Monthly Archives: November 2012

Diary of a Divorce–Nov 27th

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WE INTERRUPT THIS DIVORCE FOR A SPECIAL BULLETIN

       There have been major developments in my life since I last blogged. Let me lead up to the “biggee.”

       My 93 yr old mother, who has symptoms of dementia. recently moved into an assisted living home. It is a lovely house in a residential neighborhood ten minutes from my home. There are only five residents, including my mother. Due to the financial aspect, she must share a room with another woman. Because my mother sleeps in a large recliner anyway, I’d asked the owners of the house if she could sleep in the “living room” area. This affords her the privacy she needs so she rarely has to go into the shared bedroom. By the time the residents awaken, my mother is up too so there is no inconvenience to anyone. They approved the arrangement, and I’d hoped that would avoid the potential for friction.

        I thought it’d take my mom about a week to begin bitching about her “roommate,” but it started up immediately. After listening to her delusions about a neighbor in her former retirement community for almost 15 years, I was burnt out on hearing her constant complaints. I truly believe I chose a beautiful and an ideal living situation for my mother where she can get 24 hour a day care from the staff and have all her needs met. It was a good decision, one that will allow me to look myself in the eye without guilt or remorse because I know it’s what’s best for her. Of course, I’ve heard nothing but negative comments from the other members of my family questioning my decision. That’s how my family rolls. NONE of them, however, had been willing to do anything to help me with this difficult decision.

        So on Thanksgiving, we were going to have a small family gathering at my house. On top of everything, Thanksgiving always falls around my birthday, so we were going to have a little birthday celebration too. My mother started right in with her roommate resentments as soon as she got into my house at 2:00 pm. “She accuses me of taking her things,” “She follows me around the house watching me like a guard” and on and on. My mother complained she’d rather be on the streets than be kept prisoner in this house. Alright, you get the idea.

        I asked her several times to agree to hold off on her complaints during our holiday dinner. She agreed, and then she kept it to herself for a few minutes until I turned my back. Then she started it up again. For the most part, I ignored her. But then my daughter told me, right before she and her husband took off, that I couldn’t return Mom to the assisted living home until 8:00 pm. This meant I’d have to listen to her complaints for a total of SIX hours!!! Towards the end of the evening, I felt like my chest was going to explode.

         I finally lost it when a cousin asked me in a loud voice, “Why don’t you let her move in with you?”

         And it was “on.” I confronted him, my aunt, and my mother, and then I ran into my bedroom with tears streaming down my face. I lay down on the bed for about 15 minutes before there was a tentative knock on my door. My friend, who’d spent Thanksgiving with us, told me that my relatives had some gifts they wanted to give me. I came out of the bedroom, still crying, and opened the gifts.  By this point, everyone was remorseful and apologetic about his or her behavior. I just wanted to get my mom out of my house.

          During the evening, I felt so alone. There was no one to comfort me or support me during this gut-wrenching experience. I snuck out of the party for a few minutes and crept into my office to check my emails. I decided to zip out an email to my soon-to-be ex, Mark, to wish him and his family a very happy Thanksgiving. They are the Hallmark commercial type of family, with his parents’ house beautifully decorated during the holidays.

           After I dropped off my mom, I found an emailed response from Mark. He’d wished me a very happy Thanksgiving and an early “happy birthday” too. I don’t honestly know what drove me to do it, but I replied in a jovial tone, “I guess this means no gift this year, huh?”

            And it began. We started to email back and forth–the truth as it is for both of us. Did we want to open up this can of worms one more time? We had managed to avoid each other for six full months, and now this?

            I told him I had the song “Here come these tears again” by Jackson Browne rumbling around in my head. He said “Don’t think twice, it’s alright” by Dylan was in his. And so it went during several exchanges. I commented finally that he’d been the one who’d always cautioned me not to send emotion-laden emails, and, yet, we’d ended our marriage in emails. I asked him why he couldn’t, even once, pick up that “shitty phone.”

           He said he needed some time to process all of this. So did I. Would I awaken to a message that he didn’t want to open up his heart again? That we were better off leaving it alone?

           The following morning, I awoke to an email from him asking if we could get together that evening (Saturday) to talk in person.  I had secretly hoped it was what he’d say.

          I had a writing group meeting in the afternoon but told him we could meet at about 7:00 pm.    My head was spinning. Should I level with him? Should I be real and share my true feelings one more time? Was there any hope for this marriage?

            My writing group urged me not to let him come into my house but to meet at a restaurant. It seemed like a wise plan. Of course, beforehand, I had to spend about an hour trying to decide what to wear. I didn’t want to look too provocative, but I also wanted him to see what he’d been missing! I carefully applied my make-up and drove to the nearby cafe.

          When I first saw him, my heart started to flutter. He still looked really good. If he’d looked horrible, would it have made it any easier? He approached me with open arms and pulled me in for a warm and very long hug. I could feel my walls were up, but it still felt great to be held–especially after that disastrous Thanksgiving and the tumult surrounding my mother’s placement.

           We talked…and talked…and talked. It was clear that, after we’d finished eating and drinking cup after cup of coffee, the server wanted us to leave already. Mark asked if he could come over, but I cautioned him that I was not going to be intimate with him no matter what. He came over, and we talked and talked and talked some more. The flame was still there between us.   We kissed passionately, but he respected my need for distance until I felt sure.   Neither one of us wanted to let go.

