The Day Has Come

This is the last Thursday night I spend being separated from my love by 600 miles. Tomorrow I hop on a plane after work and I fly to him. The next morning we are meeting his son for breakfast and then making the drive back to Indiana. It’s hard to believe that this day has finally come.

When I first “met” this guy I didn’t think it would turn into this. We lived 600 miles apart. I had traumatized children. He had traumatized children. We weren’t going to uproot their lives for our own. Eventually he made the decision that he wanted to move to where I was once his daughter graduated. She graduated two years ago.

Yes, our plans have shifted quite often. So often, in fact, that there were times I didn’t think he’d ever make the move. First the plan was to move up here shortly after T graduated and went off to college. Unfortunately, despite stellar grades the college she wanted to attend didn’t give her much in the way of financial aid and there was no way she was going to be able to afford to go away. So instead she planned to go to a local extension there in town. The countdown was going to begin anew. Two more years, he told me. Then August arrived and she went to college for less than a week before deciding she didn’t want to do that. She didn’t know what she wanted to do. Now all of the plans were up in the air. I couldn’t very well ask him to leave his daughter behind while she struggled to find a job and her place in this world. I would never have done so anyway. I love this kid and I want what’s best for her, even if it’s to my own detriment. I always told him I was willing to do long distance forever if that’s what it took.

August of 2019 she decides college is no longer in her future. It took her a while to get a job and then Covid-19 hit and closed everything down. Finally I went to see him after three months of being apart. Shortly after that visit he threw all planning into high gear. His newly revised plan was to be up in Indiana shortly after the holidays.

Of course, that didn’t go as planned either. He started advertising his business for sale. Made contact with the people who said they were definitely interested. One backed out and the other just ghosted him. He thought he had a buyer but that didn’t work out. Finally, in April he came to an agreement with someone. They closed on the deal in June and he’s been busy renovating the apartment above his garage for an Air BnB for most of the summer, with the exception of the three weeks he spent with me. And tomorrow I fly down so that we can drive back up here together.

I am both exhilarated and terrified. The three weeks we spent together this summer was the longest period of time we’ve ever had. And it was awesome! It flew by. Yes, we were on vacation for 10 days of it but we were not on vacation for 10 days of it, too! It was nice meeting him for lunch, having him take me to work, seeing him here when I got home.

So I suppose I’m mostly exhilarated. I have no reason to believe there will be any major problems. I love being around him and spending time with him. It will be amazing to be able to spend our weekends together. I can take him to the Farmer’s Market that I know he’s going to love. We can check out wineries up in Michigan. We can go up to the lake and walk around. We can go running and kayaking and biking together.

I’m also a little terrified. I worry that I’m too much of a slob for him. I worry that he’ll regret moving away from his kids and his family. I worry he’ll come to believe that I wasn’t worth it and he wishes he could take it all back.

This man has given up *everything* for me. He sold his business. He moved away from his two kids that still live in town. All of his siblings live in the area so he’s leaving all of them behind. I hope like hell that he is happy with me and that I am enough.

Mostly exhilarated though. This has been our goal for almost four years. Tonight is our last night 600 miles apart.

I’d Love To Be That Naive Again

I’m jealous, folks. I don’t spend much time on Facebook anymore. I get on to check in on the Chump Nation page and take maybe 5-10 minutes to scroll through my feed. I send out a few birthday wishes/happy anniversary wishes, etc. Even with the limited amount of time I’m on there I still see the feeds of seemingly happy couples.

The co-worker I mentioned a few months ago is pregnant and quit her job; she’s going to be a stay at home mom. She’s living the life she’s always wanted to live- living on a farm surrounded by animals with the love of her life and a new baby. My cousin is still at home, baking bread, knitting, and being all domestic. She is honestly rocking this stay-at-home thing. The meals she cooks, the desserts she makes, the fucking artisan bread she bakes, the projects she takes on… it’s amazing. Truly.

I’m not jealous because they’re able to do those things. I’m happy for them. No, I’m envious because they, for whatever reason, have the luxury of believing that this new life they’re crafting with their partner won’t go belly up; the thought that things might not work out and they could lose everything doesn’t even cross their minds. I don’t blame them. I didn’t spend any part of my marriage thinking, “Oh my God! What if he leaves me?” I didn’t prepare for a future without him. I certainly didn’t live my entire life with him in preparation for a divorce. That’s the root of the envy.

I learned the hard way that you can’t ever rely on the other person doing what they’re supposed to do. I learned you need to be prepared to do it all on your own because when you don’t, you’re completely blindsided. I’m envious because they don’t seem to know that; they can throw caution to the wind and depend upon another person. They are quitting their jobs. They are without an income. And they’re fine with it because their husbands will support them. They’re able to take this new life they’re creating for themselves and not think beyond now. It’s all excitement- new houses, new lifestyles, babies, new pets, photo shoots, artisan bread, home projects, and vacations. They’re building a fantastic new life with someone, and they are able to throw themselves whole heartedly into this new chapter of their lives. There is no, “What happens if I quit my job and this person leaves me?” It’s simply a brand new life where they can depend 100% on another person and trust that that person isn’t going to betray them. I really wish I could be that naive again. That is what makes me envious. All that I am I give to you and all that I have I share with you. I wish I still believed that without reservation. I wish I could put my life in another person’s hands and have faith that he will always have my back. I wish I still believed that you work as a team, you build a life together, and you reap the rewards together. You don’t have to keep a tally sheet of who does what and how much your contribution is worth.

Now I see people working as a team, building lives together, making the decision to stay at home, and I think, “You better hope he doesn’t leave. If he does your life is going to spiral out of control. Everything you know to be true today will be over in the blink of an eye. Better yet- you’d better have a backup plan so you can take care of yourself if he does leave.” 

Even worse, I can’t allow myself the luxury of thinking of myself as part of a team. I am horribly aware of how no couple is really a team. You say the words, but the reality is, when that new person catches your eye, you don’t give a fuck about your former “teammate” and you’re certainly not trying to give them a fair share of everything “the team” has accumulated through the years. The team member that was making a six figure salary gets to walk away and move in with the new teammate while still making six figures; their life goes on as normal. Meanwhile, the teammate that wasn’t making the money but was raising the kids, cooking meals, doing all the grocery shopping, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, running the pets to vet appointments, running the kids all around, and generally supporting the money earner from behind the scenes is left alone with no income. Their life changes dramatically.

I know this probably sounds odd coming from me. Or maybe it doesn’t, which is even scarier. I’m very happy with the mobster. Far happier than I ever was with Jerry Lee. I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him. I still can’t get comfortable with the idea of giving up spousal support in order to marry him or even live with him. Every time I think about it and start to believe that this time would be different because he’s the right person that little voice in my head says, “Listen up! Don’t be an idiot! You’ve already learned the hard way what happens when you can’t stand on your own two feet. You would have to be amazingly stupid to voluntarily give that up and depend on him. You don’t make enough money to be able to afford anything on your own without spousal support.”

