Unexpected Results

As you know, I have been wanting to talk to Mr. J about going forward in getting his divorce finalized.

And on Wednesday evening, on our nightly walk around the neighbourhood, he finally told me that he was ready to do it, that it was ‘time’.

But I’m not exactly thrilled on how he came to that realization.

You see, Sunday night I was lying in bed after a long day, reading.

And… I felt a lump.

A small lump definitely, but… a lump nonetheless.

When Mr. J came to bed I asked him to feel it. And he agreed that it was ‘something.’

As a woman, we are told to examine our breasts monthly in the shower, and I have done that on occasion, but really never knew what I was looking for.

So Monday during work I called to book an appointment with my doctor. Thankfully I was able to get in to see her that evening.

She agreed that what I felt was ‘something’. So she made a referral to have a mammogram and an ultrasound on my right breast.

On Wednesday, I received word that there was a spot open for next day at 8:20 AM. I let Mr. J know that I would be going on Thursday morning. (This is four days after finding ‘something’)

He told me he would try to take the morning shift off work to go with me.

We went back and forth about it for a bit, I know he had to take the time off unpaid, and I didn’t feel that it was altogether necessary for him to do that. It’s not like he could go into the appointment with me, he would have to stay in the waiting room.

Regardless, it was done. He booked it off to drive to the appointment with me.

The night before the appointment, we went for our nightly walk. And he said that this news had given him something to think about and that, ‘maybe it was time I got divorced.”

Now, those are words I have been waiting eight months to hear, but I’m not really thrilled with the reasoning behind it.

As he talked, I didn’t jump for joy. All I said was, ‘well you have to be sure this is what you want. Don’t decide to do it just because of what may, or may not happen after tomorrow’s appointment.”

“No,” he said, “it’s not that. It’s time. It’s been three years since she told me she was leaving me, and two years since she has been gone.”

And then he said the magic words, “it’s really time to go forward with US”.

The next morning we drove to the hospital for my appointment. Mr. J drove, thankfully. We found parking, we checked in. He sat in the waiting room when I went in.

I was given a gown and told to wait. Then ten minutes later I was brought into the room where a really nice technician asked me to step up and she started the process of the mammogram. Two films on the right breast, two on the left.

Then she went to consult with the radiologist. As I sat and waited.

She came back in about five minutes later and said she had to do more film.

“Not on your right breast, but on your left.”

Oh.

She took two more films of the left breast. Then I moved to the room next door for the ultrasound.

The technician did the ultrasound on my right breast. She focused on the spot where I felt the lump.

After some time she said, “I think it’s just fatty tissue.”

I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then she looked at the left breast.

And looked again.

And kept looking.

And kept shifting me so that I was on my side, left arm up over my head. And I actually said, “draw me like one of your French girls.”

She snorted and said, ‘no one’s ever said that to me during a breast ultrasound before.”

Leave it to me to quote Titanic when being felt up by another woman.

So she continued with the exam. She kept using the wand over my left breast. On the side of it. Around it.

And then she went into my armpit.

After about ten minutes of imaging, she told me I could sit up and that she was going to have the radiologist look at the images.

The radiologist came in about five minutes later, and asked for me to lie back down. She used the wand over my left breast again and the two of them murmured together.

“So,” she said, “your right breast lump is just fatty tissue.”

“But there is a spot in your left one.”

Well. I didn’t see THAT coming.

“It’s very small,” she said, “but we are going to have you come back for an ultrasound guided biopsy, to see what it is.”

She reassured me that ‘it’ was tiny, and so because of that, I am considered low-priority. “Low enough that you aren’t urgent, but high enough that we want you to come back.”

So I probably won’t get called for an appointment soon, but I will be going back.

I thanked her for her work and went to change back into my clothes.

I met Mr. J in the waiting room. We took the elevator down in silence.

As I was paying the parking fee, I told him, “so my right breast is fine – it looks like a fatty tissue deposit or some such thing.”

And then I took a deep breath and said, “but they found something in the left one.”

We navigated out of the parking lot, which in itself was a chore. There was actually a valet trying to jockey the extra cars that were parked in front of other cars. Once we were clear, we decided to go for breakfast, since I’d not eaten that morning.

I don’t remember much of what we talked about on the drive to the restaurant. But once we sat down, Mr J said to me, “wow… that small fatty deposit might have just saved your life.”

