The beginning of love is always fun, exhilarating, scintillating, exciting, happy. The end of it, if analyzed, is bound to be many things. Sometimes volatile, dangerous, and painful. In my case, this ending is interesting, if not completely humorous. How can I possibly refer to the end of a relationship that was (or so I thought) the love of my life, certain to go the distance, as…humorous? I mean, after all, I am devastated. I really am. I would never have considered living with a man if I wasn’t 100% certain this was the real deal. We really had so much going for us in so many ways. I can’t even begin to explain or list the ways this relationship seemed so right. And yet, apparently, it wasn’t. I have yet to learn all the lessons from this. Much of what has transpired and will yet transpire will teach me important lessons only after the throbbing pain of loss has subsided and I can try to look at what happened with a bit less emotion. I get that. But right now, I’m riding an emotional roller coaster that rivals anything Disney or Six Flags could come up with.
So, in spite of the pain, how can I view this as humorous? Well, having two very stiff drinks helps.
The truth is, I am crushed. I am hurt. I am in all sorts of pain. (So much for that “calm before the storm.”) I’ve cried a lot today. He does not know this. I will continue to brush back the tears, to sob silently behind closed doors (read in the shower), until he is finally gone from my residence and, sadly, from my life.
Since there is now no “faking it” in our relationship (I never did, but I know he did…if not in the bedroom, then certainly elsewhere), we’ve had some very interesting conversations. He is one who likes to dodge issues; pretend like things are fine when, in fact, they are not. I, on the other hand, prefer to know the truth straight up. So, as people do, we had yet another conversation about the details of unwinding this thing. Mind you, we aren’t storming around tense and antagonist. We woke up this morning had coffee together, and began talking about the “unwind” like an old married couple might discuss the return on their mutual fund or the sale of some property or the latest developments with the grandchildren. Since the Non-Boyfriend (NBF), is not exactly one to be direct and honest about his feelings, and since I for some idiot reason felt I needed to know where he stood (this is critical, because I have absolutely no clue how he feels about me and how he feels about “us” in general and haven’t for a very, very long time). So…I started out asking questions and got some good information.
He admits to being such a neat freak that he makes Felix Unger look like a slob. He admits that this is not healthy, has created problems for us, but he’s at a loss as to know what to do. (Read: He’s unhappy with me because my teenager doesn’t leave his room Better-Homes-And-Gardens perfect every day. ) Here’s what my son’s room looks like…normally.
And the downstairs guest bathroom that he complains that my older daughter leaves a disaster (Yes, this is normally how it looks, not cleaned up for the picture.) :
And here is the kids’ bathroom, another source of contention for him:
He says he just cannot deal with the mess anymore and he is tired of cleaning up after everyone.
Let’s make it very clear, folks. This man is NOT paying rent. He is NOT contributing to the bills. He only pays for anything when asked and NEVER volunteers. And he DOES NOT clean up after anyone. Lately, even though he’s making more, he doesn’t even pay when asked. He comes and goes as he pleases and he is tired of cleaning up after everyone? (I was careful to point out to him that he had done absolutely nothing to clean or contribute to this place, without being directly asked, for the last two months. He agreed with me.)
I responded to his above statement, by reminding him of the fact that he pays nothing to live here and, lately, he contributes nothing, and he comes and goes as he pleases. I told him, if I were in that place, I would consider it my rent to do whatever I could around the house to keep the landlord (read: me) happy.
I pressed him further about his perspective. Here’s how the conversation went:
Me: So, how long have you known that this relationship was a dead end and you weren’t willing to go to the next level? (Read: how long have you known you wouldn’t every marry me?) Has it been, what? January? December?
Him: Oh not quite that long.
Yeah, end of conversation.
I have only two words for him at this point: GET OUT!
Actually, that’s not true, I have four words for him: GET THE FUCK OUT!
Instead, what I said was this:
“Well, then. You could have at least have been a gentleman and gotten out once you were sure, instead of taking advantage of me. I’d like you to work on finding a place where you can stay immediately.”
He mumbled something about working on it and named the 10th as a deadline.
I followed up with, “Well, since I just paid your rent, your utilities and your car insurance, and since you have absolutely no ability or motivation to pay me back, you will make sure this house is spotless. You can start with the floors downstairs and making dinner tonight.”
I’m changing the locks on the afternoon of the 10th, maybe even before. (He does not know this.) He cleaned the floors and made dinner tonight.
He can’t leave my life soon enough right now. (And, yes, obviously, he is not telling me the entire truth about where he is with things, which is really the reason we are breaking up; he simply cannot be honest, not with himself or with other people.)
