Monthly Archives: September 2012

Diary of a Divorce–Sept 24th

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WELL, AIN’T THAT A BITCH!

       Yes, I know it’s a small world. It keeps growing smaller every day with the internet, cell phones, jet planes, Skype, and so forth.  Even these blogs connect us no matter where in the world we live.  I also believe we are distanced by only six degrees of separation. If we search long and hard enough, we’ll find we know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows us or someone we know. But why’d it have to happen now?

       For those who follow this blog, you know I’ve been back and forth with a personals social network. Even when I tried to quit, I was unable to remove myself and my profile from view. So I made a deal with myself: I wouldn’t actively solicit contact nor would I pursue any new guys. OTOH, if someone sent me a message, I’d check their profile for suitability. If I liked what I saw, I’d send a return message and see what happened. I have no investment nor any expectations. Rather, I probably assume nothing much will develop with any of these guys.

       Recently, I was contacted by someone who calls himself “One Caring Guy.” He describes himself as a runner, a vegan, someone concerned about the environment, and one who is involved in helping the needy. There was no photo attached to his profile, so I thought I’d just dismiss him outright. Besides, I’m NOT a runner, and I eat chicken, fish, eggs, cheese,and occasionally beef. We just didn’t sound suited.

       Not so simple. He sent me several photos of himself, and he looked kind of cute. He also seemed to have a decent sense of humor. I was honest about our differences and let him know I wasn’t sure we were a match. In the back of my mind, I recall thinking I knew someone who would be a perfect match for him, someone who was a runner and a vegan: the hospital social worker who had worked with me for over three years and who’d helped me so much during my former husband’s cancer and death.  In our ongoing contacts, the relationship shifted slightly from the “pure” realm of counselor/patient, and she often seemed like a good and loving friend. She told me a few details about her own life, but it never felt like we’d crossed any appropriate boundaries.

       She’d be a perfect match to this guy except for ONE thing: she was already IN a relationship, or so I thought.

       When I first met my soon-to-be-ex Mark, I was still seeing her. She was single, and I encouraged her to go on the same website where I’d met him and see if she could find a great guy too. No, she said, she was happy and fulfilled in her own life with her job, friends, and interests. With my continual pushing, however, she finally did join a personals group–in fact, it’s the one in which I’m now involved too. Eventually, and to both our surprise, she found a GREAT guy right as my relationship with Mark was starting to disintegrate.

       I found myself growing  jealous of her new man, whose name was Larry. When I’d complain to her about some of the things Mark did, she’d tell me how different, and how much better, her guy was in this area. I remember many details about the guy’s life, about his slightly enmeshed relationship with his grown daughter, how she’d taken him on his first camping trip, and how she’d introduced him to her friends and running partners. Everyone thought the two of them were perfect together.

    My jealousy escalated in direct proportion to the fights I was having with Mark. How’d she get so lucky? How come MY guy wasn’t as good to me as her Larry?  We finally had a spat resulting from my growing jealousy. We exchanged a few emails and finally resolved the issue after I admitted to being jealous. It was never the same between us, though: A man had come between us.

       I was, and still am, extremely grateful to her for all her help while my previous husband was ill and dying.  After he died, almost four years ago, our get togethers became less and less frequent. I finally concluded in February of this year that I’d gone as far as I could with her therapeutically in the grieving process. I moved on to a new therapist who could help me with the decision I ultimately made to divorce Mark. I wouldn’t be distracted in my therapy by the sense of competitiveness I felt with the social worker.  With this new therapist, who has a Buddhist orientation, I started working on other relationships too–like that with my 93 yr old mother who is growing more and more delusional with dementia.   I made sure to let the social worker know of my decision to switch therapists and repeatedly assured her that I needed a new direction in counseling that was unrelated to the effects of Wayne’s cancer.  She said she wished only the best for me, took no offense, and offered me any future help if I ever needed anything.

      That brings us to the present time and the subject at hand: the new guy. He said he didn’t feel our differences would get in the way. He suggested we meet. I gave him my phone number, and he made several attempts to call. We played phone tag and learned things about each other in the messages. In one of his messages, I learned he’d had an emergency regarding his grown daughter, who is his primary concern in life.  I learned his name: Larry.  Because of our difficulties connecting by phone, we agreed we’d talk yesterday at 6:30 pm.

        Have you put this all together yet?

       I was sitting there expecting this guy to call when…suddenly…BLAM: I put two and two together. This had to be the guy my social worker was involved with. After I had last spoken with her in February, they must’ve broken up. If he WAS that Larry, I had to tell him there was a major conflict. In my guts, though, I was SURE he was the same guy. She’d met him on the same personals site, her guy’s name had been Larry, he was a runner and a vegan. OMG.

