Hey Jealousy

I made a startling revelation on the way to work today.

I know, right? Sometimes I do my best thinking when I am sitting in my car stuck in traffic.

(What is it about Tuesday Traffic? Always the worst day of the week for me)

I’ve been living with Mr. J and the kids for a couple of weeks now.

Officially.

Un-officially, it’s been longer than that.

And while it is not without its issues – it’s been going great.

Until there’s a lot of talk about The Ex. And her feelings. And her issues.

Sigh.

It frustrates me to no end when I hear that she has once again told Mr. J that she is ‘having a rough time’, or that she is ‘struggling’.

I want to know if she also tells him that she’s fantastic. Or that she had two orgasms last night. I mean, if you are going to share this stuff, why always share the struggle and not the good right?

Yes, that is totally not going to happen, but you see my point. She tells Mr. J when she’s having a rough time but neglects to tell him when she’s happy, or excited about something not related to the kids.

In other words, she continually reminds him that her life is so hard. She struggles so. Please pay attention to me. (I’m totally putting words into her mouth here. But this is how I see it from my point of view.)

And so this morning of course on my drive to work my mind wandered, as it usually does. But this time it wandered to thoughts about The Ex. And why I have such strong feelings about the situation when it’s really none of my business.

Well it’s not really none of my business. I realized that there is always a part of me that is scared that things will change for Mr. J, and he will realize he’s not really happy with me and that he wants to get back with The Ex. That even though he thought I was what he wanted, what he really wants is to have his family back together again. And that all the pain of the last two years was worth their working out whatever issues they had.

I worry that when she tells him she is struggling that he will break down and give her what she wants – his sympathy. Which will in turn open up old wounds and before you know it – he is missing her.

I know, I know… it’s not likely to happen. The Ex is the one who left.  I think Mr. J will always have unresolved feelings for her because things didn’t end for him because he stopped loving her – it wasn’t his choice to end things. So of course he will be conflicted at times, especially given their long history together.

A history that I cannot compete with. 11 months is nothing compared to 20+ years and two children together.

And then it hit me – I have to stop competing.

I thought back to my past relationships/marriages and made the realization that I was ALWAYS jealous of the ex. No matter how long they had been apart, the jealousy was always there.

Always.

So the problem really isn’t with them, it’s with me.

I am the problem.

I have such low self-esteem that I am always putting my hackles up with the exes. It’s like I am predisposed to hating them because they came before me, and therefore are better than I am.

(Better at what, I wonder? Love? Sex? Marriage? Relationships? Parenting? Being a human being?)

Which I know isn’t the case. No matter how their relationships ended… they did end. And yes, in my last three big relationships, there were children involved. Meaning the ex always had a presence in our relationship.

But that stops now.

I am now aware of it. I see myself repeating the pattern, and I’ll be damned if I am going to do it again.

To be honest? She is not worth my effort.

I don’t wish ill of her of course. I would never wish that.

But that blind jealousy I feel whenever she texts Mr. J, or whenever he brings her up has got to stop.

Because if it doesn’t, it’s just going to eat at me and turn me into the person I became in the past – which I really don’t want to happen. I don’t want to be that same old person.

Mr. J makes me want to be a better person.

Because I am the one he loves.

I am the one he is living with.

She might be his past… but I am his future.

And he is worth it.

The Cohabitation Agreement

No, this is not an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Today, I drafted up a Cohabitation Agreement for Mr. J and I to sign.

This shit? Just got real.

The bulk of my possessions have been moved into his house.

We’ve spent every night for the past two months together – the last day I slept in my bed was July 22.

And last night, we went out to dinner to discuss household stuff like bills and payment schedules.

We had some wings, I pulled out my phone to look at my budget, but he just told me that at the end of the month we would reconcile the bills and I’d just give him half, including the mortgage and property taxes.

And then he talked about signing a document that would allow us to each walk away without any further obligation should we choose to.

Ouch. Way to put a damper on the mood. Not the celebration I was hoping we would have.

I know he is just being practical and trying to avoid the situation he was in when he and The Ex split. He doesn’t want us to go through the hassle of dealing with pensions, RRSPs… any savings accounts.

He wants it to be simple – what’s mine is mine, what’s his is his.

And I am okay with that. Really. He might make a little more than I do (about $15K per year), but he also has two kids to clothe and feed and music lessons and sports fees, and before we know it, college tuition.

I know he is making sure I am protected as well, and he claims that while he makes more money, I will have more disposable income. And he is likely right about that.

