Three Weeks

We are at the three week point. I’m still alive. I still cry every day. Not for long drawn out periods of time, of course, but I’m easily triggered and cry at the drop of a hat.

It’s kind of funny when I think about it because Matt often commented on how I didn’t like letting him see me cry. Now I’m crying about him all the time.

I hate it, too. I hate the fact that I’m so weak I’m crying over this person who hurt me and was so callous towards me. I hate the fact that I’m crying over some guy who probably hasn’t given me another thought. Hell, maybe he’s already got himself a replacement. 

And here I sit, 600 miles away, broken hearted, trying not to bawl in the supermarket when my brother checks up on me and tells me he still loves me. Trying not to cry at work because I’m listening to a song and I realize it’s telling my story. Trying not to cry when my co-workers are asking me if I’m going to the Employee Appreciation party this Saturday. I have only ever gone to this with him.

My sleep is still erratic. I still don’t eat much. I think I’ve probably dropped 10-15 pounds, if not more. I’ve begun eating my Keto yogurt in the morning so I’m at least having 2 meals a day if you count a yogurt as a meal. Otherwise it’s one meal and a snack.

I don’t allow myself to think of our last weekend together. I don’t allow myself to think about sex with him. I won’t listen to “our” songs. I know I will be a puddle on the floor if I do that. I’m still debating what to do with the things that remind me of him.

I know I’m going to cut up the matching t-shirts and maybe even burn them. The infinity sign with our names? That’s being broken in half. The framed lyrics to “All Of Me” with our names on it? Burned when I get the chance. The pineapple ornaments I bought for each of us? I plan on taking a hammer to them. The cup that says “Love You More”? That sucker is going to be shattered. I already popped and cut up the mylar balloon he gave me last year for Valentine’s Day. Not so sure about the rest of the stuff.

I keep reminding myself the pain is finite. One day I will get ready to go to bed and it will suddenly dawn on me that I haven’t cried once. Today is not that day. 

I Risk Everything; You Risk Nothing

His definition of a life together is now suddenly different from mine. He didn’t say exactly what the difference was. I thought we were on the same page. I thought the goal was for us to spend as much time together as possible without me losing my spousal support. I think it mostly came down to him wanting me to push the boundaries when it comes to risking said spousal support. He always said he understood and that he didn’t want me to lose it but he also said, “I always thought we were willing to push the boundaries for what was allowed.”

I was willing to move down there for fuck’s sake! I was willing to stay with him 5 nights out of 7. That apparently wasn’t enough.

He would frequently tell me he had an apartment with its own separate address I could move into. Jerry Lee couldn’t do anything about it because they were two separate addresses. I wasn’t living with him.

No, I’m living in an apartment above his garage. Maybe that will be enough. Maybe it wouldn’t be.

What’s $300,000 or so when it comes to love, am I right?

Oh wait! I forgot. Me losing out on $300,000 is no big deal but him having to pay out $20,000 or so is a huge deal! He shouldn’t have to pay out a dime to his ex but I should be willing to move in with him, risk my spousal support and then, after co-mingling funds with him or buying a house together or some shit like that, I can also risk losing my shit to his ex-wife in their divorce or if he dies. That sounds fair.

Yes, I guess our visions of a life together are different. As long as he was married I was not willing to move in together. I was not willing to give up spousal support for a man who was still married to his wife. I was not willing to share finances or buy a house together as long as he was still married. I’ve been divorced. I know how lawyers will tell you one thing in the beginning and something completely different when you are going to court or trying to reach a settlement. I wasn’t going to let her come in and tear away even more shit from me. I wasn’t even willing to take the chance.

I was the one who had already lost everything in my divorce. He hadn’t lost a damn thing and yet he still felt it was fine for me to lose even more while he kept everything intact for himself.

I feel like maybe when he realized I was willing to move down there but I was planning on moving an hour or two away he realized I did not want to move to his town. Realistically being an hour away meant we would spend every weekend together but we probably wouldn’t be able to spend most weeknights together. Unless I worked remotely from his house.

That comes with its own set of problems. Like, what do I do with my dog and 2 cats? His dog would eat them. I would also need to buy a docking station and two monitors so I could work from his house.

I think he wanted me to come down and actually do that while I was living here in Indiana. Again, it would be possible but I would need to spend a couple hundred dollars in order to get set up there and someone else would have to take care of my pets.

The funny thing is I was actually thinking of doing that once my mom went down to Florida. Picasso could have taken care of my cats and dog for 2 weeks. But I never got the chance.

And again, it all boils down to, “How many concessions are you willing to make for me? How far out of your way are you willing to go to make me happy?” Nothing about my happiness. Nothing about doing anything for me. Oh, sure he promised up and down for four years that he was going to move up to Indiana and build a life together with me up there. And you’ve got to give him credit for the three months that he spent trying to make it work. After that, however, it all falls on me. I get to travel. I get to uproot myself. I get to risk spousal support. I get to pay out hundreds of dollars so that I can work from his house. Sounds really fair.

Ultimately I think his vision of what a future together looks like is I move into his house and I live with him, just crossing my fingers that Jerry Lee never finds out. I live in his teeny tiny town despite telling him from the start I had no interest in moving there. His vision is I come in and settle nicely into his life and he never has to give up a damn thing. He gets everything he wants and I risk losing everything.

He also mentioned how he used to think that I was joking when I said my son would probably be living with me forever. Now he’s not so sure. He thinks I enable my son and he believes he’ll always be living with me. That’s not what he envisioned. He envisioned us living together and living life together, the two of us. Not the two of us plus Picasso.

That’s not really true though, is it? Our lives would have always revolved around his kids and what they wanted to do. 

You know what? That would have been fine as long as he was willing to let me put my kids and their wants ahead of him just like he did with his kids and me.

Again though the rules are different. One of the very first big fights we ever got into occurred when I realized that Jerry Lee had stopped payment on three separate checks he had sent me for support. Matt had been out to a ballgame with his kids and they had spent the entire day together. I make this discovery about the missing $1500 or so from my bank account in the early evening and I was so upset. I called him around 6, which was very unusual. We almost always talked later on in the evening right before bed. I told him what happened and began to vent and he says to me, “I promised T I would watch a movie with her. She’s waiting for me. We can talk about this when I call you later tonight.”

