Leaving: when you gotta go, you gotta go. Bonus content: Dating app fails

I was supposed to go on a date last night. I chickened out and cancelled.

It’s the first date with a boy I’ve arranged. Somehow, meeting a guy for the first time feels more scary and less comfortable than when meeting a girl. Not that I’ve met up with a lot of girls. Uh, just one … we “went out” three times: once out to lunch, once to her place for brunch (the only one who really seemed interested in humping me was her bulldog), and once, we went out for a couple’s massage (oolala). There was flirting, there were innuendos, there were even suggestive photos, but nothing physical happened beyond exchanging hugs hello and goodbye. That’s probably just as well – she is polyamorous and looking for a “unicorn”. I’ve learned recently that the unicorn is the third party in an established poly relationship. Intriguing, but not what I’m looking for, I didn’t feel the required chemistry, and honestly, she scares me a lil bit with her experience and openness.

Guess what? I figured out how to insert pictures all on my own … a little click here, a little click there, ta-da! Pictures. Here are a few screenshots of the type of people I seem to attract on dating apps.

Enjoy…

Example No. 1creepy 1

“Fine, thank you. You look like a serial killer!”

Example No. 2creepy 3

These sorts of messages, unfortunately, are more the norm than the exception. He would be right, lots of people inquire about this. Unicorns are IN, and quite popular. Alas, I am not a Unicorn.

Example No. 3creepy 2

Newsflash: If your profile includes a shirtless bathroom selfie, I’m definitely not interested. Is that belly-button lint??

That, friends, is what it’s like to be in the dating scene these days. Not pretty, no? Nope.

This is not going to be easy.

I’ll do my research. I won’t settle for less than everything. I can check out as many as I like for as long as I like.

Love bomb, on the other hand, literally jumped on the first vulnerable girl she could smother; a girl who “needs fixing” – something Love Bomb LOVES in a partner, she’ll be the first to tell you she’s a “fixer” in all means of ways. New girl, I imagine, must have felt desperate for affection and validation, living with her soon-to-be ex-husband for a year (or so, I certainly don’t know the dates). They bonded over broken relationships. Doesn’t strike me as healthy, but hey, when you’re fucking desperate …

“Don’t expect two storms to meet and create anything less than an epic disaster.” (-Britt Powers)

Less than a year in, they’re infatuated, I know, but will it last? And if it does last, will that be because they felt they had something to prove? I was the original “flash in the pan”. Nearly 19 years, and it’s possible that our relationship was little more than a “I’ll show you” response, long expired. Love Bomb explained it in her Dear John letter -that there were many occasions we might have chosen to break up over the years but she stuck it out because she had to “prove them wrong” – all those family and friends who warned her , “It’ll never last”. Soooo, we stayed together out of spite and a dogmatic need to be ‘right’?! That’s a shitty fucking reason to hold someone down. And should there be ANY question, I don’t fantasize about their demise because I have desire to have Love Bomb back,  I just think it would be awesome if she actually got a taste of how if feels to be the one left alone, to have her efforts be regarded as “futile and weird”, to go on because there’s no other choice.

For all the times she could have left, or thought maybe she should have left, it’s funny, I can’t remember one time prior to April 2017 that I had any inkling that Love Bomb might consider leaving. If anyone was ever anxious to leave, it was always me.

Leaving. If I were journaling in a spiral notebook, I’d be drawing a fat arrow right now tracing back to the last text from Love Bomb, “The only way I could change was to leave. The only reason you even consider[ed] hard work is because we ended. I[t] had to in order to move forward”. I figure they’re just typos, but the little goal posts [..] indicate what was actually typed. If you think I’ve misinterpreted the translation, let me know in the comments.  🙂

So, a couple of things:

1. She didn’t “leave”. She sought out and seduced someone else, ensuring her coupled status would remain, as always, unchanged. Never to struggle alone, she couldn’t leave me until she replaced me. That’s the order of things when you’re the Love Bomb and things get difficult.

2. I not only considered, but single-handedly started the hard work because I felt we were worth it, but she was already long gone. She cheated not just physically, but more importantly, emotionally with a new partner and never considered the hard work at all, not for one second. She just wanted to “have fun”. That sounds ridiculous coming from an adult, especially the Love Bomb I used to know. In those moments, she had not only fallen out of love, she was cruel and mean in ways I’d never seen from her and I wondered who she was. Sort of like how it felt when Kevin gave me the suicide directive (aka: gofuckyourself) it felt like, how can a person be so mean to someone they used to love? I did a terrible thing, (if you’re new, sorry, you’re gonna have to keep up) a meaningless, disrespectful, uber-selfish thing, but it was never about hurting anyone. It was about nostalgia and sperm. She, on the other hand, wanted to hurt me. And she did.

3. Recap, since you’ve been reading a while: “I[t] had to in order to move forward”. As written with “it”, I can’t figure out how that would make sense. “It” had to be considered? Or, “I” had to … had to what? I had to cheat/remove/replace in order to move forward? I had to end it in order to move forward? Either are crap. She’s not moving forward, she’s regressing, running from problems with her house and the associated crap she’s acquired in nearly 30 years in one home (walk away, leave said crap for someone else to deal with), running from problems with money (hello, Bankruptcy, how long has it been, old chap?), running from a long-term relationship that hit a downright ugly patch (disengage, change gears, redirect).

And why wouldn’t she run? For someone who considers herself to be unlucky, I just don’t see it. She never even mourned the loss of our relationship, she simply disengaged, changed gears, and redirected all of her time and attention to someone else. I know knew her so well, I could tell something was wrong, like, the day it happened. I went back and took screenshots of our texts over the entire month of April sometime in May when the shit was really going down. I wanted to see if I could put my finger on when everything went wrong. There was an invite to go out for drinks with the other managers, April .. (I’m not up for looking at it, but it was right around the 10th) and she was excited to go. I encouraged her, said to have a good time. She was thereafter impossible to reach and didn’t come home until 2am. It was just a couple of days before, on April 6, that Love Bomb and New Girl had their first .. God, what do I call it? Romantic Interaction? Infatuation Confession? Whatever it was <gag>, 2am became Love Bomb’s usual come-home time, that is, when she came home at all. And I let it happen because I simply could not fathom that she was cheating on me, if not with her body, then certainly with her mind in anticipation of initiating another virgin U-Haul Lesbian.

