Monthly Archives: December 2012

Diary of a Divorce–Dec 26th

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THE PERFECT MAN AND OTHER MYTHS

         Has it really been over two weeks since I’ve blogged? I guess life has a funny way of happening in present time which pushes the past to the wayside. I had a big revelation today about my soon-to-be-ex: he has become “neutral” in my mind. IOW, I don’t feel passionately involved or passionately uninvolved anymore. I feel, well, neither. Days have gone by when I haven’t thought about him at all. When I do think of him, I picture him on our final night together–filled with rage and blaming, spewing out the words “Deal with it!”

         It feels remarkably good not to have to deal with IT, or with him, anymore. A peace has settled over my life. Strangely, I’ve not been into almost any expectations. I’ve gone out on a couple of online dates; I got right back onto that horse. The cool thing is that I go on the dates not expecting anything from them–either good or bad. If it’s good, well hooray. If it’s not, well, okay. That simple.

          I will never find HIM. There is no HIM. The “him” who’d be my “perfect man” would be an assortment of parts from the many men I’ve known and cared about over my lifetime. He’d have Wayne’s big heart and good looks, he’d have David’s intelligence, he’d have Jim’s sense of humor, he’d have Mark’s steady income, and he’d have Ben’s guitar skills. If you put these pieces together, you’d have my “perfect” HIM. It is foolish to search the world for one man to contain all these elements. It is one of our myths as women. We want the prince.

        Other myths: It takes a man to make me happy. No, no, it doesn’t. I can have my own happiness all by myself. Happiness lies within. No one “gives” it to us or takes it away from us. No one has that much power. Was it Will Rogers who said, “I guess I can be just as happy as I make up my mind to be”? I should paraphrase that.

         I’ve been finding my own happiness the past couple weeks, if not months. I have found I enjoy time alone with my dogs. We spent Christmas Eve walking through my neighborhood admiring the beautiful and fanciful decorations and lights on lawns and houses. I found I had the wonder of a child. To think that, just a few years ago, I got angry at those lights and at the happiness of others because I felt like I had my nose pressed up against the window peering in at someone else’s Hallmark card setting. This year, I caught the eye of several people I didn’t know as they were wrapping up their evening’s festivities. They called out “Merry Christmas” and I repeated the greeting, really meaning it.

        The dogs just sniffed every tree, bush, and fire hydrant and peed on each one. We had a really merry Christmas.

        The following day, I went to my AA club where they held a potluck luncheon. I sat around with old and new friends.  One woman I only slightly knew told me that I’d played an important role in her sobriety. She’s now sober over four years and introduced me to her new husband. They held hands and gazed with love into each other’s eyes as they joyfully told me she is four months pregnant. Instead of envying them, I felt incredible joy for them.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

       Afterwards, I left with a friend to the Veterans Administration nursing home. I’d found out that most of the vets there had nowhere to go on Christmas, no family, no plans. So I’d bought a bunch of inexpensive items at Big Lots, stuck them in gift bags, and took them to the V.A. The guys were thrilled to see me there. I started a poker game and a rummy game for those who didn’t like poker. I gave the winners–and the losers–a pick of a wrapped prize. Then I walked down the pods and handed out the rest of the gifts to guys who couldn’t get out of their beds. I felt like Santa handing out those presents.  It felt damned good!!!

         I’ve been listening to podcasts from a Buddhist lama who says that we don’t find happiness by getting. There is only ONE way to find happiness and that is to GIVE. Give till it hurts! It’s the oldest message in the world. John Lennon said it in Imagine. The only thing we take with us when we die is what we’ve left to others. I think I’m just feeling it deep in my guts.

         I’m starting the new year soon with some promising events ahead. No, not with either of those two guys from the dates. One of them was a nature lover and a backpacker. Nice guy but I’m not going camping anymore. The other was…well…how can I put this nicely? Just plain boring! He is very stable and has all those things we put on our wish lists for the perfect guy–but he bored me to death! I tried everything in my power to draw him out, to ask him something that might provoke an interesting response. Nada. Too much work! Maybe the two guys combined..well. maybe those two guys plus about five more!

