Monday, November 30, 2009

The Affair, part 10

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

2001:

I remember standing in my bathroom and looking at the two lines on the pregnancy test. I looked at myself in the mirror and laughed, hysterically, out loud. I felt relieved to tell my husband that I was pregnant. I had been with him, and only him, during the time of my daughter's conception.

My pregnancy seemed like the miracle that we needed to save our marriage.

---

Things were different between K and I. We'd still see each other, occasionally, but only as friends. We'd stopped having sex as I became more focused on having a baby and he worked diligently to save his own marriage. We were both gradually retreating back to our spouses and away from each other.

---

The next few years of my married life were fantastic. My husband and I loved our daughter and being parents. It was new and different but we felt that we made a great parenting team.

In 2002, my husband and I lost our dog of 10 years. I was laid off from my high paying job that same year and decided to become a stay at home mom. My husband wanted to be the sole breadwinner but I could tell that it did create more stress on him.

We decided we wanted another child and started trying to get pregnant. We were thrilled to conceive again. Then I miscarried in the fall of 2003.

Depression fell on both of us and by the time I did get pregnant with my youngest daughter in the spring of 2004, my husband had already emotionally checked out of the marriage. He eventually had his own affair.

In his anguish and guilt, he began asking questions about my relationship with K. After 4 years, he finally displayed all of the anger and hurt that he, apparently, had kept hidden from me.

Each of us blamed the other for our infidelities and depression
.

We were both in too much pain to try to make our marriage work. We spent a year trying to recover and finally let go of the last strands of our marriage in the spring 2006.

---

K and I remained friends after the birth of my child but saw/talked to each other less and less. His marriage survived. His wife then had an infidelity of her own. According to K, they each felt that their affairs made their marriage stronger.

He and I are still friends - though we only see each other once every few months for lunch. He says his wife asks about me, now and again, and wonders how I'm doing. He doesn't want to tell her that he sees me occasionally or that we email every now and then. It frustrates me. I don't want to live in secret anymore.

One day, a few months back, I went to a luncheon with several of my former co-workers and K showed up... with his wife. He was visibly nervous but she and I hugged and caught up on old times as if nothing ever happened. He later told me that she said she was happy to see me.

Since Gentleman Jack has been in my life, K has been a great support, as usual. He's also sensing that I have moved forward. I have taken more and more steps away from him. He is fading slowly into the background of my past.

I will always love him. I will always be thankful for him because despite the pain, I've learned much about love, who I am and what I deserve.

---

I recently became Facebook friends with a former co-worker who worked with K, his wife and I. It was difficult for me because she was there and I know she knew what was going on. I know she judged me. She probably still does to see that I'm divorced now.

Then again, this entire catharsis has felt good to me. Maybe the best way to release the past is to shine a light on it, look at it, take the air out of it, get it out of the closet... maybe that's how MacKenzie Phillips felt recently too. Its not fun. Its not pretty.

But maybe that's what confession is all about. Maybe that is what it takes to create a future that is brighter instead of projecting our past into the path before us.

I certainly hope so.

"Conflict must be resolved. It cannot be evaded, set aside, denied, disguised, seen somewhere else, called by another name, or hidden by deceit of any kind, if it would be escaped. It must be seen exactly as it is, where it is thought to be, in the reality which has been given it, and with the purpose that the mind accorded it. For only then are its defenses lifted, and the truth can shine upon it as it disappears.
~A Course in Miracles lesson of the day, Nov. 29

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Affair, part 9

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

Summer/Fall 2000:

"Well, what are we going to do?" I asked my husband one day. "What is our marriage becoming? Are we actually going to have an open marriage?"

I was feeling guilty that I was enjoying another lover and he wasn't. I was ready to go out and find a woman for him. I wanted to share the guilt, I guess...

"Nah," he said, nonchalantly. "Why don't we try to have kids?"

Um... what?

---

K and his wife had decided early in their marriage not to have children. I had always assumed my husband and I would have children one day. I didn't think any more about it as we were approaching our 8th anniversary that December.

I was not in a place, emotionally, to have children. I wasn't sure I even wanted to be a mother anymore. I felt too selfish.

However, I also would have done anything to save my marriage at that point. So, that summer, I got off the pill and my husband and I started trying to get pregnant.

"Please don't be stupid," my husband said angrily one night, "I'd prefer you get pregnant with my child."

---

My God this is painful. This is killing me to relive all of this. I can't even understand the woman that I was back then. I can't imagine my life without my girls. And I can't believe that both my husband and myself actually believed that having a child would heal all of our wounds.

That is simply not fair to my baby girls.

.....

*wipes a flood of tears away*

.....


---

K and I were still scheduled in the same town randomly for work. We would get hotel rooms next door to each other so that our spouses wouldn't know.

He knew I was trying to get pregnant so we were very careful. We weren't able to see each other often but our time together was intense, amazing, escapist pleasure. We craved our time together to escape our guilt. We reserved the guilty feelings for those times we were with our spouses.

He was especially edgy as he was doing whatever he could to repair his marriage. His wife, already insecure, needed extra attention now. I gave up more and more of him so that he could devote his energy to her. I didn't want him to lose her. He was not in the same situation as I was.

She thought we were through. My husband didn't seem to care.

---

December 2000:

My oldest daughter was conceived.

to be continued...

Part 10

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Affair, part 8

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

2000:

I'm not sure exactly how K's wife found out - I think it was the picture of me dressed in lingerie that he'd accidentally left on the scanner. I truly think that subconsciously, K wanted to end the anxiety. He must have wanted to be caught so the fear would finally subside.

I only remember a 3 hour tear-filled phone call with K's wife in my hotel room while I was on a business trip. K was terrified but it was a phone call that had to happen. She and I had to talk about it.

I let her hate me. I let her call me names. I let her ask questions and beat me up with her pain. It was excruciating but I felt like I deserved everything she was saying to me.

I cried and listened. Cried more. I told her that we never intended for it to happen. I told her that neither of us were planning on leaving our marriages. I told her that he loved her so very much and neither of us wanted to hurt our spouses.

K and I decided to end the affair.

The fear of ending it, however, only threw gasoline on the fire. We couldn't do it. We loved each other too much. It would have to be a gradual subsiding.

We'd worked side by side. Then we'd worked down the aisle from each other. Then he was moved to an office. Then we'd changed jobs, and though at the same company, we didn't see each other every day. Maybe time and a slow moving away from each other would cool things off.

---

March 2000:

My husband was in deep depression from being out of work for 3 months. We were building a home on my income alone. Our home had sold and we were living with his parents.

He was finally offered a job, with higher pay, and again we were thrilled with our income status. I was making much more money and paying off all of our debt. Our home would be ready in May and we were already purchasing new furniture.

---

I decided to confide in my friend Marie about the affair. I needed SOMEONE to talk to about it. She was my best friend. Surely she'd understand.

One of the most ironic characteristics of an affair is the loneliness. You'd think with a husband and a lover, the last thing I would be was lonely! But that secret is so isolating and painful... that you almost feel removed from the rest of the world.

She reacted with disappointment and anger. I felt even more alone than I had prior to telling her.

"What are you going to do when (my husband) finds out?" she yelled at me.

"I don't even think he'd care," I remembered the open marriage discussions and how he enjoyed knowing other men wanted me.

"Then I dare you to tell him."

---

My husband swears that I finally told him while he was depressed and out of work. That is not how I remember it. I suppose both of us have different perspectives of this entire story and for that, I guess you could take my view with a grain of salt. This is only how I saw it. Anyway...

