Category Archives: Uncategorized

Forgiveness? Not yet.

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Do you ever get upset at yourself because you can’t seem to avoid thinking about something that hurts you? I do. Often.
I try very hard not to think about the ex and his wife, but damn it… shit creeps in there anyway and it pisses me off.
I don’t want this or need this, and I am doing pretty well with moving on. I know I am. I don’t cry over it anymore. It’s just that this odd, low-grade feeling of disappointment and loathing that pops up and says hi at the most random moments.
The thing is, I know it’s going to get better. Because it already has. I’ve even had fleeting moments where I considered writing to him to tell him I know he’s just a dumb human and I forgive him.
But, NO. I don’t want to contact him. And I don’t feel like forgiving him yet.
The reason I consider forgiveness is in the hope that in doing so, I could feel closure and I could move past it once and for all. Like most of us, I’ve read and heard a lot about the power of forgiveness and how it can make you a stronger, “bigger” person, all of that. I do believe it, too. I remember feeling better after my divorce when I acknowledged that X was just who he was, and he couldn’t change his ways and it was OK.
I would like to do the same thing with “Mason and Candi” (the names I think I’ll call them when I write them into a book someday). Eventually. If I can.
We will see.
What happened was not okay, and my heart was shattered and pissed on by that guy. It’s still surreal sometimes to drive past places we used to go hang out, knowing I will never go there again with him. That our life together was just a blip, an anomaly… something that never should have happened. But it did, so I am still working on properly compartmentalizing it.
Things fall apart.
Not much can be done other than sweep up the pieces, trash ’em and find a way not to be angry at the thing for being weak and breaking.

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Doing what feels right

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I’m happy to report I am definitely buying that house now.

I’m not getting it at the appraised price, though… we negotiated and fought back and forth and the lowest I could get them to go was $2K over appraisal. I slept on it for a full 24 hours AND I viewed three other cheaper homes in case I decided to back out of the contract… but in the end I decided it wasn’t worth losing this house over $2K.

There is nothing else decent on the market right now. Nothing. Even the stuff over my price point is kind of “mehh.” I’m not going to find a move-in ready house like this again anytime soon. And I already know that the house will gain lots of equity relatively quickly… that $2K will be ‘made up’ in no time. (The seller was even saying they could just sit on the house ‘a few months’ and see the value go up to the price they wanted, so there you have it.)

I feel so good to get this resolved. At last. It’s been a long three months of not-knowing-where-I’m-going-to-live.

I still don’t have a closing date, but it could be as early as a week from today. Wow!

I’ve got to line up the movers again so I hope I find out very soon. And I’ve also got to go buy a washer and dryer, so I can hopefully get them delivered a short time after I move in. (I’m domestic-geeky-excited to be buying a washer and dryer; it’s been a long time since I’ve done that and some of them are so nice now… I’m all oooohing and ahhhing over the possibilities, and trying to determine my budget. Because I still have to be frugal, of course.)

While I am happy about the home front news, I am getting more and more fed up with this job every day. I feel like Frank Costanza on Festivus when it comes to all the issues I have with the people here…

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I always try to temper my feelings about problems with supervisors with the thought of, I’m fortunate to have a job; I should be grateful and keep things in perspective.

Yeah, that’s all fine and good, but also: life is really short. I know how diligent a worker I am, and how principled and decent I am as a person and employee. I can be at a place that’s a much better fit, I’m sure of it. I just need to find it. This doesn’t feel right, and I don’t want to be treated like I am just some kid out of college who can be ‘bossed around’ and intimidated into total submission. Fuck submission. Not on the job, and NOT when you have about 20 YEARS of experience handling content and you’re damn good at what you do.

So, I am definitely, absolutely, going to begin my job search right away. I’ve already been talking to a few old coworkers and putting the word out that I’m open to opportunites.

My instincts are telling me this is a positive plan of action. I don’t have the same fear anymore, of leaving a job, as I did when I left my last one. Now I know I CAN move on and do well, and be OK. It’s never a bad idea to leave the devil you know, because… damn it, it’s still a fucking DEVIL. Get away from it!

Here’s to whatever is next! (drinks a shot of whiskey)

Just when you think everything is squared away…

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I got some good news late yesterday: the house appraised for $4,000 less than the price I was planning to pay. Awesome! My lender called me and we locked in a mortgage rate for the loan… it is kind of a bummer, because the interest rates have gone up so much since I first began this process back in November, but there’s nothing I can do. I was afraid they’d go even higher so I locked in. My mortgage payment will be more than I wanted it to be, but again, nothing I can do to change that right now.

A few hours later, my realtor called. I know when he calls rather than texts it’s something important. Turns out, the seller is refusing to honor the appraised price and wants the full amount I offered. My realtor was surprised, and so was I. In most instances, the seller understands they need to go with what the house is worth and reluctantly accepts the lower sales price.

It figures in my case, the seller is a company that flips houses and as my realtor put it, “every dollar counts to these people.” They also say they have other buyers lined up ready to buy this house at the price they want.

I countered back last night with this: the seller accepts the sales price that matches the appraisal, or I will cancel the contract. I figured I had nothing to lose by playing hardball right back at them. Call their bluff. Right now, I am waiting to hear their response.

Yes, so I’ve been trying to decide if it’s worth walking away from this house over $4,000. At the moment, I am leaning toward walking away. I’m already at the very top of my price point, and with the added interest rate percentages, my payment keeps ballooning more than initially expected. It’s still less than my last mortgage payment, but I am really serious about cutting expenses and being as efficient as possible with my money so I can save more.

Also, because I had asked for no seller concessions, I was already paying for all my closing costs on this house. The closing costs have already added $2K to my down payment… if I added this extra $4K, that’s just insulting and I feel like a schmuck being taken by someone who’s just greedy.

Sadly, my favorite backup house is now under a contingency contract. AND, to make things even more interesting, friends of mine are the ones planning to buy it. So if I try to find a way to wiggle in there somehow, it could ruin our friendship. So weird, right? (But as my family has pointed out, they sort of jumped in there and made an offer on that house right under my nose, knowing full well I was really into that house and had my eye on it for MONTHS… it would have been a courteous thing to ask me if I was planning to put an offer in on it before they did. Hell, I didn’t even know they were seriously in the market to buy. It came out of left field when my friend messaged me to tell me they are buying that house. I was shocked, but at the time I was happy for her and her family because it’s a great house. Now, a few weeks later, I am feeling selfish… ugh. What a mess.)

I found another house last night that’s a whole lot cheaper than the current one, and doesn’t look too bad. It appears to be another flip, which makes me a little nervous given what’s happening right now, but most of the houses in my price range that are not total dumps are flipped properties… the market is so tight and there is almost nothing to choose from.

I’m going to go view the new house tonight and begin formulating my backup plan should the seller on the current one decide that being a greedy dick is more important than unloading this house.

Of course, nothing can just go smoothly. But as lots of people like to point out, everything happens for a reason… maybe there is a better house out there for me. Or something.

And the other piece of all of this… why I am in a hurrry to buy something and close on it soon… is I want to find a new job. This one has worn out its welcome in a big way. I’ve got to say it’s the culture and the energy here that are driving me crazy. They started the new year with a newly-buckled-down attitude that basically treats the three “lower” employees like we are children. I don’t know why this is happening now, because as far as I could tell, no one here now was abusing the hours or cheating the system. Anyway, now we have to use this one door for our main entrances and exits and the receptionist is informally keeping track of what time we all leave and come back. Also, my boss said this thing about “8 hours is the mininum you should be working every day,” basically telling me I should be staying here late every day for no good reason. I mean, I would certainly stay late if a project was due or I needed to finish something, but to stay late just to have my butt in the chair where he can see me…? What’s the point of that? And how much time past 8 hours are they “expecting” me to work every day? One hour? Two?

Our employee handbook is no help, because it says a full time employee on salary here works 32 hours minimum a week. And that’s all it says.

I needed to leave an hour early one day to attend my house inspection, and then come in late the next day because I had document signing for the close on the sale of my house. I ended up being “out” two hours total, and I made up the time by not taking lunch hours either of those days. Now, any other job I’ve had where I’ve been salaried would have been perfectly fine with that; in fact, my last job probably would have just turned a blind eye to it because they just cared that “my work was done” and I was getting “close to” 40 hours a week.

But my boss was a bit of a jerk about it. Even though I easily made up the time on those two days, he still said that “8 hours is the minimum” thing to me.

So I’m pretty annoyed.

I haven’t been able to telecommute much because he gets weird about it. Says I can do it “as long as I have enough work to do.” So, basically, it’s okay if I don’t have enough work to do while I am sitting on my ass in my cubicle…? What’s the message here? I don’t know. So I don’t ask to telecommute unless I have absolutely no option.

And the “one bank of time off” thing has had me pissed since the first month I was here. I feel like I was tricked thanks to unclear wording in my offer letter. I need to use PTO for anything that has me out of the office (including jury duty or to attend the funeral of a close relative).

And finally, this commute is shit. I need to work on ‘my’ side of town again.

So, yeah, I am ready to start looking but first I’ve got to get a home nailed down. I’ll lose my chance at getting a mortgage if I suddenly change jobs. Nope, I’ve got to see the financial things through, in order, and then I can move on.

 

Victory! But first… moving out.