He had spent the entire day with his kids and now when I needed him for possibly an hour, maybe less, he couldn’t support me because he needed to watch a fucking movie with his daughter. Apparently their Netflix subscription didn’t come with the pause feature.

He wouldn’t sell his house because his daughter didn’t want to move. He kept it for her which meant he had no money for a down payment on a house in Indiana. But he thought my son should get his own apartment. Be independent.

Hmmm… his daughter was splitting the expenses with a roommate. His mortgage was just over $400 a month. All together his daughter was probably spending $400 or less on the mortgage and utilities. A one bedroom apartment in this town is around $900 a month. If Picasso found a friend who could split rent with him he would still be looking at more than $600 just for the rent. I don’t think that even comes close to being the same.

If that’s not enough of a double standard, I’ve got another one for you. Matt spent approximately $15,000 refurbishing the apartment above his garage so he could rent it out as an Air BnB. He did surprisingly well with it. It was booked a lot. Last year around February or March his middle son asks his dad if he and his wife can live in the apartment for a few months while their house is being built. He even offers to pay rent. Matt turns down the offer for rent. No, he wants to “help him out” because he’s such a hard worker. So his son is living rent free despite the fact that he and his wife have a combined income that probably hits close to six figures, if it doesn’t exceed it. He is living rent free despite the fact that he and his wife sold their house during that crazy period of time when people were paying way too much for houses and made something like an $85,000 profit on a house they had owned approximately one year. This stay was supposed to be for six months. They are still there, unless they just moved out. For ten months that apartment that Matt spent fifteen grand refurbishing has not generated a penny in income. Meanwhile, his 21 year old daughter is splitting the mortgage with him and he thinks my son should be out on his own, fully independent.

He could cancel or change plans with me because his son wanted to show him his wedding venue or his daughter wanted him to go to her best friend’s graduation.  Apparently the only time he could see the wedding venue was on a Saturday or Sunday when we had plans. No other times available. And daughter’s best friend’s graduation took precedence over us celebrating our one year anniversary of dating.

He was supposed to move up right after T’s graduation. Only she didn’t get the financial aid she was hoping for (and should have received as a straight A student) so she was going to go to the local college that had an extension program. That put off our plans for two years. 

Did I threaten to end things with him? Absolutely not! I told him I understood. I told him he didn’t have to do this. I told him I was willing to do long distance forever if that’s what he needed.

Then she dropped out of college. He couldn’t move up right then and there because he had to make sure she was self-sufficient. He couldn’t just leave her there to fend for herself. Unlike my son who should be forced to sink or swim. And he couldn’t give her an ultimatum and tell her he was moving and she could either figure it out or move with him either. Like I did with my son when I told him I was going to move so he needed to step up or make peace with the fact that he was moving, too.

For a couple of months she did nothing. She wasn’t in school. She wasn’t working. 

Did I tell him she needed to get up off her ass because we couldn’t be together until she was self-sufficient? No! Absolutely not. I was understanding at every fucking turn. I want to be perfectly clear that I love his daughter and want only the best for her. She’s a great kid. I do not fault her in the slightest.

I don’t think Matt could say the same in regards to my children.

I waited patiently and offered him an out all the time. You don’t have to do this, I would tell him. For three years I told him that.

I finally stopped after year three because we had been separated for 3 months thanks to the pandemic. Once I went down there he put the plans to move into high gear and I thought, “Oh, maybe he really does want to see me every day. He really does want to do this.” Because honestly, there were times I believed he would never move up to Indiana.

But when it comes to my kid? He’s manipulative. He’s conning me. He needs to be kicked out of the nest. We’ll never be together, free to live our lives together, because of him.

That’s such bullshit! I’ve always been free to do whatever with Matt. I’m not the one that has a problem telling my kids to deal with it. Just because I might go out and grab Picasso something to eat or I’ll run to the store for food instead of making him go doesn’t mean he came before Matt each and every time. I don’t believe I ever uttered the words, “I can’t do this because of my kid.” 

He actually told me one time that Picasso is Jerry Lee all over again. That I miss the drama that came with him.

Interesting. Because I mostly ignored Jerry Lee when he acted like that.

He told me that I’m afraid to upset my son. That everyone in our house tiptoes around him.

That’s rich coming from the guy who didn’t sell his house because his daughter didn’t want him to and who canceled our plans for our one year anniversary because his daughter told him he had to go to her best friend’s graduation.

My son has some serious issues. He definitely has some of his dad’s traits but that is a huge reason I am trying so hard to get him help. I’ve told him many times I don’t want him to end up like his dad because his dad is miserable and I don’t want that for him. 

Picasso deals with depression and social anxiety. He’s possibly on the spectrum. He probably has undiagnosed ADHD. He’s highly intelligent and very insecure. Unlike Matt’s kids my son does not have a significant other. He doesn’t have someone else that he spends every waking moment with. He’s not off living life with his significant other and their parents. He doesn’t have a combined income and someone that will be helping to shoulder the burden. And he hasn’t worked since September.

He has said before it is not the work itself that gets him. He actually enjoys that. It’s the people and how awful they are to him. He goes to work and feels himself slipping into this dark spiral and it takes him longer and longer to get himself out of it each time. He’s afraid one day he won’t be able to get out of that spiral and he’ll end up killing himself.

Is he manipulating me? Maybe. Am I willing to risk him killing himself? Absolutely not. I am doing everything I can to help him. He’s been in therapy for 3 years. He has a psychiatrist. He was accepted into vocational rehab. I plan on meeting with his therapist and with his new psychiatrist. I don’t want to enable him but I don’t want to end up with a dead child either. I don’t know where that line is between enabling and recognizing his limitations, and as always it’s so easy for Matt to say, “He’s faking,” because it won’t be his kid that is dead.

