Life After Divorce

{October 27, 2008}   Moving on, but not up

After we were married, we lived in our apartment for about another year.  It was a pretty good year, as they go.  For Christmas, I heard through the grapevine that Steve had decided to surprise me with a new puppy.  I was thrilled by this, until I learned that the puppy was really a way of placating my desire to have children.  Blah.  But, the idea of getting a puppy for Christmas was thrilling anyway!  On Christmas Eve, Steve came home from work carrying a large wicker basket wrapped up in tinsel and holding our newest family member.  He says, “Surprise!  I got you a puppy for Christmas!  His name is Major Apawwhite – after UT’s quarterback… because he has one white paw – Get it??”  “You bought me a puppy for Christmas – and named it??”  Interesting.

Major was SUCH a cutie.  I fell in love with him immediately. 

The rest of our first year was pretty bland, until it came to our anniversary.  I found out several weeks before our anniversary that I was going to be laid off from my job due to it becoming automated.  Fuck.  We decided to move into my dad’s house with the intention of buying it once I finished my Master’s degree and landed another job.  Also, Steve ended up taking out a $10,000 loan from his grandmother behind my back.  I was really aggrevated.  I knew we needed it, but I do not like to be in debt to anyone – especially family.  That became a major source of friction between us.  His grandmother wanted to be paid back almost immediately, and that just wasn’t possible with me between jobs.

I completed my Master’s Degree in August 2002, and was asked to stay on as a consultant with the company where I interned.  That was pretty awesome.  But right about that time, Steve started to take a lot of sick time.  Now, he has always been a person who used his sick time as extra vacation days.  I have warned him that this is not a good thing.  But he began taking more than one day at a time, and before long was home for weeks at a time.  He wasn’t sick.  At least not in a physical sense.

This time became exponentially more volitile, as my dad was having us pay all of the bills on the house.  Neither Steve nor my dad were helping out, and I was drowning.  We ended up living there in that situation for nearly four years.  I found out about halfway through our stay that my father had stopped paying his mortgage.  Every day became a new torture… always wondering when they would foreclose on the house.  Not answering the door because you never knew when it would be the cops coming to serve an eviction notice.  My health was declining.  My marriage was deterorating rapidly.  I was miserable.

I landed in the hospital in January 2003 due to physical decline related to panic attacks.  I became physically ill around November 2002.  I felt nauseated and panicked all the time.  Around mid-December I thought… if I could just throw up… I would feel better.  So I did.  And once I did, I couldn’t stop.  By January, I had lost 15 pounds.  The last Saturday in January, I began throwing up non-stop and could barely move.  Steve insisted that I go to the ER that night, because the next day was Super Bowl Sunday, and he wasn’t going to take me during the Super Bowl.  So loving!  I ended up spending 6 hours in the ER, only to still be throwing up when I left.  The following Monday, I was in my regular doctor’s office, waiting to get a shot for the nausea.  By Friday, I had lost an additional 20 lbs.  I was so sick.  I ended up in the hospital for 5 days having every test known to man.  My potassium levels were so low, they were afraid I would die.  And where was Mr. Husband-of-the-Year?  Sitting in a chair in the corner – telling me to suck it up and get over it.

If anyone wants to buy a husband, I am thinking about putting him on eBay for bid.



{September 8, 2008}   The One-Armed Bandit

It was now the first week in October, and I still hadn’t heard from Steve.  Fuck it, I said.  I put myself back on the market.  After a few days, I met a guy online, Darryl, and started talking to him.  He asked me if I was seeing anyone and I told him that I had been seeing a guy, but that I hadn’t heard from him in weeks and didn’t expect to ever hear from him again.  I asked him if he was single.  He told me he was 100% single and unattached.  Great!  We made a plan to meet up at my work (by this time I was working a second job and going to school, so I didn’t have a ton of time) to see if we wanted to go out sometime. 

When he showed up, he had one arm in a sling.  I asked what happened, and he told me that it was an injury as a result of a motorcycle accident.  We made a date to hang out at his house after work.  I got there and it was pretty late.  We hung out in the living room and one thing led to another (I was young… give me a break).  I left after that.  I talked to him a few more times, but nothing else ever happened. 

