When I look into His Eyes

My children’s well-being has been weighing heavily on my heart in recent months, since the news of their school closing. I made plans to take the trip I am currently on months ago; to tour an alternative school in a neighboring state. The school, the community, the local people have all far exceeded my expectations. It has been a wonderful trip, yet I am still torn.

Since the moment that I have made the reservations to take this trip, I have been emotionally, mentally, and physically preparing myself for the backlash that would come along with making such a drastic decision. I walked away from my marriage with nothing but “debt and a smile”. I refused to fight with my ex-husband about anything for the desire to be free from everything that we had created.

Now, after three years of acceptance with our past, my ex-husband and I are in a wonderful place. I love him more unconditionally then I ever did while we were married and we are much better co-parents to our children then we have ever been. That being said, we stand in much different places when it comes to what is best for our children and what sacrifices we are willing to make for them. I have bought a home and built a successful business since getting divorced. My ex-husband’s business continues to grow as does the equity that he has in the home we built together.

I am more than willing to leave all of it behind for the well-being of our children. My ex-husband, not so much. When we sat down to talk about the matter, there was little conversation to be had. He is whole heartedly committed to staying in this small town that will limit our children’s educational opportunities and mindsets. I, however, could not be more opposed to such limitations. And for the first time in three years, I feel more than strong enough to fight him on him closed-minded perceptions. But….

Is that what I really want? Do I really want to fight him? Do I really feel strongly enough to take my children away from their father (knowing that he is indeed, a  wonderful father). I am struggling to confidently answer such questions. I desperately wish our past did not play a role in any of this but the fact of the matter is, it does. I am frustrated that my ex-husband’s commitment to this town has to do with this continual desire to be with the Other Man’s wife. Do our children still not come first to him? It is embarrassing to watch how he plays a complacent pawn to her friends and family. They walk all over him and it is the extend of what my ex-husband calls a life here.

I want more for our children, I want the possibility for more for myself, and if I’m being honest, I want more for my ex-husband. He deserves more than being the b*@#h to her parents, friends and extended relatives. I do not want my children to grow up thinking it is admirable to walk through life without any boundaries. I want them to love, respect and appreciate themselves as individuals. That is not who their father has become in his attempts to win over the Other Man’s wife.

But the fact of the matter remains, I don’t want to fight him and I do not want to divide our family. If I had it my way, my ex-husband and I would be on board with leaving this small town behind and never looking back. But since we are never going to see eye to eye on such matters, it is up to me to decide how strongly I believe in this change for our children and how far I am willing to push my ex-husband out of his comfort zone.

It would all be so much easier to answer if I didn’t still see my best friend when I looked into his eyes…

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The Urge to Roam

59963_818959171452187_365956439_nI recently found out my children’s adorable little hipity skipity homeschool cooperative will be closing next year. Up until now, when people have asked me if I am happy living in this small town as a young, single women, I have responded “it is a moot point, this is where my children are rooted therefore it is where I shall stay”. But now, much to my dismay, they have been uprooted and it has certainly stirred up some new perceptions, daydreams and desires in me.

I have simultaneously been learning more about the New Man; mostly that he is a total adrenalin junkie. He is headed in a new direction to rock climb, heli-ski, sky dive and even base jump every week. I have also learned that he is planning to do some extensive international traveling in the coming year. Both of these fun facts have been very helpful for me, in this new relationship. I have finally lived, loved and learned enough to know everything about this man screams “DO NOT GET ATTACHED”. Which is exactly what I need in my life right now; not to be emotionally attached to anyone. I must say though, it does get hard, every week, having the highlight of my week be the time I spend in bed with him and then watching him leave for some awesome adventure and knowing that my week will be just as boring as the last. I have definitely had a few spurs of jealously here and there regarding how much freedom his life has and how trapped I often feel in my life.

I don’t necessary want to be able to join the New Man on his adventures; his presence in my life has just highlighted my inability to roam. What the hell happened? I used to be proud of all of the places that I have gone and the amazing things that I have done in my life. Now I can barely leave town for twenty-four hours without more stress then it is worth. I am becoming increasingly disgruntled by the lack of freedom and choice I have in my life right now.

My Ex-husband and I were forced to walk into uncomfortable territory with each other, in light of the news about our children’s school closing. I have not asked, nor has anyone told me, but I get the distinct impression that, once again, the Other Man’s wife is cowering away from her idyll threats to leave her husband. Leaving my Ex-husband, once again, alone and disappointed. I had high hopes that if my skepticism about the Other Man’s wife was correct that my Ex-Husband would consider relocating, rather than send our kids the bottom of the barrel public school district that we currently live in. I quickly learned however, that my Ex-husband is as committed to staying here as ever. This news has not sat well with me and has intensified me feeling trapped and unable to control my own life.

