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Pain

Tonight, I lie awake.  The moon, this late in August is almost full, the second full moon we will have this month; a blue moon, they say.  The light floods the deck outside my bedroom, illuminating everything in a beautiful blue glow that can only be seen and appreciated in the wee hours, on nights like these, but only if you are one of the fortunate ones who cannot sleep.  I have my own beautiful, exquisite dreamland right outside the slider leading to my deck.  As the moonlight streams down onto my personal paradise, as I gaze from my bed out onto the deck, I think, “If I felt better, I would go out there and enjoy that beauty.”  Instead, I remain in bed and I wince with each movement.  Tonight, my back is killing me.  I can’t get comfortable.  I’m in pain.

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If there isn’t emotional pain going on, then someone, somewhere is hurting physically.  It is the way of this life.  While it is true that we learn and grow and deepen during our times of suffering (if we are paying attention), I’m not sure that I like this particular aspect of suffering that I am enduring. When I was younger, I could do anything or nearly anything with no consequences.  I mean, really, almost anything.  Today, I attempted the “almost anything.”  I moved a tree from the tree store into the back of my vehicle. I then moved the tree from the back of my vehicle to the driveway of my place.  I then attempted to move this tree, with only a little help from one of my children, from the driveway clear around the house to the back deck.  The tree?  A Japanese Maple, as tall as I am and a little bit wider. This did a number on my back. Years ago, I could have done all this activity with no consequences, but these days, I pay for every bit of effort I expend.  My currency is pain and sleeplessness.

This year has been filled with pain for me.  Six days into it, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer.  I have four children, three of them at home, the oldest is not yet fully launched.  What horrible timing.  Pain. I have had more financial struggles this year than I’ve had in a good, long while.  Another car blew an engine.  That’s a deductible I couldn’t afford to spend the family grocery money on. And in the professional work realm, I encountered a year that I would put up there with my top three worst years in the world of work ever.  Add to this, uncovered medical expenses which I am still paying off, and a boyfriend who suddenly decides to take off without giving me notice. I mean, I thought we were working on forever, and it turns out that he was only working on him and his kids and I was the stepping stone. Pain. Pain. Pain.

And with it, regret.

But tonight…I’m in a different kind of pain and it isn’t emotional.

Physically, my body is killing me.  It is punishing me for the work I expended today to create some additional beauty in my world.  Beauty that was worth the pain I am experiencing now, because if I’d known I was going to feel this way afterward, I would have still moved that tree single-handedly onto my back deck.  It is so worth it to me.  And, as I lie here in physical pain, pain that Vicodin was created for, I think this:  My body hurts, but my psyche does not.  While my body screams in agony and I cannot get comfortable, if I am honest I have to say, that, in spite of my recent experience of being abandoned faster than most people cash in on a lottery winning, I am doing okay.

And okay is okay.

I’m not happy about the fact that my love life is nonexistent, and likely to be so for a very long time.  (Actually, if I can’t have the Gone Boyfriend, I’m okay with this.  I just don’t want to go to the effort.) I’m not happy about the fact that I’m likely to attend all of my children’s monumental events in life…alone…while their other parents attend these very same events happily married with a second or third spouse.  Yeah, what kind of loser must I be?  Pain.

In spite of all of this, here is what I know: I am okay with me.  I haven’t settled.  I haven’t compromised.  I am the one I have to wake up to each  morning, and, for the most part, I am content with who I am and what choices I’ve made.  Sure, I’d love to rewind life several decades and make some different choices, but those different choices would eliminate certain people from my life that I simply find I cannot do without.  So, I’m okay with the choices that I would re-do, under other conditions.  I’m okay with where I am right now.  I don’t like a lot of my current reality, but I’m okay with most of it.

I’m good with the the fact that I’m able to provide for my children, that we are surviving and thriving in an economy where many are struggling.

I’m so grateful for all the people in my life who’ve given me hugs, emotionally and otherwise in my most painful moments and who, in spite of my drama, still care to call themselves my friend.

I’m grateful for a career, that while stressful and imperfect, enables me to provide for my family without having to depend on someone else…and to do so…reasonably well…and which allows me to make a difference in the lives of very important people who will someday make decisions that affect us all.