           We decided we’re going to try one more time to work it out. We will talk through our issues together as best we can, but, if we can’t do it by ourselves, he’s agreed to return to counseling. We will probably never live together again. Neither of us is conventional, and we’re just going to have to figure out something that suits us–not what is expected by society and how it is in other, more traditional marriages. Neither of us is sure what that is yet. It’ll have to be a day at a time.

          He came over yesterday to celebrate my actual birthday. He showed up with orange roses, rare this time of year, but the color I wear all the time. In his other hand, he held an ice cream birthday cake. We spent an intimate and beautiful day and evening together. It wasn’t all serious. In fact, we realized that’s a major problem for us: we both take EVERYTHING so seriously. We once had a major argument over some expired tartar sauce!

        When he pulled the ice cream cake out of the freezer, it slipped out of its box. He managed to catch about half of it, and the rest went splat on the kitchen floor! The dogs rushed over to eat it–not good because it had chocolate cake and frosting. It was hysterically funny shooing away the dogs while Mark balanced half the cake in his hands.

         We laughed till our sides hurt.

         It was probably my favorite birthday celebration. So is there hope? Do I dare risk those tears again?

         The more you resist something, the more it’s there. I’ve been trying to resist being open and honest with Mark–or even having a conversation with him–for six months. He’s never really been gone….The divorce is set to be finalized in mid-January. Both of us suspect we’ll have to cancel it–AGAIN. We’ve been down this road once before. The only one who benefitted from our separations has been the state of California with its high divorce fees. But hey, it’s only money.

          I tried to forget Mark and minimize the feelings I had for him by masking it with anger, by making him “wrong” for me. I also resorted to my pattern of dating other men, in the hopes I’d find someone newer and better. I went on all those stupid dates, and it didn’t work- Not with the guy who had the leaky car roof, nor with the motorcycle guy who’d probably been homeless at one time, nor with the denying me a kiss guy, nor with the alleged “travel partner,” nor with the guy who spent four hours with me before rejecting me by phone later, nor with the married cowboy or the guide dog man. It was all entertaining, but it got really old. Maybe the problem was that I’d found Mark too easily after ending the marriage of my previous husband who died of cancer. Maybe I needed to see if I’d missed out on anything–or anyone. You know, “The grass is always greener, ” isn’t it?

       The truth is that I was really lucky to find Mark when I did. We were incredibly lucky to fall so hard for each other right from the start. Maybe all the universe conspired, or was aligned, to set it up so we’d finally meet after both our paths had almost crossed so many times in our pasts. Who knows?

      Mark didn’t even try to date anyone during those six months, though he admitted he’d thought about it.  Six months abstinence for Mark is probably a record.

      He says he never stopped loving me.

        And I have to admit, finally, that I love him too.  There’s no way this genie is going back into the bottle.

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Diary of a Divorce–Nov 18th

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“IT’S NOT A DOG”….but WAS HE?

       I was not excited about meeting “Guide Dog Man,” but I told myself I should give him a chance. We shared a passion for dogs and for volunteering. In fact, his volunteer work is 24/7 since he lives with the dogs he trains for the blind. I liked the fact he’d served as a veteran, but he hadn’t known combat.

       What was the problem, then? First, I didn’t think I’d like his looks on his profile. He wasn’t ugly or grotesque, just not terribly attractive the way I like men to look. Set that stuff aside, I told myself. It’s not all about looks, right? And, of course, I was still ruminating about the Cowboy and wishing it were he I was going to meet instead of Guide Dog Man.

        I made a half-hearted attempt to get ready and to look good for him. God, all the time necessary in preparation for these dates was getting to be a pain. First impressions are so important when you don’t know someone and haven’t seen what they look like on “good behavior” as opposed to those times when relaxing at home in the backyard or have a case of the sniffles. Okay, I was satisfied with my makeup and clothing.  He couldn’t possibly be disappointed in that area.

        GDM left me a message saying he’d have to rush home from work, go home to get his dog, and then meet me at the coffee shop at approximately 5:45 pm. Normally, I get to the online date location just a tad late–to leave them in anticipation. Okay, it’s not terribly considerate, but it’s the honest truth. This time, however, I had a sense of wanting to get this date over as soon as possible. I’d decided I was no longer allowing these dates to drag on for up to five hours, as some of my first dates had lasted. GDM had stipulated in his profile that the first date should last no longer than an hour. If there was an interest, then the couple could plan for a longer second date. Sounded good to me.

        So I arrived on time. I stood outside the shop waiting for him to arrive. When I saw a man approaching with a dog, I wasn’t sure if it was GDM. After all, a lot of the guys don’t always appear the way they do in their profile pictures. As the man approached, I asked him if his name was “Stephen” (GDM’s real name).

         He asked me if I was waiting for “Stephen,” and, when I responded in the affirmative, he jokingly said, “Then, yes, I’m Stephen!”

         I could tell he was interested and flirting with me. Hey, that was cool with me. This guy had a pretty good sense of humor, and he kept checking me out head to toe, clearly interested in what he saw. I also liked his dog! Since Stephen was late, it would serve him right to see another guy flirting with his date. This guy, Bob, asked me lots of questions about myself. He was stunned I was waiting for a date I’d found on a personals site. He wanted to know all about it.  He said he was single too and might decide to join the personals site I was on. I told him that, if I got stood up by, or liked him better than, the REAL Stephen, I might have my date with him instead!