Love Bomb had reasons to leave, but stuck it out for alllll of my beautiful, fertile years because she had something to prove. And when the shit really got sticky, she didn’t leave so much as she wrapped herself up in the affections (and gifts) of another, never to endure the humbling pain and loneliness I’ve had the pleasure of surviving the past 9 months.

If she needed to leave, she should have left. If you gotta go, you gotta go. If it was more complicated than that, she should have taken me to counseling, not the bedroom. Yes, I know it was more complicated than that, and I’ll accept my fair share of blame. I should have insisted on therapy in October. I was ashamed and embarrassed to admit my dirty deeds to anyone other than Love Bomb, especially if she didn’t seem to want to press the issue. God, for a good several weeks/couple of months I actually thought my affair improved our relationship! (Can you say, “naïve”?) Looking back at that time I think, of COURSE you needed to go to a couple’s counselor! What’s the matter with you? I knew it somewhere inside, but you know, I resigned to being in this relationship for 18+ years and I got too comfortable. I felt wholly, utterly and completely safe. I lived with my best friend, and although sexual contact had become somewhat of a rarity, it just didn’t even occur to me that she could would go out and find someone else.

It happened so quickly. And with someone she used to dislike, even dread working with.

Well, nothing is happening quickly on my end, but there is a new message from the guy I canceled on yesterday … he wants to know how I’m feeling. Feeling much better, C., whoever you are. Maybe we’ll try again this weekend. I have a birthday coming up.

 

Blog with a purpose

What am I doing here?

What is the purpose of this blog?

Recently, suspicious as I am, I thought I felt the presence of prying eyes. One may have picked up on a downright snarky tone. (No, Really?) And it got me thinking about why I’m here. Why I decided to start writing here and who this blog is for.

I always journaled growing up. Always. All the time. I still have “My First Diary”, it’s up in the far reaches of my hall closet, beyond a virtual library-closetful of spiral notebooks. My very first entry was scribbled in 1981, three short sentences about our very first family parakeet. We got a parakeet. He is blue. His name is Mr. Peck.

I journaled regularly throughout college. I always gravitated to my journal when things got tough, a way to organize and draw connections between all of the racing thoughts and ideas that stream through my head. Things would settle and the journaling would taper off, but it picked back up when things got hard and worth a good thinking-on. I’m glad I did it for as many years as I did. But then, I stopped.

I don’t know if it’s that I was comfortable enough that I didn’t feel the need to journal for a long time, nearly the entire time I was with Love Bomb (excluding the time I was in Seattle for 9 months). It’s too bad, it would have been such an ideal time to journal -or blog- as I struggled through infertility. I’ve always found that putting it all out there on paper helped me sort through the sometimes hypomanic thoughts and reasonings as to why and how I’m hurting, struggling, growing, learning, forgiving, reaching out and letting go. When I found myself at my very lowest point this past summer, I went straight to a Rite Aid to buy a 1-subject, college ruled spiral notebook – the BEST kind of journal. It’s blue.

This past summer, I spent hours upon hours frantically journaling – perched awkwardly on the steering wheel of the car, on the couch at J&J’s, on the back patio, and of course, in bed before falling crying myself to sleep. The words poured out, sometimes just fleeting thoughts or ideas at a time, scribbles, bullet points and arrows swirled the edges of the page that I hoped I could figure out, like shorthand in college, sometime later.

Blogging really sort of hit the scene in the early 2000’s. So I’m like, a decade and a half late, but I feel like blogging is just sort of a graduation to how modern journaling is done. I can use the remaining storage in the hall closet for typical hall closet things like paper towels and reusable shopping bags without having to store more journals, which, if it wasn’t clear, take up a significant amount of space.

Do I sense a question from the peanut gallery? Why not toss the old journals? Well, part of me would feel defeated; I mean, I’ve carried them with me this long, since I was 6, why part with them now? I have the closet space. Besides, they contain my entire life’s story.

Despite the fact that there’s nothing wrong with just having a diary blog, I also feel like there needs to be a bigger purpose to my ramblings. Like, blogging shouldn’t be just my personal come-to-jesus moments. There could be an audience beyond myself and although there’s sure to be some snark, I don’t want my blog to be one big bitch-fest! I’d like it to be relatable, perhaps even capable of helping someone who’s struggling with an ugly breakup/divorce someday.

Beyond all of that, I’m using this blog to improve my writing skills. Shorthand blurbs, swirly arrows and exclamation points driven deep into the page help my mind to unravel, but don’t improve skills. I admire expressive writing, and I’d like to get better at it. You only improve by doing it. So, why not here? Besides, I type faster than I scribble.

Lastly, I’ve decided to keep the blog public for now. It’s for no one but me, and I can’t figure out why anyone I know would come across it. I don’t know if any of the views/visitors I’ve had so far know me, nor do I know how anyone would come across it. Honestly, I’m not even certain of the difference between a view and a visitor. Which reminds me, I also need to figure out how to insert photos into an entry.

I’ve changed most names in the interest of privacy, with the purposeful exception of Kevin, who can bite me. Publishing my entries forces me to be fully vulnerable, and work harder to actually resolve problems, rather than just ruminate on them. I will continue to think about my “target audience” and how I can relate this blog to something more than just, well, bitching and drawing conclusions.

Got an idea? Let me know in the comments if you like. While you’re here, could you tell me how to insert pictures into the body of my entries? I look forward to streamlining this forum into something useful to someone beyond myself. In the meantime, enjoy the bitch-fest!

She gets what she wants. I get what I need.

The past several days have been hard.

I’ve been debating making this blog “private”.

I don’t know where to start.

The forecast was finally above arctic on my weekend (Sun/Mon), so I decided to try, again, to get down to the old house to pick up the last of my and X’s stuff. My dear friend Kim had planned to come with me some Sunday, but it never worked out, mostly because I’m a chicken and let the dread get to me, canceling over and over again. But it’s been nearly 6 months since I moved in to my cute condo, it was never going to get any easier, eventually the bank will take that house and all the junk in it and I won’t have the chance anymore.