---

My husband and I were driving one evening to dinner. That's when I told him.

His reaction?

"Well, you've only been with me so I can understand that you'd want to know what its like to be with another man. And hey, none of us is perfect. We all make mistakes."

I remember feeling.... relief? Confusion? Worry? Was he ok with it? Really?

"As long as you're being careful, you know, using protection."

I was stunned.

---

I now realize that my telling him was for his reaction. I'd always doubted that he truly loved me. He simply... didn't act like it. I *now* know that he spoke a different love language than I did. I *now* know that he kept his feelings deep inside, as his family is like that. I *now* know that my affair was nothing more than a passive-aggressive tantrum on my part because I felt like he didn't give a flying flip about me and his reaction proved it to me.

I didn't know all of that then though.

to be continued...

Part 9

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Affair, part 7

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

1999:

Though sexually and on the surface, I was in heaven. I was being desired by both my husband and my lover. I was learning and experimenting with sex with K. As he was my mentor at work, he was also my mentor in the bedroom. I was a very willing and eager pupil.

K and I were excelling at work. Both of us were stars in our group. We were bringing in more business and working long hours and sneaking away whenever we could to have naughty, out-of-control sex in unused offices or our cars or hotel rooms over long lunches.

My husband and I decided to buy and build a bigger home. We were making good money and enjoying our lives. We appeared to be happy and successful and content.

But inside, I was DYING.

I was so very confused. I loved my husband so much. I loved him even more now. I had compartmentalized my affair so that I was the perfect, doting, happy wife.

I was also very much in love with K. He was such a perfect partner for me. We couldn't get enough of each other. We could talk for hours sometimes, even continuing conversations during sex. We laughed. We loved. We breathed each others' breaths. It was everything I thought a relationship could be. Except that he wasn't mine and I wasn't his.

Oh the longing.... The many nights that my husband would be traveling and I'd be aching knowing that K was with his wife. K would hurt just as badly admitting jealousy of my husband. But this was the life we chose. We would not hurt our spouses. Instead and most ironically, we counseled each other on how to be better mates to our spouses.

---

There were so many days that I felt as if I would keel over from anxiety. I began seeing a therapist who warned me about my very risky behavior. I also began having panic attacks and subsequently began taking antidepressants.

From therapy I realized that I had never rebelled as a teenager. I was the eldest, the maternal one, the matriarch, my mother's best friend and confidante, the one who took care of my younger siblings and made sure everyone was all right.

This was my rebellion. And though my therapist shined the light on the possibility that I could lose my job, though she reminded me that K's wife still worked very closely with us, though she pointed out that either K's wife or my husband could find out and my successful life would be over, though my health was being affected, I DIDN'T CARE.

This was MINE. And I'd be damned if anyone could take it away from me.

---

Later that fall, K and I were both offered jobs with a different company. We accepted our new jobs and soon began traveling together on a more regular basis.

My husband lost his job.

K's wife... found out about the affair.

to be continued...

Part 8

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Affair, part 6

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

1999:

K and I discussed every step. Neither of us wanted to leave our marriages. Both of us loved our spouses. Both of us had come from homes where our fathers had left our mothers for other women. We didn't want that. We deliberately chose against that.

We weren't going to do anything more than kissing.

Then, over time, we decided we weren't going to do anything more than kissing and groping but CLOTHES would stay ON.

Then, over time, we decided that we weren't going to go further than kissing and groping and playing with clothes off. We wouldn't actually have sex.

Then, in February, we did it again. We crossed another line we said we'd never cross.

We *kept* crossing lines we said we'd never cross. The fire was building. It was raging. It couldn't be stopped.

We made love in the den at his house.


I remember him staring into my eyes. I remember crying because I felt so loved. I remember us holding each other after, both of us spent and scared and worried.

---

I have learned this lesson about an affair. It is the darkness that fuels the fire. And if you decide to keep a secret from your spouse, even a little one, you will keep one a little bigger than that too. Then a little bit bigger. And even bigger. The line gets pushed further and further and soon you realize that you CAN keep secrets from your spouse. It becomes easier and easier. The next thing you know, you've gone so far that you can't even imagine how you got there.

---

At home, I was a sex fiend. My husband was a completely fulfilled and happy man.

He had a wife who was no longer begging for attention or sex. Instead I was happy to initiate and do whatever he wanted sexually. He didn't initiate. Ever. He could do as little as he wanted and I would have the best, most intense orgasms. I wanted to dress up in lingerie, his favorite aphrodisiac of all. I wanted to feel sexy all the time. He relished it.

He loved to watch me on stage when I was performing with my band. One of his favorite things to do was to watch other men want me. He would happily walk the bar and make bets that he would be "going home with the lead singer." He loved that I was buzzing with sexual energy and it was drawing in other men. He became even more attracted to me.

I was having sex with two men... sometimes in the same day.

---

At work, K and I worked so well together that we were getting recognized for our dedication and excellence. That fall, we were scheduled to go on assignment together out of town. We couldn't wait to get away to a town where no one knew us. We could be together like husband and wife.

You know that scene in Casablanca where Bogie says, "We'll always have Paris?" Well, K and I felt very much the same way and often said we will always have that first trip we took together. We became closer. We fell even more in love.

---

As I write this, my ex-husband called to say hello to the kids. The second I heard his voice on the phone, my heart broke into a million pieces and I was overcome with guilt. I handed the phone off quickly to my daughter and retreated hastily to my bedroom to cry. I am ready to let this go.

to be continued...

Part 7

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Affair, part 5

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Late summer/fall 1998:

That was it, wasn't it? That was my chance to stop things before they progressed. *sigh* I knew that but thought I could control myself anyway. What trouble could I possibly get into as a devoted, married woman?

Whatever casual flirting that occurred between K and I was kicked up a notch. I found myself teasing him mercilessly just because I could.

I had been a head-stuck-in-the-books-sweat-pant-wearing-weight-gaining college student for 3 1/2 years. Now I was a sexy and intelligent IT professional who excelled at what I did. I felt desired and unavailable. I was heady with power. It felt wonderful to feel wanted again.

My husband tried to meet my ever-expanding sexual demands. We were having sex but I wanted to have it more often and try new things. He was tired from traveling or busy around the house and I became more and more disillusioned with him. I remember asking him often if his "to do" list included me.

I did not want to have an affair but this teasing and flirting, this new sexual power, could not be contained. I was masturbating like crazy and reading and learning as much as I could. I was begging to experience more.

I was the lead singer of a band and this energy leaked into the lyrics I wrote:

I see you there
You feel my air
We know the sense of us
And we are one
When we don't touch
We are one
Intensity

Taste is so sweet
You know my heat
My ebb moves your flow
And we are one
Almost too much
We are one
Energy.

---

October 1998:

I was sent on assignment to Phoenix to do due diligence at a company we were helping. I was away from my husband for 2 weeks. K called me several times a day.

One evening in particular, his wife was out with a friend. Our conversation was the closest to phone sex I'd ever had before.

We crossed a line we said we'd never cross.

---

A few weeks later, our work group went to happy hour.

As I was about to leave, K volunteered to walk me to my car in the dark parking lot. I'd had a few drinks and had been flirting ruthlessly with K and my co-workers.

We walked and I talked incessantly, bouncing around like the silly girl that I am after a drink or two. He was quiet, smiling at my giddiness.

And in mid-sentence, he stopped me. He was shaking as he gripped both of my arms and turned me to face him. Then slowly, deliberately, he kissed me.