         I’m meeting a prospective and interesting guy this Friday. He, like I, is “into” his dog. We share a lot of other similarities, but I’m not getting into any expectations. It will be what it is. The main thing is that we’re meeting at Dog Beach with our pooches. Afterwards, we’ll go with the dogs to an outdoor cafe for an early dinner. If nothing else, the dogs will have a good time. And me? I will take my own happiness with me on this date. I won’t look for it in him.

         There’s also been an interesting new development concerning someone I’ve “known” for many years. Stay tuned on that one. I’m really, really, really excited about this one.

        And…my daughter’s getting married in March. My son will fly out here to walk her down the aisle. I’m sure I’ll cry like a baby. I’ll be celebrating 25 yrs of sobriety on Jan 4th. It’s a milestone “birthday” and I will celebrate it both with cakes at my AA clubs and in private “parties” with my closest and dearest friends. I’m sponsoring two women now, and that brings me exquisite joy. We only “keep” it is by “giving it away.” We say this all the time in our meetings.

         2013 is the scheduled date to get my book published, at long last. I have worked for over four long years on it. I’ve gone to many critique groups for suggestions, and I’ve been working hard on the edits.  It’s brought back a lot of old memories about Wayne and also brought more than a few laughs and tears in the writing.

         I know it will be a good year. The Mayans believed, not that the world would end in December 2012, but that a new era would begin. I think those Mayans were onto something. May this new year be interesting. Is that a blessing or a curse? It’s up to us to decide.

Diary of a Divorce–Dec 10th

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SQUEEZING THE ORANGE

      I once heard a motivational speaker explain the concept of who we really are inside by a comparison to an orange. No matter how hard you squeeze the orange, what comes out is orange juice. So if you are an angry person, it doesn’t matter how hard someone “squeezes” you. What comes out is anger.

       I recognize my own anger issues. I realize it doesn’t take a lot of pressure to get me going. All it takes sometimes is to be told “no” or not to get my way. The difference between me and Mark, though, is that I’m aware of the anger inside and I’m working hard not to allow it to run my life. I honestly don’t think he has any idea how angry he is. The sad part of this is that his anger, which has festered over the years, explodes on those he most loves. When I didn’t do something he felt I should, he reacted as if the world was coming to an end. And this happened over and over and over again. No, he can’t help being who he is. He could manage to disguise it from most people. He could put on his charming persona to the world. But he will always be that orange. No matter what I did or said, I got the red hot orange juice.

        So why did I think it’d be different THIS time? Had I fallen into the trap of believing that time would fix him? If he just missed me enough…If he wanted me badly enough. No, it wasn’t enough. He hadn’t done the necessary internal work, which always starts with a recognition of what type of juice lives inside of us.

        And what was operating ME during this attempted reconciliation? That darn fantasy stuff. That twinkling Hallmark card commercial of the happy, loving couple. That hope. Haven’t I told myselff enough times that there is NO hope? There is only what IS. As a recovering alkie, I have never liked reality. I can wish, hope, dream, imagine and it changes absolutely nothing.

          The good news is that I recognized it so quickly. Nine days. Pretty damned good, if I say so myself. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Mark is Mark, no matter how much he tried to win me over one more time with the Great Guy routine. And, today, I am not willing to settle for BTN (Better than Nothing). Is it worth walking on eggshells all the time just for those moments of hand holding and whispered “I love you’s”? No, not anymore. I’ve learned I can do my life by myself. I don’t “need” anyone to make me complete. I AM complete. Yes, I would’ve loved to share my life with someone, and I still do. But not just anyone.

        The paralegal’s office caught the Stip before it was sent out. My divorce proceeds towards its intended end. By January, I will be a single woman again. In the paperwork, I indicated I want to return to my maiden name. Wish I’d done that at marriages number one, two three, and four. I want to go out of this world with the name I’d been given when I came into it.

        There is the possibility I’ll be alone for the rest of this lifetime. Maybe. I hope not, but it IS a possibility.  I’ve known true love, and it wasn’t with Mark. He was, after all, simply a rebound from the man I truly loved but who died.  I met Mark on an online site, when I should’ve been concentrating on grieving. I wanted some light times, some fun times, after all those bleak moments. Mark and I should’ve dated but never married. Oh, well. Lessons learned.  The guys on online sites are single for a reason.  Patience has never been my strong suit. 