I’m grateful for a Japanese Maple…or two…on my back deck that will provide me with some beauty and a peaceful respite for some years to come. If I can just enjoy the beauty of a tree and a moonlit night, I think I just might always be content.

I’m in pain, but I’m content with my lot.  I’m good with this.

Home should be a refuge from the pain.  I, thankfully, have this refuge in my life.

I can’t complain…but…you know I will…just because….it makes a great story!

The Company Picnic

Most people have one day a year that they dread.  For some, it is the day they have to finally own up and pay the taxes.  For others, it is the particular day of the holidays when they have to sit next to one of the least favorite outlaws at dinner.  Some dread the day they have to put a child on the plane bound for dad’s for the summer.  For me, it’s The Company Picnic.

My company is a rather large organization with 19 offices in three cities.  We serve over 13,000 clients annually in a personal face-to-face environment. Our clients receive services from us, some of them for over 20 years.  We also have affiliates in other communities nationwide. So, essentially, my organization is a large one.  But it is dreadfully small on Company Picnic Day. As long as I live, I will never cease to question how I can be in a basketball gymnasium filled with thousands of people and never see a person I know, yet, take that same stadium and fill it with thousands of people from my company on what we dub as Company Hug Day, and I can find The Evil Ex even if I’m not looking (and I always am, just to avoid him).  This year, not only was The Evil Ex present and accounted for, but so was his Wife, who apparently has now been hired by the company and working in the same office he is working in.  To add insult to injury, his son’s wife, a cute young thing was also there. Now, I have nothing against their happiness, or the fact that apparently there is some real nepotism going on which I don’t understand, because The Evil Ex is not even good at what he supposedly does for a living. Why would the Powers That Be hire anyone associated with him?  I don’t get it. (In fact, the company had grounds and could have fired him 12 years ago.  I know.  I was there.  They didn’t.  Instead, in a classic case of sexual discrimination, they demoted me (the more experienced and qualified female employee…and I’m not making this up or being bitter…I can prove I’m the more qualified and skilled individual) and promoted him.  And why?  Because I foolishly made the mistake to fish off the company dock.  (I was not informed that this only works out for the men in the equation.) I was also too fearful and intimidated to take on the legal battle.   What I take issue with is that it just seems unfair that those who are so inept, succeed over those who are more competent …or seem to.   Okay, the job situation ticks me off, but he’s also inept relationally.  How is it that he gets a relationship though he’s a jerk and I’m a decent person of good character and I can’t find a match that will last to save my soul???  Yeah, let’s not go there.

He is a creeper.  I had a restraining order on him.  He has less than the normal minimum days with our daughter. He should have been fired.  But that’s not how the world works. They retain the men. And fire or demote the women, essentially ruining their careers…especially if they get pregnant.

I guess I am still bitter about all of that.  It doesn’t eat at me…at least 364 days of the year it doesn’t eat at me…but on Company Picnic Day…when I see him representing the most prestigious office in our region (think monied clients and a comfortable corner office to work out of)…the injustice of it all floods my psyche.  You see, back in the day, before we decided to fish, before he decided to stalk me and later abuse me, I worked at one of those elite locations, with that elite clientele, with a very comfortable corner office, with windows, all done up in blue.  My life was made. Until he entered the scene.  And I’m not bitter when I say this, the man is incompetent.  He can’t handle his own personal matters, let alone those required for his job.  The deal is this:  he’s a great liar and pretender.  He can present himself to so many as something he really is not.  He has a way of lying about things so that, while preposterous, they sound believable.  For example, this summer he perjured himself under oath.  He told the judge he was still providing insurance for all of his children due to the fact that one’s children are now covered until they are 26.  The reality:  he has 7 children…not including the one we have together which makes 8. Of his 7 children, 5 of them are adults, and 4 of them are married, over the age of 26, and/or have their own insurance coverage. So, he told the judge he was paying insurance and covering all these people and what it shakes down to is, he’s covering exactly two other children (besides himself and his wife) and not our daughter. I was stunned.  I was not able to reply to this statement because I wasn’t given adequate opportunity. He lied.  He wins.  He puts himself off as this great man of character and of God, but then he doesn’t  pay his half of the medical expenses and he’s an asshole when it comes to negotiating the differences regarding our daughter.  In fact, there is no negotiation. He just does what he’s going to do and I am left dealing with the fallout.  That’s  how our marriage was.  Can I expect anything different in our divorce?