My breath was gone. My head was spinning. I couldn't think straight and neither could he.

We crossed a line we said we'd never cross.

Oh my... I remember that moment so clearly. You know that expression, "Be careful what you ask for"? Well, I'd been *asking* for it for a long time. Looking back, it is no surprise that things progressed the way they did. I was playing with fire and thinking that I couldn't get burned...

to be continued...

Part 6

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Affair, part 4

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Spring/Summer 1998:

Somewhere during this time, my husband and I began exploring the idea of an open marriage.

Neither my husband nor I had much experience outside of each other with regards to sex. We visited a few swingers' bars and seriously contemplated the idea. He had no problem with me flirting with other men... or even kissing other men in front of him.

I felt like I was pushing boundaries with him. "What if I did this? Would it anger him? Would it make him finally show his love for me? Does it turn him on to see me with another man? Does he even care? Aren't I lucky to have a husband who doesn't get jealous? Or is that a bad thing?"

We also took a trip to Mexico with two other couples that we were extremely close with. One night during the trip, the 6 of us found ourselves naked and exploring each others' bodies. I'd instigated it by taking my clothes off and convincing the others to follow suit.

I wanted to seduce. I wanted attention. I wanted sex. I wanted to revel in everyone else's sexuality.

My husband thought it was the most erotic experience he'd ever had. The more I seduced, the more I felt wanted. The more wanted I felt, the more I desired my husband. The more I desired my husband, the more he responded to me.

I couldn't get enough sexually. I worked with men who basically dripped testosterone and shared much about their sex lives with me. I was hit on and flirted with. Our work environment became a haven of sexual energy. I was throwing it around everywhere and it felt damn good to be the queen.

K and I also began discussing the topic of sex more. Just as we'd discussed every other topic from music to TV to computers to food, we discussed sex matter-of-factly. I learned much about the explorations between he and his wife. I even remember him telling me about analingus and my reaction of pure curiosity.

"You've never had that?" he asked me one day at lunch.

"No, I can't imagine. Does it feel good?" I pondered.

"Well," he smiled in a flirtatious way, "If you ever want to know what its like, let me know."

We giggled. I knew he was joking, just as the rest of my co-workers joked with sexual innuendo around me. I thought nothing of it.

Frankly, when I think of that time in my life, I recall that it felt good to get a response from *anyone* to my natural sexuality. We do get what we give away...so the sexual energy was coming back at me threefold. This was a new power to me and I'd yet to understand how to control or harness it.

---

One day, I had a question about a project that K was working on in a lab office. I called into the office and began to ask him the question.

Something seemed off. I hung up the phone and went into the office where he was working alone.

"What's wrong with you?" I punched him playfully in the arm. "Why did you sound so funny on the phone?"

He shrugged off the question and attempted to maintain his composure as my teacher.

"Seriously," I continued, "Something's wrong and you can't hide it from me."

He looked up at me with sad eyes. "T... I don't know how to tell you this but... I care for you. A lot. And... I think I'm falling in love with you."

I stood there, mouth open, catching flies, and didn't know how to react to him. I remember thinking, "Who... me?"

I don't even recall if I said anything to him. I vaguely remember him saying something about us having lots in common, how we have fun together, and other things that seem like a blur.

I went home that evening and cried to my husband. I felt so awful for K. I thought he was happy in his marriage. Surely things weren't as good between them as I'd always thought. I couldn't shake the feeling that K must have felt miserable. Maybe his wife was horrible to him? Maybe he wanted out of his marriage?

My husband took me in his arms and held me. Then he looked into my eyes and said, "I can't blame the guy. I had a crush on you when we worked together too."

to be continued...

Part 5

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Affair, part 3

Part 1
Part 2

1997:

My husband and I fell into a DINKS (dual income, no kids) routine. We luxuriated in our new status as middle income. We spoiled ourselves rotten.

I joined the gym at work and frequently worked out with K and/or his wife. He helped me with weight training and she helped me with running. I was soon working out 5 days a week (and not dropping an ounce of weight... grrr...).

We decided to remodel our home ourselves. Whew! That, in itself, is something that could divorce a couple! We fought our way through the summer, survived and were very happy in our like-new home.

I was fast becoming a star at work. I also enjoyed working with my co-workers and, as I worked with mostly men, I was enjoying the attention I was receiving. It was attention that I felt I wasn't receiving at home.

My husband was traveling all the time and his drinking became a larger sore spot for me. I began worrying about him more since my attention was no longer on completing school. There were many nights that I slept in the spare bedroom because I couldn't stand the smell of alcohol on his breath. I'd even left him a few times in attempts to convince him to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

I was never strong enough to stay away.

I loved him so badly that it hurt me. He kept much of his emotion to himself or else he drank it out. I wanted him to be healthy and strong so I did what I could to keep him that way, sometimes angering him in my quest to quell his drinking. He even began drinking in secret and keeping other things, like money issues, secretive as well. He did not like confrontation.

I attempted to overlook the drinking as best as I could, though the trust was gone. I felt I owed him for supporting me through college. I would have done anything for him. I wanted to keep him alive. It felt like my duty as his wife to do so.

He was a good man with a flaw that I could not understand.

---

December 1997:

I only point this out because, well, it seemed like a turning point in my marriage.


We were to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. I was excited to reach that point. 5 years was a huge deal to me - especially considering that I'd left him a few times already due to his drinking.

I'd planned out a week's worth of surprises to be delivered to my husband's office. I couldn't wait for that weekend to celebrate with him.

To my disappointment, he acted as if the entire event was an afterthought. I believe we decided to go to dinner that night. Other than that, it wasn't even a noticeably different day.

I remember feeling extremely sad. I remember thinking that he didn't love me. I remember feeling unimportant. I remember thinking that I'd tried and tried and that he would never love me as I needed him to.

I remember then wondering if my marriage was over.

Perception is everything, isn't it? I now wonder if I was looking for a reason to get away....if I was looking for a sign of his love, already convinced that it wasn't there.

to be continued...

Part 4

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Affair, part 2

This is very uncomfortable for me to relive... but, it has come back into the forefront of my mind and I must process it. Please bear with me.

Read Part 1

Fall 1996:

During this time period, I'd also met K's wife.

She was a tiny little thing - probably about an inch or two shorter than I. Both K and his wife were fitness buffs. Both of them ran and lifted weights. She had a perfect fit body and was very pretty - something I was envious of since I'd put on nearly 25 lbs while in college. She also worked at this same company and sat, in fact, a few cube farms over from us.

I remember meeting her for the first time. He and I were leaving the office for lunch and she drove by. She looked at me with suspicion as he introduced us.

Though every girl thought K was the epitome of a dream boat, every man thought the same of K's wife. They looked like the perfect couple.

The four of us spent time together occasionally, me with my husband and K with his wife. She and I grew to be friends. She was kind but I often wondered if she felt much like a shadow to K's glow. She wasn't nearly as outgoing. I had a much closer friendship with K than I had with his wife but she began to trust me.

K told me that his wife had been cheated on in her previous relationship and she was very insecure. He was very honest with her and did what he could to quell her insecurities.

I adored her and I loved seeing how well he treated her. I hoped that was what other people noticed when they saw me and my husband together. I felt very much in love, though not without my complaints (i.e. his travel and drinking), and happy to see another couple who felt the same way.

---

December 1996:

I finally completed my college degree and had a huge celebration at my house. I did graduate cum laude and became the first (and only) person in my family to obtain a degree.