This is an area where we did not see eye to eye. It got to the point I didn’t even want to discuss it with him because he doesn’t seem to believe most of it is real. If I’m being very honest I think the real problem is Matt didn’t like it when he wasn’t coming first. His kids came first for him and yet he thought he should come first for me.

Failure To Assimilate

I think out of all of the things that he accused me of telling me I had no interest in his life and didn’t care to assimilate, I just wanted him for a weekend fuck, was probably the most mind fucking of them all.

Let’s see. The very first time I ever brought my kids down to Virginia was over New Year’s. The majority of the weekend was spent at WinterFest, which is a Christian rock concert with multiple performers. And preaching.

My two are agnostic and atheist. My agnostic didn’t want to go but I told her to suck it up and do it for me. My atheist said he didn’t mind; he just wanted to spend time with me and Matt.

Do you know why we went to WinterFest instead of choosing something that everyone might enjoy? Because he had mentioned to his kids possibly buying tickets to WinterFest a few months earlier. So when he told his kids that me and my kids were coming down the first thing out of his youngest son’s mouth was, “I thought we were going to WinterFest.”

WinterFest was a huge thing for them. They had gone as a family many times. Didn’t mean shit to us. But since he had told them they might go, even though plans had changed slightly with the addition of me and my kids, he asked if I minded.

We went to WinterFest because that’s what his kids wanted to do. And I agreed to it and told my kids to suck it up if they weren’t happy because I knew this would make him happy. I assimilated.

We also met his brother and his family that weekend, went out to The Waffle House with them, and went over to his parents’ house on New Year’s Day and had Chinese food with them.

I feel like that’s assimilating. It’s certainly not a solitary weekend fuck with just the two of us.

We “met” right before Memorial Day weekend. Our first anniversary of dating we were making plans to go somewhere and celebrate. When he mentioned going away his daughter told him her best friend was graduating that weekend and he couldn’t miss her graduation.

What to do? What to do? Go ahead with your planned one year anniversary celebration with your girlfriend (no hard and fast plans to be fair) or go to the graduation of a kid who is not your own because your daughter tells you her friend will be disappointed if you’re not there?

I ended up driving down there after work, getting in around 4:30 in the morning, getting up to go to this graduation at 9, and then after eating lunch falling asleep in the recliner and sleeping the rest of the day. We did end up going to a winery and had a loverly brunch, but we lost out on an entire day because instead of meeting somewhere in the middle I agreed to let him rent me a car and I drove all night long to go to the graduation of his daughter’s best friend, who I might add, she wasn’t even talking to 2 years later. Then on Monday we drove down to Charlotte so that I could fly back home.

I think I would call that assimilating, wouldn’t you?

I’ve driven or flown down to Virginia countless times. I’ve spent a lot of time with his family. The times we didn’t meet up with them were because he didn’t make plans to do so. How is that my fault?

I planned and executed his 50th surprise birthday party from 600 miles away. I invited everyone in his family. I reached out to friends and neighbors.

I drove down for T’s 18th birthday. I helped plan her party. I helped put her gift together. I went out to dinner with her and the rest of his kids.

I went down for T’s graduation. I met his wife’s sister and brother-in-law and spent the weekend with them since they stayed at Matt’s house. Do you think I wasn’t worried that would be awkward and uncomfortable? Of course I was! But I did it. I trusted him when he said they were awesome and I put myself out there. I cooked. I helped decorate.

Despite being told over and over again throughout the years that he would never invite T’s mom to the party (not that I expected that) guess what happened? You guessed it. She was invited, and despite saying she couldn’t bear to see him with his new love she was around the entire day. I spent an entire day dodging this woman while she stared daggers at me. And then I endured his wife being invited over again Sunday morning when her sister inadvertently invited her to a farewell breakfast, and then I got to watch him and the brother-in-law cook breakfast for her and everyone else.

I took my vacation days to drive halfway or all the way to see him. I spent my one full week of vacation down in his town just so I could spend time with him. He would be off working so my choices were to wake up super early on my vacation days, or sit at home all by myself while he worked. That was my vacation. Don’t get me wrong. We went out in the evening. We had a great time on the weekends. I’m not complaining. But to say I didn’t try to assimilate?

If I had to compare the number of times I drove down to Virginia versus the number of times he drove up to Indiana I would say I win but only by a small margin. The difference is I was frequently down in Virginia for a number of days. He would come up, arrive literally around midnight most of the time on Friday, have all day Saturday, and then return home midday on Sunday. I would spend 10 days with him. Five days. Four days. I used my vacation time to be with him. But again, I don’t want to assimilate. He’s just a weekend fun time.

In September when I went down there for my vacation we went over to his parent’s house for his dad’s birthday. I played croquet for the first time because that’s what they were doing.

I wasted hours with him driving down to North Carolina to pick up stereo equipment he bought off of Facebook Marketplace that ended up not working. He apologized profusely for wasting our time together and I told him I didn’t care. I was just happy to spend time with him. It was an adventure.

I’ve been over to his brother’s house to eat pizza and play games. We met them at a winery one weekend.

I accepted him remaining married. I don’t know if that’s assimilation or stupidity or maybe simply tying myself into knots to be okay with whatever he wanted. I knew when I met him that Virginia had a one year plus one day waiting time. At the time though he was convinced he was going to end up getting divorced before me because he was trying to do an online divorce. After agreeing to all of the terms she wouldn’t sign. He had to wait the full year. Then she told him she had filed and he would be getting papers. Only she didn’t so he waited and waited for the divorce papers. Finally, a few months later, he hires an attorney and gets the ball rolling. Once he filed and it began in earnest she started demanding things. Things like half of the equity in the house. Half of his business. She wanted him to pay off half of her credit cards. She wanted her share of the tax refund, which he was okay with. But everything else? He didn’t want to part with a dime.

His thought process was she cheated and she was an alcoholic that had made everything more difficult in his life and hadn’t contributed to anything except chaos. Why should he have to pay her to get rid of her?

Obviously that’s the price of freedom but he wasn’t willing to pay it. When I was pissed that he was withdrawing the divorce papers he told me, “You know, sometimes I think that because you lost everything in your divorce you want to see everyone else lose everything, too.” Yes, I realize that’s an absolutely shitty thing to say to someone.

