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Irony

It isn’t supposed to work this way. Life isn’t supposed to be bad, really, really bad, so-bad-it-sucks bad and still be enjoyable.

So, go figure. My finances suck. We’ve been over that. My love life is non-existent. I just had a guy I supported walk out on me after two years. He gave me three days’ notice and he was gone. Haven’t heard a word from him since. After my two epic fails at marriage, I don’t know which hurt worse, to have the marriages end, or him walk out after I invested so much financially and emotionally for two.fucking.years. It is now all water under the bridge, but at times, it still stings.

I’m at an age and in a demographic where there isn’t much dating action, and if there is, it isn’t serious, nor is it even remotely authentic. Face it, after 45, there are so many obstacles to overcome, so much history to wade through, so many people’s scrutiny you have to undergo before a relationship can even be viable, let alone long term. I’ve given up on that area of my life ever being a source of pleasure or happiness. People who really know me, will know what a big deal that is. Most people tend to understand that it is the nature of the beast these days. Dating after divorce is, at best, a difficult thing, and unlike wine, this does not improve with age. Oh, to be 35 again. Before the wrinkles. Before the mistakes. Before the calendar reveals the stigmatizing number of years you’ve been on this planet (because you cannot lie about that).

In spite of all that, the little surprise I’m experiencing is this: I’m actually having fun. I’m enjoying life more than I ever have. I’m happy, in spite of the fact that nothing (except my delightful children) is as I would have expected it and most of it reeks of pathetically miserable failure. I can’t keep a relationship. I can’t catch a break financially. I rent, on purpose, instead of owning. My car is ready to self destruct at any moment. I should sell the thing and try, if possible, to get some money out of it to put down on a more reliable car. But…how to do that? It’s crazy. I have more problems facing me than solutions. I have experienced more endings in the last year than beginnings. I have more reason than ever to despair, instead of hope. Read the rest of this entry

Honesty & Three Sheets To The Wind

One of the people I’m corresponding with  from the sleazeball online dating sight has been pretty decent.  I can tell right now, without ever meeting him that he’s not going to be someone I fall madly and passionately in love with.  If there is chemistry of anything more than a platonic friendship nature, I will be astounded. The man’s really nice, intelligent, thoughtful, and maybe, if I weren’t so damaged from my history with men, I might be more interested in him as something more than “friends”.  I don’t know.

Anyway, I asked him what he was doing on said sleazy dating site.  He responded with a lengthy tale which included information about his divorce, financial situation, job history, etc. This just proves my theory that, “So, what is such a nice guy like you doing on a dating site like this,” is a perfect question to ask if you want to get some really intimate information from a person.  They usually end up spilling everything about their past and present to you. I got a lot of information, all of which reinforced that this is truly a genuinely decent guy.  None of which convinced me that he was my next Prince Charming.  So, of course, when he asked the question in return, I threw the game. Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Mention Him

I hate this emotional rollercoaster I am on. I am happy, I am sad. I am glad it’s over with the Gone Boyfriend, I hate that it ever had to end. I feel optimistic about my future, then the very next day, I’m thinking that all have to look forward to is the decline of old age and the associated aches, pains, and debilitating experiences that come with the aging process. Face it, it’s going to get worse from here on out, and I’m not making it out alive.

I wonder when these feelings will leave me. I wonder when that dull ache in my chest will disappear. One minute I’m sitting playing and laughing with my 12-year-old, grateful for our freedom to play together, without criticism, but when she leaves to go spend her weekend with her dad, I am a lonely mess. I wander around aimlessly. I do things, laundry, chores, etc., but I’m forgetful, absentminded, and unfocused.

Fortunately, the downturns are becoming further and further apart. They are becoming shorter and shorter in duration. I feel so good, happy and content, and free, most of the time. My sadness these days, is not so much that the Gone Boyfriend is gone, but that he took up space in my life for two years. For two years, I put in effort only to be abandoned. And suddenly abandoned at that. The longer I am away from him, the more I realize it was probably best that he left. It still hurts to feel the rejection. It still hurts, at times, to think that for whatever reasons, I must be some complete relational loser since I am alone at my age. I just liked being in a relationship and having the companionship. It’s sad to me that it wasn’t a lasting situation, and even sadder that I couldn’t see that truth earlier. So, somedays I am just sad.

