Much Ado About Nothing

The last few weeks were rough between Mr. J and I, and that never happens.

His concussion head has been going up and down in the 15 months since he was concussed, and so sometimes we’ll have a long period of good discussions, and then bam! Concussion brain hits, and he cannot function. He can keep up with routine – work, eat, sleep, etc. – but any discussions or small talk just… disappears.

It was the end of his week with his kids. The weeks with them always leave him a little frazzled.

I should have known better.

But I asked him how things were going with the divorce, as he and The Ex had had some discussion around it. Mostly her wanting to know why the rush, she can’t pay, and then finally a ‘you want it, you pay for it – that’s how it works’.

So a week or so had passed and I asked how things were progressing. Apparently The Ex has a document that’s required (I doubt it’s the right one so we’ll see if I am right about it) and Mr. J was supposed to get it from her.

So after not discussing it for the week, I asked him, “so, can I ask what’s going on with your divorce?”

He replied, “no.”

To say this did not go over well with me would be the understatement of the year.

I went upstairs and we didn’t talk for a bit. Then he came up and tried to talk but he really didn’t have a clue as to why I was so upset. I talked. He listened. And as usual, he was unable to return the discussion.

The following day, Saturday, I met him for lunch in our usual spot. After he had eaten and we was getting ready to go back to work I told him, ‘we are not a family. The three of you [meaning him and his children] are a family. The FOUR of you [included his wife] are a family. But WE? Are not.”

He chewed on that for a while, then later in the week I could see him getting better. I could see that he was able to concentrate a little more. And a full week later, we were able to actually talk about what happened. I had told him in our discussions that I will not stay with him if he continues to be married. I did say it in a much better way – it was not an ultimatum by any means. I told him that it’s not that I am looking to get married – I just don’t like the idea that he is still technically married to his wife. I feel it cheapens our relationship.

So we had some good discussions on Friday and Saturday nights, and again on Sunday. The children arrived back from an extended stay with Mom on Monday, and so I fully expect Mr. J to begin his downturn soon. Usually after a week spent dealing with teenagers, he begins to experience the after effects of his concussion again.

As we were walking last night, we talked as we normally do, and he got around to telling me that The Ex had dropped off the papers he asked her for.

He also said that she is looking for cheaper alternatives for the divorce. His lawyer originally quoted him $1600 which I told him was too high; the firm I used charges a flat fee for simple uncontested divorces. Mr. J went back to the firm and told them that and they agreed to lower it to $1200, which is reasonable. But The Ex says she has no money and cannot afford to pay for her half. She is insisting that it can be done for cheaper, and included the option of doing it without an attorney. She said, “but since you want it, you would have to do the paperwork and the filing with the court.”

So. Follow along: The Ex wanted out of the marriage so three years ago told him that she was ‘done”. They limped along, staying in the same house until she moved out year later.  She wanted to end the marriage but felt that it was fine for them to continue to be legally married. Now Mr. J wants to end that. She gets mad, says if he wants it he has to pay for it – which he is fine with, although had the situation been reversed, he would have offered to pay half. So even though he said he would pay for it himself, she is insisting that she has ‘no money’ and can’t afford $600 for half the cost (which he hasn’t asked for) and is pushing to find a cheaper alternative than using lawyers. All the while insisting that Mr. J must do it all since he’s the one who wants it to become official.

Do the words Control Freak ring any bells?

Holy shitballs, Batman. I seriously cannot believe this. No wonder she feels so much stress all the time – she is trying to control things that she should not be controlling. The only thing she has to do in this process is sign her name on the forms when she receives them. That’s it. Oh, and send them back by mail, let’s not forget that. Once Mr. J files the papers with the lawyer the entire process should take about three months. All the financial and custody issues are done,  so it should be simple.

But I guarantee she will make this difficult for Mr. J. I am going to try really hard to trust him, and work on communicating better with him so he feels he can continue to talk about the process with me. All I really want to know is that everything is in the hands of the lawyer. Then I know that it’s going to happen, that it will be moving forward – and I won’t worry and stress that it won’t actually happen.

