Happily ever after. . . What the . . .?

As a single mother, I find that I have a different perspective on things.  What I want, what I am willing to settle for, what I need, what I want for my children.  While these seem like basic things, when you do them alone, all the time, they take on different importance.

I always felt, and certainly always told my friends, that even when I was married, I was a single mother.  I worked a full time job (outside the home), and then had to deal with the kids – homework, baths, cleaning up their rooms,  food shopping, making dinner, laundry, doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments, lessons, after school activities.  The list was endless.  Except when it wasn’t.  When a bulb blew out in the kitchen, my ex-husband would run to the store to get a new one and change it.  (Of course he was eager to get out of the house so he could get high in the car.  Did he really think that I couldn’t smell it?)  When the car insurance was due, he would pay it.  When the pipe in the kitchen leaked, he would get a plumber.  When there was no milk at 11:00 pm, he would run to the store to buy a carton.  (See light bulb excuse.)  But all that notwithstanding, that meant that I didn’t have to do it.  Maybe being responsible for 99.99% was difficult, but there are days when being responsible for 100% is close to impossible.

I spent last Sunday with my younger daughter and a friend of mine going shopping.  I can’t afford to buy anything for anyone since I am now starting my 8th month of unemployment despite all efforts to get a job and starting my own business has been rough going, to say the least.  But child number 2 needed new sneakers, a dress, and generally some things to make her feel normal.  My girlfriend picked us up from the train station and en route to the outlet mall (where else) she called her husband to remind him to go food shopping.  She had left the list on the counter, but needed to add a case of Gatorade.  The call was on speaker and they discussed what he would buy for dinner and perhaps grill when she got home.  Hmmm, dinner was not even on my radar at 11:45am.  She hung up with her husband, looked at me with tears in her eyes, bemoaning the plight of being a single mother and how hard SHE has it.  HUH???  It’s a good thing I love her or I might be writing this post from jail, although I’m hard pressed to believe that a true jury of my peers (SINGLE MOTHERS) would ever convict me.  I tried to tell her that as difficult as she thought she had things, she has a job and she has a partner, someone willing to help out, maybe not to the extent she wanted, but from my vantage point, any help is a lot of help.  She complained about the fact that if she hadn’t written the shopping list, he wouldn’t know what to buy.  (So what?!?!?!)  That if she didn’t tell him which store to go to, he would go to the “other one.”  (Again, so what?!?!?!)  That, worst of all, if she didn’t call in an hour, he would be taking a nap and get to the store late.  (Really?  That’s worth complaining about??  He’s going to make sure he gets to the store because he certainly doesn’t want to incur her wrath.) 

On the up-side, she has his co-parenting (he was one the that took their kid to their afternoon game so she could go shopping); she has his pay check (directly deposited into their joint checking account); she has help around the house (as limited as she might think it is); she has his company at night, on weekends, on vacations, at the soccer field, at the parent teacher conferences, when she’s sick, on her birthday, etc., etc.  And yet . . . she complains often.  And seems unhappy in her marriage.  And talks about the lack of sex.   Crying over lunch the other day, she told me that at least she has her husband, who loves her and will never leave her.  How does she know that?  Why is she so confident of that?  I was surprised.  And a bit jealous.  Happily ever after is not what it sounds like to me.

Things with my ex-MM/BF have been pretty good lately – normal, almost.  The distance is difficult sometimes, the same stupid issues pop up and out of my mouth, but what I’ve come to see is that, as a single mother, there are other people who have plenty to say about things that are none of their business. 

My children, for example, feel that they are entitled to say anything they want about anything they want.  They like him; they don’t like him; he annoys them, they annoy him; they want him to come over, they don’t want him to come over; the list is endless and impossible to follow for any rhyme or reason.  The worst part is they like to share their negative feelings with my mother.  While I’m close with my mother, after years and years of therapy, I recognize her for what she is what her weaknesses are.  I have spent most of my life acting or reacting to my mother, seeking her approval.  I dated boys she thought were nice to please her and dated boys she hated to spite her.  As an adult she never really liked my more serious boyfriends.  My ex-husband, being a sociopathic narcissist was charming and my parents initially liked him.  When they no longer liked him, I stayed married to him.  When my parents told me to divorce him, I stayed longer, to spite them.  And in the end, ended up hurting myself.  Not the smartest thing to do, but healthy that I now see it for what it was. 