He said he didn’t have a way to pay her what she wanted and what she could possibly get if they went to court. He would have to sell the house and he refused to displace his daughter.

So I made myself be okay with the fact that he was never going to get a divorce. Ever. As he said, “It’s not like we are ever going to get married.” Hmmmm…. maybe that was my cue to exclaim, “Oh, no! If you divorce your wife I’ll give up spousal support and marry you!”

To be clear he did refer to her as his soon-to-be-ex wife, and he did say he would eventually divorce her. But I remember reading his blog and reading, “Divorce is imminent.” Two years later they were still together and it only ended when she walked out on him. I gave up any hope that he would actually divorce her.

I feel the need to say I don’t think I did anything wrong by dating him when he was still married. I wasn’t the mistress living behind a cloud of lies. They lived separate lives. She left him for someone else and has been living with that guy ever since. I simply didn’t want to be dating a married man forever. But I was willing to do so in order for him to not have to give anything up.

I was willing to move down there! That’s assimilating. For four years the goddamn plan was for him to move up to Indiana. Four years! And I gave that man an out all the time. “You don’t have to do this. I can do long distance forever. It’s okay.” But no! He insisted this was what he wanted.

He gave it all of three months before realizing he couldn’t do it, waited another 3 months before he had a good reason to pull the plug, and then I was left scrambling.

You see something I didn’t share with the group is this. When I had an inkling he was going to return, way back in November of 2021, he asked me if I thought we would still be dating if he hadn’t been willing to move up here. He followed that up by saying he didn’t think either of us really wanted to do long distance forever.

When he moved back I knew he wouldn’t be satisfied with long distance for very long. I had a plan though. I would save up as much money as I could from my back support payments and spousal support. I would get certified so that I had more options for work. Then I would move down there. My mom was willing to sell her house and move down with me. My daughter told me after the breakup that had I moved she would have moved down there as well. And since my son isn’t working and isn’t self sufficient at all right now he would have moved his hot little ass with me, too.

But apparently since it didn’t happen RIGHT NOW I wasn’t backing up my words with anything. Or maybe it was the realization that I was willing to move to his area but I didn’t want to move to his town of 900. If I was living ah hour away how could I be in his bed every night? How could we spend every day together? That wasn’t HIS vision and since HE wasn’t willing to compromise and move even an hour away from his kids this would never work.

That makes it so much easier to be upset that I didn’t decorate the damn float, or that I was supposedly rude to his friends. My assimilation was agreeing to be in the damn parade in the first place. It wasn’t something I wanted to do. I would have rather spent more time hanging out with T and her boyfriend. Or up in Roanoke. Or doing anything besides that, but I did what I thought would make him happy. And then I failed because I didn’t do it right. Which is weird because I’m almost positive that he told me he wished he hadn’t agreed to doing it because he felt the exact same way. Interesting.

A Comment To Ponder

I got a comment from one of my regular readers. She’s actually a longtime reader of both of our blogs. She said Matt always seemed so unhappy on his blog until I came along. But once I entered his life his blog posts were hopeful and happy. 

For those who aren’t aware his wife is an alcoholic. She cheated repeatedly, smeared him behind his back, portrayed herself as an abused woman, and left him for one of the guys she was sleeping with. He hung in there for years, supporting the family and trying to get her help. He never gave up on her. She was the one who gave up on him.

Reading that gave me a rush of mixed emotions. Happiness, I suppose, because it felt good for someone to acknowledge I did make him happy. Sadness, because making him happy didn’t matter in the end.

I know these posts have been all about me emotionally vomiting. I’m trying really hard to knock my rose colored glasses off of my face and look at our relationship under a very bright high powered microscope. I can’t detach from him if I continue to think he was the most amazing man in the world and no one will ever compare. But the truth of the matter is I did love him. I loved him so fucking much. I’m sure I will repeat this over and over again during the course of writing this all out but he was my person. I adored him. I loved him more than I had ever loved anyone before. I used to tell him that he was greatest thing that had ever happened to me and that I was so lucky. I had never had a relationship like the one I had with him.

Now I’m trying to come to terms with the fact he doesn’t love me anymore and that our relationship had problems in it that I ignored.

And yet, I did make him happy. I know that. 

I remember New Year’s Eve when we went out with his brother and a whole entourage. We had been dating about 7 months. His brother told me that Matt was like a brand new man these last few months. He said he felt like he had his brother back.

A couple of years later when Matt’s sister-in-law and her husband stayed at the house for T’s graduation her husband put his arm around me, leaned his head towards mine, and told me it was good to see Matt smiling again.

Those people had seen him miserable. Struggling with his wife and all the shit she put him through. They saw the crazy, the tears, the desperation in trying to repair everything and keep it going. I’m sure they listened as he cried and poured his heart out. Then I came along. I told him how great he was. I restored his confidence. I put a smile on his face. I allowed him to return to the person he was before all the shit had hit the fan.

How can you make a person so happy that everyone around you notices it and yet your person still discards you? Was I just a salve for his broken heart? Once it healed he no longer needed me?

He wrote on his blog shortly after his wife walked out that he wanted to find a true and honest love, if such a thing existed. My heart broke for him as I read that.

Now? Now I think, “Motherfucker, you had that! You had that with me and you tossed it away like it meant nothing! You don’t deserve an honest and true love anymore. I hope the next one makes you just as miserable as your wife did.”

I was a true and honest love. I never lied to him. I never cheated on him. I wasn’t passed out drunk. I didn’t endanger his kids’ lives. I didn’t go around telling everyone he was a controlling ogre who told me what to wear. I didn’t accuse him of abusing me. I just loved him with everything I had.

I don’t even know what the point of this post is. Maybe it’s to remind myself that I did matter. I made a difference. No matter how he tries to spin things I did make him happy. People saw it. They commented on it. 

I hope he’s never that happy again. I hope he spends the rest of his life regretting it on some level. I doubt he’ll regret it but I can still hold out hope he will never be that happy again. He will probably consider it a fair trade off for having someone local but he will be aware that she doesn’t make him anywhere close to as happy as I did. The people around him will notice it as well. I hope he always misses that.