Because it is going to happen.

 

 

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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.

Two Words

So it’s official. Mr. J and I are living together.

Meaning all my shit it as his place. Or, I guess I should say ‘our house’.

We moved the bed over on Sunday, along with my Grandmother’s chair and two patio chairs. The last items to go over.

As far as moving goes, it was quite painless. I had moved the kitchen stuff over in August. Then a couple of weeks ago we did the heavy stuff with two cars full of my storage items and my clothing. Since then, we pretty much did a load or two each week, and I would do an occasional run during the week.

Everything fit within our two hatchback cars, with the exception of the bed and bed frame, which went yesterday in the truck with Mr. J’s dad, who drove the truck up for his visit in time to help with the move.

I guess moving is easy when you leave most of the furniture behind.

Other than a slight issue regarding keys with my now ex-roommate, it went well.

Mr. J asked if I was sad to be leaving, and I told him honestly, ‘no’.

I also told him that even if things had changed for him – if he decided that no, he really wasn’t quite ready to move in – I was ready to leave. I had already decided that I would just rent a bedroom in a house somewhere. I’d learned to live within a smaller space, and given how much time I spent with him, I didn’t need a whole apartment to live in and furnish. I don’t really entertain, I don’t really socialize much in my home.

I’d planned to move out regardless.

So after all was said and done – the car emptied, the truck emptied, and most of my things had been moved to the basement – the dust settled and there was peace and quiet.

I was upstairs in the family room, reading. Mr. J was sharing a beer with his dad, before heading out to watch his Daughter practice her sport. It was a quiet moment in the house and then Mr. J came up to see me. He looked slightly dazed, and definitely tired. He said hi and kissed me, then sat in the love seat across from me. He looked at me and said, “thank you for moving in with me”.

For a moment I was so stunned I didn’t know what to say. Really? You are THANKING ME? I should thank YOU, for all your help in this move, for welcoming me into your family and your life. For allowing me to make small changes in your home so that I don’t feel like I am a replacement for someone who is still missed.

For loving me enough to want to build a life with me.

After a second I replied, with real tears in my eyes, ‘thank you baby. Thank you for asking me.”

Really. This sweet man. How could I not love him and want to be with him?

It was quite a romantic moment, I think.

So the senior Misters went to the sporting event. I stayed behind and made a kick-ass roast beef complete with mashed potatoes and gravy. Mr. J cleaned up all the dishes. I went to bed exhausted at nine to plan clothing and stuff for the next day. Mr. J was up until after ten dealing with his children. He came to bed at 10:15 exhausted and spent. He got ready for bed, got into his cuddle position (he moves towards the center of the bed, puts his arm out so I can put my head on his shoulder and move into him, then he puts his right arm around me and puts his left hand on my right arm as it draped across his chest.

Follow me?

We are quiet. I know he is processing the situation with his children. I do not pry. I do not force him to tell me what is going on. I tell him that I am here if he needs to talk.

He is quiet. And then a few minutes later he says (again), ‘thank you for moving in’.

And I reply ‘it’s my pleasure, thank you for asking me to.”

I’m not sure if he had forgotten that he already thanked me, or if he is so happy that he needed to say it twice.

But I didn’t tear it apart. I didn’t take what he said and over think it.

Come on ladies, you know what I mean: picking apart his words looking for the ‘real meaning’.

(Is he thanking me because now he doesn’t have to cook? Or worry about meal plans? Or because he knows I will be home before him so the kids are not alone? So that he won’t have to do everything alone during the week he has his kids? Or because now he has someone to share the household expenses with so that he has a little more money each month?)

The old me would have done that. I would have looked for the ‘real’ reason. Meaning, I would have been looking for the negative in it.

Instead I take it the way it was meant: with love and affection from a very tired, very happy man who happens to be in love with me. And who I happen to love.