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On January 12, two new houses came on the market that had lots of potential. Both were in a great neighborhood, only two minutes’ from my Mom’s apartment. They were just two streets apart from one another, and about the same size and floorplan. They’d both clearly been flips, because all the flooring, the bathrooms and most of the kitchen had been remodeled. I haven’t been crazy about the idea of buying a flipped property–I was hoping for character, for something that was clearly loved by its owners and had well-done upgrades, not the often-rushed and cheap upgrades typical of a fast flip.

But the market has been SO tough right now. Not much to choose from. These houses were the best I was going to find. So, i made the appointment to go view them both with my sister on Saturday 1/13.

We viewed them on Saturday and both were really great, but it was obvious one house was the “winner.” It had some more unique features, a garage, and the back yard had been 80% landscaped. That’s rare. Seems like most flips do NOTHING with the yards. I’m used to seeing dirt lots with scraggly weeds along a messed-up old fence. This house, however, had new gravel, some stepping stones, and a rectangle of grass with a sprinkler system installed. The block fence had been freshly painted, which was a great touch.

I FINALLY breathed a sigh of relief. I could put an offer in on something! I ended up offering $2k over the asking price, and didn’t ask for any concessions, so my offer would have the best chance possible. Since it was already at the high end of my price range, I couldn’t offer more than that. I felt nervous about it as it was, because I had really daydreamed about having a MUCH lower mortgage payment every month. With this house, I’d still have a lower mortgage payment, but not the $200+ I was hoping to save. Oh, well. If I wanted something decent that didn’t need a ton of work and wasn’t in the shitty part of Mesa, I’d have to pay for it.

So, I did put in the formal offer, about an hour later. I did the whole thing on my phone. My sister and I went to lunch and then I went home to work on the packing. We gacve the seller until noon the next day to respond so I just tried to keep busy as I waited to hear.

At about 7:30 that night, my Redfin app pinged. It was alert that the status had changed on that house. It was already PENDING.

Son of a bitch…! I couldn’t believe it. In the same day I had put the offer in, someone else had been even faster and had beat me to it. Dejected, I sent a text to my agent to let him know I saw the MLS change for the listing and I hoped we could find something again soon. (There was always the other house I’d seen that day, and I was already thinking I’d put an offer in on that one.)

My agent called me right after that to tell me, “Congratulations! They just accepted your offer!”

Wow, what a psych-out, Redfin app! I’m glad it’s so fast to update things, but DAMN, that was a little TOO fast. So funny that the app found out before I did.

Either way, it was fantastic news. I felt such a wave of relief after that. Like I could finally drop my shoulders and breathe deeply.

But I had little time to celebrate because I still had LOTS of packing and organizing to do. I spent the next few days and nights after work just sorting through things, throwing things away, making a pile for the Salvation Army to come pick up on moving day, and of course taping up lots of boxes and stuffing them to capacity.

Damn, it was exhausting work. My sister came to help on Sunday but she’s pregnant, so I wouldn’t let her do anything with any lifting. She packed up most of my fragile stuff in the kitchen, which was still a tremendous help. But other than that, I did the entire house top to bottom, by myself.

I also sold my sectional couch to a really nice woman, who came to pick it up alone… so that meant helping her load this monster onto the trailer she rented. I also gave her the old china cabinet my ex-husband had bought, because I’m completely sick of it and it’s a collection place for junk. It was almost more annoying to get on the trailer than the pieces of the sectional, but we did it. Women rock. We work hard.

Somehow, I got it all done while still working full time. I did take off on Wednesday, when the movers were there.

The move went well, for the most part. It’s a company I’ve used before so I trusted them and that made it less stressful. The guys were moving fast, loading up the truck. But then the Salvation Army truck showed up and the driver refused to take more than half of the stuff I was attempting to donate. They said they didn’t have room on the truck even though I had given them an estimation of what I had when I scheduled the damn pick up. Hell, I had even thought I would have to donate the china cabinet at that point, but because the woman from Facebook took it, they had that one-less-thing, so I was pissed they were being all weird about it. They also wouldn’t take my old treadmill because I had dissassembled it. Grrr! I eventually resolved myself to the idea that I’d have no choice but to load my car up and take it all to the thrift store later in the day. At least they did take a couple big pieces of furniture I wouldn’t have been able to fit in my car, so that was something. Either way, fuck the SA. They also endorse trophy hunting, and hate LGBT people, so they can forever kiss my ass. I wouldn’t even have used them if the other groups like AZ Humane Society and Habitat for Humanity could have gotten a truck out there in time.

Anyway, so I finally followed the movers down to the storage unit. I did the paperwork and got the lock and access card, and once the guys were set with unloading, I drove up to Mesa to go open escrow on the new house I was buying. I was able to do that and grab a fast sandwich, schedule the home inspection on the new house, schedule the signing of the closing documents on the one I sold, and still get back down to the storage place before the guys finished unloading. I felt ultra-efficient for that.

After that, I went to my Mom’s and dropped off my carload of suitcases and storage bins that had everything I would need to live at her place for the next few weeks. My car now empty, I drove back to my old house and was about to load up the car for the thrift store run when I looked up and noticed… the movers had completely missed an entire shelf in my garage.

Noooooo! Well, I had no other option but to get it all down and load it into my car, and drive it down to the storage unit 35 minutes away. I did that, and then drove BACK to my old house to finally take the crap to the thrift store.

Once I finished all of that, I went back to the house one more time for a final check-over and to get the food in my fridge/freezer into the coolers so I could bring it to my Mom’s. At this point I was feeling shaky from exhaustion, but I finally got over to Mom’s, unloaded the car and she and I went to a late dinner over at Cracker Barrel. WHEW. I was finally DONE with the hardest part!

The next day, I had to work of course, and it was my first time getting ready in the morning at my Mom’s apartment. But I made it in on time somehow.

One expense I am so GLAD I went for was having someone professionally clean my old house after I moved out. In the past, I have busted my ass cleaning everything myself, but with everything going on, and the nice profit I was making from the sale, I figured this would take a little stress off, and it sure did. I’m always going to do that now when I move out of a place.

I had the home inspection that afternoon at the new house. I’m happy to report nothing major was found. Two brand-new appliances were not working, so the seller is replacing those, and some minor things have to be fixed, but the seller agreed to do all of them. Awesome!

So, now I am just waiting to find out what my closing date actually will be so I can schedule my move-in. I do know it will be on or before February 15. Until then, yes, I am staying at my Mom’s apartment with the four pets. It’s been very crowded, but I am so lucky my boys make it easy by being really, really well behaved. The cats took to their new surroundings without an trouble at all and have transitioned to using only one litterbox for the time being. The dogs are now used to going for brief walks outside to do their business, and my Mom is being ultra-accommodating and sweet. I don’t know what I would do without her, really. I’m even sleeping in her bed with her every night and she only complained a little about my snoring.

Today is the appraisal on the new house and Im hoping it comes in below the amount I was going to pay. It might, because the seller only bought it in November and the very, very fast appreciation needs to be justified. They submitted a list of upgrades and things they did to fix the house before putting it on the market but it wasn’t as high as it might have been… we’ll see.

Either way, I am excited to have a plan in place, and also that I’ve got a wonderful blank canvas to personalize and turn into a home. I’m looking forward to doing projects on this new house. Painting, changing out light fixtures and adding to the landscaping, mostly. It’s nice to know I don’t need to do anything huge like gut a kitchen, or put a new roof on the house, or any of that. Just move in and start relaxing. And then start painting. 😉

An inspired holding pattern

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I’ve got an obsession right now. I can’t stop thinking about finding a house! In my last post, I explained the situation–that my house closes next Friday, and I haven’t found one to buy yet–and since then nothing has changed. In fact, my anxiety has only ramped up in some ways.
I don’t feel as down or worried as I was, per se. I got some important things taken care of earlier this week so I’m a lot more prepared now for moving out. (I lined up the movers, decided on self-storage instead of a pod container service, and lined up my internet and cable suspensions/closed the accounts.) Just getting those things taken care of helped me feel more in-control again. Even though nothing great has come onto the market yet, at least I am almost ready to take the next sequential step. That’s something.
However, the house thing is on my mind non-stop. Throughout the entire workday I am checking my phone in case the Redfin app has updated with a new listing. Once I’m home I am refreshing the app constantly and checking my email, because sometimes a listing is sent first to my email and then goes live on the app. Plus, there’s a chance my realtor could notify me about something interesting. (Am I insane for still holding out a shred of hope that my dream house’s buyer will fall through and I can be the buyer? Probably! I bet that sale is in the home stretch of the escrow period and will close soon.)
I check it once before going to sleep, and the when I wake up I look at my phone IMMEDIATELY. I also check it a couple times while driving in to work. I can’t seem to stop.
I know it’s just because I am the kind of person that needs a plan. I require stability and things to be as non-chaotic as possible. Not having a home lined up is freakin’ bizarre, to be blunt. It doesn’t feel natural in any way. I didn’t foresee this possibility back when I put my house on the market because at the time, there were several houses I was itching to put offers in on. But then, my house didn’t go under contract right away… and then once it did, things didn’t fall together on the houses I was interested in or even opened escrow on.
I mean, it was always a possibility that I would have some time between moving out of my house and moving into the new one. I was thinking I would need to crash at Mom’s house for no more than a few nights. But this could turn into well over a month before I am in my own place again, at this rate. Every day that goes by when I don’t have an escrow account open on something is another day added on to the time I’ll be homeless. (In AZ, most home sales close between 30-45 days. All of my past closings have taken 30 days.)
In the meantime, I am packing up my place and plotting out which essential items I’ll need to keep out of storage. It’s a bit of a challenge but I’m getting through it, little by little. I do enjoy the process of purging all the extra crap, too. I tossed all kinds of old hair and beauty products that were gathering dust under my sinks, and a lot of expired/stale food found deep in my pantry. Tonight I am tackling my shoes and I plan to be aggressive about finally tossing the worn and little-worn sandals and boots I inexplicably still have stuffed in my closet. Anything mostly-new can go to the thrift store. (I’m having one do a pickup of stuff I’m donating on the same day I am moving out– I’m unloading a big bookcase; a china cabinet my ex-husband put together and I only kept out of functionality, but it really just collects stuff I don’t need, anyway, so it’s going; my beat-up treadmill; and lots of random household things.)
I’m also trying to sell my living room sectional. The thing is HUGE and I bought it specifically to fit in the space it currently occupies. It’s also never really been something I loved… again, it was functional over stylish. Not that there’s anything wrong with functional, but in my past I had this one amazing purple couch I’ve never stopped pining for. I’d love to find one like it again.
One kind of fun thing I’ve been doing throughout this process is collecting ideas. I’ve been savings photos of the features I especially liked about some of these houses I’ve been interested in, and thinking I’ll copy some of these ideas wherever I wind up going. In some cases, it’s paint colors I love, or light fixtures; other times, it’s the landscaping and even furniture/decorations.
Here are some of my favorite ones so far:

I’m admittedly so excited to finally find “my” home. I know I’ll know it when I see it. Each of these houses above gave me that excited, butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling when I looked at the listing and even more so when I visited them in person.
The one above with the cactuses and haphazard landscaping above (and the purple and white bathroom) is still available. I could put an offer on that one any time I want. The reason I’m not is because it’s the house I mentioned in my last post without direct access to a secure yard for the dogs, and the street it’s on isn’t all that nice/safe. But it’s still my number one backup option. The sellers keep dropping the price.
The other four photos are from that dream house I tried to buy (but my offer was rejected). That house remains the gold…no, the PLATINUM standard… any other house has to live up to. Tall order, especially in my price range. But now I know it’s possible and I don’t want to settle for a pile of junk.
Today, this beautiful house came on the market and I would put an offer in immediately if only it were somewhere else. It’s pretty damn far away from my Mom and sister, and would give me a legit hour-each-way commute to and from work every day.
But in these desperate and anxious times, damned if I’m not thinking about it. Here are some pictures of the Swanky MidCentury Beauty:

Lots of great ideas. It’s a lot of fun to daydream and plan. Now I just need a canvas.

Limbo

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So, at the moment I am not sure where I will be living in 2018. My house sold, and it closes on January 19. I will be moving out on either the 17th or 18th but even that’s up in the air because I’ve yet to line up a moving company… and there’s the thing with knowing what to do with my stuff in the first place.

I can either rent a storage unit, or try one of those POD storage containers. I’m leaning toward the POD for cost purposes, but the nice thing about a regular storage unit is I could go into it at any time if there is something I will need prior to moving into whatever house I wind up buying.

The stress of all of this is making me feel crazy. I didn’t think it would go this way… I was sure I would buy one of the great houses I was seeing back in October, November and December, but one by one they were eliminated from the running. One house is awesome but has no easy access to a yard, something that’s a necessity for my aging pets who are accustomed to quick potty breaks late at night or early in the morning. (The “wee” hours, ha ha.) It’s also in a kind of unsafe neighborhood and I like to walk my dogs every night so I need to feel safe walking around in the dark.

Another house was amazing at first glance, and I fell in love with its quirky charm. But then, I went back to see it a third time with the brother-in-law this time, and he pointed out lots of potential problems with wiring, structural damage and a couple other things that would be more than I feasibly felt comfortable taking on. Not to mention it would need a complete kitchen overhaul, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that, either.

The third house was gorgeous inside. Cozy, updated in all the right ways, beautiful kitchen and huge garage. It needed outside work on the landscaping and a good coat of paint, but otherwise seemed great. I put an offer in, it was accepted, I opened escrow, and then… I found out it was located in a FEMA flood zone. The mortgage company would require me to carry expensive flood insurance in addition to regular home insurance. The cost of flood insurance would add $135 a month to my mortgage payment, putting the house at the very top of my budget range. So I ultimately decided it would be best to cancel the contract and keep looking for something else.

Something else popped up that very same day: a 100% perfect home that was located only a five minute WALK from my Mom’s house, and didn’t need a single update. It was gorgeous, inside and out. Like something out of a magazine. I wasn’t the only person to love it, though… multiple offers were coming in. So, I made an offer above asking price with no concessions that very night and even wrote a meaningful letter to the seller explaining why I hoped they would choose my offer.

Unfortunately, they did not pick me. They went with someone who wouldn’t be depending on the sale of their own home going through–whoever they picked could just buy outright. I was devastated. And I am STILL devastated. I had been hoping-against-hope the buyer would back out for some reason and I could be considered for a backup, but as time goes by that seems less and less likely.

So now, I am obsessively checking my Redfin app for new homes throughout the day (and night) in case the right house comes on the market. Unfortunately the pickings have been depressingly slim.

And each day that goes by is a day closer to when I have to be out of my house. I am packing, slowly, but I need to kick it into high gear this weekend. I am having panic attacks (I think that’s what’s going on–my heart races, I begin crying uncontrollably and can’t function) off and on pretty much every day. I’ve been fortunate to keep it in control at the office, but when I am alone? All bets are off. I lose it, regularly. My poor dogs are stuck comforting me as I sob. And they do help… they give me kisses all over my face and make me smile again. I’m so grateful I still have them.

I feel overwhelmed and as a result, I am sometimes trapped by the inability to act, at all. I should be making more calls to find movers and I should nail down a moving date with one of the movers, but it depends on the storage thing, and THEN…

…The storage thing kind of depends on where I live in the meantime. After all, it’s all fine and good to put my stuff in storage, but where do I go with my four pets? It’s not really clear. For now, I am going to go to my Mom’s house for a few days at first. She is awesome. She’s only got a one bedroom apartment but she’s willing to let me bring all the pets here for the time being and I will sleep on the other side of her bed. It won’t be optimal but it’s the best I can do right off the bat.

I’m also looking into AirBNB rentals or month-to-month apartment leases I can afford that will at least allow me to bring two pets. My Mom is willing to look after the cats if I can’t bring them, or I will bring one cat and one dog and have Mom watch the other cat and my sister will take the other dog.

I wish I knew how long this arrangement will go on. That would help so much with the planning. But until I have an accepted offer on a house and moving toward a closing date, everything is in limbo.

It’s so hard. I really hope so much that any moment now, a new house will pop up and I can go see it and write and offer and get something underway. This uncertainty is really messing with me.

To add insult to injury, I’m still trying to get over what my ex did and work through my heartbreak. But it’s not simple or clear-cut. I hate him so much, but I still CARE, and that’s the problem. I can’t wait until I reach the point where I no longer think about him. I anticipate this will be much easier once I am out of this house and this neighborhood loaded with memories, but for now I still regularly break down in anguish over what happened, that he and Roxy are forever gone from my life and I feel relentless anger that he is so happy and moving on with incredible speed.

Thanks to his wife posting publicly* on social media, when I give in and find myself checking out her/his page, I can see what they’re doing… and they just announced they are buying a house together. So I am pissed about that, inexplicably. Like it makes a difference to my life in any way what THEY are doing… but I think because I am having so much trouble finding a house and they apparently just found one after being married only a month and already have a closing date just bugs the shit out of me. I don’t know, it’s stupid. I’ve got to get willpower back and not look at what they are doing. (*Why would she post publicly unless she wanted people who are not her friends to know what they are doing? I think she is enjoying the idea that their goings-on can bother people like me and maybe her ex. It’s kind of evil.) Anyway, I know better. But I’m weak sometimes and I look when I am particularly depressed. It’s dumb to do that. I’m trying to be better.

I will feel better and stronger, overall, when I have a plan in place. I know that.

So, any time now, universe. Give me the essential plot points to move this story along, please. I’m begging you.

Hard to like

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It’s really not easy for me to like who I am.

This is an ongoing thing for me. Most of my adult life, I’ve felt mediocre about myself. I tolerate myself, but don’t particularly enjoy who I am.

I’m wired a certain way and sometimes I want to rip the wiring out and start all over with some quality materials.

Everyone knows you’re supposed to be happy with who you are; you are supposed to “love yourself” and be happy in your own skin. But for lots of people, that’s a pretty big ask.

I like to think I’m not someone who weighs her own self-worth by what others think of her, but I think I do when it comes to certain relationships. If I think I have disappointed my family, I feel an intense wave of self-loathing that doesn’t just hit and roll back out to sea again– the wave lingers and chokes me for awhile before it eventually creeps away.

I’m kind of like that at work, too. I hate screwing up and worry that my supervisors don’t like me much. I feel like I am expendable most of the time, but that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, really: act like you’re unengaged, and you will be unengaged, and people will start to notice you don’t take pride in yourself or your work. For me, that often means I wind up doing the minimum. I get the work done, per se, but there isn’t much effort in there if I’m being honest with myself. I am not challenged much at my work for long, and feel like I am constantly “not good enough” to be a senior manager or have any real responsibility or say in the company. So of course, I am sure I look bored and seem like I don’t care… which in turn means no one is going to look at me for a promotion. Even though I could handle almost anything, I don’t “go for it.” Lazy? Maybe. But it goes deeper than laziness for me. It’s apathy.