My house was filled with family and friends. The only co-workers that showed up were K and his wife. It was a glorious night and I was flying high. My life was finally beginning! I was turning 26 years old a few weeks later and was thrilled to have a great career ahead of me.

At the end of the night, as I bid farewell to my guests, I walked K and his wife to the door. We said our goodbyes and hugged, as we always did.

But there was something there... something in that hug from K.... that left me... vibrating...

That night I had a sexual dream about him.

to be continued...

Part 3

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Affair, part 1

This is the first of a 10 part series about the affair I had during my marriage. I realize that this might be uncomfortable for many to read. Perhaps you've been through this experience but from the other vantage point.

I have, unfortunately, seen infidelity from all sides and many different angles.

I feel the need to process this. It is painful but I learned much from it.

Perhaps it will educate someone on what its like to be the "other woman". Perhaps it will convince someone to think twice before having an affair. Perhaps I will turn many of you away.

Perhaps this is something I shouldn't even publish for fear that my daughters may read it one day.

I can't think about all of that. I simply know that I must write this. I must clear this...

Many of the details are foggy now but I do remember time in moments.


June 1996:

I was in my last year of college working towards a degree in Information Technology. My professors were impressed by my straight A average and suggested that I apply for a scholarship at a very large IT consulting corporation. If I won the scholarship, I'd be eligible for a paid internship as well.

I won - both the scholarship and the job.

My first day, after meeting with my new boss, he told me that he was assigning a man, we'll call him K, to be my mentor.

As we walked the aisle of cubicles meeting my other co-workers, they all began teasing me about this man K. They had me frightened that he was this mean, horrible person. His was the last cubicle in the row. I was shaking.

He turned and greeted me with the warmest, most friendliest smile I've ever seen on another person. My heart leapt.

And that is how we became fast friends.

---

I have never met a human being as kind and enthusiastic about life.

His enthusiasm for his job left me inspired and full of energy at the end of every work day. We would go to lunch together, now and then, to learn more about each other. We both loved music. We could talk for hours about concerts and bands. He was fascinated that I was a singer. I was eager to learn more and more about the systems we supported. He was always happy to answer questions.

I watched as he treated everyone, every single person he encountered, with so much love, always a smile, a complete happy gentleman. I noticed girls swooning as he walked by. He practically glowed and everyone noticed it.

He was the resident expert at our job and he was training me to be an expert too. I relished the new knowledge and I relished the relationship with my new friend.

---

At home, life was good.

I was studying constantly when I wasn't working. I'd set a goal for myself to graduate cum laude and when I set goals, nothing gets in my way.

My husband and I were ecstatic about my new job and income. We were on our way! I only had a summer and fall semester of school left and I already had a wonderful job.

My husband traveled nearly every week with work leaving me to my own devices. I was busy though. So busy, in fact, that I was hardly a wife. He took care of the house. He cooked the meals. He took care of me.

I was settled into a marriage 3 1/2 years old and, though I wish we could have spent more time together, I felt happy and content.

to be continued....

Part 2

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lover of Lingerie

I suppose since my Gentleman and I only see each other twice a month, it is only natural that whatever I'm wearing seems to be practically torn from my body when we're finally alone.

One thing he doesn't realize about me is that I *LOVE* lingerie.

I do realize that every man is different. Some men prefer baby doll nightgowns. Others prefer leather. Some prefer lacey garters and tight corsets. Then others may prefer the simplicity of a matching bra and panties.

GJ hasn't seen this side of me... other than bra and panties. And quite frankly, those are stripped so quickly that I guarantee he couldn't even tell you the color of them.

This past Saturday, I thought I'd surprise him with some of my favorite lingerie. I packed 3 different outfits to give him options.

We never made it past option #1.

---

Gentleman Jack and I had tickets to see Jewel in concert on Saturday night. With the concert, we were also staying the night in a hotel. It would be our first night alone in quite some time. Lately, we've been like a married couple with kids. Sneaking off whenever the children were distracted...

After check in and getting settled in the room, I opened my suitcase and began taking off my jeans and t-shirt. He smiled at me, thinking I was simply making things easier by getting naked before he could get to me.

Instead he watched as I pulled black thigh high stockings from my suitcase and slipped them on, making sure the dark line was straight from my heel, past my calf, behind my knee and up the back of my thigh. He stopped what he was doing and sat on the bed.

Then I pulled out the highest black heels that I own - nearly 5 inches in height - and bent over to buckle them around my ankles.

He walked over and playfully slid his fingers between my thighs. I stopped him and pushed him away. He sat back on the bed and laughed in anticipation of what was next.

I pulled out a black silk bustier and pulled it tight around my slender waist. I hooked each eye, slowly, while giving Gentleman Jack a teasing smile. Then I turned it around and lifted the straps over my shoulders. My breasts sat up high and formed a beautiful full cleavage that even I admired.

I began to walk toward him.

"Stop. Stay right there. I have to take all of this in. I want to memorize this moment."

I stood in front of him, feeling sexy, exposed, vulnerable and I watched as his smiling eyes gave way to lustful hunger.

He stood and took my hand, leading me to the wall of mirrors near the bed.

"Look at you. You look so... tall ... so ... statuesque. My God, you're beautiful."

Whatever sexy mask I was portraying was lost in that moment. A blushing smile was all that I could muster...

---

I find it humorous that after 6 months of dating, he is only now seeing me in some of my favorite not-so-outer-wear. But with a reaction like the one I received Saturday night (oh those poor hotel room neighbors!), you can bet he'll be seeing lots more.


Picture came from here

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rebelling

I am a very disciplined person. When my friend Marie and I lived together, she used to make fun of me because I always paid my bills on time (obsessively so) and I would never eat another single morsel of food after I brushed my teeth at night.

These are just little things. I've noticed that since I've become a single parent, I'm not near as type A or obsessive about things as I used to be. Sometimes, I even downright rebel.

Heh. I actually rebel against my own discipline.

But see, that discipline is what has helped me have good credit so I could buy my home. That discipline has helped me to train for triathlons and stay healthy. That discipline helps me squeeze as much as I can out of each day.

The past few days I've been feeling like the day has squeezed back. I'm overwhelmed and thus, I've shut down. I'm tired. I don't want to do anything that I have to do. I simply want to be.

Perhaps that is why I didn't rap out a blog post last night on my lonely laptop. I basically sat in my bed, ignoring the glowing screen that I now sit in front of.

I, in effect, gave it the finger and went to bed.

---

Why am I rebelling?

I have no idea.

Maybe its because I wanted to snuggle up with my daughters last night and talk instead of thinking of something to write.

Maybe its because I wanted to get in a good hour long bike training session since I signed up for yet another 164 mile bike ride for charity in the spring.

Maybe its because I was out of town all weekend and wanted to get caught up on a few TV shows that I'd recorded on my DVR. It felt good to be brainless.

Maybe its because....

Someone really close to me is going through something that I've already experienced in my life. Something that was quite a life-changing, belief-altering experience for me and I think it will be for this person as well.

This person is asking me for advice and I feel helpless to give it. Though I don't regret it, I wouldn't recommend it. However, what can I say when I did it too? How can I say, "Don't do it!" when I can fully understand the reasoning behind it?

It has thrown me for a loop.

I honestly didn't expect long hidden emotions to come raging back to the surface. I didn't realize that I still had processing to do. I had no idea that I still felt the things that I feel about this experience.

I had long ago justified it. I had long ago put it away as something that I simply had to go through. I never dug much deeper than that. It was too painful.

