Dusty Pages

What do people do with their wedding albums after they’ve divorced? I imagine them hiding in a closet, covered in dust, somewhere between the shelf of shame and grief. Or all up in wedding album heaven somberly talking to one another through the shifting of gold-etched pages.

Hundreds of dollars and chunks of time spent creating these relics of remembrance. And at one time one of the things you’d save if having to escape a house fire.

Mine is still sitting on a slightly dusty shelf in the guestroom among all the other photo albums I carefully put together when I had the time and energy. I have avoided these like the plague lately as I don’t want to be reminded of a time when no, not everything was perfect, but I had a real companion in my life and my son was not on the edge of teen.

My co-parent, as I now refer to my ex, has not asked for any of the albums. I have no intention of throwing out the wedding album. It is a beautiful book filled with fun and loving memories. A compilation of a day I do not regret. A time in my life that has brought me to where I am now. Those photos represent happy times and the convergence of a couple destined to create amazing moments together, even through the dark times and eventual fall of the union.

Will my future companion be upset by this? Will he begrudgingly but curiously sift through its thick pages, his mind wondering and questioning what went wrong?

These are some of the thoughts I have when thinking about a future with a special companion. There is not even a hint of one on the horizon though. Besides, in the words of Allison the basket case from The Breakfast Club, “I don’t think the kind of friends I’d have would mind.”

 

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The D Word

Two point something years later…

Since my first post Ramblings of a Future Divorcee, which was actually written back in 2014 the worst year of my life, things have changed quite drastically. Most areas, better than I expected. Other areas, not so much.

My ex, my baby’s daddy, or rather, my co-parent as I think I might start calling him, is still a big part of my life. We have gone from separation and the worst of enemies to still separated but peaceful co-parents. I could write a book about all that happened in between but really it was all so treacherous and horrible and almost unforgivable that I see no reason to relive it here. If I need to refer back to it for any reason then I will.

The peace and zen that is in my life regarding our relationship and our relationship with our son is miles above what I ever expected. Not that there aren’t hiccups along the way of course.

Now the single life thing is something else. I’m actually pretty efficient on my own. I’m one who craves alone time. Can’t really imagine sharing my space 24/7 with another male besides my tween and I sure as hell don’t want to get married again anytime soon (I’m still officially married but separated). I do crave a companion. So the dating thing. I didn’t think it would be easy but, Jesus. What the hell?

This is what I’ve encountered so far-

  1. Aggressive types who don’t take no for an answer. These are usually the needy types as well and flip out if you don’t answer a text in a matter of seconds. They also seem to take your “casual dating” stance as meaning you want them to move in or meet their mother. They are particularly good in bed which is why you didn’t shoo them away/fake your death sooner.
  2. Flighty types who act like they’ve had the best time of their life with you, tell you all their secrets in confidence, tell you they can’t wait to hang some more, then never call you again. You don’t know if they are good in bed because you either didn’t have sex or it was a one night stand and everyone knows things can change that second time around.
  3. Freak jobs who show you their beloved hand gun in the parking lot after a dinner consisting of them talking about their past girlfriend for THREE HOURS without once asking a thing about you or checking to see if you’re still alive. These types don’t even get a frontal hug.
  4. Average Joes, nothing too horrible, nothing truly great. It fizzles out in a matter of a few weeks because let’s face it, you don’t want to waste their time or yours. They are average in bed but have a few quirks that leave you going, “Hmmmm. Don’t really think I can live with that for very long.”
  5. The younger man. Which honestly was the best (I’ll post a poem or two about this one). It lasted on and off for almost a year. I was his Mrs. Robinson without all the vindictiveness. He was the first after my separation and we helped each other both emotionally and physically during the most tumultuous time of both our lives. We are still friends but without the physical benefits. He was not good in bed at first, even claiming to me the first night we had sex that, “I’m terrible at this.” But after our courtship he’d improved greatly. It was our conversations I liked most anyway. And his body. Did I mention that? Oh yes and flowing brunette locks. Lord help me.

My co-parent and I don’t talk about our dating lives. We also don’t talk about the impending divorce much either. We prefer to keep things light and take action only when needed.

But I can tell you about both. Thanks for listening.

 

Ramblings of a Future Divorcee

The Beginning

First of all I don’t know where to begin. Let’s just say I feel like I’m in some sort of a nightmare. A nightmare partly created by me, yet a nightmare all the same.

