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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Residue buildup

Ok so one of the super-duper things about dating in "mid-life" is figuring out how to deal with the residue of a past marriage or relationship.  Yours AND that of your partner.

I've been divorced a long time.  I haven't ever wished I'd put more effort into bailing to try to save that sinking ship.  I gave it my all for 10 years, and figured that was long enough to spend on something that was never going to change.   I couldn't afford to stay in the home my ex and I built, so my boys and I started in a crappy rental, and as my financial situation changed, we've moved up a few times to get to where we are, so we didn't get super attached to our houses.  Moving makes it easy to jettison a lot of residue. 

CG has been through a similar situation, but has been in his home for many years.  His kids were very small when he and his wife chose that home to raise their family in.  There is sentiment attached to many things there. 

I haven't asked CG to change.  Really.  He is perfect for me just the way he is.  I have really appreciated the fact he's made some changes to his home and his life in order to accomodate me, but it's not because I've insisted. 

It's funny how women seem to attach sentimental  feelings to things more than a man will.  CG sized his wedding ring down to fit his pinky and has worn it since his divorce.  He didn't attach any meaning to it other than the fact he liked the ring. 

I liked my wedding ring too.  It was a gorgeous gold band hand made by my ex-husband, so rather than selling the gold, I sent it to my beautiful step-daughter for a right hand ring.  I just thought she might like the fact that her father made it, I had worn it, and it was made with gold from several of my dad's tie pins... I would never have put it on to wear again, because it signified a negative time in my life. 

Anyhow, rather than magpie-ing the way women will,  some time ago I asked CG if there was any significance to his wearing the ring.  He assured me there wasn't but I guess my asking got him thinking.  Last night he asked me if I noticed how much he's growing and changing... I said I had noticed a lot of things he'd done recently... Then he said, "Did you notice my hand?".  I hadn't noticed he wasn't wearing his ring....

His removing that ring meant a great deal to me.   He did it of his own accord, not at my insistance or suggestion, so it means so much more.  

That's the difference between the me I am now, and the me I was at 27.  When he told me there was no longer significance to the ring for him, I'd taken him at his word, and moved on.   Back then, I'd have shredded myself into a ball worrying about what wearing that ring meant, or why he had photos of his ex in his yearly albums or whatever else.  How do I know?  Because that's how old I was when I became a second wife... tough gig being second wife during my first marriage... 

The me I am now, realizes when he reminisces about his first significant girlfriend, or smiles at an old memory, it's ok.  I do the same thing from time to time.  It doesn't mean I'd go back to that person if they showed up on my doorstep, and more significantly, I don't feel threatened that HE would either.  I love my life now.  I love this man now, and I like myself way better than I did at 27.  CG and I are who we are now, because of the experiences we had in our life up until this moment. 

So... I'd like to acknowledge all the other women he's had relationships with.  That doesn't mean I want to meet them and become BFF's.  It also doesn't mean I won't feel a twinge if I meet them and they're prettier or skinnier than me. 

I don't have to like it when I know he's reminiscing about his time with another woman, but I appreciate the man he's become because of his relationships with them.  Most significantly his ex wife... She, more than any other ex, helped to shape him into the man I love. 

Like my ex, she left some permanent and very positive residue... beautiful kids.  Our children are living proof that we both lived and loved before.   Don't get me wrong..there are days I'd like MY 21 and 19 year old "residue" to get school finished, move out and start their adult lives, but they're the sort of residue I hope keeps coming back...  To VISIT....


Friday, 25 November 2011

I'm so thankful it's nauseating. Really.

I realize writing when life is really good is probably way less engaging than when my life sucks and I have a big, fat target on my back, but my life these days is just how I hoped it could be.  I realize I’ve had my teeth kicked out and handed to me more than once, but instead of waiting for that to happen, I’m enjoying what life has become.  For the first time in my life, I’m feeling secure.  