        How would I handle it?  This had never happened to me before, but then, this is a new world. Still, how would I feel if someone I knew had started dating Mark? Yet, she isn’t/wasn’t a “friend” but a professional whom I’d stopped contacting more than seven months ago. And she’d described the guy as being Mr. Wonderful. This guy’s profile sure made him sound pretty wonderful. What if I missed out on a great guy?

       Okay, so he called. After a few minutes of small talk about the current heat wave, I managed to segue to my suspicions. I asked him if he knew and/or had been involved with an oncology social worker at this specific hospital. He hesitated for a hot minute, and then said, “Go on.” So I did, and he was and IS the same guy. They’d broken up a couple months ago…

        Neither of us knew exactly what to do. I told him, before the call, I’d figured our conversation would be really short if he turned out to be THE Larry. Instead, we talked about all the ramifications and complications and the what ifs. He DOES sound like maybe he and I are suited for each other than he’d been with her. She was always too busy for him and made it clear she wouldn’t give up her friends or her time. He had to “adjust” to her rules and fit in to things on her terms. He had been in a long-term marriage, as had I, and we both have grown kids. The social worker has never married nor does she have kids. He was born in New York and is Jewish. Same here. She’s as gentile as white bread and is a true Californian.

        So how did he and I leave it? In good conscience, I don’t feel comfortable about what feels like major disloyalty. But what if that means I’m throwing away a really great guy? And they DID break up. According to him, they had a cordial break-up, agreed to remain friends, and she urged him to find happiness with someone else. Sounds like something she’d do. He too feels a great deal of respect and caring for this woman and knows she’d be there for him at the drop of a hat if he ever needed her for something urgent or life threatening. 

       I always said I’d never choose a man over a friend. Does the same go for a special therapist?

      All of these complications, and we haven’t even met yet. If we did, we might not have any chemistry anyway.

       We’re both conflicted. He too is in therapy and has an appointment with his therapist this week. I’m seeing my new therapist tomorrow. We agreed we’d run it past both therapists and see what they say. Then we’ll talk again at the end of the week. Sounds like the script of a Woody Allen movie!

       Mi vida loca. My crazy life. Stay tuned..

Diary of a Divorce–Sept 23rd

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PLAYING FOR THE OTHER TEAM

      I went to an Angels baseball game about a week ago, along with one of the veterans and four nurses from my volunteer work at a VA nursing home. This event was a VIP offer from the team manager, Mike Scioscia, who’d read an article written about me and three featured vets. The story appeared on page one of our local newspaper.  One of the vets is a hardcore Angels fan, and his story as a disabled Vietnam vet really moved Scioscia to offer him this special gift through the PR Department. We were escorted down to the field to meet the players, with whom we posed for tons of photos. The players made a big fuss about the veteran, and the Angels manager presented him with an autographed jersey and signed baseballs. 

     Mike Scioscia was so down-to-earth and approachable that I even chided him on the fact that there are a lot of other vets who couldn’t come but who would’ve also loved to be honored in this way. He promised that, once the season ends, he’ll make an appearance at the nursing home. I think he’s such an honorable guy that he’ll make good on his word.

     Anyway, after we’d all been on the field for awhile, we were escorted to our special seats behind the dugout for the game. All of us were thrilled beyond belief, even though the Angels lost.

     With baseball on my brain, I came up with an analogy to the current state of my life.  Whenever players hit a homerun or even get a base hit, everyone in the stands cheers and applauds. When they strike out, the inning is over. If a player strikes out on a regular basis, he may get traded to another team or even lose his job.

     Isn’t it time I realized I’m striking out in this dating drama? Maybe it’s time to play for the other team, the winning team. Maybe it’s time to quit searching for my Mr. Perfect Guy. And maybe it’s time to play with the opposite team: the girls.

     No, I’m not talking sex here. I can imagine the titallation from some of you to the name of this post. In fact, I almost wish I could be interested in playing with the other team sexually. Unfortunately, my proclivity is towards men. Such a shame…

      But I think I’m striking out with guys. I’ve had my fair share of dates, gotten my share of “wants to meet you” and messages on my dating profile. Either the guys whom I’m attracting on this site are an assorted bunch of losers, or maybe this free site only attracts losers (or cheapskates), or maybe I’m just too old and cynical for the good guys. My head has been spinning around this subject lately.

      What is it about men I’m NOT getting? Are the sexes truly that different?

      A couple of the guys who I thought had blown me off surfaced recently. One of them got adamant..I mean pissed off…when he thought I hadn’t responded to his message to me. He made some smart crack about the fact that the Angels had lost, even though we’d gone to the game to bring them luck. He figured I hadn’t answered him because of the fact he hadn’t tried to kiss me on the date. Remember him?? Yeah, that’s it!!!