And finally, there’s my romantic relationships. Or lack thereof.

I am depressed by the way I look. I hate almost all of my body — inside mostly, but also out. The only thing I kind of like about myself are my eyes, but I avoid looking in them.

I do that thing in a bathroom where I don’t really look at myself in a mirror if I go in there to wash my hands or something. I just look down, maybe glance up to at my reflection to make sure there I don’t have food on my shirt or my hair isn’t all goofy, but I don’t like to look at myself for longer than a few seconds. (I do look when I am doing my hair or makeup, but I still avoid really looking at myself… if you know what I am talking about.)

I know that I am unattractive to other people. I am invisible, really. I can go weeks without someone noticing me. People wait on me in restaurants or stores, I deal with coworkers and have superficial conversations with people to be nice, but I don’t warrant any special attention — not even a second glance. Men stopped flirting with me or even saying rude shit or catcalling YEARS ago. I feel perfectly safe walking around my neighborhood at night because it feels like no one is going to bother me… and no one ever does.

Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not saying I want to be harassed or assaulted. Of course not. That’s so far off from what I am trying to say it’s almost laughable, but I feel like I need to say it for clarity’s sake.

But there is still a huge part of me that can’t shake this feeling that I’m absolutely ordinary or even unattractive. That nothing puts me apart from anyone else, female or male. I feel genderless. I really do. I don’t feel very feminine even when I put on a dress, nice shoes, makeup and do my hair. I just feel like the usual me, just giving my mortal coil a little more effort with the window dressing, but I feel like I am doing it for myself because no one notices otherwise.

I’ve been in a couple relationships now where my partner didn’t want to be intimate with me. Once, he told told me it was uncomfortable to have sex with me, literally. And I knew I was not his usual ‘type’ anyway; it was no shock when after we broke up, he got together with someone who WAS his type. I couldn’t be angry about it; he likes what he likes, but it just wasn’t what I brought to the table. It is what it is, as they say. Heh.

In this last case, he was totally into me at first and we had lots of intimacy when things were new. But that quickly tapered off in frequency once we lived together a few months. I was ready to accept that this was normal, really, but it WASN’T normal… because he eventually stopped all forms of physical intimacy, not just sex. I’d have to initiate any hand-holding or cuddling on the couch, even… and that would get destroyed as soon as one of our pets came around, because his attention would immediately shift to talking to or petting the cat or dog suddenly on his lap.  I’d kind of grin, and push the rejection thoughts out of my head and focus on being happy anyway. It felt easier to not think too hard about it — just let myself be distracted and be happy with the friendship. Over time, that really was enough to make me feel content and nice in the relationship. I made efforts to not think about the sex thing because it was easier. How stupid. I know.

It’s so crippling to your self-esteem when the person YOU love and are physically attracted to just looks at you like, well, a genderless thing… a “close friend.” The feeling of rejection when you initiate something sexual only to be turned down through an excuse, or a joke, is really shitty. With the last one, he told me he was having issues with his testosterone and it “had nothing to do with me,” but I just didn’t believe it. Because it’s about WANTING to have to sex with someone. The underlying desire, not the actual act. I don’t think he wanted to have sex with me, and it had nothing to do with he “couldn’t.” If he’d wanted to, he would have seen a doctor or tried doing something different; he would have cared enough about me, and us, to make an effort to change or fix things.

But he didn’t do any of that, because he didn’t have the desire to.

He didn’t see me that way.

Maybe, and most likely, I am too fat and dumpy.  Maybe he just looked at me and was turned right the hell off. I know I am not “hot,” but I’m not a totally repulsive dirtbag, either. I see people a lot less attractive than me that are in happy, committed relationships or having sex.

I know I’m self-conscious of my fat and the way it looks when I’m naked. I avoided letting him see me naked after some time went by. I got ready for bed in my walk-in closet, or before he came in the room. He made a comment about how his past exes would sleep naked so I tried it, and he completely ignored me. I’d hoped he would have reached over and just TOUCHED my skin somewhere, anywhere, even just my arm or face, but he didn’t. He just kissed me impassionately goodnight — I might as well have been wearing a tank top and pajama pants like every other night — and then rolled over and went to sleep. I laid there feeling rejected and kind of ridiculous.

This, over time, eroded ALL of my self-confidence about my ability to be feminine or attractive.

All of it. Gone.

I bet it seems pathetic that I can’t be one of those body-positive people who doesn’t need a man to tell her she is gorgeous because she KNOWS she is.

But I don’t know how to think that way. I try. Even though I know I am forcing a thought, and trying to say a lie often enough to believe it, it still doesn’t work. I have been trying to like my body in this way for so long, and after this whole disaster of him leaving me, I gave up out of exhaustion and complete defeat.

I know that most if not all of my issues existed long before any relationship with a guy. So I can’t just blame them for my struggles. Nope. I know better.

It’s my fault, my problem, MY faulty wiring.

And I am the only person who can do anything to fix it.

I read the self-help articles and listen to the positive affirmation talks; I save optimistic memes to my phone to look at if I am out somewhere and freaking out inside. I write things down on paper to “bring substance to the thoughts” and I try to breathe deeply and relax. I force myself to focus on the good things in my life, and I can do that relatively easily… the problem is that I still wind up having to look at myself in the mirror again at the end of the day and BLAM, I am back to my primary challenge: I don’t like me.

I keep hoping for a breakthrough moment.

Something that will stick. Something that will plug my synapses in the correct order and my circuits will finally light up properly.

And I don’t mean medication. Fuck that. I am on two different medications and they take the edge off of things, maybe, but the real, hard work is going to come through figuring out how and why I think the way I do, and finding methods to reprogram myself to be happier. I wish it were easier to go see a psychologist or psychiatrist, but it’s a huge challenge when you can’t take time off of work and doctors only see people during workday hours. Not to mention the co-pays and costs because insurance only covers so much and only certain providers… I have been looking on and off and trying to pinpoint someone I can talk to, but so far I’ve hit dead ends. I hope to discover something after the new year.

I’m not giving up yet. I’m just frustrated as fuck that this is still such a problem for me, and until I fix it, I am probably doomed to repeat past mistakes and settle for less-than-good-for-me in all my relationships, not just the romantic ones.

I will keep on selling myself short until I truly, honestly, and bluntly understand my own worth.

It’s not a “narrative” if it’s truth

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Part 2:

My ex left me without giving our relationship a chance, and then lied to me when I figured out the truth. I am beyond angry at the feeling of betrayal and lack of respect, but mostly I am furious that someone I considered a FRIEND, someone I let into my life and gave my trust to, would treat me like an idiot. It’s hurtful and it disgusts me.

So anyway, I was just getting my mind used to the reality that he was going to leave for Florida and we were over as a couple, and working hard to find the positives in the situation. I was taking his words for truth. I only had the information he gave me.

Until one Sunday afternoon. He was home, just hanging out, and I was going out to take my Mom to lunch. I got in my car and went to the phone screen to call her to let her know I was just leaving and would be there soon.

Except, my phone wasn’t the last phone connected to the car’s Bluetooth. His phone was the last one. And so, when I opened the screen, his recent call records were right there in front of my face.

And he had been calling Andi. A LOT. I scrolled down, because of course I would scroll down, especially to see if he talked to her before October 6 and SURE ENOUGH, he had. I think he talked to her TWICE the day before he broke up with me. Probably getting ammunition and nerve to just get rid of me once and for all.

I turned the car off and went right back in the house and confronted him. He was really only angry at ME, for “snooping” and “invading his privacy.” I was the bad guy here. Apparently. Me, who never once snooped on a single fucking thing the entire time he lived with me. Shit, I never even looked in his clothes drawers. It just didn’t occur to me because I fully trusted him, and I am not someone who goes looking for trouble, I’m really not. And now I was this terrible snooper, looking at his phone record.

Whatever. I nailed him. He was caught and so of course he went on the defensive. He claimed that I knew he was talking to her, because he’d told me. Yes, he did tell me he HAD talked to her… a couple of times. Not twice in single days right before breaking up with me. Not almost every day since. He wasn’t honest. He wasn’t LYING, but he was being very deliberate in his phrasing so he couldn’t be accused of lying. I could see that, and I was so pissed off. Suddenly the guy I loved and thought was a great friend had revealed himself to be MANIPULATIVE.

That said, it did make things a little easier for me to be angry at him and look forward for him to just go. If he was talking to her that much, it was all over for me. Here’s why: I know her. She is also very manipulative and self-centered. And she was JEALOUS and angry that he had moved on and started dating me. It was absolutely transparent because she MADE it transparent: She sent the letter full of vitriol, insults, lies and exaggerations and it was a clear attempt to scare me off. At that moment when I read that letter, I absolutely and unapologetically HATED this person I’d once considered a friend. I mean… who does that? Who interferes with someone’s relationship? It’s not like I stole him away from her. HE came to ME. Hell, I even resisted and scoffed at his attempts to flirt in the beginning because he was always nothing more than “Andi’s boyfriend” and they were both kind of flaky and dramatic. In fact, I was so turned off by their immature behavior while we were doing a show together that I decided I couldn’t tolerate the pathetic drama of local theatre and stopped doing shows for about a decade. They both ALWAYS came off as needy and unable to exist on their own for longer than a few weeks. (The reason I even gave him a chance at all was because he owned up to his past behavior and said he had changed a lot since then and he actually gave me all indications HE HAD. Yeah, I feel like an idiot now, but looking back I remember how I really vetted everything he said and took my time letting him in. I trust my instincts. I think he DID change. For awhile. Not permanently, because that’s impossible.)

