Space

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I usually think it’s incredibly sweet when my boyfriend shows up unannounced to see me. He brought me two dozen roses on February 13th over his lunch break, even though it meant he wouldn’t be able to eat. Sometimes I’m selfish. Tonight, we were supposed to watch the KU basketball game together. I called him on my way home from the gym to tell him I wasn’t up for hanging out. I just wanted to come home from the gym, take a bath, and watch The Killing on Netflix while eating Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cookie ice cream.

He didn’t answer his phone, and I came home to my boyfriend in my shower and ESPN blaring on my T.V. I was barely able to wash my face before my hot water ran out. No bath. By the time I was finished showering, he was yelling at the basketball players like he was the only motivational voice they could hear. No Netflix. I don’t feel like farting in front of him tonight, so no Ben & Jerry’s. I’ve been at the computer for the past two hours with my headphones on, listening to my Head & the Heart channel on Pandora. It’s great if you like folksy, easy-going music.

I love him, but some days I miss my space. He doesn’t like to be in his space. His roommate is a mess and a hoarder, and their house makes me claustrophobic. I don’t feel comfortable there, and he tells me he feels more at home here, in my apartment. I understand completely, but my space is a 500 sq. foot studio apartment. Sometimes I need quiet, Sarah Time.

I’m starting to believe that I’ll always be learning in my relationships. This relationship is teaching me patience and how to use my voice. I think tomorrow is going to be “Sarah Day.” I need that, and I know he’ll understand.

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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.

Future Stuff

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Since my divorce, I get a little weird when someone starts talking to me about the future. “Let’s go to Costa Rica in March.” “What do you think about going to Vegas in the fall?” “Next Christmas, you’re going to have to wrap everything for me.” These are things WFB has said recently. He likes me. He REALLY likes me. I REALLY like him. This whole thing is freaking me out.
WFB has a female roommate and they are moving in the next month or two. My lease ends next week. There was brief discussion of combining our households, but that was quickly abandoned when we both had the “oh wow, shit’s getting real” moment. Neither of us has said the “L” word. The last fellow with which I shared “I love you’s” told me later that he never meant it, so I’m a bit frightened to let it out. I don’t know why I’m so terrified. A) That fellow was a certifiable sociopath and B) I’m pretty sure there’s a 98% chance WFB will say it back and mean it. Anyway, I told him last week that I was planning to sign a six month lease with my current place. Saturday, he and his roommate put in an application for a place not too far from me. The next day, he gave me the rundown of the place: big backyard, nice front porch, and two bedrooms, one larger and one smaller. He said his roommate would have the larger bedroom for the first six months, then they would switch. I gave him a puzzled look and he paused for a minute before saying that he would like for me to move in with them after my lease was up at the end of June. So… he sees a future with me. (AHHHH!!!)
Just in case there was any question that this fellow has serious feelings for me, this next thing is possibly the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me. We were sitting on the couch at my place watching some boob tube a week or two ago when he blurted out that he needed to go home to get something. I asked “‘home,’ like your apartment?” He replied that he meant his parents’ house, but then said he guessed that wasn’t really his home any longer. I tried to be cute by saying, “well, home is where your heart is…” He looked me in the eyes and said, “then I guess this is my home.”
This is what love is supposed to be! He tells me I’m beautiful and that he feels comfortable with me. We have “weird-offs” where we try to figure out which of us is the bigger weirdo (it’s him, for sure), and we laugh for hours. When it’s been a day or two since we saw each other, he holds me for a long time and whispers in my ear he missed me, and I know he’s sincere. He says he smiles more and is happier than he has been in a long time. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. I know my ex-husband and I had a period of blind love, but we never had the level of comfort and mutual affection that I have in this relationship. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m older and more experienced in life. I remember the stress of my ex-husband’s constant criticism and judgment. I know he didn’t mean to hurt me, but I didn’t know that it could be better.
We’ve been together about three and a half months, which I know isn’t much time in the scheme of things, but I feel like I’ve found real love. I could share any thought or feeling, it would be heard, and feedback would be given with honesty but also with care. Sure, there are things that irritate me about him (no one should pop the collar of a sweater-coat), but they’re all silly small things that don’t matter in the big picture.
I’m still scared that I’m sugar-coating things between us, because I have a history of making my relationships seem more effortless than I let on. However, this relationship HAS been incredibly effortless and positively stress-free. I think I found a keeper.