That little voice is right. I do know what happens when you depend upon another person. I know what happens when you can’t support yourself. You wind up moving in with your mother and getting rid of almost everything you’ve ever owned and sleeping on the couch. I wish I didn’t know that.

Things have changed a bit since I first began writing this way back in October. The biggest change, of course, is my new job. I actually could support myself now if I gave up spousal support and moved in with or married the mobster. It’s still a good chunk of change though so I’m not eager to give it up. It would also be rather tight because as I said I’ve almost closed the gap. I haven’t done it completely. And when you look at actual take home pay… well, let’s just say I’m not where I want to be without that extra boost.

I like to think I’m mostly unscathed from my divorce; however, I can’t shake that idea that if I can’t afford it on my own then it’s not really mine. It was a hard lesson to learn and I’m not sure if it will ever be unlearned. The funny thing is I think that the mobster and I really would make a great team and could build a fantastic life together. That little voice in the back of my head continues to question though: What if he leaves you? Can you still afford that? Will you be able to take that (whatever “that” happens to be) with you? Will you be able to stand on your own two feet or will you have to return to your mom’s house? Funnier still is the fact that I have no reason to believe he would do that to me. He’s been through all of this himself. I don’t spend time worrying that he’s got one foot out the door or that he’s checking out other women. Hell, we live 600 miles apart and I have never worried about him cheating on me. Maybe that’s stupidity on my part, or maybe it’s a testament to the strong foundation of our relationship. Either way, it’s not something I worry about. And yet… I’m not able to fully commit to joining finances and letting Jerry Lee off the hook.

Fortunately for me the mobster understands. He recently said to me, “You’re terrified to give up spousal support, aren’t you?” Oh yeah. That’s my safety net. I lost everything. I’m not prepared to do that again.

I really wish I could be as naive as some of the people I know when it comes to relationships. I wish I didn’t feel like I always needed an exit plan in case I get discarded. On the other hand, I’m really glad I’m in a position finally where I can stand on my own. I don’t see myself ever giving that up.

Got Kids?

“You’re lucky you don’t have kids with him/her.”

Whenever someone finds out their spouse is cheating, or they’ve just left their cheater, and it turns out they don’t have children with that person, they are frequently told what a blessing that is for them. They’re “lucky”. They can go no contact. They dodged a bullet.

Naturally, some of those people don’t feel that way. For some of them, the fact that they don’t have a children, is a crushing blow. In a lot of cases they’ve spent their fertile years with their cheater. Now he’s gone and he got someone else pregnant; he’s created a new, happy little family. Meanwhile, their chance of ever being a parent is gone.

It reminds me of the argument that would occasionally break out on an email support group I was a part of over twenty years ago.

The group was for women who had suffered multiple miscarriages. Some were already mothers. Others, like me, didn’t have any children. We all had our own unique set of problems. Those who were already mothers felt they didn’t get a lot of sympathy. They didn’t appreciate the people who would tell them, “Be thankful for the one(s) you have.” Many people didn’t understand how they could be so upset about a miscarriage when they already had one or more children. Meanwhile, there were those on the no child side that felt their pain was greater because they didn’t have a child yet; every time they miscarried they dealt with the reality that they may never become a mom.

I fell in between the two groups. At the time I had no children. I was one of those who wondered if I would ever become a mom. I also knew I had a balanced translocation; this meant I had a 50% of miscarriage each time I got pregnant. So, if I ever did become a mom, chances were good that I would be in the other group one day. Ironically, although it took us four years to finally have Rock Star, it only took about 16 months to get pregnant and stay pregnant with Picasso. No losses in between them, and because the early stages of the pregnancies were so stressful I didn’t have the fortitude to attempt to have a third child.

People going through a divorce are a lot like those ladies on the multiple miscarriage support group. There are those who have no children with their cheater. Obviously, they aren’t going to have to navigate the joy of co-parenting. They don’t have to stand by silently while the OW or OM plays a major part in their child’s life. They won’t ever hear their child talk about how nice that person is. They can completely cut their cheater out of their life because there is no need to talk about shared children. And yet I realize that for some of those people they desperately wanted children. Maybe they already had a child but they wanted more and now that’s not going to happen. Maybe they didn’t have any and now it’s too late. Having been in a situation where I thought I was never going to be a mom, I can sympathize and somewhat understand what they’re going through.

Then there are those of us who do have children with the cheater. Some of us have older children. Others have very young children. Some people deal with 50/50 custody and others have had our children abandoned by the other parent. All of those factors mean we have different issues to deal with.

As a parent whose children were older at the time of the divorce I was fortunate that my kids were able to have a voice. I’m sure a lot of this was influenced by the fact that Jerry Lee moved out of the state, but my kids were able to have visitation at their discretion. They’ve never spent a single day with him. They’ve never met Harley. They’ve never met her kids. 

They were also aware of what had happened. At their ages I couldn’t have hidden it even if I wanted to. My kids were old enough to form their own opinions on what their dad was doing and on the reactions from his side of the family.

On the other hand, because my kids were older, the mobster and I will never truly blend our families together. Three out of his four children live in their own homes. Two of them are married and the other is living with his girlfriend. My daughter apparently no longer lives at home. There may be very occasional moments when all six are together but for the most part my kids are separated from his kids. Had we met each other when our kids were much younger we probably would have been able to blend our families together. The mobster would be a father figure to my kids, and I would be a mother figure to his kids (assuming, of course, that everything else remained the same with our spouses abandoning the kids). They wouldn’t remember anything different. 

Then again I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be to hand your young child over, even to their other parent, for long stretches of time. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to miss holidays with your children. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be if your children have another life that is completely separate from their life with you. I would absolutely hate missing half of my kids’ lives, especially when they’re little.

I also realize that the above is all about me, and what’s convenient for me. I know I have an ideal setup for me. I have my kids 100% of the time (or I did until Rock Star went to college and then moved out on me). I get 100% of the holidays. They have no relationship with their dad, his wife, or her kids, their step-siblings. I don’t always think it’s the ideal situation for them. Having a parent who walks out on you is incredibly hurtful. I’ve spent a lot of money on therapy for my kids. I get that it needs to be this way because of his choices, but ideally he wouldn’t have abandoned them. Ideally, he would step up and be a dad. They would have a relationship with him. He would interact with them. He would let them know he loves them and that they are important to him. And yes, I realize that even parents who do stick around don’t necessarily do those things; however, as I said, in an ideal situation he would make them a priority.

Ultimately, I guess I understand the sentiment behind, “Thank your lucky stars,” and “You dodged a bullet.” I can empathize with those who wanted children but didn’t get them. Unfortunately, as the mom of two children whose dad basically abandoned them, I tend to agree with those who say, “Thank your lucky stars.”

As painful as everything I went through was it’s not nearly as painful as watching your children be destroyed by a fuckwit’s choices.

Random Thoughts- Rings On, Vows Kept

One of the most common questions asked after D-Day is, “How soon is too soon to start dating?”

The best answer I’ve ever seen to that question was, “When you’re ready.”