I’m trying to not think of things like that. I’m trying to only keep it going one day at a time.  While we were at breakfast though, I did get up the courage to say this to Mr J. “I just really hope that, regardless of the outcome of today, you will do what you said you were going to do. I don’t want it to be like your passport: you decide it’s time to get one. You get the forms, you start filling them out. But then you leave it and end up forgetting about it and so for months it sits there incomplete. You know me. Now that you have mentioned it, twice, I know about it, and I am going to think that it’s going forward. I don’t want to be thinking it’s in progress only to find out six months from now that nothing has been started.”

Essentially I told him that I am not going to nag him about this. He said it’s time. He was thinking of me, and if there were expensive medications I might need, being on his benefits is the right thing to do.

It is the right thing to do, but I’m wondering if for the wrong reason. Even though I asked him and he denied it, I know that had this unexpected result not happened, he would be happy to continue on with things as they were.

It’s probably going to take him at least a month to bring it up with the Ex. And that won’t go over well. They had agreed to keep each other on their company benefits until they got divorced. She would be covered solo afterwards, unless she hooks up with The Boyfriend’s plan. (No news on their moving in together, we are starting to think that we might have misjudged that.) The children will continue to be covered under both of their plans.

And that’s where it stands. He knows what he has to do, and there isn’t anything I can do about it.  I am not going to hound him or nag him about it.

It has to be because he WANTS it, not because he feels he HAS to do it.

So for now, I wait.

I wait for an appointment that will tell me my next step in this journey.

I wait for Mr. J to put his ducks in a row and start making some phone calls/ sending some emails to get the ball rolling.

There’s not really more I can do about either.

 

 

The Acknowledgement

Last night did not go well.

I went home after work. Folded laundry. Washed dishes. Prepared dinner.

Chatted with The Daughter.

Mr. J came home. We had leftovers for dinner. He was tired, we didn’t talk much while we were eating.

I asked him what his plans were for the evening, and asked if he wanted to take a walk.

He thought about it for a moment and said, “I should probably go to Costco to return X and to look at Y. You can stay here and work with The Daughter on her homework.”

Um, pardon?

I can “stay home and work with The Daughter?” As her father, isn’t helping with homework your job?

I was hurt and angry. I changed then went out for a walk. I kissed him goodbye and said ‘see you later’. No anger. Nothing.

I walked for about half an hour, thinking of the situation. As I round the corner to head home, I see Mr. J and The Daughter in the van at the corner. He tells me they ‘won’t be long’. I say, “I thought I was helping The Daughter while you went to Costco?” As he stuttered his response I said, “Oh, I guess I misunderstood.” And kept walking.

They returned an hour later. I was watching TV. And fuming.

After ten minutes Mr. J comes up and has The Daughter’s homework with him. (She was supposed to have two people edit her work and then present the original, the one with our edits, and the fixed copy to her teacher. So, essentially WE were teaching her.)

When The Daughter went to shower I asked him if he had any idea why I was mad.

(To be honest, I don’t think he had a clue that I even was mad.)

I told him that he made me feel like the hired help. I relayed the conversation about walking and his response. I asked, “how do you think that made me feel?”

“Well I was getting ready to go and The Daughter saw me…” he started, and so I finished, “and so she asked to go with you.”

“Of course she did. Even though you had told me I was to stay home and work with her.”

He replied, “I don’t remember the conversation going like that.”

Then he said that I mentioned (which I did) that he needed to get dress pants that fit him for the wedding on Saturday, and yes, I asked that he not wait until the last-minute to do so. (He’s a man, he would have gone out on Friday night after dropping the kids off at Mom’s at eight pm, only to not find anything that fits. Because he is a last-minute guy.)

In this brief discussion, I also said that I didn’t know what my role was. I said, “I’m always the last to know plans. I’m never in the loop. It’s fine for me to share your bills, cook, do dishes, do meal plans, and be on call to take your kids (which I apologized for saying because he doesn’t like that word, he prefers using their names, so I corrected myself) for tutoring sessions and to school for band concerts. We don’t share anything else but that. So right now you make me feel like the hired help.”

There was more I wanted to stay but at this point I had started to cry, which I do when I’m in a highly emotional state. I’m not sure if I was angry, frustrated or sad. But I was all three when he replied to my rant, “thank you for telling me how you feel.”

Wow. Seriously? Is that supposed to make me feel better?

But I know that’s how Mr. J communicates. He thinks that it’s all good, because he’s acknowledging my feelings. He’s not admitting to making me feel that way, be believes that I am the one making me feel that way. But he doesn’t realize that I feel the way I do because of his actions. Or in some cases, his in-actions.