          As he continued asking me questions, I realized he was trying to figure out if he’d met me before. Huh? And just minutes before the “real” Stephen walked up, Bob and I realized we HAD dated each other several times maybe 25 or more years ago! What a coincidence! The coffee shop wasn’t even in my own neighborhood! I even recalled Bob’s last name.

          Stephen looked stunned assessing the situation as I tried to explain in the rapid-fire way I talk when I’m nervous. I immediately sensed I felt no love connection with him–though I did think his dog was cute!

          I walked away from Bob before we had a chance to exchange phone numbers. I recalled him as being quite a nice guy those many years ago. It would’ve been fun to catch up, but I had a date to attend to. Stephen fastened his dog’s jacket, which said “Guide Dog in Training”, and we entered the coffee shop.

         Almost immediately, we were confronted by an old nasty fart of a man who said, “No dogs are allowed in this restaurant.”

          Very quietly, Stephen answered, “It’s not a dog.”

           I got a whole lot more animated and started arguing with the Old Fart. I tried to explain that GDM was training the dog to help the blind. Old Fart responded, “You don’t look blind to me,” directing his remark to GDM.

           What a bastard! I was furious!!!! GDM simply turned away and went to the counter to order our coffees after asking me what I liked in mine. Half of my mind was focused on my date, but the other half was consumed with fury at the Old Fart. How dare he!!! I figured it would be some sort of karma if he became blind in the future and needed to rely on a similar dog. I couldn’t keep my mind on GDM, and it didn’t help when he admitted that he too was ruminating a bit about Old Fart’s remark.

        I tried to steer the conversation to other topics, but GDM seemed only to have one topic he felt comfortable discussing: his work with the dogs. Normally, I’d be fascinated about the process, but GDM was b-o-r-i-n-g!!!! How could he do such meaningful work with so little outward passion for it? Some of his comments bordered on the sarcastic. Many times, he’d ask me questions about myself but then interrupted by interjecting a really dumb joke. When I’d ask him if he preferred not to hear the rest of what I had to say, he insisted I go on. This small talk with him was feeling like a battle, and it was wearing on my nerves.

         Just then, Old Fart headed to the exit, which was right next to our table. I spoke up by saying, “The dog is a guide dog, sir.” Stephen told me that the Old Fart responded, so quietly that I missed it, “Go to hell.” This was directed at me! I just wish I’d heard it because I would probably have followed him out the door and gotten into a big argument with him. At least THAT would’ve been interesting!!!

         The conversation with GDM started to grate and to grow really old.  Then he did the dealbreaker: He started to lecture me on the way I “should’ve” handled someone as ignorant as Old Fart. I started to fume. It was the same kind of thing that my soon-to-be-ex did to me on a regular basis. It was done by both men in a condescending manner, like I was a little child who’d misbehaved. I’d had enough of this date.

         I got up and went to the restroom, where I checked my watch. The date had lasted an hour. I was through. I came out of the bathroom, lifted the cup of coffee which was half full and disposed of it in a trash can. I didn’t sit down at the table, nor did I make an excuse for why I was leaving. I’d caught GDM totally off guard with my behavior. I’m sure he’s not used to the woman calling the shots and deciding when the date is over. I suspect he likes to be in control. F**k him. Just because he’d bought me a stinking cup of coffee, I owed him nothing. I was tired of the stereotypical role we women take on whereby we must keep the conversation moving and focusing on the man. 

          He  jumped up to walk me out the door.  I gave him a hug, gave the dog a pat, and wished him the best. Then, I left. It felt great to be in charge. It felt fantastic not to stammer a lame excuse for why I was leaving. This guy wasn’t for me and never would be. End of story. I got into my car and drove home, where I’d wished I’d stayed all night in my warm pajamas instead of being on a date with this moron.

         This dating scene is getting really old. The prospects are getting slimmer, and I’m beginning to conclude that, yes, all the good ones are already taken.  BTW, Cowboy has texted me several times, usually keeping his comments pretty neutral. He did address my concerns about putting my mother in the assisted living home, but there have been no more romantic gestures or an invitation to get together again. I think it’s over. I’ve asked him several times why he doesn’t call. He finally promised in a TEXT today that he would call.  Of course, he didn’t. Now, ladies and gents of the jury, why do YOU think he doesn’t call but prefers to text? Could it be that he has a WIFE sitting in the next room???

         I  just have too many unanswered questions about the Cowboy. I know he’s still married. He’s admitted as much. But I think they’re still living together. He has not been forthcoming, and I don’t trust him AT ALL. My gut is screaming to let this guy GO. I know it’s what I need to do and what I will do. No more responses to his texts. No more admissions of how much I like him. Time to move forward…if only he wasn’t so damned cute. But the memory of that romantic kiss that happened over a week and a half ago has faded and turned to suspicion.

        According to GDM, HIS dog is NOT a dog. But I’m beginning to wonder if all men ARE.

Diary of a Divorce–Nov 15th

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Diary of a Divorce–Nov 15th

I WAS WRONG, DAMNIT!

     If there’s one thing I hate to do, it’s to admit I made a mistake. I blew it. I miscalculated. I jumped to conclusions. I screwed up.

     No matter how I phrase it, I was wrong. Yes, me–the wise and cautious, all-powerful, all-knowing me. And now, I must live with the consequences.

