Category Archives: self realization

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!

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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.

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.

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.