The rest of the evening was strained, to say the least. At 9:30 I went to get ready for bed, per my usual routine. I was asleep when he finally made it to bed – well, I was well on my way to sleeping actually. Not quite there but not fully awake either.

Our morning texts have not been our usually cheeriness. He started by once again thanking me for telling him what’s been bothering me. And again, no discussion about it or thoughts on how to proceed.

The Daughter has a school concert tonight at seven. I’m really not sure that I should go. Do I want to go? Not really. I’ve had my fair share of school concerts this year and I’m pretty tired of them. It’s funny that a year ago I was upset because I wasn’t asked to attend her concerts, and now I don’t want to go. The last time we went to a school function, Mr. J barely spoke to me; while we were in line waiting to go in to get seats he stared at his wife and The Boyfriend the whole time (they were about six to ten people ahead of us in line). And last night, since The Son was at Mom’s doing homework with her, Mr. J thought it would be best if the Son just spent the night there since it was 9:30 and there was no word on when he would be home. He messaged Mom and she replied that it ‘would be easier to drop him off after’ rather than have him spend the night. Reading between the lines this means that she was either going to sleep at The Boyfriend’s house or he was going to be there. Either way, Mr. J made a comment about it, saying it was ‘interesting’.

Why? Why should it be ‘interesting’? Why do you still care? You have a woman you say you love, living with you, lying beside you every night. Having willing sex with you often. Helping you function as a family in ways that your wife never did. And yet it seems you do everything you can to NOT let her into your life.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I am making things out to be much bigger than they really are. Are we going to talk about this again? Probably not. Simply acknowledging my feelings doesn’t make it better.

Working to change the situation might.

And I’m scared that’s not going to happen.

Coincidence?

So yesterday I verbally vomited on my blog, purging everything that had been going inside my head for a few weeks.

And surprisingly, I felt better after doing so. Even though I didn’t magically find a solution, I did feel better.

Mr J. knows I have a blog but he doesn’t know where it is or what it’s called.

So I found last night’s conversation interesting.

We were in bed, Mr. J had taken his kids out to shop for Mother’s day gifts for Mom. They went to the mall, had dinner, then bought her exactly the same gifts they had bought her the year before.

For kids who love creativity, they really like to repeat.

As he was telling me about the evening, Mr. J said the following to me: “I think tomorrow I am going to message Mom and tell her that I took the kids out to shop for her but to please not do it for me for Father’s Day. I just don’t want her buying me anything, even if it comes from the kids. I think you should take them out instead.”

I joked, “why, you don’t want your 6-pack of beer and BBQ hot sauce?” (Joking because that is what he got last year from them).

“Well you should take them, I mean. It’s time. It’s overdue.”

Now this is where it gets interesting, because I replied, “yes, I agree. There are a lot of things that are overdue.”

And he replied, “yes, I know.”

Then we moved on to other topics but I wondered what brought this on. I wonder if something happened, if he had received a message from Mom that annoyed him, or if being with his kids and shopping for his ex was just something he didn’t want to do. I mean, she has a boyfriend, so why isn’t he taking them out to shop for her? Maybe Mr. J is tired of spending his money on her.

I don’t know the reason but I am pleased that he came to this realization himself. I didn’t nag or remind him or give him any negative attitude about the shopping. So that makes me feel good.

But it did open up the door to begin our conversation, even if I did it by text this morning. Last night, Mr. J didn’t tell me he was taking the kids out. I was meeting a friend for dinner and had no idea that they would not be home when I got there. I’m not sure if he felt that I would be mad that he was taking them shopping – it’s not like it hasn’t happened before on her birthday or Christmas, I knew it was coming. But the fact he didn’t contact me at all was a little annoying. Then I found out that he took the phones away from the kids and put them, along with his, in the console in the van, so that they could spend time together and not be on devices all the time.

This is excellent. I think it was really good for him to do that. But it got me thinking about our shopping expedition last week for the Confirmation gift, and so this morning I texted him this: “So I just wanted to say something about what’s been bothering me for the past couple of weeks. Last night I didn’t hear from you, you didn’t tell me you were going to the mall. That’s fine, you don’t have to tell me everything. But then you said that you made the kids put away their phones so you could have time with them, and so you did the same. Excellent. Really good. But, when we were at the mall last week, you were constantly on your phone checking and texting with Mom, so much that I had to stop and wait for you to finish. So can you see how that might come across as if I am not worth your full attention sometimes?”