     It’s about The Cowboy–that guy who lassooed and roped my heart. That guy I suspected of having an agenda and of feeding me a line. That guy I accused of carrying on with over 2000 women. Yes, those of you who follow my blog know all about it. Things didn’t add up…or maybe things were going too well. Was it an act of self-sabotage? If something looks too good to be true, can it be true?

      I had a wonderful time with The Cowboy. I was smitten, head over heels, kissing the dogs and telling them I was in love!!! So what’s wrong with this picture?

      I didn’t trust it, or him, enough. There had to be an explanation for that wonderful evening, for those romantic texts, for the woozy way I felt inside when he took me into his arms and kissed me on Main St, USA. So I started to do some research, some spy work on the internet. There’s so much info to get from so many places. Yet everything I found checked out with what he’d told me. It was my gut troubling me, so there had to be something WRONG with him. After all, in the words of Woody Allen, I wouldn’t want to join any country club that would have ME for a member!

       Ah ha! Facebook and those 2000 + women! I knew it…something was rotten in Denmark. And I did what comes naturally: I confronted him with my evidence.

       Rightfully so, he was “turned off” by my accusations. Instead of backing down, I pursued it further. I texted him a few days later and INSISTED he tell me what he was after. Was it money? Was it sex? What was his game???

        When he told me I needed to be more trusting, I threw it back in his face. “MORE trusting???” I said.  “Said the spider to the fly. Jump right ahead in my web….And tell that to your next victim!”

        When he denied my allegations and claimed he’d done nothing inappropriate on our date or in any of our contacts (all true), I wouldn’t back down. His denials fired me up even more. I said some really mean things, some cruel things, which I now regret. What gave me the right? After all, he’d done nothing wrong. It was all in my head. I wished him well, and told myself “good riddance.”

        But I couldn’t get the whole experience out of my head. My friends added to the skepticism by feeding me even more stories of women who’d been taken advantage of by scumbag men–men who’d ripped them off of thousands of dollars or who’d broken their hearts. I’d always felt I’d never be in their shoes. I was too careful, wasn’t I? But could it happen to me? How lucky I was to have nipped it in the bud before I fell victim.

       So I texted him again. What he told me made me a little nervous. It made sense. He explained about most of the women, almost all of whom knew each other. Geez, why didn’t he mention that to me before?  We texted back and forth, and I began to drop my guard.  Had I been…gasp…wrong? I allowed for the possibility and realized I might’ve screwed up bigtime. Remorse set it.  I concluded our texting by telling him that, if he felt we could go forward again, he should send me a picture of a cup of coffee the following morning.

        He did. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then, still questioning myself,  I looked one more time on his website.  He’s an avid photographer, generally photographing the planets and stars.  He has some exquisite shots of the galaxy….And there.. OH NO..there before my eyes, something I hadn’t noticed the last time I’d looked, was a tiny notice: Anyone who wanted to follow his photography could “subscribe” by going onto his facebook and/or twitter account. Anybody. That meant potential models looking for a photographer. That meant men and women…There were both on his facebook account, some of whom confirmed even more things he’d told me about himself.

        According to my Twelve Step Program, this meant I owed him an amends. I had to…gulp..apologize. And I did…I felt mortified by what I’d said to him. By all rights, he probably should kick me to the curb and never speak to me again. Oddly enough, he tells me we’re “okay” but he’ll need a little time to recover from the entire episode.

         I might’ve blown it–the genuine article, a really good guy. Only time will tell. I’m trying to be more honest with him and to share about my everyday life, instead of the simple flirtations I had sent in previous texts. He hasn’t asked me out again–yet–and I suggested we might be better off talking by phone in the future. Texts and emails allow us to write things we’d never say to someone’s face or even in a phone call.

         The jury’s out. The shoe’s on his foot right now. In the meantime, I’ll go ahead with my life and remember this brutal lesson. I have yet another date with a guy from the online site tomorrow–just for coffee. I think I’ll go there for a brief meeting and leave much sooner than I usually do. My first dates have lasted more than four hours, on average. This guy sounds nice: he raises guide dogs for the blind. He’s also a veteran, which I hold near and dear to my heart. But he’s not my Cowboy.

          Live and learn. And remember the words of Dylan’s song: “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” This time I’ll have to trust the way the wind blows. If it’s meant to be, it’ll blow him right back into my arms. If not, it’ll blow him away from my life. Can it be that we women have become too cynical, too cautious, too untrusting? Would we even notice real love if it fell into our laps?

         It’s all that baggage we carry from failed relationships, disappointments in love and marriage. After all that, can I keep my heart open?

Diary of a Divorce–Nov 12th

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PATCHING A MAJOR WOUND WITH BANDAIDS

         Death and Divorce–two of the top stressors in the hierarchy of suffering. Both cause unbearable emotional pain, and many of us turn to what appear to be simple solutions to salve the wounds. That is what I’ve been doing with this online dating, and I’m finding that I’ve only been adding to the damage. Big surprise.

         This latest episode with the “Cowboy” really knocked me for a loop (or lassooed me to the ground). Monday Morning quarterbacking always sheds light on the darkness. I have been running, ducking, doing whatever I can to avoid the inevitable feelings of loss. I thought “Cowboy” would be a quick replacement for my soon-t0-be-ex-husband. I’d found this dashing, romantic man who’d take me into his powerful arms and remove all the sadness and disappointment. I’d have a new and shiny toy, a thrilling infatuation, a stroll into the life of another. Here was someone who hadn’t yet heard all my stories, someone who’d be magnetized by every word that fell from my mouth. I LOVE that stage!!!

