Alone Again… Naturally

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Two years and two days have passed since I met WFB (Whole Foods Boy). A little over one week ago I asked him to move out. Alcoholism and depression are motherfuckers and I can handle one, but not both. He basically moved in with me last summer, though he was still under a lease with his roommate for six more months. It was June of last year when he “moved in.” I asked him to stop living in my house if he wasn’t at least helping with dishes and mowing the lawn. Three months later, he was in a car accident and had to reveal to me that he had been driving on a restricted license due to not complying with state laws and getting an Interlock Breathalyzer system installed in his car TWO YEARS PRIOR when he got his second DUI. I forgave him the major omission, but still asked him to move back in with his roommate. He never left. In January of this year, he began paying rent and moved all of his things in to my house.

On the subject of alcohol, I’m the kind of person who will buy a six pack of beer that will last me six months. He drinks two or three beers a day for no reason and binge drinks on the weekends, often to the point of belligerence. He doesn’t drink Coors or Budweiser with low alcohol content – he purposefully buys beers in the big bottles that are anywhere from 10-15% alcohol content. I was embarrassed to take him anywhere that alcohol would be involved. In August of last year, we were invited to a party at a local bar. My friend’s friend was paying for all the drinks that night, and I informed WFB of this fact. He still ordered $20, $25, $30 bottles of beer, justifying the expense because “we were all sharing them.” He drank so much that he didn’t remember leaving or the cab ride home. He woke up the next day and asked if we had walked home.

In May, he went to a birthday party without me. I was house-sitting and didn’t feel well enough to attend. He drank so much that at 5:00 am, when he was supposed to be headed to work, he could not blow clean to start his car. His phone was dead and once he left his friend’s house, the door was locked behind him, everyone asleep inside. He walked almost 30 blocks to the house where I was staying, reeking of alcohol and his eyes bloodshot. “Can you take me to work?” he asked when I opened the front door in shock. I dropped him off and barely spoke to him. He was fired the next day. He swears it had nothing to do with his physical state that day.

He sat at home for almost three months, living off of the three months of PTO he had accrued that were paid out to him. He never filed for unemployment. He applied for only 2-3 jobs a week, stating that he had to completely re-write his cover letter every time and “that took a lot of time.” One week into his unemployment, my friend offered him a part time gig in a warehouse that would allow him to make money while looking for a career in something he had more interest. He assured me he was going to continue to apply for jobs while working at this temporary job. It was early August when he finally applied and started working in the warehouse. He is still there. They offered him full time and he is no longer looking for a career that interests him. He says he’s not going to be there forever, but that’s what he said about Whole Foods. He was there for over four years, and his mother was the one who talked him into applying there. He would still be there if he hadn’t been fired. I pushed him into the warehouse job because it was guaranteed income and he could continue the job search while earning some money.

About a month ago, I wanted to try to work things out. I went to his parents (who had just returned from seeing WFB’s brother in rehab) about his problem with drinking and his lack of motivation. There is a long line of alcoholism in their family. His parents promised to help him however they could and supported my decision if I chose to end the relationship. I recently started nursing school and I am not equipped to handle the stress of his depression and alcoholism along with the stress of school. I came home and relayed what I had told his parents. He spoke with them the next day, coming home to tell me that he was going to start AA classes and make an appointment with a therapist. He has been saying for the past six months that he is going to contact his previous therapist and get help. There has been no such contact. He has attended no AA classes. He is not very good at following through.

Four weeks ago, we broke up. Three weeks ago, we tried to work it out. A little over one week ago, we broke up and I asked him to move out. He has yet to look for another place to live. He doesn’t know how to take care of himself, and I cannot mother another man. I saw a six pack in his closet when I moved my printer out of his room two days ago. Some things never change.

He came home crying today, asking me if I’m happy. I simply left the house. I’ve grieved the loss of our romantic relationship for so long that I cannot cry any more about it. I’m sad some days but I am happy others. Some days I want to crawl into his arms and say, “let’s work it out,” but I know I’ll just turn around and change my mind the next day. Love is a bitch.

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Dread

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Butterflies are the best. When you hear that knock on the door and your heart skips a beat. Every cell phone vibration might be them and your pulse races. Butterflies are fleeting, but should they be gone after six months? Should my heart drop when I come home for lunch and see that his car is still in the garage? I wanted that 45 minutes to myself. I need space. Lots of it. After being in a marriage with infinite space, I wanted a man to be at my side at all times. Now that I have a man who wants to be by my side at all times, I’m suffocating.

