Shine Bright Like a Diamond (or in this case, a Sapphire)

With apologies to Rihanna.

Since I last posted here, I had a birthday. And, oddly enough, I share the day with Mr. J’s father.

Since we were going to visit his family on my actual birthday, Mr. J surprised me one day last week. He bought me gourmet cupcakes, a beautiful card that brought me to tears, and an amazing gift: a set of sapphire earrings.

I was floored. Yes, he knows I like sapphires, and these are almost a half carat sized each. Studs, set in white gold, which I prefer over yellow.

I was baffled. Mr. J is very careful with money. These babies cost more than an iPad.

What does that mean?

Mr. J does not spend money easily. He’s not into high-ticket items. One of the reasons he doesn’t really like travel is he doesn’t like spending the money on it.

He is the first man to buy me expensive jewelry. For marriage 2 and 3 I paid for my own rings. (I am well aware of how pathetic that is.) Ring 2 is gone – sold at a yard sale as it was just a simple band with three tiny stones. Nothing to take to the jeweler.  Ring 3 I still have in a box – not quite sure what to do with it yet. I’ve toyed with the idea of making a new ring or necklace from it – and the wedding band – but I haven’t really given it much thought.

But no man has ever bought me fine jewelry before. Even my first engagement ring, bought by my now ex-husband in 1992, came from a mass department store and retailed then for $399. Solitaire. Square, yellow gold band. No bells, no whistles. But we were young, just starting out.

Back to the birthday….

So on my actual birthday, we spent it with Mr. J’s family. His two brothers, their families, and their dad spent the day eating burgers, drinking beer, and visiting.

I chatted a little with Mr. J’s dad. And he told me a few eye-opening things.

We had both had a few cocktails, so I’m not sure exactly how we got to talking about it. But I mentioned how I feel when The Daughter talks to Mr. J. I told Dad how it breaks my heart to hear her speak so badly to him, even though he just lets it roll off. I said that Mr. J has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known (and this is where I got teary eyed.) I said that The Daughter talks to Mr. J just like her Mother does, because it’s been a learned condition.

Then Dad told me the bombshell: that way back, 20 years ago on their wedding day, Dad heard the way she spoke to Mr. J; how in fact her whole family spoke to him. And Dad told me that right then he ‘had a feeling it wouldn’t last’.

ON THEIR WEDDING DAY.

Mind = blown.

Then he went on to tell me that he knew the only reason Mr. J married her was because he was lonely. His two brothers were married (or planning to be soon), and one was already starting a family. He was lonely.

Been there, done that, so I know how he felt.

Then Dad went on to say how he doesn’t see that with us. He sees us as ‘real’. He says he can tell the way we look at each other; even when we are working together in the kitchen to put a meal together, he can see how we care and respect each other.

Again, I got misty-eyed.

So after we had finished dinner, and blown out the candles on the cake, we were driving home the following afternoon. I had mentioned to Mr. J that I had a nice chat with his dad. While in the van, he asked what we talked about.

“Just stuff,” I said.

“Well, just so you know, my dad’s advice isn’t always the best”, he laughed. “He’s got about 50% good advice and 50% bad.”

“No worries,” I said, “he wasn’t giving advice”.

“So what did you talk about?”

“Well,” I began,  “your dad just gave his opinion on stuff. And seeing how it’s just his opinion, it’s wrong of me to talk about it. It’s just his view, his thoughts. That’s all.”

Yeah – like I am going to tell him that his father thought it was a mistake for him to get married all those years ago.

No way, no how. Not my place.

Perhaps they already talked about this, perhaps Dad had told  Mr. J during one of their many talks over the past two years. Regardless, it’s not my place to share this information, so I didn’t.

I’m just thankful that he trusted me with it in the first place.

 

 

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Reconnecting

This weekend we went to my cousin’s wedding in a small town about 1.5 hours from where we live.

Mr. J booked the day off work in order to attend the event with me. He doesn’t get many random days to take off in a year, so using one for this was appreciated.

The drive to the wedding was slightly strained. He knew that I was still hurting/angry from the week, added to the fact that having been busy with his children for most of the week, we didn’t talk much. For the last three nights he only came to bed after I was asleep.

So I wanted this weekend to be about US. (Sorry cousin!) I wanted us to get dressed up, to be social, to drink and eat and dance and be surrounded by love.

We’d lost touch last week, in part from our lack of communication, and in part because of how I am feeling overall about our relationship of late.

Ironically, we sat at the ‘unmarried’ table. There were six of us: the couple to our left have been together for six years, but not married. The women across from us (not a couple, but friends who came together), are both not married. One has been with her partner for 16 years, the other, with hers for a whopping 38 years. Never married.

So Mr. J joked (privately to me) that we were the worst at the table. Not only had I been divorced three times (!!!), but he was still married.

Now at this point we had both had a few cocktails and so I believe he meant that as a joke. As in, ‘how scandalous’!!