         It was not to be, and reality came crashing down soon enough. No diversion would be offered to distract me from those painful feelings. Damn it! I even felt angry at my ex for “forcing” me into this situation by being such a schmuck causing our marriage to end! Blame him for my predicament. Blame anyone but myself. No, I’m not beating myself up for nurturing this fantasy. What red-blooded American woman wouldn’t fall for the fairy tale of wrapping her arms around the waist of her loving man as they rode off into the sunset on his trusty steed? My god, I was primed for the taking.

          I’m a recovering alcoholic and have been sober for almost 25 years. As part of my nature, I don’t like reality–in fact, I hate it!  I love pictures filtered by a hazy lens. I love the twilight, just as the light of day fades into the promise of evening. And I want it all NOW. In fact, I want it yesterday! I am not one who is crazy about deferring anything except the bill for my pleasures. That has not changed with sobriety, and I doubt it’ll ever change no matter how long I avoid the bottle.    Tell me the story about the handsome prince that rescues the princess. And make sure the ending is a happy one.

           My stories have not had happy endings. The love of my life died almost four years ago. I miss him with each passing day. There is no replacement for that kind of love, even though the story was often filled with bumps and bruises (not the physical kind!) He aggravated me on a regular basis. I often wanted him gone…but not for too long. Now, he’ll never come back. I can’t lift a phone and tell him I’ve changed my mind about our separation or even our divorces. I can’t get him back no matter how much I grieve. He is gone forever. There’s no easy piece to complete that puzzle, no tool to fix that broken part of my heart.

            Mark was supposed to do that, and it ended badly too. Why do I think it’ll work now with yet another one, another Mark? Yet, it seems part of this well-established pattern.

             On top of it, I’ve got my rapidly aging and deteriorating situation with my 93 yr old mom. She’s eager to go into the assisted living home THIS Thursday. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to get her to let go of years worth of memories in her home. I went over yesterday and tried to sort out the junk (which is what most of it is) from the valuable. She clung to dusty artificial flowers and old dime store plaques from strangers and relatives alike. She shrieked as I tried to toss out old cassette tapes that she has never listened to. They are part of HER dreams, part of her memories. In her eyes and her rabid mind, I saw myself clinging to the past, believing that things were real because of the rosey cast with which I’d painted them.

            It is time to let go. Time to cherish what IS for today and to let loose the fantasies of what never was. The hard part for both me and my mom is that what we take with us is what we leave for others. In the end, what will I leave? I will stay in my pajamas today and allow the feelings in, instead of trying to fight them. There IS no easy answer, no romantic cowboy who will sweep me off my feet and onto the back of his horse.  Maybe it’s time to give up living in fairy tales.

Diary of a Divorce–Nov 10th

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I SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOU (sung in the voice of Alannis Morrisette!)

       The more I thought today about that date with “Cowboy,” the angrier I got. Did he plan to pull a “fast one” on me? Was he trying to get “lucky” that night and then decided to drop me because he hadn’t? Had he realized I was a smart cookie who wouldn’t fall for his many scripted charms?  Or worst of all, was he a flat out sociopath?

       I’d seen those shows on 20/20 or Dateline. You know the ones where lonely women fall for allegedly “great” guys who then take horrible advantage of them, using excuses to “borrow” money, etc. Some of these “great” guys also marry dozens of women, none of whom know about the others. No, this guy wasn’t about marrying me, but I’m not sure about the money angle. I still key into that one remark he made during dinner where he assumed I had the same concern as he did about women pursuing him for his money. “You should relate,” he said. “Don’t you worry about guys coming after you because you’re rich?”

        At that, I’d just laughed. “Rich?” I said. “Are you serious? I’m FAR from rich!”

       His response was simultaneously shock and then denial. “It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care about money.”

       When someone is a horse thief, all they see around them are other horse thieves. If someone is consumed with money, all they see around them are others similarly consumed. Was he after me because he figured I was rich? Good joke!

       And what did it mean that he’d paid our dinner bill with cash? It was an expensive restaurant, and most people use credit cards to pay such high amounts. Was it to keep his wife from seeing and wondering about the receipt on his credit card statement?

        I stewed about the way all of it went down last night. I stewed more when I thought of myself as a “victim.” I’m nobody’s victim.

        I decided I’d call and confront him right then and there. I used my landline, a number he didn’t have and which wouldn’t identify me. He answered after a little “happy trails to you” cowboy ditty played first. I identified myself to him and enjoyed his surprise. There was no warmth upon learning it was I who was calling him–quite a different attitude from the one he’d had BEFORE we’d met. I got right into it and asked him about all the women on fb. I could tell he’d had no time to rehearse or prepare a response. “It was all just fun. You know, they were looking for fun. It meant nothing to me. I haven’t really even looked on that fb site in awhile.”

         Oh yeah, that’s right. It was all about the WOMEN having fun. He was simply accomodating them by flirting with them on his fb site. What a guy!

         I asked him why he’d misrepresented himself as such a “romantic” and “sensitive” guy when he was clearly anything but.    He had no answers. He did say, however, that he’d been disappointed we hadn’t been able to sit down and speak together “personally.” Huh? We’d spoken together for about FOUR hours! ” No”, he said, “I meant alone, just the two of us.”