Alas, there are always those who insist you shouldn’t date until you are officially divorced. You are married until you are no longer married. Some proudly talk of wearing their rings until the divorce was finalized. Others insist upon referring to the lying, cheating spouse as their husband or wife instead of soon-to-be-ex because “I’m still married and that person is still my spouse.”

Funnily enough dating seems to be the one line in the sand that many draw when it comes to being separated but not yet divorced. No one ever says, “I would love to have fresh flowers all over my house but my husband always hated that. I’m still married so I need to respect his wishes.” Or, ”I can’t take up belly dancing until I’m divorced. Married is married and he’s always hated my passion for belly dancing. I need to respect that until the ink is dry on the divorce decree.” We don’t wait to get a new job or redecorate the bedroom or even get a new apartment until we’re fully divorced. So why the hard on for dating? I digress.

I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’ve broken it down. I would really like to thank that commenter over on Chump Lady who talked of the two parts of marriage- the legal and the spiritual parts. I truly believe that and that’s how I separate the two parts of a marriage.

First you have the legal part. As long as you have a marriage license, or a “permit” as it may be, you can go into any courtroom and have a judge marry you. It’s a little more complicated than that, but the important point is there is no need for a big, fancy church wedding. There doesn’t need to be a lot of planning. Once you have that license, that legal form, you can get married pretty much whenever. It’s a legal contract which gives you certain rights.

Then you have the spiritual part. It doesn’t have to be a church wedding in order for it to be spiritual. The important thing to note about this part is that the spiritual part concerns your feelings for this person. It’s all about love. You’re not getting married because your parents have arranged this. You’re not trying to combine your families’ fortunes. In other words, it’s not a business deal (see above regarding legal marriage). You’re marrying because you love this person.

Because you love this person you trust them. You make plans for your future with them. You might buy a house with them, have children with them, move all over the country or world with them for their career. You think of one another as a team. You’ve got each other’s backs. You plan on growing old with this person.

When your partner cheats on you they betray you. All of those things you’ve planned- together- they take away without your knowledge or approval. Having sex with someone else is only a tiny part of it. It’s everything else that accompanies that that makes it so hard. You feel like you’re going crazy because of all of the lies and the gas lighting. There may even be health implications if your spouse gets an STI and passes it along to the unsuspecting spouse. Your life as you know it is over. Many times the cheated on spouse is left in a vulnerable financial situation- how will they support their children, where will they live? Will you be able to keep your house? Will your kids have to leave their schools and their friends? Who will hire you, especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for most of your marriage? Bankruptcy and poverty are not unusual events when a spouse who has been the primary breadwinner leaves. And of course, the most obvious, they’ve been planning this new life with the new person while you’ve had no clue. You were still invested in the life the two of you shared while they were busy creating a life with someone else behind your back. All those dreams go up in smoke when your spouse steps outside of your marriage and leaves you for another person.

For those who insist that even if your spouse has moved 1000 miles away and has two children with the side piece you should remain chaste and faithful to him because you’re still married!!!! I say, “You’re delusional.” This isn’t about the fact you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold while a lying cheater does everything in their power to delay a divorce as they skip happily off into the sunset with the whore. It’s about this idea that cheating is not about the sex. It’s about the betrayal and the discard.

That’s where the legal and spiritual parts of marriage come in. Your marriage does not automatically end in the legal sense because the other person was out fucking the neighbor. Or their cousin. Whomever. That’s very true. You are still legally married. You have to have a judge sign off on your divorce. But while you are waiting for that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dating if you are ready for that. 

You haven’t blindsided anyone. Your “spouse” is not happily planning a future with you while you are busy planning one with another person. They’ve already done that. They’ve left. They’re off living their very best life with this new person. You are not Plan B. 

Furthermore, you’re not lying to them and gas lighting them. There is no sneaking around. You’re not telling them that there’s no one else. You’re not letting them invest in you while you take, take, take knowing full well that you are not faithful to them and/or are planning on leaving them.

As long as you don’t sleep with your STBX you have no chance of passing along an STD.

They are not financially invested in you while you’re out dating. You’re not siphoning off marital money to give to your new boyfriend or girlfriend, and you’re not using marital monies to fund your dates. More importantly, you dating someone is not going to lead to your STBX losing their home, having to move, and wondering how on earth they are going to support their children. They don’t have to worry about any of that because they’ve already left. There are no ramifications of you dating someone else. Nothing happens to your STBX or their life because of this.

In other words, if you choose to date while you’re still going through your divorce it’s all above board. No one is being played. It’s not being hidden. You’re not lying to buy yourself time to deplete marital funds. No one is being lied to. You and your STBX aren’t planning a future together when in reality you’re planning on dumping them. Everything is out in the open. 

I know there will be those out who disagree and insist that you are still married so you shouldn’t date, and if you do date, then you are no better than the cheater you are divorcing. To those people I say, “Bless your heart,” as I hand them a cookie as a reward. It’s got to taste better than those shit sandwiches they’re choking down.

Dating While Divorced

I’ve seen over and over again women (it’s almost always women) say they aren’t going to date because they’re going to focus on their children and/or their children aren’t ready for them to date. Someone actually threw out this idea that once you divorce your focus should be on your children and you shouldn’t think about dating until they turn 18.

It’s a nice idea. I have no problem with someone choosing that for themselves. To be honest, before I got divorced I thought that same way. Okay, maybe not the exact same way but I did feel that there was no need to rush into another relationship right away; I also thought it was important to make sure you gave your kids the time and attention they needed instead of getting your own needs met. But as with most things there is the theory on how things should work, and then there is the real life application.

I think there is a huge gulf between jumping back into dating an hour after your spouse has left, and not dating for the next 1-18 years because you have minor children. I’m not suggesting moving the first person you meet into your home a month or two after your divorce is final. I’m also not suggesting that a person absolutely must date again after a divorce. If you have no interest in dating for whatever reason then I fully support your right to not date; this post is not about declaring that everyone should be putting themselves out there or that not dating is a horrible tragedy. It’s the opposite. I believe this notion that we do our children a disservice by dating before they graduate high school is kind of ridiculous.

As the mother of an 18 year old and a 20 year old I can tell you my kids don’t really have a lot of time for me anymore. My daughter has been exceptionally busy since beginning competitive gymnastics back when she was still in elementary school. Practice 3-5 days a week. As an optional she went to school and went directly to the gym where she practiced from 3-7. She came home, ate, did homework and went to bed. That was 6th-8th grade. As she entered high school she was busy with friends, extracurriculars and sometimes even a boyfriend. She added a job to that list of things that took her away from me when she turned 16. This summer I spent five days with her. Five. Out of the entire summer. Every weekend she was either running down to Muncie to spend the weekend with her friends and her boyfriend, or her boyfriend made the trip up here. The only reason I spent five days with her and not two is because one weekend I took her, her boyfriend, and Picasso to Ohio to spend the weekend with the mobster for his birthday. That was the weekend we rented a cabin, went fishing, and went out on a pontoon boat. Aside from that- nothing! She also spent the majority of her time in the house in her room where she kept the air conditioning on a chilly 64 degrees. It’s not that I didn’t see her. We just didn’t do anything together. She worked mostly 12 hour days when she was scheduled to work. I work Monday-Friday, 8-5. Weekends she was always busy with her boyfriend.