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
~ William Shakespeare
I find it humorous how relationships can turn on a dime.
I find it humorous, how, when a relationship end, the emotions can turn on a dime.
I have one week…just one more week.
My last post found me just mere days away from moving into a place that I was very glad to be moving into and moving out of a place that I couldn’t wait to leave. I was full of angst about being able to move and be unpacked and settled (or mostly so) before the beginning of a new school year. The fact that move in costs were going to eat well over half my take home pay for the month of September only prevented the sleeping pills from having any effect. I was also stressing about recent flare-ups with my second ex, which looked like they were going to head us all back to the courtroom and more time and expense I wanted about as much as one wants a root canal. I had plenty things to keep me mentally wound up for hours each night.
Then September 1st happened. We got the keys at around noon, and, to our delight, we were given clearance to begin moving in. That meant an extra day of moving! Since I had everything except the last minute stuff packed, it was merely a matter of picking up the hand truck and the appliance dolly and getting things in the trailer. We were able to move enough of our stuff over that day to spend our first night in our new place that night. The next four days were spent completing the most organized move I’ve ever been part of, and I’ve seen a few, back in the day. I slept every night, though I was awake each morning at about 5:00, unpacking. We were pretty much moved and unpacked by Labor Day. Though we still had a few things ( camping gear, Christmas stuff, and my daughter’s college things) to get at the old place, we were essentially done and out of the boxes in four days.
The 6th was the first day of school, which meant a new school for my youngest (more potential angst) and back to work for me.
The following weekend we moved my daughter in to her apartment a few blocks from campus of her university.
This is my first weekend home. Well, my first half-weekend home, since tomorrow I’ll be making trip number #2 up to the daughter to bring her the rest of her things.
I’ve slept fairly soundly most nights since moving and I LOVE the new place. I was worried the kids wouldn’t like the new place…they all love it.
I was worried the ex would serve me papers. So far, nothing. I pray he doesn’t ever for any reason.
I was worried about the finances and, as I expected, it’s been an incredibly tight month. I knew it would be a stretch for us. I also banked on it being worth the stretch and the sacrifice. So far it has been a smart decision. Tight times are not fun, but in this case, I’m glad I took the risk.
In all, it has been an incredibly good move.
My daughter is enjoying school for the first time in her life. It is a joy to see her hop happily on the bus each morning and watch her complete her homework and do her reading each evening without strife. I love being able to see her off on the bus, walk back to my vehicle half a block away, and drive to work and still arrive early. There are other reasons it was a good move for all of us. I think sometimes a place can harbor energy. If this is the case, then our old place definitely held some negativity and pain for us that we needed to leave behind. Our new place is light, bright, clean and convenient. We are all happier and more cheerful here. The bickering among siblings has almost completely disappeared and it is peaceful.
For the most part.
I mean, nothing’s perfect, right?
The neighbors across our driveway are in the habit of leaving a night light on for their dogs. This is not really a night light but a regular ceiling light which illuminates the very large window they have at the top of their place and which shines all night long, right into my bedroom window. Also, when these neighbors are out back in their yard (I should just say dirt, because there is no yard just a patch of dirt), they can see right up into my bedroom. First thing I’m doing after payday? Purchasing some plants that can act as a screen. I’ll place them in containers on my upper deck and I won’t see them at all.
Someone in the neighborhood has a dog that enjoys singing to the moon most of the night. I spent one entire night up listening to this. I cannot believe they didn’t hear this. I also cannot believe no one has reported it. I made the best of it. I unpacked about four or five boxes.
The commute between our new place and my kids’ high school is eating up my gas budget and is exhausting me. Teenagers keep late hours, and I just sold my economical Toyota Corolla Wagon. Had to. The thing was beginning to cost me more and more to maintain and repair. It was good to sell it, but I’m going to need to get a more economical vehicle than my ’98 Dodge Durango 4×4. So now there is that to budget for, after I get caught up financially from this whole entire move episode.
So, tonight, I’m up, losing sleep, not from worry or angst, but because I have a teenager I have to pick up from a school event which is ending quite late. My life has improved dramatically in the last three weeks.
I’m moving forward and, for the first time in many years, I’m enjoying it. The future looks very hopeful from here.