         Then I said, “Oh yeah? Where? A motel room?” Of course, he quickly denied he’d meant that.

          In short, I was stunned at his inability to offer me any explanation about the women. I probably would’ve given him the benefit of the doubt if he’d claimed these were women who’d been soliciting him for sexual services through the personals website. OTOH, if you are solicited on fb, you have the right to refuse “requests” from potential friends or other contacts. Why hadn’t he done that if he’d been honest with me about how he wanted to quit the personals site because he was tired of the numerous solicitations? The guy was clearly a liar and a first class manipulator. Basically, I’d literally caught him with his pants down. He admitted he was on the toilet when I’d called!

          I was pretty cold on the phone but I wished him all the best anyway and hung up.

          Another lesson learned–and quickly this time. I could’ve been hurt both emotionally and potentially financially. I’ve heard of too many scams perpetuated on lonely women. Luckily, I’d kept my wits about me. Luckily, I’d been sober or I might’ve invited him back to my home that night and lived to regret it.

          I accept full responsibility for loving the constant compliments, the attention, the promise of infatuation that he’d offered me in daily texts. I loved feeling beautiful when he told me I was, and I loved believing I was special to this one guy who thought the world of me. The problem is that it was all illusion, fairy tales, and romance novels (which I don’t even read!) I’ve missed feeling loved and cherished. I’ve missed feeling adored. I’m vulnerable.

           I said a silent thank you to the women on those TV shows that had risked shame and ridicule by admitting they’d been scammed by men who’d earned their trust, only to shatter it later…and many thousands of dollars later.  This guy was slick.  He knew all about us women–what we want to hear and what we want to believe.  His entire persona was designed to “groom” me, much like a child predator grooms his victims. He had me going, and I’m not usually gullible–except in matters of the heart. We women want so much to believe in knights in shining armor,  heroes on horseback, and princes that kiss us and turn us from frogs into lovely ladies in love. And that’s what’s so sad about all this: it’s because we all want so much to be loved.

          I hope my story serves as a cautionary tale to other women who want so much to be loved that they are blinded by the truth of what they know in their guts but refuse to acknowledge, those red flags flashing “warning” signs in our faces which we choose to overlook. Be careful, ladies and even you gents. It’s dangerous out there.

Diary of a Divorce–Nov 9th

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WTF?

      For the benefit of some of my followers, who were/are anxiously awaiting an update on my date with “Cowboy,” here it is:

       I am totally and completely CLUELESS about what is going on with dating!

       Yesterday afternoon, it started to drizzle. I’d set up a whole beach day, so that had to be changed at the last minute. After rearranging our meeting plans, we finally settled on a coffee shop near the Pier. We had hoped to take a stroll afterwards to watch the sunset together should it stop raining. Afterwards, we were planning to go to a nice seafood restaurant near the Pier. I was excited. He must’ve sent me a thousand texts telling me how excited HE was about meeting me. Though I tried to keep down expectations, I knew it was useless. I wanted to meet this romantic guy who’d sent me texts each morning with little cute screensavers, and then put me to “bed” each night with the same. He was already texting by using words bordering close to the L word. I shit you not! All this without meeting yet!

       So I rushed to switch my hair appointment to make sure the blond looked extra sparkly the day before the date. He admitted in a text that he too had gone to his stylist for a new cut. That’s when ONE big item was revealed: He lived in a BEACH town about 45 minutes from my home, not full-time on a ranch. He explained that he hadn’t mentioned that fact on his profile because the neighborhood in which he lives has million dollar homes, including his. He hadn’t wanted to attract women who came onto him for his money.  When I told him I was totally thrown off track by this news, he looked sincerely surprised, “Oh, hadn’t I already told you?”  Nope.

      Yes, he does own a ranch and spends weekends there, using a tractor to do work and wearing a cowboy hat to keep the dust out of his eyes.  But the story had somehow shifted. WAS he a cowboy?  What was going on here? PLUS, he told me he’s raising a teenaged son who lives with him weeknights. I hadn’t counted on dealing with the aggravations of kids again….hmmm.

        When I first pulled up in front of the coffee shop and laid eyes on my NON-cowboy, or part-time cowboy, I was thrilled. This guy was HOT. He looked MUCH better than any of his photos. Wore his hair spiked up fashionably, and had two silver earrings in his ears. His body was MUCH better looking in person, and it surely didn’t hurt that he’s 6’3″ to my 5’11”. I’d gotten dolled up in a new red top with jeggings and black riding boots. I was looking kind of HOT myself, if I may say so.

         We hugged, and I found myself almost tongue-tied. There WAS serious chemistry. He looked like a deer caught in headlights. He told me I was “really pretty.” NOW, we’re talkin’.

          All systems were GO throughout the night. He admitted he’d checked out my ass and found it looked smokin’. (He didn’t have to know I had a little help from Spanx!). The conversation flowed easily between us. I wasn’t surprised because we must’ve texted hundreds of times previously as well as talked on the phone. I found out things that made me like him even more. I’d known he was an “engineer,” but he explained he was a “rocket scientist” who works on repairing rocket systems. Nice! I knew he had a Master’s degree, and he struck me as being quite intelligent and a good conversationalist. He has even travelled around the world, including going on safari in Africa–one of my favorite spots on earth. What could go wrong? We were meant to be!!!

