Struggles After The Holidays

I’ve talked about how I used to have to deprogram my kids after they spent extensive time with their dad and their dad’s family. It would take a few days to detoxify them and stand up to the one who seems to return from visits with a narcissistic snipe to him. This one in particular picks up on the ex’s narcissism so easily, speaking to me like his dad used to do. Which is something that I don’t tolerate well.

So Wednesday night, they ate dinner with their dad’s family since I had the kids on Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving they spent the day together as well. I have no problem with it because it includes their whole family so my kids get to see their cousins on that side of the family.

This morning the kids come downstairs dressed to leave. I ask where they are going and the older one informs me that they’re going to their grandparents with the whole family to decorate the tree. Again this was a tradition which I have no problem with since they’ve been doing this since they were little. However, it always bugged me since once the kids decorate their grandparents’ tree, they don’t want to decorate ours.

I ask when they want to decorate our tree to which he replies that one tree is enough and he isn’t doing ours. I ask then why he’s going to the grandparents’ house and he tells me that she is making food for them. (You know I make all meals here, right?) I reply that I didn’t know that they were going and that I hope when they return we could decorate ours. He tells me that he’s not doing our tree. I remind him that it’s our family tree in our home. As I lean in to kiss him goodby, he tells me he doesn’t like the way I’m speaking to him with an attitude and a bit of a snear. So I turn away and kiss his brother and say goodbye.

I’m writing because I’m angry. I’m hurt. I’m aggravated with the dismissal. I know this is his picking up his dad’s family energy after spending so much time with them this week. Part of me wants to give him the silent treatment when he returns. Part of me wants to talk to him in a stern voice. Part of me wants to talk with him and explain how that behavior and attitude isn’t welcome here. Part of me wants to tell him to leave….

The joy of being an ex-wife of a narcissist…and working on being co-dependent no more.

Posted in divorce | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

How To Get Through Thanksgiving

Well, we’re starting the holiday frenzies and while I”m not triggered because this year will be easy (I hope) at my brother’s house, I have friends who are in a tizzy just anticipating the havoc that can occur during the holidays when everyone gets together. Because tempers are running high. People are really messy lately. Have you noticed?

Here were some topics they were dreading:

If it’s not a political rant, it’s about the vaccine. Or stories about a friend of a friend’s great Uncle Leo who had X (death, ventilator, catastrophe) because of having the vaccine or not, someone coughing on him and not following the rules, or his lack of belief in mask wearing…or…or…or…(You get the gist, don’t you?)

Then there’s food prices. Conspiracy theories. The Great Resignation. School children’s lives interrupted with mask wearing. What a freezing snowy winter they’re predicting. The Virus and its newest update. Gossip about whatever’s trending. China. Travel mandates. Political figures. Food shortages. Toilet paper (need I remind you?). Boosters. Gas prices. Why aren’t you dating? Bragging over X (fill in the blank). Losing friendships over silly quarrels. Indignations at X (you fill in the blank). Delayed mail delivery. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I’m sure you could add to the list. I suggested that maybe we could make a drinking game out of it. Like every time someone mentions any of the above, we drink?! Just a warning, make sure you have an Uber ready because you’re not going to be ready to drive after that! Heck, you might even pass out on the couch or right there at the table! Wouldn’t that be great fodder for the December gathering!?

This was a tongue in cheek post by the way. I know some families enjoy trending topics at the table. But it seems there’s always that one that pontificates and won’t back down if confronted which usually leads to a family struggle. It’s the commonality in many the holiday comedies. How uncomfortable can you make everyone at the party and how quickly can you estrange yourself?

My plan is to sip wine and smile. Let the whole world twist and turn around me while I sit in my happy place. Instead of anger, I’ll chuckle. Instead of taking offense, I’ll smile.

How about you? What’s your plan?

Posted in Covid-19 Virus, finding happiness at 50, inspiration | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

Feeling Whimsical

I am not sad. I am not mad. I am only a wee bit disappointed. But you see that’s only part of it because I can look at the other side and know I’m free. Lately there seems to be lots of couples photos on social media and usually I just smile and scroll. However, today seemed different. I stopped and felt that tug of “I would like that” and “Wouldn’t that be nice to feel…”

So I’m calling it feeling whimsical.

Whimsical by definition: playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way

Do you see how it fits for me?

I’m a big believer in putting it out there to the Universe when I want something, even when I feel it might be out of my comfort zone. So I’m declaring that I’d like to find someone who piques my interest and vice versa. Now I’m thinking of that song, Santa Baby

Did you start singing it too? LOL

Did you know there are a few different versions of the song?

Eartha Kitts did the original which you can see here: https://youtu.be/ppYGHqxwCuk

There’s a guy’s version sung by Michael Buble https://youtu.be/JnOLam2AwXY

I know it may seem a bit early, but I may start singing to Santa before long. How about you? Have you started writing up your Christmas List too?

