Tag Archives: Divorce

Mid-Life Baggage

The question:

We all have complicated histories. When was the last time your past experiences informed a major decision you’ve made?

The answer:

The closer a person is to middle age, the heavier their baggage becomes.  Hence, the mid life crisis – that stage in life where couples who appear to be happy or to have it all end up divorced.  That is where I am – a middle aged divorced woman navigating a dating world she has been away from for 25 years.

I have not had any major decisions since my divorce, but I pay attention to the small signs in my new relationship that provide hints on how compatible we are.  That is the primary reason my ex and I are divorced, we weren’t really all that compatible – especially once kids were added to the mix.

Following are three areas in which my ex and I struggled and how I’m paying attention with this new guy to see if he is more compatible with me.

Communication I look for signs that my new guy can handle difficult communication.  We are in the very early stages of romance, but have at least had one small bit of conflict.  I was pleased with the way he handled it.  He let me state my frustrations (initially via texting), did not feel the need to defend himself – just listened (or read), and then when I sent a bitchy text he called me so that we could clear the air.  Not dramatically different than the way it would have gone down with ex, but ex would have defended himself or reasoned with me when all I wanted to do was state my feelings and be heard.

Family values was another area where my ex and I differed too much.  Family is important to me and I will spend time doing something with family that I may not have done on my own – just so I can be with them.  When my parents would visit, the only thing my ex wanted to do with them was eat.  Again, I am in the very early stages of the relationship with my new guy, but I look for clues in how important his relationship is with his family.  So far I’m pretty impressed.  He has no living parents, so can’t speak to that.  He seems to put emphasis on his kids, not only in spending time with them but in understanding them.

Hobbies and entertainment was an area where the ex and I struggled a bit, but not to a degree as great as the above.  Ex liked hobbies that weren’t very kid friendly and disliked things that the average kid enjoys.  Our kids love being in the water and we had a couple of different seasonal pools in the yard over the years.  Not only did ex not want to get into the pool with the kids, but he didn’t want to have ANYthing to do with the pool.  To a very extreme degree.  I look for signs that my new guy finds interests that he can share with his kids.  Some examples include: fishing, swimming, hiking, camping and many more family fun activities.

In response to Baggage Check daily prompt.

Relationship With Ex

I’ve been told by professionals that my ex and I are handling our co-parenting relationship very well, with focus on the boys instead of ourselves.  This is coming from a psychologist who councils parents who are sent to him from divorce court, so he sees the worst of the worst.  I’m very thankful for that.

Ex’s mom died this January and this weekend the family gathered for a graveside service in her honor.  This meant that I spent an entire day with him, trapped for almost six hours on the road.  It was the first significant amount of time we’ve spent together since late last year and we were in a place in time where we were willing to just be friends.

There are many good qualities about my ex.  He is kind.  Sincere.  Supportive.  Structured.  Funny.  Sweet.  Intelligent.  But I believe I’m at a point far enough beyond my grieving the death of our relationship that I can appreciate the good and understand his characteristics that make him a less than ideal match for me – without thinking that he is a bad person.

He is the type of person who comes to a solution, let’s say, and then has a very difficult time letting go of his solution.  We each talked about our new romantic partners and I noticed a trend that he tries to take charge of things in her life.  She is young and inexperienced enough that she may appreciate that quality in him.  I am at a point in my life that it just rubs me the wrong way because I want to do it my way and just have someone accept that.  And finally, he is at a point in his life that he thrives off of being needed.

All in all, I think that our long ride together yesterday was good for both of us, and good for our kids.  They got to see their parents enjoying conversation together in spite of the fact that they are divorced.

The Lie

I’ve been on all sides of the triangle of deceit. The side where I have an opportunity to fess up and didn’t.  The side where I’ve given unintentional opportunities for someone to confess to me.  And the side where I’ve decided that I need to be, to fess up to uncomfortable truths.

I’m on that final side because I’ve been lied to too many times.  Sometimes it was outright lies, but most of the time it was lying by omission.  It hurts either way.

On to what triggered the posts I’ve made today.

I’ve mentioned that my ex has a girlfriend and spends a LOT of time with her.  On our ride home from school yesterday, youngest was saying he ate lunch with his dad and saw a lady from work.  He said his dad gave the lady some good advice.  I think this was the 2nd time I’d heard this story, but my ears perked up because it seemed like they ate lunch with this lady.  So I texted ex and asked if by chance youngest had met his girlfriend.  Yep.