I love my children more than anything in the world and I would never take them away from their father, but everything that has come to light in the last couple of months is making feel like I am being forced to live out a ten-year sentence in this town until my children leave for college. I love my life and my business but I am not content feeling like I do not have control over where I live and what I choose to do with my life. The Other Man is completely gone from my life and my heart at this point and continuing to live in his world just reminds me of past chapters in my life that I desperately want to stop living. I want something to look forward to, so that I will stop looking back! Now, if I could just figure out how…

 

So, I Guess This is Moving On

1897843_10151979837162104_1840110201_nI haven’t posted in a while, for what I thought was a lack of anything to write about. Little did I know, my universe was really in transition. Shortly after making The List, I noticed and increased presence of tall, attractive, active, employed men with no sign of children. It seems obvious now that I was likely surrounded by these men the whole time, I just wasn’t not conscious of what I was looking for until I made The List.

One of the men I serendipitously came upon, on Valentine’s Day, of all days was an EMT at an accident that I witnessed and called in. I didn’t speak to him at accident, but I did notice the attractive, 6’4″ man in a uniform. Much to my surprise, I got an opportunity to speak with him later that evening when he stopped in to pickup a to go order. It was brief, but felt like it was more than coincidence to see the same man, for the first time, twice in one day. I shot a friend of mine a text that was a former employee at same EMS station, inquiring about him. I never heard back from my friend and assumed he must be involved with someone or was someone my friend did not see fit for me.

I had completely forgotten about the text and running into the man until I walked into work the next week to find him ordering another to go order. I didn’t put much weight on it since I never heard back from my friend about him. I went about my business in the kitchen after setting down my personal belongings at a table. It was a most welcome surprise to return to the table to find a sticky note saying “call me” with his name, number and a smiley face 🙂

I called and we made plans to meet last night. It was the first blind date I have ever been on in my life. We met for a beer mid afternoon in a neighboring town, where he lives (bonus). The first thing I noticed about him was that he looked significantly younger out of his work clothes. I was too nervous to ask him how young he was. We went on a hike, out to dinner, soaking a then out for a couple of drinks. Yes, I did have a few drinks but was pleased to observe him only have two beer and call it quits.

It was one of the best nights I have had in a long time and was so what my deflated spirit needed. I finally got the courage to ask him his age by the end of the night. He is 25 years old. So, he may be a bit young to be ready or willing to the one that makes me forget my past, but I am so grateful for the boost he gave me, with as low and lonely as I have been feeling since my realization.

I started to think about how much my mental state has started to subconsciously shift in recent weeks on my drive home. I haven’t had an urges to randomly text The Other Man, have start skipping past the songs on my iPod that make me think of my past or The Other Man, opting for happier, more upbeat music and I no longer carry around a pain of loss in my heart. I am at a place where I a ready to simple love the memory of The Other Man and let go of the pain that my past brought me.

I genuinely believe that everything in life happens for a reason. I’m still not sure if the New Man’s purpose in my life was to simply keep my mind distracted long enough to push me over the edge of letting go or if he will be more than that, but I do know one thing. I have been a very good girl through this major learning experience in my life. The sweet little angel on my shoulder has been working her ass off for last two months to stop that mischievously devil on the other shoulder from pursuing so many unhealthy things. And even the angel on my shoulder agreed, when we saw the extremely physically fit New Man in his swim trunks, that I deserve the body and stamina of a 25-year-old right now.

So, I guess here’s to moving on to a new chapter…

The List

It seems as of late, every one of my friends, employees and regulars have “the perfect guy” for me. None of them have materialized as of yet, but it warms my heart to know so many of my nearest and dearest find me so capable. Last night, one of my regulars was talking up one of his single friends that I apparently have to meet. He sounded ok, some pluses, some minuses, but the reality is I know that I am not there yet. I’m not emotionally available YET, so I find it unlikely that any of these perfect matches that keep being presented to me are going to spark much of an interest in the near future.

After giving his top-notch sales pitch about his friend, he gave me what seems like a glaringly obvious, but wonderful piece of advice. Make a list! Shortly before meeting his wife, a co-worker of his offered him the same advice. Sit down and make a list of everything you want in a partner, the perfect man. He said “so many people are walking around blindly looking for love. How can you find what you want if you don’t take the time to define what it is that you want?” So I did, shortly after he left I sat down and started my list:

HONEST: I have learned from my transgression and hold openness and honesty in such a higher regard right now then I ever have before. I now realize that this isn’t just something that I want in a man, I absolutely will not enter into a relationship again without feeling secure that the man is honest and trustworthy.