More and more frequently, however, I am grateful. I am pleased that my children and I can take off our shoes and wander barefoot around our home, without worrying that we left our shoes by the front door. I hear my children laughing together so much more often. We talk more and linger over dinner, laughing about funny events of our day, or discussing the upcoming schedule so we can decide who will use the car and who will not. I’ve had more really good times with my children in the last month than I’ve had since the Gone Boyfriend showed up on the scene.

The other day, I was somewhere with my 18-year-old. We were doing something and I mentioned how this would never have happened with the Gone Boyfriend in the picture. She very quietly paused, then said, ” I really don’t think we ever need to mention him ever again.”

I think she’s right. He’s gone. He isn’t getting any readmittance in my life. He doesn’t deserve to. It is time to let this go. I’ve cried enough tears, wasted enough emotional energy and time. I never need to mention him ever again.

Is it Love or Is It Something Else?

The following is a blog post I started a year ago, on September 27, 2011. I guess the break up with the Gone Boyfriend really was a long time coming. The post below isn’t complete. I’m posting it in this unfinished state, because I think it is a good lesson to me to go with my gut. I sensed something wasn’t right a year ago. Whatever was brewing inside the Gone Boyfriend was brewing for a while, and I was seeing something of it. I just was too afraid or unwilling to face it. My bad.

How can you tell if it is real love?

I find this a difficult question to address.

Maybe, because, before you can address the question at all, one must define love.  This is something I cannot do. Well, maybe I can do it when it comes to loving that little sports car that just drove by, or loving my job or not loving it, or loving my children…but when it comes to an adult relationship?  This is where I have trouble.  What is real love?  I don’t even know what it means to be really in love.  Moreover, I’m not sure, having been beaten by men either verbally or physically or emotionally and certainly financially most of my life, that I can even understand the meaning of love or what it would look like or feel like to have a man be truly in love with me.  Too me, it looks just too much like competition, or the lack of competition.

But, I’m currently in a relationship, and have been with a man for nearly a year.  Eleven months to be exact and, well, questions are coming to my mind.  Yes, they are keeping me up at night.  I am beginning to wonder if this relationship is really right for me.  Maybe, when I get done, I will come to the conclusion that my even asking the questions was the sign that things weren’t right.  Then again, maybe everyone needs to ask the questions periodically just to check in and re-evaluate what it is about the relationship that still is worth committing to.  At this point, I don’t know, but I am concerned enough about some things that I need to take a step back and ask, “What’s really going on here?”  That’s not the only question I’m asking either…obviously.

There were more questions like “What is true love? How does it behave? What does it look like at middle age?” and so on. I’m still asking some of those questions, but I’m certainly not thinking I should be so surprised that the Gone Boyfriend is gone.

Givers And Takers

There are givers and takers in life. Which are you?

I’m not sure people can be classified so distinctly into one or the other category. I know that throughout my life, I have been both. TGBF, while it would seem took more than he gave, actually gave quite a bit…at least there for a while he did. I gave a lot, but I also, especially at the end, took my fair share or as much of it as I possibly could, once I knew he was going to bolt.

We both gave and we both took. He gave time and effort to making sure the daily routines in our home ran efficiently. He truly was at our beck and call and seemed glad about that. He did so much for me and I was grateful. I gave more tangible things, food, shelter, stuff, because I was able and glad to do it…at least there for a while I was. Once he made his decision to leave he began to ease up on the giving and started doing more taking. Sensing something was wrong, I backed off on giving and because to focus more on taking…or getting paid back…for things he promised he’d pay me back for, which he never did, and which, I now realize, he won’t ever. The relationship deteriorated to the point where iI asked him to change or leave and he threw the neutron bomb of relational endings by moving immediately to a place far away.  (He later texted me and told me he did this so we wouldn’t get back together. My response? Good to know.)