We have other issues than space and, though our communication is stellar, I’m unhappy. Sometimes I wonder if it’s my small living space that causes my anxiety about our relationship, but I know it’s not the size of my apartment. It’s the empty beer bottles and salsa dishes and skillets that I clean up almost every time he leaves. It’s my melted spatula and my ruined loaf pan with no replacement offer. It’s the Tupperware he’s had for 4 months and can’t manage to bring back despite constant reminders. It’s the Kleenex and the toothpaste and the toilet paper and the soap and the electric bill and the food and the beer that have exponentially increased in usage and therefore cost over the past 5 months. It’s coming home, thinking I have a night to myself and he’s in my shower after his workout or on my couch watching sports because he doesn’t have cable and I gave him a key. It’s being told that my nieces aren’t my family because they’re my ex-brother-in-law’s kids and not my blood relation, even though they’ve been a part of my life for the past 10 years. Communication improves things for a week or two, but not long-term. I often chalk it up to his relationship inexperience, but that only accounts for so much. I left a relationship in which I was a care-giver rather than a partner and I now find myself in the same type of relationship. Patterns don’t break themselves and I have to find a way. He says he loves me but words are words and, as the adage states, actions are louder. I feel used: not loved for me, but for what I can provide.

I’ve been thinking about the mechanic a lot lately. Though we never had a cemented relationship, we connected in a way that I’ve never connected with another person. I know we may never enter into a committed relationship, but he understands me and I understand him. At this point in my life, that’s all I want. I don’t want a ring or a wedding or even a joint checking account. I want someone to miss me and to love me, but I want freedom. I don’t know if I can have it all, but I need to be bold and try.

I need to be alone.

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.

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.

Explosion

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Things have been going well in my love life. Surprisingly well. WFB is heading to my brother’s house with me to watch football and meet my family tomorrow. Afterward, he’s going to meet one of  my closest friends when we go on a walk at a local park. I’m a little nervous about it, just because I know my parents will embarrass me. I’m a 31 year old woman, yet my parents always find a way to tell some stupid, old story that makes my cheeks burn and flush.

My pheromones have turned radioactive again. There must have been something in the water this past month that made several of my exes re-establish contact with me.

I hadn’t spoken to B in over a year. He messaged me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I would come to his upcoming art gallery opening. I told him that of course, I would definitely be there. He then messaged me on Halloween just to chat. We live 35 miles apart, but I was going to a show the following Wednesday night near where he lives with WFB and we made plans to get a drink prior to the start of the main act. I was shocked at how much he has matured since we last saw each other. B took out his lip ring and grew some attractive facial hair. He has been living in the same apartment for the past year and a half. He also has a job and is working toward purchasing a motorcycle as means of transportation. He even has a smart phone, not a disposable flip phone like the last time we spoke! At one point in the conversation I said, “Who are you?” B laughed and said he knew he’d changed a lot since our last conversation. He brought a small piece of art for me because he knows what a fan I am. He was going to bring a larger piece to me, but he knew I was going to the show and feared it would have met its demise in a crowd. He does beautiful watercolor on cardboard, so it probably would not have survived.

Adam texted me two weeks ago. He wanted to get together for lunch. I told him I was very busy but maybe the following week. So I guess the ball is in my court to contact him. I’m going to have to make it very clear that he is completely friend-zoned because I have a boyfriend and he missed his chance.

I don’t think I’ve talked about D. D first knew me as a married lady. We met in boxing class three years ago and became fast friends. At the time, he was trying to lose weight and was in the process of removing a visible tattoo in hopes of becoming a Marine. When I started going through the process of divorce, he wanted to hang out with me more and more. I began seeing B shortly after splitting from Jeff, so I was as clear as possible to D that I was not interested. He still pursued me mercilessly, even calling me and messaging me while I was on my solo cross-country, soul-searching trip. All I wanted was to be alone and think for 10 days and he was blowing up my phone. I ignored a lot of his calls and didn’t respond to most of his text messages. When I was back in town he propositioned me and I began completely ignoring him. I had told him I was still seeing B, but my mistake was telling him we weren’t exclusive. After a few months, I cooled off and we tried to be friends but I couldn’t get past the lewd comments and I told him I couldn’t be friends. We remained Facebook friends but no actual contact was made between us. We hadn’t spoken or texted in at least 18 months. I heard from him yesterday. He’s going through a hard time and reached out. I was busy, but I responded. Maybe we can be friends now. I’ve been much better at forgiving these days.

It’s 10:00 pm and WFB is off in half an hour. He’ll be here at 11:00 to fall asleep with me so that we can spend the day together tomorrow. This hour is going to be so long…