I reached out to Love Bomb to see if maybe she’d want to meet me there with the dogs, so I could see “the kids”, both of whom were my babies since 2004 (D) and 2005 (G). She said she had to work both mornings and didn’t like the idea of having to drive “home” (I can’t stand it when she refers to her new place as home), get the pooches, and then drive down to Hoodbridge. I threw it out there that we could meet somewhere else or she could, like last time I saw the kids, come over to my place. MY CUTE AF PLACE. I know this arrangement struck my mom as odd to say the least, but as I explained, it’s not that I hate Love Bomb anymore, in fact, I still care for her even if I don’t love her anymore. That’s not all-together true … I still love her, I imagine I always will; we are not in love anymore, to be specific, I mean, when I don’t hate her. It’s complicated. Besides, I don’t mind letting her in to see my success, my clean (did I mention CUTE?) condo that I take such pride in and just recently – have even started decorating! Yep, it’s taken nearly 6 months to feel like I was ready to start hanging things on the wall and making this little place my own. I haven’t taken the reigns on decorating since college, really – my single-dorm rooms – all mine. I never really bothered decorating my apartment in 1998, I was too busy running around with Love Bomb at the time, I didn’t even fulfill my lease agreement, moving out at 9 months and into the house in Hoodbridge.

So, she came over. It was so nice to see my dogs again! I hadn’t seen them since their last visit — September 4, 2017. Too long. Tooooo long. Love Bomb seemed tense, never took off her jacket and refused a drink. I poured her a glass of wine anyway. The only way I can think of to describe the conversation is “fine”. It was fine. We didn’t get mad or even snarky. It was mostly just sort of routine day-to-day chatter. Fine. There were a couple of interesting moments though. Here we go…

I asked how work was going. She revealed to me that the boss of the local franchise (I don’t know how else to describe his position, it’s a retail conglomerate that I don’t understand, nor do I care to. Fucking pet stores.) was fired for sexual misconduct! Haha?! Seriously … this was a man who made his staff listen to his ramblings on CD and then write a paper on things like values? This “holier than thou” weirdo, a member of one of those huge mega-churches, assigned homework, listening, writings and readings which mirrored the ramblings of “The Secret”. I found him to be creepy and his teachings cult-esque.

Now, Love Bomb wanted me to do this homework, too. She was taken (brainwashed?) with these lessons, even though she’d put off doing the homework until the very last moment. She asked me to listen to the CD’s as well, and then, I assumed, I could help her with her paper. My reaction to this request? Hell fucking no! I went to school for 16 full-time years, I don’t work for this creepy dude, why should I have to listen to him go on and on about values, objectives, motivation, or strategy? I do NOT want to do homework anymore, thankyouverymuch. I do not want to be told what I have to listen to, and I don’t want to participate in your paper-writing. No.

Okay, okay, I understand that Love Bomb was sucked into the teachings of this crackpot, and “The Secret” is attractive at face-value. I wanted to support her in her efforts to achieve, but listening to her boss drone on for 30 minutes every other week or so was about as appealing to me as sitting in traffic or enduring a root canal. It always felt odd to me. That’s not to say that I never tried, because I absolutely did. In fact, near the very end, Love Bomb finally sent me the attachments to some of these teachings she had wanted me to invest some time in, before. Funny, she hadn’t actually provided to me before, but she was pissed that I hadn’t listened. Turns out, she sent them more as a … here are these lessons that could have saved us, but it’s too late.

Well, I did listen to those lessons. I listened multiple times. I took notes and made connections. I erased our “Goals” whiteboard and changed it to a “Core Values” whiteboard, complete with my personal “Mission Statement” and list of SMART Goals. I left one half empty so she could fill in hers. She never did. When I approached her on it, she said that she hadn’t actually DONE THE WORK, and that she hadn’t given me the lessons so that I could actually complete that work – she just wanted me to know where she was coming from and what was important to her now.

Lo-and-behold, those teachings were straight from the craw of a man, who, turns out, wasn’t behaving in accordance to his own moral values – apparently fucking around with someone he shouldn’t have been within the company. Oh, you high and mighty HYPOCRITE! I wondered if he knew that his little teachings were contributing to the loss of a nearly 19 year marriage. Love Bomb said he did. Funny that he didn’t think much of it, huh? Loser.

Moving right along.

Conversation continued, spreading to social media. She asked me just what was going on with New Girl and me on Instagram. A-ha! So, it’s not just me, and it’s not just my imagination! But here’s the thing – how does SHE know that I’ve seen her IG? The only thing I can figure is that she’s reading my blog. How else would she know? Rest assured, jealous one, I can’t see it anymore. I can’t figure out why the hell you’d be jealous of me or why you’d feel a need to check me out – haven’t you already won? Don’t you have a girlfriend, a full house, a puppy to train, and plenty to doooo? Because I don’t. I’m single. I’m alone. A humbling experience Love Bomb has never had to struggle through, and from what I’ve gathered, neither have you. Yes, I’m curious about the woman I spent nearly half my life with who was just gone like a Hall & Oates song. I’m curious about HER, not YOU, you self-absorbed home wrecker. You’re welcome to look at my shit. It’s all about me being vulnerable and real, feeling wrecked and alone. Wanna see? Go for it.

Still debating going private, but I honestly don’t care what you see. Watch me grow, bloom and flourish. Enjoy my honesty. Predict your future, if you dare.

And then, the kicker … as she was getting ready to leave, she looked at her watch. Her new Apple Watch! You know, for someone who’s claiming her second bankruptcy and losing her house to foreclosure, she sure has a lot of fancy toys. Expensive tattoo. Purebred puppy. New car. Flower deliveries. Anniversary sushi. Nice watch! She quipped, “it was a gift”. Yeah, I bet it was, Love Bomb. She got herself another one … Love Bomb + Love Bomb = Two insecure gals who are trying to buy love. We were new and lustful once, too, but we shared love notes and hand-drawn pictures of flowers more than anything.

You can buy buy buy, but you’re not going to find what you’re looking for that way, Love Bombs. What you’re looking for cannot be purchased, wrapped in a bow, or delivered.