This is all water under the bridge, as they say.

I ponder these things, in the wee hours of the night, because, well, to be honest, I don’t know the reason because. I just do. There’s a part of me that wants to try to make sense of the confusing turn of events. There’s a part of me that wants to try to learn from whatever went wrong so I don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. There’s part of me that wishes that, if it wasn’t going to work out, it had never happened. There’s a part of me that is just still really confused and bewildered.

Last weekend, the night that TGBF was to come and get his things, I met up with some friends for drinks. One of the women stated, “If the guy doesn’t make more than I do, I don’t give him a second thought.” She’s been taken advantage of and made her costly mistakes. Apparently she’s learned her lesson. A lesson, I suspect I need to learn. (When men treat women like this, is it any wonder women begin to put demands on men like this?)

The saddest thing of all, for me, is that the man took two years of my life and I have nothing but his furniture and a whole lot of painful confusion to show for it. It’s reason enough to never date again, or, if I do to make sure I’m less of a giver and more of a taker the next time around.

Yeah, I’m so not ready to date.
I’m really okay with that.

Loneliness

The days and nights are hard right now. No, I would not wish this particular man (the Non BF, now turned the Gone BF) back for anything. Things have transpired, text messages sent from a day’s drive away, that revealed that this man was many things, but never was he in love with me. He was far too immature for that. He was also unable to be honest, about where he was with things, about what was troubling him, about what he wanted or needed. He’s also unable to take responsibility for his part in this, it remains all my fault and he contends that “he never wanted this.” (And yet, he did nothing to prevent it from happening when he easily could have, instead running as far away as he could, not unlike a petulant adolescent.)

As usually, happens, I think, this ending became final, for me anyway, as the result of a small incident: a stupid text message. This man had lived with me for two years. In all that time, I had never been anything but crystal clear about what I would tolerate and what I would not, what I could pay for and could not. He knew that I believed we were working on something lasting. This was not a casual roommate or friends with benefits arrangement for me. He knew this. He also knew that the only reason I was cohabiting with him was the understanding that eventually there would be a public, legal, formal commitment. It turns out, The Gone BF, knew he wasn’t going to marry me, and I’m now beginning to suspect he knew this for quite some time, at least a year. Yet, all this while, he was perfectly content to live a charade of loving me and wanting to spend the rest of his life with me when he had no intention of doing that at all. So, the sad, depressing truth is that this man knowingly used me. The even sadder truth was that I truly cared about him, enjoyed our time together so much, that I unknowingly let him use me. I ignored the thousand of teeny tiny flags that should have indicated a disconnect somewhere. You know what they say about hindsight.

Two days ago, he texted me, angry that I had not given him any hangers, but instead had packed up his clothes in garbage bags without them. (He’d literally gone through every closet in the house, collecting all the white hangers for himself, so that each piece of his clothing hung exactly half an inch apart on white plastic hangers.) And now, the man who lived for a year for free while I paid for everything, is bitching at me because I kept the hangers. Hangers, I might add, that I purchased at the Goodwill when we moved in to this new place last summer. Again, his tone and message implied that this was all my fault. It suddenly became very clear to me how juvenile this man was, and also how very self-centered he was. While we were together, this was hard to detect because he really did a lot to help out…at first. In retrospect, though, he ended things without discussion the minute they no longer worked for him. It was a small, silly text message, but it was the moment I mentally disconnected. No, I truly never want to see this man again.

It doesn’t necessarily make things easier. I was living a fantasy that wasn’t ever what I believed it to be, but I enjoyed my fantasy, for the most part, and didn’t want it to end. Instead, it ended harshly and abruptly. Literally, one week all seemed great; the next he is gone and, after two years of unemployment, he has a job and is living in a city far away. There was no discussion, no haggling over stuff or money, and certainly no good-bye. The angry teenager just ran off.

