She’s a good girl, she deserves it

bride1

Over the past few years, I have heard several men utter this phrase to me, on why they finally decided to marry their girlfriend.  Like they passed a test and were finally deemed worthy enough to marry.  Many of these couples had been together a LONG time…..

Wait, what?  Seriously?  Like it is totally up to the MAN to decide whether or not we were a GOOD girl and DESERVE to marry them?

I think they could see my brain turning somersaults behind my eyes, because all of them quickly changed the subject or walked away.  As they should.  Before I really could build up a head of steam.

Maybe it’s because I have tried marriage, and failed miserably at it.  Maybe it’s because I have always been an independent woman and never “dependent” upon a man to “complete” me, or support me.  Maybe it’s because I believe marriage should be a fifty/fifty deal, all the way around.  Maybe it’s because I could never consider marrying, let alone living with, a man who thought that way.  Maybe they don’t mean the way it sounds…..

It’s patronizing.  Like patting a pet on the head, and saying “oh you’re a good girl, now here’s a bone”.

Maybe they really mean “what an AMAZINGLY wonderful woman I have found, and I can’t WAIT to marry her!  What GOOD fortune for a DESERVING fellow like me!  But somehow I doubt it.

I think the holidays really got to me this year.  I think I have mentioned before how in my next life I am coming back as a man, so I can just show up everywhere empty-handed and nothing is expected of me.  No cooking, cleaning, gifting….just call me when dinner is ready and then I will go back to laying on the couch.  Not saying that EVERY man is like this.  I guess I get prickly about this because I don’t think it is fair.  I see women/wives/mothers doing way more than their fair share too often.

Blah.  I think I will stay single.  And stay home.

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Happy Anniversary my love

Today would have been my 38th wedding anniversary to my first husband.  That’s right I said first.  He should have been my first, and last.

He was my first true love.  I had many firsts with him, the most important being my virginity.  I think that’s how I knew he was the man for me.  I had held out for sooo long, and yet didn’t give it a second thought after I met him.

We got married after only 6 months.  We lived far apart, but both worked in Chicago.  We had lunch together, and walked to the train station together, every day.  We couldn’t bear to be apart.  So we got married.

We were so in love.  How did it go so wrong?  Not going to point fingers, too late for that.  About 30 years too late.  I blame both our jobs, mostly.  Too much time apart.  That’s about all I’ll say about it.  It all still hurts inside and makes me cry, even today.  Especially today.

I have not spoken to him, or seen him, in 30 years.  I know where he lives, but that’s about it.  But I never forget this day.  It was truly one of the happiest days of my life.  So wherever you are, I just want to say…

Happy Anniversary to my first love.

When does it change?

bleeding heartThe grand daddy of Hallmark holidays is right around the corner.  Valentine’s Day.  So many people will be happy, get engaged, get married.  So many people will swear their vows in front of God and man to stay in love forever.

So when does it change?  Does it always change?  Does it have to change?

It usually does change.  Sometimes for the better.  Statistically for the worse.  The blush wears off the rose after a while.  Those little things that were so cute about your partner now just bug the hell out of you.  You start being nicer to strangers than them.  The grass looks so much greener on the other side.

I remember one young couple I talked to shortly after my first divorce.  They were SOOOO in love.  They were NEVER going to say a nasty thing to each other.  Nothing would ever come between them.  They weren’t going to become a statistic.  They couldn’t imagine life without each other.  I sarcastically said “Yeah, good luck with that, come talk to me in 10 years”.  Well, ten years later, they were separated and living apart, after a gaggle of kids came along and blew apart their perfect little world.  No more sleeping in till noon every weekend.  No more staying up late cuddling on the couch.  No more vacations.  No more money.  Their lives changed around them, and it wasn’t what they expected.  I felt so guilty about saying that, or thinking that, ten years prior.  Sometimes having stars in your eyes are a GOOD thing, and hopefully nobody will erase those stars over the years!

Sometimes, I wish people could just experience what it is REALLY like on the other side, just so they learn to appreciate what they DO have.  It is too easy to just walk away, it seems.

I do have a lot of friends who have made it long term, and are still in a loving relationship.  I take my hat off to them, because it is hard work to raise a family, have a career, and still have date nights.  I wonder what makes them different from the ones who don’t make it.

Liquor, I bet. Ha!

So this Valentine’s Day, make someone’s day special, and MEAN it this time!

She – Door #2

bride

She got married at the tender age of 22.  In fact, a mere five days into the age of 22.  She was so young, so dumb. She thought she knew it all, and had the world by the tail. She and her husband both had good jobs. They bought a cute little townhouse right away. They commuted together on the train downtown. Their weekends were full of fun. Life was good. She had chosen Door #2.