True to form, SHE GETS WHAT SHE WANTS, and what she wants is stuff. Stuff that one day becomes junk, gathering dust and littering the floor. That used to be a sort of joke of sorts, “I get what I want”, but I don’t see the humor in it anymore. She gets what she wants because she gravitates to people who give her things. Her step-father gives her anything and everything because he’s a sick, guilty man and buying her has always worked for him, just like it worked with her mother. Kevin, the multi-millionaire thanks to his wealthy partner (who inherited that wealth, he didn’t earn it, he could barely figure out how to work a stapler) who pays for weekends at fancy resorts, French dinners, concert tickets, uh drugs, and more weekends – maybe a cabin this time. I see why she tolerates that dick, after all, he purchased her. Even the Chow lady who just loooooves Love Bomb pays her $500 to groom her dog for an hour or accompany her to the vet. She even threw Love Bomb an extra $500 for her birthday! I was just a tag-along she could barely remember say hello to most times, so strangely infatuated with Love Bomb.

What do you think of that, New Girl? Enjoy it now because one day the money will run out. It always does. I had grown accustomed to the financial gifts I received from my folks at Christmas and my birthday going directly into our joint checking account and then, just gone. I currently pay $1375.00 a month in rent, plus utilities, and everything else all by myself, and despite my downright measly salary, I’m fucking rolling in the dough since Love Bomb traded me in for the likes of you.

Is it that I’m just not very thoughtful? I realized VERY early in our relationship that we were quite broke most of the time, and only rarely have I spent money spontaneously or without permission. You wanna know what the first two attributes that pop up about me on dating apps are? “Frugal” & “Thrifty”. When I hit the grocery store, I take a list and I stick to it. I plan out each meal in advance and by the end of the week my fridge is empty besides condiments. When my co-workers order take-out for lunch, I decline, because I can’t afford to spend 9 bucks on a sandwich – that’s always been true. I used to ask Love Bomb permission before I bought anything out of the ordinary because I wasn’t versed in our finances. Not the ideal gift-giving situation. My mistake – I should have educated myself rather than take her word for it. I should have kept my own bank account. I believed her when she said we had enough money for pot. I believed her when she’d come home from Best Buy with a handful of new games that we could afford them. Love Bomb gets what she wants.

Oh, you know what else? “Our” savings account from which she pulled money for bills or even our vacation out West – that was an account only I contributed to! I was under the impression that we both put 20 in bi-weekly, but NO, it was just me for years and years.

No, I didn’t buy my way into Love Bomb’s heart, although she may have anticipated it since my folks actually do pretty well for themselves, and honestly. It sure ticked her off when my parents wouldn’t just hand over money when things got tight. She found that just another reason to resent them.

Lets move on to Monday…

So, since we didn’t meet at the house in Hoodbridge, I finally put on my big girl pants and went out on Monday, January 22 by myself. I’m glad I did it by myself, it took way longer than I thought it might and was way more emotionally draining than I anticipated. First of all, the place is a God damned mess – rather symbolic of our relationship, I suppose. It’s beyond messy, bordering on downright dirty. There are boxes all over the place stuffed full of a weird assortment of things I didn’t even know we had. The toilets were nearly drained out, the floor tiles all peeled up, dirty litterboxes still full of crap. The first thing I found myself doing was sorting through about 10,000 photos. OMG, talk about heartbreaking. Also, damn, I was FAT very overweight for a while there – woah! Photos of life before me, Carol, even DeeDee, oblivious to what their futures hold. Lots and lots of happy memories, our smiling faces, sans wrinkles, my ears before they got scarred and lumpy. A few of Matt and I strewn in the pile, weird, I grabbed those. I left most of them for her, I took photos of some of us as a couple and grabbed some of our family of animals – Shamu, Harley, Molly, PT, Annie, Chester, Toni, Cane, Cayenne, my dear Creole, Tina and the current crew. So many memories. So many years. So many smiles. It felt so strange to sit amongst the debris of our love in our home, photos strewn all over the floor like years, half-remembered.

img_6203
Memories, broken all over the floor

Gathering the rest of whatever seemed important went relatively quickly: X’s art, a few articles of clothing, a hat, some hangars, the butter dish, even a few bars of soap and a bottle of Drain-o — hey, you never know when you’ll need it! I grabbed a package of TP – strike that off the grocery list.

Next came the tears. So many tears. I walked from room to room, snapping the last photos of what used to be my home, my life, now in complete wreckage. I locked the doors and backed out of the kitchen slowly, hands to my face as I tried not to alarm someone walking by with my wails. <click>

I sat in my car for a good long time unable to pull away. I texted Love Bomb: “So many pictures of the years and years and YEARS of fun we shared. But when the really hard work came along, you were just gone. Now all that’s left are these shambles of junk, like the junk we didn’t take care of in our relationship. And I think it’s a shame. We may not have exchanged expensive gifts, but we sure wrote a lot of letters and notes, and I think those are more symbolic of our love than watches and flowers could ever be. I wish you could too. I’m not sure how to drive away”. She responded: “I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry. It’s a shame things didn’t work out. I can’t change the way I feel … We weren’t going to change. I spent months saying things needed to change. But nothing ever did. The only way I could change was to leave. The only reason you even consider hard work is because we ended. I had to in order to move forward. All I can say is I’m sorry”. I responded: “Saying we needed to change and doing it are two very different things. You took the easy way out. Again. … You simply didn’t want to do the work. And why would you? Traded me in like a fucking car. Except I know you place emotional value on your cars. You didn’t even turn to see me leave, you just sat there eating your toast and let it all go. And again, why not? You get what you want”.

Then, I puked in the driveway. Fortunately, I only had coffee all day.

I cried some more and decided to take a selfie of this last moment in the driveway. I put it on Facebook and admitted that I didn’t know how to drive away from my old life. Some juvenile, short-sighted nitwit might have considered that airing dirty laundry, but my vulnerability is mine to share on my own page, and when I need support I get what I need – from my friends and family. 69 comments-worth of love and support was way beyond what I expected, but I’ll take all that love with open arms. I received invitations to come over for dinner or just to rest on the way home, phone calls of encouragement, texts of “you got this!”, messages to lift my heart and spirit from family and friends I’ve known my whole life AND people who’ve only entered my life recently – some of them, originally hers.

After a night of trivia with my true BFF’s, I sent one last text to love bomb, just to clear something up. It irks me that she thinks I want to change the way she feels. She’s said that to me more than once. No. That’s not the point at all: “I need to be clear about something. I do not want you to ‘change’ the way you feel. You flatter yourself. I want you to know the anguish you’ve caused. Your trade-in can have you and all the baggage that comes with you, to include G,  Kevin, even Chow-lady – your biggest fans and providers of whatever your fickle heart desires. When she tires of you don’t you DARE come crawling back to me. I will be your greatest regret and I will have moved on, stronger than you can even fathom”.