       The truth is that I had responded, and I’d kept my response very neutral and cordial. I said that, even though the Angels had lost, the veterans were the Big Winners. For some reason, the site failed to publish my answer to him. So I wrote him again and said the very same thing, and then made it clear I had no interest in him. I didn’t even make a snarky comment about the kissing thing. Yechhh.

       The other one, whom I’d actually liked, got really wishy-washy.  I’m a VERY straightforward kind of gal and told him all I wanted was a clear “yes” or “no” if he was interested in pursuing something with me. His answer? Well, he said, he’d only dated one other woman after our date and there was nothing between them. So did he figure I was the “back burner” gal? Second runner up? We went back and forth a few times, including a couple attempts on his part to call me. I’d had enough. I told him we ought to let this whole thing go. Am I asking too much of someone who’s met me to ask me out on a second date without checking out the rest of the merchandise? Has he relegated me to the Clearance Shelf ? Am I supposed to find this flattering?  No thanks.

       And remember the travel guy? Well, on the day of my “date” or whatever it was with him, I’d gotten an email from a first generation Chinese woman who also was interested in a potential travel partner. On Thursday, we arranged a “date” or a meet-and-greet at a Chinese restaurant. Seems we have a lot in common. First, I have to admit that, just knowing I was meeting another woman, I was already more at ease. Didn’t need to spend a couple hours getting ready, awaited her arrival calmly, and even got there first!

       She lives in my city, is the same political party (Forward!!!), and wants to visit some of the same countries I do. She too is an independent traveler who has no interest in group tours. She speaks a couple Chinese dialects, so it was great fun being in this restaurant and letting her do the ordering for us both. The Chinese waiter seemed so much friendlier than he usually is when I come in with another Anglo.

        We laughed at the same jokes, we shared about our lives and our experiences with men (even MORE laughs), and she too is divorcing. Hers will be final in a couple weeks. She too initiated the break-up, but she had more difficulties getting her husband out of the house. She also has more financial complications because there are two children involved. One potential problem for future travel is that both of her kids still live at home: One is in high school and the other in college.

        When our divorces are finalized, we are going to celebrate together. We also talked of getting together at each other’s homes to continue our budding friendship. This would NEVER have happened so quickly if SHE had been a HE.

        I’ve been giving a lot of thought to where I am in the divorce process and what I’ve learned so far. As my therapist told me, in Buddhism, crisis is the same concept as opportunity. If I’d have stayed with my soon-to-be-ex, I would never have put myself out there to meet these new people. Even the bad experiences (kisses, anyone?) have been, at the least, fodder for a few good laughs. My journey, if I keep up the energy, will lead to all sorts of unknown new territory. Staying with the ex would’ve given me the same ole, same ole. Instead of getting together with a new girlfriend or pursuing a new interest, I’d have stayed home–probably to some sort of argument that would ruin both our nights.

        You get what you get when you do what you do.

        Don’t get me wrong. It takes tremendous energy to enter a room where I don’t know anyone. I have to fight my fears and convince myself to go when every fiber in my being is trying to convince me to stay home and watch some dumb show on TV. I have done a lot of “self talking” (AKA–talking to myself, but it doesn’t sound so much like someone who is delusional!) to force myself to welcome the unknown, to keep moving forward, to keep trying  out yet one more new thing. I have signed up for several future meet-ups, all of which offer free and interesting activities.  One meet-up, which I just cancelled for tomorrow night is on something called advaitins, a form of “non-dualism.” It is related to quantum physics. I’d have gone, but I don’t think my brain right now is capable of following this complex subject. But maybe another time. I just have to stay willing.

        After all, what choice do I have? I’ve already struck out FOUR times at marriage.  In my baseball analogy, it’s three strikes, you’re out. I’m way beyond out. But is it possible that OUT is just another concept for opportunity too? Maybe if I went to the advaitin meet-up, I’d have a clearer understanding. Or maybe not. That’s what’s so cool. It’s all up to me to decide.

Diary of a Divorce–Sept 17th

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TMI

    It’s another world from the one in which I grew up. Now, we have so many ways to learn about one another, even without gaining permission. I had never figured my life was interesting enough for anyone to research me. I have learned differently.

     For those who’ve followed my journey, I last left you in “Retreat Mode.” I was afraid to venture out into new territory because I was feeling hurt and afraid of new experiences and of meeting new people.

      In my last blog, I wrote about how unhappy I’d been following a travel meetup I attended because we were given very little time to meet the others and to explore their travel needs or to find someone potentially seeking a travel partner. In the comments section following the meetup, I said exactly that, while being sensitive to the person who’d organized the meetup.