The Fight

Again I ask: So how did it come to this? Great question. Once again I wish I had an answer. All I know is December 2nd he was claiming he wanted to be my ride or die and the night we broke up when I asked him if he loved me he told me he “didn’t know where he was with that.” Only to later claim that he never said he didn’t love me. When I reminded him of what he said his response was, “That’s not saying I don’t love you.” Well it sure as shit isn’t saying that you do!

I’m not crazy. That’s gas lighting, right?

We had a fight on Saturday after I realized he was out partying with his brother, brother’s wife, and new co-workers of six months and opted to ignore my phone call. No text: Hey, baby! Didn’t I tell you I was going over to Mark’s tonight? Can’t talk. I’ll call you later. Of course, he wouldn’t have been able to call me later because he was over there until 4:30 in the morning.

The best part though was when he finally called me the next day around 2:30 in the afternoon and told me he was sorry he couldn’t answer my call but he’d had a little too much wine already.

Hmmm… you can’t talk to your girlfriend of 5 1/2 years when you’ve had too much to drink but you can hang out with these people you’ve known for 6 months while you’re drinking? You can hang out with your brother who got you arrested the last time you drank to excess around him? Interesting.

I can’t explain it but it seemed like such a bullshit excuse. Deep in my bones I felt like he was lying to me about why he didn’t answer.

The call did not end on a good note but nonetheless he called me back later that night. I finally worked up my courage to tell him I was pissed he had ignored my phone call. After all, I have shitty communication skills and won’t fight, according to him. But I let it fly.

I told him I had called him because he was always saying I could call him, too, only the last few times I’ve called he hasn’t picked up. He’s been busy doing other things and those other things take priority. I thought maybe he had fallen asleep or was talking to T or doing something with her. As I’m scrolling through Facebook later that night, having nothing else to do, I come across pictures that his brother had posted. The whole crew (7 or 8 of them) are celebrating and having a great time. And there sits Matt. Definitely not sleeping. Definitely awake and cognizant of my phone call. Deliberately choosing not to take it. Yes, that made me mad.

I called him out on his story about why he didn’t pick up. He never actually gave me an explanation. He did say the phone was across the room; he heard it but he didn’t rush over to pick it up. He said it was loud and he was probably walking around singing karaoke.

In response he tells me that the real issue is that I’m pissed he moved back to Virginia, I don’t like those people, and I don’t want him hanging around them.

DARVO- deny, attack, reverse victim and offender.

Once again I have to tell him that I’m not mad he moved back. I was sad, disappointed, and heartbroken, but I wasn’t mad. I understood. How could I fault him for missing his kids?

Once again I have to point out it’s not that I don’t like him hanging out with “those people” it’s that I’m pissed he ignored me in favor of them.

Then he brings up the fact that I didn’t get out of the truck and help decorate the float when I was down there in December. He found that to be rude. He accused me of not wanting to assimilate into his life.

I paid over $400 for a fucking plane ticket to go down there. It was only the fourth time we’d been together since he moved back. After the ticket was bought he tells me a neighboring town had called his brother and asked him if he would enter the company float into their parade. They had already appeared in another larger parade and apparently they were a huge success. Only catch was the brother would be out of town and he was only willing to let Matt drive his new truck. If I said no they probably wouldn’t be in the parade. So I said yes.

That was me assimilating because I sure as hell didn’t want to be in this fucking parade. I didn’t want to take an hour or two out of our time together to be in a parade. But I was told all I needed to do was sit in the truck with him. That’s it.

We get to the location to help decorate. Matt makes the introductions, everyone says hi, he goes off to find something, everyone goes back to working and talking amongst themselves. I get it. They’re co-workers. They’re going to talk shop. But meanwhile I’m standing there like a sore thumb. No one is talking to me. No one is including me. Apparently that’s not rude. I decide to go sit in the truck and read.

Matt comes back and asks me if I want to help decorate. I’m perfectly fine reading whatever it was I was reading so I tell him, “Nah, I’m good.” That was it, folks. That was the kiss of death.

I was rude. I didn’t want to assimilate. I didn’t want to know anything about his life. I was mean to his co-workers.

Even when I said, “OK, I see your point. Maybe I should have gotten out of the truck,” it wasn’t enough.

Towards the end I told him I wasn’t going to play second fiddle to these people he’d known all of six months. I told him I expected him to answer his damn phone when I called him, even if he was out with them.

He wouldn’t fight back. When I would ask if he thought I was wrong or had something else to say he just said there was nothing to say. “What can you say to that?”

The next day when he called it was like nothing had ever happened. I figured maybe we should continue our discussion but I wanted to wait until after his trip to see his oldest son and grandson. Then he beat me to punch and dumped me that Tuesday.

The Accusations

I apologize for the choppiness of these next few entries. I have a whole bunch to say and I want to make sure no one misses anything so it’s going to be broken up into a few different posts. I may end up repeating myself sometimes. Deal with it. Things may be out of order. I’m going through a crisis right now so deal with it. You’re all smart. I’m sure you can follow along. With that caveat let’s begin, shall we?

What happened, you may be wondering? Hell if I know.

What I do know is he stood in my office one day in April or May and said, “Don’t cry. This isn’t goodbye. We’re just going back to our old plan until we figure out a new plan.” What I also know is he moved back the beginning of June. We saw each other a grand total of four times since he moved back.

Well golly, Sam, that doesn’t sound normal!

No, no it doesn’t. Let me explain.

He asked me not to pressure him to get together when he first got back because he needed time to get his house back in order. His son and his wife had moved into the apartment above the garage while their house was being built and they had moved everything out of the Air BnB into a room in the house. I guess maybe he felt the need to reclaim his house from his daughter and her best friend/roommate. So I was a good little girlfriend and I let him lead.

I’m going to add in a little extra background on this. I always felt like I was the one pushing to see him more. It’s probably not true. He definitely did ask about getting together so I don’t want to paint a picture of him being totally bored and never wanting to meet up. When we first started dating I almost ended things with him one time because he canceled on me to go see his son’s wedding venue and I was like, “Look, you’re saying you’re going to move up here and we will have seen each other a grand total of approximately 12 times. This is never going to work.”