The thing is, with that letter she showed a loathsome side of her personality in a H U G E way, and as a result I can never see her any other way. And then, during the course of our relationship, if the topic of her came up with him, it was in passing and never in a positive context. She did a lot of bad things during their long and tumultous relationship. She cheated on him a few times. She had money issues and was accused of (and most likely did) steal from theatre companies and friends. She even started a mean gossip blog to say bad shit about people in the theatre community, and she was *proud* of it! Not a nice person. Clearly.

So, if he was talking to HER, well… by all means, I’m done. Because I can’t compete with that. She knows him better than I do, and knows the precise ways to lure him back into her web. She would certainly know the right things to say to get his attention away from me and back on her. I knew that.

But of course, when I brought any of this up, he scoffed and said no, of course not. NONE of this was about HER. It was about our relationship ending, and he “cherished” the time he and I had together, and wouldn’t have changed anything because of all the great times we had and the lessons learned (I’ll get to the lessons I learned later), and he understood that I was upset, but I was…

CREATING A NARRATIVE.

He’d say things like I was just really emotional and he understood how bad this was hurting me, and that’s why I was grasping at straws. Trying to find a reason for all of this that made sense to me. He insisted that I wasn’t comprehending the fact that Our Relationship Had Plateaued, and that this was also about What He Needed To Do For Himself. In saying this, he was trying to make me think I was seeing shit that wasn’t there. Making me try to doubt my own perceptions, my past experiences with her, and my own reactions and gut feelings. This is NOT a healthy thing to do to someone.

It’s a form of gaslighting. And it’s done by manipulative narcissist people who believe they are always right and are more worthy of happiness than other people might be.

Well, the gaslighting continued. He tried to remain nice and friendly but that was for the sake of his own convenience, not for me. After all, it would be harder to stay there at my house if we were angry and nasty to one another. One day I asked him if he knew where in Florida he and Eric would be moving–like what areas they were looking for apartments in– and he said they were considering places on the WEST coast of Florida, too.

SHE was on the West Coast of Florida. In Sarasota.

So I said, “I thought you were moving out there to be nearby to your Mom. Why would you move three hours away?”

He got PISSED at that. He got super defensive and nasty, and said, “Look, what I do after I leave here on November 2 is MY BUSINESSS. Not yours.”

Another indication that, yeah… he was going out there for Andi. The stuff about his family was mostly bullshit. Uh-huh. How’d I know? Because of his reaction, duh. He might as well said it bluntly at that point, it was so obvious. But he kept up his act, insisting I was making this “about Andi” when it wasn’t.

By the time he was about to leave, I had pretty much accepted he wasn’t going to be honest with me. I wasn’t going to know what he was doing because he didn’t WANT me to know. I believed our friendship as well as our relationship was going to be over. If you can’t just be honest with your good friends, what’s the point? But I was determined to be an adult, and see him off on a positive note. Try to remember those good times we had before all this happened, and say goodbye as mature and rational people. We went to a last dinner together and toasted each other’s “new journeys” and he thanked me for all I had been, and still was, to him. He said, “I do love you. You’re a good person.” I told him he was a good person, too. Hey, you say things enough, you can start to believe it.

Anyway, the next day he left and it was AWFUL. Gut-wrenching. I didn’t talk much about his dog here but his dog Roxy was the BEST. I loved her so much, and my dogs loved her, too. I couldn’t handle saying goodbye to her because I knew, in my heart, I would never see her again. It was so hard. I bet she thought they were just going for a ride and would be home again soon. My dogs looked for her that night and the next morning, Moose got up and looked around the empty rooms and went to the front door, because he missed them. I made the error of saying their names and both dogs’ ears went up and they looked to the door with hopeful faces. It broke my heart again.

A few days later, I had to go to Missouri for a business trip. I was having dinner alone and checked in a beer on the Untappd app, and saw he had checked in a beer recently. I opened his post and saw the beer was consumed in Sarasota. Hmm. Why would he be in Sarasota, if he was going right to his Mom’s place in West Palm Beach?

And then I saw an “Andi W.” had toasted his check-in. I opened her profile, which had only JUST been opened, and she had checked in the same exact beer, too. There it was. The proof they were together. And this was only on Monday, and he’d left my house on Friday.

I texted my sister and she wasn’t surprised. In fact, she said, they had been tagged together in a photo on Facebook. Right as I am reading that text from her, a message came from another friend, asking me “what was the deal with Jason and that blonde?” and a few more came that night. People knew. THEY WERE MAKING THEIR REUNION PUBLIC on FACEBOOK. They clearly didn’t care who knew they were back together. They were happy about it.

It was a gut punch. Even though I had suspected this for weeks, remember he continued to DENY it. He was making me doubt myself. He had been cruel to do that.

I unfriended him immediately because I don’t need to see that shit. I sent him a message letting him know I was unfriending him and I was soooo happy for them, and for her, finally getting what she always wanted: him! Hearts and fuck you, pal. You’re an asshole.

He didn’t respond. A few days later I wrote him a long note explaining how I think things REALLY happened, outlining all the stuff I wrote here, basically. I asked him to finally, please, just be honest with me. Just tell me the truth. What harm could it do at this point, really? We were 100% done, and he was in Florida. It’s not like we were going to run into one another any time soon. Just fucking man up; rip the bandaid all the way off and finally admit the truth. Stop fucking with my head.

He didn’t.

He did take the time to write back and address almost all of my points in the note, but he also carefully phrased shit AGAIN to not give me any real answers about her or where he was living. He was “staying with friends” in Sarasota. Which was hilarious, because not ONCE did he ever talk about ANY friends in Sarasota, other than Andi. The pink phone I saw in the background in the Untappd photo check-in belonged to “his friend Anne.” Who’s this Anne? No idea. He did tell me he had not been to his Mom’s house yet but “hoped to get out there by Thanksgiving.” (Wow, some sense of urgency to get back to your family, there.) And once more, he pushed the fact that I was creating that damn narrative again, wanting this to be About Andi(TM) when it really was not. He insisted a few times in this note that this wasn’t about her. I was having a hard time accepting the truth that We Were Over and so of course I would be trying to build this narrative that has to do with her.

I took a few days to absorb his words and wrote back. At that point, I was like, you know what, maybe it ISN’T about her. Maybe he IS telling me the truth. I began to see why I would create this narrative: Because he had a pattern. He tended to make big moves across country for love. He did it once, after she moved to Sarasota… he soon followed her out there. Then, of course, he moved to Arizona to be with me. And now, he would suddenly need to go to FL again ASAP… it only made sense given his history that it would be for love, again. There was NO WAY IN HELL he was as close to his Mom and brother as he said he was. He never cried about missing them before. He would go weeks without talking to his Mom or brother sometimes. It’s like he forgot I was there to notice that kind of shit for the past two years.

But still, the idiot that I am, I tried to take his words at face value, figuring, HE HAS NO REASON TO LIE NOW. I told him I hoped we could stay in touch somehow, like through Facebook, and I wished him well and told him to give his family and Roxy a hug from me. I told him what I was missing the most was his friendship. All true.

And then, on Thanksgiving…

They made it public on Facebook that they had gotten MARRIED.

I can’t begin to describe the feeling.

It was utter disgust and deep, deep anger. It made me physically nauseous and it still does, a month later. How could he? How could THEY? What the fuck were they thinking?! They had only been back together a couple weeks and rather than just decide to try dating again they dive directly into marriage? Who does that?!?!?!

Unstable, desperate and sad people, that’s who.

People trying to be something they are not.

People who have no respect for the people who gave their time and hearts to them for the previous two years. (Because she apparently fucked over the guy she had been dating, too. It wasn’t just me who was kicked in the gut when the tsunami forces of Jason and Andi, Together Again occurred. Sounds like she had just ended her relationship around the same time he dumped me, and he was apparently as floored by this disgusting elopement as I was.)

People who get married to an ex 18 days after pulling a rental van out of your driveway LOVE THE FUCKING DRAMA OF IT and WANTED TO BE THE CENTER OF GOSSIP ATTENTION AGAIN.

It’s so obvious that she, in particular, loves this shit. She looooooooves the fact that she was momentarily relevant again in a gossip community that had lost interest in her and her shenanigans. I know she loved it, because she had to stoke it. She wrote to me. TWICE. Once to ask me to not post my angry thoughts on posts she was tagged in, and another time to offer a lengthy explanation that I DID NOT ASK FOR, almost to just rub salt in my wound like a fucking bitch. She has lots of public posts and lovey-dovey photos on Facebook of the two of them now, almost like she is hoping everyone (including me and her ex) can see them.

Again. Who does this?!?

Who are these people?

Who the FUCK was I living with for two years?! I never really knew him, obviously. He was playing a role. Trying on a life with someone like me to see if he could handle a life that wasn’t constantly frought with drama, fights, money problems, kids that aren’t his, all of that. Turns out, he didn’t like the fit and just threw me away when he was done.