I’m exhausted these days. I shouldn’t complain. Who isn’t exhausted in our American overworked, stressed out society? I should clarify, I’m more exhausted than I usually am these days, and yet, I cannot sleep. I find this both strange and completely understandable. It is strange because I’m not given to being so totally wiped out and still unable to sleep at night. I find it understandable, because for the first time in my adult life since my mid to late 20’s, I am actually looking forward to my future. That last statement is a testament of just how pathetic my life has been over the last 25 years. Or, maybe, it is proof that I’ve been depressed and simply trying to survive. There really is nothing more life-draining, dehumanizing, energy-sucking, and damaging than a miserable relationship. I’ve experienced not one, but two of these in the last 25 years. One of the earliest signals to my younger self that something was indeed terribly wrong in my life was that I realized I had stopped looking forward to things in life. I stopped anticipating. My life had become something to be endured. Something to survive. I anticipated no joys, no excitement, no future. All I could do was survive…and I wasn’t even doing that for myself…I was doing that for my children.
I used to be the person who looked forward to moving. New locations, new digs, new people. I relished all the aspects of moving. For as much chaos as I’ve experienced in my life and for as much as people view me as being a free-wheeling, laid back, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type person, when it comes to moving, I am anything but laid back. This move has been no exception. I have systems in place that make moving as stress free as possible (as long as everyone around me does it my way). I also have methods that make the moving day incredibly quick and painless. Even though I’m a bit of a tyrant during a move, all who’ve moved with me, recognize that what I do works. I don’t end up with stuff scattered all over the old place or the new place for weeks. And I’m moved in and unpacked in a matter of a few hours an no one has to be inconvenienced or work overly hard. Smooth moves. That’s what I do well.
So, tonight, exhausted as I am, I cannot sleep because the minute I rest my weary head on the pillow, my mind begins scrolling through all that I have yet to do to get my family of six out of our house and into our new digs in the next 7 days. It’s pretty exhilarating, considering that just over a week ago, I had no idea I was going to be moving over Labor Day Weekend. Sure, I knew a move was in my future, like maybe six months down the road. I had no idea that within 24 hours I would find, tour, meet the landlords and put move-in fees down on what will be the largest and newest home I’ve lived in my entire adult life. Furthermore, I’m saving money in doing it. Even further, it is super-conveniently located and has all the modern amenities; something I’ve lived without for nearly a decade now. I’m excited. I’m anticipating this adventure. I’m looking forward to life in this new place. Above all, this symbolizes a casting off of all that was painful, ugly, broken and beyond repair in my life. As I toss or recycle each unnecessary or broken item, I’m taking another step closer to that clutter-free, minimalist lifestyle I seek. Stuff clutters. Clutter stresses. I’m done with both. The physical stuff and clutter are going, as is the emotional stuff and clutter.
It is much easier to do away with the physical trash in my life than it is to get rid of the emotional garbage. Of late, I am realizing the power of “letting go.” I know it sounds cliche, but I’m learning there are things I just don’t have any power over. As one who has been far too concerned with what others thought of me over the years (especially the ex’s), I’m learning that the very thing I wish I could control, but which I can’t, is others’ opinions and perceptions of me. Sure, I can do my best to put my best foot forward, but when I tell my ex that what he proposes won’t work for his daughter and I, I cannot control that he thinks I am a control freak or that he believes I’m intentionally sabotaging his relationship with his child. Where he’s concerned, I am a control freak about our daughter, but this is more due to his extreme negligence and abusive behavior than it is my desire to control in this area. In spite of that, I have no desire to sabotage any relationship he has with his daughter. He will never believe this. He will especially not believe this when he learns about our move. His reaction worries me. I then kick into feeling badly and somehow that I am again at fault for the conflict. I am learning to stop my mind from running down that well-worn path and, instead, to take a different route this time. This new route is one that affirms my ability to make good decisions and validates my intentions to move my family to a better situation in life. A situation where I can be present for my children instead of stressing out about all the things I will never have the money to repair or maintain or do for my children. I cannot be worried that this ex, who never cared about me or what was important to me, doesn’t understand my motives or intent. No matter how I present this, he will view it negatively and I will likely end up in court anyway (a needless waste of time and expense). I have to let that go. I can’t waste energy on that. With each item I throw out, I am banishing the memories of dysfunction and moving toward a healthier manner of living and relating.
This is the future I see.
This is the life I look forward to living.
I am moving. It’s a sudden thing, and I am not prone to this kind of suddenness. I’ve been in the same residence for ten years, after all.
This move is the right thing at the right time for me right now.
There’s just so much in my life that currently falls into the area of “the unknown.” I don’t need the instability of wondering if, when, and where I am moving. And I need to move.
I need to get out of this place because psychologically it is draining me. There are just too many painful memories here. Memories of a love gone wrong, of insecurities preyed upon, of lives, hearts and psyches abused and damaged. There is also the glaring truth that no matter how long I live here and work to improve this place those memories and reminders contained its walls and corners will never disappear. I will forever see the improved thing and think of what came before.