The good thing is I don’t have cancer. No terminal illnesses. But after all this is over I might have some gigantic ulcer or a great chunk of insanity bore into my brain. If I am still standing, breathing, and have some of my sanity and dignity left after all this is over it will be a miracle.

Even as I write this I can feel my fingers going numb. I don’t know when I breathed last. Everything looks yellowy and out of focus and every chore takes me twice as long to even think about starting it, much less finish.

We were sitting at the dining room table. It was mid-afternoon and my husband had just picked up salads for us from a chain restaurant. As I poked at the chicken with my plastic fork he asked me a question which made me stop.

“What if we went on a trip. Just the two of us? Maybe that’s what we need.”

I thought of it. Just me and him alone. Trying to make something that wasn’t working, work. I suddenly felt sick. I looked at him in the silent moment. I couldn’t keep trying to appease him.

“I don’t want to be married anymore.”

Or something like that. I don’t really recall what I said. Only how I felt. I could continue to try to make myself love him. To keep telling him the things he wanted to hear. To keep everyone around us in this happy haze. To keep my kick-ass lifestyle of not having to work, of being able to bike my son to and from school every day. To be the cool Mom who was always available. To have time for writing and working out. The thought of losing all that also made me sick. But I couldn’t live a lie anymore. I had to set him free.

That was maybe three months ago. Time is a nagging and fleeting thing. I am losing track of it. Since then there have been several fights. Right in front of our son. I never started them. But I guess my waving the white flag on marriage did.

But to me that is no excuse for the finger pointing, the yelling, the smart remarks and evil looks from across the room. I don’t know who this man is who at some point is going to be my ex-husband. Maybe he says the same about me.

The Air Filter

I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the air filter. My husband always replaced it. It was fifteen feet up the top of the wall and required a long-ass ladder, a lot of balance, and a damp cloth to wipe the black dust from the edges of the metal grates. My husband never remembered to replace it. We would go months breathing the same air from the same filthy filter. But when I did remind him he would get leaf-ridden ladder from outside, bring it in the house, set it up, and change the filter while I handed him the damp cloth and told him to be careful not to fall and please wipe the grates clean.

But after my decision to leave him, or in his eyes kick him out of his own condo, I wondered how I was going to tend to the air filter replacement. I had carried the big-ass ladder before when I used it to hang ridiculously large Christmas ornaments on the Norfolk pine in our front “yard”. But how would I balance myself on the ladder while also trying to change the filter (and what size was it anyway, 18×20? That seems right but could be completely wrong) while also wiping the months-old black dust from the metal grates? I have birthed an 8 plus pound child naturally and endured six tattoos without a tear. So for god’s sake I can change a fucking filter. But the thought of it still kept me up in the middle of the night.

The Stages

I’m not sure what all the professional books say about the stages of going through a divorce but I can tell you first hand there are definitely several and they don’t come in any chronological order. Some you think are gone but then one morning you wake up and there it is again. And back with a vengeance. Wait a minute, I thought I was done with you, self loathing. And failure, do we have to do this again? Really?

At the moment I am going, again, through the phase of what the fuck am I doing. I guess that is normal. We had some good times. A lot of good times. Fifteen years of road trips and sunsets on the beach and grilling out and birthdays and trimming the Christmas tree. Boy is that gonna be a hard one. Another phase. Going through the first holiday separated. Who will get our son and when?

My stomach is in knots now. Oh wait a minute it already was. Change is brutal. The unknown terrifying. These reasons and more are what kept me from leaping off the cliff that day we ate the salads and I told him I was done. I kept saying, ok let’s give it until the summer ends. Let’s get through the holidays. His mom’s three-hundredth semi-fake illness.

But I finally did leap. I hope I’m doing the right thing.

Insanity

I have read the definition of insanity to be doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It took a bit of time for this to really formulate in my brain. Even though I took that grand leap not knowing quite all I was in for, I took the leap. And it was something different than what I had been doing.

Perhaps I could have tried harder. I could have stuck it out another season, another year. It wasn’t the most terrible thing in the world. But it didn’t feel right. There was always a nagging feeling that it had run its course. That it would never be what it was supposed to be.

This piece was written and hiding in a folder over 2 years ago. Things have evolved since then. Take this trip with me. More to come…

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