inspired prose.   

He’ll be married while  I– am–  free!

My ex-everything will be  on lock down, committed, his relationship and his ownership of property will be  governed by our state’s laws, he will be  bound in matrimony.   His dating and new relationship days are over.  Even now, he’s running around getting stuff  for the wedding and  speaking in the royal “we” while I am, in a word   —   free.

The Shawshank Redemption

This is all new for me. I was married young and for many years. For most of my life, I was  someone’s girlfriend, someone’s wife; hell,  I was his girlfriend, his wife.    Now, I’m not.    Did you hear it?  Did you feel it?  There has been a small shift somewhere in the universe and everything has changed .  Next month,  he’ll be somebody’s husband and I’ll be NOBODY’S wife.  (smile)  In a strange way, this has set me free in a way that separation and divorce  and even other men did not.   This  is a statement to the world that our  epic romance, and crippling break-up —   is —  over.   And the fact that I’m okay with that part of it, even though I was royally dumped,  will be so much more obvious when he makes his vows to another woman and . . .

I . . .DON’T . .  . LAY . . . DOWN . . .  AND . . . DIE.    

Oh, I’m still pissed about a lot of things, don’t get me wrong.   Sure  there will be more announcements, more crap to deal with;  it’s another chapter in a book I didn’t want to read.   And I’m not even  addressing here my larger concerns about difficulty dealing with them both where the kids are concerned,  his lingering hostility toward, pity and disrespect of  me,  the fact that I never got a chance to be  single while younger and without children,  the opportunities I may have missed because I married young, and that he is getting a do-over in a way, as a woman and mother, I cannot.    But . . . still . . . I’m free.

Soon,  we will no longer just be  living separately.  He’ll be living married and I’ll be living single.  If you’ve read my other posts, you know I haven’t jumped into the dating waters with both feet.  I stick my toes in, maybe up to my knees, then get out where it’s warm, apply my sun (man) screen and enjoy the fresh air.   However, whenever I do get in  — whether I jump, inch in slowly,  get pushed or perhaps pulled in, it’ll be my thing.   I’ll make stories to tell, stories that for once, don’t include him.

“Oh the places [I’ll] go . . .”

Oh The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss

And you know what?  I don’t have to settle for the random landscaper dude.  I can do better.  I deserve better.

Just Me With . . . a smile.  heh heh heh

Related Posts:  How Do I Feel About My Ex-Husband Getting Married?

I Was The Nanny When My Ex-Husband Got Married.

Worst Mother’s Day Card Ever

Mums for Moms

The Hallmark Holiday of Mother’s Day is fast approaching.   The advertisements for flowers and candy, and brunches and jewelry, are popping up more quickly than the weeds in my yard.   Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against honoring motherhood, sisterhood, and female nurturing.   It’s all good.  But I have long maintained that it works best for the mothers of adult children (preferably child-free) who are in the position to do things for their mom that their mom might actually want and in this way show appreciation for  everything their mother has done over the years —  the kind of appreciation you usually only understand after you’ve grown up.  Before my kids came, and back  when I had disposable income (sigh), I used to take my Mom to a fancy brunch in the city.  It was nice.

At the other end of the spectrum of motherhood, mothers of babies and small kids usually  love the home- and school-made cards and trinkets and hand prints of the little ones.  I know I did.  These new moms usually also hope their husband or significant other will give them “a day off” of mothering.  A little ironic.  Moms of  intact families often want to hear this from their men:

I’ll take the kids, I got this.  You do nothing, I mean NOTHING — no cleaning, no meals, no laundry.  We will bring you food.

That’s a beautiful thing, if someone can do that for a mom.    Of course, those newer mothers, if they are lucky enough to still have their  mother alive and close by, have to go to the mother thing for her, so it is not a day to stay in bed all day watching trash TV and surfing the net.

Single mothers of course, have a whole different thing going on.   They might have to haggle to even see their own children on Mother’s Day, depending on the calendar, the court order and the relationship with the Ex.   And, unless the kids are grown, any celebration must be engineered,  paid for, and cleaned up after —  by her.  A single mom might want a day off, too, but having the kids celebrate Mother’s Day elsewhere  . . . well, that’s not quite right, either.  And like the married mom, if the single mom has a mother, she has to do for her, too.   Conclusion? Different situations call for different celebrations.