My son still spends most of his time at home in his room. His meds seem to be working and he’s much chattier lately but he would still prefer to spend his time playing video games, drawing, watching YouTube and hanging out with his friends.

My experience isn’t uncommon. The mobster has four children. Four! His oldest son lives in New Hampshire. He rarely sees him. A and his wife, Little Miss Sunshine, are busy with careers, each other, raising his son, and hanging out with their friends. Taking off for a long weekend to drive 13 hours and see his dad isn’t a regular thing. His next oldest is married as well; even though he lives in the same town as his dad the mobster rarely sees him. He’s busy with his wife’s family and they both work full time. His third son just moved to West Virginia, about 2 hours away. Even before the move the mobster said he didn’t see much of him; he spent all of his time with his live-in girlfriend. This is kind of funny in a sad sort of way because they lived in the apartment that is above the mobster’s garage. Finally, his youngest, his only daughter, is now 19. She works full time and she spends a lot of time with her friends. There are many times he’s all by himself in that big ol’ house because T is house sitting for her brother, or is off with friends. She’s also got a new boyfriend so she’s beginning to spend time with him as well.

The point of these examples is that our kids develop lives independent of us. If we decide we owe it to them to remain single until they turn 18 there is a great chance that we’ll be sitting at home all by ourselves, waiting for our kids to throw us a freakin’ bone in the form of their undivided attention for an hour or two.  Please, child, may I buy your dinner in order to enjoy your company?

Rock Star actually tried to pull that bullshit with me towards the end of the summer. When I told her I felt like I never really got to spend any time with her this summer she actually had the audacity to blame it on me being gone to spend time with the mobster. Oh hell no! I quickly pointed out that the time in particular that she was referring to was when I went to court. I didn’t exactly have a choice in that matter. I also invited her to come along (not to court but to Virginia) and she conveniently mixed up the dates. To put it into perspective she saw her boyfriend every weekend this summer. I honestly don’t think she went a single weekend without seeing him. I, on the other hand, saw the mobster three times this summer. Three whole times in the three months she was home. One of those times was the weekend I took Rock Star and her boyfriend with me. Another time I had to go to court.

Maybe she’s not representative of all kids but there are enough of them out there that would prefer their parents don’t have lives of their own so that they are better able to be at their beck and call.

It’s not just at age 18 that they’re off on their own, leaving you to find something to do in their absence. I’ve heard a lot of parents say that once the kid gets his or her driver’s license it’s a whole different ballgame. No longer are they dependent on mom or dad to take them from Place A to Place B. I spent a lot of time in the car with my kids, especially Rock Star since she always needed to be somewhere. Once she could drive that completely changed.

How far does this extend anyway? Is it anything that might take your attention away from them? Am I allowed to volunteer? What if my kids want me to take them over to a friend’s house at the same time I’m supposed to be packing backpacks for the local food pantry? What if I take a night each week to answer phone calls at the domestic shelter? Can I go out with my friends on a Friday night? Do I get to go to grown up concerts or movies ever? Can I go listen to a band playing at a bar? Is picking up a new hobby allowed? What if I join a community theater group and I have practice every night for three months? What if I immerse myself in knitting or playing hockey or paint pouring? Can I sign up to run a race? Can I even go running several times a week? I don’t see the difference between me dating and doing any of those things. All of those activities take time away from my kids. If I’m doing any of those things instead of spending it with my kids then I’m taking time away from my kids. Are we not supposed to do anything except sit around waiting for our kids to want to do something with us?

Look, I believe I was an involved mother. I’ve received some positive reviews from my own kids. I chauffeured them around plenty. Most summers were spent on the go- museums, amusement parks, water parks, lakes, rollerskating rinks, arcades. I took them to horseback riding lessons, we hiked in the mountains and toured caves, and on Rock Star’s late start Fridays I took her out to breakfast. We went shopping and got pedicures. I went on field trips and volunteered at their school. I took them to Moab where we toured Arches National Park and The Hole In the Wall, went white water rafting and took a HUMVEE tour up on the red rocks while Jerry Lee stayed behind in the hotel room. I took them to Yellowstone another year; we toured the park and went white water rafting (again!) and horseback riding. I took them to the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, and Florida. I even made a trip up to Twin Falls, Idaho to go camping. I made numerous cross country trips with them and always did my best to stop at attractions to break up the time and make things interesting for them. I took them to the movies and to play putt putt golf and bowling and a whole lot of other things.

Of course, that was all while I was married. Then I got divorced and worked two jobs and was exhausted all the time. Getting up at 3:30 in the morning will do that to you. Yet, even if I hadn’t gotten divorced my kids would still be growing up. They’d still rather do things with friends than with me.

I’m not saying you never see your kids once they get a driver’s license or once they hit a certain age. I am saying you’re a fool to think that once they’ve hit that magical age of 18 you’re suddenly free to go build a life for yourself independent of your children. It’s far better to have an actual life outside of your kids before they graduate high school and/or college and move away.

All of those things that are listed above- volunteering, going out with friends, hobbies- I did all of those things as my kids got older. When they were pre-kindergarten age I spent most of my time with them and didn’t do very much on my own at all. Then again, I didn’t have a supportive husband. But once they got a little older I started to spread my wings. Yes, most of the volunteering I did centered around their school and was done while they were in school. And true, most of the time I went out with friends I did so when they were in school as well. But there were the occasional times that I wasn’t around in the evening. They survived.

I wouldn’t recommend that a person who is married close themselves off that much and live a life completely dominated by child rearing. I sure as hell don’t recommend it for a person who has divorced and is forging a life with no other parent to help out.

I think the mobster and I have done a very good job of balancing our relationship and our kids. From the very beginning we agreed that the kids came first. That’s why no one moved when we had kids in high school. At our best we got to see each other every other weekend; that left plenty of time to do things with our kids. Most of the time we did not see each other every other weekend; it could be 4-6 weeks between get togethers. If either of us had a kid related event we scheduled around that. One weekend that meant meeting up on a Saturday instead of our usual Friday because my daughter had Prom on Friday night and I wanted to see her and take pictures. Another weekend he didn’t leave to meet up with me until after his daughter’s softball game. There were weekends we had planned to get together and he had forgotten it was his daughter’s birthday so the weekend together was canceled. We’ve stopped phone calls in the middle of the conversation because a child needed us, and we’ve delayed calling because we’ve been busy talking to our kids. It is possible to balance dating/being in a new relationship and raising your kids.

I want to say once more that I don’t think you absolutely must date. I know there are plenty of single women and men out there that have no desire to do so. They find the single life suits them just fine. For those people I say, “Good for you!” I wouldn’t advise that they change a thing. But I do have a problem with this idea that if you have children under the age of 18 and you choose to date, you are somehow not focusing on your kids and they are suffering for it.

