Thursday, February 18, 2010

We'll Be Through the Worst...

Living in northern Minnesota, it seems like every year after the holiday season, the conversation turns to the weather and how we will survive January and February, typically the worst months, weather-wise. Everyone assures themselves that once we get through January and through mid-February, "We'll be through the worst".

This winter flew by for me, with everything that has been going on. Sometimes, it surprises me when I step outside and it is relatively warm, at least in northern Minnesota terms. One of my friends calls it "hooded sweatshirt weather" when it hits about 25 degrees. Living through the bitter winters, we are shameless when it comes to temperatures that would be perceived as deadly in other parts of the country. The days are slowly getting warm enough that the sun is melting the snow and ice, and there's a steady stream of water that freezes into twinkling icicles on my house. It's light out when I leave work in the late afternoon. Even the air has a distinctly fresh, springy smell to it. It makes you think that you are through the worst of it, and have only bright, happy, springy days to look forward to.

But sometimes, a northern Minnesota spring surprises you, and you discover that you are no way through the worst. The spring that my daughter was born, we had an early March blizzard that dropped nearly 30 inches of snow in 24 hours. It felt as though the wind was blowing straight through my drafty brick house, and I clung tight to my newborn as the lights flickered all around. When the storm passed, it left snowbanks taller than my garage. And not more than a week later, we got hit with another storm that dropped another foot of snow on top of that. The "first day of spring" came and went, and we were still covered in heavy, wet snow. The worst was most certainly not over.

Lately, I've found the same in trying to navigate this whole divorce thing. The past few months have changed me. I know that. I feel better about myself, and feel more positive about my future. I can breathe again. I can be selfish and do single-girl things, like stay out until 3:00 in the morning and sleep until noon, and skip dinner and eat frozen pizza at 11:00. Sometimes, I don't even bother to attempt to clean the house when I am home alone. Why should I? I have more appealing options of things to do when I am at home, and besides, I am not really home all that much. I thought I was through the worst.

Last week, I got a text from my ex-husband that was obviously not meant for me. It was meant for another woman. Even though I have been dating (or attempting to), it irritated me. First off, I have the class and common sense to make sure I send my texts to the right number. Second, it was a casual message, telling her that he stopped at his "midway point for food and gas". I was married to him for eight years, and I didn't get messages like that. He was married to me for so long that he lost that sense of common courtesy, and I'd rarely get a call or a text, no matter where he was or how late he was going to be. That stung, not because it was meant for her, but because it illustrated the total lack of respect that he had for me and our former union.

A couple of nights later, I got a late-night text from him...telling me he was at the bar and sad, because there was a girl there who looked and dressed like me. I rolled over and went back to sleep, not knowing that this was the start of his quest to get me back.

After that text, he became relentless. In a classic quote, he said to me, "Would you rather be with someone that you've known and loved for nine years, or would you rather be alone for the rest of your life?" He knew what he was doing. He knew that indicating that I would be "alone for the rest of my life" would trigger all of my insecurities. But I still stayed strong.

I did, however, make sure I pushed for details on his "date". Turns out he did meet this woman...who did not live up to his expectations at all. They met for their date, and he discovered that she'd "grossly underestimated" her weight on her dating profile. I can only imagine, since I am a size 14. I have the urge to defend her, because one thing I cannot deal with is dissing someone over her weight. But alas, in the protection of my own high self-esteem, I will allow him to be critical of other women, after he spent nine years with the gorgeous me.

As the weekend continued, he carried on with his text messages and his attempts to get into my house (and inevitably, my bed). As he indicated his interest in "working" on our marriage, I was lying in my bed, and suddenly I was gripped with terror. I remember looking at my curtains (for no particular reason; it was just what my eyes landed on), and thinking, "Oh my god...I DO NOT WANT ANYONE SHARING MY HOUSE. I DO NOT WANT A RELATIONSHIP."

It was the first time I've ever felt this. Ever. Never in my life have I envisioned myself happy and complete without "having someone". After going through my divorce--the years of wanting to do it, the complete loss of feelings for him, the technicalities of having him move out, the sense of loss over having my daughter only 50 percent of the time, the finality of the paperwork--I thought the worst was through. Truthfully, I didn't care that I was, by some standards, a failure at marriage. In my superficial way, I still thought that while the worst was through with one marriage, I still needed to find another one. Now, the mere thought of having my freedom jeopardized and having to share my home chilled me to the core.

The weight of having to hurt and disappoint my ex-husband weighs heavily on me. The worst is not over there. I've agreed to a "date" with him on Sunday afternoon, but I made it clear that he won't be coming back to my place, and I expect him to head to his home to spend time with our daughter, since it is one of his custody days. I have told him upfront that I do not feel ready for a relationship with anyone (teensy lie...there is one person who, in my mind, I would like to have a relationship with, especially since I would've married him sight unseen, based on writing and sarcasm ability alone). I told him that I will make him no promises and no guarantees. He still says that he is willing to take this risk for another chance to be with me. I still think that chance won't happen, because I am determined in what I want, and secure with my decision to divorce him.

In movies on and on TV, it always seems glamorous and romantic when an ex comes back and begs for the love of his long-gone partner. In reality, there is nothing glamorous or romantic about it, if you are not interested in this. It just causes a setback in your attempts to be through the worst.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm being the cynical bitch I am, I'm wondering if this story of the "other girl" is true. It's classic hoovering honey. How many frickin chances did he have to improve things, to improve/prove himself and make your marriage work?? Meet him for coffee or whatever, look your gorgeous self as usual, and make it very clear you've moved on. Also, ask him explicitly "what's changed?" and make him prove it. Love you xx