       After this mistake,  I’m no longer in such a rush to find a new, warm body to lie by my side in bed. I’ve got the dogs, anyway, and all they do is love me. S-l-o-w down, girl! In the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow IS another day!”

        Oranges? They’re pretty sour anyway. Maybe the next time, I’ll pick an apple.

Diary of a Divorce–Dec 9th

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A STOMACH-TURNING END

      It was a short-lived reconciliation: Nine days, to be exact.  It wasn’t a good sign that I felt better when he left than when he arrived.  It came to an end over dog barf. Of course, that was but a symptom of the disease.

       He came over Friday, early evening, and we had an quiet night together because he was tired from a long week at work.  Okay, I was good with that. We don’t have to date and go out every weekend. For some reason, though, I didn’t sleep that well Friday night. Maybe it was the dogs, curled up around my head and shoulders, afraid they’d be kicked off the bed they’ve used to sharing with me. Maybe it was that Mark curled his body around me when I got back in bed after getting up to take a leak, and I was practically falling off the edge of my king-sized bed.

      Or maybe it was something bigger…

       On Friday, he told me that the paralegal’s office had called to say there was a problem with the way his notary had signed the Stipulation we’d hoped would cancel our divorce. The paralegal’s secretary hadn’t submitted it to court, as promised. That meant waiting until Monday. It pissed me off because we’d rushed around getting all the paperwork done, and Mark had even overnighted it to me so she’d have it by Friday morning. I called her up to complain, and she gave me a lot of attitude about why she hadn’t sent it to the court. In conclusion, I realized this Stipulation was a bit more complicated than she’d let on initially, and maybe she didn’t know what she was doing. I contacted some free legal services online and got different answers from four different attorneys about whether or not the Stip would be legally binding. 

      Put this part of my post on hold for now…

       Saturday night, we decided to order pizzas and then sat down to watch some movies on Netflix. I noticed Mark was nodding off on the couch during one of the movies, even though he’d pop his head up every once in awhile and deny he was sleeping. You ladies all know what I’m talking about! When I needed to take a leak,  I put the movie on “Pause.” On my way back to the living room, I went into the third bedroom to close the blinds. As I did it, I noticed some clear-colored dog puke on the rug. I think one of the dogs might have licked some bleach I’d poured on a stain and it had upset his tummy. So I got some rug cleaner, sprayed the carpet, and blotted up the barf. I warned you it was a stomach-turning ending!!!

        The whole thing must’ve lasted about five minutes, max. When I returned to the couch, Mark was sitting up, wide awake now. He launched into a tirade about my lack of consideration for him that I’d put the movie on pause while he was watching it! Really? I was honestly stunned by the level of rage he had about this stupid issue–but then almost ALL of our previous fights had been about stupid things. Perhaps the stupid things only masked deeper issues…

        Each time I tried to discuss the situation calmly and rationally, he berated me more. Now, he claimed I was minimizing his feelings and disregarding/deflecting them like I always did. Nothing I said would get him to stop. He got more and more animated, pounding on the couch, flipping his body from side to side, and pointing at me to “Deal with it!”

        The rage in his voice and his irrational actions brought tears streaming down my face. I asked him, almost begged him, not to make such a big deal out of this. Each time I tried to reason with him about the “facts,” it only infuriated him more. I’ve learned Mark is an angry, angry, angry man–though he tries to hide it under a “nice guy” exterior to the world. He also manages to charms me each and every time after we’ve broken up. It’s very similar to physical abuse: rage, acting out, then remorse and flowers. I guess it’s considered emotional abuse.

        While I sat there crying, he intensified the attack, insinuating that I thought he was an asshole and worse. He said it, not me. His language was full of expletives. Though I may have felt like retaliating with a few choice words, I actually kept a fairly cool head. But when he started to get totally disrespectful, I’d had enough. I’ve come to believe, over the past six months and more,  I’m worth more than that.

