Tag Archives: ex boyfriend

College Graduation

graduationIt was bound to happen. I knew that when my relationship ended with my ex, that there would be events in the kids’s lives that I  would miss out on.

And so it is with the GM Daughter, who graduated from college (with a 4.0. GPA, I might brag) last week. Another chapter has been written, and I will not have the pleasure of attending the festivities taking place this weekend in her honor.

Although I take new pictures of our lives, as they are now, beautiful pictures, I suppose some of the old one’s still rattle around in my head. Milestones, and markers, like a graduation, makes turning the page just a little more challenging.

I have so much with the GMD. I don’t need to be with her this weekend but I also feel that I should be there. It should be me celebrating her accomplishments and achievements, with food, wine and the balloons, that I would’ve most certainly have filled the room with. Balloons make everything special.

There will be other faces instead, new faces, in the pictures with her now, and I will have to accept that- just not yet.

She and I will have our own celebration, and balloons. But for now, I feel like the outsider, like I had all those years ago, when I was new on the scene.

The feeling will surely pass, as it always does, just not yet.

Why Write?

PhotoCredit:Nofilmschool.com

PhotoCredit:Nofilmschool.com

Writing is hard. Not writing is harder.

Writing a book is hard but not writing it is unbearable.

Writing a book about your life is hard but not writing isn’t an option.

Writing a book about a past relationship is super hard.

Writing a book about a past relationship that included children and your role as The Girlfriend Mom is hellacious and cleansing.

Not writing?

Not an option.

People are waiting.

 

Christmas With the Ex-Wife

PhotoCredit:Kiplinger.com

PhotoCredit:Kiplinger.com

Christmas came late this year with the Girlfriend Mom kids; logistics, illness, ex’s whereabouts, and good ol’ work schedules.

After much patience, persistence and a few renditions of, Frozen’s, Let it Go, I was finally sitting on the floor with the kids (the floor being one of my favorite and calming places), exchanging gifts, in our new norm.

Gift giving fills with me intense joy, while accepting is the converse; a touch of anxiety and embarrassment, with a forced smile plastered on my face, in my feeble attempt to hide my awkwardness. Tis better to give than to receive.

I requested time alone with them but there are never guarantees. Shit happens and I’ve come to accept the fact that, any time I can see the kids, no matter what friend, or parent, is around, is a good day.

Their mom left to run an errand and I was thrilled to be alone with them. We caught up with school, parties, drinking, and fist fights. Boy, that brought me back to high school, when every weekend that my parents went away traveling, meant a house party at our house.

We laughed, debated The Interview and it’s merits, (and demerits), while my brain shifted into overdrive, fighting back anger and tears.

This was unfair. I resented the position that I was put in. I resented the hoops that I had to jump through just to steal a few hours (if that) with these children, that I had known for almost a decade, and adored. Did I mention how unfair this was?

It was the second Christmas in this new norm, and I still felt like an outsider looking in, waiting in the wings, until I heard my cue, so that I could enter, stage right, and take my place onstage.

My relationship with the kids are not free standing. They come with attachments, history and memories that I cannot always compartmentalize.

The kids were poised, unlike yours truly, as I watched them open their gifts, and I marveled at how resilient and sensitive these creatures were. I thought about how challenging the past year had been, and how far we had all come, together.

And then I opened their gift for me. I couldn’t stall any longer. It was a photo album, filled with photos from their early childhood (pre-Girlfriend Mom’s arrival) to present day. I was speechless… in a stupid way. It was so unexpected and I didn’t know how to react.

You know how chaotic it is when everyone’s opening their gifts simultaneously and you’re asking your dad if the sweater that you bought him fits, while your brother tries to play his new guitar, even though he’s never picked up a guitar, and mom is nowhere to be found, because she decided that now would be a good time to make coffee, so that you’re really distracted? No? Okay, just me.

That’s how it felt when I opened my gift.

I leafed through the album, commenting on their cuteness. My Ex and the Ex-wife blatantly absent from the photos, signaling a conscious choice on the kid’s part to omit them. Why, I wondered.

Maybe, just maybe, they wanted me to have something that was solely about them… and me, for me.

I cannot say that there haven’t been times when I’ve doubted myself, questioned the authenticity of my feelings, and those expressed by the kids, and wondered if I wasn’t making this whole relationship up because I desperately wanted to be their Girlfriend Mom.

The photo album turned that around.

 

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.

 

 

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign, Blockin out the Scenery, Breakin My Mind

I’ve always wondered about signs. Not like Yield, or One Way, but more of the spiritual and coincidence kind. I’ll be going about my business and then boom, something crosses my path that screams, ex-boyfriend! Why? Why JC Superstar, why?

Maybe it’s coincidence. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s something. Maybe I should do what Deepak suggests, and ask myself what I think the message is or what the significance might be. Or, maybe I should  lay down and take a nap. Hard to say which road to travel.

I went to a theme party the other night, where I didn’t know anyone (rocked the 4 inch high wedgies and belly shirt) and who is the first person that starts conversing with me? That’s right, a wrinkle-free faced, faked boobed woman, who was not only the same ethnicity as my ex, but she lives in the town where he used to live and where his ex still lives.

Then I’m I out with a friend, and his friend, who grew up a few towns over from where my ex and I used to live. Er, I lived. He knew the bars and the landmarks. It was punishing.

Today I hired a man with a van (actual company name) to move me out of my storage unit. The receptionist read my confirmation number to me and the first two letters were the first letter of my ex’s ex-wife’s first name and the first letter of my ex’s first name. And then, just to make her point, she did that, “N as in Nancy, and B as in Bob” thing, only she used their ACTUAL names to drive it home.

I went out yesterday, and after walking three blocks, I realized that my zipper was down. What’s that a sign of? Deepak can suck it.

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.