If I can spend time with friends or take up a new hobby or spend time volunteering and not somehow take away from my children, then I can go on a few dates and/or begin a new relationship. And if the people who think you shouldn’t date also think you shouldn’t do anything lest it take away from your kids… well, I would advise everyone to have a life outside of their children. It’s not a bad thing for them to realize you are a person, too, and that you have things you like to do. Sometimes you might even do those things without them <gasp>! If you spend every moment of your life focusing on your kids, and only focusing on your kids, you are going to end up a very lonely person.

Your kids are going to grow up; they’re not going to live with you forever. They’re not even going to want to spend all of their time with you. Their own boyfriend or girlfriend, sports, high school activities, and weekends spent with their friends are going to take precedence. Getting their license is going to be a game changer. Enjoy them! Cherish all of those memories that you get to make with them. Gobble up every minute of time you get with them. Celebrate their achievements. By all means, put them first. At the same time, don’t be afraid to spread your own wings and develop a life of your own- with or without a new partner. It’s a lot of pressure on kids to be the center of their parent’s world.

The Biggest Mistake We Make

I was reading Chump Lady the other day. Someone had written in to see if she would put his STBX-wife’s texts through the UBT (Universal Bullshit Translator). Seems cheating ex-wife thought they should come together for their son’s graduation and present a united front- for the children, of course.

Surprisingly, this post is not about presenting a united front, or all the insane things people think divorced couples should do for the sake of their offspring. No, this is about something else.

At some point in his letter he mentioned that he had met a wonderful new lady and they had been dating for about six months.

One regular reader made the comment that one of the biggest mistakes divorcing chumps make is to date before the divorce is final. Among his reasons for thinking this is the biggest mistake you can make:

1. It’s too soon which isn’t fair to your new partner because you haven’t had time to heal.

2. You’ll probably be bringing baggage into your new relationship because of #1.

3. It might look like you were the cheater.

4. You’re still technically married.

5. It can give your cheater ammo to use against you.

I’ve written about this before. I’ve also admitted that I used to think exactly like that. You’re still married until you’re divorced. Don’t date. Keep your marriage vows. Then I divorced a lying, cheating fuckwit. Let’s just say that experience changed me. If you’re in a state (or country) where you can get a divorce in 6 months or less? Great! You probably can get through your divorce without dating. You certainly don’t have to, but you could.

There are many of us, however, where we can’t even file for divorce until we can show we’ve been separated for a year or more. In my situation I had no desire to begin dating; I had no plans to date. I resisted other people’s suggestions that I try online dating. I wasn’t looking and I was fairly certain I would never be in a relationship again. I didn’t even know the mobster existed until almost two years after D-Day. D-Day had been approximately 1 year, 9 months, and 20 days prior. My first divorce court date had already been continued, thanks to Jerry Lee and his claims of PTSD. I had a new date lined up. While I was working two jobs, supporting our two children with no help from him, and navigating all the emotional hurdles with them, my “husband” was living over 300 miles away with his cousin/mistress and her kids. He had financially cut us off that August of 2015, approximately 2 weeks after being caught; he, Harley, and the mulligans were living it up and living their best life ever. I hadn’t seen him in over a year. The month the mobster fell out of a tree and landed on my head marked a year since Jerry Lee had paid any support.

I’m solidly on board with the line of thinking that says I will not let him take one more minute of my life. Obviously you don’t need to be partnered up in order to live a full life, but if someone enters your life and they make things better I see no reason to avoid that person just because your cheating spouse wants to drag this divorce out. And often, they do. It’s the last means of controlling you they have. And because so many “helpful” people tell you that you need to keep your halo shiny and remain true to your marriage vows, they know they can get away with living their new lives, complete with a new partner, possibly new kids and a new house, while you’re left twisting in the wind, waiting for them to finally release you from your matrimonial bonds.

I would never have the relationship I do now if I listened to all the naysayers who say you need to wait until you’re officially divorced. It took me over two years to get my divorce. How much more time was I supposed to wait before I began dating once the divorce was finally finished? Another year? Two? Three? The mobster is still trying to get one. How long is he supposed to put his life on hold while she merrily goes about her life, doing whatever she pleases, shacked up with her boyfriend? We would both be missing out on the best relationship we’ve ever had while our spouses are shacked up with their new loves, doing whatever the fuck they want to do. Why are we supposed to forego our relationship?

Oh yeah- Reason #1- it’s too soon which isn’t fair to your new partner because you haven’t had time to heal.

Who is anyone to say what is too soon? In my case almost two years had passed and I was still married. I can tell you this though. I was way too busy working and trying to survive to go to therapy or do any work on myself. Year one hadn’t been too bad as we were still in our house the first 10 months, but year two sucked! I was thinking of nothing except survival and how much my life sucked. I was also pretty sure it was never going to get better.

I didn’t want Jerry Lee back. I wasn’t mourning him. I wasn’t mourning the loss of my marriage. Again, I was way too busy trying to keep afloat financially. Maybe people with plenty of money have that kind of time to navel gaze and overthink every little nuance of their past relationships.

I actually did fear that the mobster was moving on with me too soon. We met only two months after his wife walked out and less than a month after he had filed for his online divorce. But as he said many times, his marriage had been a living hell for 12 long years by the time he met me. He craved an honest partner. As he wrote once upon a time he wanted honest love; he was ready for that.

In the early days I grappled with a lot of self-doubt. I sometimes thought the love he had shared with her was far too big for me to ever measure up. They had twenty-five years together! But over time the fears lessened. I don’t worry about that at all now. And honestly, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if he’d been separated or divorced for a year or two. The issue was mine and it was mine despite the fact that my marriage had been over for almost two years, I had no lingering feelings for Jerry Lee, and I absolutely knew his cheating had had nothing to do with me.

Not everyone needs a year or two or more to heal. Not all of us need years of therapy and time to heal from a major trauma. Some people have been detaching for years, and once that person is out of their life it’s like a weight has been lifted. The mobster would say that he had been grieving the end of his marriage for twelve years before I came along. All those years he spent trying to get her help and get her sober he was grieving the end. I don’t think the mobster used me to replace her. Truth be told I wasn’t the first person he had dated after she left so it’s not like he just took whatever he could get. He chose me. He told me he fell in love with me the moment he laid eyes on me, crazy as that may sound. He was determined to not let her be the last chapter in his story. He moved ahead with full intentions of finding love again. And, as he always likes to point out, he knew when he was done with her. He didn’t need months or years to recover once that point was reached. When he finally got to that point recovery was well under way. The further away he got from her the clearer his mind became.

Similarly, point #2- you’ll probably be bringing baggage into your new relationship because of #1, isn’t true of everyone. Or maybe it is true of everyone regardless! I think I brought a certain amount of baggage into this relationship and it would have happened no matter how long I had waited. Anyone who watched twenty years of their life go up in smoke is probably going to be a little jumpy now and again. There are certain things I learned while my life unraveled and I don’t think I’m going to unlearn them any time soon. I also don’t think time heals all wounds, and I think everyone heals at their own pace. One person may be ready right away, while another person might never be ready. So, don’t date because you might bring baggage into this new relationship? Honey, I think we all bring baggage into our new relationships, even if that baggage is Louis Vuitton. We can’t help it but we can learn. Again, everyone does this at a different pace.

