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.

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.

Downhill

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This has been a bad week.

My visit to Miami was full of mixed emotions. My friends were not in the best of moods while I was visiting. My stay was fun but incredibly stressful. One night I even did yoga on their balcony so I could be alone and meditate.

The person I was falling for broke my heart. I tried to contact him today. The first message to initiate discussion about what in the world happened while I was on vacation. A second message to make sure he was okay and hadn’t hurt himself. I haven’t heard back and I’m contemplating contacting his family tomorrow if I don’t hear from him just to make sure he’s okay.

I opened up the lines of communication with my ex-husband. I miss him. We have texted on and off over the past few weeks. He invited me to our nephew’s party this weekend, then shot in that his new 20 year old girlfriend will be there and she’s excited to meet me. At first, it didn’t seem that weird. However, the more I thought about it, the more uncomfortable I became. I told him I didn’t think I was up for meeting her. The only reason a current wants to meet an ex is to size them up, or at least that’s my experience. Instead of coming out and saying “you were a big part of my life and she wants to meet you,” which he ended up saying later, he said “she’s really nice… I mean she’ll behave.” Seriously? I said I had a bad week and didn’t know if I felt up to meeting his girlfriend this weekend. He asked what was wrong and I told him: the stress of my trip, my heartbreak, my work stress, and finally the ache in my uterus from the IUD I had implanted yesterday. He was pretty nice about things, telling me that he would beat up any guy that wasn’t nice to me and telling me not to stress out about work. Then as we continued texting, he mentioned that his girlfriend and I got our IUDs the same day, so we should be friends. Being the great communicator I am, I told him I really wish he hadn’t shared that information with me. Apparently he is still pretty dense about what is acceptable to discuss and what is not. I won’t be going to my nephew’s party on Sunday. I’m keeping my plans with Kathleen to lounge at the pool.

I have a phone date with Carrie on Sunday evening, and I think it will do wonders for me. I’ve always felt I can tell her anything and everything, and there’s just something about spilling your guts to your best friend in the world that makes life seem a little easier. Kathleen has been a wonderful friend to me, and I don’t want to short-change her role in helping me through my recent difficult times. She has RA and her own stresses, but she is always there to listen and tell me when I’m being ridiculous or validate me when I’m actually being rational.

I’m glad I have such great friends, but my heart hurts today. I wish I knew how to heal it.

Stress

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I worry. I worry a lot. I saw my doctor recently for hair loss, weight gain, fatigue, inability to sleep and a few other issues. Blood work was done. The diagnosis? STRESS. Ugh… There are things I have tried to change about myself, and I just can’t seem to make myself relax. I worry about my family, work, my friends, my friend’s problems, my cat, my weight, my appearance, my financial situation, my car… It’s a never-ending list. What did I specifically worry about today? If someone would remember my birthday. It’s such a silly thing, but it’s a little thing that makes me feel so insignificant when it is forgotten (and no, a Facebook post doesn’t count). Every year, my mom sends me a birthday card and it is one of the highlights of my day. One year she sent it late and I was so bummed out, thinking she had forgotten. It arrived the next day, and I felt so ridiculous for being sad. J remembered my birthday maybe once in seven years. I would hint for weeks then days leading up to my birthdays. He always waited until the last minute. After three or four years of marriage, I got off work a little early and headed home to see J backing out of the driveway. When he returned, he said “happy birthday” and handed me a Target bag of things he had obviously just purchased. One month before our marriage dissolved, he completely forgot. We were driving to my parents house on my birthday (a Sunday) and I started crying. I told him it hurt my feelings that he didn’t even so much as give me a card to acknowledge the day. His response? That we were going to my parents’ house to celebrate and he wanted to do something a different day. What? The next day (Monday), he had a card sitting on the counter for me in the kitchen, “Happy birthday week!” hand-written on the inside. Tuesday, he took me out to dinner. Wednesday… nothing. He said I was mad at him about something Tuesday night so he didn’t feel like continuing what he started for me. He’s still single, ladies!

A close friend (I was a bridesmaid in her wedding four years ago) broke my heart last year when she forgot my birthday. It wasn’t just the forgotten birthday, but several events that lead to our dissolution, but I digress. In early May, I flew out to Tucson for Angry’s graduation on Jami’s birthday, but I stopped by the office with her card and gift on my way to the airport to make sure she felt special on her day. She said it meant a lot to her that I came by to see her before I left and how she really valued our friendship, blah blah blah. Two months later, she wrote “Happy Birthday, Lady!” on my Facebook wall but that was it. Two weeks later was her last day at the office. She didn’t tell me goodbye before she left, later saying she knew she’d see me around and there were so many other people to tell goodbye. Side-note: In March of this year, I made a stupidly emo post on Facebook about how I had felt very sad but got over it when I realized what a great group of friends I had and how supportive they are. That prompted her to private message me, our first contact in several months. In short, she wished me happiness and I told her that though we didn’t talk much, I still loved her and she would always be my friend. Her reply: “Ditto.” Now every time I hear or see that word, I cringe.

My birthday has never been about material things. I remember being very upset with my grandparents as a child when they gave me money as a present. I told my mom it didn’t seem right to give someone money as a gift because it didn’t require any care or thought. Yes, I can be a last minute gift purchasing procrastinator like most people, but I would like to think my gifts are fairly thoughtful. I don’t know why it’s so important to me, and maybe one day I won’t give two shits if I hear the words “happy birthday” uttered in my direction.

I leave for Miami tomorrow to visit a friend. I am unbelievably excited to see her and visit Florida. However, I am STRESSED! I keep thinking I’m going to forget something. I know I can buy what I forget and that’ll be just fine. I’m going to miss Luna Tuna Pants. I’m sure that surprises everyone that the divorced lady will miss her cat. She is super adorable, though. Exhibit A:SAMSUNG

 

That belly is the best… Kathleen is going to come over and feed her every day while I’m gone (though I’m sure she wouldn’t die without food for 6 days) and maybe she’ll run her around my apartment. I hope I remember to take out the trash. It smells horrendous and that will totally suck to have to take it out when I get back.

I’m working my way into rambling today. I promise to stay a little more on point next time.