And, like the metaphorical beach ball that is being held under water, it bounced right back up in my face again. Now I realize that the only way to make it go away is to deal with it and let out all the air.

I guess sometimes, I feel there is enough of me to share. So I give myself. And give. And give. To my kids. My work. My family. My friends. My plans. My goals. My responsibilities.

Then one little thing becomes the tiny straw that breaks this camel's back.

So, in the meantime, I feel like rebelling.

I'll get over it eventually.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Innate



When you fall in love with someone, you learn what gives them pleasure.

Maybe they like to hold hands.... or to always have a heavy arm on your shoulder.

Maybe they like gentle teasing kisses on their face.... or your tongue darting in, out and around their open mouths.

Maybe they like to be caressed softly across their bare skin.... or fingernails raked across their back.

Maybe they like soft whispers in their ear.... or screaming moans when you cum.

Maybe they like all of those things... but only at certain times.

When you fall in love with someone, you learn how to give them pleasure. You also have to learn what to do with their pain.


Maybe they want to be held and commiserated with.... or a smile and positive words.

Maybe they want to shut down and not speak... or gently cajoled into spilling all their hurt.

Maybe they want to be left alone.... or maybe that's the worst thing you can do.

Maybe loving words will soothe them.... or maybe a loving touch instead...

....or maybe they don't want to be touched at all.

Maybe they like all of those things... but only at certain times.


Either way, all that you can do is try to find the correct combination of those *things* AND those *certain times*. In the process, you may feel like you're in a foreign land with no translators.

The good news is that if you immerse yourself in a foreign territory long enough, you begin to understand the language and the customs...

The fear leaves you. You fall into routine. You relax. You smile more.

Eventually, it becomes innate. Eventually, it feels like home.

Eventually.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blogging my BFF, Hardheaded men & Gratitude

I went to lunch with my best friend De yesterday (Veteran's Day). I miss her so much. We rarely get to see each other.

She is feeling her bliss right now after being down for a while. Her bliss is pretty contagious so we really enjoyed our time together.

As we were eating, I noticed the WWII veteran sitting at the next table. He wore a jacket and hat emblazoned with his battalion from the war. He was sitting with his wife and (I assume) adult granddaughter.

I smiled, reminding myself to thank him for his service, when he arose from his seat. I was about to stand and approach him but he wasn't leaving.

He stood up, picked up his wife's knife and fork and cut up her spaghetti and meatballs for her.

Have you ever felt your heart swell in your chest? Wow.

As I told De about what I witnessed at the table behind her, she looked at my face, smiled and said, "You're totally going to blog that, aren't you?"

Heh.

---

The other night when I was enjoying my yoga class, Gentleman Jack decided to hit the basketball courts with some friends.

In high school, GJ was always playing basketball. Actually, one of the reasons we didn't hang out was because I could care less about sports in high school.

Anyway, he decided to tackle the game again after beating these same guys a few weeks ago. I reminded him, before the game, how his knees bothered him the day after his last game. He promised to stretch and take it easy.

Have I mentioned that we are both 40 years old? (well, ok, I'm almost there.) Not that we should stop at age 40 (who me?) but our bodies must be treated with respect at this age. Unfortunately, his competitive athletic nature still believes he is a teenager.

After my yoga class, I received a text from him saying his knees were fine. However, he'd felt something *pop* in his right calf. Ouch!

Now he can't walk on it. He has a torn ligament.

Grrr... hardheaded men. I've told him that yoga will make him younger but he doesn't believe me. I think I've finally convinced him to let me teach him a few yoga asanas after he heals.

Knowing us though, the deep breathing and challenging poses will lead to something sexual.

Ok, that idea doesn't suck.

---

Early December 2006 - the year of my separation from my ex-husband - I decided to turn my shitty attitude around and host a 'gratitude party' at my house.

I posted a sign on the front door that said, "Leave your frowns at the door. Only smiles and thankfulness welcome here."

Throughout the house, I posted gratitude quotes. I had a white board in the middle of my living room where I asked my friends to write something they were grateful for.



At the end of the night, I gave each of my friends a journal and asked them to write in it every night... every thing they could think of that they were grateful for that day.

I don't know why I don't do this every year. It was a huge success and everyone was smiling.

Including me... who had two small children, had left my husband, lived in a house I couldn't afford and had no job.

Funny, how gratitude works. Everything turned out OK after all.

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice."
~ Meister Eckhart

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

When's the wedding?

There are some people in my life that I won't talk to about Gentleman Jack. I won't mention that his children came into town with him this weekend. I won't discuss how his boys adore me or how my girls beg me to take them back to Louisiana when I go visit.

I don't talk about it because I can sense their worry and hesitation.

They want to know our plans for the future and don't feel comfortable with a non-answer. Most especially, because there are children involved.

---

I remember when my ex-husband and I were dating, we would frequently be asked, "When's the wedding?" because we dated so seriously for so long.

Then when we married, we were asked, "When's the baby?"

Then when we had a baby, we were asked, "When's the next one?"

Why does everyone feel the right to decide what is going to happen next in your life?

Seriously. Is there some timeline or chart you're supposed to check off? Because if so, GJ and I have both been there, done that. We see how well that worked out for either of us.

I have friends who have been in long term relationships and they never married because they didn't want to. I have friends who don't have kids because they choose not to. Why is that a problem?

Why is that considered 'not normal'?

---

Over the weekend, my Gentleman, myself and all the kids went on a nature walk at a local museum/wildlife sanctuary. We took lots of great pictures of his sons with my daughters.

As we were leaving, GJ asked if we could get someone to take a picture of the 6 of us. In one beautiful shot, we are all looking at the camera and smiling. Six sets of denim clad legs that could be... maybe... one day... one big family.



I can't lie. Since we took that picture, I find myself looking at it. Could it be?

Then my Gentleman asks me on the phone the other night, "Do you find yourself looking at the picture of all 6 of us?"

"Maybe."

"Pfft. Maybe," he laughs, "You know you do. And I do too."

---

I do believe that GJ and I both feel a bit gun-shy after previous relationships. I know that I certainly wonder if all of this long-distance-goodness can translate into real-everyday-life wonderfulness.

After all, I spent a year and a half listening to a man in my last relationship plan out our future together without really ever referring to me as his girlfriend.

Funny huh?

I only realized that the other day. The only time he implied I was his girlfriend was when I suggested that perhaps he go find another one. Yet, I hung on to those glorious plans and pie-in-the-sky conversations about how our relationship would be like no other. How we'd be the perfect made-for-each-other couple.... only to find that it was just that: a dream.

I do believe that he loved me. I do believe that he wanted that. But as I hung on to those words, that dream evaporated into nothingness.

So, yeah, I'm a bit nervous about these same conversations with Gentleman Jack. The difference is palpable though.

When I cling to GJ's words, much more loosely than I ever did in previous relationships, they're always followed by action. Instead of cold nothingness, my arms wrap around healthy, warm love.

---

Gentleman Jack and I love each other. I believe we both love the idea of joining these families into one big almost Brady-like family. At the moment, however, we are also very happy with where things are and neither of us feels the rush to change it.

What if we choose to have a long-distance relationship for years? What if we choose to continue seeing each other twice a month, living in different towns, staying in contact and emotionally supporting each other over the phone on a daily basis?

Is that not still a relationship? Will we still be judged for not being 'normal'?

Then so be it.

Normal is overrated anyway.

I have no idea what is going to happen. We're still, as we have since the beginning, taking each day as it comes and having a damn good time at it (and quite frankly, our children are too). Until one of us decides we want more, no decisions need to be made. No wedding needs to be planned.