         Well, one thing: He is only separated from the soon-to-be-ex-wife, but he said they’d never had a really “romantic” relationship. It was mainly about shared parenting.  He has repeatedly told me how VERY romantic he is and how he finally couldn’t stay married to this non-romantic woman. He had originally planned to wait to file for divorce until the 16 yr old turned 18, but he decided early this year (and more so after tonight?) to file sooner. His house is for sale. He hinted that, maybe after it sells, he might buy a house closer to where I live. Hmmmm. I allowed for the fantasy..

       When we took a little stroll down to the Pier, he pulled me into his strong arms and planted a sweet, but respectful, kiss on my lips. I pulled him in for a little more kissing–nothing too long or deep but the sparks were flying all over the place!!!

         The bill for the seafood was pretty high, and I made a half-assed offer to pay for some of it–which he, of course, refused. It was all lookin’ so good… He fit all the criteria of my “perfect” guy.

         Finally, it was getting late and I knew he was heading to his ranch to spend the night. It was over 2 hours away. He walked me to my car, and we spoke of many, many more times together. I imagined myself soon becoming his official “girlfriend.” I liked the sound of it and the thought of getting to know this terrific man more and more in the future. I drove off, my head and heart spinning. I came home and kissed the dogs, reporting to them that I thought I was “in love.”

          So far, so good. I was so buzzed that I couldn’t go to sleep. I got on the computer and googled him, verifying many of the things he’d told me about himself. He had his own website based mostly on his interest in photography and work on rockets. This was fun!! It was like having a continuation of the evening!!!!

        Then I checked to see if he was on facebook and…..to my horror, I found he had about 2000 “friends,” most of whom were scantily dressed women. WTF?  Yes, he’d told me that he’d received about 3-4 offers per day on the personals website from “professionals” who’d sent him their email addresses and often their phone numbers. He had told me he was thinking of cancelling his account because of these solicitations.  What was odd about the fb account was that he had very little posted about himself. Instead of asking if one wanted to be “friends” with him, it asked if you wanted to “subscribe” to his fb page.

        A huge red flag–or was I reading too much into it??? I went to bed with an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach.

        This morning, I awoke and raced to my cell phone to see if there was a message from him. Sure enough, he’d sent me a sweet “cup of coffee” with a floating heart in the middle of it and a short, but cute message. I wrote back a cute message and debated saying anything about the 2000+ women on fb. But I couldn’t let it go and sent him a second message asking him about it.

          And guess what his response was????? Nothing…all day and night. This from a guy who’d sent me dozens of texts every day. No cute goodnight screensaver tonight and no hearts and flowers. Nothing.

         Alright, I’ll admit it: I’m super, duper bummed out. I’ve been in a crappy mood all day. Sure, maybe something came up at his job. Maybe he was just too exhausted from a long night last night and the long drive to the ranch. Maybe, maybe, maybe???? Or maybe there’s something to that fb page with all the women. Could this whole thing have been a weird set-up? But, if so, why? He seemed totally “smitten” with me yesterday. He couldn’t have said more wonderful things about my fun personality, my pretty eyes, my beautiful smile…and on and on.

            Please help me, what am I missing in this story?  I did a complete name “search” on the web. Everything else checks out, including the name of his estranged wife, the cities of residence, the job, everything.

             I’m lost…and discouraged…and distrusting. Did I blow it by asking about the fb page? Did he find me too pushy, too “jealous” even?   Honestly, I don’t get it. I really, really liked this guy. Is it a sign that I need to withdraw from this online dating scene and stay away from men? Is my picker broken? All I could think was that I’m so glad I didn’t sleep with him. In the old, boozing days, I would’ve. I’m obsessed enough about him after being with him for one night. Imagine how upset I’d be if we’d spent the night.

             I think I learned a few lessons from the ex-husband fiasco. The main one is this: SLOW down, get to know someone for awhile  before getting intimate, and, mostly, watch my own back. If I’m not for myself, who will be?

              No, I haven’t totally given up yet. If I don’t hear from him tomorrow morning, I’ll call it a wrap. What a shame…

Diary of a Divorce–Nov 3rd

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WHAT PRICE BEAUTY?

     No matter if a man is twenty or one hundred and twenty, he wants a beautiful woman by his side. Yes, that’s my theory, but I think it’s borne out in reality. Have you ever noticed that, when a man describes his “perfect woman,” the first thing he mentions is that she’s gorgeous, or beautiful, or cute, or even hot. He rarely, if ever, mentions that she has a PhD in Physics or has a good sense of humor.

      So we women try to accomodate and/or attact our males by making ourselves into that model of beauty–and it costs a bundle to preserve and create the illusion. A man can have a few t-shirts, dress shirts, jeans, or pants in his closet. He has a pair of brown and a pair of black work shoes, a pair of sneakers, and some flip flops. Period. Yes, I know that’s not true of EVERY man, but it’s certainly been true of the ones I’ve known. When those tees get stained or ripped, he might be willing to rush into and quickly out of a store to purchase a replacement. Does he even bother to try them on? Are you kidding? He checks the plastic bag, which displays the size as Small, Medium, Large, or Ex-Large. If he’s a big man, he finds 2XL or 3XL. If he’s tall, he finds Men’s Tall Large or Men’s Tall Ex-Large.