FUNNY: This one I have to hand to my ex-husband. No matter how messed up our marriage got, he made me laugh every single day and still does most days. I want someone who shares my sense of humor and wit, it just makes life more fun. That being said, I don’t want to be with a ham. Having a sense of humor does not mean needing to be center stage at all times, to me.

EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE: When people ask me what went wrong between my ex-boyfriend and me, I like to say “we both had a lot of baggage and it didn’t add up to be a whole luggage set.” It is my cute way of saying neither of us were emotional available, so please don’t ask anymore questions. It was wrong of me to stay in that relationship for two years when I was never emotionally available to him and I feel like it only lasted as long as it did because he wasn’t really emotionally available either. He was not still in love with his ex-girlfriend but the anger and hostility he held towards her didn’t leave much room left for any other emotions.

FINANCIALLY SECURE: I learned this one from my ex-boyfriend too. He owns his own business, but it is very seasonal. So, in his off-season I felt obligated to offer to pay for everything. I am doing well enough to do so, but it sure does take the spark out of everything you do together when it is all on your dime. I don’t need a man to buy my meals or vacations, but it sure would make me feel good every once in a while.

ENJOYS TRAVELING: I love, absolutely love to travel. I get excited just talking about far off lands. The practical aspects of being a single mother/business owners has brought much of my traveling to a halt temporarily, but daydreaming about trips that I want to take is one of my favorite things to do. I would love to share that with someone! It would smolder my spirit to be with someone who didn’t love the rush of stepping out of their comfort zone and into the great unknown.

DOESN’T DRINK TO EXCESS: This one I have to give to my ex-boyfriend. My ex-husband has always drank too much, too often. My ex-boyfriend was much more of a responsible drink and it was always nice for me to feel assured that I wasn’t going to have to worry about him getting out of hand when we went out or people came over. I am not drinking right now, but I don’t mind being with someone who does. There is just nothing attractive about someone who enjoys getting completely inebriated, for no particular reason. Save it for your twenty year reunion!

NO YOUNG CHILDREN: Kind of hypocritical, I know. A single mother that doesn’t want to date someone with children. When my ex-boyfriend and I started dating his son was only a year old. I realized I had no interest in going through potty training, terrible twos or car seats again. My children are passed that stage and I couldn’t be happier! I am not looking to help raise anyone else’s young children and on the flip side of that, I am not looking for anyone that wants to raise my children. I want someone who is interested in their lives and enjoys doing things with them, but my ex-husband and I work really well together as co-parents. We are not looking to add to our circle of trust.

AFFECTIONATE: I have never been with a very openly affectionate man. Early in my marriage I actually thought it was a sign of strength in our relationship; I don’t need my husband to be affectionate towards me, I know how much he loves me sort of thing. I always just placed blame on his parents for not being affectionate with each other or their children. Probably why it was so heart wrenching to see how affectionate he was with the Other Man’s wife. Apparently, he was quite capable of affection, just did not feel it towards me. I want a man who wants to hold me, kiss me and be near me when we are together.

HIGH SEX DRIVE: Like Joss Stone, this girl needs her lovin’ at least two times a day. I very truly and genuinely love having sex. I have never understood conversations where wives sit around and bitch about how often their husbands want to have sex. Sex is fun, sex puts me in a great mood, sex makes me feel attractive, sex is a great workout, and I want someone who shares that sentiment. I do not want to have to ask for sex or speculate if they are going to be in the mood. I want a solid assumption that if we have twenty minutes together in private, on any given day, there will be some sex happening.

IN SHAPE: Sex is one of my main motivators to stay in shape. I see sex as a dance or art. I enjoy engaging all of my senses during sex; I like the way it smells, I want to taste it, I want to feel every part of my partner’s body and I want to see the dance. If I’m not happy with what I am seeing, it takes away from the experience for me. Self admittedly, I am much more critical of my own body in bed then my partners, I still do enjoy a nice firm body to hold onto. I fantasize about draping my fingers down a set of wash board abs on a man of my perfect height (6’2″, but I’ll get to that).

DRIVEN: I work my ass off for what I have and have to work hard each and every day to maintain this life for my children and myself. I want a man who understands that, can relate to it and is just as driven. I don’t only mean this in a professional sense. I would really like a man who just gets his shit taken care of rather blowing it off because the game is on and then it never gets taken care of. I’m an organized person that sees tasks through to completion. I would love to have a partner with that same quality.