But having had a cocktail myself, the tone might not have been so playful when I turned to him and said, “trust me, I am well aware of that fact”.  (Actually, that’s not true. I said something else but now, writing this, I can’t quite remember what it was exactly. So that will suffice until I remember what I actually said (if I ever do)).

At that point, I got up and went to get myself another drink at the bar.

I cooled off a little, then went back to the table. Our dinner arrived, we chatted amongst our new friends… and the evening went well. I had fun. I hope Mr. J had fun.

We chatted, listened to music, ate dinner. Drank. Watched the newlyweds in their loving glow.

Then later on in the evening, the dancing started, and Mr. J and I actually had our very first dance. He says he is not much of a dancer, and let me tell you – when it comes to slow dancing, he is very good. He does the basic ‘sway’ – no fancy footwork here – but he makes up for it in the way he held me tight. Secure against him.

As if to say ‘you’re mine, and I’m not letting you go’.

So I can forgive the guy if his fast dance moves make him look like he’s auditioning for the Yoko Ono video ‘Bad Dancer‘. (I wish I was kidding. Sadly, I’m not.)

While our communication issue is still ‘there’, this weekend getaway did help our relationship. It did help us to reconnect. I left the issue at home, and tried to concentrate on US. On being present and enjoying the moment with him. On celebrating my cousin and her new husband – along with everyone else in the room.

This weekend also proved that we don’t have to ‘travel’ to get away. I realized that we’ve gone away twice this year so far, and both times have been really good. This time, for the wedding, as well as one overnight in March to visit my mother.

And I realized that maybe this is the key. Mr. J said he doesn’t like to ‘travel’. Maybe the long distance, and his time away from home is what freaks him out. So I am going to talk to him about a compromise. Instead of long road trips, maybe our thing will be short overnight stays; we could easily leave after he finishes work on a Saturday afternoon, drive somewhere for an overnight, and then come back home the next day. To not go further away than where my mom lives, but still somewhere out of the area. We drive there, check into a hotel, have dinner, then we relax, have some really hot hotel room sex. Then the next morning we check out, explore the area, and then leave to arrive home just after suppertime, giving us enough time to take care of a few things before work the next day. Nothing stressful, nothing rushed.

Just some time away to relax and recharge.

Tomorrow night (his summer hockey begins tonight), I will bring this up with him to see what he thinks. We could do a weekend in July or August to test the waters, and see how he feels about it. We can go forward to get him his passport which would open up a lot more options for us, travel-wise.

But, one step at a time. I’d like to bask in the glow from this weekend and appreciate what we had.

Just a little while longer.

 

(In)Significant Other

It’s like the hits just keep on coming this week.

Yesterday morning, I decided to treat myself and booked a pedicure for after work. So at 4:30, I was sitting in a big massage chair, my feet immersed in soapy hot water.

At 4:35, my phone buzzed. It was The Daughter. She asked, “When are you coming home?”

Now the only time The Daughter texts me is when she needs something, and it usually involves a ride somewhere. So I responded, “I’m at an appointment right now so I’m not sure.”

Then she wrote, “okay. The Son’s phone seems to be dead and I don’t know where my keys are.”

Dad nags the kids incessantly about making sure they have their keys when they leave the house. But as usual, sometimes they don’t listen.

The Son is usually home by 4pm, so The Daughter assumed his phone was dead as he wasn’t answering her, or he was inside the house, with headphones on, playing his DS.

Both would have been valid situations.

I responded that if he isn’t home, he might still be at school working on his project. There have been days when he stayed til five to work on his art.

Long story short, we texted for a while about what to do. I would not be home until at least 5:30, so I was of no use to her. She decided to go to a friend’s house and I would text her when I got home.

I texted at 5:47 when I got home. The Daughter had to clean her room, pack her stuff and eat before going back to school at 6:30 for a band concert.

She told me when she got home at six that The Son was at Mom’s house.

I find out later from Mr. J that Mom picked up the Son, they went to do an eye test and then picked out glasses; then he went to her house to work on homework.

I asked Mr. J if he knew about this before it happened. He said he did.

So at this time, had I actually KNOWN what was going on, had he actually told me, I could have told The Daughter at 4:30 what was going on. She could have gone to her mom’s house.

But also… The Son has his keys. Mom could easily have run him over to unlock the door then gone back. Instead, The Daughter was stranded – by her own fault of course.

And yet again I see myself being left out of the loop. Even when it comes to dinner – I had no idea The Son would not be there, and had I known, I would have just picked up a pizza on my way home after my pedicure, rather than stress about cooking something in 30 minutes before we had to leave.

And it gets better.

We sit through the concert. At one point there is an announcement that the Jazz band had won an award, and that they were invited to play at a prestigious local music festival in June.

I asked Mr. J if he knew about it and he said yes.

“Oh,” I said, “I didn’t.”