I sent that this morning but I haven’t heard yet from him, and he hasn’t read the message. Maybe he has and he just doesn’t know how to respond. But no response is necessary – it felt good to get it out and to at least start the conversation.

This isn’t something that will magically disappear but I really believe that if I hadn’t written my post yesterday, I would still be feeling miserable about it. But I got it out, and so I feel better. Still not myself, I can still feel the depression there but it’s definitely lifting.

So if you are feeling anything like I am, talk to someone. Anyone. A friend. Your dog. Or write it out. Maybe it will help.

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?

Everyone Struggles With Something

It’s true. We all struggle emotionally with any number of issues at any number of times during our lifetime.

The key is how we deal with these struggles.

Me? I talk to myself about it. Or I write about it.

Others may drink to forget. Or talk to friends. Or their significant others.

Or a professional.

It’s not uncommon these days. People have all kinds of stressors. Work. Kids. Relationships.

Lately I’ve had a few moments that have been tough, but not anything I can’t handle. My biggest stress right now is the upcoming move in with Mr. J and the kids – even though it’s still two months away.I have random thoughts in my head throughout the day about it.

About:

how the kids will react.

how Mom/The Ex will react. (Not that I really care about what she thinks but she can react badly and then put all of her feelings and insecurities about it onto Mr. J, which then becomes another stressor in his life. See what I mean?)

what our family routine will be.

how right now, at this moment, I feel lost because I am between two worlds: my roommate has started to take over the condo we’re in because I am really not there much. She’s started to spread her things and do things her own way because in October the unit truly becomes hers. But yet I am not living with Mr. J yet, so his house is not my home yet. I am starting to feel unsure of my place.

how I feel about having my storage stuff in the basement where Mom’s storage stuff still resides.

how I can change things just enough so that it doesn’t seem like I am a replacement.

how I feel about Mom/The Ex telling Mr. J that the reason she hasn’t been taking much of her stuff out of the basement is because she ‘is struggling’.

how I feel about her texting him a photo of a Gin & Tonic and asking, ‘how come I didn’t know about these years ago?”

(So… does that mean your life with Mr. J would have been better if you had been drinking GT’s all along? You would not have left him?)

I mean really… what the fuck does that even mean?

Is it meant to fuck with Mr. J’s head? Because of course that’s what it did. Just one more way to put herself into his life, and into his head.

But I have to let go of the stress I feel when she texts Mr. J about non-urgent child issues – and not let it impact our relationship. I have to trust him to deal with it in the best way he knows how. And I also have to understand that he cannot control what she texts him – or how often.

He can only control his replies and reactions to those messages.

So I have to hope that if we continue with open communication we can talk about these issues. That we can talk about my anxiety over moving in and my fear that as the days get closer and the texts from his past keep coming that he won’t stop and think that perhaps he is rushing into this. That perhaps the love and affection and respect and sex and companionship we have might not be quite enough for him to fully commit.

Because even though they have been separated physically for over a year (and longer on paper), neither has moved towards the discussion of divorce. (At least I think. I could be wrong.)

And that my friends, is my biggest fear. Because until the paperwork is signed, nothing is official. Nothing is really over. Even if it is just a piece of paper.

(I didn’t say it was a rational fear.)

Last week Mr. J had to go in for a CT scan. I went with him as a ride and just in case he needed someone there.

As the intake clerk updated his information, he put me down as his emergency contact. A new name. A new phone number.

And then the nurse asked what our relationship was.

“Married? Common-law?” she asked, ready to fill in the blank.

“Friends” replied Mr. J.

Ouch.

But the truth is…. that’s what we are.

We are not married. We are not technically living together yet. And, even when we are, are we really going to combine our lives enough to be considered ‘common-law’? (I like to think so but…)

Given those options… I guess the correct answer really was ‘friends’.

Lately Mr J has been ‘off’… which is why we were in for a CT scan in the first place.

So I’ve tried to not add to his stress. I mean – he deals with his work stress, the stress of having two teenagers half-time instead of full-time, the stress of finances and household issues, the stress of his Ex…

Given his state right now the last thing I want to do is to add anything to that.

I’m not running away.

I’m not angry.

I’m figuring it out. And if I do need to really talk to him about it – I will.

I just want him to get better and have my old Mr. J back.