EDUCATED: I enjoy both an intellectually stimulating conversation and being with someone that I am constantly learning from. I am well read and well-traveled, but don’t really enjoy being a know it all in a conversation. I love it when someone has a wider knowledge base then myself and is constantly teaching me something new. However, I do not want to be pushed into whatever they are “into”. Please do tell me all about whatever it is that you love, but allow me to decide if I would like to give it a try.

TALL: Yep, I have realized it absolutely matters to me. The Other Man is tall and I love the way I fit snug as a bug under his arms when we hugged. I loved literally looking up to him when we talked. I am not looking to find a clone of him, but I do want a man who is a good six inches taller than me.

ENJOYS MY KIDS: Last, but certainly not least. My kids are my life. They are why I am still in this godforsaken town, why I work my ass off and why I have taken the high road in all aspects of my past. I love every moment that I spend with them and will not settle for anything else then a man who enjoy them as much as I do.

…and that it! That’s my list. It is now the standard by which all suitors shall be judged. This whole process of letting go of the Other Man has been brutal on me. I haven’t fought off depression like this in years, but I know it is the right thing to do. So, I will keep marching forward with my head held high and now with a list in my back pocket to help me size up anyone that walks through the door.

It Was Just a Dream

A few nights after my last talk with the Other Man I had a very vivid dream. I was walking on a dusty, two-track road, alone in a very rural area. My intention was to sell something, to someone, along the road. I felt like I was walking forever; it was hot, dry, lonely and quiet. I came to a house that I knew wasn’t my destination, but I was drawn to it. I quietly entered the front entry way to be startled by a man coming out at the same time. He held two very tiny kittens in his hands (I still have no idea what they symbolize) and he asked me with great excitement which one he should give to his children. Without taking the time to look at the man, I assessed the kittens in his hands. Meanwhile, his neighbor entered the entry way and began talking about the years harvest to the man. For the first time, I looked up and met eyes with the man holding the kittens. It was that lightening bolt moment when two souls connect. I was suddenly so happy in his presence that I could not stop smiling at him. He began smiling back and me and was no longer able to hold a conversation with his neighbor. We walked towards each other and held each other without words. I felt comfort, content and relief in his arms. I had finally found him; the man who, without words, would offer me unconditional love.

I woke up with mixed emotions about the dream and my life. My initial feeling was optimism; excitement about the possibility of experiencing “that feeling” and finding the person that could fill the void I have just recently admitted to myself that I have. I am genuinely content being single. I have very little spare time between my business and children, but I think it is human nature to long for emotional needs that are not present in your life. I am far from a co-dependent woman who defines herself by her relationships, but I sure am excited by the possibility of a healthy, happy relationship where I don’t fear rejection and abandonment.

But then the loneliness of what the long, solitaire, dirt road symbolized set in. Have I mentioned this is a small town? Very small. You need a flow chart to understand who’s been with who in the single scene in this town. It’s a scene I have no interest in entering. I have yet to come across a single man in this town that I can not name a handful of his prior partners and more than a handful of reason they are all prior, not current, partners. My optimism starts to fade when I start to think about the likelihood that I am going to fill that void with anyone in this town.

Hell, I can’t even seem to get asked out by anyone within twenty years of my age. I truly and genuinely was asked out by three men over the age of sixty last week. I asked my waitress what the hell was up with that? Her response was that I am “incredibly intimidating” to men my age. I’m attractive, have my shit together, and would presumably be spoken for by anyone that didn’t know otherwise. Well shit! I’m not interested in a man that would be intimidated by me, but it sure would be nice to at least be asked out by someone who doesn’t posses a AARP card.

My analysis of the dream is simple. I will find “the one” but I have a long, lonely road ahead of me before I do. I think I can accept that. This is where my children are rooted and I am able to provide a comfortable life for us here while they grow. If this is where I am meant to be for now, so be it. If someone hasn’t walked into my life by then I will be headed west with my left foot on the gas pedal.

In the meantime, I am doing what I can to be the person that I am looking for in a partner; sober, active, mentally stable, financially secure, and apparently intimidating. This writing thing is definitely starting to grow on me, very therapeutic. Maybe I will take a writing class, that just might be taught by a tall, attractive, well spoke, recently divorced man…or maybe that was just a dream.1524645_400645613404614_643362379_n

Turn the Page

I am going to do my best to make this an accurate, cliff notes version of how I got to where I am; sober, bored and trying to stay optimistic.

