All the Feels

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Maybe it was a mistake to accept my ex-husband’s offer to ride along to Gulf Shores, AL from Kansas City to hang out for 3 days on beautiful, sandy beaches and hear amazing music. Maybe it was fate that we had only spoken once in 12 months, yet he asked me to accompany him for a 16 hour drive times two. I was his third choice as a companion, after his girlfriend and our nieces. We never once turned on the radio or popped in a CD on the way south; conversation flowed like we’d been best friends forever and it hadn’t been 5 years since we had genuine dialogue. The whole situation was natural; like we were still together, yet not.  It was like we had never missed a day. We were so in sync to each other’s moods and feelings. On the drive home we were confronted with our past that I was not yet ready to discuss.

Z asked me to accompany him to a wedding tonight. It was intolerable. The epitome of love was this couple. They dated for five years and their wedding was the kind you see in the movies. It was a dream: perfect vows, perfect speeches, perfect wedding guests… Though we broke up two months previous, Z still wanted me to attend. I drank lots of wine and nearly cried in public. I still love J. I will always love J. We had a four hour conversation about the end of our marriage on the way home from Alabama. It was the most painful discussion I’ve experienced. I was never ready to let go of my husband. Z asked me about this on the way home tonight from the wedding. I tried to explain my feelings to him, a person who has never been married and never loved anyone before me, but it backfired. If you have never loved another person, it is unfathomable to think that the person you love has ever loved someone else.

Z has never truly loved another person and does not understand my feelings. Instead, all he knows is selfish love; how could I love more than one person at a time? It’s actually very easy. I love three people currently: Z, J, and the mechanic though it’s all different love. Z, I love like a best friend, a confidant. J, I love like… I don’t know. I love him and that’s all I know. The mechanic and I understand each other. That one is more a love of mutual understanding. Z will never understand and needs to move on. I do not know what I am doing with my life. Any advice or insight is whole-heartedly welcome.

Memories

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My ex-husband has been on my mind a lot lately. Something will happen and I’ll think, “I should text J to tell him about that!” Then I remember that he is dating another woman and has been for the past three and a half years.

I decided to stick it out with Z. There was a major shift in our relationship in early October, and I decided it was in my heart’s best interest to be a little softer. So here we are: I am with Z in the physical but spend a lot of time with J in my mind.

The biggest obstacle is my collection of memories. The negative are softened and the positive are exaggerated with the passage of time. January 7th was the fourth anniversary of our legal split. J is a very different person but I only know this through social media. I’m not sure if his intention was to remain friends or simply to keep tabs on me, but he started following me on Instagram and Twitter (which I don’t use much), and became my Facebook friend (again). He began a vegan lifestyle shortly after we went our separate ways. He grew his hair long – something I had begged him to do for several years. He started taking online classes to get a useful degree (I guess that film degree isn’t as lucrative in the mid-west as he expected). He is a loving and attentive fiance (actually, they might be married by now) and his lady posts pictures of the flowers he gives her. I think of the time toward the end of our marriage when he bought me flowers for actually running a 4 mile charity run, a goal I had for myself after my weight loss. It was a rare occasion for me to receive flowers – I can only remember a handful over our seven and a half years together. He sort of remembered my birthday our 6th year of marriage after forgetting every previous year. I still wonder if I truly loved him or if I wanted to love him like he seemed to love me.

I wrecked my car last month on black ice. It was my first accident after driving for almost 20 years. I bought that car the week before J and I started dating. We would have celebrated 10 years of marriage in 2016. That car was the last connection I had to J, and most likely caused my recent eruption of emotions and longing for the past. I can’t go back in time.

Sometimes the memories are better than the reality. This is my latest affirmation.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

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I found an old journal I started when I was first dating my now ex-husband. It was all flowery and mushy, like all 21 year old girls can be when they think they’ve found “The One.” Unfortunately, the longer we were together, the more miserable I became. One entry I wrote seemed a bit foreshadowing: two months into our relationship, I put ink to paper that “I’m going to marry Jeff. Mom and I argued about it, but I’m in love and we’re going to get married one day.” I remember her saying we were too young, too immature… She and my father have been married almost 39 years: she was 18 and he was 27 when they wed. Anyway, we did marry but it didn’t last, obviously.

Here is where the damage lies. I love my boyfriend. He’s fantastic. He witnessed a hangry break-down for the first time that involved crying and a lot of “I’m so hungry that nothing sounds good!” He patted my head, told me he loved me and everything would be fine. This completely stumps me. This is the kind of support I’ve needed my whole life, but I feel like it’s not real. I’m afraid one day he’ll say, “we need to talk…” and that’ll be it. I’ll tell him a deep, dark secret and he’ll run. Will he become bored with me? Maybe I’ll run. I seem to have a talent for ending relationships. I’ve been the one in all of my serious relationships to throw in the towel. I’ve had three of them: the first lasting over one year, the second two and a half years, and my third being my six and a half year marriage. How do I convince myself to let go and let it be? I don’t know that there are enough affirmations in the world to make me believe I’m worthy of the love I’m receiving, but I’m going to keep telling myself “happiness is my destiny” and “I am worthy of my love and another’s love in return” in hopes one day I’ll hear truth in those words.