As their careers both advanced, so did their time commitments to their jobs.  She spent more time at work than at home.  He spent more time on the road then at home.  They upgraded their homes, their cars.  They upgraded everything but their relationship.

Instead, they both started grad school.  So in addition to working ever-increasing hours, they were now both committed to a very rigorous schedule of classes and group meetings.  It seems they were never home.  Because they weren’t.

Their relationship turned into ships passing in the night.  They were no longer each other’s best friend.  The few times they got to spend together were taken up with mundane chores and small talk.

Their families were not very understanding.  They didn’t understand what was taking up all their time.  They did not know about “DINKs”, Double Income No Kids syndrome, where it seemed to be more about making the money and working, than about family life.  Neither one of their jobs was forgiving.  Work/life balance was unheard of back then. She remembers having managers who never saw their children for months on end, and being grateful she didn’t have any of her own to worry about.  When SHE had kids, she wanted to be home more.  The finance and accounting world was all-consuming, especially at year-end.  She remembers missing family dinner on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.  She remembers getting dressed up at work on a New Year’s Eve to go out for a few hours, only to be back at it early on New Year’s Day.

She was tired.  Always tired.  But hey, they were rolling in the dough.  New cars, nice wardrobes, and superb vacations whenever they got the chance to get away.  But Door #2 wasn’t looking so good anymore…..she wondered if she had chosen the right one.

Ex-husbands and step children

divorce

Hot topic for sure.  It certainly is for me.  I was a wife and step mother for almost 10 years.  It was NOT a good time, in many ways, for all concerned.

I suppose I didn’t think things through enough before I married him.  I knew he came with “baggage”, and I’m not talking about his kids.  Kids should not be thought of as baggage.

The baggage he came with was inside of him.  A thirst for drink.  Some days he just could not get enough.  It was like a poison, a toxin.  I seriously think he is one of those people who should not drink, because he would get alcohol poisoning.  He would drink until he fell down, then get up and DRIVE home, verbally and physically abuse me, and then pass out in bed for 2-3 days.  Most times he did this on a week night, and therefore would not call in to work.  I learned to lie to his boss, and give him excuses.  I think he knew.

I’m not sure how his first wife handled all this, because he blamed her for a lot of his problems.  She certainly came with a few of her own, including her own alcoholism and drug addiction.  Quite bluntly, she was a coke whore.  She would do anything for coke.  Destroyed her marriage.  Was a HUGE part of destroying my marriage.  And destroying her kids, in the only ways that mattered.  Like teaching them how to grow up with strong morals and values.

And me?  I helped destroy them too.  I gave up after a while.  Their father would get drunk, purposely I think, on the nights before they would come for the weekend, leaving me to do all the work of taking care of 3 small children, who were bounced around to babysitters all week by their mom, and then sent to an unhappy household every other weekend.

I was so hopeful at first.  Like I said, I don’t think I thought things through enough before rushing into marriage.  I loved him, that should be enough.  But it wasn’t.  I did not know the evilness that was out there, waiting for me.  How it could turn my soul into a deep, dark black hole, that I barely made it out of.  Turns out that I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was.  The years of dysfunction wore me down, until I was just as bad a parent as they were.

I was raised to be polite, be seen and not heard, clean, be a good student, and most of respect my elders.  These 3 children were raised with nothing resembling that.  I was shocked and appalled by the things they had seen and heard, and therefore mimicked.  They were troubled before I even came into the picture.  I really did try at first.  They were cute kids, and they did love their daddy.  I wish he had been strong enough to give them what they needed, when they needed it the most.

I suppose he blames me for that.  And I will indeed take partial responsibility.  I should have walked away when things got bad.  Instead I kept thinking it would get better, since it couldn’t get any worse.  In fact, right before the end, things were the best they ever were.  He was hardly drinking, and we were all getting along just fine.

Obviously it was a false sense of security.  Not sure if it was planned that way, on his part, or not.  But someone else had set their sights on him, and he played right into her hands.  Got drunk, and took off with her, and then got caught red-handed.  I think he made the “easy” decision to just give up then, and he basically just left me high and dry with no warning.

I almost didn’t live through the aftermath.  There were many times I almost gave up.  I did not want to continue living.  It was just too hard.  I had given up everything for this man.  My money, my pride, my love.  And now I had nothing left to show for it, except a broken heart and a lot less money.

I took me a few years, but I did forgive him, in my heart.  If I ever saw him again, and we could have a conversation, I would tell him that.  I would tell him he is still an asshole for what he did to me, but that I forgive him.  I do not want that blackness left in my heart and soul.  To him, he probably never gave me a second thought.  That is probably what hurt the most.  He married that woman on the first anniversary of our divorce.  I’m sure she planned it that way.  She was pretty sneaky like that.