So, I pass my days slugging through my obligations, trying to maintain composure. I’m experiencing now, for those first few agonizing times alone, all those things we did together, which I enjoyed so much: grocery shopping, meal preparation, morning cups of coffee, bike rides to a favorite lunch spot in a nearby town. I’m doing these things alone now. It’s painful, and my chest feels like it is going to be crushed with the weight of the loneliness. The reality is, that I will very likely be doing these things alone for a long time, possibly the rest of my life.

I miss what I thought we had.

Death and Finality

It’s over.
He’s picked up the rest of his possessions and he’s gone. I was not here when he did this. I left his things in the driveway. They are now gone.
He entered my life two years ago. Now he’s gone.
I will never see him again.

Today he texted me to tell me he got a job in the bay area.

Today he left for his new life; a life that by intentional design excludes me.

There won’t be any back and forth. There won’t be any bumping into him around town. There won’t be any keeping in touch. He’s gone. The last memory I have of him, he was getting into his truck and driving off.

It is as though he has died; this ending is that sudden, that abrupt, that final.

I’m now left with the task of picking up the shards of my heart, but all I can do is look at the mess and wonder where to begin. How does one possibly begin to heal after this? How does one possibly begin to put it all back together? And the big questions: how does one keep from becoming bitter? How does one ever begin to trust again?

****
It’s 5:00 a.m. and I’ve been up since two, tossing, turning, hurting. Finally, the tears have come. Slowly, silently. I hurt.
****
On a good note, the state has not adjusted the child support reduction yet, so I received the entire child support amount this month. It is a small consolation, but it is a big blessing in my otherwise disastrous life.

On another good note, I decided to buy myself a “Voted Off The Island” consolation gift. I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Now, I’m an Apple girl. I’ve been holding out for an iPad 2. I’m still going to get one eventually. At work this week, one of my colleagues had a tablet that wasn’t an iPad. She let me play with it. Half the price; same amount of fun. I’m still getting used to it, but I can tell this is going to be wonderful. The fact that I was able to buy it on credit, and that next month I will pay it off, is another blessing.

I would never place a higher value on material things than I would on people and relationships, but if the relationship in question is going to screw me over and destroy my heart, there’s nothing like a new tech gadget to soothe the pain. I’m also pretty grateful for my “new” living room furniture and my “new” 32-inch HD TV among other things.

So, while my life is a complete disaster in the relationship arena, I”ve taken steps to keep myself busy and distracted until enough time passes until I can look at what’s happened without experiencing the excruciating pain I currently feel.

The Non-Boyfriend is officially dead to me. It’s as final as it can be. Now it’s time to move on and try to heal over so I can be ready for whatever adventure awaits.
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Getting Voted Off The Island

When parents divorce in my county, if there are children involved, the parents are required to take a class that deals with the issue of helping children through divorce. It’s not a horrible class ,but it is required. The judge will not award a decree unless both parents take the class. I signed up and took the class as soon as I could after filing for divorce from The Evil Ex.

I remember the class well. I was there, fighting back tears and doing my level best to appear calm and well-adjusted, in spite of feeling like I might, at any second, dissolve into a liquid mass of human saltwater. I signed in, took my gratuitous paperwork, got some awful coffee, and found a seat near the side of the room toward the front. Shortly, after I sat down, a man entered. He looked like your typical geeky professor type. He strode up to the woman at the sign in desk and announced, “I’m being voted off the island, and I hear I have to take this class, so here I am.”

So much for feeling miserable. I couldn’t stop chuckling about it each time I thought of it for a good year afterward. Humor has a way of numbing the pain sometimes.

This week, I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been able to work. I have a job that allows me a great deal of time off each year. This is not paid time off, but it is still time off. Because my job is so demanding and stressful during the rest of the year, I loathe working during these off times. This year, due to medical expenses from my cancer treatments and the gradual drain of the Non-Boyfriend on my pocketbook, I decided to sign up to work five weeks this summer. This week was week three. It’s been wonderful to have something to go do each day that helps me forget that I am being voted off my own island.