     One of the meetup attendees emailed me with a suggestion that I post a request on the message board delineating exactly what, and who, I might be seeking for a future trip.

       Good idea. So that’s what I did. I didn’t expect much of a response, if any.

       Imagine when I got a friendly email from someone who’d attended a previous meetup and who’d felt exactly as I had. Cool!

       It was a man. Hmmmm.

       Naive me, I thought there were actually some distinct advantages to traveling with a man. Mostly, it was the safety factor compared to two women traveling together.

       So I wrote a friendly response, and we started exchanging emails. He mentioned that I could get more information about him, including pictures, if I went onto POF, where he had a profile. What a coincidence! This was exactly the same personals site where I had advertised my own profile!  What do you know?!!!

       We had other similarities: both of us are tall, we live in the same city, and we enjoy independent travel. He too is retired from a government job and is able to go just about anywhere at the drop of a hat. He’d been married for more than twenty years, divorced, and then lost his wife in a tragic automobile accident. We had so much in common!

       I read his profile, and he seemed like a nice and interesting man. We made plans to meet on Friday, the 14th, for lunch.

       Was this a DATE or a meeting with a potential travel partner? The lines were a bit crossed, and I wasn’t sure how to handle the blurring of these boundaries. Should I insist we go “dutch treat” at lunch to prevent any discomfort?

       No, I thought. I’ll just show up and be open to whatever develops or doesn’t. Isn’t that part of the fun of adventure travel anyway–meeting new people, even if it’s just in your own city?

       After my last few dating fiascos, I forced myself to keep ANY expectations under wraps. My heart had taken just about enough disapoointment for one month. Think of him as a friend, not as a date, I told myself. That should alleviate some of the “getting ready” hurdles. I’d wear shorts and a tank top and let my hair hang loosely without worrying about hairspray. We were having lunch at the end of the pier, at a very casual restaurant. Maybe I’d get lucky enough to spot a group of dolphins…

       When he showed up, it was a pleasant enough meeting. He was taller than I am, always a good thing. We were relaxed together, and the conversation flowed smoothly. We had lunch, and neither of us seemed particularly rushed to end the afternoon get-together. I wasn’t sure if it was a romantic type of a thing, but I left myself open to that possibility should it develop over time.

      He knew SO MUCH about me. It was a little strange. He’d apparently read my facebook page and this blog too (he may be reading this now!). He recalled lots of details about my life, some of which I had forgotten! Had he done research about me or what? All this for our “meeting” or “date” or whatever this was?

      He was actually surprised I hadn’t done the same regarding his information on facebook. I’d scanned his profile but had certainly not paid close attention to the details. And why would I?  I’d had few expectations about this get together and had actually prepared myself somewhat to be disappointed, just in case.

       I was a little thrown off my “game” in fact because he already knew many of my “stories.” No need to repeat stuff he’d already read on my blog.  My usually long stories were cut off at the knee and shortened, with an addendum, “Oh you probably remember this from one of my postings.”

       We continued the “date” or meeting or whatever it was by strolling along Main Street to stop into an ice cream store. My sweet tooth was aching for chocolate. At an outside table, we talked and talked some more. He slipped in that he had recently (only 3 or 4 weeks ago) ended a fairly serious relationship. Whoops. Did he say it’d been less than a month since he’d been single?

         Oh well. No biggee. We weren’t entering into anything serious, so it shouldn’t matter, should it?

         It was going well, I was enjoying myself, and he seemed to be enjoying himself. We spoke mostly about our lives and talked only briefly about trips we’d like to take. He seemed flexible, and I could picture myself as his future travel companion.

      Fine. Good. All systems GO. We talked for FIVE hours before I said I needed to go home to feed the dogs. He agreed to walk me to my car. In the parking structure, he mentioned there was only ONE thing we hadn’t discussed yet: politics. Was he serious??? Everyone knows you don’t talk politics or religion, unless you’re prepared for a potential argument.

      I revealed my political party and some of my political beliefs. As expected, things got a little testy. He was of the opposite party and had totally different beliefs from mine. Great.

      I tried several times to change the subject and to make my exit. It was his belief that many people (including me, apparently) are so rigid about their political stands that they are unwilling to hear differences. Many times, he rolled his eyes or exclaimed, “You’ve got to be kidding” when I stated how I truly feel about things. Hey, it’s what I believe, and those beliefs are not going to change. I’m willing to listen to others who may disagree with me, as long as they are being respectful of my beliefs and not trying to shove their beliefs down my throat.

        I finally drove away, my head spinning once more from yet another weird ‘date” or “meeting” or whatever had just happened with yet another guy.

        I received no phone call, no email, no text for the remainder of the night.