It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.

 

Not Proud But Thankful

I did something on Saturday morning that I am not too proud of.

I snooped in Mr. J’s phone.

He has assigned a special message tone so that when The Ex sends him a text, he knows it’s her.

Which is great. That way he doesn’t have to check right away.

But then it’s not-so-great, because now I know just how often she’s texting him.

So they were messaging on Saturday about pick-up times, bottle drives and the like. Turns out he didn’t have to be rushing around because of other plans.

We decided to go out for breakfast and to buy some drapes for the bedroom to replace the sad-looking roman shade that was currently on the bedroom window.

Now, what happened next is not my fault.

Really.

Mr. J sent a text to The Ex and then went to take a shower. Leaving his phone on his dresser.

I was taking the sheets off the bed. And I heard it swoop.

But not the new message swoop. The reply swoop.

He had just put the phone down but didn’t turn it off.

So it was there. Right next to me.

What else could I do?

So I looked.

I did it. I admit it.

And I am glad that I did.

Ever more so that I scrolled up to read some previous messages.

(You’re right…. you’re right…. I know you’re right)

But I learned a lot.

The Ex sends long messages with much detail.

Mr J. replies with simple phrases.

In one message she goes on about how both kids lost wi-fi at night because they were staying up too late on their devices. Then goes on to a second paragraph about how he ‘doesn’t have to do the same but there should be some consistency”.

He replied to it all with, ‘thank you for letting me know’.

I know it was wrong of me to read these messages. But now I know that I really can trust that Mr. J is not falling into her drama. In another message she wrote, “I know it’s in the past but I want you to know that I am really getting a handle on my spending” – which was a huge issue when they were married. But isn’t an issue any longer, because… she only has one income to burn through on useless crap, not two.

So why then, does it matter if he knows that she is ‘getting a handle on” her spending?

And he didn’t reply to that one. So proud of him. She is clearly looking for approval – even from the man she left – and he didn’t provide it.

But there was one that bothered me. In the message she goes on about her brother and how he is having issues – depression/anxiety/mental health issues run in their family. Grandma (her mom), The Ex, The Brother (her brother Mr. R)  – they all seem to suffer from some sort of mental health issue. And now, The Daughter is also showing those signs.

Or, as I often wonder, is she just saying or doing things for attention because it’s what she’s seen her mother and Grandmother doing for years?

But I digress…

The Ex wrote to Mr. J about her brother and that he was having a rough go of it. She went into a little detail but not a lot – basically about some verbal abuse he was spewing towards other family members, including her. Essentially she was getting frustrated with him, as she was trying to support him.

(As I write this though I wonder, support or control? She does like to control and perhaps he just didn’t want to be controlled?)

At the end, Mr. J simply wrote, ‘thank you for telling me about Mr. R (the brother). It helps me to better understand The Daughter”.

Her reply? “What does this have to do with The Daughter? This is about Mr. R, not her.”

And that’s part of the problem.

When she talks about her family’s mental illness (she doesn’t call it that), it does help Mr. J understand his daughter better. It was a helpful statement. What he knows about their struggles will help prepare him for when his daughter struggles.

But The Ex didn’t see it that way. She saw it as once again, Mr. J not listening or paying attention.

When in fact this time, I think it was the other way around.

So while I am not proud of my actions, I am quite relieved. I may not trust her motives or reasons for sending ten messages a day (really? You can’t just wait and send them to him just at one time?), I can now trust that Mr. J is not charmed by her at all. Not anymore. Perhaps at one time her long missives might have elicited a warmer response from him. But not anymore.

He is polite. Concise, and to the point. Which she does not appreciate.

But I do. I appreciate that he keeps his replies on topic. He does not engage unless it directly relates to his children. He does not talk about her personal life – or ours.

I am so proud of him. And slightly ashamed of my actions. But now I know that I can trust him.

I just hope that he will continue to trust me in that I won’t go snooping again. Even if the opportunity does come up.