Tag Archives: break-up

Post Divorce: Where’s My Bubble Bath For Three?

Post Divorce

PhotoCredit:galleryhip.com

Bravo is premiering it’s first scripted show in December called, The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, based off the books by Vicki Iovine. It promises to shed light on the bright sight of being single.

I have not seen the show in it’s entirety, nor have I read the book. My opinions are based solely on the show’s trailer. But from what I saw in the preview, “Damn, divorce looks sexy, fun and au courant.”

Shit, I want to get married again, just so I can get divorced. Who wouldn’t when you see the main character in the show, living in a beautiful house with a pool in the Hollywood Hills, with a 360 degree view of the city of angels, with all of it’s sparkling lights and broken dreams.

Of course, this is where sexy fun lives, so of course divorce, (and being single) looks fabulous. Our lead is a famous author, with a series of published books, a literary agent, book signings and money.

One of her quirky funny best friend is played by Janeane Garofalo. That has to help with the depression and sadness that, from the looks of it, only lasted a week, because Janeane will bring the comedy and lift her best friend’s spirits.

Her other best friend tells her that, since she’s now single, (although she’s seen with a father from her kid’s school), she should have a threesome. So easy, and breezy, that it looks as if one simply has to open their front door, and poof, bubblebath for three! I wish it were that easy. What?

This recently divorced playground portrayed in the show is insulting to those of us who have been divorced, or have had a break-up from a longterm relationship (or both) because the fallout from these intense events looked nothing like this impeccably dressed and fit author’s life.

The show is like one big ass cliche.

This recently divorced woman is now free, and did what we all did when we found ourselves single again; we went to a dance club, and hoofed it up to ear bleeding thumping and pumping dance beats, screaming, “Yeah, I’m free!” Then we picked up a random young guy and made out with them outside of the women’s bathroom. It’s uncanny how this show mirrors my own life. How did Bravo know?

Our lead character is shown swapping saliva with a complete stranger. Ew! Double ew! What is this, Studio 54, circa 1982? Helloooo, Ebola? Is anyone watching the news?

If the gals in Sex and The City got divorced, that’s what this show looks like. I never watched SATC when it first came out, but I’ve seen the reruns, and it’s depiction of single life in New York is just a wee bit far fetched, or rather, identifies only a teeny tiny faction of the population.

So it is the same with The Girlfriends Guide to Divorce. Yes, it’s television. Yes, it’s eye candy. Yes, it’s fantasy, but I wonder if divorced women watching, might not feel worse than they already do, because their post-divorce, or break-up, lives (for the most part) and I’m only guessing, looks nothing like the ones in this show.

Do these women watching now wonder, “Where are my champagne wishes and caviar dreams, with the hot bartender at the cocktail party, hosted by my famous friends in their Malibu beach house?

One of the tag lines is, “Sometimes you have to start over in order to find yourself.” I have done nothing but start over again, and again and again, throughout my life; men, marriage, jobs, locations. Starting over is exhausting. Besides, wouldn’t it be romantic if you could find yourself while in the company of someone else?

 

Collateral Damage: My Relationship with The Kids

Collateral Damage

PhotoCredit:ikboxingclub.com

In the last month, on separate occasions, people have referred to my Girlfriend Mom daughter as my ‘friend’. The implication, as I internalized it, being that she was no longer my GM daughter because I was no longer her Girlfriend Mom because of a certain break-up.

I felt like lacing up my red and black boxing gloves and defending my title. Friend? The comment seemed ridiculous and inaccurate.

Does a stepmother stop being a stepmother if she divorces? Does she then refer to her stepchildren (or children) as her friends? Holy, shit, does she? I don’t know. What the hell? I don’t know. What the f’ happens? Where did I put the instruction manual?

If the girlfriend doesn’t exist, does the mom part suffer a similar fate? Should I call a meeting? I deplore my loneliness in this process. It hits me once in awhile (or daily) how one action set in motion the undoing, redefining and rebalancing of several relationships.

