YAY! HE DID IT!


M finally lived up to my expectations.  I expected that Day 60 would come and go without a word from him or without repayment of what he owes me both in cash and property.

It has taken me some time to realize that its not my responsibility to remind him of what he owes me. It’s not my job to to make sure he is aware of the day or the details. We both received the same copy of the divorce decree. We both signed the same paperwork.

Worst part is that I’m a nice person — probably nicer than I should be where he is concerned. If he had communicated with me, I am fairly certain that while I wouldn’t have been happy about a delay in paying me back,  I would have been understanding.  But as my preacher said to me months ago… Lower your expectations. He said I hold M to a high standard and that’s why I’m so disappointed when he fails to come through. I said, I only hold him to the same standards I would hold myself to.  Preacher just gave me that knowing glance that conveyed without words that M will never live up to those standards.  And so I did lower my expectations and what do you know… M actually met them.

And honestly, it makes me sad. Sad that I still wanted to believe he had a bit of something in him that would cause him to do the right thing but at least I am not devastated by it. It sucks, don’t get me wrong. I could use that $170, after all, it is Christmas;  but in the grand scheme of it all, the fact that M can lay his head down and sleep at night says all I will ever need to know about him.

Recalculating


Life’s like a road that you travel on; When there’s one day here and the next day gone. Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand; Sometimes you turn your back to the wind.
Tom Cochran, Life is a Highway

I haven’t posted in quite awhile because I am finding that my Mac is pretty much so outdated that adding a post is starting to become a bit of a challenge. A new laptop is just one more item that I recognize I need to add to my new life and I can’t help but recall that just two months before D-Day, my parents gave M a new ipad for his birthday and how I now know that FaceTime was just one of the ways he communicated with her thanks to that gift. He disgusts me.

Recently I had an opportunity to get “out of dodge.” I needed to go some place where no one knew me or my story and where I could just go and be without constantly wondering if that was his car or her car or if I would see them around town. My friend K made arrangements to get her parent’s timeshare and we were off to Myrtle Beach for the weekend. As I was planning to go, it occurred to me that I no longer had a GPS or luggage. M took all the luggage on his way out of the rental as well as the GPS. To be fair, he did ask me if he could take it and of course I said yes (smacking myself in the head now!)

Within two hours of arriving in South Carolina, we went to a local pawn shop and I sold my ring. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Make no mistake, sure I was sad and had moments of “wow, I can’t believe this is it” but for the most part, I really haven’t looked back. It probably also helps that I’m not going to be scoping out women’s hands looking to see if they are wearing that ring, nor am I wandering into a pawn shop here and seeing what my life is worth based on that ring.

As K and I drove around town and were talking, she filled me in on what the dating world is like these days. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit scared. We had a great laugh over dinner as she shared with me some of the craziness that she is witness to when it comes to men and the way social media and texting play into it all now. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for me to get back out there and while I do miss the thought of someone to love, I’m definitely not ready to drink the Kool Aid just yet.

I shared with K some of my concerns about dating. I made the comment that I sure didn’t feel like I was a “catch” now… I’m 44, divorced, I have bad credit due to the chain of events that moved us from Arizona to Georgia 4 years ago, not to mention that I’m back living with my parents. But she said something to me that I have taken to heart over the days as I’ve let it sink in. She said “You are a catch. You know what you want and you know what you won’t settle for now.” She’s right– everyone has a story, and in mine I’m not going to relive my past mistakes. I’m working on becoming financially stable and right now that looks different for me than it might for someone else. I’m very aware of red flags and already more trusting of myself when I see them, even in people that I am just getting to know on a friendship level.

So, how’d I spend the money I got when I sold my ring? I bought a GPS. Sort of symbolic and ironic since I’m working on recalculating my own life, not only literally with a new budget and new adventures with old and new friends, but also emotionally and spiritually. I AM a catch and I work hard each day to remind myself of that–some days I’m not successful at it, but I keep trying.

For my friends reading this blog, should I start to get down about things and start to drift back into “romanticized”memories of my life with M, I’m counting on you to say to me “Recalculating” so that I know I’ve wandered into the past and its time to focus on the road to reality.

Control+Alt+Delete


What if it really was that easy? Before it was just a joke… a funny way to say I wish I could do that again, now it’s all for real. I’ve been single… well, let me re-phrase that, I’ve been divorced for 38 days. I still carry M with me– we are still “connected” for another 22 days.

Control: The divorce decree stated that he needed to pay me what he owed me no later than 60 days after the date of the divorce. In the past 38 days, I’ve seen M three times. Each time I believed I was getting what he owed me. $170, plus some personal items. And each time, I’ve been told one thing or another: “waiting for all the final bills to arrive”, “the bank is holding the check”, “he’ll pay me next payday“. And each time, I still believe his “reasons” until I step away and say to myself…”Seriously, Z, why are you still believing those stories?!”  And those are the times I wish I could rewind the conversation and tell him to give me what he owes me and to get his priorities straight.

