Tag Archives: heartbreak

Leo DiCaprio and I Are Both Revenants

Leonardo Dicaprio Revenant


If you would have told me that a week before Christmas, I’d be imbibing with my ex-boyfriend’s ex-wife, while sitting on the edge of her bathtub in a bathroom in her townhouse in suburban New Jersey, while watching her apply make-up and do up her hair before meeting her boyfriend, I would have said that there was a better chance of finding out that I was adopted and that my biological parents were Gladys Knight and any one of the Pips.

I sat on the edge of the tub and we chatted about hair products, and the kids. I laughed quietly to myself because I felt like I was eight years old, watching my mom ready herself for a night on the town. I used to hang out with her mainly because I was avoiding going downstairs, knowing that my brother was walking around with his underwear on his head trying to shock the babysitter.

Drinking Pinot Grigio while talking to the ex-wife’s reflection in the mirror was just another surreal moment in a scroll length list of surreal moments that had occurred over the last two years since her ex-husband and I broke up.

Most people can’t get their heads around the fact that I’ve continued to nurture my relationships with the Girlfriend Mom kids but then when I tell them that I’ve rock climbed, and broken bread with their mother, the ex-wife, they’re positively flummoxed and judgy.

I was hesitant reaching out to her years ago. Some of it was out of loyalty to my ex, and some of it was fear. I never had an ex-wife in my life and I wasn’t exactly sure how that dance went; or what to wear.  

Then it slowly occurred to me that I didn’t owe anybody anything, loyalty or otherwise, and I had to do what was right for me and my quest for keeping those that I loved in my life, no matter what the cost, or how scared I was.

This quest was a bit like the one Leo DiCaprio takes in his recent movie, Revenant. Stay with me here.

Leo plays a fur trapper, and when he’s attacked by a bear, he’s left to die by his own hunting team. While I’m no fur trapper (nor was I attacked by a bear and left to rot) a part of me died after my break-up, leaving me alone to find a way to maintain my relationship with my team member’s kids. Leo and I were both explorers as we discovered new land. I was a friggin’ pioneer on my expedition.

Along our journey, Leo and I both found ourselves navigating uncharted territory under harsh conditions. My conditions were more of the emotional variety, while his included swimming in icy rivers and eating raw bison liver. You say tomato, I say tomahto.

He had to cauterize his wounds, which I’m sure was awfully painful. However, my unimaginable grief, and betrayal was no less painful. Thankfully no burning of flesh was necessary.

What kept me going (like Leo) was sheer will. In my case, I also had the love of two kids. It was a question of survival for both Leo and myself, and our determination to thrive. I can’t speak for him, as I haven’t seen the movie, but I sure as hell have thrived.

One of the definitions of a revenant is that of a sentient being returning from the dead with the goal of terrorizing the living. An ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend are talking in a bathroom. That could be terrorizing to some, no? Muahahaha buahahaha.

Collateral Damage: My Relationship with The Kids

Collateral Damage


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.




The Captain and Tennille lied, sometimes love can’t keep you together. Shit, they couldn’t even keep it together.

For awhile I had hope and I probably romanticized the break-up, if that’s even possible. But now I know. People move on. And so it goes. And so it goes.

I was picking at a scab and now it’s ripped off. The wound once again bleeds. Oh, my god, look at the way this whole situation is making me speak and write. “And the wound once again bleeds.” Who am I the Bard?

I wanted to believe that love conquers all and that intimate connections go deeper than, ‘I like to read, he doesn’t.’ Or ‘I like to close the bathroom door. He’d sit on my lap while I peed if it were up to him.’ Or ‘He’s not fond of stopping at STOP signs. I prefer driving safely so as not to kill a small child.’ What happens to those beliefs now?

What are we willing to tolerate, accept, and overlook in our relationships because there exists a bond that no words can accurately describe? I always felt that the attraction my ex and I had for one another was, not only rare, but what kept us together in spite of our differences, annoyances and flaws. Not anymore.

I never understood, nor will I ever understand, how one (male or female) can hop into bed with someone new while the present is still warm. Sex can be a purely physical act. I get it. What is it called when one travels with a new person to a place that requires a passport.

I think it’s called closure, or something that resembles closure.

I can’t wrap my head around the concept of loving someone with every fiber of your being but still not wanting to be together. Is it love when the simple sound of your voices makes each of you quiver just a bit? Can you love and still be unsure? Why would this be? What kind of love would do this?

Is it love, or is it ego or loneliness that keeps us holding on? Habit? Fear? Is the pain, random thoughts and ambivalence a natural by-product of breaking up? It’s difficult to distinguish between what is true and what is grief. Grieving is torture, so we convince ourselves that we can’t lose this person and we may tell ourselves that we’re hooked and that we belong together. But how in the name of that sweet toddler Jesus do we know the difference?

Maybe I failed to see the truth that was right in front of me. Maybe I was just a stubborn fool who hates to give up.

Hubbell: “You never give up, do you?”

Katie: “Only when I’m absolutely forced to.”

The Way We Were

Tips for letting go:

1. Keep busy!

2. Go on a retreat, or travel. However, don’t go to a place where you’ve been with your ex or he’s been with another woman. OR where they speak his native tongue, if it’s other than English.

3. Make a lot of plans with friends, even if you don’t want to, even if, ‘find new friends’, has been on your To Do list.

4. Don’t torture yourself by watching sad movies. And quickly change the channel if the Cialis commercials come on that you and your ex used to make fun of. Really? Shellacking a wood bench is boner inducing?

5. Put on a pair of tight jeans, high heels and a top that shows off your newly bought rack and find a construction site. Walk by, savoring each and every lurid, and offensive, “Ay, Mommie, hot, hot, hot.” And when you exit stage right, smile, because you know that they’re right. You are one hot Mommie.