I understand his need. I do.

I just wish that the thought of it didn’t stab me in the heart.

I really hope he doesn’t think that our relationship won’t last. Especially when he mentions that all the bills are in his name so I am “free to walk away at any time”.

And that’s when I wonder if this is all too soon for him. If the scars from his marriage are still too fresh.

Is that how he sees us, I wonder? That I am just biding my time until something better comes along? That when I get tired of being with him I will just throw in the towel?

Or does he say these things to put up a tiny wall around his heart, to protect himself from reliving the pain of the last few years?

He’s told me that ending things between us would hurt him, but it wouldn’t devastate him. I guess he’s been there once, and probably not likely to happen again. I mean – we have no children together, so there would be nothing to keep us tied to each other if the romance dies.

We’d be “free to walk away at any time”.

So of course I will draft and sign the Cohabitation Agreement. I don’t need financial support from him. What he earns when we are together is his. If his house appreciates in value, then he should benefit from that. I don’t need a share of it. I’ve managed my whole life without being dependent on a man, and I can keep doing it.

If it gives him peace of mind to sign such an agreement, I will do so.

So then why do I suddenly feel like our relationship just went from a grand romance to a business arrangement?

Playing Games

Women – well, most of them – play games.

It’s a sad state and most of them don’t even know they are doing it.

But they do.

I’ve made a conscious effort to not be one of those women. I try really hard to not be passive-aggressive.

I wish I could say the same for The Ex.

Mr. J2 still has tons of things in his basement – a 20-year relationship’s worth of memories and treasures. It’s the last real division of assets required before he can truly move on. The big financial stuff has been done, this is just childhood toys and memorabilia, tools, a snowblower, old photo albums and clothing.

The Ex has been asking to set a time up to come to the house to go through the items with him, to make that final division. While Mr. J2 hasn’t been dragging his feet, finding a workable time for him hasn’t been easy.

Finally they agreed that this Sunday would be a good time. The kids would be with The Ex, so they would be at her house – having them at Dad’s house while they go through stuff just wouldn’t be appropriate, nor productive.

In her text to him, The Ex had to lay it on thick: “Can you let me know some times that we can go over the house, I’d also like to say goodbye to it too. I know you have a female touch now, and I imagine it will all be changed soon but I’d like to see it before that”

Pardon me? What the fuck do you mean ‘say goodbye”?

I’m sorry but you had your chance to say goodbye WHEN YOU MOVED OUT AND BROKE UP YOUR FAMILY.

You had your chance to say goodbye when you took all the good furniture so that your house looks like a model home while the matrimonial one looks like a student frat house.

And what is this dig about his having a ‘female touch’?  Did you conveniently mention that ‘male touch’ that helped you hang all your photos, arrange your furniture, put together your hutches, and hung curtain rods for you?

Hmmmm… nope. Forgot to mention that.

I’m impressed that Mr. J2 tells me about these little comments. He doesn’t hide them from me. But when he told me this, I wasn’t too pleased, and I told him what I thought. That she was continuing to play him. She wants him to know that while she got what she wanted, she’s still “sad” about it. So that perhaps Mr. J2 won’t think she’s a bad person.

See… she’s sad because it was such a hard decision for her. (Well it was easier to make after she picked up a little something-something on the side. Then I bet the decision was MUCH easier to make.)

This behavior makes me so angry. Not jealous, angry. Mr. J2 is very emotional, and right now he is going through the process of changing his will (removing her as beneficiary, etc.), and finalizing the change of the house. Meaning it’s no longer jointly owned by them, but will be his sole property, so new mortgage, etc. I know it’s been rough for him because he’s lived there for 15 years; by this time he should almost be mortgage-free, not taking out a brand-new 30-year one on the same house.

He’s told me all along that she is selfish, and every now and again I see it. In the little things she says to him, I see it. Texting to him and saying, ‘sometimes I miss you like crazy”.

Yeah. How does one reply to that? It’s meant to illicit a specific response of, ‘sometimes I miss you too” but I really, really hope that Mr. J2 doesn’t respond that way. I hope he just ignores it.

But I haven’t asked him about it yet.

We have to have a talk this weekend. On Sunday, after The Ex comes by (and I return to the house after my two-hour exile), I want to get him a little drunk and talk with him seriously about us. I want to know if he is really ready for this… if he is really ready for a relationship with me. I want to know if her mind-games are fucking with him. I know that time will heal everything, and I know he loves me. Well, he tell me he does. He says the right things all the time, like, “I am so glad I met you”. He’s told me that I’m not a replacement, and while I don’t really feel that way, I can’t help feeling that way just a little. But those are my issues. He has never once made me feel like a replacement for anyone.