I took it back immediately but I said it.

There were other times where we made tentative plans and then they would be changed because of his kids. I don’t even remember the second time it happened but I do remember telling him I was canceling on our weekend because I was going to go do something with my daughter.

I always felt like he put his kids first and I put him first. Not to say I neglected my kids, but if I had plans to meet up with him and my kid wanted to do something I wasn’t afraid to say, “I already have plans. Let’s do this another time.” Obviously if it was something like prom or graduation my kid came first, but daughter’s boyfriend’s graduation party? Sorry, sweetie, I’ll send a card and check; I’ve got plans that weekend.

I sometimes thought he was almost afraid to tell me no or to cancel on me because he feared my reaction.

So this time around I was not going to pressure him.

We finally saw each other the last weekend in August.

Looking back now, of course, I wonder if maybe I should have spoken up. “Hey, how long does it take to get your house in order?” “Hey! Let’s get together sooner than August. I miss you. I want to see you.”

But I didn’t want to pressure him. This is what he asked for. I gave it to him.

Maybe he was pissed that when he’d throw out, “Oh, I thought about maybe trying to get together this weekend but then I thought, ‘No, too late for that,’” I wasn’t begging him to follow through. It’s not like he asked if I wanted to get together those times. He told me he thought about it but decided against it. Again, trying not to pressure him. Trying to respect his wishes. Trying to let him lead this.

I remember him hugging me in the room as we packed up to leave. “We’re good, right?”

“Yes, we’re good,” I assured him.

I went down to his place the following weekend. We ended up going down to Charleston and having a marvelous time. We spent 9 or 10 days together.

At the end of that week together he tells me, “You know what’s coming up and how I get.” Yep, he filed for an extension on his taxes and they were due October 15th. He didn’t want to even attempt to get together until after he had filed his taxes. I left September 11th to go back home. We didn’t get together for another two months. Again, I gave him what he wanted. I never pressured him into meeting up. He finally suggested getting together.

We met in Chillicothe and had a great time. That was the relationship goals weekend. The, “We are having the best time watching you two laugh together,” weekend.

I flew down to Virginia the first weekend in December. He told me he wanted to be my ride or die. He told me I was so cute when I was tipsy and telling him how much I loved him. I thought we had a great time.

I thought we were getting back on track with seeing each other more regularly.

Shelby’s graduation was 2 weeks later. He had volunteered to come up for it. He was deathly ill the week before and still had a bad cough. He canceled on us.

Then he tells me the week after Christmas, “Hey, we could get together over New Year’s Eve.” I tell him we sure could.

After a few days with no further conversation regarding the get together I say to him, “So I guess we’re not getting together on New Year’s after all.”

He said no, he really needed to get his house straightened up.

When I mentioned this to him the night he ended it he told me I didn’t seem that interested in getting together so he just dropped it.

Apparently I was supposed to throw him a parade or something. Maybe jump up and down and shriek with glee that he finally wanted to see me. Thank him profusely for acknowledging my presence and honoring me with his. I’m not sure what he wanted. All I know is my response was lacking in appropriate enthusiasm.

A week later he hung out with co-workers after work on a Friday night, ignored my phone call, got drunk, and stayed out until 4:30 in the morning.

We got into a fight. I stood my ground and made my case. After a few days of acting like nothing had ever happened he suddenly dropped the hammer- he’d been thinking about talking to me and ending things since July.

Oh, and of course he wants to remain friends. He was absolutely shocked at the thought of me blocking and deleting him on everything.

Ultimately, when he’s not asking why anyone has to be the bad guy or why can’t it just be a case of it didn’t work out, he blames everything on me.

I suppose that’s good, right? Because that means if everything is my fault if I ever get into another relationship then I know what to fix. Hooray!

What are my litany of offenses?

Where do I even start?

He believes we have different definitions of what a future together means. He told me I had no desire to assimilate into his life, that I was fine meeting up with him for a weekend but that was it. He told me I’m crazy insanely jealous. He accused me of being perfectly comfortable living at my mom’s and I had no real desire to have a place of my own. I didn’t see him; I was always on my phone, even when we were talking on the phone. I played Candy Crush or was catching Pokemon or reading instead of focusing on him. He claims that I would ignore him when I got home from work when he lived in Indiana and not speak to him for hours and remembers many dinners eaten at the table where I would be reading on my phone. When he moved up here he was pissed because I hadn’t carved out a space for him. He was pissed that he had to clear a shelf off in the bathroom and had to bring in a dresser to put his clothes. He was pissed that I wouldn’t defend him against my son and even when I would defend him then he’d be pissed because Picasso had dared to say anything that might anger him. He told me he felt like we were only friends. He told me he felt like he was a bauble in my bracelet that had lost its shine. He kept asking me what had changed to make me “see” him once again because up until that week I supposedly hadn’t asked him about work or focused entirely on him. Now I was texting him at work. What changed? He reached way back in time and told me I had ruined a near perfect weekend for him when his son got married because I had accused him of fucking his wife on his son’s wedding alter. Oh, and I don’t like sex.

Yeah, don’t worry. We’ll be taking most of these one by one.

You know what pisses me off the most? He never gave me a fucking chance. He never opened his fucking mouth unless it was to bitch about my son. He has the nerve to tell me I have shitty communication skills. Not once did he say, “I feel disconnected from you.” Or, “I feel like we’re drifting apart. What can we do to get us back to a good spot?” Or, “You’re ignoring me.” Or, “I don’t feel like you want to get together anymore.” He didn’t even say, “I think we have different visions of what a life together looks like. I think we should have a serious talk about this and see if there is any common ground.” Nothing. Not a goddamn thing. I’m just his fucking ride or die one day and the next day he’s ignoring my phone calls to get drunk with co-workers and the day after that he’s dumping my ass.

My Favorite Stepmom Story

As you can all probably guess from my “Weirdest Burial Ever” post my stepmom is one of a kind. I thought with all the drama going on I could cheer you up with a really funny story. It’s legendary in our family. I even had a longtime friend bring it up the other night.

