Tag Archives: Emotions

And just like that, “friend” becomes “acquaintance”

Last year, I had a great time with some of my girlfriends at a wine festival.

On the way home, the designated driver made some comments about her husband and called him an asshole. Hmm. Not such a good thing.

A few weeks later, she and I had a chance to talk one-on-one, and it turned out she was unhappy in her marriage and was in the midst of an emotional affair. Having been in a very similar situation, I did my best to talk her down and give her some “I’ve been there” advice, in the hopes that she’d use my mistakes as a lesson.

“Whatever you do, deal with the issue of your marriage separately from the relationship with the other guy.” 

“I wish I hadn’t gotten physical before actually leaving my marriage.”

“Don’t get pregnant!” 

She seemed to take the advice to heart, but a month later, she was a wreck, and it turns out she’d slept with the other guy and her husband had no idea and she didn’t know what to do.

We talked for a long time. She was sure she wanted to leave her marriage. This wasn’t the guy she wanted to spend the rest of her life with anymore. She’s not sure she ever felt that way, but inertia happens and we sometimes stand by choices we know aren’t right out of a false sense of obligation.

She was sure she wanted to leave but was afraid that if she moved out, she’d lose any claim to their house. Our state sometimes recognizes “in-home separation,” so I sent her some information about it.

Her husband became suspicious that night, not believing she was with me, so he snooped in her phone and found the e-mail I sent. He woke her up, devastated, saying he’d do anything to save their marriage, including counseling, which he had stubbornly refused to go to when she had previously suggested it. Sounds awfully familiar.

She felt obligated to give it one more chance. He had one condition: cut off contact with me.

Fast-forward to last summer. She and I managed to find some time to talk. Things were “ok,” she said. But then she asked, “Do you really think it’s possible for a marriage to work when the two people have nothing in common?”

I said that I do think it’s possible, if they enjoy time together and are confident enough in themselves and their marriages to do things independently, and those independent experiences enhance their relationship when they come together afterward. But I also told her that I had nothing in common with my ex-husband, and I have everything in common with my current partner, and the relationships are so very different. The current relationship is so much more fulfilling and happy.

Just this week, I heard from another friend that she and her husband are trying to get pregnant.

My heart sinks.

I sent her a request for a double date. I’d like to get to know her husband better. I want to support her and let her know that I will be there for her no matter what. I am hopeful that we can maintain our friendship.

But I get a chilling–and chilly–response. They don’t have time. And not even a hint of “let’s try another time.”

It’s time to write off this so-called friendship. I don’t know if I’m still persona non grata to her husband, and he has denied my request. I don’t know if she is happy, but seeing me reminds her of the terrible time she had last year. I don’t know if she is unhappy, and seeing me reminds her of what could be if she took control of her life.

I sincerely hope she is happy.

I am doubtful.

Sobbing on the Bathroom Floor

That’s where I found myself tonight.

I had knocked over the glass with my last vitamin C tablet. Tepid orangey fizzing liquid dripped down the side of the vanity onto the floor. Dripped behind the toilet. Dripped onto the trashcan.

This is not something that would send a normal person into sobs, but for me, it was the last straw.

I have struggled for years with clinical depression, and I’m the first to admit that PMS makes everything a thousand times worse. Combine those two factors with exhaustion, sickness, and the ache in my heart, and you get me, sobbing on the bathroom floor.

I miss my guys. Smiley is back with his dad after only two days, and last week’s time away from him was so hard, even with my great vacation. The Writer is on another business trip. I am home alone. It is too quiet. I have time to brood.

I worry about what I’m “doing” to Smiley. How he’ll turn out. Whether I’m ruining his life by “bouncing him back and forth” between two homes (his dad’s phrase). He’s so easygoing and adaptable and happy, and I know how important it is for him to have as much access to both of his parents as possible (and there is no way I’m getting back together with his father). But I’m so worried and I feel so guilty.

I twiddle my thumbs and get anxious for the day to come when The Writer and I can move in together and get married, and then I turn around and worry that I am wishing away these days. I know it will happen, but I am impatient. I worry that I won’t be a good stepmother–that I won’t even get a fair chance because The Writer’s ex will badmouth me to their daughter.

I worry that I’ll never get the weight off. That I won’t be able to keep up with Smiley. I worry that I’m not reading enough parenting books and I just go with the flow too often. Are there things I need to be doing? Am I stunting his emotional growth and education? Is he getting enough calcium? Is he getting too much?