Yesterday, I discovered a great song writer.  Shazam-ed a song in the middle of Michaels’ Craft store… hadn’t heard it before, and just fell in love with the guy’s voice.  The song is called “My Favorite” by Gabe Dixon.  It just caught my heart, and expresses pretty succinctly how I feel… that led to feeding my iTunes addiction in purchasing the whole CD… which has quickly become my favorite playlist.  Yes, I’m sentimental as hell… and found myself in tears more than oncelistening to “Even the Rain”, just absolutely overwhelmed by my good fortune.  So here’s my plug for the day… go to iTunes, and listen to this guy. 

I think having lived through absolute Hell a year ago has given me a new perspective.  That hell started in October, when my father was diagnosed as having terminal cancer.  We thought he’d beaten it, but it came back with a vengeance, putting him and my family into a world of hurt, with the crescendo Christmas Day when my dad left us.   When my relationship ended just two weeks after my dad’s death, I think I was about as low as I could get.  I couldn’t see how there could possibly be an end to the pain…

Slowly, though, things started to get better… I’d started seeing a counselor earlier in the year when I recognized my then boyfriend and I had some communication issues.  She realized long before I did that relationship was a dead horse, and I was wasting my time.  She also realized I was ready to have someone in my life who saw my value, and would appreciate my nature.  She knew I had to mourn not just my dad, but the death of my long distance relationship, so she led me through that dark place and encouraged me to look forward.

When she decided I needed to “get out there” in April, I thought she was crazy.  I didn’t feel ready, but she could see the rust had begun falling from my heart, and it was time to feel again.  She assigned homework.  I was to join a dating site and get out there into the land of the living again.  I did what she asked with a great deal of trepidation and dark humor.  I hated every second of being online, but started a dialogue with about 3 or 4 men with whom I seemed to have something in common, but the “fit” just wasn’t there. 

Then I came across a profile that had something in it I found interesting way beyond the one photo of a smiling dark haired man.  I generally didn’t make first contact with anyone online, but with him I chose to send a “wink”… basically a lamo little notification that I’d found his profile interesting.  

He wrote me an articulate, warm email about a week later.  Just long enough that I’d given up on hearing from him, so it was a pleasant surprise.  We exchanged a couple of emails back and forth, and then decided to meet.  We’d both been through a few disastrous meet and greets, so neither of us was expecting to have things go well... but they did. 

Our timing was interesting... that first meeting took place on Friday the 13th.  Turns out it was a pretty lucky day for me.  The instant I saw "CG" as he’s become known, I just knew this date, at least, was going to be fun.  3.5 hours later, when he realized he had to go rescue his poor cats who were tethered in his back yard, I think we knew we had potential.  I was absolutely sure I wanted to spend a lot more time with him. 

We have spoken on the phone, texted and/or seen each other every day since, and every single day, I can’t wait to hear his voice or see him.  He is the first person I want to call to share good news with, and he’s who I turn to for advice or a laugh.  He gets me.  I get him.   It’s good.  As good as it gets.

This Sunday we will have our 5th Biweekly Sunday dinner as a "family".  We all just seem to fit.  As much as I wish our weekends lasted much longer, I look forward to those Sunday afternoons.  We’ve had small dinners with as few as 5 of us, but the last two have been much larger… our kids like each other, and have started to bring their friends along to enjoy a good meal and conversation. 

CG and I sit there like parents do, enjoying the fact that our kids, his neice and friends are there, enjoying the banter, the laughter and stories… the best part, is they have all expressed how they want to start eating together EVERY Sunday.  CG figures they want to spend time with each other, and we just happen to provide the food and location, but being a big suck, I like to believe they enjoy the time with us too…

I know our kids are happy to see us happy.  My oldest told me the other day, that he really likes the feeling of family and belonging.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.  One day, I look forward to having my step kids from my marriage and their partners and children there to join us.

Why do I deserve this any more than my beautiful girlfriends who are still out there trying to find the place they belong?  I don’t.  I realize how fortunate I’ve been.  I hope with all my heart that each and every one of them will find what I have right now.  I hope, too, that CG and I are able to keep the momentum going.  I simply love this man.  I have never felt so cared for, and I’m truly 100% happy for the first time ever.