Why wasn’t I informed?  I was pretty upset.

Got home and was trying to go for a walk to cool down, but oldest knew I was upset and kept after me.  He asked if I was upset at his dad and then said, “Oh, is this about that girl from dad’s work that was here?”

I flipped.  He had his girlfriend in MY house.  Ok – we both own the house.  But why the hell did he need to have her here?  Oldest gets home from school early on Wednesday and notices his dad is home and in the basement.  Goes down there and his dad is sending the girlfriend out the back door to leave.

That was bad, but is NOT the worst part for me.  Earlier yesterday I emailed him about some things and he emailed back and said “I am thinking about introducing the boys.”

That is the lie.  At a minimum, youngest has “met” her because he had lunch with them.  And oldest has at lease “seen” her.  It feels like it should have been a perfect opportunity for him to say, “Hey, the boys have already met / seen her.  I’m sorry I didn’t let you know ahead of time.  I just didn’t know you’d be upset.”

Back to the conversation with oldest.  He was horrified because he felt like he told on his dad and he begged me not to say anything that would let his dad know he spilled the beans.

I’m sooooo sorry for him.  His dad should have been the one to spill the beans.  I worry this will be with him for the rest of his life.  He’s scarred!

Dreams

I’ve always had dreams I could remember.  Stress causes me to have more vivid dreams.

For example

* Dreaming that my ex was putting his man parts in my face. I think this has two meanings. Earlier in the divorce process it was my anxiety that he would pursue me intimately.  After I knew about his girlfriend it was because I felt he was flaunting the new relationship in my face.

* This one is funny to me because it is opposite of my daydreaming.  Last night I had a dream that he wanted me to meet her. She turned out to be plain Jane in appearance with a dull personality.  In my daydreams she’s sexy, good looking, great personality,  etc.

* More on the above dream.  I asked if she knew who I was and she didn’t.  This reflects my feelings that he is secretive and closed off.

* And more a still on that dream. I was on a blind date with a man who was getting WAY to close to me, but I was trying to be ok with that. Interpretation, maybe I’m not ready to date.

* Then a man I knew and liked showed up.  He rescued me and we had a great time while the others watched on in boredom. He paid attention to me, made me laugh, flirted with me. This means that I’m wanting someone who pays attention to me.  It may also mean that I’m showing my vindictive side because ex and his girlfriend were bored and paying more attention to me and my guy.

Divorced Dad & Kids

How do you tell a newly divorced dad with a new girlfriend that he needs to spend time with his kids?  This is our parenting schedule this month.  I’m purple!

ParentCalendar

Granted, I’m the scheduled parent for tonight but have dinner plans with some new girl friends.  Ex planned to be at the house for a period of time this evening, before heading off to his girlfriend’s.  Granted, he did see them for a brief time Sunday (maybe 2 hours, while oldest mowed lawn) and for a few minutes this morning.

Anyway, now he’s backing out.  Here’s a text conversation between us:

Him: You need me home this afternoon when you bring the boys home?

Me: No, but maybe they would like to see you.

Me again: Let me know what you decide.

Him: Will it impact your plans if I’m not there? I can be there, it is no big deal.

Me: No.

I was trying to convey that I’m fine but that I think he should spend some time with the boys.  Yes, it was indirect because it didn’t say that outright.  I was hoping that he’d take the hint because I don’t want to tell him what to do.  He’s not my responsibility anymore.

What Have I Done???

I don’t know if I’m really ready for this, but I won’t know unless I try.  I’ve created an online dating profile.

Somebody shoot me now!!!

In all seriousness, how does one know when they are ready for dating after being with the same person for 25+ years?  I know I’m lonely and yearning for some male attention.  I can always just have a few dates and see how it goes, right?

Healing After Divorce

Earlier I mentioned that my new ex has a girlfriend and that I believe that at some level (emotionally – at a minimum) he was cheating on me before we even started talking divorce.  He has cheated on me before.

Now we are divorced and have been for about a month.  So why do I still feel like he’s cheating on me?  When does that feeling go away?

I’m hoping that it will fade, bit by bit.  I want it to fade immediately.