So my mother has had plenty to say about ex-MM/BF.  He’s not rich.  Well, my ex-husband makes a boat load of money (thanks to me) – should I have stayed with him?  My ex-MM/BF lives too far away.  Well, that’s an issue sometimes, but that’s MY problem, not hers.  x-MM/BF’s kids have problems/issues and they shouldn’t be my issues.  Well, I love my kids to death, but when someone lives in glass houses they shouldn’t throw stones.  But, he is kind, he’s gentle, he’s decent.  He’s kind to my children, my friends, my parents.  He’s decent and welcoming to everyone in my life.  He is not mean, cruel, judgemental, divisive, selfish, narcissistic, hurtful.  And yes, we fight.  And yes there’s some hurt still there that needs to be worked on.  But BF bought my daughter a birthday present 2 weeks before her birthday, after thinking about it for weeks and well ahead of my purchase (which I have still to make.)  BF bakes cookies with my younger daughter because she asks him, and he’s never too tired to do it.  He walks the dog without me asking; fixes the clogged drain without me asking; changes the light bulb without me asking; buys milk without me asking.

After 46 years, my mother asked me if she could fix me up with the son of a friend of hers.  He just got divorced.  He’s supposedly good-looking, smart, rich, etc.  She asked me this after having spent a weekend with me and x-MM/BF.  Really mom???  Are you kidding???  And as an aside, that never happened.

So, full circle once again.  Where was I May 10, 2010?  I have to go back and re-read what I wrote because I’m so good at forgetting so many things that hurt me.  So after reading and reading (which put me in a horrible mood) a year ago, xMM came to my town, after his w retained a divorce attorney, to see me and spend a weekend with me, to be seen in public with me as a couple, not a secret.  I was excited.  I was hurt.  Interesting how the re-reading makes all of those feelings come alive again, swirling around in my head and my heart.  It’s difficult to believe that it has been more than a year that we have a been a “public couple.”  And yet, there are plenty of people we know that don’t know about us.  There are times when I get angry that he tells people we’re together and angry when he doesn’t say anything.  It is all a constant discussion.  As he left the business that we were in together, there are still people who don’t even know that he got divorced, let alone that we’re together.  And the feedback has been mixed.  Some of my work “friends” have told me that while he’s a nice guy, he’s not really the one for me; and some have said that they knew all along that he is my soul-mate, my “meant to be.”  I don’t share the hesitant comments with him.  That would just be hurtful.

Mother’s day was a couple of weekends ago, already.  xMM/BF wanted to see his son’s little league game on Saturday at 2pm.  He told me days before that he wanted to come and spend the weekend, then refused to talk about plans for the weekend when he learned of the game and passive/aggressively let me know that he was meeting his friend for drinks on Friday evening.  I don’t care that he wanted to see the game, I care that he couldn’t come clean about it at the time he learned of it.  Worse, he was talking about coming to my town after the game.  He wouldn’t get to me until 8pm at the earliest.  I finally relented and said that I would rather spend some time with him than no time.  Until Friday when his friend invited him to a basketball game and he told me he wanted to go – worse – he said “forgive me for wanting to go.”  I told him that after all we had discussed I was more than disappointed that he wasn’t coming to see me; incensed by his rude remark and that I would see him in a couple of weeks.  The fighting was mean and vicious.  In a calmer moment, I told him to go to the game, it was a playoff game.  I also told him not to come to see me after the game or the following day.  He came anyway.  I was furious and I was happy.

He climbed into bed with me on Sunday morning, looked me in the eye and said that he wants to make this permanent, that he wants to marry me and that we should get engaged.  If I’ve told him once, I’ve told him a thousand times that I don’t want to get married again.  My last marriage was horrible.  We have a good thing.  Why fuck it up by getting married?

He told his kids that we’re going to get married some day.  I have avoided discussing this with my kids.  They don’t want me to get married.  And they don’t want me to marry him.  While I hear what they’re saying, I don’t care all that much.  I’ve spent too much of my life acting/reacting to what others say and worrying what others think.  This time, no matter what I do, it will be my decision.

x-MM/BF and I had our tarot cards read this weekend.  I love doing that kind of stuff (although I’m ashamed to admit it).   He went to the bathroom and the card reader looked at me and said that she saw I was unsure – should I be with him or not be with him and that I was leaning towards the latter.  I was surprised.  How did she know?  I know what you’re thinking – you can read/see anything you want when you listen to these “fortune tellers.”  And no, she hasn’t won the lottery with her ‘gift.’  Hmmm, food for thought.  Then during BF’s card reading, she said that she was surprised we weren’t engaged yet.  WTF???  Happily ever after?  Are you kidding?

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