"It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life."
~Green Day

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yoga for the Heroes




All day long I've been sneezing and coughing my head off. I couldn't even take a deep breath without breaking into a full on coughing fit. But the ex offered to take the kids for the night (since he's been traveling and hasn't seen them since Halloween) so I would have an evening to myself.

What I wanted to do was get in a yoga class. I have taken one class since my surgery. In the meantime, my arms have lost their strength and tone. My abdomen is still weak from the cutting and stitching and not getting stronger at all. And I couldn't imagine how I'd take deep ujjayi breaths without coughing and therefore, disturbing all of my fellow yogis.

I've also been following the events at the Ft. Hood Memorial Ceremony today. I've read the victim's stories in this tragedy. I also recall supporting a man that I loved through a deployment to Iraq. I remember my own father and grandfathers who served in wars. All of these stories clouded my already cloudy head today with tomorrow being Veteran's Day.

So I went to a yoga class tonight and dedicated my practice to all of those men and women who serve our country.

***

I inhaled deeply for those 13 people who lost their lives at Ft. Hood.

*

I exhaled through the desire to cough for all of those who have died while protecting the freedoms that we take for granted.

*

I held my plank pose through shaking arms and an aching core for those men and women who board planes, separated from those they love, to fly into hostile territory to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

*

I relaxed in child's pose for those children who will be without their mothers or fathers this holiday season because of deployment... or death.

*

I stood tall in mountain pose for those troops who stand proudly, chest out, brave and strong, believing in what they are fighting for.

*

I held strong through burning thighs in Warrior pose for all of the warriors' families who do their best to hold down life while their loved one is at war.

*

I fell over during the balance poses. Instead of frustration, I comforted myself with loving thoughts. I then sent those thoughts to those that have faced war and come home off balance as well.

*

I joined the other students in a harmonic Om to send harmony forth into the hearts of all those who fight, those they fight for and those they fight against.

*

I rested in corpse pose for the men and women who believed in and fought for peace.

***


The class felt great. My body responded well but I can tell that I have a long way to go in regaining my strength. The most difficult part of the class was holding back so that I do not injure myself.

I have to learn patience.

---

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. Before last year, I'd never even thought about it before. I was disconnected from war. I felt sympathy but couldn't relate to veterans who'd gone to war.

Besides, I prefer peace to war.

But life throws us into situations that turn our perspectives upside down. I have a new respect for soldiers. I support our troops. I empathize with their families. I am proud of the freedoms that were hard earned for us.

And actually, I believe that soldiers prefer peace as well.

So, as I must be patient with my yoga practice, I hope that tomorrow when we honor our heroes, we'll offer each other that same patience. I hope that we can send a smile and love to those whose stories may not sound like much now... but if you knew they died protecting you, you'd be moved to tears.



Yoga class being offered to American Army soldiers in India last month.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A great weekend and its lingering effects

I feel like shit.

I don't think its anything other than a cold or allergies. Nose is running. Sneezing. Eyes watering. Tickle in the throat.

Ugh.

The worst part of it is that when I feel like shit, I don't want to take care of myself or anyone else for that matter. I want someone else to do all the thinking and remedy-giving and tea-making and hot-bath-running.

I want my mommy. 

I could tell that something was coming on last week when I didn't want to get all sexy on the phone with Gentleman Jack. That never happens. I always want to get sexy with my man.

Then he showed up on Friday night with his two boys and even when we could sneak away, I was still sort of meh about gettin' it on. Of course, we got it on anyway. And I definitely enjoyed it but then immediately went back to meh again.

My brain feels foggy and I can't think straight. I wasn't even sure I should blog or comment on other blogs today. I don't want to sound like a complete meanie. I tend to get nasty when I feel bad. I noticed this last week when I specifically did something just to piss someone off.

Who does that? That is so not me. It must have been a reaction to the weird week.

And yet, I felt some sick satisfaction for doing it.

Yeah, I gotta get better soon. In the meanwhile, here's a post I wrote last night when my head felt a little clearer...

******

GJ and his sons came to visit this weekend.

This was the first time that my both of my daughters were meeting both of his sons. Within the first 5 minutes, they were chasing each other through the house like they'd known each other for years. Over the course of the weekend, they all fell right into relaxed friendship.

Rose and Carbon Copy (GJ's teenage son) seemed to be especially comfortable together. They spent most of the weekend trying to get through levels on one of Rose's DS games. If they weren't doing that, they were watching TV, playing board games, or chasing each other outside.

My Gentleman and I each refer to our oldest children as 'brilliant'. They both enjoy the same things and read books like there's no tomorrow. I guess we should have known that they'd have an easy rapport.

Rose told me later that she likes "smart boys" after she admitted that Nick Jonas is her favorite of the Jonas brothers. "He is the smart one, Mommy. And I like smart boys."

Hmmm... I wonder if she's crushin' on GJ's son?

---

Gentleman Jack's younger son is a ball full of energy. Fireball. That's a great nickname for him.

GJ has been concerned for some time that Fireball would be too rough and tumble for my sweet, gentle Grace. Grace was also, unfortunately, not her usual self this past weekend. As a matter of fact, she ran a very high fever on Saturday night that gave all of us a scare. (Thank God for homeopathy!!!)

It was Fireball's first reaction to Grace that I found completely endearing. After a quick chase around the house, the kids joined GJ and I at the table for dinner. Fireball looked lovingly at Grace and said, "I like her, Daddy. She's just my size!"

Oh my freakin' goodness that was the cutest thing ever!

Every time Grace needed help... opening her bottle of water... asking for a napkin with dinner... wanting something she accidentally dropped on the floor... that little Fireball was right there like a miniature version of his daddy. The perfect gentleman.

And Grace, well... my Grace wasn't the least bit impressed. But she tolerated him nonetheless.

We had a wonderful weekend with no arguments or fighting or a destroyed house. My Gentleman and I very much enjoyed sharing the parenting this weekend.

We actually make a really good team.

******

And now I'm wondering if the weekend just really kicked my ass!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Aiming for the fairway




Over the weekend, while Gentleman Jack was visiting us with his sons, our hamster went missing. The kids, all 4 of them, began the quest to solve the mystery of the missing hamster like the gang on Scooby Doo. Mommy, on the other hand, wigged out.

Well... they woke me up from a dead sleep at 7 a.m. to tell me this! And I LOVE that sweet little guy.

Gentleman Jack remained calm and held no doubts that the hamster would appear. Still, I dragged him out of bed to help us search anyway. Minutes later, as predicted, our hamster approached Jack from behind the refrigerator.

Hooray!

I'd jumped into Jack's arms, so thankful, and he calmly spoke to me, "Can I say something to you? Something metaphysical?"

I was intrigued as he continued, "You were clouded in that moment that you freaked out."

Yep, as always, he reads me well. I WAS clouded and filled with doubt. But how did he pick up on that?

"I used to teach golf. One of the things I used with my students was positive thinking. If they thought, 'I don't want to hit that tree'... they'd hit it. You have to drop the 'don't' and remove the negativity. Instead the thought should be 'aim for the fairway'. Your thoughts were fear and worry about the hamster instead of knowing we'd find him."

---

I've always loved to define fear as:

False
Evidence
Appearing
Real

Fear is nothing more than worry about something that hasn't even happened yet.

It hasn't even happened yet!!

Why worry about it? Why focus on it? What you focus on, grows. So if you think about it, what you fear is what you draw to you. 

I remember a rule that I learned in driver's education that said not to focus on signs or obstacles on the side of the road because you will aim right for them.