We talked briefly before the concert started about the lack of communication between us and nothing was really resolved. I can’t force him to tell me things, but seriously, whenever something good happens – especially the Jazz band news – would you not want to share that news with the person you are living with?

I was going to use the term your ‘significant other’ but in reality I am not significant at all. I think that is the biggest realization. Is he taking me for granted? I’m good enough to share bills and cook and all the other crap I do around the house but when it comes to good news, I am not important enough to share it with? Or is it that he hears it then forgets about it immediately?

His wife is still his significant other. No matter what the separation agreement says.

But I? I am insignificant.

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.

Waiting for The Shoe to Drop

Well it finally happened. Mr. J finally told the Ex that I was moving in.

I was beginning to worry that he would never do it, but I had to stay calm and trust that when he felt the moment was right, he would tell her.

And he did. On Tuesday.

He told her that the kids were aware, that he had told them a week ago but wanted to give them time to think about it before telling her.

So I asked him how she took the news.

And he said, “I had sent her a bunch of stuff about the kids which she responded to but didn’t say a word about it.”

Bingo.

So she is going to stew on it for a week or so. She’ll leave it just long enough that Mr. J will think that everything is going smoothly, and when -WHAM – out of the blue he will receive a message from her full of guilt (perhaps), sadness (definitely), anger (possibly) and other such nonsense.

This is her modus operandi when it comes to news she doesn’t want to hear. Even though it bears nothing on her life – her day-to-day life – for whatever reason my moving in with Mr. J will most certainly will affect her… and she definitely let him know it.

Well it shouldn’t. I keep saying it but she keeps forgetting – this is what she wanted. To not be with Mr. J anymore. She didn’t want to live with him, and so it shouldn’t matter that he’s found someone as fabulous as me… someone who does want to live with him.

Besides, she has her own Mr. J – so I wonder what he thinks of all this. Does she talk to him about this kind of stuff? I’m a little interested to find out.

I’m guessing once this weekend is behind her – the long weekend and back-to-school time – that she will have a response for Mr. J about my moving in.

I just hope that for once, she leaves the passive-aggressive comments out. “I’m happy for you” should be the only words she says.

Yeah, like that will happen.

The Look Of Love

A quick post today to share something The Daughter said last night.

She was with her friend S who was over for dinner. They were discussing boys, as 13-year-old girls tend to do.

They discussed what they want in a relationship. The Daughter said to her friend, “you want a guy who will look at you the way Dad looks at Anonymous”.

Mr. J and I were sitting outside across from each other at a patio table, just having finished dinner. The Daughter and Friend just happened to see Mr. J look at me after she made that statement. And I guess the look on his face at that moment was exactly what they were talking about. Lovingly? Adoringly? Hungrily?

I don’t know, but whatever the look was, it made the girls go giggly and mushy, and, I think, quite happy.

I am a lucky, lucky girl to be in love with this man.

 

Two Down, One To Go

Mr. J told his children last night that I was going to be moving in.

And it did not go as he thought it would.

He sat the two of them down, and said, “so, I have something I want to talk to you about….”

And then The Daughter interrupted and said, “Anonymous is moving in?”

Yeah, they saw it coming.

Mr. J admitted to me today that he had been worried for nothing. Both of them seemed to take it in stride.

No questions. No comments. They were much more interested in getting back to the new iPhone and to Netflix.

And I think it really surprised Mr. J.

He said that he was worried for nothing. Their reaction was actually a non-reaction; and I think the fact that we had gone to the cottage together really helped. They already were used to thinking we were a unit; in fact, The Son actually said at one point that I was an “honorary GXXXXXX”.

I don’t think there could be a higher honor, and I would be very proud to be a GXXXXXX, honorary or not.

Next up will be telling The Ex. And I really hope that Mr. J gets the same reaction from her as he did from the children.

But somehow? I doubt that.

Even though it pains me, I have to trust that Mr. J will not let her reaction, whatever it may be, affect him.

Because I guarantee you, there will be a reaction. Either sad, ‘poor me, you are moving on’ reaction, or slightly angry, indignant reaction.

And between you and me, I am hoping for the angry reaction. Then maybe she will grow up, get her shit out of his basement once and for all. Because I really don’t care for the thought of my shit co-mingling in the basement with her shit. (Even if hers was there first)

I just have to hope that it happens on one of his good days, because Mr J. hasn’t really been himself lately. I believe he is still suffering from the after effects of his concussion. He’s been headachy, foggy, and not always able to carry on a conversation. He has his good days, and his not-so-good days.

And it scares the crap out of me.

It’s been a test, for sure. It’s taken everything for me to be rational, and to not take things personally. To realize that if he doesn’t say or do or act the way I think or expect him to… that it isn’t personal. He’s just… not himself.

But the scary thing is that he might not recover from this, and this new persona might actually be … himself. Maybe he will never be the way he was when we were first dating, before his concussion.

This might be our new normal.

But so long as the communication stays open – and the fear stays at bay – I think we can handle it.

Because he is worth it.