On Tuesday of this week, the Non-Boyfriend and I voted each other off the relational island. Later that day, one of my colleagues began sharing at break, how his wife of 27 years just voted him off the marital island this last May. (I did not start talking about my situation. He brought up the topic all on his own.) He is still reeling from the shock and surprise and grief that comes from being blindsided. I can relate.

I mentioned a few posts back how I changed my status on Facebook to single right after I realized that the Non-BF had been planning a secret escape from our crumbling island. It wasn’t long before I had friends commiserating with me digitally, offering their condolences. Many contacted me privately. Some of these folks are single eligible men. One of them is a person I “met” digitally about four years ago through a blog I was writing at that time. He lives on the other side of the country, and even though I’ve long since stopped writing on that other blog, he’s kept in touch through Facebook. We’ve never met in real life. He, too, was just voted off the island of relational bliss.

Yesterday, he mentioned flying out to see me at the holidays. We will both be sans children and negotiating a “couples” holiday season alone. Neither of us is looking forward to it. Now, I’m fairly certain this will not happen, but I do find it interesting how things in life can conspire to distract me from the pain I am dealing with. Random little interactions like this tend to be like the emotional epidural that completely knocks out the pain of the relational rejection I’m birthing. You can still feel the pressure, but the pain is not there. I’ve been voted off the island by one particularly unhappy individual through no fault of my own, really, unless finally saying no to mistreatment is a fault. Less than 48 hours later, I have people entering my life inviting me to visit their little island for a bit.

No, I’m not going to stay long on any of these islands. I will most certainly not even spend the night. I am not ready for that. But, I ask you what is the harm of stopping by someone’s island for an afternoon of friendship, sun, and maybe even some libations? Can anyone refuse an invitation to spend a day at the beach with fun companions?

I was voted off an island I didn’t realize was crumbling. Maybe it is time for me to realize that there are possibly much bigger, stronger, more enjoyable islands out there.

Questions

He walked out at 7:00 a.m. yesterday.  He looked worn, tired, angry, and so disgusted.  As he shoved the last few things in his truck, he didn’t even really look back.  He just got in the vehicle, turned on the motor, and drove off.  Never mind that he left most of his clothing here and all of his precious books.  I haven’t heard a word from him.  Not a text.  Not an email.  Not a phone call.

Part of me is crushed.  How could someone spend two years of their life with me and then walk away like that without a second glance?  And then, to leave all of his belongings?  He must have been so miserable for so long and yet he hid it.  The question I keep returning to is, “Why?”  The unanswerable, why.  Was he so desperate that he stayed here and “put up” with us because he had nowhere else to go? Did he feel about me the way I felt about my last ex?  Like I just couldn’t take it any more or I’d go crazy or maybe even do myself in?  The other part of me thinks, “Wow.  I can’t be rid of someone like this fast enough.”

It is a beautiful, warm, peaceful late summer evening.  My urban garden  is flourishing.  I’ve packed up his belongings and placed them in a corner of the garage.  Yes, even the things I would like to keep…like the books.  I’ve changed the locks, changed the code to the storage unit, and removed him from all of whatever accounts he was on that I was paying for.  I’m stuck paying his bills for this month…but next month should be easier.  Tonight, we grilled  hamburgers,  my son and I, and my daughter and her friend sat at the kitchen counter eating their foot long sub sandwiches, and we just chatted, freely, easily, without contention.  Something that hasn’t happened for a very long time around here.  It was peaceful.  Later, my daughter left to go to the theater with her friend and I watched Napoleon Dynamite with my son.  It was the most relaxed evening we’ve had in, what, two years?  There was no grumbling about the minuscule crumbs left in the sink, no complaining about how poorly the dishwasher was loaded.  There was no guilt about the fact that we were relaxing instead of cleaning our already spotless place.  It was truly a peaceful, lazy, golden summer evening.  And…for all of that…I am deeply relieved and grateful.  I believe I may have, as they say, dodged a bullet, somehow.