So, he won in the work arena.

He won in the court arena this summer.

And today, apparently, he’s winning in the Love Arena, because he was there with his wife and daughter-in-law, while I was there, completely, undeniably,  and obviously, ALONE.

And by alone, I mean really alone.  The last couple of years I told myself it didn’t matter.  And, really, it didn’t, because I didn’t have his wife and daughter-in-law in my face at close proximity. (Yes, our last names all end with the same letter so I must attend all the excruciating meetings with them.) But also, I knew I was going home to someone.  I knew then, at least, I was in the relational ball park.  Last year at this time it appeared I was winning or, at least, staying in, that particular game.  This year, it is a totally different story. I’ve been kicked off the island, or my partner couldn’t leave my island fast enough.  My inability to maintain a relationship over time is glaringly apparent to me, to the world, to the company and, worst of all, to the Evil Ex and his family who now, apparently, works for our company.

This does not feel good.

I mostly don’t mind being alone, but never having a significant other in my life was simply not what I ever wanted in life.  In fact, even more than kids, I wanted that quality relationship with another adult. I gained in the kids arena, but apparently I’m a complete flop in the relationship arena.  This just doesn’t always sit well with me.  In fact, at times, like today, when I am faced with my failure, it is incredibly painful.  I wonder why he gets the happy relationship though he never spoke to me ever, once, in six years, in his passive-aggressive abusive manner of dealing with people. He is disrespectful, unreliable, and irresponsible and all sorts of other things I don’t want to take up space with here.  How does he get love and I can’t find a quality partner to save my soul? He’s a taker, an abuser, and people flock to him.  I don’t take, I give, I deal honestly and fairly, and men use me up and move on.  No one stays.  What’s wrong with me?????

So I posted that video and post about being Alone.  I’ve made my peace with being alone.  I can handle it.  I’m content most of the time.

The truth is, I’ve lied.  I like being in relationship with a man. I like the companionship.  I don’t like being alone…in that way. I especially don’t like the idea that this is the end of the relational line for me (and the sad reality is that age being what it is, and men being what they are, it is the end).  Like I said, most of the time, this is not an issue with me.  I enjoy my boring, little life.  I have wonderful friends. I love my kids.  I’ve been blessed with four beautiful, intelligent, dynamic individuals as children, who are so successful, in spite of the fact that they had so many risk factors (divorce, poverty, etc.) working against them. I can’t take credit for that.  They chose that. The work I do daily matters, not just to the people I work with, but to the people they, in turn, impact.  It’s an amazing job and I am good at it. I’m grateful for that.  And if you asked any of my friends they would tell you and they do tell me that I am an amazing person.

But…

at the end of the day…

when the kids have gone home to their families…

the friends are busy with their own lives…

…and I can no longer work

…I am alone.

I don’t exactly want the highlight of my days to be my latest, greatest Facebook status update.

I don’t exactly like the idea of rocking alone on the front porch of the old folks’ home.

Apparently, I’m just not amazing enough.

I hate Company Picnic Day.

Dating

Online dating seems to be the shiz these days. Everybody’s doing it. More couples than ever before meet online. Half a decade ago when I left the Evil Ex, I decided to give online dating a try. I actually did this because my oldest daughter set up the profile for me. I later modified that profile and tried out just about every online dating sight in existence. I could tell you that the creepers stalked Plenty of Fish, that eHarmony was a rip off unless you are into long distance relationships and have a ton of frequent flyer miles saved up. Match.com seemed to have the most professionally employed individuals in my age bracket and, indeed, this is where I met The Gone BF. But, I met The Gone BF just as I had decided to give it all up anyway.

You see, online dating, or constantly meeting up, is downright exhausting. This isn’t to say, that it isn’t fun. I met a ton of fun interesting people, several of whom I remain friends with to this day. The problem with online dating is that you have to have your game on, you have to have this ability to be interested until you know you’re not, and you have to be aware that people are liars. Plus, it just
seems like every date is the first date.