I’ve already gone over what I think of the “you’re still married” bullshit. Yes, legally I was still married. Legally Jerry Lee owes me somewhere around $60,000. Whether or not I’ll actually get that is a whole other topic. If it makes you feel better to say you didn’t date until the ink was dry on the divorce decree, knock yourself out. I’m certainly not advocating that you must date while you’re in the middle of that. But I no longer see anything wrong with it. Fuckwits are going to do what Fuckwits are going to do. They like to drag it out. Case in point- BSC. She’s been living with her boyfriend for 3 years now but has absolutely no interest in getting a divorce. It’s stall tactic after stall tactic, lie after lie, outrageous demand after outrageous demand. Any time the mobster starts talking settlement she gets all crazy and expects to get everything.

Point number five- you give your cheater ammo to use against you. Well, not really. If you’re in a no fault state they really can’t use the fact that you’re dating against you. And you can always remind them that if they want to try to drag you through the mud because you’ve dared to date before divorced that you’re only dating because they cheated on you. Which in effect means they’re dating, too, and they did it behind your back while you thought you were in a committed relationship.

But what if you live in an at fault state? As a person who divorced in an at fault state I can tell you that all three of the lawyers I met with were very clear that even if I could prove adultery it wouldn’t result in anything extra for me. Debts would still be split 50/50; assets would still be split 50/50. The judge wouldn’t give me full custody because of it. I wouldn’t get everything while he walked away with nothing because he cheated. I was advised to not date but the other side of that coin was that I was also told he could run around town declaring his love for Harley and make out with her in the middle of Main Street. Unless I could prove they were actually having sex I couldn’t prove adultery. The bar is set pretty high when it comes to proving adultery.  Jerry Lee and Harley were living together. He had moved out of the state to be with her. My lawyer still said she didn’t know if she had enough to prove adultery. They. Were. Living. Together.

Plus, it’s only a potential problem if you’re the spousal support receiver. If you would be paying spousal support you can do whatever you want. It’s not like you’ll have to pay more because you’re dating. Even if you’re the receiver you’re allowed to date; you just can’t have sex. Unless your spouse can prove you’re actually having sex and not just going out to dinner and the movies with this new person, you are operating within the law. Personally, I wouldn’t announce it to the world (and I didn’t) because cheaters don’t like consequences and they are always looking for a way out of them.

Finally, I take issue with this little gem, otherwise known as point #3- it might look like you were the cheater.

To whom? The cheater in my case is a perpetual victim. Even if I hadn’t met the mobster until months after the divorce was final Jerry Lee would still be whining and crying. It’s what he does. I don’t care if he likes it or hates it. I don’t care if he thinks it’s unfair or that I’m a horrible person or that he says  horrible things about me. The opinion of a man who cheats on his wife and walks away from his kids means absolutely nothing to me. Furthermore, what on earth do I care what his family thinks? They are nothing to me anymore. They will always side with him; they have supported and encouraged him throughout his entire affair. They know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our marriage ended when he began carrying on with Harley again. They know I was blindsided and that there was no one the entire time I was living in Virginia. They know, and he knows, that he was the one packing a bag and leaving his kids every weekend to go meet up with Harley. Not me. More importantly, I know none of that matters to them. So why in the world would I care if they think I cheated on him?

The people that matter to me know the truth. They had front row seats to the Jerry Lee Divorce Chronicles. They were there when I found out. They were there when he moved out without saying a word. They were there when he lost his job, forcing us out of our home. They were there when I moved back with my poor kids in tow. They were there during those long, long months where I worked two jobs while he worked none and sent no support for his children. Those are the people that matter to me and they all know that I’m not the cheater.

I can say the same thing about the mobster. The people important to him know he didn’t cheat on his wife and leave her for me. They know about everything she put him through. His dad, a Baptist pastor, even told him at one point that maybe it was time he considered divorce. When he told me that story he admitted that his dad suggesting that, when he had always grown up with the idea that marriage was forever and you just did not get divorced, shocked him. It must be really bad if his dad was offering up divorce as an option. They also know that I didn’t come into his intact marriage and break them up. She was gone before I came into the picture. His parents know that. His siblings know that. His kids know that. Jerry Lee can spin whatever kind of lies he wants to about me. His family can judge me as being a homewrecking tramp. I don’t give a flying fuck. You know why? Because the people who matter know the truth. Jerry Lee and his ilk don’t matter. And they wouldn’t know the truth if it came up and bit them on the ass.

Time With the Mobster

Finally! After three long months we are together again. It has been heavenly. There have been a few snags but nothing to do with us- just little things forgotten or eaten.

For example, I forgot to pack my pick. I had packed pretty much everything a day or two before. I knew there were a few last minute things I needed to add, along with my toiletries, but my flight didn’t leave until 4:15 so I wasn’t terribly worried.

Then we went out to lunch before leaving for the airport and since the restaurants are at half capacity and the wait staff seems to be at about 25% capacity we had quite the wait, which meant I had all of about 15 minutes to finish packing before we needed to leave.

Somehow I forgot to pack my pick which I KNOW had to have been right there on the sink by all the rest of my toiletries. That was Friday. This is Saturday, over a week later, and I have finally bought a new brush. Seven days of no comb, no brush, no pick.  Thankfully my hair is short so I was able to fluff it out with my fingers.

I also realized once I got here that I forgot to pack two of my sports bras. I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to do a lot of laundry but if I’m going to run I guess I’ll have to.

If that wasn’t enough my dog, Ripley, ate my damn jeans the first day I was here. They’re not completely gone but they definitely have bite marks in them and I can no longer wear them.

Those were the snags. Small things compared to all that’s going on in this crazy world.

I arrived around 9 pm on Friday. They picked me up in Roanoke and we had an hour drive back home.

We left to board a plane to New Hampshire around 10:15 the next morning. The flight was pretty uneventful. We made a few stops along the way to his oldest son’s house.

The mobster showed me his old house on Haig Street. We pulled into their very nice liquor store which is actually called an outlet. It was huge! State run, of course. We bought the sparkling wine for the wedding on Monday and another bottle of peach Moscato just because it sounded good. We also grabbed an apple cider donut for each of us. They were delicious!

We finally made it to A’s house. Nothing is open in New Hampshire, or so it seems. You can grab take out but they only have outside dining right now. We eventually ended up at a little roadside ice cream stand. It sold dinner as well. We inadvertently paid over $80 for 3 lobster rolls. They were listed as “market price” and we never inquired as to what “market price” was. The mobster picked up the check and was stunned when the cashier told him it would be over $150. On the plus side they were very, very good!

Sunday the mobster and I went for a run first thing in the morning. A and Little Miss Sunshine bought whole lobsters for all of us for lunch. Two each! Sadly, they paid less for 10 whole lobsters than we did for 3 large lobster rolls. And if it wasn’t less then it was right around the same amount.

We played some Pokemon, walked to the park, and went up to Weirs Beach to walk around as well. It was great just spending time together.