I just worry that even though we are talking about moving in together in October, that it might be too soon for him.

But in the meantime I will be supportive as I always am. I will be the Amazing person he tells me I am. I will plan food for our week together (we basically live together the week he doesn’t have the kids) and I will also prepare a few little bedroom surprises, to remind him just now awesome I can be.

Because I am worth it. He is worth it. I just hope that someone stops playing games and lets us get on with our life together.

Keeping Secrets

Things with Mr. J2 are still going along wonderfully. I can hardly believe it myself, but each passing day it just gets better and better.

Who knew?

Things with his kids are going pretty well also. We spent Wednesday this week together, running errands and shopping (and a brief nooner at my place) and then had dinner with him, his kids, and his father who is visiting this week.

After dinner, we all went to the local pool for a family swim.

It was a lot of fun. I had a great time. I got to see Mr. J2 in his element with his kids, and we spent some time together as a unit.

I’m just glad that this is something he started to do on his own with the kids; it was not something the whole family (including Mom) did together. So while I might be the new one in the group, I am not really replacing anyone.

As the evening went on, Mr, J2’s daughter found one of her friends and so they spent some time together. They swam over to where we were and she said, ‘Hi Anonymous!” when she swam by. I said hi back. Then her friend said, “who’s Anonymous?”

And the Daughter replied, “she’s my dad’s girlfriend.”

Whew. Crisis averted. Yes, I am her dad’s girlfriend, and I am really happy that she sees me that way, and didn’t just say ‘dad’s friend’. Because unlike the Ex, we are up front about our relationship with the kids. (To a point – we haven’t had a sleepover yet, that might still be early.)

The Ex still calls the man she is seeing “a friend”, and that’s okay. She can define it however she wants.

There is one secret we’ve been keeping from the kids though, and it’s starting to make me a little uncomfortable.

You know, I know, Mr. J2 (and his extended family) knows… but the kids right now don’t know that I work at the same place that Mom does.

The kids might not think it’s much of a big deal… but when Mom finds out, I think it will be an awkward situation.

For me. Awkward for me.

From what Mr. J2 has told me, the Ex seems very childish. So, once she knows where in the organization I work, I can guarantee she will send ‘spies’ down. Friends she has in her department will undoubtedly come down to my department to ask for things they may or may not need, just to size me up, and then report back to her.

She might find herself walking by my location a few times to get a look at the competition through the windows.

Because although Mr. J2 doesn’t think she wants him back, I think I know better. From the texts he has shared with me, I can tell that although she may not want to be with him anymore, I can say with confidence that she doesn’t want anyone else to be with him either. I am willing to bet that she is not as happy as she thought she would be on her own, and if she sees Mr. J2 happy – and he is very happy – it’s going to make her jealous, because he ‘should be’ lonely and missing her.

I also think that once the Ex knows we work for the same organization, she won’t be happy. She’ll be pissed off. She will think that we were playing her for a fool, laughing at her behind her back at the big joke.

Even though that is far from the case.

It’s not a joke. We haven’t told the kids because they don’t care. And really, since she hasn’t bothered to introduce her ‘friend’ to Mr. J2, why should it matter where I work? Or anything else about me for that matter?

But yet, because I am that kind of person… it makes me feel bad. I do feel like we are keeping a secret from her. And if I worked for any other company it wouldn’t matter one bit. But the fact that I sit at my desk three floors below hers is just …. weird.

It’s bad enough I am sleeping in the room she shared with her husband, and having amazing sex with him on their old bed sheets, but thank God Mr. J2 bought a new mattress after she moved out because that’s a memory I would not want the memory foam bed to retain.

Even though it’s about me, this is not my secret to tell. What am I going to do, send her an internal memo to introduce myself? Instead I will let Mr. J2 decide when the time is right for her to know… so long as he gives me a warning when he does so that I know when to be on the lookout for strange women wandering in front of the windows.

How Much is Too Much Information?

I like to think that I am an honest person.

If a cashier gives me back too many bills – and I notice – I will tell them and make it right.

I don’t stiff wait staff with tips.

And if you ask me a question, I’ll answer honestly.

Because that’s what I want for myself. If I ask if this dress looks good on me, I want an honest answer, even if the answer is ‘umm… no. Not at all.”