I’ve also noticed that online dating tends to follow a pattern. I personally never make the first contact; my inbox is usually slammed with those seeking to make my acquaintance, or get into my other inbox. I attribute this to several things: I know how to write a profile that gets the guys’ attention, I pick effective and truthful pictures, and I was younger back then. I’m not sure I’d have the same luck today. I’m not sure I have the emotional energy to even try. But, I was talking about the online dating pattern of profile, contact, digital contact, phone contact, F2F (face to face) contact. Most of the time it ends up sizzling out about the third email. If it gets to a meet up, I’m usually disappointed. I’m figuring it won’t be the same game it used to be this time around, and I’m just not sure my fragile self-esteem can bear being passed over for younger gals with enhanced boobs and fewer laugh lines.

Now that The Gone BF is gone, never to return, I have wondered what the future holds for me. I can’t possibly envision another relationship. Not because I wouldn’t like one…eventually. I mean, the idea of rocking away on the porch of the old folks home all alone, doesn’t exactly appeal to me. On the other hand, giving over even one inch of my newly acquired closet or bathroom space is just as distasteful to me. (Yes, I’m going to need therapy just to mitigate my strong tendency right now to become a completely self-absorbed reclusive cat woman.) Getting to know someone takes time, effort, sometimes money, patience, and a whole lot of emotional fortitude…all, of which, I lack these days. Mostly, I just want to be left alone.

On the other hand… it might be fun to just see what’s out there.

Naaaa, I’m not holding my breath. Something about all the good ones being taken comes to mind.

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.

Tonight I Cry

He left this morning, early, and was gone all day. I came home, his personal effects were gone. His place in the bathroom vacant, empty, hollow. It hurt. For so many reasons it hurt.

I thought we had something.

I thought we were building something together.

I was investing my life, my self, my heart because I really thought we had something, and not just any something, but something good, something that could go the distance.

He returned home this evening, mentioning he will be gone tomorrow. He let drop the news that he’d interviewed for a job two hours away. How long has he been planning this move, I wondered? What else is going on that you aren’t telling me. I voiced my questions aloud and received only unconvincing answers which confirmed my worst fears. He’s been planning this ending for a while. When he was going to let me in on it, I have no idea. Maybe he was going to write me a letter and leave it on his pillow. Or maybe I’d just figure it out when I returned home from work one day to find all his things cleared out.

Tonight I’m in pain, because this new revelation that he’s actually been planning to leave me for some time is news I cannot bear. How do you live with someone you know loves you, allow them to pay your bills, feed, you, house you, and all the while you are planning the cruelest sort of reciprocation: instead of “I love you” it’s “Good-bye.”

I do not understand this.
Worse, I have no idea when this change occurred in him. I just sensed things were amiss, I addressed it, and he’s gone. He was merely biding his time looking for an out.

I thought we were good together.

Apparently, he didn’t agree, and I missed all the clues, until now.

I am a fool to have cared. I am a fool to have trusted. I am a fool to have believed.

Tonight I pay for my foolishness with tears. Tonight I cry.

Humorous…Or Not

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.

This is my 17-year-old son’s disastrous room

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.) :

This is the downstairs bathroom that is, apparently, always a mess. Hmmm, no one has been in to clean it. Is this messy?

And here is the kids’ bathroom, another source of contention for him:

Again, I did not clean up for these pictures and they haven’t been photo-shopped. Is this a messy bathroom?

He says he just cannot deal with the mess anymore and he is tired of cleaning up after everyone.

Whoa!  Screeeeeech!

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.

 

 

Cease Fire

I’m seeing a pattern, or rather, I saw a pattern. I’ve been married twice, divorced twice and now this relationship that ended up being a non-relationship. I have only these significant relationships to reference, in addition to a small smattering of dating experiences (three months or less), since my last marriage and before the Non-Relationship. The pattern I notice is this: after a relationship ends and you’ve both admitted it is over, or that it should be, there’s a cease-fire of sorts. You both pass each other in your daily routine saying little; just trying to survive. You may be in pain, but at least you have some direction about where things are headed, even though you might not like the direction. The fighting stops. It’s over, why fight?

For me, when a relationship gets to this point, I end up feeling more relieved than anything. I’m glad I’m no longer wondering or worrying about what’s up. I’m no longer pissy about the fact that my partner has gone emotionally AWOL. I immediately begin standing on firmer ground as I move through the days immediately following the split. I feel a bit like that now, but this is different. I’ve never lived with someone before marrying them and I’ve always been able to separate physical living arrangements at about the same time the breakup occurred. That’s not the case here. He’s going to be living in my home for the next several weeks with no obligation to me. I’m really uncomfortable about this. I don’t think he’ll be a jerk, but if he decides to be, it could get bad.