A few days later…. amazingly… Steve called.  He apologized for being an ass and wanted to know if I wanted to hang out.  I was thrilled.  No guy had EVER called back once we stopped talking.  Let’s say I probably wasn’t in the best place, self-esteem wise, so I jumped at the chance.  I forgot all about Darryl… until…

One day, probably mid-November I walked into Steve’s apartment and saw some pictures sitting on his counter from Halloween at his aunt’s house.  I was flipping to the pictures and came to one…

“Hey, that’s Darryl!” I said.  Have you ever had one of those moments where as soon as the words escape your lips, you are grasping at them with all your might – hoping and praying that you can swallow them before anyone else hears them??  Yeah.  That was me.  Steve looked at me and said, “How do you know Darryl?”  I mumbled something, but I don’t remember what.  He told me that Darryl had been dating (and living with – thank you very much) Steve’s good friend, Melissa, for about 3 years.  Ugh.  Knife right to the gut.  Asshole liar!  I had been totally upfront and honest with him about my situation.  Jerk.  Then he says to me, “You know, I don’t trust the guy.  I wonder if he cheats on Melissa?”  As if an imaginary hand was working the puppet strings above my head I slowly nodded “Yes.”  I was horrified at my own inability to even stay silent and say nothing.

I think it took Steve a minute to put two and two together and realize that I had slept with Darryl.  I explained the situation – That I never thought I would hear from Steve again after 4-6 weeks of little to no communication – That I was honest about my situation – That this guy was a dreadful liar in a committed relationship.  It wasn’t fun.  Steve was really understanding for my part.  He knew he had behaved badly and understood why I would have gone out with someone else.  He was furious on behalf of his friend and what a scumbag she was hooked up with.  He kept pondering whether he should tell her or not.  My feeling was HELL NO.

About a week later, I got a call from Steve during the day telling me that he had called Melissa and told her.  Dammit.  Shockingly, she didn’t believe me and thought I was lying.  Right… then how do I know that the one-armed bandit can pop off a bra faster that I can with TWO fully functioning hands?  From this point on, life around his friends was misery.  To this day, these idiots are still together.  He knows the truth.  She thinks I am a crazy liar (DENIAL!) and now they are married with a kid.  Talk about life in the shit lane… Ugh.

A very important conversation was had this day, which had never been had before.

     Steve:  From this point on… 100% monogamy… ok?

     Me:  Ok, that sounds like a plan to me

And it did sound like a very good plan.

{September 5, 2008}   In the beginning…

When I was 21 years old, I had a rough time.  The previous year, the love of my life disappeared… exiting our relationship through the closet door.  I guess I knew all along that he was gay, but that doesn’t really make things any easier.  I was planning my whole life around that relationship and when it ended, I was lost.  Shortly after that, my cat was hit by a car.  You could say that up to that point, it was the worst time in my life.  I began a string of unsuccessful, non-relationships with men who couldn’t have cared less about me, and rarely called the next day.  I wasn’t doing well in school, even though I am very bright and could have done so much more.  I just didn’t care.

August 1998 – I was playing around on AOL in chat rooms and one day an IM popped open in front of me.  I started talking to the guy, but didn’t really pay a lot of attention, since I had several other people chatting with me at the same time.  A few days later, he popped up again.  This time, I was less distracted.  I talked to him online for a while until he finally told me that he was no good at typing, and wanted to know if we could talk on the phone.  So, we did.  I liked his voice right away.  It was a deep, smooth voice.  Friendly, and sexy all at once.  I was instantly interested.  We talked more and discovered that we actually had the same birthday.  He is literally 13 minutes older than I am.  Weird, right??  We ended up talking on the phone for 6 straight hours that first day.  Around 3 am, he begged to come pick me up so we could meet.  I resisted.  I told him if he still wanted to meet me, he could come by my work the next day (at the mall – safety, you know).  He protested, but finally agreed that was best, as he had to leave for work in 3 hours.  Of course, we talked on the phone right up until that time.

The next day, I went into work… apprehensive.  What if he didn’t like me?  What if I didn’t like him??  [gasp] What if we did???  My previous experience with relationships was a gay fiance, a 3-month relationship with a guy who wouldn’t ever call me his girlfriend, and a string of one-night stands and bad first dates.  I was scared.  Then I saw him walk by.  I knew it had to be him.  He walked past my store and into the large department store next door.  Within minutes, he was back.  We met.  I thought he was cute… and very tall.  I love big guys, and he fit that bill.  He asked me if I wanted to come over to his apartment after work.  Sure, I said.  My 62 year old co-worker, Sandy, was flipping out in an old lady kind of way.  Whatever.

So, after work… I went to his apartment.  I was very nervous, but excited.  We sat on the couch watching TV.  After about 30 minutes, the phone rang.  It was Steve’s friend, Mandy.  She wanted to invite him out to hang out with her and her boyfriend, Tim (who was Steve’s best friend since they were kids).  He said, “No, thanks… I am hanging out with my new girlfriend.”  Girlfriend.  It is amazing what a label will do for you.  I was elated.  I spent the night that night, and every night for the next two weeks.  I was thrilled.

et cetera