       He wonders at the amount of clothing and shoes in a woman’s wardrobe. “God, you have so much junk in there!” he says derisively. “Why do you need so many tops? Why do you need all those jeans? And why, in heaven’s name, do you need hundreds of pairs of shoes?” Of course, we don’t necessarily have hundreds of pairs of shoes, but, let’s face it, we like buying shoes because they don’t depend on whether or not we’ve put on a few pounds.  Styles, of course, are always changing, so we have to get rid of the older looks or we’ll feel like complete morons to our sisters. The men could really care less what the current styles demand we wear.

        And it costs a bloody fortune to maintain all of that stuff–not to mention monthly hair maintenance and occasional manis/pedis. Plus add in the accessories/jewelry that embellish our clothing with that clever “pop”, the underwear (lingerie) needed to look decent in said stuff, the different handbags for each look, and the constant lotions, potions, and makeup to cover up our imperfections.  And now there’s a new kid on the block: cosmetic surgery.

        I was able to refinance my house this month, which left me with a little additional money to play with. I bought myself a new watch with the latest in large faces, and I’m checking out bracelets online to improve even that look.  Does it ever end?

        I’ve suffered almost all my life from acne scars due to a bad case of cystic acne as an adolescent. This was in the period of time preceding Accutane. As a teen, I broke out in zits and boils, which were treated by injections and heat lamps. I was left with a residue of deep scarring. My mother took me to dermatologist after dermatologist. Finally, one told me, “Look, you’ll eventually find someone who’ll love you just the way you are.”

        The cruelty of that remark added a few more layers of emotional scarring to what was already a deeply damaged young girl of only 17. I told my mother “enough.” I would not go to one more doctor. I was done.

       My skin condition caused me to feel so unattractive that the only way I could get over my pain was to drink to excess.  I truly hated myself–no, I loathed myself.  When I was drunk, I deceived myself into believing I was beautiful, even stunning. I could get any man in any bar that I wanted. Yes, that’s how I judged my self-esteem: The more handsome the guyI went home with, the better I felt I looked.

        Finally, when I was about 30, a doctor encouraged me to undergo dermabrasion, a procedure where my skin was literally peeled off by spinning diamond-studded tools. It took weeks to recover, during which my face  first oozed fluids from the process and which then formed crusting. The scabs eventually healed and fell off. It was a nightmare procedure, during which I was so terrified to see how I looked that I covered all the mirrors in the house.  Dermabrasion is no longer an option today. There is something called Microdermabrasion, but it’s nowhere near as hideous.  I went through the torture of dermabrasion three times. Yes, I had improvement. The dermabrasions smoothed out my skin but still left me with scars.

          A few years ago, I wondered if modern day procedures might have something new to offer. Perhaps I could, at last, have one of those lovely complexions promised in the ads. I visited several dermatologists and plastic surgeons. They spoke of lasers that would help, but, unfortunately, I would still be left with some scarring. One of them got really honest and suggested I have a facelift, which would pull the skin tighter, giving  it a smoother look. The scars, however, would never be gone completely.

         Before I could talk myself out of it, I signed on the dotted line. We set a date for the surgery under anesthesia, and I started to feel really hopeful. It was more than a matter of vanity. This had to do with my injured self-esteem. Perhaps I would finally learn to love myself. What woman could be considered truly “beautiful” or lovable if she had a bad complexion?

          I underwent the face lift. After the bandages were removed, I looked in the mirror and gasped. I actually appeared PRETTY. My hazel eyes were clear and sparkled with health. My skin, though still imperfect, was incredibly improved.  I figured I’d been through enough. I was done. I’d just have to accept the reality that I’d never have a beautiful model complexion, but, compared to the “original” me, there was a world of difference. I could deal with it. When men I met told me I looked great, I started to believe them.

          But there was always that ONE deep scar right in the area between my eyes. When I looked at pictures of myself, I keyed in every time to what seemed a strained look  because of that damned scar. A friend of mine at my AA meeting urged me to go right up the street to a place that does cosmetic procedures: Juvederm, Botox, Restylane, facial peels, you name it. I drive by that place at least twice a week, every week. She had had some work done and kept bugging me about going in for a consultation about that scar.

         So, yesterday, I decided to go in and discuss the situation. Walk ins were okay. The place was packed! They were offering a special price on popular procedures. Before I knew what I was doing, I was on the table being prepped for some “Resty” and Botox. Lidocaine was rubbed onto the area, and I sat there shaking in fear. I hate needles! What was I doing there??

         The bad news: It hurt. More bad news: I have slight bruising and swelling around my eyes today. I went to a party and hid under sunglasses the whole time. No one even noticed there was anything wrong with me.

           The good news: With this injected filler, the indented acne scar is FLAT. Is it gone? Nope. But the area is flat for the first time in 45 years. I think I’m going to like this…

          The worst news: The results are not permanent. The Botox requires upkeep every 3 mos. The “Resty” will last about 6-9 mos, thanks to the Botox injections.

          What if I like how I look, for the first time in my life? What if I get to experience feeling as close to “beautiful” as I’ve ever felt? What is the cost of maintaining this new addition to the usual expenses, just for the sake of beauty?  On the other hand, what is the cost of returning to the way I was?

           I think they’ve created a potential beauty junkie, needing more and more fixes to feel better about herself.  And when will it be enough? Will I ever be content with who I am and how I look?  Will any woman?