Love Language

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Last week, my friend and I had an interesting conversation about engagements, proposals and marriage. She and her husband are very different. She is fairly serious and can come off as very intense, but she has a silly side about her if you get under the tough exterior. He is incredibly outgoing and goofy, and he will do anything to make sure his audience is entertained. We discussed their premarital counseling and my lack thereof. She told me that they were required to take a quiz of 30 questions that would tell them how they each expressed their love and expected their partner to reciprocate. She said that she needs Gifts and Acts of Service to feel loved, where he needs Words of Affirmation. I was curious about myself, did some internet searching and found this: http://www.5lovelanguages.com

Most people will have one area where they scored the highest with a close second. My scores made perfect sense: I was tied 9 and 9 for Physical Touch and Quality Time. A close third was Words of Affirmation with 7. Gifts and Acts of Service were very low with scores of 3 and 2 respectively. I always knew I was a touchy-feely person and didn’t need tangible things to feel loved. It makes sense that I need quality time because I’m hurt easily when I’m looking forward to seeing someone and they break our plans.

I spent more time thinking about this affects my current relationship and didn’t give much thought to my past relationships until this afternoon. If my ex-husband and I had taken this test as part of premarital counseling, would we have married? Would we have worked harder to stay married? The two things I rarely received from him were physical touch and quality time. I would reach for his hand or try to sit next to him at functions, but he would often brush my hand aside or get up and move elsewhere. He would avoid my kisses and shrugged away from my constant hugs. Not that he didn’t want to be around me, but he didn’t grow up in a household of huggers and touchers and didn’t understand my need. He also wanted to spend time with his friends on the weekends, when I wanted to spend time one on one with him. He felt that as long as we were together we were having quality time, but I wanted his undivided attention. I wish I had known about this test years ago. I don’t think it would have saved my marriage but it would have helped us/me to understand why I felt constant rejection. However, it’s so easy to say “I wish I would have known,” but it doesn’t keep the past from happening. The only thing I can do is continue to learn, understand, love myself and communicate my needs to my current partner. Now that I’ve found someone who enjoys me as much as I enjoy him, these things seem so easy.

The Waiter

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I’m pretty happy in my current situation, but I still have a few dating disaster stories to tell. This one isn’t terribly exciting, but it served as a precursor to handing my number to a complete stranger in a grocery store.

Sometime in May 2013, I went shopping with a friend. We stopped at a nearby restaurant to have a late lunch and a couple of drinks. Our waiter was really cute and incredibly chatty. He checked on us way more than your standard waiter, and he was flirting with me pretty heavily. When it was time for my friend and I to leave, I gave him a pretty decent tip and wrote my name and number on the back of the receipt. I had always thought about doing that, but never had the balls to follow through. That afternoon, I got a text from the waiter saying he’d like to take me out.

We text messaged back and forth for a week or so before we made a date. We were to meet at a coffee shop on a Sunday night, but the place we chose to meet closed at 8. It was 7:45 when we met, so we walked down the strip to a bar. I drank iced tea and he had a lot of soda. He was a nice fellow, but he showed up in a t-shirt with multiple holes and his shorts were dirty and torn. My dating history told me that I should probably leave as soon as possible, but my ability to see the best in people made me stay through what felt like an audio book of his life: how he fell off the back of a moving truck when he was younger and was in ICU, his job hopping because of boredom, his death metal band in which he played bass… It was interesting, but I realized he didn’t ask me anything about myself. It was storming while we chatted, so I waited until the rain let up a bit before calling it a night. He walked me out to my car and gave me a super nervous kiss goodnight. We stood in the drizzle for a few minutes longer and made nondescript small talk. I then hopped in my car, as it was a little chilly out, and headed home. We sent a few texts over the next couple of weeks, but no second date.

This taught me a few things:

1) He should ask about me.

2) He should be thoughtful about his appearance.

3) He should open my doors.

Bottom line, I should have been more picky. Although I wouldn’t have so many memories if I hadn’t kissed a few frogs…