I am looking ahead at the winter holidays and dreading more time away from Smiley. I’m dreading more time away from The Writer, when he spends almost a week with his daughter. (I am so glad they’ll have that much time together–it’ll be great for both of them–but time with her means our only contact is e-mail, texts, and whispered phone calls after she’s asleep.)

Smiley, The Writer, and I had one night together this week, and it was great. My family, all in one place. We made dinner, ate together, played, and had a wonderful evening. Those days are rare, and they have quickly become my favorite days of all. Then Tuesday it was back to mama and Smiley (which was still pretty awesome), and tonight, it’s just me. Planted on the couch, feeling sorry for myself, only realizing right before bed that I hadn’t stopped at the drugstore for more Mucinex. I was so glad there was a vitamin C tablet left, thankful I could at least take that to help fight the cold that surely has already taken hold.

And then I knocked over the glass.

And there I am on the floor, sobbing, cleaning up a mess beneath the toilet with the “good” towels I received as a wedding present.

It’s only fitting, I guess.

Dreaming of a Baby Girl

I was reading how Maureen at Tatterscoops used to dream of pink bows, and it struck a chord with me.

Before I became pregnant and then when I found out I was, I dreamed of a baby girl. I couldn’t wait to get frilly dresses and cute outfits. I was thrilled about having a little girl to dress in those cute clothes.

I’m not really a girly-girl, but I was so thrilled about naming a baby after my mother, and baby girl clothes are just so freaking cute. And I do love pink. My husband (at the time) was a man’s man, and decided he’d be “cursed” with girls because of the way he treats women. But he started to get used to the idea.

When I went in to my sonogram, things weren’t really going well for me. My husband was doing everything he could think of to keep the marriage from failing, but everything he did pushed me further away. (Dude, seriously, when someone asks for space, don’t smother them MORE.)

I was on the sonogram table, naked from the waist down, already making plans to walk away from my marriage and pretty disgusted by my husband, and he’s stroking my (unshaven) legs and telling me I’m sexy. Not. Helpful.

And then we saw the sonogram.

I was thrilled to see my baby. Her heart was beating strong. Her hands were perfect. Her spine. Her penis.

Wait.

Her what?

Oh. We’re having a boy.

My eyes welled up. It was just one more thing going wrong.

We waited and waited for the printouts. I got dressed and started walking to my car.

On the way to my car, my husband calls me to tell me that his parents had invited us over for dinner. (Because he had immediately called them, of course.) I said no, but he could go. But he wanted to spend the evening with me (see above re: smothering).

I got to my car and I began to sob.

I texted a few people. The BFF, The Writer, and my good friend Sue. I said I knew I’d be OK in about 8 hours, but I needed to mourn the baby girl I’d expected.

Sue and I had a funny exchange about my second husband giving me a girl, which made me laugh. The Writer sent me some comforting words.

I was miserable…but within about 6 hours, I was over it. I was OK with having a boy, if not super excited.

I never really connected with Smiley while he was in the womb. He was always “the baby,” although other people used the name we had picked out. I couldn’t ever really use it.

But the minute I heard his cry in the delivery room, I fell in love. I couldn’t imagine not loving him.

And now, I can’t imagine my life any different.

I love him so much that at times my heart seems like it will burst.

When I found out I was having a boy, I had no idea what I would do with him. Boys are so “different.” So physical. But I find that I love the horseplay. I love rolling around on the floor and wrestling with him. I love chasing him and playing hide-and-seek. I love how he climbs all over me, and it’s wonderful to sneak in hugs and kisses while he’s doing that.

I’m learning about the differences between combines and tractors. (Sort of.) I’m learning about airplanes and fire engines and cars. What he’s excited about, I’ll learn about, to encourage him to learn.

And now, when I think about having another baby (one day, I hope), sure, I’d love to have a little girl, but my boy is so much fun, I would be perfectly happy with another one.

Man, I love that kid.

Hardship is Not a Zero-Sum Game

I know I keep promising Roxanne the story of my ex-husband’s slutty girlfriend, but I keep having other things to say. And I’m not really in the mood to relive the story just yet.

In the meantime, I read a great post called “Being a Single Parent Isn’t Hipster,” and it brought up a lot of feelings about my struggle with calling myself a single mom. And it brought me back to my conflicted feelings on my situation.