I hope this isn’t that fateful calm before the storm. That cease-fire that occurs before you both begin to get on each other’s nerves. I hope we are done being disagreeable.

Slowly, Then All At Once

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It’s happening. The Hesitant Boyfriend (who is no longer really a boyfriend but an additional child in my life) is no longer hesitating. He’s moving out. Of course, I’m also not giving him any other options, either.

I guess, if I was honest with myself, I knew this was coming. I also knew it was coming long before now. I feel like a fool for hanging in there so long, hoping things would change, knowing that with each passing day, and each passing paycheck he brought home that we never discussed (much anyway), that things were not only not improving, they were declining.

Ernest Hemingway, when asked how he went bankrupt, responded, “Slowly and then suddenly.” I think the breakdown of a relationship is like that. It happens slowly, then suddenly it’s just over. It’s been that way for me, anyway. I drag my feet, fearing to face what I suspect (know) in my gut is the truth. Finally, something happens that makes it ever so obvious that not even I, with my head-in-the-relational-sand ways can even deny, that he’s just not into me…or, at least, not enough to be living in my house with no financial obligations to pay for anything and no commitment to spending any kind of decent time with me. Then, it becomes painfully clear to me that I’ve been an idiot to allow this person to take advantage of me (because, when you take from someone without any intention of ever reciprocating, that is exactly what you are doing). By the time I figure it out, there’s no argument about it being over. It becomes clear that he’s okay with it being over as much as I am finally convinced that it can’t be over soon enough..

This explains much of the hesitation of The Hesitant Boyfriend. He’s known it wasn’t going anywhere for a long time. He couldn’t exactly admit this, because to do so meant he’d be kicked to the curb before he could even finish his explanation. He couldn’t afford to be kicked to the curb (where would he go and how would he pay for it?), so he denied his own innermost feelings, pushed them aside and tried to make like everything was fine. It worked, for a little while.

But his harping on my children for the most inconsequential things increased, his resentment over not being able to see his kids regularly (I warned him a year and a half ago this might occur), and he deliberately made plans to be busy during the holidays, something he did last year, which I told him would be a deal breaker if it happened again. I haven’t even mentioned the disrespectful manner in which he treated me in public, of late, the incessant and insulting putdowns, and on and on.

It happened slowly, then suddenly. We encountered the situation I told him would be a deal breaker and here we are.

After the clarity that comes with instances like these, things tend to unwind rapidly. In our situation, the Hesitant Boyfriend, who will in the future not even earn the title of ex, but instead will be referred to as the Non-Boyfriend or NBF has agreed to begin looking for another place with a tentative move out of the 10th and certainly by the time the 1st rolls around. Im getting the locks changed and canceling him off my insurance. He will leave with his books, clothing, and personal effects and his truck. I will keep everything else since I’ve easily paid for it all ten times over in the last year. Even he does not argue this.

So, it’s done. The unwind is happening and, as much as I do care for him, I am not going back there. To be honest, I’m relieved. It will be good to be able to come home at night, to enjoy my children without his criticisms and insults. I’ll save money, because I won’t be feeding him, fueling his car or paying for his car insurance (something he was supposed to reimburse me for but never did). It isn’t going to be exactly fun to be hanging out in the evenings alone (when my kids are at their other homes), but it certainly won’t be much of an adjustment and it will be a whole lot more honest. I’ll miss my cycling buddy, and I’ll have to learn to change my own tires, but those are small consequences to choosing to leave something that constantly created stress for me.

No use crying over something that really wasn’t. I gave it my best shot, and I do love him, but I’m so unwilling to stay in a lopsided and disrespectful relationship.

I’m looking forward to changing the Facebook status to something other than in a relationship. I’m looking forward to knowing what my holidays are going to look like and who is going to be in them. I’m looking forward to gaining back the control of my life that in some surprising ways had been seductively and gradually lost. Finally, I’ll miss the fun times, but I won’t miss the critical negativity that’s hung over our place every time he walks in the door.

He might be moving out, but I’m moving on.

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