And yet, in the background of my mind and my life, the questions seep through.  Why hasn’t he contacted me even to make arrangements for his things?  What is going on? Where is he sleeping at night?  Is he okay?  Is he really relocating to be closer to his ex and the kids?  How long was he so unhappy?  How long was he hiding, lying, keeping secrets?  What went wrong?  How could I have seen this coming?  How on earth could I have avoided it?  And then, the recriminating accusations that always surface, “What a fool you have been…AGAIN. You are such a relational loser.  When will you ever learn?  You are just no good at relationship.”

And this is when my strength fails.

I tried like anything to learn from the mistakes of my past.

I tried like anything to put 100% into this.

I tried to the best of my ability to give and to love.

And, for what?

Again, I’ve failed.

In times past I could point to mistakes I’d made.  Things I did that created stress, strain, tension in the relationship.  I could point to ways I was too controlling, ways I over-reacted.  This is not to say I was the only one to blame for the demise of the relationship, but I could, in these past situations, at least see areas that I probably didn’t handle so well.  Areas, that I could improve upon next time.  Things I could point to that contributed to furthering the misery instead of alleviating it.  With the Non-Boyfriend, I’m simply at a loss as to what went wrong, why it went wrong and what part I had in it.  I have nothing I can point to that I screwed up (other than that I gave way too much with far too little in return).  Maybe that is completely the problem.  Maybe I did give too much, invested too much, without adequate commitment up front from him to begin with.  Maybe that set the precedent for everything that followed.  It’s possible then, that when I finally got tired of the giving with no return on my investment, he just created a situation he knew I would not tolerate, and freed himself.  I just do not know and the wondering is going to drive me crazy.

I’ve dated a few men since I left the Evil Ex.

I’ve had a few “relationships”, none of them lasting this long.  All of them, the men ditched (or I did) as soon as we were uncomfortable. We didn’t just hang on.  Now, I’m not thrilled with how some of those men chose to exit the scene, but I have to hand it to them, they did exit the scene as soon as they knew it wasn’t a fit.  They didn’t hang on for two years, then bolt.

I may go to my grave wondering what happened here.

It’s going to be difficult to stifle my own accusatory tendencies that want to make me the culprit for whatever it was that transpired here.  I’m going to have to fight the tendency to blame myself for what went wrong.  I’m going to have to continue to listen to those good, and decent, and objective (I hope) people in my life that tell me, sometimes shit just happens and you can’t see it coming and you can’t necessarily avoid it.  My friends would tell me, “Well, maybe you didn’t do everything perfectly, but that’s just no excuse for someone living on your dole, while actively planning to leave you and tell you about it after the fact. That’s simply not honest.”

So, I swirl in the post-breakup emotions of despair, hopelessness, and wondering what the hell I did wrong all the while feeling like somehow I’ve been gifted a pass out of a horrendous nightmare that could have transpired had we stayed together.  It is the epitome of mixed emotions…and I hate it.

I miss what I thought we had.

I miss him when he was at his best.

I don’t miss his unhappiness, his negativity and the stress I’m now realizing he brought into our home, because he somehow just didn’t think we were good enough, or clean enough, or whatever enough.  (I personally think those are excuses.  He was miserable, for whatever reason, and he just needed to get out.  He created an out and went for it without looking back.  Maybe that’s just my rationale designed to comfort myself about this crazy situation, but, maybe there’s some validity to it. He had everything going for himself here, and he tubed it.)  I don’t miss a lot of things that he brought to the table that I didn’t like, but which I overlooked because he brought other strengths to the table.

I can spin around in this place forever, wondering what happened and why it happened.  I may never know the answer to those questions.  It’s possible I don’t really want to know the answer to those questions.

At some point, I’m just going to have to let all the questions go…unanswered…if need be…and move on.

In the meantime, the comfort of friends is a most welcome thing.

Benefits of Breaking Up

It’s not going to get ugly here. He’s not likely to pull a U-Haul up and empty my place one day while I’m out and I’m not going to slit his throat in the middle of the night while he lies sleeping on my couch downstairs until he leaves, which has already happened; the leaving part, I mean.