        The next morning, I decided to send him an email inquiring as to what his motives were in ruining what had been such a nice afternoon by bringing up such a divisive subject. After thinking about it, I realized he must’ve already known my political beliefs because there are MANY references to politics on my facebook page.

        Weren’t we just meeting to see if we were potentially suited as travel partners? Or what exactly was going on?

        HIs response made it seem like he was doing some sort of analytical research to see exactly what he is looking for in a relationship, that perhaps he was still spinning from the last one.

       Shouldn’t he have realized that BEFORE contacting me as a potential travel partner? Maybe we should’ve been clearer about expectations BEFORE we met.

        If he’s reading this, I’d like him to do I bear him no malice in what happened. It’s all part of the big picture, isn’t it? Maybe he needs more time to figure out where he’s going, what he wants.

        But this is not HIS blog–it’s mine. What is it I want and where am I going? Isn’t it time I figured that out for myself–without the distractions of men who are figuring out their own lives?

        I listened to a podcast from a Buddhist lama who is recommended strongly by my therapist. What he said brought tears to my eyes. He raised the question of what we’re doing with our energy? Where are we putting it? And are we holding on so strongly to some patterns that we are getting hurt by them? Has this “quest” to find yet another relationship already brought me enough pain? It is, after all, from the most painful lessons that I learn the most. It’s time to let go…to stop this search, even though this one was indirect.

      One change I’ve made since going out on this “date” was to switch my facebook account to allowing information out only to my friends. No more opening my life to anyone and everyone. Of course, this blog is public, but you won’t know about it from my facebook page. Ahhh, more hard-earned lessons. What is next?

      Perhaps I need to learn to meditate. Or join a Buddhist community. Or just to get quiet inside and to stop flailing around directionless.

      Oh, and BTW, I got a second emailed response to my inquiry for a travel companion–from a woman. She lives in my city, is Asian, and speaks Mandarin. We have much in common, especially the fact that we are BOTH female.

       You know, I’ve always wanted to go to China.

Diary of a Divorce—Sept 10th

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RETREAT

       I picked myself up yesterday, pulled myself away from the computet. forced myself to get dressed, and went to a meet-up to which I’d sent an RSVP weeks ago.  It had sounded interesting and promised the possibility that I’d find a new travel buddy for the trips I still hope to take. It was geared to those who enjoy travel to foreign countries, to explore other cultures. In the mood I was in, I just didn’t feel like going out to meet with new people again. It takes so much energy..

       But I had committed to going, so I went. It seemed promising enough at the start. We met in a woman’s condo in a lovely part of town near the ocean. The people were friendly, mostly women. Good. I hadn’t been in the mood to spend hours on makeup and hair. The biggest decision when I’d gotten ready was what jewelry to wear. Should I pick something from one of my off-the-beaten-path trips, from somewhere exotic? Oh, hell. Just get dressed already!!

       The leader of the meet-up then presented TWO hours of apps for your phone to help you on your trip. Great. I have NO trips planned, so apps would help me with…nada. Only one person was appreciative and busy taking notes. Only the leader and one guy had any trips planned in the near future. The leader noticed this, but did it motivate her to switch to another subject?

       With fifteen minutes left, she opened it up to the group. Who had a trip they’d like to plan?  Silence. Huh? Isn’t that why we were there? Who knew why the other participants were in the room? Although there were maybe a dozen of us, the leader hadn’t bothered to go around the room and get introductions or any other info from us.

        I tried to restrain myself from being center stage, but I hadn’t gone to this thing for two and a half hours to get absolutely nothing from the experience. So I raised my voice and mentioned a trip I might like to take someday–IF I could find a travel partner:  India. It calls to me, but it also frightens me a little. I’d love, however, to go with a small group–perhaps up to six people.  A few people nodded their heads, as if they might be interested in going also. The leader glossed over my suggestion by asking if anyone else had any plans.

       When no one spoke up, other than to debate my idea (you should stay in a five star hotel…or else; everyone gets sick in India…go on an organized tour or you’ll miss the tourist highlights), I pursued the idea by reiterating how I like to travel–independently and with flexibility. One woman said she is definitely going on such a trip with a friend in 2014 and would be amenable to including others. She seemed like a good fit, and I wanted to speak to her for a few minutes more. The leader urged us to wrap it up because she’d promised the host we’d be out by 8:30. Sheesh! We’d listened to her go on and on for over two hours!!! Couldn’t she allow us just FIVE minutes to ourselves?

       I slipped the lady my name, phone and email and continued trying to talk with her as wer were ushered out the door. I wasn’t even able to go to the restroom, though my bladder was ready to explode!

       Like these other “dates” I’ve had lately, I drove home feeling I’d never hear from her again. Why should she contact me? She knows nothing about me–but she certainly knows everything she’d never want to know about apps!!!