Am I glad I am divorced?  Yes and no.  Yes, because I no longer have to wait up all night for a drunk to come home.  No, because I did love him and always thought things could get better.  The eternal pessimist I guess.

I failed as a wife.  I failed as a mother.  But I did learn a lot about it along the way.  I take my responsibility for my failings.  I wish I could do things over.  Woulda/coulda/shoulda.  Not going to happen.

Hopefully it made me a better person overall.  I do know that I never want to experience pain and heartbreak like that again.  So we shall see what life still has to offer me…..

That Man

grey man

I want to meet THAT man.  That man who narrows your universe down to just you and him.  Who makes you not care if you interact with another human being ever again.  Just him.  That man. He is enough.  Who is on your mind 24/7.  Who you can’t wait to see.  Who every second apart is pure agony, and every second together is pure delight.  That man.

That man who touches your heart and soul and makes them sing.  That man who eyes are the window to his soul, and yours.  That man who makes the hair on the back of your neck tingle.  And everywhere else too.  That man who makes you feel beautiful.  Every. single. day.  That man who never speaks a mean or harsh word to you.  Ever.  That man who only touches you with love and gentleness.  That man who massages your back without being asked.

That man you have been looking for all your life.  That man who maybe you HAVE already met, but it was not the time or place.  I can think of two that I though were that man, but they turned out to be NOT that man.

I think that man is out there.  I’m not sure where, or if I will ever find him.  So if you happen to find him before me, congrats.  There may be true love out there after all.

I am WOMAN, hear me ROAR! Redux

I am having a good time re-reading my old blogs, so here’s another blast from the past!

I am woman

I am a Woman.  A SINGLE woman.  I can bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan.  With my eyes closed.  While texting.  And tweeting.  Simultaneously.

Some people have a problem with that.  They think I’m a big fat loser because I don’t have a man.  Like a woman’s worth is based on having a mate, or at least dating, or living with a man.

Why?  A large percentage of people I know that are married are MISERABLE, in a wide variety of ways.  They lie and cheat on their spouses. (No, don’t ask me about yours!  I’m speaking in generalities!)  When I got divorced, because of my lying cheating spouse, married men came out of the woodwork to “comfort” me now that I was newly single.  In fact they probably would have “comforted” me even while being married, except everyone around me knew how I felt about lying cheating spouses!  And you know that old adage that the wife is the last to know?  It’s true.  My spouse lied and cheated on me throughout the whole marriage.  In addition to a few other fabulous qualities like mental and physical abuse.  He was the perfect example of a brain on alcohol.

After all that, I truly have no desire to go through another experience like that again.  I am not a masochist.  I still do believe in love, and soul mates and all that other crap.  But I am truly careful now.  People around me say I am being too picky and that I will end up alone as the neighborhood cat lady.  Well, let me see…..that’s ok by me.  Que sera sera.  At least I will be the master of my own domain.

Is there another man out for me?  I truly don’t know.  I have a serious aversion to smoking, drinking, belligerence, bullying, meanness, and overall disrespect.  So that really narrows down the playing field.  And I’ve tried the friends with benefits route.  Not for me, thanks.

I can wait.  No hurry.  If it happens, it happens.  If it doesn’t, well, I’m still my own woman.  I’m happy being the cat lady for now.  At least I have rescued two little souls who love me unconditionally.

woman

Love and Hate….it’s a fine line

 

Where do you draw that line?  How do you go from madly in love to I never want to see your face again?  Did you really ever love each other?  Do you really now hate each other?  Did you really TRY to see the difference?

When you say vows, when you bond FOR LIFE, and then someone RIPS or TEARS that bond apart, part of your heart gets ripped away with it.  There is no clean break.  You each take pieces of each other with you, whether you want to or not.

Vows. Before God. For Life. I honestly think that people do not really care about all that anymore.  The divorce rate is unbelievably high.  It is used as a quick fix, instead of a well thought out and rationally discussed option.

It makes me really sad, especially for myself.  It makes me feel like a failure in God’s eyes, even though it was not my idea, and I fought tooth and nail to stop it.  I fought so hard I almost died doing it.

I have written several other blogs about my ex, so I won’t bore you with the details again.  I just wish that people could go back in time, and gently and respectfully disengage.  The whole process of breaking up is so traumatic, to both our hearts and our minds.  It shouldn’t be this way.  Unfortunately, I don’t think we can change it.  When it comes to our emotions, cooler heads do NOT prevail.

Shame, really.  I love you, I hate you.  So close, yet so far.

I pretended nothing was wrong.  Until that day.  The day we went from saying I love you in the morning, to catching him in the arms of another woman that night.  And just like that, he was gone.  He never spoke to me again except for a few words to say 1) he was never EVER coming back, and 2) to lie at court 6 weeks later that we had been separated for a period of 6 months or more.  Even though deep down I knew it was for the best, it was the disrespect and the lack of closure that left me reeling.