       I got up, still crying, and walked into the bedroom after cleaning up everything we’d left out. I changed into my pajamas, cleared a spot on the bed for my dogs, and finished the night reading a book.  I thought about what had just happened and actually gave him a slight pass by concluding he’d probably still been really tired from the week. OTOH, I gave him no excuse for the vengefulness of his words and attitude.

       As my tears dried on my cheeks, I made a decision:  I am really through with this marriage. I’ve had enough. Done. Yes, I’ve said it before, and yes I’ve taken him back. But it feels different this time. In the past, we ended our marriage through emails. That allowed me to have hope. It took away the sting and memories of his festering anger.

       This morning, he approached me sheepishly as I made my coffee. “Hello,” he said–as if nothing had happened last night. Then he jumped into the shower. I wondered if he planned to leave or stay. Either way, I’d made my decision. Nothing more needed to be said.

       I heard him in the other room, packing a bag. I was actually relieved–he was leaving. As he walked to the front door, he made one more nasty remark that I needed to f**king realize the meaning of “commitment.” He added a comment about how I had mistreated him last night. And he left.

        I waited till he drove off and headed straight to the phone. I left a voice mail for the paralegal asking them NOT to messenger the Stipulation to the court and to let the divorce proceed.  It will be final in one month. Then I followed it up with an email.

        I can breathe again.

          Later in the afternoon, I got a friendly email from Mark. In it, he said we needed to talk. If we couldn’t work it out together, after getting “real” with each other, then perhaps we needed to go to a counselor.  He felt that I’d given him a “deaf ear,” as I’d done so many times in the past.

          He did apologize for making me cry.

          Too little, too late. I wrote back and told him so.  This marriage cannot be saved. I’m listening to my gut, for a change, and running for my life.

          I’ve heard from many people that others are put in our lives to teach us lessons. Well, this relationship has taught me quite a bit, mostly about how I am willing to be treated and what is no longer acceptable. In just the past six months, I’ve learned the following:

           1) I don’t need Mark, or any man, to support me financially. I’m totally self-sufficient. Although I’m far from wealthy, the money I get from my pension and social security is enough to pay all my bills. Maybe I have to live a lot more frugally than before, but my peace of mind is worth a whole lot more than money.

           2) I have been able to handle a lot of tough situations all by myself, without Mark. The major ones were getting my mother into assisted living and taking care of myself following  back surgery. I have also been able to handle things that break and need repairing around the house. If I need help, I can hire a handyman.

            3) My life is full without him. I volunteer at the VA, I’m finishing the editing of my book, I have the dogs for company, I love to garden, and I attend regular meetings to maintain my sobriety.

            4) My friends love me and support me much more than any man ever could. I can live without a man but not without my friends.

  and probably the biggest one:

             5) I can be by myself without shriveling up and dying. In fact, I love my own company!

           I’d say those are some pretty major lessons I’ve learned. Why would I ever want to go back into the shackles of a relationship like the one I had with Mark? No, I won’t say I’m done with men. I’m sure I’ll want their company again–probably sooner rather than later. But I never, ever want to revolve my life around a man again. I’m worth more than that. I can say that aloud today without worrying or caring if that makes you want to barf. I’m pretty good at cleaning that up too!

Diary of a Divorce/Reconciliation–Dec 4th

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THIS IS NOT A HALLMARK CARD MARRIAGE

       Yes, I’m still IN my marriage. In fact, we are now experiencing a blip in calling OFF the divorce. The judge already signed the Judgment of Dissolution in October, although we wouldn’t be “officially” divorced until the end of January. Huh? Does anyone understand this?

       I called the paralegal’s office to tell them to cancel the divorce. Not so fast, the clerk told me. You’ll need to file a Stipulation–and pay a $220 fee to process it. OMG, are they kidding? Apparently NOT.  The last time I filed for divorce, I was able to change my mind by withdrawing the petition. Now, we have to expedite this Stip, and it’s not “guaranteed” the judge will sign it!  Then, we’d have to wait until January to remarry. That would be my FIFTH marriage. I’m not doing it!!

       Is this the way the universe is punishing me for my impulsivity? Or is it just a karmic lesson?