I once heard that “talent is not a zero-sum game,” meaning that just because someone else has talent doesn’t mean that you aren’t also talented. I’ve applied that to so many things in my life, but lately I’ve been thinking about it in terms of tragedy and hardship.

It is difficult to parent on my own, to be the only one responsible for my son, and to be “on” all the time when Smiley is with me. Also, I only have my son 50 percent of the time, and that sucks, I miss him so much it physically hurts. But I try to look at the bright side: I get time off. I have time to myself, time to go on dates, time for uninterrupted sleep. And my son is being cared for by his other parent when he’s not with me. I have a decent co-parent, but he seems to be able to turn off and tune out when he doesn’t have Smiley, so when I’m on my own, I really am on my own.

But when I find myself complaining about my life, I sometimes think of some friends and how they have more difficult situations. I have friends who are single moms 100 percent of the time. But just because they have it tough, doesn’t mean my life is a breeze.

I have several friends whose exes have practically abandoned their children. But every one of those friends is in a different situation. Every situation is difficult.

One friend lives with her parents, who provide free daycare, which is a great savings, since the dad doesn’t pay child support. And her daughter gets to have a great relationship with her grandparents. But my friend doesn’t go out in the evenings or on weekends on her own because she doesn’t want to take advantage of her parents since they already watch her daughter so much of the time. Plus she is thirtysomething and lives with her parents.

One friend lives very close to her parents and has two sisters who are able to help with her son when she needs it. But she doesn’t get a dime of child support, and her ex-husband calls in the middle of the night to berate her, not to talk to his son. He lives out of town and has dropped off forms in the mailbox while his son is at school, never making arrangements to see him. And this friend is very strong and independent and doesn’t like to ask for help. (I know she’s reading, and I would like to say “Hi, I love you, and asking for help doesn’t make you weak. And please remind me of this when I am down on myself for needing help.”)

I try not to focus on the deficiencies in my life, but sometimes it’s difficult not to.

I miss my son–so very much–when he’s with his dad. Sure, both of those friends have their kids 100 percent of the time and they don’t have to run any decisions by their exes, but they don’t get any regular time off. Sure, both of those friends have parents and family members around who can help them and I don’t, but I get breaks every few days and my ex is finally paying child support. The numbers don’t add up. There’s no winner in this situation.

Hardship is not a zero-sum game. Just because it’s hard for you doesn’t mean it isn’t hard for me. It’s just hard in a different way.

This isn’t actually a response to Lil’ Devil Mama’s post. I completely understand where she’s coming from.  I had already been drafting a post about this topic and her post just inspired me to finish it. I know there are some ways I have it easier than others, but that doesn’t mean it is easy.

Also, please read Chopper Papa’s take on deadbeat dads. It is powerful.

I Want a Do-Over!

Today had some ups and some downs.

The Writer and I spent most of the day together, side-by-side on the couch, working on our laptops, watching Jersey Shore. It was kind of perfect. Then he left to see his daughter, and we won’t see each other for another week.

I was excited to get my new computer, and hung around the house all day, and in the 30 minutes I was picking Smiley up from daycare, between 5 and 5:30 p.m., UPS came and went.

Ants are making a resurgence in my kitchen. Yuck.

But I got to see Smiley for the first time in a couple of days, and that is wonderful! He’s so much fun and so cute and just makes me smile. But when he walked in the house, he started calling for The Writer, which simultaneously filled me with joy and broke my heart.

In the midst of it all, I tweeted, “Can I please have a do-over?”

That reminded me of my counseling session earlier this week, when my therapist asked me what I would change if I could do it all over?

I first went to, “Well, I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant,” but really, Smiley is my world, as I tell him each night before bed, and I would never give him up.

I then said it would have been best if The Writer and I had resolved any issues in our marriages and left our spouses before we became physically involved. I do believe this would have been a better way to handle things, but I have thought about this a lot, and I suspect that had we not become intimate, we never would have ended up where we did. I think if we’d backed off and not seen each other again after we realized our feelings, we would have gone back to our marriages and decided everything was “fine,” and continued on. The physical connection just enhanced our emotional connection, and we could not pass up any chance to be together.

And to put the two together, once I was pregnant, I didn’t want my child to have a miserable mother (and father) and think that relationship was “normal.”

So I guess I’d have to say that there’s nothing I would choose to do over.

Except maybe stick around for the damn UPS guy.