He took things he learned from being with me and is now presumably applying them to a life with HER. It makes me sick. And angry as hell.

I did not ever, not once, ask to be a part of Jason and Andi’s story. I only wanted my OWN story. I thought my boyfriend was honest, and loved me. I thought he valued me as a partner and friend. I thought my life mattered to him in some way.

And I gave up my own self-imposed single life for HIM. I wasn’t going to open up and let just anyone in. Hell no. I mean, I thought about dating and went on dates here and there but anyone who knew me also knows I wasn’t interested in settling or changing my awesome life unless the guy was totally worth it.

I thought he was. He convinced me he was, he really did.

I believed him for two years. I loved him with all my heart for two years.

And it was all for nothing, it was an utter waste of my time and energy, because he took an enormous shit on everything when he left. The way he handled this was so wrong. So hurtful. It’s like he took some sadistic joy in making me fall apart.

Because he COULD HAVE TOLD ME THE TRUTH AT ANY TIME.

Simple as that.

Yes, I would have been really hurt and angry when I first heard he was thinking about rekindling things with her, but at least I would have the real truth to work with. Not these half-assed, crocodile-tear-filled explanations, and these accusations of creating a narrative to suit my own needs.

The latter is way, way, WAY worse to cope with.

He has no idea.

He did the very worst thing he could have done by fucking with me. By coming into my life at all, at the intense level he did, when he probably knew on some level he was never going to stay. He gave me EVERY indication he was interested in a long term relationship. Shit, at one point we talked about getting married in his Mom’s backyard.

He never should have bothered me. He should have stayed in his tiny little dysfunctional world with her and not involved ANYONE else. Her, too. They are toxic. And the only toxins that can stand them are their own– they do belong together, because if they are together, they are not hurting anyone else.

I can’t help but think the most horrible, dark thoughts about both of them. It’s because I have never been disrespected at this level, EVER. I thought this kind of shit only happened in crappy movies. I’m humiliated and pissed off more than I knew I could be. I wish them unhappiness every single day. I send curses their way. I wish bad things to befall both of them AND their families. (Just not Roxanne… I still like her and wish I had stolen her like I briefly planned to at one point!) I do have faith that one day karma is going to beat the everloving shit out of both of them.

Oh, they’re happy NOW

…Basking in the newlywed glow, the excitement of being back together, probably the ridiculous make-up sex, and loving the anger and confusion they’ve stirred up… they LIVE for being scandalous. They think it’s romantic and makes them seem like these destined lovers. The attention this has caused has made their fucking YEAR.

(They even sent a “Guess What We Did!” card out in the mail to announce their marriage. It’s almost laughable how predictably narcissistic that is for them!)

But things will go back to the way they were before. Back when they were fighting a lot, back when life was a struggle, back when they were burning bridges and not being able to pay rent and arguing about how feelings have changed/you don’t love me like you USED to/you get so angry at me/ why would you cheat on me… ALL of it that I know happened. They are not changed people. They just had time to miss each other. That’ll fade when reality sets in, the adrenaline rush fades, the sex slows down and no one is talking about them anymore.

They THINK they are changed people. She had the audacity to say so in a public “note” about their controversial elopement. (Another not-normal thing to do.) That they learned a lot in their time apart and took some good things from these past relationships that they can now apply to their marriage (puke) together.

Riiiiight. Keep telling yourself that, princess. You’re in your 40s. You really should know by NOW that people do not change. As much as they might want to, they are still who they are hardwired to be. Sure, you can change a habit or learn a new skill, but you really can’t become this amazing person who is suddenly genuine and caring and forgiving and ALL OF THAT. It’s not possible.

But hey, they can have their pathetic little life together. They’re both classless assholes who use people. That truth is obvious to more than just me, I am sure of it. I’ve got confirmation of it. From people who are surprisingly close to the two of them, even.

So, after all of this, what lesson did I get out of all of this?

Surely there is a lesson to be learned. Something I can do differently to not have this happen again…

Not really.

I did all I could, and I was always honest and real. Hell, he even SAID so. Many times in that last month, he told me that there was nothing I did wrong, nothing I could have done differently, that I should be happy because I didn’t mess anything up.

He’s right. I didn’t.

Instead, the only lesson I can think of is a cruel and ugly one: DON’T EVER LET ANYONE ALL THE WAY IN AGAIN. He will only use your open heart for practice for someone else.

DON’T TRUST EVEN THE NICEST GUY. He will probably want to get back with his ex at some point.

JUST WHEN YOU THINK LIFE IS GOOD, SURPRISE: IT’S NOT. Just when you think someone really loves you for you, surprise: he doesn’t.

So, yay for me. I get to feel a whole new level of damage I never asked for. Never needed to learn.

I had to get over an emotionally-abusive ex when I divorced my husband. And that was easier than this. Why? Because the ex-husband was honest and he was who he was–a control freak jerk. Easy to walk away from because what was advertised on the box was what was inside. But Jason played me so well. He made me happy. He didn’t put me down or try to control anything, and I thought we were truly equals. It felt wonderful to FINALLY be respected.

Shows how much I know. I was just disrespected more deeply than I ever thought possible.

And they wonder why I am SO furious and full of intense rage. Fuck you both. Forever. I hope you suffer in ways you couldn’t anticipate–just like I am– because you both deserve it.

 

I’m back, because I need to vent

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Part 1:

Know why I abandoned this blog for so long? I lost my password. I looked everywhere for it, but I believe I threw away the little notebook with random passwords jotted in its pages. Anyway, this morning I’m in the shower and I remembered the very random phrase I made up as the password. Just out of the blue, blam, there it was.
I got to work and tried it out and here I am again.

Yay.

Of course, I am writing mostly for myself because most of my blogging friends have also given up on these blogs. We’re all chatting in real time over on Facebook and Instagram these days. I know some of my blogger friends are still at it, and maybe I’ll take a look again and see if any of you are still up to it. Today’s a perfect day for it, as I have to be at work and almost no one is here and there is no work to do.
***
So, 2017 has been a complete shitshow. First we got Trump and all the batshit crazy people came out of the woodwork. Our country is a bipartisan, bickering mess. My dolphin activism fizzled out because I got wrapped up in personality conflicts and weird fights with egotistical people. Around that time, my depression flared up and convinced me that all of my struggles to educate and change people’s minds was in vain. The issue was too big and too many people were just indifferent. Indifference is the biggest roadblock to trying to change the world. Too many people are complacent in the way things are and don’t care much outside of their own small sphere. I can’t fight that. I am not equipped to fight that. I was losing sleep, gaining weight, feeling worthless and not interested anymore. I stepped away. And to be honest, it has felt better to not be right in the middle of shit, but the side effect is that I feel guilt and shame and like I’m weak. The truth is it’s kind of normal to burn out when you care as deeply as I did. I still care SO much. But I’m more quiet about it and doing things like writing occassional letters to senators and companies asking them to cut ties with anything related to animal exploitation, signing petitions (which I am on the fence about regarding effectiveness) and… I don’t know what else I feel like I could be doing. I’m working on it.

My desire to work on my fiction disappeared. Completely.

I stopped writing my Tarzan retelling sometime in 2016 and never picked it up again. In fact, I even avoided re-reading anything I’d written and walked away from writer groups. I can’t explain what happened, because it’s not like there was an incident or something that made me just stop one day. It was a gradual loss of interest. Until soon, the thought of sitting down to write new scenes in that book, or any of my books, was completely uncomfortable. This is the second worst thing to happen to me this year. This is like an amputation; a major limb of mine is gone, or at least paralyzed. I’ve always been a writer. I’ve always made up stories, and imagined scenes. I used to think of dialogue and plot points while I was driving, while I cleaned the house, while I walked the dogs, even while I was sitting at work or out to dinner. It’s SO WEIRD to never think like that any more. It bothers me so much I avoid thinking about it and change the subject in my mind before I start wanting to scream in frustration and mourning.

So, what was the #1 worst thing to happen this year? My now-ex.

We had a solid relationship for two years. He lived with me, and our home was so nice together. His dog and my pets got along great and we had a nice harmony and energy in the house. We went on road trips, we had a great group of friends, things felt incredibly healthy. He and I didn’t fight. We had disagreements here and there, mostly after drinking a bit too much, or over political and women’s issues (he sways more conservative than I am comfortable with, in retrospect) but we never went to bed angry at one another. I taught him how to end an argument with laughter, something he apparently didn’t do in other relationships.

I thought we were honest with one another, always. I know I was absolutely honest with him at all times. I wanted us to talk a lot. I believed he was honest with me, and was talking about everything just like I was.

We had one big issue, though, that was simmering under the surface: a lack of intimacy.
This is going to veer into TMI territory, but it’s all real and I don’t feel shame in the facts. Shame is where issues come from. I don’t want any more issues.

Make a long story short: I wanted sex and he did not. We stopped having sex altogether at least a year and a half ago, now. He initially told me it was because of possible hormone issues and that this had happened in his last relationship, too. I asked him bluntly if it was me: was it my weight? My hair color? Was it because I was not his ex?
No, no and no, he insisted. It was NOT ME. It was HIM.