I was left feeling dirty and guilty ashamed for the disintegration of my marriage.  He left on another woman’s arm.

In addition to the abysmal divorce statistics, there are now more single women than married women in the U.S.  Huh.  Go figure.

 

Dear 20 year old self:

Dear 20-year-old self:

You don’t know this yet, but you will finally lose that virginity you’ve been holding up like a halo in just a few months.  Not to your favorite Sigma Nu, P.J., at Illinois State, but to your latest disco dance partner Taylor from The Thirsty Whale.  You will plan the seduction yourself, down to the smallest detail. It will happen on Sweetest Day, in your childhood home, on your childhood bed.  Everything will be perfect, except for the actual act itself.  Oh well, don’t say I didn’t warn you!  I know you wanted to wait until it meant something, and I wish I could tell you that it did, but it went the way of most deflowerings.  Not such a big deal after all!

But, dear 21-year-old self, not to fear.  The next man you meet will be the ONE.  The ONE you waited for.  With him, it WILL be a big deal after all!  So you will marry him in a mere six months from now.  And it will be wonderful.  For a while.

Dear 30-year-old self.  I’m sorry to tell you that your marriage is indeed over.  I’m not going to lie.  It’s going to be rough on you.  Very rough.  Luckily you will have good friends to get you through it.  Who will introduce you to THEIR friends.  One of whom you will fall madly, gladly in love with.  This one will stay with you in your heart as your one true love throughout the years, even now.  But, I’m sad to say, not in the way you wanted.  He WILL hurt you.  More than once.  But you will let him.  Because you love him.  But you know.  You know it will never happen again.  Your dreams tell you so.

Dear 30-something-year-old self:  Enjoy yourself!  You are still young, still beautiful!  You have a great job, great friends, great boyfriends!  Life is good!

Dear almost 40-year-old self:  So you will bite the bullet again and get married.  Wish I could say congratulations, but all I see is darkness ahead for you.  And I think deep down inside you will know it, but are hoping for the best.  He loves you.  He will change for you.  You believe him.  You don’t.  You know.  It’s over.  It’s awful.  Even more than the first time.  This one is NOT a gentleman.  This one will hurt you physically in addition to mentally.  This one will leave many scars.

Dear 40-something-year-old self:  You will get cancer.  It will hurt.  It will take a long time to heal.  It will humble you.  You will think about your spiritual life.  It will save you in many ways.  It will help strengthen you for the upcoming issues you will have to deal with that are coming your way.

Dear rest of your life:  Life will get much harder before it get easier.  Hang in there.  You will persevere in the end.  Life will be what you make it.  Appreciate your family, appreciate your friends.  I can tell you that you will be a good friend, a good sister, a good aunt, and you will continue to rescue animals that love you so much.  You will write more, which has been waiting to burst out of you for so long.  You will continue to sing and dance, and do things that make you smile.  And that’s what life is all about.

I am WOMAN hear me roar!

I am a Woman.  A SINGLE woman.  I can bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan.  With my eyes closed.  While texting.  And tweeting.  Simultaneously.

Some people have a problem with that.  They think I’m a big fat loser because I don’t have a man.  Like a woman’s worth is based on having a mate, or at least dating, or living with a man.

Why?  A large percentage of people I know that are married are MISERABLE, in a wide variety of ways.  They lie and cheat on their spouses. (No, don’t ask me about yours!  I’m speaking in generalities!)  When I got divorced, because of my lying cheating spouse, married men came out of the woodwork to “comfort” me now that I was newly single.  In fact they probably would have “comforted” me even while being married, except everyone around me knew how I felt about lying cheating spouses!  And you know that old adage that the wife is the last to know?  It’s true.  My spouse lied and cheated on me throughout the whole marriage.  In addition to a few other fabulous qualities like mental and physical abuse.  He was the perfect example of a brain on alcohol.

After all that, I truly have no desire to go through another experience like that again.  I am not a masochist.  I still do believe in love, and soul mates and all that other crap.  But I am truly careful now.  People around me say I am being too picky and that I will end up alone as the neighborhood cat lady.  Well, let me see…..that’s ok by me.  Que sera sera.  At least I will be the master of my own domain.

Is there another man out for me?  I truly don’t know.  I have a serious aversion to smoking, drinking, belligerence, bullying, meanness, and overall disrespect.  So that really narrows down the playing field.  And I’ve tried the friends with benefits route.  Not for me, thanks.

I can wait.  No hurry.  If it happens, it happens.  If it doesn’t, well, I’m still my own woman.  I’m happy being the cat lady for now.  At least I have rescued two little souls who love me unconditionally.