In yoga balance poses, instead of saying, "I hope I don't fall", we say instead, "I am stable and steady."

---

I loved my Gentleman's golf analogy so much that I repeated it to him the next day.

On Sunday mornings, he slips right back into responsibility mode. This is when he begins to worry about money or time or things on his to-do-list-that-never-get-done.

This morning, it was money that gave him that worried look.

"You're aiming for the tree." I reminded him.

"I don't have blind faith, honey," he told me.

"But you do!!! Don't you remember yesterday with the hamster? Don't you remember your golf students? Don't you remember every single time that I worry about this long distance relationship and how its ever going to work out? You're the one with the blind faith! You're the one who stays positive. You just need to do the same thing with money."

---

We all have some sort of limiting belief. We all believe in lack of something.

Love. Money. Food.

But our thoughts are what's limiting us.... not our actions. If you knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was endless abundance of something, you wouldn't worry. You wouldn't be scared. The fear would be gone.

Abundance would be all that you see.

There are times that I refer to myself as a lucky girl to have my Gentleman Jack in my life. Jack's response is always the same, "You're not lucky. You got what you asked for. Isn't that how the Law of Attraction works?"

If lack of money is what he believes in or focuses on, that is what he will find. If I believe that landing a great guy was some sort of stroke of luck instead of exactly what I asked for and felt deserving of, then I will always worry that my luck will run out.

Whatever limiting belief, we both need to let it go - consciously and subconsciously. We both need to stop thinking about what we don't want to happen and instead be grateful and at peace with all that we know we deserve.

We both need to aim for the fairway.

"Life is not what you see, but what you've projected. It's not what you've felt, but what you've decided. It's not what you've experienced, but how you've remembered it. It's not what you've forged, but what you've allowed. And it's not who's appeared, but who you've summoned. And this should serve you well, beloved, until you find, what you already have."
~Notes from the Universe

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Weird random week

This week has felt a bit off for some reason. I wonder if Monday night's full moon sent the cosmos into craziness or something.

It started off well enough...

Monday, I ran into a lady at the grocery store that I haven't seen in 16 years. I was shopping with Grace while Rose was at her musical theater class. I couldn't even believe that this woman remembered me. And she couldn't believe that I'd had two daughters.

I reconnected with my ex-sister-in-law - only to find out that she didn't know her brother and I were divorced.

I was able to attend my A Course in Miracles study group that evening. I felt very happy all day and filled with spirit. A new girl *accidentally* came to the class and sat right next to me. She had intentions of attending a different class but took a wrong turn in the hallway. A Course in Miracles fit her perfectly. I made a new friend.

Heh.

There are no accidents...

My Saints went 7 - 0 that night. Who dat!

Other little strange things happened that day. Then Gentleman Jack pointed out to me on the phone that night that his day was weird too.

The rest of the week proceeded to get weirder and weirder. Not in a bad way. And not in a major way. Just... off somehow.

---

Over the course of the week, my co-workers dropped like flies. Two of them stayed home all week to deal with lice issues. Ugh. Others had personal issues or illnesses. I felt especially lonely being the only one in the office today.

Not such a good idea when I'm tired. I so wanted to put my head down on the desk and sleep.

---

Two nights ago, Rose composed a love song. Now she's been making up tunes with lyrics since she was three. I don't know why but I always stand in awe when she's singing them to me.

This one in particular reminded me of one of my first songs. I was 10 years old when I wrote the following lyrics - and I can still remember the tune too:

Walking on the streets alone
Never know where you're going
Trying to find a boy just right for you
Its hard to do

You never know who you're gonna meet
With love on a two way street
Cause I've been looking all the days of my life...

And my 8 year old wrote these:

Walking on the streets
Everybody that you meet
You see what you want but
You don't want to see me.

I love you but you don't love me.
Oh oh oh oh!
You think that I love you and then you don't.
Oh oh oh oh!

Now I'm thinking that I should not like you anymore.
Yeah. You're nice to her but not to me.
I don't like the way you're treating me
I know that I should not like you.

You think that I love you and then you don't.
Yeah yeah yeah
You're stuck in my head and I can't get you out.
And now I know that I should not love you.

Ok. But at age 8? I wonder if things aren't looking so good with her little beau.

---

Then today... the sad sad news about the killings at Ft. Hood. As with any military tragedy, my heart breaks. The main shooter was about to deploy... and pre-deployment anxiety... well, let's just say I've had first-hand knowledge of what it can do to a man.

*sigh*

Keep 'em in your prayers.

---

Grace has been battling something all week so we're all doing our normal "stay healthy" protocols. In particular, I know that I am in definite need of a good night's sleep.

---

We're all looking forward to this weekend. GJ is coming into town with both of his boys. My first reaction was to say, "We're finally getting the whole family together!!!"

I flinched, worried about his thoughts, and wondered, "Where the hell did that come from?"

But his reply only confirmed that once again, we're on the same page...

"The whole family. I like the sound of that."

Yay. Let the weirdness end now thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Embrace your feminine side

As a single mom, and I'm sure all single parents have noticed this, I definitely get use out of both my feminine side and my masculine side.

I have to be mom and dad.

I have to cook dinner and mow the lawn.

I have to be the nurturer and be the breadwinner.

Now, I realize that I'm basing the terms "masculine" and "feminine" on purely stereotypical qualities.

Strength vs. Gentleness

Intuition vs. Logic

You get the idea.

As a woman, I've noticed that the masculine qualities, though sometimes ironically regarded as "feminist", seem to be generally accepted by our society.

I've also noticed that all men have a feminine side. Every single man I know has some sort of quality that society might consider "feminine". Generally speaking, the men that seem to have no problem admitting their feminine qualities are the married men. Maybe the traits are far more obvious in a partnership like marriage?

For instance, my ex-husband excelled (i.e. did better than me) at cooking, wrapping presents, flower arrangements and choosing matting/frames for art we purchased.

Soldier was obsessive about his weight. He attributed it to being a triathlete but I get the feeling that his vanity always got the best of him.

My sweet friend TNT - let's just say that his apartment resembles nothing even close to a bachelor pad. From the gorgeous furniture and artwork down to the potpourri on the table behind his leather couch. Nice!

Gentleman Jack... oh I'm still learning my Gentleman... But I have noticed that it takes him longer to choose what clothes he's going to wear than I do! Well, ok, I guess that's not fair since I'm generally living out of a suitcase when I'm at his house. Jack is also the most intuitive man I have ever met. Because he's a man, however, he has been raised not to trust that part of himself. Only women are supposed to have intuition.

I was inspired to write about this after being around the guys at work last week. We were having a potluck Halloween luncheon, sitting around and talking about the food.

"Wanna know the secret to my chili?" the CEO asked me. He went on to proudly tell me the secret to several of his recipes.  I so enjoyed listening to him boasting like Betty Crocker!

Another guy at work said it was his dream job to work on the TV show, Ace of Cakes. His dream job. Wow. I was surprised and impressed.

I wonder why society shames men into believing that from these traits, we could also assume their sexual orientation. Sadly, society says the same thing about men who enjoy anal sex play. (But don't get me started on that.)

Hopefully, with the popularity of the Food Network and HG TV, we'll begin to skew some of those attitudes towards men and their feminine sides. I think if more men embraced that part of themselves, we could be looking at a completely different society.

These traits in a man are S.E.X.Y.

And besides, balance is good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Since my divorce...

I have learned quite a bit about myself. I have accomplished much. I'm not even the same person I was when I was married.