My stepmom is weird. I’m just going to say it. There’s really no beating around the bush with it. She made us eat French fries with a fork when I was growing up.

My dad’s name is Mike. Michael is his given name but he was always called Mike. His parents called him Mike. His sister. My mom. His friends. Everyone in his life called him Mike. Except her. He was always Michael.

She does the same with the grandkids. If you had a James and you called him Jimmy, she would insist upon calling him James. And she hates the fact that my nephew goes by Bubba. She always refers to him by his first and middle name (he was named after my brother and my brother gets first name only; his son gets both names to differentiate). My dad used to like to give the grandkids his own personal name. They were always awful- things like Pearl and Mabel. Maybe an Ethel. She got on him about that and he had to stop.

Another time she called me up asking me if I’d like a plain wedding band to wear for those times that perhaps I didn’t want to get my actual engagement ring welded together with my wedding band dirty. You know, like when I garden. I don’t garden. I try not to dig in dirt.

I very politely told her, “No, thank you.” I didn’t think I would have a need.

Much like the year I told them I didn’t want an electric typewriter she went ahead and bought it anyway. It sat unused for 3 years until I gave it to my brother to give to his own wife. They were short on money and I had an unused wedding band.

She found out that I gave it to them and actually called me to chide me for giving it away…. because she had purchased it for me. Apparently despite all of her etiquette knowledge she did not realize that once you give a gift it is no longer yours and the recipient is able to with said gift anything they wish. I wished to give it to my brother and new sister-in-law.

This is just a brief sampling of the things she has done over the years.

But our very favorite story is the peaches story.

When she gave my brother things, like green tomatoes for fried green tomatoes, she would include the bacon grease and the flour in separate containers, along with directions. I think one year she sent up mistletoe and included a hammer and a nail.

This time she sent him a bag of peaches. Included with these peaches was a set of directions on how to eat the peach.

Wash and eat like apple OR

slice into quarters and remove pit.

I swear to God! Those were the directions. I actually had a photocopy of the directions on my refrigerator for years. I think I finally th

rew it away when we moved from Utah out to Virginia.

I remember Jerry Lee had an excellent comeback. One of the few times he managed to show off his humor.

I don’t feel like I have enough information. If she thinks I’m so stupid I don’t know how to eat a peach what makes her think I know how to eat an apple?

It’s probably been 20 years and we all still laugh about the directions on how to eat a peach.

The Weirdest Burial Ever

I buried my father today. I already knew it was going to be very bare bones and weird. I’m not sure I expected it to be as weird as it was.

It was graveside only. You would think that would mean graveside services but you would be wrong. We literally all drove to the cemetery where his casket was waiting, stood around for a couple of minutes, and that was it. There was no preacher. There was no service. This was apparently our chance to say our final goodbyes. Which was a little strange considering it was only family and almost everyone at the gravesite had been at the hospital.

My stepmom had texted me to let me know this was not going to be a fancy event. She wore sweatpants, snow boots, and an old work jacket. Now, it is Indiana in the winter so I can understand the snow boots. I wore my cute little boots, too, but I sure as hell wasn’t in sweats.

The older of my two younger brothers spoke up and asked for a moment of silence. We also stayed while they lowered the casket into the grave and secured it in the vault. Then the three of us took a shovel full of dirt and tossed it onto the casket.

As the oldest I went first. I didn’t realize the dirt was going to be so frozen so I ended up taking a clump that was aside from the rest of the mound. I tossed it into the ground. It hit the vault and made a ton of noise. My brothers put their foot on the shovel and managed to get a good shovelful and their dirt landed with much less aplomb. My nephew told me later that I had scared the shit out of him when the dirt hit it. He thought he was pounding to get out for a moment.

My brothers and I went to lunch along with their wives, almost all of our kids (only my daughter was missing) and the boyfriend and husband of the two nieces. My stepmom and aunt both declined to join us.

That was it.

We’re having a Celebration of Life on February 12th. My stepmom is not happy about it. She tried to stop us but the younger of my two brothers just said, “Let me rephrase this. We are doing this. You are free to participate or not.” I don’t think she’s happy about it. For whatever reason she’s afraid people will come and tell stories that paint him in a bad light.

This is really funny because she’s the other woman. She was the final nail in the coffin. I would just think that if you were perfectly comfortable fucking a married man that maybe you wouldn’t concern yourself so much with being proper and dignified. You left that behind a long time ago. Observing proper manners does not reduce the stench of infidelity. It’s ironic that someone like that would be so concerned with others thinking poorly of him or painting him in a bad light. I’m pretty sure they both did that when they fucked over my mom.

Also ironic is the fact that my mom is coming to the Celebration of Life. Huh- my mom may be there and my stepmom probably won’t be.

Just to show you what a classy lady my mother is she asked for my stepmom’s address so that she could send her a condolence card. I will never have that kind of grace.

Will This Ever End?

Again, this is not what I planned on writing about. I actually meant to combine this with the post yesterday and I apparently forgot and now I have experienced this trauma not once, but twice!

I have gone out to Logan’s Roadhouse two times this week. It’s kind of ironic actually because I am down to about one meal a day and I don’t eat my entire meal when I go there.

Anyway, I’ve been twice this week. The first time was on Tuesday with Sweet J. I’ll spare you the story behind it. The important thing is while I’m finishing up my drink the song, “What If” by Kane Brown comes on.

That was a big gut punch. That was one of “our” songs.

In the beginning I was quite skittish and he was completely confident. He wanted a second shot at love and happiness. He was going after it. I wasn’t so sure about a new relationship, trusting someone, opening up to them. But Matt melted all my fears away. It was easy to fall in love with him. One of the first songs we claimed as our own was, “What If?”