Monday was the wedding. It was very short, very simple, and very sweet. It was exactly what they wanted. The mobster and I bought the cake and the sparkling wine and her mom paid for the Chinese take out.

Tuesday was return home day but we managed to work in a trip to the Flume. I saw pictures of this place in a Family Fun magazine when we were living in Virginia, so probably late 2014, early 2015. I really wanted to take my kids but life had other plans for me. When I found out I was going to be visiting New Hampshire we checked out their website and it said they were closed until the end of May for repairs. Fortunately, that turned out to be false so I got to go.

I have to say, as much as I hate all this social distancing bullshit, it was really nice having the park to ourselves for all practical purposes. I mean, I’m sure there were other people there but we didn’t see anyone else until the very end, when we were coming out and they were going in.

Needless to say, my “lifestyle change” has been upended this week. I did fine Friday, the day I left, but I have to tell you, we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts every day we were in New Hampshire. I stuck with regular coffee with Splenda and cream or half and half, but I also had a donut. I’m not sorry either. And on Tuesday coming back home we stopped at Chick-Fil-A and I had an entire meal- sandwich, fries, and a diet Coke. First diet Coke I’ve had since May 3rd. While I did fall off the diet Coke wagon I only drank half of it and I haven’t had another one since.

These past 3 days I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on the couch, watching TV and playing games on my phone. I haven’t even been blogging. The first day back I got up at 6:30 and helped him load his truck before coming back to the house. I showered because I was all sweaty and disgusting. I read until around 9:30 or so and then I kept getting woken up every hour on the hour. The mobster called me at 10 and then again at 11. Then the alarm clock started going off at noon. I couldn’t get it to shut off completely so I had to keep hitting snooze every 10 minutes or so. I finally gave up and got out of bed. I didn’t get up until after 11:00 on Thursday. That was nice. Then on Friday I woke up around 9:30, took both dogs for a walk (big mistake!), and then went for a 3 mile run. Came home. Showered. All in all it was a very relaxing week once we got back.

It’s also been raining a lot. We went out for dinner Thursday night and to go raiding (Pokemon Go) and we got stuck in a downpour!

Went back to the same place on Friday night. Thankfully, there was no downpour this time. Plus we found the most adorable new antique store in town. So many cute things inside.

Today I went out on his route with him. I don’t feel like I’m much of a help but it was nice just being together. We grabbed lunch at Chick-Fil-A. I was good and had the Cobb salad with grilled filet. We did a little bit of raiding and we did a little bit of shopping. He grilled salmon, tilapia, and rock fish out on the grill tonight and we’ve polished off a bottle and a half of the wine we bought at the Wine and Chocolate Festival back in February. Honestly, I’m a little surprised I can even type this. 😉

Tomorrow is our last full day together. Oh, I guess that’s the last thing that went wrong actually. I was scheduled to fly out tomorrow around 3:30. I got an email while I was in New Hampshire telling me my flight had been discontinued and I was rescheduled on this new flight, taking off at 7 am on Monday morning. Yeah, I’m supposed to be at work Monday morning at 8 am. Fortunately I was able to work it out with my boss and I’ll be showing up around noon, maybe 12:30 instead. But I am thankful for the extra day with him.

Then it’s back to the grindstone. Fortunately things are opening back up and we have solid plans to spend his birthday next month together. At most it will be a month before we see each other again. Maybe we’ll even sneak in another weekend in between.

It’s been a great week. Sorry I haven’t written much this week. I had big plans to do so but life got in the way. Til next time….

This Day

On this day, three years ago, WordPress sent me a notification that a reader had liked my post, The Wacky Things Cheating Women Say.

If you have a WordPress account then you know every time someone likes or comments on your post they suggest you read their blog as well and link to three different posts. So I did. I figured I’d see what Divine Doorknobs had to say.

I read a heartfelt blog by a man who had put up with more crap than a person should have to. I read his blog as he detailed the ups and downs of being married to an alcoholic. One entry would be positive and almost giddy with relief that she was sober and working. Then the next would be the sad realization that she was drinking again. I read the whole thing from the very beginning until it culminated in her leaving him and his heart being shattered. His subsequent posts were heartbreaking in his yearning to get over her and find, as he put it, an honest love.

That day changed my life. I was going to meet the man that would turn out to be the love of my life, although I didn’t know it yet. We hadn’t made contact. I had no idea who he was. Our stories were so similar though that I had to comment. I didn’t do so thinking I was going to strike up any kind of a relationship with this person. I was just struck by the similarities and wanted him to know.

It wasn’t until the next day he responded to my comments and offered up his number with an invitation to be someone I could vent to. I told him then that I was an awful texter, plus I worked two jobs neither of which was conducive to texting. AND, I went to bed at the same time toddlers did, thanks to my super early job at Target.

The rest is, as they say, history. I have fallen madly in love with this wonderful man. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He is the sweetest, funniest, most romantic man in the world. He has staged elaborate, romantic evenings and he has washed out my shitty jeans. He makes me laugh and he listens when I rage on about injustices in life. He rubs my back if I ask and he’ll run and grab conditioner for me if I forget it and we’re at a hotel with no amenities. He is the smartest man evah! He is handsome and sexy. He knows exactly what to say. He is always up for anything- canoeing, kayaking, camping, ice skating, hiking. You name it he’s willing to give it a try. Because he’s up for anything I’m more likely to go outside of my comfort zone. He believes in me. He thinks I can do anything. He is exactly what a partner should be. He is my mobster, my love. He is the one that made me smile again after two really awful years.

Happy Anniversary, baby! These last three years have been fantastic. I love you more!

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Virginia Bound

I am off to see my love. It has been a very long 3 months since we’ve seen each other. I will be spending an entire week with him. Can’t wait!

I am actually sitting on a plane in Chicago, waiting to take off and fly to Virginia. I am dying! This stupid mask is suffocating me and I’m dying of heat stroke right now. Dying, I tell you!

Tomorrow the three of us are flying to New Hampshire for the holiday weekend. His oldest son is marrying Little Miss Sunshine on Monday. I’m very excited for two reasons.

First, they wanted me there which was nice. Little Miss Sunshine even asked me if I’d like to come with her when she gets ready. I love this girl.

Second, I’ve never been to New Hampshire. I’m excited to get to see where the mobster used to live and to let him show me around.

I went out to lunch with my mom and my son before I left and I found out Picasso would like to go to Maine. I have also recently discovered he would like to tent camp and fish, and that he doesn’t really remember most of the places I took them to when he was younger but he is definitely interested in road trips now. It is amazing the amount of information I find out when that boy is finally lured out of his room! So, I think next year the boy and I (and the mobster and my daughter, if they’re interested) are going to take a road trip up along the coast. Maybe we’ll fly to Maine and then rent a car. I don’t know. I have a year to plan.

I am hoping I can get some writing in while on vacation but it may not be possible. This is going to be a busy weekend and we’ll have to see how the week goes. The best part though is that I get to spend it with my love.