She just has no idea nor care when it comes to hurting people – the people she loves. Hurting me. Hurting Carol. Hurting DeeDee. We all deserved better than to be traded in for a new model without so much as an attempt to repair the 18 year relationship. She hurts people, and then she tosses them aside and proceeds to distract herself from emotion with trade-ins and gifts. She should know the pain she inflicts.

I don’t NEED gifts. I don’t NEED tattoos. I don’t NEED fancy watches. I don’t NEED flower deliveries to know that I am loved. I don’t want or need a Love Bomb. I get what I need with a little help from my friends.

Poetry of an ending

The words may be about you but they are for me. @astalderea

I couldn’t see the writing on the wall, until you were closing the door. @writergirl20

You’re holding yourself back by holding on to someone who didn’t think twice about letting you go. @zackgreywrites

The cruel words poured out of her throat, and just like that, she broke another human. And when you break another human, you break a little too. @kaitlyn.n.lentulo

When we recognize pain and grief as a healthy response to loss, we can respond with skill and grace, rather than blame and bypass. We can respond by loving one another, no matter what happens. -Megan Devine

I’ve never lost and found so much at the same time. -Feliciana Cacciapuoti-Mathew

Oh, how my soul burns these days, consuming the kindling of pettiness, loss, doubt, and indecisiveness. Atop the kindling lay the real fuel, self righteous martyrdom, hate, jealousy. Please stroke my fire, burn me out, let love, compassion, acceptance grow from the ashes of my pyre, fertile soil, drenched with tears, tended by a caring gardener. Let me sprout as something worthy of all the love I wish to give and receive. @augustus_christopher

And I slipped out of our love like a dress that was so beautiful but had always been too tight. @leahstone

Perhaps you were only meant to sojourn, and now has simply overstayed your welcome; The roads unraveled beckoning to be touched, a saving grace from this wonted existence. Home need not be on familiar lands, arid; Accustomed in years of aimless footprints, eyes war-wearied as it has seen much of what your soul ached for far too long, yet never held. Love, hold tightly on the reins of fearless wanted; Leave quietly into the night and never look back. Plant roots in kinder places where you will flourish; Bestrewn seedlings on fresh earth and start anew. @lswrites

This may be a sad chapter but you are not a sad story. @poemsporn

Once I started writing truth, fear had no choice but to leave. @cwpoet

That’s why I’m here. And THAT’S what I do on Instagram.

Dreaming, a la broken heart

When you’re dreaming with a broken heart
The waking up is the hardest part.
You roll outta bed and down onto your knees
And for a moment you can hardly breathe
Wondering, “Was she really here?
Is she standing in my room?”
No she’s not, ’cause she’s gone, gone, gone, gone, gone…  John Mayer, Continuum.

Weird things, dreams. I have them all the time thanks to a brain-energizing prescription I take. Troublesome, Love Bomb is usually in them. Even more troublesome, everything is generally fine with Love Bomb in these dreams – like nothing ever happened. I wake to find that she’s not there, nothing is fine, I’m all alone, and the sadness returns, “oh, it was just a dream, we aren’t okay, and she doesn’t care”. There has been no intimacy in any of my dreams, just like in real life.

“To dream about your ex … indicates that people currently in your life are reminding you of those same feelings. This dream could be warning you that you are falling into a repeated pattern in relationships. You should consider the harsh lessons you may have learned so you don’t repeat them.” (Dreamforth.com)

“To see an ex usually represents a personality trait in yourself based on whatever quality or memory stands out most about that person. Ex-partners are very open symbols that are based completely on your most honest memories and feelings about them. Ask yourself what’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think about that person.” (Dreambible.com)

Honest feelings and memories of that person: the last several months we shared aside, my most honest recollection of my feelings for Love Bomb were those of friendship, and that makes sense given that in my dreams, we are good friends. The first thing that pops into my head when I think of her is that she was my best friend. And how I lost her.

Repeated patterns: This is trickier. I feel like I’ve restructured everything in my life, and I don’t see anything obvious that I’m repeating, especially since I’m not even in another relationship, or even close. Perhaps it has to do with settling. As I peruse these dating sites I doubt myself, intimidated by the ones I actually find attractive, discouraging myself from really putting myself out there. So, I lower my standards: he’s not particularly cute, but OKC says we’re a “good match”, and he seems nice enough.

I’ve settled for too long. I settled because I was hasty about my decision one stunning fall afternoon in the car with Love Bomb. “If I leave her, will you stay with me?”, she asked as the wind blew through my hair, fingertips out the open window. “Sure!”, I assured her without a second thought. Actually, that’s not true. I pondered for a moment just what I was doing to a 9-year relationship; how I was changing everything with a simple “Sure!”. I doubted myself as soon as I said it, but it was already too late. The words were said. The deed was done. And I wonder, did she ask the same of New Girl, the only difference being the season?

With Matt, while we were together, I settled for someone who used alcohol way more than I appreciated. I settled for someone who would rather go to a raucous party than hang out at home with me on a Saturday night. I settled for someone who played SportsCenter on repeat, and never asked me if there was anything I might like to watch on TV. I settled for someone who couldn’t focus his attention on more than one thing at a time, and often left me feeling like I was talking to myself just because he was slightly distracted. I settled for someone who used me as his dog-walker while he played hockey twice a week.

With Love Bomb, I settled for someone who barely managed to graduate from high school, who never valued education the way I do (noted, this one is least important). I settled by caving in to her “peer pressure” – smoking weed (which I ended up addicted to for a long spell) when I really didn’t want to, not to mention the other drugs I tried with her encouragement (and I’m lucky I don’t have an addiction to now). I settled by letting myself go – not taking care of myself, smoking cigarettes, and gaining an obscene amount of weight, not just once, but multiple times, like a damn roller coaster. I settled for someone who couldn’t support my desires to be healthier, who, despite my clear intentions of trying to lose weight, would bring home cookies and pork rinds, and then suggest that I simply not eat them! I settled for someone who was NoVA born and raised, and never had actual intent to leave, despite the lies she told me. I settled for someone who lacks financial responsibility, refusing to live within her means, who drives herself head-on into bankruptcy over and over again. I settled for someone who doesn’t have the BANDWIDTH to understand or work to resolve her own emotional health issues, and if she can’t do it for herself, she certainly couldn’t do it for the relationship.