I was foolish to believe him and yes, I do accept that.  A wise friend kindly reminded me that I needed to manage my expectations. Going by past behavior, its not likely I’ll see anything from him and if I do, it will be icing on the cake. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting him to recognize that he “o w e s” me…. Something … Anything … Everything! But I can accept, painfully, that I will likely get Nothing. I can’t control what he will do, but I can control my own expectations.

ALT: in those 38 days, I’ve managed to remember what it was like to be “me.” My first full paycheck, I bought glasses and contacts. The glasses I was wearing had been broken for 10 months but I wore them because there was always something else that needed to be purchased. I scheduled a haircut, got my nails done and had my eyebrows waxed. I bought mascara, a very simple luxury, but when having to make the choice between bananas and mascara, i recognized that bananas were the safer choice to come home with.

I went to the Opera for the first time. I chose Hansel and Gretel because at least I knew the story line. I took myself to the town theater production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I’ve dined alone simply to remind myself that I can sit there and look other folks in the eye and smile. I even went to a friend’s bonfire and mingled with an entire group of people that I didn’t know.  It’s been nice remembering “me”… doing things that I used to do.

DELETE: I’m selling my wedding ring. It doesn’t mean anything to me anymore, well it doesn’t mean much. I pulled it out of the jewelry box and like an idiot, slipped it back onto my finger…. and I cried. And just as easily as I slipped it on, I slipped it off. I’m taking it to the pawn shop tomorrow. I loved my ring, it was meant to be a “starter” ring that would get enhanced with a bigger ring at 5 years … instead, M bought a big screen TV and a PS3. He had the nerve to mention this when he was telling me that he felt like I wasn’t happy, and that he wasn’t good enough for me — that he never got me my ring or took me on a honeymoon etc.   But its time to say goodbye to it. There’s no reason I need to see it each morning in the jewelry box.

As far as my marriage, if given the chance to do it all again, would I? I don’t know. it seems silly to ponder those sorts of questions. I’d much rather ask myself… given what you know now, are you willing to try it again?

I think, yes.

Bittersweet Slumber


It’s an awful thing to just have your own thoughts with which to contend. 

It’s been 95 days since D-day. Some days it feels like forever, some days it feels as real as yesterday. Nights are still the hardest.  I have one job to do at night, sleep, and I can’t even accomplish that successfully. Since this happened, my sleep has consisted of maybe 4 hours of rest each night. During all of this, I have been amazed at how my body will still function, but I’m thankful every day that it does. My trainer would tell me that she wanted me to consistently eat at least eat more than 600 calories a day.  My “yoga teacher” would tell me that she wanted me to sleep more than just four “broken” hours each night. And with each comment they would make, I would simply reply, “I hear ya. I don’t disagree with what you are saying. I want that too.” 

Last Thursday, I started taking a new prescription allergy pill. And the sleep has come — quite unexpectedly. But it is a bittersweet slumber- I had embraced my new routine and grown to accept it. I would roll from one cool side of the bed to the other. I would re-awaken my computer and hear whatever I had set on Pandora for the night. I would check in on Facebook, and sometimes, I would write a blog post. But mostly, mostly I would I would find my friend that works overnights.

When you work overnights, life can be lonely. Similarly, when you can’t sleep, life can be lonely. This was the best of both worlds for both of us and I am forever grateful for my friend on the other end of the phone. However, this weekend, I awoke to a string of texts asking how I was, and then wondering where I was. The texts came not only from the friend I mention above, but from other friends with whom I chatted with regularly. Many of them in Arizona or California, so my midnight and 2 am wake-ups weren’t such a crazy time on the West Coast.

But with the stillness during the heart of the night I never had to feel alone. No matter when I sent out the “You there?” text, it was always received with “Yes!” and we would chat until my eyelids got heavy and I could fall asleep again, typically, only to awaken about an hour or so later to send out the next “Are you there” message.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve noticed that I only wake up once or twice now during the night. I’m dreaming, but they aren’t like before — I don’t wake up gasping for air, trying to catch my breath, and as an added side, my appetite has returned.

Had it not been for my overnight friends, I don’t know that I would have been able to have worked out and cried out and laughed out so many of my questions and anxieties of the past months.  Each of them has contributed so much into me and each has helped me keep my sanity whilst the rest of the world peacefully slept. The world was blissfully unaware that the tiny ray of light streaming from my bedroom window was illuminating a mind so manically awake that I thought I would go crazy.

Tonight, I see my yoga teacher. She will be thrilled to hear that I’ve been sleeping more these past few nights.  But neither my yoga teacher or my trainer will know how bittersweet their happiness for me actually is.

To my fellow bloggers


…. I read your pain, I feel your pain, I live your pain. As we go through this journey-bound by the thread that knits us all together, know that while I don’t “know” you, I do care about you and am praying for our healing.