       When I got home, thrilled to see my dogs, I pushed them aside as I ran to the bathroom. At least the dogs are familiar.  They let me shove them to the side and love me anyway–just as I love them.  They hadn’t even gotten a walk yesterday but they had no resentments against me for that. They were thrilled to see me!

       I feel like retreating from the risk-taking, the adventures of meeting new people for awhile. It seems to drain me. Even when it’s not about dating, it still takes effort to put on a friendly face, to joke with others and to give them a glimpse as to who I am while learning who they are.  This type of social interaction forces me to measure out how much to participate and when to shut up and listen.  It’s exhausting…

       Today should be a comfortable day. I’m getting together with three other “old” friends. We have followed each others’ lives now for many years. They know me, they love me, and I know and love them. Each of us has our own lives, though. Two of the gals are married. One travels back and forth several times a year to the UK, where she is from. The other single gal is a bit flaky. I love them, but I can’t count on them for get-togethers more than a couple times a year. I need a readily available best friend with whom I can hang out on the weekends.

       Still, it should be a fun day today. Afterwards, I’ll come home to my dogs, get groceries, and park my ass in front of the TV for a few hours before crawling into bed with a good book. Maybe that’s how I need to keep it for awhile: SAFE.  My emotions have been all over the place lately, and I need to return to something known, something stable. Sure, tickets on the Titanic sounded like an exciting prospect to all those first class passengers when they were first boarding. But look where it got them. I think I’ll stick to a figurative rowboat for a little while. Yes, it takes energy to paddle. No, it’s not a thrilling ride. But when the seas ahead threaten huge swells,  I can quickly head back to shore.

Diary of a Divorce–Sept 9th

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I’m UP; I’m DOWN

     Another day…yawn. What a crappy attitude. I realize I awoke with an emotional hangover yet again. Okay, why do I do this to myself? On Thursday, I responded to a “pre-existing condition” guy on that free dating website. Apparently, he’d contacted me in May, but I guess I blew him off.

      Maybe I was more receptive the day I heard from him recently. His profile DID look promising. He said all those things we women like to hear–how he loves to pamper a woman, how he is romantic, how he loves to kiss and blah blah blah. So I bit.

      We engaged in a feverish set of communications. First on the website, then on the phone, then in text messages. He asked me to lunch yesterday and seemed so eager to meet. Sent me several texts letting me know he was looking forward, etc. Joked that I should use some extra lip balm before the date and the goodbye kiss.  I suggested to him (and to myself) that we be cautious about expectations. He seemed like a good guy, looked cute in his picture, but you never really know until you’re right there sitting next to them. Would there be chemistry? Would we be a match?

      On the day of the date, he texted me several times. First, he wanted to make sure I wasn’t having “cold feet” about meeting. Why should I? We were meeting at a public restaurant in MY town, near MY home. What’s a simple meeting, after all?

     Then, an hour and a half before our meeting, he called to say he was already there, at the restaurant! Apparently, he’d gotten confused about the time or something. Whoa, cowboy! Even though he didn’t pressure, I told him I’d get a move on and see if I could get there earlier than our designated time. He texted back several times to tell me not to rush, he’d get a snack at the restaurant and watch a tennis match in the bar.

      Fine. Still, I felt a little pressure. I wanted to look good, so I’d freshly washed my hair, decided on a cute sundress, and wanted to get my makeup perfect. Gosh, this first date crap takes so much time!!!

      When I first saw him, I was a little disappointed. He looked slightly older than I’d imagined (but then I’m no spring chicken either, so let it go). He was slightly pudgier than he looked in his pix. Again, I set that aside. He’d told me he’d been in a car accident a few months ago and had not been able to do much exercise. And I’ve got a few little body issues too–a tummy that is not anywhere near as flat as it was in the Good Ole Days. I’ve had two kids so a few other areas of my body have definitely gone a little further south.

      So set those things aside and give the guy a chance, I figured. I engaged in my usual friendly banter, focusing most of the conversation around him and his interests. It wasn’t until the date was almost over that he asked me what I’d done for a living (I’m retired now). He did ask a few questions about which office I’d worked in and mentioned he had considered doing the same line of work many years before.  But there was no really genuine enthusiasm, no show of feelings. He was keeping all that in check, close to the vest. Seems to be a common characteristic of these guys.

      Still, he had paid close attention to some of the things I’d written in my profile, and he remembered to ask about my daughter, whose picture is in one of my photos. A nice touch.

      But he gave me not one tiny hint of whether or not he found me attractive. I had to pull out of him the fact that I looked exactly like I do in my profile pictures. Where was all that romance and pampering? Yes, he DID call over the waiter when I ran out of iced tea… Would it have killed him to say I looked nice?