Now that things are progressing with Mr. J2, the ethical question for me is how much information about my past do I share with him?

He knows I was married and that the marriage ended about four years ago. He also knows that my divorce only became final in early October.

But what he doesn’t know is that…. was not my first marriage.

Or my first divorce.

Truth be told… it was my….

Third.

And I am profoundly ashamed of that.

But if he wants to truly get to know me – and I really think he does – then I need to be truthful with him about this.

The first time I got married, at 22, it was for companionship… and out of habit. We had been together for three years, since I was 19… and it was time. I did love him. We were great friends, had a lot of fun together with other friends… it was a good time in my life.

But after three years we realized that’s what we were… friends. And so we split up.

He married again two years later and just celebrated their 15th anniversary. We are still friends on Facebook.

Then, in 1999 I met my soul mate.

I never, ever believed in such a thing before. But I loved him with every fiber of my being. We connected so deeply. We loved all the same things – travel, music, theatre, Broadway musicals, movies…

We were the sickening couple.

A year after meeting we were married in a theater-themed ceremony.

On our fourth anniversary I asked him what we were celebrating, as we hadn’t had sex in three years.

He moved into the spare bedroom, and then six weeks later I came home from a camping trip with a girlfriend and discover a used condom in the trash.

I was devastated. Crushed. Destroyed.

But I picked myself up. I moved out. Got my own place. (Ironically, the same apartment that I moved to after marriage #1 broke up was available again… so I moved to the same unit.)

And six months later met husband #3.

And he was all wrong for me.

He was brash, he was brutish. He was angry. He was controlling.

There were moments when he was sweet and funny and caring. But they were few and far between.

We were not suited. And yet I pushed to get married.

Why? Because I needed to prove to myself that I was worthy. That I was worth someone’s love.

So we got married.

I sold my soul for a wedding ring (which I paid for myself).

He almost destroyed every part of me during our marriage. My soul, my heart.

He destroyed me emotionally. I closed off that happy part of me and was always unhappy. He took every joyous thing that happened to me and turned it so that I instead felt guilty about whatever happiness I had.

He destroyed me financially. I bought a house. We lived in it together, sharing bills. Then he was laid off and decided he didn’t want to work, and then started his own business. He racked up my cards with no thought for how we would pay it back. I sold the house just before I got into arrears with the mortgage.

At one point I had to call in sick to work on a Thursday because I had no gas in my car and no money in my account to pay for gas until I was paid at midnight.

Talk about rock bottom.

And after all that…after I lay in bed night after night crying because I was so unhappy… because I didn’t want the stigma of being divorced three times….

He cheated on me with a woman 13 years his junior. With whom he worked.

He can claim to his dying breath that he didn’t actually cheat, but I will never believe him.

Am I sad the marriage is over? No.

Of everything in my life, my only regret is that I actually married him.

But that’s on me. I did it for the wrong reasons. He was wrong for me. I was wrong for him. It was a bad situation all around. While I wish it had ended on a different note, even on my darkest days of depression, even if I will be single and miserable for the rest of my life… I still thank God that I am not with him anymore.

That, in a nutshell, is my adult relationship history. I’ve dated off and on for the past four years – which Mr. J2 knows about – and did have a two-year relationship during that time as well, that I recently ended in February. Then again been dating off and on since July – and my loyal readers have been with me for all those ups and downs.

So then the question remains… how much of my sordid past do I reveal to Mr. J2?

Does it matter? Or am I making too much of a big deal about it?

To not tell him feels like I’m being dishonest. Yet if I tell him, I run the risk of him thinking that I am flighty and loose with my feelings, and not worthy of his attention.

I haven’t said I love to you anyone since my third husband.

I haven’t been in love with anyone since my second husband.

(Yes, I know what that means.)

For the first time since my second husband, I have met someone who I could very easily fall in love with. I already see that connection. Yes, it sounds fast – I am not saying I am there yet, only that I can see it happening with Mr. J2.

But what if I can’t? What if my fear of the unknown and fear of being hurt prevents me from truly opening myself up to someone in the way that I haven’t in over 15 years?

Too many thoughts for a Tuesday. Maybe I’ll just concentrate on the fact that I am seeing him tonight after work for 15 minutes. He’s got his kids this week so we’re meeting for a hot chocolate before he heads home after work to be Dad.

Right now I am happy to see him, hug him and kiss him.

A good way to spend a Tuesday.