His Life Without Me

wedding day

Yesterday was my 10-year-anniversary. Or would-be-versary, I guess, as we are separated. We aren’t officially divorced yet which I think made it sting a little bit more. We have been dragging our feet, mainly due to the fact that both of us are horrible with paperwork and we are scared of what lies ahead. I opened the day with a joke on my blog’s Facebook page about how at that very minute – 10 years prior – a river of shit overtook my tiny LA apartment, and I’m not even kidding. We’d always had plumbing problems but nothing like this. You might not believe this, as you’ll think I’m covering for being overcome with nerves and explosive diarrhea – but neither me nor my now-ex were even sitting on the commode. It simply became possessed, made a super loud gurgling noise, and unleashed unholy hell all over our itty bitty place. My most vivid memory of that day was my ex carrying my wedding dress through the sewage over his head. It’s not exactly what I’d envisioned if I’m being honest, but fitting in hindsight.

The thing about comedy and making jokes, as we all know, is it’s often to cover pain. I typed that message out and not five minutes later was driving to my therapist’s office, crying like a baby and snot-rocketing boogers all over my car. It hurt, and I really hadn’t anticipated this hallmark causing so much pain. Maybe it’s because so many people seem to have gotten married right around this time of year, so there’s a lot of ooey gooey shit going on on social media. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for it and wouldn’t mind someone getting ooey gooey over me some day, but it’s hard. At the end of the day, divorce is about failure, and you can’t help but wonder where you went wrong and these people went right. Fucking social media is such a dick.

Here’s the kicker – I was the one who wanted the divorce. Gasp! I know, I know, scandalous, right? Not really when it comes down to it because the more you read about divorce, the more you realize that it’s often the woman who initiates it. We like things the way we like things and we don’t want to accept less than the bill of goods we thought we were sold. In my case, the truth is we were exactly the people we were the day we married as the day we moved into separate places, but I didn’t want to see that at the time. Signs were everywhere, including the river of kaka that flowed through our pad.

What people don’t understand is that, just because you were the one who called the whole thing off doesn’t mean you are not in agony. I have lost so many friends during this divorce. It didn’t help that it coincided with Trump being elected and me calling him a giant FartFace on social media every day. But I do think there were plenty of people who judged me as a home wrecker. And what my therapist has helped me to see that’s pretty interesting and disturbing at the same time is that some people are jealous. They, too, are in unhappy situations and they can’t believe you had the courage to make the leap. Well, let me tell you that the leap was about five years in the making, so there were no snap decisions here. And it wasn’t so much courage as reaching a point of no return.

Fast forward to the 10-year-anniversary, and an interesting thing had occurred and I kind of remember calling this. He is the one who seems happy. He seems content. He’s got his own pad, his own life on his own time, and has even been seeing some women. On the other hand, I – who couldn’t WAIT to get out there and find Mr. Actually Right – hasn’t done shit in that department. I’m petrified. I’m frozen to the ground. Someone else see me naked? Are you fucking kidding me? The thought is paralyzingly terrifying to me if I’m being honest. I mean, I’m 44. As Chris Rock said of Janet Jacskon after the infamous NippleGate incident, “No one wants to see 40-year-old titties.” And that’s the truth, unless you’ve sprung for some new ones. In that case, show those babies off. For me, it’s Flapjack City. I’m not feeling my most confident, that’s for sure. I keep waiting for this lightning bolt to hit me to tell me I’m ready, but it hasn’t happened yet. And I’ve had a lot of friends, ask (almost angrily), “What the hell are you waiting for?” What I don’t tell them is that I’m so goddamned scared. I’m terrified of getting close to someone else and I’m terrified of not getting close. None of it makes sense.

During my therapist appointment, she made a recommendation, as she’s been doing for many years now (thank God). She said that I need to stop texting him when I’m feeling or thinking something about us, our situation, or the kids. If I’m angry about a difference in parenting styles or (ahem) ensemble choices (Amirite, ladies?), I can actually – gasp – call him! Well, in a rare courageous moment, I decided to one-up her. I actually drove right to his place. The thing is, we’ve been hanging out a lot lately, which is a miracle in and of itself considering how ugly it got between us at the end. And it’s been stirring up feelings – feelings that I well know are best left unaddressed. But it’s hard, and I’m only human. And I am lonely. So I wanted to chat with him about this and some other kid issues.

When I walked down to his place, I felt an unbridled fear. Terrified to talk to someone I’d been married to for 10 years!? So ridiculous, right!? But there I was, with a lump in my throat. When we first separated, he would barely crack the door for me. But things have definitely gotten more friendly between us so, when he didn’t answer the door, I opened it up and ran to the bathroom. Hey, when the bladder calls! He was on the phone for work, and acted as though me running into his bathroom was just an everyday thing. That in and of itself was strange.

When I emerged from the loo, he was still on the phone. I thought about leaving, as I was losing my nerve. But he signaled that he would be off the phone soon. So I sat there and took in his surroundings. It was an ambush “attack”, so he wouldn’t have had a chance to pick up or alter his habitat in any sort of way. It was the first time I’d had the chance to really look at his new place since we separated. It was fairly clean, which both shocked and irked me. Asshole couldn’t have picked up a can of Pledge while we lived together? But I continued to look around. He had two tall plants in giant pots that looked – again – surprisingly healthy. He kept our shower curtain. I wondered what had happened to that. Much of his decor was straight from our old home, so it was like looking at a miniature version of it, which was like a dagger right to the heart. It’s interesting that I took almost nothing from our place and he took much of it, whether for convenience, practicality, or what-have-you. There was no denying, though, that his was HIS place, with hints of our past life, sure, but it was definitely his place. I thought for a while about how my life would look without him, but I had never considered his life without me. And it was jarring. He had a candle on the table. “Had he lit there for his new lady/ladies?” I thought bitterly, as I reminded myself that I was the one who wanted this. I had so many questions and yet no ground to stand on to ask any of them.

When he got off the phone, we had one of the least satisfying talks of our entire relationship. He barely looked me in the eye. He seemed on edge that I was on his turf. I tried to broach the topic of what day it was, but he seemed either oblivious to it or fine to pretend he was. I knew right then and there – this was the right decision. And yet it hurt so much that it nearly took my breath away. As I walked to my car, I realized this was it. This was the moment that would change everything, and I cried – and hoped for some sign that I would be okay.

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  1. Kris Bethay says:

    I read every word and felt your sadness. I am so sorry that you are struggling, I hope that it gets easier. I have a dear friend that is experiencing everything emotional that you are. I would love to chat some time!

  2. Mitzi says:

    Your honesty and openness is incredible.
    I’m sure you are over people telling you that things will change but the truth is, they will change!
    Think of where you were one year ago and everything that’s changed since then…
    Sending you love….

  3. Megan says:

    I love you and think of you often! Hope you are well and you are strong and can get thru anything— I am proud of you for making the hard decision you needed to do for yourself and your boys! Lots of love your way–

  4. Sarah says:

    Hi Marn, that was incredibly open, honest & brave. I’m sorry you are in so much pain. Just know that you have so many friends that love you! One foot forward every day and you’ll get there. It may not seem like it but sounds like you took a major step forward today. Hugs to you.

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