And now, I shall acknowledge my own flaws and baggage, from the perspective of my ex’s (I have only two). Maziecakes is an introvert who is prone to depression, anxiety, panic, and even fainting. Maziecakes had a bit of a breakdown a number of years ago and was unable to manage working a steady job, to include her own grooming business. Maziecakes is messy, waiting until she’s out of socks before she tackles the laundry, and until she runs out of silverware before she runs/empties the dishwasher. Maziecakes has a spicy Irish (oxymoron?) temper, Love Bomb would call it “Anger Management Issues”, she’s been known to scream back at an obnoxious parrot or at someone (a person, not a parrot) who’s cut her off in traffic. Maziecakes waits until the last minute to do most everything, requiring only 20 minutes from alarm to out-the-door in the morning, which leads right in to .. Maziecakes is fond of sleep and considers napping to be an acceptable weekend activity.

That’s what it’s like to settle for me: A mentally unstable, angry, sleepy procrastinator, who settles for whatever a partner throws her way.

I realize that no one is perfect and no relationship is perfect – we all carry flaws and baggage, but no longer will I settle. I deserve more than someone who holds me just so that their hands are not empty.

I could wait for someone I don’t have to settle for forever, I suppose. But I will not be waiting. I’ll be living my own life, serving my own purpose, fulfilling my own dreams, all by myself. I’m strong like that.

And even with all the miles in between us, I still wake up expecting your body to be next to mine. @cwpoet

It’s a 9! It’s a 6!

Does there have to be a “bad guy”?

Must it be someone’s “fault”?

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Comparative suffering is a waste of time. Pain is pain. -j.x. griff

Pain. I’ve been stewing in it for months and months. I’m convinced that Love Bomb bypassed such pain, certainly this long-standing pain I’ve felt since our relationship dissolved. I get that she was in pain too, and rightfully so. I hurt her. I’m sorry. I really am.

But I think she sort of worked it out, if you will… She knew that I had a hard time letting go of “The Boy”. After all, she busted me planning an interlude years ago. I’m not sure that it ever would have resulted in any intimacy between me and Boy, but I was prepared, just in case. Knowing me (seriously), I would have gotten cold feet and chickened out long before an opportunity to hook up ever arose. Yep, I’ve been known to wonder what it might have been like had we stayed together. We probably would have been married. We probably would have had children. We probably would have gotten divorced.

Letting go is an issue for me. I recognize that.

The Boy came for a visit in May 2016. His littlest sister was graduating from college that weekend. It was, indeed, a little odd that he asked to stay with us, but we were trying, I thought, to be friends. The visit was fine, it was fun to catch up and reminisce. And then, after his departure, he text me a dick pic. LOL. Gross. You know, Love Bomb never even asked if there was any sexual tension between me and Boy during the visit, so a few days later I told her about the pic, and how, perhaps in haste, I got scared and I deleted our entire conversation. She didn’t get mad, but we did laugh about it. It was funny (and did I mention gross)! But there was also a lil part of me that was intrigued.

Despite the fact that dick pics are wholly revolting, I was flattered. Flattered that he still thought I was beautiful. Flattered that someone had expressed desire for me, something I hadn’t really felt in quite some time. That was my fault as much as it was Love Bomb’s, as we had grown stagnant and fell into a dull routine. He called me at work the week after the pic to apologize, and I accepted his sheepish excuse with an offer: “If you want to communicate with me, perhaps we should create email accounts for that purpose”. And so, we did.

It must have been around June, gosh, it may have been earlier, I can’t remember, when I got a mailing from my college announcing a College Choir reunion. God, I loved my College Choir and the notion of a reunion complete with multiple classes singing in the old Chapel warmed my little heart. It only took a moment for me to hatch a plan, deceptive as I knew it was. I thought: “this could be my one and only chance to try for a baby the ‘good old fashioned’ way”. I always found it amusing when people would hear of my fertility struggle, even with the knowledge that I was a “practicing lesbian” (haha), they’d say, “just relax and it will happen”, uh, no, I assure you, it will not happen unless I try. And I can’t tell you how many times I lamented with other women who also weren’t succeeding with having babies, only to find out that one day they got pregnant – by surprise – the good old fashioned way.

Now, I’m not a promiscuous gal. I was never going to find some random dude and fuck him, that was just never going to happen. But this reunion – this reunion presented a unique opportunity to get hundreds of dollars worth of tried-and-true (he has 2 kids) sperm for free (and yes, for fun). And so, I rifled through my old IVF supplies and grabbed a pack of birth control pills. Day 1 of my next period (in July), I took one pill a day for 7 days to push out my cycle a week. Day 1 of my next period, I counted the days and took a few more pills to try to manipulate my ovulation to occur on THAT reunion weekend.

Now, Love Bomb knew about the reunion. I invited her to come, and she declined. If she had wanted to join me, she could have, but I couldn’t see how this reunion would be any fun for her while I went to rehearsals, anyway. Besides, I had a plan and I believe she did, as well …

It was late summer/early fall, about 2 months or so before the reunion, when Love Bomb, sitting in her blue recliner, admitted the following: “If you were to cheat on me, I might find it to be a turn-on”. Oh, really? Huh. Well, okay, then. Permission granted, it seems. I don’t know how we got to that point – why she said that to me when she did. All I can figure is that she suspected my pending infidelity. I mean, she knew about the dick pic, she knew about the reunion, and she knew I had struggled to let go of Boy, once upon a time. She knew that this reunion would be nostalgic and safe. She knew all of that. So, knowing all of that, WHY did she encourage me? She did encourage me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that she encouraged me because she already knew she wanted out, and should I cheat, she’d have the excuse she needed to end it. And it would be MY fault.

Fault. Is that the same thing as being wrong? As having caused the breakup and the heartbreak? Is it my fault, or did I fall into her trap, thus making it more her fault? Is it a 6 or is it a 9? – It’s both. They’re both wrong. They’re both right. It depends on how you look at it.

I do wish I had been honest with her about my conception plan, but I was afraid she’d say “no” to the whole thing, and it was just too important to risk missing the opportunity. Conception was the goal, but I won’t deny that getting there was fun … more so the email flirting, less so the actual deed. I was never proud of myself, but I was desperate for that one last shot, the good old fashioned way – my very last chance to maybe, just maybe, be a Mom.