I like to think that my current relationship with the kids has development organically and gracefully, under the circumstances. That being said, I’m not comfortable describing us as friends. It makes me feel marginalized and minimized and probably some other ized’s.

Hey ‘unsolicited comment giver’, please don’t take my friggin’ title away. I worked hard for that title. I put in the time. I earned it and I trademarked it, so… “I mean, I’m not gonna be ignored, Dan!” Yes, from 1987’s Fatal Attraction

Funnily enough, I never saw my role as temporary. I’ve also seen first hand, the collateral damage that a break up has on children. A relationship with a child is fragile and I’ve never taken it for granted.

Every so often (or daily) there is some pain. It’s manageable pain, though, because I understand its origin and I’ve learned to take the pressure off and to let things unfold. It was far from manageable back in January.

I hadn’t seen the GM son since October and, although we texted weekly, I ached to see him. I know, that was a new one for me. I asked his sister about his wrestling schedule because he never knew it. I couldn’t reach out to the ex-wife because this was before we became best buddies. The GM daughter told me what she thought was true.

So on a snowy Saturday, I drove to New Jersey, found the high school, in a town that I had never been to, parked and walked into the gym alone. It was surreal.

I peaked my head in but I didn’t see him. After pacing for 20 minutes, debating on whether to go in, and feeling more than a little foolish, I texted the GM daughter, asking for her mom’s phone number. Enough of the middlemen.

I didn’t hear back from the GM daughter, so I texted the GM son, which in hindsight, I should’ve done before I left the city.

ME: Hey are you going to b wrestling. Is your mom watching?

(He recently had a concussion, so I didn’t know if he’d be competing. I’d still get to see him, even if he were on the bench.)

GMS: No im not and my mom isnt going

(I still thought that he was in the gym)

ME: I had work down here n thought I’d stop by your wrestling. Can you come out to say hi? 

(I lied about work because I wanted things to remain casual. And did I mention that I didn’t know what the f’ I was doing?)

GMS: I didnt go i wasnt feeling good

(cue the tears, anger, embarrassment and pain)

ME: Oh. Are u ok? Feel better n we’ll talk soon. Xo

(How’s that for casual?)

GMS: Yeah im fine i just got sick last night

ME: Well feel better. I miss you. Xo

GMS: Miss u to

I felt like an idiot. It was my fault for not communicating. Who was I supposed to coordinate with?

I didn’t know what I was allowed to do. Was I out of place? Was I overreacting? I was angry at my ex for putting me in this awkward position and for making me feel that I was the only one that took this relationship seriously.

I was in love with his kids. They mattered to me and I thought that I mattered to them. Now I wasn’t sure. I cried the entire ride back to the city, feeling like a stranger, wondering how I was going to keep this relationship alive.

Did my ex see any collateral damage on his end? In these moments, when I thought that I’d drown in the intense feeling of being abandoned, I wondered if he truly cared or if it would be easier for him if my relationship with the kids faded away.

Maybe it was his way of coping but at the time, it made me feel marginalized and minimized and some other izeds, nonetheless.

It’s now six months later and my relationship with the kids remains and the GM will live to see another day.

 

 

Who’s in the Kitchen with The Ex-Wife?

On my scroll, where exists those things that I never thought I’d do, I recently added driving to my ex-boyfriend’s ex-wife’s house to see their son, and my Girlfriend Mom son. I’ll give you a minute to digest that.

Ever since the break-up heard around the world, it’s been difficult coordinating visitation logistics, so the majority of my communication with the GM son has been through texts. I’m proud to say that he actually writes back in full, ‘text lingo’, sentences, which is a small victory. He’s fifteen years-old, and as he texts me, he’s probably texting fifteen other friends, and playing X-box while lifeguarding.