You say what if I hurt you

What if I leave you

What if I find somebody else

And I don’t need you

What if this goes south

What if I mess you up

You say what if I break your heart

in two then what

Well I hear you girl

I feel you girl but not so fast

Before you make your mind up

I gotta ask

What if I was made for you

And you were made for me

What if this is it

What if it’s meant to be

What if I ain’t one of them

Fools just playin’ some game

What if I just pulled you close

What if I leaned in

And the stars line up

And it’s our last first kiss

What if one of these days baby

I’d go and change you name

What if I loved all these what ifs away

I couldn’t get away. I had to sit there and listen to this song, one of the very first songs we shared with each other. We went to this concert together. We sang this song together at the concert.

Well, he did hurt me. He did leave me. I guess it is up in the air whether or not he found somebody new and realized he didn’t need me.

I can no longer listen to this and think I’ve found my person, the one who was made for me and I was made for him. I thought I’d had my last first kiss.

I suppose technically I could have. I have no guarantee there will ever be anyone else. So maybe that part is true.

If that wasn’t bad enough tonight I go there with my son and “The Fighter” comes on. Yet another one of our songs.

See a theme? I was afraid of being hurt again and he was the guy who assured me he would never do that.

I know he hurt you

Made you scared of love, too scared to love

He didn’t deserve you‘

Cause your precious heart is a precious heart

He didn’t know what he had andI thank God, oh

And it’s gonna take just a little time

But you’re gonna see that I was born to love you

What if I fall? (I won’t let you fall)

What if I cry? (I’ll never make you cry)

And if I get scared (I’ll hold you tighter)

When they’re trying to get to you, baby

I’ll be the fighter

Look in the mirror

You’re beautiful, so beautiful

I’m here to remind you

You’re my only one, let me be the one

To heal all the pain that he

put you through

With love like you never knew

Just let me show you

Awesome! Another gut punch to sit through. Where do you go?

I forced myself to listen to it, all the while thinking, “This song is such a fucking lie.”

He did let me fall. He did make me cry. He’s nowhere to be found now. He didn’t fight for me. And all those things he told me? I don’t believe them anymore. I don’t know if he was ever being truthful or if he got caught up in the moment, Either way he broke me.

Goddammit! I am so sick and tired of crying over this man, especially because I’m sure he hasn’t lost a moment of sleep, hasn’t missed a meal, hasn’t shed a tear, and is probably fucking someone new already. At the very least he’s out there living his brand new life and having an amazing time.

Meanwhile, I wake up around 4 am every day and have to coax myself back to sleep. If I make it until 6 I’m doing well. I spend my days feeling nauseous and if I eat twice in the same day it’s a miracle. I cry off and on all day long. I cannot wait until the day comes that I make it through the entire day without crying.

I know; I know. It’s only been a little over two weeks. I’m trying to give myself grace. I’m exhausted though.

When You’re Going Through Hell….

Keep going, right?

I have not been doing well. I’ve cried more this week than I did last. Driving home yesterday I was crying and talking out loud when I finally let out this guttural scream. I was hoping it would release all of the pain and anger and I could go back to feeling nothing. I say feeling nothing because I’m certainly not going to go back to feeling happy.

This is not what I planned on writing as a follow up to my original post but it’s what you’re getting today. I’ve been watching a lot of TikTok on breakups and recovery. There’s a lady I like a lot but this one video gutted me.

As always they want you to believe that this (the breakup) is only setting you free to find what you really need. I don’t believe that. Honestly, I believe I will be alone for the rest of my life.

I know I said the same thing during my divorce from Jerry Lee and then I ended up with Matt. And yet technically, I was correct. I didn’t find my person. I thought I did but I was wrong. Didn’t find the person I would be with for the rest of my life. Thought I did but I was wrong. He didn’t want to be with me. My ex is happily, or maybe not so happily married and I dated a man who dumped me 5 1/2 years later. They’re going strong and I’m by myself.

I’m getting off track though. Back to the video.

She says, “Yes, you may still love them. You may always love them. But you may find someone who stays by your side, who doesn’t just leave.”

Two problems with this. First, I don’t just want somebody who won’t leave. I mean, obviously that’s what we all hope for, but I don’t want a ho-hum relationship with somebody just because he won’t leave me.

I want what I thought I had. I want the relationship where people look at us and say, “You two are having way too much fun together.” I want someone who makes me laugh and who laughs at my jokes. I want someone who wants to do things together.

The way she puts it it sounds like settling because this next person is safe. I thought I had safe when I got married. It wasn’t the romance of the century but I thought it was safe and secure. Turns out I am really a terrible judge of character.

The second problem dovetails nicely into my shitty ability to judge people. I thought I was with someone who wouldn’t leave. I thought I was with someone who would stay by my side. I was terribly wrong.

“Find someone who you are so comfortable with and they just stay and you’re like they’re not going anywhere… You can exhale and relax with someone like that.”

There is peace in being with a person who brings you that security. Imagine the feeling of being with someone who makes you feel like they’ll never quit on you.

Those are the inspirational points she has scrolled across her TikTok.

Sorry, Darlene, but I thought I had that. I thought I had that peace. He made me feel like he would never quit on me. Until the day he did.

You know, I never thought Jerry Lee would cheat on me but I did sometimes question whether or not he would leave me. I dreamt many times that he left me before it actually happened.

With Matt I never dreamed he would leave me. I knew his story and how he and his wife had gone to a VanHalen concert and they were never apart after that. He put up with over 12 years of shit from her- drinking, smoking behind his back, cheating, telling others he was abusive and controlling, endangering his children. I thought to myself, “Here is a man who will never walk away. He will never quit on me. When he falls in love he remains in love.” Hell, he’d still be with his wife if she hadn’t left him.

But apparently me not decorating a fucking Christmas float and playing on my phone too much was a burden too heavy to carry.

While I enjoy the tips to help me get over him and I delight in her unbridled optimism that he will miss me, too, I don’t see myself ever getting into another relationship. I am clearly not good at them.

If I was so completely fooled this time despite all the vetting how can I ever expect to get it right?

And I don’t want to settle. I don’t want to be with some boring, bland guy just for the sake of saying I have someone. I don’t want to have bad sex for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be bored out of my fucking mind. I don’t want to have to change who I am. I want what I thought I had with Matt. Only next time I want to have it with someone who isn’t a fucking liar.