But time went on and he never went to talk to anyone about it. Never saw a doctor. When I playfully tried to come on to him, he would deflect my efforts with laughter or changing the subject. I felt rejected and quite unattractive as a result of this, which in turn creates that horrid cycle of low esteem = low attractiveness, and I’m sure I became even LESS attractive to him because I felt dumpy and unwanted. I stopped trying as often to initiate things, but the topic still came up in conversation whenever it felt organic for me to say something. I tried very hard to distill the point that, look, this is important to me, and if I am important to you, you’ll look into this.

What I did, though, was push it aside. I convinced myself I didn’t need sex to be happy, and it was actually true after awhile. It was easy because our FRIENDSHIP and bond was so strong. I loved being with him, and loved the low-key, relaxed nature of our relationship. We had lots and lots of fun together, and we always had one another’s backs. If he did a show, I was supporting him by making sure he got to and from rehearsals every night (he never had his own car), and went to hang out with him and his cast mates after shows even when I was tired and didn’t really want to sit at Zipps Sports Bar and drink lame beer. I asked him about his day and listened to his answer. I wanted to plan a way for us to spend the holidays with his family, or at least make sure we found a way to get him home to Florida to be with his mom and brother for either Christmas or Thanksgiving. It was genuinely important to me that he have a relationship with his family even though he was in AZ. I loved his family.

I had thought he was supportive to me, but in retrospect I see things I didn’t before. When I got sick last spring and needed to go to the emergency room, he acted strange and selfish. He didn’ want to go back with me even though I was scared. He was more concerned that he might get sick than being with me. He got testy with me on the way home because the doctors didn’t find a definitive diagnosis for my pain and he implied I was “milking it” for some kind of attention, and if I had been considerate of him, I would have asked to go to the hospital while it was still his workday so he wouldn’t have wasted his whole free night at the hospital (meanwhile, I was trying to fight having to go to the hospital at all, not trying to be inconsiderate to his free time schedule). It wasn’t the way a true boyfriend should have behaved.

(This is sadly nothing new for me. Another ex of mine barely visited me when I was going through the sepsis infection and then laparatomy surgery 14 years ago because he “hated hospitals” and really wanted to spend time with his friends playing a board game; we ended our engagement a few months after that.)

But anyway, I overlooked these things mostly because our everyday life was so nice. I loved our familiar routines and the things we shared. I loved sampling new beers and getting into brewery culture. For his birthday in August, I orchestrated a trip to Denver so we could visit a number of breweries. We spent that trip driving all over and went to something like 10 breweries.

It was only a month later when something felt different. We had an intense discussion about intimacy one night and he started to say things that made me think he was hiding some truth from me. I suspected it had to do with his ex, Andi. Why? Because if I brought her up–especially this scathing letter she wrote to me back when he and I first began dating– he was evasive. Before this, if I brought that letter up, he would say how much that letter hurt him and he couldn’t believe someone he had loved could be THAT cruel and hurtful. He would talk about what a slob she was, and how hard it was to live with her because they would argue and there were perpetual “hurt feelings” between them, and all this negative stuff.

But all the sudden he wasn’t saying any of THAT. Now he was almost lamenting that “they never had a real chance to be alone together without her kids around” in the years they were together; and if I asked him point-blank if he was attracted to her he CHANGED THE SUBJECT. He would not answer me. In fact, he turned it around on me: “Why is this so important to YOU?” he asked. Because it is, numbnuts. Answer the question.

He did, sorta. He told me “She has a long term boyfriend.” Like that just shut the door on it, definitively.

I had to go to Cleveland for a marketing conference that had me away for three nights. This was also around the time of Hurricane Irma, which was hitting South Florida… which happened to be where SHE lived. He told me he was in contact with “family and FRIENDS” in South Florida because he was so concerned for their safety during Irma. I had to accept that, because I remember how awful it felt when Hurricane Sandy was going on and my loved ones were right in its path.

I now know he was talking to his ex while I was away. A lot. And then continued to talk to her after I got back. They had, according to her (because OMG, she later wrote to me and told me all this shit), some “side conversations” about theatre, old friends, and other stuff and it snowballed from there. I went to NJ for an entire week at the end of September. He stayed home, happily. He was talking to her pretty much the entire time I was away.

Funny thing was, I had a feeling. It was just a gut feeling but I felt like I was losing him, fast. It was largely because I never heard from him much while I was away. Almost no texts or messages, and no phone calls. Just radio silence. He was “busy working on his scripts for Poefest” according to him. Uh-huh. A year earlier he managed to get his Poe scripts memorized in less than a third of the time he was claiming he was using this year.

The day I left NJ to come home was awful. I had to leave at 3am and my sister, BIL and niece were staying for two more nights and I didn’t want to go. And I felt the plain indifference coming from my boyfriend regarding my return in his matter-of-fact texts about how he had to pick me up at the airport that morning. He picked me up, and I was jetlagged and emotional and not 10 minutes once we got home, he started laying some seriously intense shit on me:

He was thinking seriously about leaving. He wanted to go back to Florida. He began to cry and said he realized in seeing my photos and posts about being in NJ how important “home” really is… and he wanted to go home. He missed his mother SO MUCH, he said. She was getting older and he felt guilty not being nearby to help take care of things. He missed his brother, also, SO MUCH. He had been enjoying playing video games with his bro remotely and talking and now he just wanted a close, in-person relationship again.

As for us, him and me, he said he felt like we had not quite “bonded as a couple.” I was in shock about this one, because I felt plenty bonded to him. But he continued, saying in his last two relationships, he and his ex had early “bonding experiences” that cemented their lives together. He felt we were lacking that. I asked him if we could keep talking about this, and see if we could work on things, and he said, “I don’t know.” Hmm. You’d bring this stuff up to me, but NOT be on-board with trying to fix anything? OK…

I felt gutted and so upset. I couldn’t believe it seemed like he actually wanted to end our relationship. I had thought we were moving toward eventually getting married one day. I know his Mom and my Mom wanted that VERY much. I always pushed marriage-thoughts to the side only because we had both been married once before and I was content in taking things slowly. I didn’t want to push him. Now I wonder if I should have pushed… but I only think that once in awhile, these days. You’ll see why, soon.

We kind of went about our lives in an awkward way. I again didn’t want to push the hard conversations, and we seemed to do well when we focused on the happy and positive things, so we fell back into that pattern. Playing with the dogs, watching our shows, talking about the news, having beers and dinner.

But then on Friday, October 6, he took us to dinner at our favorite spot, Papago Brewing Company. As we were settling in to eat our dinners, he said it: “I’m moving back to Florida and ending this relationship. I’m planning to leave around November 2.”

I tried to handle it rationally and let him talk, while inside my heart is pounding and I’m feeling crazy-trapped and out of control of anything regarding “us.” Plus we were in public and I couldn’t just break down crying there.

But it was true. He really was ending it. He had decided, for both of us, that we were finished. He said we had “plateaued” and that “it’s not like we were going to get married. I don’t mean any offense, but I don’t see you as marriage material and that’s mostly because I don’t believe in marriage. My mother has been married four times and marriage doesn’t solve any problems in a relationship. It’s not for everyone.”

In the days that followed, I was lost and flat-out gutted. We talked a lot more, and I pleaded with him for some more time. After all, we had invested two whole years already, so what’s say, two more months? Would it be so unreasonable to go talk to someone, get some counseling? Try something adventurous and new to spark something between us? Anything, everything… I was willing to do it. I just please, please, please needed him to not just decide for BOTH of us that this was unsalvageable.

But, no. He wouldn’t change his mind. In fact, I finally had to ask him to say those words definitively so I could stop trying so hard: “Nothing you say can change my mind.”

Wow. Just, wow. So, it was all over, we had never bonded (news to me), and he had to leave ASAP, no questions asked. I had no say in it, I just had to accept it.

Here’s the thing: I was so good to him, for two years. I took care of him, he took care of me; we were such good friends and partners; my family adored him, my pets adored him, my friends accepted him and liked him. I let him live in my house only paying a portion of the living expenses (he made a lot less money than I did). I let him use my car when he needed to. There are countless other things that were good about our life together, and none of that amounted to shit. Nothing worth fighting for. No second guessing or second chances for me. Not only were we breaking up, he was moving thousands of miles away so it’s not like we could phase out of our close relationship. One day he would be here, and the next: totally gone.

It just didn’t feel fair.

It felt like I was being cheated out of a chance to change anything, the chance to try. If he had just given me that, it would have been so much easier, emotionally, for me. I really sank fast into a deep depression, not feeling “worth” much, not even worth a little more time or effort. Everything we had was just about to be finished, for good. I didn’t want this, in any way, shape or form.

He stayed for an entire month. That’s because he was doing a show that he was in through October 30. I let him stay in my house even though I think, in retrospect, I should have kicked his ass out, knowing what I now know. I feel so angry that I was used and taken advantage of for his own convenience.

All this time, I tried to find out more for my own peace of mind. Like, where was he going to move? Was he going to live at his Mom’s? Yes, he said that he was going to stay with her for a little while, but the plan was to get an apartment with his brother somewhere relatively close to his Mom’s place in West Palm Beach. I asked him a couple times if he had been talking to Andi, because of another damn gut feeling coming from that conversation when he wouldn’t answer about being attracted to her again… and he said they were just casual friends and yes, he had talked to her a couple times but mostly he was talking to her son, who was in the Marines and seemed to need advice and support while getting through basic training. More than anything, he said, he couldn’t wait to be with his family again. Talked about making the Thanksgiving turkey so his Mom wouldn’t have to cook this year. It was ALL about his family, this move. And the urgency was so he could be back there for the holidays this year.