Nope.

Love bomb. She learned from the best.

I’m not oblivious as to how she learned her behavior. The Master Manipulator has taught her well! How can you possibly pull away from someone you can’t do without?

Christmas was always downright embarrassing – he’d buy way too much – opening gift after gift after gift, always followed by, “if you don’t like it, you can just return it”, heavily laced with guilt.

Hey! Lets go look at motorcycles while Maziecakes is at work – that way she (who’s has had the pleasure of holding 2 men as they died on the street after motorcycle accidents) has no say – no input – no voice – and then, lets buy one! Mazie will be furious, but we don’t care!

Oh, your car died? Here … take this Jeep.

Oh, you need money – here you go, take mine.

Your dog needs surgery? I’ll just close out my retirement account.

He make it nearly impossible to hate him, because you can’t figure out how you’ll get by without him.

Sounds familiar.

But here’s the rub: he doesn’t do these things because he’s a kind or caring person. He does these things because he’s a guilty, sad, little, old man. A man who is in love with his only stepdaughter. No, he doesn’t love her like a parent loves their child. He’s in love with her. He is a pervert and a pedophile and he has just about everyone fooled. Not me.

He love bombs her, and you know what? She likes it. She’s a material girl at heart, just like her mom. “You can’t take it with you”, right, Love Bomb?

Works for him. Works for her.

I spent a good deal of time in therapy trying to sort through their dysfunction only to come to the (correct) conclusion that I can’t change their relationship. They’re adults and their relationship is just that – theirs. He’s a father figure to her, not to mention a solid connection to her deceased mother. I tolerated him, mostly, but I’m really a terrible liar, so I did my best to pretend like he didn’t bother me, especially on holidays or birthdays when he’d swoop in for that obligatory kiss on the lips. GAG.

Point is – she learned this Love Bombing thing well and honestly. It’s how she was bought, and it’s how she buys others. I used to think she was thoughtful, but I see now that it wasn’t about careful thought, it was about manipulation. It wasn’t about doing something nice, it was about making sure that she had the upper hand – a hand full of gifts, that is, whether or not she could afford them.

It was never up to me.

I give great side-eye: An old Psychology major’s ramblings on Snarkicism.

It was probably right around this time last year, maybe just a little further along, when things really started to fall apart. Once we were past the revenge sex (we fucked so hard we couldn’t tell the difference between love and hate), everything settled back into the daily grind … go to work; race home to sit around and do nothing, me in the office chair in front of the computer, she in the blue recliner, face stuck to her phone; eat dinner; go to bed; rinse & repeat. I figure that it was during that time that Love Bomb started employing her final departure plan (final, because I think she had a plan figured out way before). If I had any hindsight, I’d have seen it coming.

I excel at Snarkicism, particularly in the form of side-eye. I inherited it from my mom. I recall sitting in that office chair – this time last year – when Love Bomb said something that annoyed me. I shot her a snarky eye-roll to which she shot me an equally ugly look, one I don’t recall ever having seen before. She looked right into my eyes and we held our glances there for at least a couple of seconds. When she turned back to her blue recliner, I wondered why she had just let me get away with that snark. It was clear that she saw it, and that it affected her in some way, but she just let it go. I thought. We were like that though, we’d have an argument, and then we’d return to baseline without much to-do. I figured it was our routine, and it was comforting in that arguments rarely lasted, we said what we needed to say, and then we were done. And often unresolved. In retrospect, I think that look she shot back at me that time was different. I believe that look was the start of something: actively plotting to find my replacement. That’s what she does.

That’s what she does. Rather than tackle critical issues or conflict, she pushes them away, however that looks. I don’t like conflict either (shit, who does?), but I like to think that I would not tolerate a relationship with the Master Manipulator, given what he is, even if that involved some conflict in the parting. Perhaps that’s why she found herself getting “laid off” over the years – conflict avoidance isn’t the best feature in a Manager, and it’s why I’ve never wanted to be a Manager. She’s completely unable/unwilling to conquer her own money issues which bubble up over and over and over again. And she was unwilling to tackle her anger with me, too. She would have been right to be angry with me. She was angry with me for about an hour once she actually approached me (but first, a night of poking through my phone and email accounts), and then she took me to bed. I realize that she must have been boiling inside, rightfully so, but she certainly didn’t have it out with me. It would have been the “perfect time” to dump me, right then and there, because she would have been right, but she didn’t. She didn’t have anyone to run to. She will not be alone.

And so, the search began in earnest to find someone new so that her arms and heart would never be empty or alone. She gravitated straight to someone who was also living with a partner (her husband, er, her second husband), and not happy in her relationship. She went for her immediate supervisor, the one who was supposed to guide her though running her own store (a pet store, no less – gag). They spent hours at the bar or in the parking lot last spring talking (and not coming home), providing each other with a ‘therapeutic’ ear: we have similar problems, and now your problems are my problems, and my problems are yours; we will push all the yucky feelings aside, many about ourselves, and find comfort in one another. Yeah, that’s how projection and transference works. Cue the Psychology major in me:

Projection is a psychological defense mechanism in which individuals attribute characteristics they find unacceptable in themselves to another person. Projection can be said to provide a level of protection against feelings a person does not wish to deal with. Engaging in projection can allow people to feel more like others or relate to them easily.

Transference is a theoretical phenomenon characterized by unconscious redirection of the feelings a person has about a second person to feelings the first person has about a third person. It usually concerns feelings from an important second-person relationship, and is sometimes considered inappropriate. In a therapy context, transference refers to redirection of a patient’s feelings for a significant person to the therapist. Transference is often manifested as an erotic attraction towards a therapist. The primary concern is generally the fact that, in the case of transference, an individual is not seeking to establish a relationship with a real person but with someone onto whom they have projected feelings and emotions: an all-knowing guru or an ideal lover.

(Wikipedia and GoodTherapy.org provided those insights, you’re welcome.)

Insert Love Bombing: flowers, rings (I see your matching rings – it seems a little early for that, yes? What are you, 12?), sushi, puppies, tattoos, candy corns and love notes for her all-knowing, ideal lover. That used to be me.