He’s just going to pick up his things and leave my life as casually as he entered it. I’m not exactly going to go about pretending everything is as it was. That’s why he had a deadline (Friday) to get out and that’s why he slept on the couch; something he abhorred, which is why he left earlier than his Friday deadline. Well, that and some help from his parents. Things have changed, but they aren’t ugly.

After every breakup there is a period of grief, I think. Really, I’m only guessing at this. I’m no therapist. In fact, I need a therapist. But it sounds good, so I’m going with it. I suppose, if the relationship was horrible, one might be relieved or even overjoyed at the end of the relationship. I certainly felt that way after I left The Evil Ex. The saddest part of that relationship was that I’d wasted my time in it and was now older. Men can successfully pick up on pretty young things no matter how old they get. The same does not hold true for women. Even if you are very attractive, once you hit a certain age, men seem to become more reluctant to date you, choosing instead your 21-year-old daughter. (Well, okay, that hasn’t happened to me yet, but, I suspect it might if I were ever to go bar hopping with her…which I will be sure not to do. My fragile ego could not take it right now.)

Beyond the turmoil of disentangling two lives, there comes the task of figuring out life in your new reality as a single person. I’m beginning to move in this direction. All of my children are informed of the split (they are okay with it). I have told my closest friends, and after finding out that he was totally checked out on me, I changed my Facebook status to single. Essentially, I’m taking the steps I need to take to be free of this relationship which I’m now finding out was a sham for nearly a year. This is good for me. I’m trying not to be bitter and angry at the way he treated me, at the way I allowed him to treat me. I’m keeping busy. Making plans. I’m trying my best not to dwell on my loss and not to despair too much about the real potential of a solitary future.

As I go through my days, I consider all the positive aspects of this change in my life. This helps to keep my mind from wandering toward the sadder parts and becoming maudlin about the whole deal. Here are a few things I’ve come up with:

1. There’s a whole lot more room in my king-sized bed to sprawl out in.
2. I will now have a room to call my own, as well as a closet and bathroom.
3. Maybe now I can move my desk area downstairs and out of my bedroom…or maybe not. He will no longer be dominating my downstairs with his desk area. At least I will be able to choose.
4. I will no longer have to urge my kids to”Quick, let’s clean up before he gets home,” when there never really was anything to clean up to begin with because he won’t be coming home.
5. I will not have to wonder where he put the latest thing he cleaned up or what things of mine he threw out when he cleaned.
6. I might be able to do away with the storage unit. We only have it because he felt the garage was out of control. (It wasn’t, and his stuff is mostly what we store there.)
7. I’ll save money, since I won’t be paying his car insurance, gas, food and gym membership.
8. I will have more time to write.
8a. I will have more time to spend with my children that we won’t have to cut short because he suddenly walked in the room.
9. I can do what I want, when I want without criticism.
10. I can plan my own future and chart my own course.

Even though breakups are sad, painful and rough, there are some decided benefits, especially if the relationship was floundering anyway. I’m sure I’ll have my moments of feeling like a complete relational loser in the days and weeks and months to come, but right now I’m trying to stay positive and think of the benefits. The list I’ve created here only scratches the surface. I haven’t even considered things like how much more honestly I’ll be living because he’s not around, and how much less stress I will experience because he won’t be constantly criticizing me or my children. I haven’t mentioned how I won’t ever have to hear him infer that I am poor white trash (wait…who’s picking up your tab and paying all your bills while you channel surf all day?). I won’t ever have to be out with friends and experience his sneer of disgust when I say/do something he doesn’t approve of. In fact, the more I think of it, the better I feel about this. In some ways, it will be hard and sad. I think the saddest part of all of it is that I was too kind, too generous, and I wasted so much time in a dead end relationship. In more more ways, though, this will will be great. Once I get over my shock at what has transpired and how unexpected it all was, I’ll be okay. This is the right thing to be doing.

I’m sad it didn’t work out but, to be honest, if it wasn’t going to work out, the thing I’m most sad about is that I didn’t realize that fact earlier.

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