     It was he who put an end to the date after an hour and a half. It seemed to bring him a great deal of glee to learn I’m not great about directions–east and west? North and South? I found myself getting a little tired of the razzing, so I made a “joke” about the fact he’d misspelled some words in his texts. Just couldn’t help myself…

      He walked me to my car, and then he mentioned my last name. How’d he find that out, I wondered. Oh, he had his ways, he told me. That was a little creepy as I hadn’t mentioned my last name anywhere in our contacts. I also asked about his “threat” to give me a kiss goodbye he didn’t approach me physically.  “Nope,” he said, “Not on a first date.” Huh??? WTF? Am I going crazy here? It used to be I who refused that first kiss. “A hug then?” I asked. Okay, he agreed to a hug. Lucky me?

      So I ran a few chores and wondered if I’d hear from him again. Remember all those texts, phone calls, emails beforehand? Surely, he’d give me a little feedback afterwards.

      Okay, get ready for this. At about 9:00 pm, I got a notice that I’d received a message from him on that dating website. He had sent me the profile names of some seriously weird women who’d messaged him. I had to agree that one of them was so pathetic and sad, but I felt uncomfortable making fun of her and the others he sent me as if I were one of the guys. One of the women seemed perfectly okay. What was with that??? I was not about to denigrate my sisters for his enjoyment.

       Yes, he did put in one line that he enjoyed himself and enjoyed meeting me. What’s with the coy act now? He was so eager before…

       I put an end to the back-and-forth gawking at the profiles of women who’d contacted him. During the time I was on the site, I got a new message from a fairly nice-looking man with a very kind sounding profile. I mentioned it to him. Were we now in a competition? WTF?

      So today? Nada. I’m not even sure if I like this guy, but, once again, the issue seems more focused on whether he liked me. After all, my head had started to get kind of big with all his previous eagerness to meet. Had he now damaged my fragile ego?  I did get a couple more messages from other guys who’d seen my profile and who wanted to meet me.  Yes, it did lift me up a little, but I’m feeling so conflicted about this whole dating thing now. It takes so much work, so much emotional energy. Whether you want to or not, you get invested in the results. Then there’s the inevitable letdown and hangover following the meetings.

    I went to the jewelry store yesterday to pick out the new stone to be set in my wedding ring. It is a beautiful green tourmaline. It completely transforms the ring, and I can wear it on my left hand without it looking like a wedding ring. It didn’t help my mood, though, when a few married couples and some lovebirds came in and picked out some rings of their own..for their new beginnings or to “renew” the smaller diamonds with larger stones in their wedding bands. Sigh..

     I know. I know. I need to stop this. But I think I’m addicted to it–to finding someone I can love and who loves me. I just want to be through all the looking, the meeting, the disappointments. I am living in fantasy, the fantasy of that “perfect” guy, meant just for me, who shares my interests, who adores me, and with whom I will go flying into the future on golden wings. Sound like a fairy tale? Blame the books of our childhood. We little girls were raised with stories about the prince, about being swept off our feet and carried off into the sunset.  All of us poor Cinderellas and Snow Whites.

      When did the reality get so twisted? I’m just tired today…tired of the games, tired of the..yes..hopes. There is NO hope, Marilyn. In the words of Cher in Moonstruck, “Snap out of it!”

Diary of a Divorce–Sept 7th

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Accountability time

      Okay, it’s over except for the judge’s signature on the dissolution paperwork. Time to take a good, hard look at MY part in this relationship. I hate this part…

      When I saw those first signs, early in the game, that he was into control, I ignored them. They were subtle, just under the radar. Maybe he was having a bad day or it was an isolated incident. Then it happened again and again and again.  I must’ve been imagining it. He was such a mature man, so easygoing. Wasn’t he?

       Then I noticed he seemed to be happy when it was going his way, when I did what he liked me to do. The “only” problem was when I disagreed with the agenda. When I was chatting with someone else and he wanted my attention NOW. When he wanted an answer to his question NOW.  “Was that a no?” he’d say before I’d even be able to digest the question he’d posed.

        Whenever I asked him to do something for me, he would make it clear it’d have to be on his time, but I had to jump when he needed something from me. And the truth is that I did. I jumped. Yes, me. Everyone saw me as so strong, so opinionated, so determined. But what happened to those characteristics when I was with him?

         I started to give who I was away. Maybe he was right: maybe it WAS me.  I’d try to reason with him when it happened. Let’s talk, let’s work this out. Suddenly, before it had even blossomed into any kind of a discussion, he was up from the couch and gone. He’d punish me by leaving the house for days at a time. He’d go to a motel closer to his job and work from there.  Later in the night, there’d be an email letting me know he needed to be away from me for awhile, to get his head straightened out. He would let me know when he was ready to come home.