COVID-19 and Long Distance Relationships, Part 2

I have tried to write this twice before. Each time it gets very dark and angry. We’ll see how the third attempt goes.

If you haven’t already heard the governor of Virginia has called for a shelter in place order until June 10th. Yes, that is correct. June 10th. More than 2 months from now.

I had planned on spending a week of vacation with the mobster. I see the man a handful of times throughout the year and most of those times we see each other for less than 48 hours. I don’t usually get to wherever it is we’re meeting until sometime between 10 and 11 at night on Friday. We have all of Saturday and then depending upon the time of year we leave to return home sometime between noon and 3. Occasionally we’ll have a longer bit of time but for the most part that’s what we get. So, out of the 14 days of personal and vacation time I get, I like to take 5 of those days and spend them with the mobster. It’s the one time each year I get to do that.

My vacation was slated to begin May 22nd, about 2 weeks before the governor’s order is up. Yes, I could violate the order. I’m generally a rule follower but I could tell the governor to fuck off, get in my car or on a plane, and go to Virginia. I might not be able to actually get into Virginia but I could attempt it. I guess I will have to wait and see what happens.

Maybe the governor will rescind the order. Maybe things will get a lot better a lot sooner than everyone is thinking. I sure hope so. Because this separation sucks. It sucks a lot.

I feel like Sally Field’s character at the end of Steel Magnolias. I’m just so angry. I want to hit something. I want to hit something and make it feel as bad as I do. That pretty much sums it up.  She couldn’t do anything about her daughter dying and I can’t do anything about this stupid COVID-19 and the havoc it’s wrecking. It’s kind of like my divorce. All those horrible things forced upon me and I had no choice but to keep going and hope that eventually it would get better.

So I’m trying to be optimistic and upbeat. Honestly, what good does being pissed off, sad, and/or angry do? It doesn’t help. It doesn’t stop the spread. It doesn’t make the governor open up the commonwealth. It doesn’t make life go back to normal. No, you’ve just gotta hang on and ride out the wave. Nothing else to do. With that in mind I’m trying very hard to adopt a, “WTF ever,” attitude.

Vacation canceled? Oh well. No big deal. I’ll go next year. Can’t see the mobster for 3 months? Who cares? I’ll see him in six months, I guess.

The problem with this is I don’t do Zen real well. Oh, I can. I definitely can do it. It’s just that every time I have it’s boomeranged back and hit me in the ass. The pool that took 10 weeks to complete instead of the promised 3? After telling myself not to sweat it and I would have it for years to come I got to enjoy it for 6 days before my life blew up. Garnishing Mr. Jackass? After telling myself it would all be worth it and he could never fuck with me again I’m right back at square one. He’s moved to yet another state and I still don’t have a garnishment order. I probably never will. He will do whatever the fuck he wants to do until the end of time. So… telling myself not to stress and that I’ve got all the time in the world or we’ll spend the rest of our lives together one day, doesn’t really work for me. Mainly because I’ve never seen it come to fruition.

I suppose I should be thankful that our relationship is so strong that we can withstand a three to four month separation. I’m sure a lot of people couldn’t, especially in this day and age of immediate gratification.

I mean, we already get a raw deal. Our spouses walked out on us, leaving our kids behind. We’ve both chosen to do the right thing by our kids instead of creating yet more turmoil in their lives. This means instead of moving our kids we’re remaining 10.5 hours apart. Because of that we get to see each other typically every 2-6 weeks. Usually more like every 3-4 weeks. And we get ONE full day. One. I’m sure no one expected it to last but here we are- almost 3 years later.

Will it suck if I have to cancel my vacation? Yes. Will it suck if I don’t get to see him until late June? Yes. Yet what am I going do? Absolutely nothing. Grin and bear it. Try not to think about it.

I’m thankful I’m not a teller and going through this. A week lasted forever because I was always so bored. At least with my current job the week tends to go by somewhat quickly. When I was a teller I would go crazy when it was three weeks or longer before we could see each other because each week was agony. It went by so slowly. It was like our weekend together was never going to get there.

We’ve said many times that we probably talk more than most couples who live together. I call him every morning on my way to work. We FaceTime at lunch. We FaceTime again at night. Sometimes those conversations don’t last very long. Sometimes there’s a fourth call. Or a fifth. Sometimes we’re doing other things while we talk. But we do talk. A lot. Again, probably a lot more than most people who live together.

I’m thankful we’ve got FaceTime and email and text messaging and free long distance. Years ago I dated another guy from Virginia. He was my first love. We wrote letters to each other. Every week. Aside from that initial meeting I think we got together two, maybe three times more. There was no texting. Not even phone calls. Long distance was expensive back then. Ironically, we reconnected four years later. I think I did see him a few more times that time around, and we did talk on the phone. Long distance was still expensive but we both had jobs. Our phone bills were outrageous! So yes, I’m definitely thankful for technology. Even though I’m not right by his side every day it is still very easy to feel connected to the mobster when I talk to him and am able to see him via video each day.

I’m not going to think about it. If I can’t go next month I’ll cancel my vacation days. Even if I can go I’m still not going to think about how far in the distance that time is. It does me no good. It just depresses me. And makes me hate everyone who does get to be with their love. So I’m going to pull a Scarlett O’Hara and declare, “I’ll think about that another day.” I’m putting my head down and plowing onward.

I plan to do the same with everything else this stupid virus has effected. I know there are a lot of people at work that are complaining they aren’t letting us work from home. Honestly, I don’t care. I found that I’m very distracted working from home. I’m on my phone. I’m checking stuff out online. I’m not very productive. Maybe if I were swamped with work I would be more diligent but the day I worked from home for a few hours, I was not. I’ll continue going in, not that I have a choice in the matter. I’ll tell myself that parking two blocks away is good for me because I get my steps in. What a bonus for me! And I’ll continue to pack my lunch and eat downstairs in the atrium. Thank God that’s still open because otherwise I’d be out in my car eating. It saves me money. I’ll continue to stand where they want me to in the damn elevator and try to think of all of this as one grand adventure. A positive attitude is a wonderful thing! Call me Mary fucking Poppins. That’s me.

In all seriousness though I have everything I need to do my job. I have a fairly large work space. I’m six feet away from all my co-workers. I’m not working in a dungeon. If I can work up my nerve to go to the 2nd floor and get some snacks it might be okay.

I’ve got a job; I’m getting paid. I’m supposed to get a check for $1200, which I don’t technically need. Jerry Lee is paying his court ordered support. I’m putting money away so that I’m only living on spousal support and my pay.

I’m going to cut way back on Facebook because it’s driving me nuts. I can’t take the self righteousness and the sanctimony. No, we are not all self-quarantined at home! We are not all sitting at home on our asses, eating junk food and binge watching Netflix. End of story. I cannot even with those people.

I am going to try to catch up on my Hallmark Christmas movies. I’ve already watched three of them. I’ve got quite a few to go.

I’m going to keep running three times a week. Maybe I’ll even up it to four times a week.

Life will be back to normal one of these days. Eventually, I keep telling myself, the mobster and I will live in the same state. I’ll keep plugging along until then.