       Here’s a riddle for all my followers: How many times can you divorce the SAME guy??? In my case, I divorced husband #2/3 a total of two times. I remarried him and then again divorced him a final time in order to marry my current husband. Then, as you may know, I filed for divorce from this husband TWICE.

       Can’t the woman make up her mind???

        I am not a conventional person. You will never see my life story depicted in a Hallmark card commercial. My question, though, is how many of those supposedly “perfect” marriages and relationships are the “real deal” and how many are facades? I have concluded that most people who brag about their marriages are full of b.s.

        One of my friends, who has what I’d assumed to be an ideal marriage, claims she and her husband have never had a fight. Oh, really? Well, in my marriages, I’ve argued, bickered, and fought verbally.  So my friend’s assertion had me feeling like my marriage was a bad one. This belief internalized into a depression during which I felt inadequate as a woman and concluded that I’m a defective human being, incapable of a mature relationship.

        This friend let it slip once that, when her husband dares to disagree with her, she gives him the silent treatment. He can’t bear living like that, so he ultimately gives in to her demands. Doesn’t this really count as a “fight”? I say it does!

         Another friend used to get flowers delivered to the office all the time from her husband. What’s the occasion, we all asked. Oh, he just loves me, she said. And he bought her clothing and jewelry and perfume–just because he loved her so much. Sounded good until we learned a few years later that she was having an affair with another man and decided to divorce this “perfect” husband who just loved her to bits. Maybe SHE needed to love HIM just a little bit more.

         In the future, when I listen to deluded women trying to impress me with their perfect unions, I plan to tell myself that it’s a load of crap.  I don’t believe it anymore and I’m not going to judge my insides by their outsides. The difference between me and those women is that I am HONEST about our difficulties. I don’t try to paint it all over with a big smile so everyone will be jealous of my relationship. A relationship is HARD work, and I defy anyone to live with another human being without having some strife and/or disagreements.

           I don’t care anymore if others want to judge my marriage. The truth is that I don’t want anyone else’s marriage. I want mine–warts and all–divorce filings and all. I’ve always alleged that you learn a lot about your spouse when you divorce them! How are they during the divorce proceedings? Vindictive? Difficult? Angry?

           My divorces have always been amicable. I wish I didn’t have to go down Divorce Lane to find it out, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Mark and I are a work in progress. We’re defining this new attempt at a better marriage as we go along. When he says something that I take as a hurtful comment, I’m trying to speak up as soon as possible to clarify what he meant. Otherwise, I take the hurt and twist it into anger and then it becomes a resentment. When the straw breaks this camel’s back during some other blow-up, all those unexpressed feelings of hurt emerge from my mouth in a burst of rage. Then I’m right back where I started from with a “get the hell out.”

            Maybe it’s time to try something different. Maybe it’s time to admit divorce is no longer an option.  Those fees I’ve paid to the State of California are getting ridiculously expensive! I could’ve taken a couple of round-the-world trips on what all of this turmoil has cost. We will stay married, and we’ll just have to create the kind of marriage that works for us. We haven’t yet figured out the day-to-day living arrangements. His apartment lease is not set to expire until May 2013. Maybe living apart, except for weekends, is a good way to transition for now.

         I’ve really enjoyed having the house to myself. I think I’m more like a cat–clawing at Mark when I don’t want to be petted. Sharing the house again fills me with some dread. I hate having to give up my coveted closet space once more. Here I go again, moving the heavy jackets into the storage shed in the garage. Sigh..

          It’s been our pattern to reconcile, to be in la-la land for awhile, and then Mark moves back home. Soon enough, the same old arguments start, and I want him gone. We need a new pattern. This one has worn out its welcome.

          I’ve never claimed Mark is a bad guy. He isn’t. In fact, he’s a pretty terrific guy. But we need to figure out how to live with each other, be honest about our feelings, and keep the passion alive. You’ll notice that, in Hallmark commercials, the couple is usually surrounded by children and grandchildren sitting around a Christmas tree.  My card would be a whole lot less wholesome, perhaps with us dangling from a swing in an X-rated embrace! You can have Hallmark. I’ll settle for REAL.