But in the meantime, I will just keep going forward. I will keep thinking about our relationship going forward. I will make lists and plan for the move and not think about anything but how happy Mr. J makes me feel, and how excited I am to move in with him and his children.

Because you can’t go back. You can only go forward.

I recently read a great book and this quote really hit home:

“Look, what happened with your husband changed you forever, just like what happened with my brother changed me,” he says, and this time, I really listen, because it feels different from the advice I’ve gotten before. “So you can’t compare the present with the past, not really, because you’re a different person that you were back then. You have to look forward, at the things you want, not back at the things you once had.”

And I want a life with Mr. J. With everything that comes along with it.

Uh Oh

Just got a text from Mr. J2.

He wrote: ” just had an interesting interaction with The Ex. Tell you about it later.”

I replied: “Hi…Good one I hope.”

He wrote back: “Not really.”

What can I say other than, “I’m sorry.”

Fuck. I am so scared that she told him that she wants him back… and now he feels guilty, or sad. Even though he has told me time and again that he would never go back to her, if she wants him back – or even tells him how sad she is that he is moving on… he’s going to be hurt. And in pain.

And it kills me that I have a part in that. In his having to say no to her.

Or worse – if he says yes to her.

I am so scared of what he is going to tell me.

Even though he has told me how happy I make him, and how much he loves me… and that he is so glad he met me….

I still have this innate fear that she will always have a hold on him. Yes, they were together for almost 20 years. They have a family together. Even though it went sour at the end, they did have some good times together.

But hot sex doesn’t cancel out a family and a long history together.

At least… I really hope it doesn’t.

Out of the Darkness

Saturday was a bad day for me.

Things are still going strong with Mr. J2.

Honestly.

But Saturday was rough.

At the time I wasn’t sure why; we had just spent a wonderful week together doing all our favourite things – eating, cooking, talking and being together.

Oh, and let’s not forget the amazing sex.

But Saturday morning, as soon as I walked into my condo, I could feel it.

The darkness descended.

I looked around and saw the tea stains on the kitchen floor that hadn’t been cleaned up by The Roommate; I saw the crumbs all over the counter that hadn’t been wiped; I saw the dribble of who-knows-what down along the side of the fridge.

That’s where it began.

To go from such a wonderful happy place to my reality was too much for me to handle that morning.

Not that I am complaining.

I am merely trying to figure out how and why I went from such a happy high to a deep low.

I did my laundry. I cleaned my room. I took out my garbage.

And still the darkness descended.

Talking to Mr. J2 by text didn’t help.

Neither did reading old emails from my father – who passed away in 2009.

Mr. J2 invited me over for dinner and to watch The Boy play hockey since The Ex wouldn’t be at the game. He missed me and I really missed him too, but I declined because I really wasn’t in the right mindset.

I also thought he needed to spend some time with his kids by himself. He misses them so much.

I took a nap in the afternoon and by the evening I had figured out when my brain took that left turn in Albuquerque.

You see… I got ahead of myself.

The Daughter had a band competition that morning. Mr. J2 rushed to get himself ready and pick up The Boy to make it there on time.

We left the house at the same time – me going home and him going to get The Boy.

And I realized… that’s what started it.

I couldn’t go to the concert.

But I wanted to.

Did I know I wanted to? Nope.

Did I ask if I could go? Nope.

Did we talk at all about my going? Nope.

But in my head, I got ahead of the situation. Spending the week with Mr. J2 was too good. Just like a fantasy, and so when we got back to reality – The Ex not having met me and, let’s be honest, I’m really not part of the family – it just hit me suddenly.

And wham. Down came the boom.

What makes me angry and frustrated is that NO ONE did this to me. No one made me feel bad; no one said anything to me to make me feel anything, and no one actually said that I couldn’t go.

I did this to myself.

Well… that and PMS. I am totally going to give PMS partial credit for this one. (I’m just glad I get sad and I don’t turn into the bitch from hell)

But it was all in my head. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be in the crowd watching The Daughter play.

But we aren’t there yet. I know that.

Well, my head knows that. My heart, it seems, didn’t get the message.

I’m better now, though. Some sleep, some junk food, and some time helped me see that I was making things worse than they were. I’m jumping ahead to step 8 when in reality we are only on step 3.

And so we still have a few more steps to go.

Patience has NEVER been my virtue. But in this case, I just have to let it go.

It will happen. I know it will. But not on my schedule. Not on anyone’s schedule.

When the time is right, I will be there, along with the rest of her family, cheering her on.

I hope.