I was contacted by someone wanting to hear my post-divorce story - all that I have discovered along this quest that makes me who I am now. I felt honored and spoke to her via cell phone while driving back to Louisiana to visit Gentleman Jack.

She's now doing a series of posts on me.

Wow.

It begins here.

Thanks Mandy. I can't tell you how much your project inspires those of us who've been there... and those who are struggling with divorce now.

I love that you are looking at the bright side. You rock.

"You can't sit around and wait for the storm to be over. You've got to learn how to dance in the rain."
~ Anonymous

Monday, November 2, 2009

Divorce, the In-laws and Facebook

If you are my in-real-life friend on Facebook, you will know that Gentleman Jack and I are very obviously in love. We try not to get too mushy but yeah, we get pretty mushy. Give us a break! We're still in the honeymoon phase of our relationship. We've heard plenty of the "I just threw up a little in my mouth"  comments from our friends.

But what if those Facebook friends are your ex-in-laws?

My ex-husband's brother, sister, aunt, nieces and nephews are all friends of mine on Facebook. I was in that family for 20 years! We all stay in touch when we can. I never thought much about the interactions with Jack until my ex-sister-in-law commented on something related to him.

Eesh. Awkward!

She didn't say anything mean or directed at us, she simply joined the conversation. I felt so weird about it that I sent her an email.

I reminded her that I love all of them so much. I knew she was witnessing me moving forward with someone else. I didn't want her to feel awkward about it being so in-your-face. I didn't want her or any of his family to feel hurt. Its been 3 1/2 years already!

Her response surprised me:

She said she had no idea that her brother and I were divorced!

What?!?!

Then again, I remember last year around this time, I was on the phone with my ex-mother-in-law discussing what the girls wanted for Christmas. She came right out and asked me if our divorce was final. At that point, we'd been divorced for 6 months already. She said that my ex never mentioned it and they never asked him.

*sigh*

It reminds me now why I was such a big deal in that family. Because yeah, I was a big deal.

That family does not communicate. They never talk about feelings. They never say 'I love you'. They never stop to ask what's *really* going on with anyone. It's all surface.

And I am WAY deeper than surface.

At first it was a struggle. No one knew what to do with me. Then they all leaned on me. They all began saying 'I love you'... not to each other, mind you, but they said it to me. They all grew to love and respect my input and view of life. Even his patriarchal father who rarely speaks unless he has something of importance to say. And when he speaks, everyone stops to listen.

After the ex and I separated, my ex-sister-in-law sent me a card that I still have to this day. In the card, she told me that I was the rock of the family. Me. The rock in someone else's family.

In her email today, she reiterated how devastated they all are that our marriage didn't survive. Then she went on to tell me that she was happy to see the love between me and Gentleman Jack.

"You need that. You are so blessed!"

I'm glad she thinks so. I hope that even though my love life is changing, I can still keep that family. Is that selfish of me? I do love them so... deeper than surface.

Divorce is hard.




"I believe everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so that you can appreciate them better when they're right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself. And sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fall together."
~ Marilyn Monroe

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Triggers

My ex-husband is an alcoholic.

Now, he would never admit this, mind you. And I never saw it. I'd never been around it and didn't recognize the signs.

When we dated, I loved when he would get drunk. That's when he would admit how much he loved me. That's when he couldn't get enough of me and would swoon all over me. I adored him that way.

He didn't do that sober.

About 6 months into our marriage, while on a business trip, he neglected to call me. He always called me when he landed or checked into his hotel. He was always traveling and this was our means of staying in touch. I liked to know he was safe.

I paged him for hours. I contacted his hotel and they said he'd never checked in. His rental car company had given me his license plate number in case I needed to call the police. Eight hours after his plane landed and there was still no contact, I hysterically reported him to the police as a missing person. He finally called 2 hours later, completely inebriated and told me that he lost track of time.

Those first few years were difficult. He would go out to happy hour after work and not return until the wee hours, pale, unable to walk and I'd have to clean up vomit from whatever room he landed in.

He would avoid contact with me when he was like this, leaving me to ponder if he was alive or dead. When he would finally call, I could tell within the first few words whether he'd had beer or vodka and exactly how many drinks were consumed.

Soon I began sleeping in another room, leaving a beer can on my pillow. The alcohol, to me, was his mistress. The alcohol was who he chose over me. I began to resent every time he traveled or every time he would have a drink. I didn't trust him anymore because it hurt too much to try.

I left him, early in our marriage. I told him that I wouldn't come back until he attended an AA meeting. He finally did go to a meeting. He told me that he knew at the meeting that he wasn't an alcoholic and that he wouldn't go back. And I came home anyway.

To this day, every single night that he is out of town on business - which is every week - he will drink until he's drunk. Instead of staying in his hotel room, renting a movie or reading a book, he will go to the hotel bar or some other bar and drink til he's stupid drunk. Then he'll drive...

---

Gentleman Jack likes to go out, occasionally, to a little neighborhood bar that's about 5 minutes from his house. Its like the TV show Cheers... everyone there knows him. He took me there so I could meet the gang of regulars and to show me that it isn't a long drive back to his house. He frequented this bar a lot before we got involved. He rarely goes there now.

When he does go out, he will text me and let me know who's there and who says hello. He will stay in contact with me so that I don't worry. There have been a few rare occasions that he will go somewhere else, at a friend's insistence. He hates those nights. He'd rather stay in his comfort zone and get to bed at a decent hour.

He will call or text me when he gets home. I am usually asleep but hearing his voice will wake me and we'll talk for an hour. My sleep is disturbed but at least I know he's safe.

There have been a few occasions that he will sense my panic and get upset. He doesn't want to hurt me. He doesn't like to feel bad for enjoying himself. I don't blame him and I don't want him to stop. He so rarely goes out anymore.

---

The other day, when I felt so ugly?

He had told me, earlier that day, that he was going out on Friday night. I didn't think much of it but after admitting those ugly feelings, he pondered that maybe his Friday night plan had triggered those emotions.

"I know you get upset when I go out. Its the only time I see my friends. And I hardly go like I used to. If you were here, I'd much rather stay home with you."

I know all of that. I trust him.

But still... when he's out, though he's been texting and I will go to sleep knowing that he's having fun, like clockwork I will wake up every hour.

Gripping. Sweating. Panicked. Worried. Out of breath.

Just hearing the words, "I'm gonna go out..." will make me physically sick to my stomach. 

I try to ignore those irrational feelings. When he is out and I awake with anxiety, I will text a quick, "Are you ok?" and he will respond immediately. Friday night, he actually called shortly after my panicked awakening. We talked and I told him how weird it was that my body will panic though in my mind, I know he's all right.

He went out again tonight. Two nights in a row and he's never done that since we've been together. He was in a good mood after being with his boys trick-or-treating. He wanted to catch the end of the game that was only available on pay-per-view. Of course, it'd be playing at the bar. No big deal.

We texted all night and I went to sleep soundly.... only to wake up in a panic an hour later. I texted him in my panic, lashing out at him for being out two nights in a row.

I hated showing him my ugly and he reacted to it. He thinks that I don't trust him. He is trying to convince me that he loves me more than anything. He is telling me that he makes a conscious effort to stay in touch, to reassure me, to let me know how much I mean to him. Why am I lashing out? Why am I panicked?

I've realized that I don't trust him. Not to go off with another girl. No... I am afraid that alcohol will become his mistress. I'm afraid that he'll choose her over me. 

Triggers..... what am I supposed to do with that?