Meanwhile, I looked into selling the house. It was not really MY house; it felt like OUR house because he had moved in with me just 6 months after I bought it, and everything reminded me of happy memories we’d had. Plus, I was sick and tired of the pool. And I would be paying a lot without his contribution to the monthly bills– I could handle it, yeah, but if I could find a way to live cheaper, without a pool, in a new place and making a fresh start of my own, why not? So I put energy into that, in many ways to distract and give myself a plan of action so life would not be happening TO me so much. I needed to get control of my own life again after having him comandeer the wheel of our relationship and drive us off a cliff.

But right when I was beginning to get used to the notion that it was going to be over for good between us, and thinking we might remain friends after he left, things took an ugly, blonde turn.

I’ll continue this in my next post.

The tricky landmine of logic and lust

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Well, I have an opportunity to date someone.

It’s this guy I know through a friend. He saw some comment on FB I posted on the mutual friend’s wall and he got in touch with me. He turned out to be really cool. Intelligent, witty and sarcastic, and he likes a lot of the same things I do. He gave me his HBOgo password so I could watch Game of Thrones. We emailed back and forth for a couple of months, but never talked on the phone or met in person until late August when he invited me to go see a stand-up comedian downtown.

I was nervous and almost bailed. I’m confused. On one hand, how fun it could be to have a boyfriend again, right? Especially one who is a lot like me and is easy to get along with? But on the other hand, I am planning to move to NJ. If I start something serious here, now of all times, it could really suck when the time comes to leave. (PS: I haven’t told him about NJ yet.) And finally, I’m still not sold on the idea of a relationship. As nice as romance and sex could be, it does bring certain expectations regarding time and responsibilities to remember important dates and to contact your partner on a regular basis (probably every day, right?). I’m feeling a time-crunch every day as it is. So many things I want to accomplish and spend time doing. Not sure I want to give up any of that time right now.

So, we met in person at last. All signs pointed to, “YAY!” He was really fun to hang out with. We laughed and talked easily like we were old friends. He’s like me with going off on tangents and taking weird humor a little too far; we had a great time together.

I think it will be great to hang out with him some more. We did it again on Friday night when we went to see Tom Green (who was hilarious, by the way). I remember laughing really hard in the parking lot as we walked up to the club because we were trying to do different accents and both of us suck so much at it. “Everything winds up going back to East Indian,” was the conclusion we made about our terrible abilities. During the show, we sat next to one another and shared a plate of pretzels and he brushed against my arm many times.

After we hang out, he sends me nice messages that say “I had a wonderful time with you” and “your eyes are so beautiful. I tried not to stare since I know you’re weird about eye contact and all of that, and I didn’t want to creep you out. But I really like looking at you… ok, now I do sound creepy. I can’t win.” 🙂  It makes me feel nice, and it’s flattering that he enjoys spending time with me and clearly has something of a crush on me, too. I can tell he feels that way when we are together, because of the way he looks at me, the little gestures that are kind of “we are on a date” in that he won’t allow me to pay for anything, and he’s a total gentleman.

HERE’S THE PROBLEM.

I am not physically attracted to him. 😦

And I feel awful for not being attracted to him. I feel so superficial and stupid, because I know it shouldn’t be all about looks and all of that. I do know that.

My secret thought is that, if I do decide to have a boyfriend again, I want to have the whole package. Someone who is fun and caring, but also gets my heart racing in that way.

In the vast majority of my past relationships, I have ‘settled’ for good enough, or what appears to be good enough at the onset. I know I am bad at picking good boyfriends and (gasp) husbands. I also know that I usually always concede the ‘sexual attraction’ thing.

Awful confession: In my last two serious relationships (including my marriage), I tolerated sex. Or, I would start off wanting it and then it would fade away fast. In the first case, Writer Ex didn’t enjoy sex with me after about 6 months or so, anyway. He even told me something inside me hurt him. Later, I found out I have severe endometriosis and my organs were all meshed together by scar tissue, pulling things in the wrong direction, so that could have been what was bothering him (and me! Ouch!) but the psychological effect of someone saying they didn’t want to be full-out intimate, yet they still wanted to cuddle and stuff, messed with me in a big way. I felt repulsive and sadly, not very feminine or confident. Plus, the longer I was with him I was turned off by HIM. He wasn’t a good-looking guy at all (some say he was my all-time homeliest boyfriend) but back when I met him, I was all attracted to his personality and sense of humor and the fact that we both loved writing so much. He became attractive– for awhile, anyway. It all faded. We mutually agreed to end our engagement in an almost-painless conversation that was laced with relief. Weird.

And then X came along. I know now that he was mostly a rebound from Writer Ex. He was not attractive at all to me. In fact, I was flat-out turned off by his shaved head and blue eyes. He reminded me of a skinhead or something. But he was very nice and caring back then. He was so attentive, and so different in his affections and level of attention than Writer Ex ever was. He did amazing things to impress me back then; these romantic gestures and surprises that had me in awe because no one had ever been that nice to me. We had a few shared interests and we did laugh and stuff. He had a decent job, a house, and was very responsible and adult.

I thought I had found The One… and the fact that I didn’t find him sexually attractive was something I decided to overlook. Make the best of it and DON’T BE A SUPERFICIAL JERK. Some things outweigh looks.

And we all know how that mess turned out in the long run. How his super-attentive and responsible side took over and crushed everything in my life. How he was insanely possessive and bossed me around like I was a little kid who didn’t know anything about the world. How he put dozens of restrictions on me, including who I could spend time with and how much time I could “reasonably” spend with those people. It was the ugliest, most nasty relationship I have ever had. It got so close to destroying me. He found my vulnerable psychological spots and he pummeled the shit out of them. Even when I made my case, pleaded and downright begged, in tears, for him to ease up on me, he wouldn’t do it. Leaving him was the most wonderful decision I have ever made.

After those two consecutive debacles, it’s easy to see why I enjoyed living on my own, not dating or even caring one shit about men, for the next 5 years.

Sure, I wonder sometimes what’s wrong with me, why I don’t feel the urge to get out there and try harder to attract male attention. Part of me wants to be in a relationship, of course. I’m only human and I do have some hormones at work. YET, I routinely find myself saying “I can’t be bothered” with “all of that” and I always mean it. I try reaching out and giving the dating/attraction thing a go of it every now and then, but in the end I appreciate the moment of, “Oh, the hell with this, I’m gonna go write” too much to keep trying.

And so, that brings me to my current dilemma.

I feel like I should feel ashamed on my gut reaction, which is to wait for the whole package this time.

At this point in my life, I feel strongly that I deserve the very best match for me that’s possible. I’ve had it with guys who treat me like shit. Yes. But it’s interesting, because at the same time I am also done with guys I am not actually attracted to. Guys who I say are “good enough” and, in the process of trying to Be Adult About All of This and realize that Looks Don’t Matter in the End, I decide to give them a shot.

I’m tired of not feeling magic when I kiss someone. OK, I am a LOT out of practice, at the moment, but I still know all too well that feeling of “well, this is OK” when I kissed past boyfriends/husbands. And I also remember how it felt to kiss the good ones and go, “Holy shit, this is HOT!” Right now I want a spark, damn it. A real, honest to God, two-way attraction. I was lucky enough to get it once or twice in my younger life, and now I want it again.

At the moment, the way I feel about Funny Guy is… I feel like he is excellent guy-friend material.

Ugh.

I’ve had guy friends like this before, and I love them. But the thing with these particular guys is they just don’t seem like potential boyfriends. They seem like buddies. Someone to be crude and stupid with in my joking around. The sex-spark is never once ignited. At least not for me. In fact, it’s almost impossible to see them in “that way.”

So, now I am caught in a tough place. Today, Funny Guy pretty much asked me on a date. He said we should go to the movies together sometime, and in the last email he said, “Let’s make it a date! Yes, I said the d-word.”

And I am like, “OHHHH NOOOO.” Cue sad-face.

I have to reply to him somehow, but all day I have been agonizing over what to say or not say. Three main options here: 1) I thought about just acting like he never said “the d-word” and keep going with my natural reaction, which is to not let it go there. 2) I could try to find a way to word it so he knows where I stand, and do it without hurting his feelings. 3) Or, I could go with it, go on the damn date, and see how it feels. Give him a chance.

Damned if I don’t even want to try the third option. I know. I suck.

Here’s a perfectly good guy on all initial accounts. He and I have a great rapport. He doesn’t date around (he’s also been single for a really long time). He has a decent job, and takes care of his elderly mother. He is humble and kind. All of this is important shit.

And here I am all cringing at the idea of possibly kissing him.

He’s not repulsive. People who see his picture have said, “Oh, he’s cute” or “Oh, he’s not bad.” OK. That’s something.

But as I think of it, it’s almost a subconscious thing that’s guiding me, here. Something deep inside that says “nope” and tells me to keep this one on a friend level. It could be a basic chemical reaction, like you read about with pheromones and compatibility on a genetic level– a sixth sense, in a way. Or it could just be me being afraid of having a boyfriend again, period. Or I just don’t like him in that way, and that’s the end of it. Either way, I feel something telling me it’s OK if I don’t want to kiss this guy, or spend too much time with him.

I’m not sure what to think. Trust my gut, or let my brain step in and be logical about this and give the guy a chance for all the right reasons.

I hate this crap!