Please keep telling your story so that I can be encouraged by your strength, your wisdom and realize that I am normal when I want to curse, scream, curl up in a ball, fight, cry, laugh, and remember. You all are my hope, my inspiration, my sanity, and my connection to the realization that I am going to be OK.

And it may not be all day every day that I feel Ok, but hopefully one day, those good days will outnumber the rotten ones and I will remember who I used to be and because of all of this I am not different, but rather a better version of my former self.

Costume Parade


What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas; but what happens around here sure does get around fast! unknown

One of the best things about living in a small community is the community events that bring everyone together. One of the worst things about living in a small community is when that community consists of my cheating ex and her.

Tonight, there was a free concert in the park along with a costume contest for the adults and a costume parade for the kids.  I love to attend these local events where I can park my lawn chair on the grass and listen to the music under the stars. All week, I felt comfortable and confident going except when it occurred to me that M & her might be there. What would I say? What would I do? Why wouldn’t they feel comfortable being out in public together now? — Now that the divorce is final and their actions can be “justified” (blech, my stomach lurches at the memory of their excuses.)

I contemplated not going. Although, this year my costume was perfect — I was going as the Jilted Wife. It didn’t require any special make-up or special effects, no fancy accessories… I looked just like the girl next door, the lady down the street, the woman shopping in the store–the “every woman” because it can happen to any of us and the more people that hear my story, the more they share a similar one and I see exactly how we are the “every woman.”

It occurred to me that even outside of October, the “masks,” much like the labels we all seem to known by were forced upon us. I am known as the WS* or a BS (Wounded Spouse/Betrayed Spouse);  M is the US (Unfaithful Spouse/*also WS for Wayward Spouse as noted in the comments below) or as I like to call him, an asshole; she is the AP/OW (Affair Partner/Other Woman) but please know I use the word “woman” loosely–hmm…. just like she was for my husband <sigh>.  Yes, they are the labels that we “assume” on D-Day (Discovery Day) but only we can decide if they define us.  I have decided that I don’t like my label as the Wounded Spouse… I much prefer fighter, survivor, stronger.

The music was great and the costumes hilarious and in the end, they didn’t come. But it took me some time to let myself relax and just enjoy the music. The truth is that I am going to run into them, its inevitable, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do or say, if anything.

I’d like to think that I will hold my head up high, not let them see me shed a tear, and confidently stand or simply exist showing them that they did not break me.

The Tide is High But I’m Going On


There’s a tide in the affairs of men…
Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224

Yes I realize I’m taking complete literary license with this quote but because everything happened so quickly I find myself caught in what can only be described as the tide…waves of people knowing or asking about what happened at different times. So every few weeks, I’m sharing bits of the story to friends, relatives, and office mates.  Sadly, in Georgia one can be divorced in 31 days, so it catches most of them by surprise that we are indeed now divorced.  Heck, it still catches me by surprise and I’m the one that just went through it.

Had M not left for a scheduled vacation that first week and had he paid the lawyer in a timely manner we probably would have been divorced in 32 days but as it was, from “start” to “finish” it was 60 days. I wasn’t quite sure how I would be on day 61 or even any day after that but surprisingly (yes, surprising to me), I’m doing Ok. I am working with some really great folks who are holding me accountable to meeting personal goals that I’ve set for myself. Sometimes my goal is just to not dwell on the what-ifs and I’ve got a bevy of friends who randomly send me texts just to keep me focused. I’ve also been “privy” to way too many similar stories and it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach that infidelity is such a common thread woven across so many people, regardless of their economic, spiritual, or social backgrounds.

As for the tides, most of the time, the church wave comes in with an innocent question… “where is that man of yours? or where is M, is he sick?” and I pause for a moment so that I don’t blurt out “probably with his girlfriend and yes he is sick … in the head … and I hope he catches some incurable venereal disease” to say, “he made a choice to go outside of our marriage and wanted nothing to do with reconciling so you probably won’t see him here again.

The work wave comes in asking about whether I will have a booth at the upcoming local fall craft festival or if we will be attending a specific event or sometimes it’s just a question based on comment overheard in the hallway.  For the most part, with each response, I’m able to just state the facts… sometimes they come out like verbal diarrhea (Sorry P!) and I have to apologize for just regurgitating 60 days in 60 seconds. And sometimes, people listen with a look of sorrow, feeling for me because I’m “such a nice person and how could he have done that?”

But then just as quickly as the tide comes in, it goes out – and there are moments where no one is asking about M or about “us”… and even those that have known for awhile stop asking me how I’m doing because they know I’m doing fine. No matter when you that are reading this found out, just know that I will forever cherish your prayers and your love and your support.

Yes, there will still be some days that will be better than others but while I may not be able to stop the waves, I can, at the very least, learn to surf.