But let me take you back to a time when I had a husband and either one or three babies.   Can’t remember.   I think just one, but it wasn’t  my first Mother’s Day.   My then husband (kinda like the sound of that . . . but I digress) went out and got me a card.   Kids weren’t old enough to do it on their own.   It was nice of him.   He didn’t always know how to do things like this.   He was brought up without a father so he had no role model in the home for how a husband should treat the mother of his children.  I don’t give him a pass because of this, it’s just a fact.  It’s a fact easily remedied by reading, looking at TV, or copying what he sees good husbands do.  It’s not that hard.

Another fact?  Attention to detail was never his strong suit.

Like I said, different situations, different celebrations . . .  even different cards.

Clearly my husband shopped in the wrong section of the Hallmark Cards display.

He got me a card that said,

“Happy Mother’s Day!  

        Our family is so much better . . . now that you’re in it.”   

Yep, that’s right folks, he got his wife, the mother of his children, a card for a  Stepmother.

Alrighty then.  I mean, damn, I think I was still nursing somebody at the time  . . . and I got a  Stepmother’s Mother’s Day Card.   And no, he didn’t accidentally mix up the card he bought for his own stepmother.   He had no stepmother.

He bought that card for me.

I read it.  I read it again.  I read it TO him.  He gave me one of those embarrassed laughs and apologized, but not profusely.   I kept that card for a time, but of course, did not display it.  I just couldn’t believe it.  I mean, damn.   I was a new mom, and it kinda hurt.  I do give him credit for getting me a card.  I know there are some guys who don’t do that for their wives.  I probably would have been mad if he’d done nothing.  But there are plenty of  men who do the right thing — with precision.   So many things would have been better.  Flowers, a single flower, even those nasty flowers that are sold on the highway — would have been better.  No words, no careless mistakes.

He took the time to get me a card.

Didn’t take the time to read it, though.

It was long ago  . . . but it still smarts a little bit.

Just Me With  . . . The Worst Mother’s Day Card  . . . Ever.

Postscript:  I thought this was the most insensitive thing he could have done on Mother’s Day.  I was wrong.  See “How I Found Out That My Ex-Husband Was Getting Married”

Facebook Mutual Friend with the Ex’s Girlfriend — Part Two

So if you read my earlier post, “Facebook Mutual Friend With The Ex’s Girlfriend — Part One”  you know that sitting at Starbucks I found out for sure that my Transitional Man –the first man I had dated since my separation — who I’d met by a chance encounter on the street,  had also dated my Ex-Husband’s Girlfriend.

When I told him he was freaked out.  I do believe he stuttered a bit, “Wha Wha What?”  This dude is an ambitious, self-assured lawyer.  The fact that he was at a loss for words is no less than extraordinary.

“Yes,” I said, “My  husband is living with her.”

“Living with her?”   He was astonished.

“Yup.”  I was still getting used to it.

Now here’s where I tread lightly.  I don’t want to bad mouth the Girlfriend .  After all, she is not the woman my Ex left me for (that relationship didn’t work out, surprise, surprise) and though she has done some things that have overstepped for sure,  I don’t want to use this post as any kind of venting situation.   So I will condense and dilute his comments.

Actually, I didn’t ask him anything about her.   He just started talking.   It felt like he wanted to be my source of information.   First he assured me that they had not slept together.  (I find that quite hard to believe,  he buys his condoms in bulk).    Then he said something very interesting.  He said  he didn’t think she’d be very “kid friendly.”  Next, he made a most caring comment–   he said, “It must be so hard to have another person around your kids who you don’t know and you have no control over.”  He added,  “I guess you end up just having to trust your Ex and that’s gotta be hard.”   God Bless my Transitional Man — he hit it right on the head.  Then he repeated that the Girlfriend wasn’t the kid type and volunteered some additional information I won’t repeat.   It was somewhat worrisome  since he described her as not kid friendly and expressed sympathy at my situation.    Hmmm.

In any event, my Transitional Man turned out to be very sensitive and  thoughtful  (By the way, he has no kids, never married — so this was particularly insightful) .    I really appreciated that.

Though he may have been exaggerating his stance for my benefit, it was clear that he was not impressed by my Ex’s choice.   Again, I’m not going to repeat all the things he said, but this — this — was simply a gem:   After describing The Girlfriend as “harsh” he said,

“I don’t get it.   Going from  you to her is like going from

Alicia Keys . . . .

 to  . . . .

Omarosa

(You know, the villainous  reality show  contestant from The Apprentice, the one  people loved to hate).

Just Me With . . . a Smile on My Face.

Postscript.  Not only did my Ex marry the Girlfriend, but they have procreated.  So much for her not being the kid type . . .