It is time to move on.
Just like with the marriage, I thought for a long time I could fix it. I finally realized I cannot; I moved on and haven’t looked back.
Once that decision is made, it is amazing how things can fall rapidly into place.
Six months ago I was playing with the idea, the possibility, the wisdom of leaving. Five months ago and each month since, I’ve made decisions that put into play a series of events that moved me closer to being able to leave. The last, item, to find new digs.
Not so easy to do, when your credit is shot.
Amazing how miracles still occur.
This time last week, I had no idea I was moving. Had you asked me, I would have said, “Yes, I’ll probably be moving within the next six months.” I had no idea I would be residing in my new location in two weeks. I’m a big believer these days that when you know something is right, you know it. I believe that about jobs, relationships and homes. This home appeared and all the necessary details fell into place. I’m ecstatic. While it is going to be sad to leave (sort of), it is far more exciting to go. But going brings its own stresses and having less than fourteen days to pack up and move a family of six is filled with more than the usually day-to-day moving stress. It doesn’t help that this is happening right at back-to-school season either. It also doesn’t help that it occurred during the process of mediation with the second ex…the one I hold responsible for the damages to my current abode. Oh well.
So, I’ve been up writing to do lists, making plans, and…once I got the floor plan of the new place emailed to me…placing furniture.
There is the stress of going through the accumulation of a decade of misery and getting rid of it all. Sometimes I do wish I could just torch the place. It would be so much easier. Purging is good, and necessary, and we are doing it. I thought it would be tough for my kids, but they’ve gotten on board and are doing a great job. Of course, the carrot of New Stuff in a New Place is helping motivate them. There is the stress of packing and organizing packed boxes so that moving day isn’t complete chaos and the unpacking a disaster. There is the anxiety of trying to figure out how a new location will impact our lives and our routines. There is the excitement of looking forward to living in surroundings that are palatial compared to what we currently reside in. There is the anticipation of, for the first time in a decade, being able to put dishwasher detergent on our shopping list. Yes, folks, I have gone the last ten years without a mechanical (as opposed to human) dishwasher. This is exciting.
I’m struck with how this idea of place impacts our lives so much. For me, location is everything. I know there are people who can be comfortable in any setting. These are the people who can walk right into a new place and start meeting people right away. I’m not one of those people. When I enter a new environment, I have to give myself time to become acquainted with the environment, before I can comfortably engage with others around me. I have to take time to take in the details of the place I’m in. I don’t need a lot of time, but I prefer to have a few minutes to get my bearings.
Changing residences, even if the change is only a short distance like mine, can radically impact a persons’ lifestyle. This move, for my family, will alter things for us in a big way. For one, it is going to increase my commute time, for the next couple of years, at least. That, however, is the only trick part about this move and even with the increased commute time, my total travel time about 30 minutes. I can live with this. I can especially live with the savings in my pocketbook every month due to paying less in housing costs and utilities. I can live with the way this move will positively impact my lifestyle and increase the amount of time I have available to do the things I want to do like, travel, cycle, and write. Face it, with no yard to deal with, I’m going to have a lot more time. I’ve also totally eliminated the weekly arguments with my son about whether or not the lawn really needs to be mowed or not, which means I’m also reducing my stress load.
There are other ways that this move will impact our lives. A new environment contains new requirements for maintenance and upkeep. For example, this new place has hardwood floors on one level and carpet upstairs. The floors downstairs will need to be swept. Someone is going to have to have that job every day. Dishes will no longer be stacked on the counter glaring at us until someone decides to put them away, but they might remain in the dishwasher forever if I don’t assign that chore to someone. Since we’ll now have an indoor laundry area, there’s absolutely no way we can just dump the stuff out in the garage and “get to it when we get to it.” I am going to have to make sure the kids understand the new expectations for handling laundry and keeping our nice new place (built in 2005 instead of 1978) clean and tidy. The list goes on and on. The place we live in often dictates how we operate in our daily lives. I am only just beginning to realize how I’ve limped along for the last decade simply because the location we lived in was so unhappy and outdated.
So…the stress and details keep me up.
I’m anxious about making it all happen as smoothly as possible especially where our school year transportation routines are concerned.
I’m very excited about how positive this is for all of us. It’s going to be a crazy ride, but it will be worth it. Hopefully, once the move is over, I will be so exhausted, I’ll actually collapse into a deep and contented sleep…maybe for the first time in over a decade.