Slow down, 2015

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I used to babysit WFB’s roommate. When we met, I thought she looked familiar. She and I graduated from the same high school, but she was 5 or 6 years behind me and I figured we didn’t know any of the same people. Then it hit me last night. The kids I babysat every summer I was in high school lived next to a girl with the same name as his roommate. I asked her on Facebook Messenger if she knew the two kiddos I used to sit. Yes! They had been her neighbors growing up and the boy I sat had helped her move last week. I told her I remembered taking the girl over to her house to play, and I actually babysat her a few times in the evening when my day ended with her neighbors. It’s pretty weird telling your boyfriend’s roommate that you were her babysitter 14 years ago.

Two unpleasant things happened last night. The first, was Jeff calling me around 10:30 pm, asking for my birth city and the date of our divorce. Seriously? He was with me for 7.5 years and doesn’t know where I was born? He said he was getting a passport and needed the info. This afternoon, he came by my office with his fiance to make his eye appointment. It makes me crazy that he does this. It’s so much easier to call, and it makes me think he’s messing with me. Anyway, he’s coming in tomorrow. I called him today to tell him congratulations and ask why he hadn’t told me he was getting married. His response? “Well it’s not like we talk anymore.” We don’t talk because he has a new woman in his life and he doesn’t want me as a friend, even though that’s what he originally said he wanted. I asked him not to bring his lady friend with him, and explained that he’s the only ex-husband who comes around the office. Everyone else’s exes seem to be capable of finding other eye doctors to see. I’ve been working there for 10 years, and we were together all but my past two years there. My co-workers know him, and those who don’t are still very protective of me. I’m incredibly stressed about what is going to happen tomorrow.

The other unpleasant thing? My brother, my niece, my nephew and I went to the KU basketball game, the first time for all of us. When we got back in town, WFB sent a text that he and some friends were going out for drinks. It was around 7:30 pm and I was tired, but agreed to go out. I want to hang out with his friends and get to know them a little better. He was blitzed when I showed up: glassy, red eyes and a drunk sway. Apparently he’d been out since 3:30 that afternoon. After we figured out how to get his car to my place and his friend back to her car, he was pretty feisty but I was ready for bed. Apparently I irritated him because he called me a bitch when I rolled away from him to go to sleep. I know he didn’t mean it, but that was the word of choice for my parents and my brother when I was growing up. Their favorite thing to call me was, “Spoiled Little Bitch,” so when someone calls me “bitch,” I get very upset. I started crying and he immediately apologized, held me and tried to console me. Shortly after, I started a tickle fight and momentarily forgot about the whole ordeal. However, as I write this, I’m tearing up. I know he didn’t mean it, but it’s the first time he’s hurt me. I love him, and it’s something that’s easily forgivable so I’m sure I’ll be over it soon. He’s a sweet fellow but I know he has a temper. Until last night he had hidden it well. Here’s to hoping it’s not a trend.

The Engagement

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My ex-husband is engaged. MY EX-HUSBAND IS ENGAGED. I had to write it down before my head exploded.

Damn you, Facebook. My 14 year old niece posted some pictures from Christmas on her Facebook. I miss my in-laws, and flipped through some of the photos. I noticed Jeff wasn’t in any of them, but that’s not too surprising because when we last spoke he said he had lost touch with a lot of his family. Out of curiosity, I looked up his Facebook profile and, BAM! The first thing on the page said “engaged to what’s-her-face on September something-or-other” and there was a picture of the two of them from when they visited Seattle, just days after I had been there.

In September of 2012, we made our final decision to split. That night I was sitting on the front steps of our house, talking on the phone with B. Jeff came outside and said, “I’m sure you’ll be married or at least engaged within a year of our divorce.” I said something shitty, like “I don’t think I’ll make that mistake again.”

He started dating her in June of this year. They were engaged three months later. I found out three months after the engagement. He is 32 and she is… she might be 21 by now. I don’t know when her birthday is. But seriously? Also, how did none of our friends tell me? We aren’t friends on Facebook, but we have 35 mutual friends. How did NO ONE tell me?

I know I shouldn’t care. I am in love with a wonderful man who treats me worlds better than Jeff ever thought of treating me. He loves me. I said “I love you” on Christmas Day, and he made no hesitation saying it back. He gave me a card with my present that made reference to farting, which was hilarious, but inside he wrote the most beautiful note to me. I don’t want to be engaged to him or live with him right now. I love what we have. We understand each other. In almost four months, I’ve given him my stern voice, but we haven’t fought. We’ve opened each other’s worlds to new things and I no longer feel afraid to talk about the future with him. We talked about moving in together in six months when my lease is up, and I’m excited that we have more time to learn about each other before we take that huge step.

My ex-husband is my EX-husband. That means he is no longer mine to worry about. He lives a very different life than the one we had together, and though he was a very big part of my life for seven and a half years, I have to let him go because I also live a very different life than the one we had together. I am much happier and exponentially more vibrant. I laugh more and love more fully and openly because I love myself and understand my needs. My fellow has shown me that it can be better and I love him for it.

Here’s to moving onward and upward in love and positivity.