          I’d have trouble getting to sleep. Was he coming home tonight, or the next night? Always jumping up to check sounds. Was that a car pulling into the garage? Always left off kilter, unsure of anything. What I COULD count on were those handwritten letters after each of these episodes. In them, he’d accuse me of being HOSTILE to him, hurting him with my cruelty. Was it me? Had I been cruel to him? I’d apologize for my part in the fight. He never apologized for his.

         I finally put my foot down and made a boundary: no more leaving the house overnight and staying in hotels. I looked at our credit card bill and saw he always stayed in some rat’s nest that cost about $100 a pop.  This was unacceptable behavior, and I was calling him on it. I meant it. Either he stop staying away or we should end the marriage.

         So he changed:  He started leaving the house to go for a drive somewhere. True to his word, he’d be home sometime late in the evening. I’d always be offguard, couldn’t get to sleep. When was he coming home? Was that the sound of a car pulling into the garage? Why was the dog barking? I couldn’t count on anything–except that letter.

         I saw the signs all along, but I stayed. Why?  H-O-P-E.  C’mon everyone, say it with me: HOPE. We all hoped it’d get better. He’d grow, he’d change, he’d become more aware of how I felt about things instead of seeing it from his own perspective.

          I blame HOPE for why most of us stay in unsuitable, unhappy situations. I have a revolutionary statement to make: There is NO hope. It doesn’t exist. It’s like trying. What does “trying” look like?  I’m “trying to get better.” But you never do, you never get better because you were only trying.

           I stayed well beyond the expiration date of our relationship because of hope. It’s finally over because there is no hope. Honestly, folks? There never was..

Diary of a Divorce–Sept 5th

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One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, now go cat go…Also known as going, going, get gone

      Alright, who’s surprised at yet one more ridiculous development? It took everything in me not to reply to Mark’s last email Sunday in which he refused to go to counseling and said he was moving forward in his life. Okay, I get it. Now…move forward, if that’s what you want to do.

       I started cleaning out the webs of my emotions yesterday by yanking that diamond out of Mark’s ring and having his “engagement” ring melted down. I too am “moving forward.”

       So tonight, I got yet another email from him in which he expressed surprise that I hadn’t responded to his email. He wanted me to know that he hadn’t meant last email to sound so cold.  He proclaimed his eternal love and attraction for me and again offered his hand in friendship for the future. Man, get real!!! I am NOT his friend now, haven’t been his friend in a very long time, and will certainly not NOW step into this new role.

       He insisted he has been talking with his “good friends” and saying only good things about me. WHAT good friends is he talking about? He had no real friends during the entire time I knew him. Yet, I am to believe that during the last few months while we’ve been separated he has found good friends with whom he shares his innermost thoughts and feelings. Seriously? I was the only “friend” he had, and he has sent that friend on her way.

        Here’s the kicker: He said he was surprised I had not wanted to get the “last word” by responding to that email. He has invited me to get in the “last word.” Really?  I mean, what good would it do to argue about it with him about his decision to “move forward” with his life? I have had to stifle all kinds of sarcastic thoughts and keep from sending him a f**k you email. It has taken me humongous amounts of maturity and restraint PLUS getting it off my chest by talking to friends and by blogging here.

       So what is there to say now? The last word? WHAT last word? What would be accomplished, other than proving to him what he already believes about me: that I am always so “hostile” when it comes to him? And, of course, by his being the one to utter those last words, it must be upsetting his beliefs about himself that he’s such a great guy. Great guys don’t get in the last word, do they? And in an email, no less?

        This is a toxic set-up  and game I no longer wish to play. For one time in my life, I am speechless with him. There are no words I need to say anymore. I’ve said them too many times already, we’ve danced this same monotonous dance too many times. We’re moving on.  I’ve melted his ring. Basta!

        Okay, I’ll admit I want to believe he’s bleeding from our break-up, that he’ll never find a better woman than I, that he’ll be miserable and will regret his decision to end this marriage for the rest of his life. I can share that with you, dear readers, but I won’t share that with him. Frankly, if he doesn’t bleed for me, if he finds someone better, I don’t want to know about it EVER. Leave me a little dignity and even a few fantasies, please.

         I didn’t delete his email, and I know I should. I’ll probably read it and re-read it a few more times. But what’s funny is that, when I do read it, my eyes are dry. There are no more tears or heartache. I think I’m feeling “neutral” about him. And that’s very, very good for my healing process. Hate and anger mean I’m still invested and still have strong feelings, even though negative. But neutral? That is fatal to any relationship. I suspect the fat lady has truly sung her last notes on this marriage. 

        What a relief.

        Now, all that’s left is tomorrow and every day after that.