Back in February, I was really missing him, and with no other option, I decided to take action. I was working in his neighborhood, so I texted my ex-boyfriend’s ex-wife (I got her number from the GM daughter because I was tired of putting her in the middle) and asked her if I could stop by.

My relationship with the ex-wife went from friendly to zero contact, and back to being civil, yet detached, on the rare occasion that we saw each other. I took all of my cues from my ex-boyfriend.

My phone rang 30 seconds later. I felt like a kid who had just made a crank call and now the target was calling me back to chew me out. It was surreal to see her phone number on my phone. She said that she’d be home soon and nonchalantly instructed me to go through the garage and let myself in if she wasn’t home by the time that I arrived. Wha?

I walked in and met the GM son at the door and gave him an embarrassingly large hug. I didn’t want to let go. I held him tightly and kissed his cheeks. I released him, only to grab him again. It had been 4 months since I’d seen him. I followed him into the kitchen where his mom was standing over the stove, steaming broccoli. Of course she was.

For the next half hour we caught up; just me, him, and his mom. She wouldn’t leave. And I don’t know why I expected her to. Perhaps it was more comfortable for them this way. What about my comfortable level, which had taken a dive. I was in the middle of what felt like a supervised visit. Very bizarre.

Even under these conditions, I was happy to be with him. So what if the ex-wife was steaming her leafy greens and intermittently interjecting her opinions? I was making contact.

I marveled at how much the GM son had grown in a short amount of time. The manly hair on his legs made it seem like years had passed and I didn’t like it.

In an effort for my visit to appear normal and familiar, I sternly (but with a humorous tone) told him to put his cell phone down and pay attention to me. He did and we both smiled.

When I sensed that his attention span was waning, I stood up. He gave me a hug and then raced upstairs to take a shower. I don’t think our talk and his need to clean himself had anything to do with each other, and I didn’t take it personally. I was growing accustom to not taking any of this mess personally.

And then there were the exes. Alone. In the kitchen. Where, oh, where could this possibly go?

We started chatting, like friends, which I hadn’t anticipated. Then again, I never saw myself standing in my ex-boyfriend’s ex-wife’s house in New Jersey either.

I thanked her for having me over and she said that she was sorry for my break up. She made a few comments about our ‘ex’ but as angry and hurt as I was at the time, I didn’t want to play in that sandbox. I steered the conversation back to the kids.

I told her how much I adored them and how good they were. She thanked me for being in their lives and invited me to visit anytime. Oh, yeah, it was a friggin’ love fest, yo. And why not.

Before I was out of the driveway, I was in tears. I kept shaking my head, because even though I had a new best friend, I doubted that I was going to be able to do it again.

But I did.

Somebody in my building was selling an autographed Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) action figure in a light box and I knew that he was the GM son’s favorite player. I hesitated.

Was I buying it because I thought he’d like it, or because I’d look like a hero to him, or because my ex would find out. (it’s not lost on me how this sounds) In the end, I bought it because I knew he’d like it, I love him and that’s what I do.

It was Easter Sunday and as I drove to New Jersey with Mr. Crosby in the passenger seat, I noticed that I was feeling less anxious this time around and slightly more confident.

I rang the doorbell and the ex-wife greeted me with a friendly hug hello. Huh? O-kay, I thought. This display of physical contact was both organic and awkward.

The light box was a hit, as evidenced by his, “Wow, this is sick.” The visit was shorter, and the ex-wife again hung out in the kitchen. No vegetable steaming. She was sitting at a table, studying for something.

I tried not to think about the space that was growing between the GM son and myself but it was hanging in the air nonetheless.

I bid the ex-wife good-bye without touching, and the GM son walked me to my car. We hugged and, once again, I drove away in tears. I wondered if this was ever going to get easier.

As I drove to my 5×10 storage unit, to pick up boxes that held contents of my life, to take back to my apartment, I cursed my ex-boyfriend because now I’m forced to hang out in his ex-wife’s kitchen if I want to see the GM son. C’mon, that just ain’t fair.