People try to assure me that “it’ll never last”, and that makes of sense given that they just threw themselves at one another, the first (I assume O.O) that said “ok” (rebound, anyone?), but you know, they said that about us, too. And I guess that’s true – we didn’t last. 18 years was a long run of it considering I was just a “flash in the pan”, but I don’t think it was ever meant to last. Even only a year or two in we were simply holding on to something, instead of dealing with nothing. God, what a waste of time! Waste of youth. Waste of my fertile years. Waste of money (oh, I see – “our” savings account was actually an account that only I contributed to every other week). Waste of life.

Before Love Bomb, I was doing things and going places (that’s part of the reason why she was drawn to me – her all-knowing, ideal lover at the time). I was applying to grad school, I was excelling at my job and excited about my future, I was thin and I had healthy habits. She came along and the next thing I knew I had a mug of lard in my fridge (red flag). She convinced me that smoking weed would be fun when I really didn’t want to do it (red flag). I started smoking regularly, buying my own cigs, not just bumming (red flag). I managed to gain nearly 100 god damned pounds (red flag)! Even the way we got together was a giant red flag. Let’s see, my boss and her partner, also one of my bosses, asked me to join them in the boudoir. I was 22, recently single both from a 4 year long relationship with “The Boy”, and my family had just moved all the way across the county. I was extremely lonely and vulnerable. If I had wanted to, I could have thrown them both under the bus for sexual harassment. It was completely inappropriate! It never should have happened. I never should have gone along with it. I never should have been asked to.

Our relationship was based on dysfunction right from the start, and she was always the one in charge. The boss. My boss. I couldn’t get away, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Only the Love Bomb gets to make that decision – it was NEVER up to me.

(Photo of popular internet side-eye sensation: Google images. You’re welcome.)

She was right. And so was she. Hello 2018.

Saying I’d get back to blogging “tomorrow” was enthusiastic, wasn’t it? Still, a few days later ain’t all that bad, especially since I’ve been harboring a crud since my last blog. Sneezy and Runny have arrived, along with Tinnitus and Aunt Flo – awesome! I called out on Saturday, was off on Sunday/Monday, as usual, and now it’s Tuesday, nearly 3pm, and yes, I’m home. I haven’t left my cute condo for 4 days but to take the dogs out in the arctic air, rushing to get back inside. I could have fought my way through work today, I just don’t have it in me. Besides, I’m spewing crud, it’s obvious. I appreciate it when people don’t come in to work when they’re sick, so should they.. I say that in large part to convince myself that I should stop feeling guilty for sleeping until 1:30 in the afternoon, sitting here blogging rather than perusing my bite spreadsheet and open cases.

I am not an algorithm, I see things. I am also quite sneaky, so there’s that. I see flowers, delivered on the regular to New Girl. Maybe I should refer to her as Replacement Girl? The jury is still out.. Can’t remember the last time anyone brought me flowers. Orrr that I gave them. It must be nice to be in that infatuating lust stage … being on the receiving end of the the Love Bomb. (Love Bomb. See previous post.)

Pervasive thought: I can’t believe it. I still can not believe that she left me; I can not believe that she did it the way that she did; I can not believe how things have changed. I’ve been watching Downton Abby (hell yeah, I figured out modern technology and got myself a Fire-stick for Christmas), a statement spoke to me: “Life’s altered you. What would be the point of living if we didn’t let life change us”? Nearly 19 years of thinking it would be one way, resigning to it really, only to get a slap in the face that, no, it’s not going that direction at all… It’s hard to swallow, like NyQuil. I resigned myself to a life I thought was utterly out of my control, and despite the fact that I didn’t like where we were heading, I had made a certain peace with it.

Love Bomb was never going to move away from NoVa. She was never going to ditch the stepfather (the Master Manipulator) who abused her for her entire childhood, and beyond. We were never going to be financially stable. We were never going to get out of that damn house (and she had the nerve to blame me for that). Even now, the only reason she’s managed to get out of the house is because she had an easy place to go to, instead. She refused to do the hard work: rather than find a roommate or sell the place like a responsible, er, respectable person, after 29 years in the same home, she just moved in to New Girl’s place and is letting our house “go to the bank”. I suppose that’s how she affords regular flower arrangements: she’s claiming another bankruptcy.

So, 2018. I’ve determined that it’s never a good idea to say, “can’t be any worse than last year”, because I know for a fact that I said that last year. I’m not up for that challenge again, thanks. So, here are a few quotes I use to try to convince myself that things will look up in 2018:

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” – E. Roosevelt

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” C.S. Lewis

“The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that is coming.” – Romans 8:18

“It wasn’t you that I had a hard time letting go of. It was the façade of the life I thought we had together that I couldn’t pry from my grasp.” -Kenzie D.

I’m afraid that I’ll always, for ever more, see or experience new things and think, “we would have enjoyed that together”. And I’m afraid that I don’t even occur to her. Did I occur to her as she enjoyed a midnight kiss on New Year’s Day? Because I was home, sick, on the floor, crying. Pardon me, this went beyond crying – I was downright ugly wailing, so much so I scared Millie away. Happy fucking 2018 to me.

Marriageless. Childless. Aloooone. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I’m actually a bad person, and I deserve this. I’m pretty certain that’s what Love Bomb would point out: I am unmotivated, depressive and prone to crippling anxiety; I am no fun; I messed up the relationship to the extent that she could never forgive me; I am at fault, so it’s only fitting that I get to sit alone and stew in it.

She was right. But so was she.

Yep, I done fucked up. I am not perfect. I have made mistakes and yes, I regret them. I regret, mostly, hurting my best friend of nearly 19 years. Do my mistakes make me a bad person? Was it really a mistake, or just something I wish I had approached quite differently? For what it’s worth, I’m sorry for the hurt I’ve caused …

“I know you can’t understand it, but no matter how hard you try, you are going to hurt at least on person at some point in your life. No matter how much energy you put in trying to do it as nicely as you can, in trying to let them down with as much warmth and kindness as possible, their eyes will tell you all you need to know – that you’ve hurt their heart in a way you can never understand, and unfortunately, that is the sad truth of life. We can’t be so hard on ourselves for hurting others just because we know what it feels like to go through pain. Sometimes you just have to accept that just as people give you pain, you are bound to give them pain too, and that is okay, because at the end of the day, those who hurt you played a part in your journey, and those who got hurt by you gave you a space in theirs”.  – Ruby Dahl

She was right. But so was she.

(Photo is mine – Seattle’s winter blooms)