I am a 33-year-old, a single mother of two awesome kids, I own and operate a small restaurant in a small town and genuinely love my live (most of the time). I started dating my now ex-husband when I was 17 years old, he was also my best friend’s older brother. I married him when I was 22 years old. I found out I was pregnant with our oldest child the same week the his sister/my best friend was diagnosed with cancer. I found out that I was pregnant with our second child the same week that his sister/my best friend lost her battle with cancer. We moved to this very small town when I was pregnant with our second child, so my ex-husband’s parents could be closer to their grandchildren. I did not want to move here, but being a new mother I could not say no to my grieving mother-in-law.

Our marriage started in a downward spiral as soon as we moved here. The mother-in-law that provoked us to move here ended up moving out-of-state shortly after our arrival to care for her elderly parents. We were unable to sell our former house for well over a year and were growing further and further in debt. I was focused on raising two babies (17 months apart) and my ex-husband was focused on contributing to his family business. He began drinking more and began to like me, as a person, a lot less. So, what would any young, stay at home mother of two with no money or nearby friends or family do? Turn elsewhere for attention, of course!

Like so many young wives and mothers, I had no concept of how to have a healthy relationship with my husband or deal with the problems in our marriage. I did not want to disappoint our family and friends that thought we were living the American dream. I worked hard to keep up the façade of the white picket fence life; kept a clean house, worked out regularly, worked from home and posted our happy little family photos on all of the social media sites for friends and family that I rarely kept in touch with anymore.

Meanwhile, in my “other world” I had met someone else. He was also married to his High School sweetheart and was (and still is) selling the happy little family life to everyone in town. We both tried not to give into the temptation, back and forth, but once we acknowledged the feelings were there our communication with each other continued to grow over the course of eight months. There were hundreds of texts each day, plenty of pictures, some touching and a few drunken nights that provided enough opportunity for us to fool around, but we never slept together, just talked about it A LOT.

We both noticed that there appeared to be a mutual attraction between our spouses. We would joke about how it would be so great if they would just “hookup” and it would make everything so much easier than having our little secret. And then it actually happened! The four of us had grown close during the time period of my “emotional affair” due to our spouses’ mutual attraction, children of the same age and me always scheming to make plans to put me in the same place as the other man. But neither of us could have ever fathomed how it actually happened.

The four of us were on a camping trip, drinking to excess all weekend. I woke up to his wife kissing me, asking me if this was okay. Once I could wrap my spinning head around what was happening I realized that I was woken up to participate in a threesome with my husband and the other man’s wife. Needless to say, I did and was pretty much in shock the entire time.

The four of us actually manage to live a secretive, full-fledged polyamorous lifestyle for close to two years. I didn’t even know what polyamory meant when we first started out on this new chapter of our lives. It was one of the most thrilling and trying times in my life, all at the same time. Since the other man and I had a pre-existing relationship, we already had established rules and boundaries with each other. My husband and his wife however, had no boundaries and feel deeply in love with each other. Watching my husband fall in love with another woman more deeply and passionately then he had ever loved me was the most heartbreaking experience of my life. But I told myself that I deserved it for my transgressions and bared it until the very end.

It ended very abruptly when the other man chose to tell his wife about our relationship prior to the polyamorous relationship. He didn’t want the secret anymore and thought that with as far as the four of us had come that it would all be okay. He was wrong!

I always knew with 100% certainty that it would be the end of my marriage if my husband ever knew about the prior relationship. In retrospect, I think it was one reason I was involved in it in the first place. I was looking for a way out of my unhappy marriage and wasn’t brave enough to say it. The other man immediately cut off all communication with me once he realized that he had grossly misjudged how his wife would react. My husband, on the other hand, could have given a shit less about what I was doing. His only concern was being able to keep the other woman in his life and to this day, it still is his primary concern.

I moved out with nothing but debt and a smile! I was relieved that my marriage was over, I was relieved that the relationship between the four of us was over and mostly I was excited to start a new, healthier, more open and honest life. All of that being said, I was still heart-broken by the unanimous rejection by the three of them. I was scared of everything, but it was better than living with all of the secrets and lies that I had been living with for the prior three years.

I started counseling for the first time in my life and it ended up being the best thing I has ever happened to my life. I was able to come to terms with all aspects of my marriage and better understand the behavior patterns of all of us. I was able to work through so much deeper rooted issues that I had in my life and came out of it a much healthier, happier and well round human being. It was so easy to come to peace with everything that happened at the end of my marriage since it lead me to door of mental health and stability.

I swear that was my best effort at a cliff notes version. I skimmed over a lot of things that transpired in that decade of my life, but you have to be really interested in someone’s life to be willing to read more than 1,200 words about it in one sitting. So, what have I been up to since I closed that chapter in my life and turned the page to a fresh start? I’ll save that for another 1,200 word night.