Posted in dating after 50, finding happiness at 50, music | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Holidate

I started watching a movie called Holidate last night. I haven’t finished it because I got a phone call from a friend and then didn’t go back to it after we talked. But I’m planning on it today. The reason I’m bringing it up is because the holidays are coming and well, I like the idea of a holidate.

Holidate: someone to have fun with on the holidays with no strings attached. You deal with my family and I’ll deal with yours. No friends with benefits to begin and just the fun of having a companion at parties. Sign me up! Of course, if we hit it off, I’d be interested in maybe more…

But does this happen in real life or is it just another one of those wishful thinking movies? LOL While the wishful thinking movies are a feel good while watching them, they’re a complete let down after the nostalgia and imaginative what if’s wear off.

I don’t have any holiday work parties to attend so I don’t need a holidate. But I think it would be fun to be someone else’s. I used to attend a ton of parties back when I was married for his work. While he may not have liked them, I always did.

Too bad we still have this darn virus and restrictions swirling. I’d love to go be someone’s plus one just to get back out there socializing. I guess I just have to wait a bit more…

I think I’m feeling a little impatient…LOL

Have you ever been someone’s plus one? I went to a wedding with an old boyfriend as his plus one because we knew the bride and groom really well. He ended up going home with one of the bridesmaids and I called my then boyfriend to come pick me up. It was pretty funny because he asked my boyfriend if I could be his plus one and promised that nothing would happen. And it didn’t. But it was a great laugh when people saw us together and then saw my boyfriend pick me up while my date was going home with someone else

Ahhh youth. I’ll probably be that old woman who tells the tales of her youth and laughs because those were the days..

Posted in Covid-19 Virus, dating after 50 | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Draft To Publish

How in the world did we get to November? I don’t know where the time has gone and I know I’ve been pretty absent from blogging. I just haven’t felt like writing and when I did, it stayed in my drafts. That happens a lot to me. Does it happen to you?

What stays in drafts are all the times I felt like writing because you’re all so kind to me and I needed a friend so I wrote about what was going on. Then once I’d purged how I felt, processed it, I felt like I didn’t want to put that event out there to clutter up your Reader. So I just never pressed publish and there those posts sit. And there’s a lot of them…

Do you have drafts that you wrote, but now don’t want to publish? What do you do with them? Do you delete them or just keep them in drafts in case something else comes along that piggybacks on the subject? Because that’s what I do…

P.S. Happy Saturday!!

Posted in finding happiness at 50 | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Why Do I Feel Like A Failure When It’s A Success?

This is obviously a lesson that’s been on repeat for awhile because I haven’t quite mastered it and yet, I keep thinking I have. But for whatever reason, that sneaky critical voice pops in just as the wave of relief subsides and I’m back to square one. And I’ve started to notice a pattern so 1) good that I’m aware and 2) now I need to shut up that critical voice unless it’s saying something constructive.

When we divorced, I moved into a rental with the kids. We called it the transition house because I didn’t plan on being here longer than necessary (kid had to stay in district for duration of high school). But he’s been out now for 2 years and we’re still here. Recently the landlords let me know that we’d be revisiting the subject of them wanting to flip the house and sell it in December. I’ve been searching for rentals and even thought of purchasing a small home for the last 8 months, but only found 2 places, but they didn’t pan out. So understandably, I’ve been quietly nervous and I did tell the kids what was going on so that they were aware because I started packing up some of the stuff that we didn’t use on a daily basis.

So when I recently got the opportunity to talk with one of the landlords (the nice one), I asked him point blank about their plans for the house. Kindly, he let me know that they’d never throw me out and that if I wanted to stay another year or two that I was welcome to it. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. It was as if the mantle of worry was removed. I thanked him and said that I’d like to stay another year. Whew.

Now you may wonder why I was worried because obviously I have a lease. Well, yes, I do, but the lawyer who wrote the lease passed away from Covid and we haven’t renewed the lease. I just pay on time every month and I’m a good tenant. So I’m thinking legally I’m on a month to month basis. The nice landlord is laid back and kind. We have kids who are the same age. But the money one, the not nice one, is my worry.

And I hate being worried. I hate that I feel I am at their mercy even though I believe the nice landlord. I miss the security of owning my own home. But I don’t even know where I’d want to move to anymore.

So why do I feel like a failure???

Because I didn’t find a new place to live and I’m still here in this rental. I like the area and my neighbors, the house is decently sized and I feel safe here, but there are other issues like summers are really hot here even with AC units and the insulation isn’t great in the wintertime. Also, I feel like that inner critic is hounding me still – get on with your life, move out of the transition house and find your own place so you never have to worry about being a renter. And then again, I don’t know if I want to own another house or if I can financially. What a double-edged sword…and that’s not even talking about the prices of the homes which have skyrocketed or the fact that there aren’t any decent rentals around either.

Ok, enough from me. I hope you’re all ok! 🙂

Posted in Covid-19 Virus, divorce, finding happiness at 50 | Tagged , | 16 Comments

My Rom-Com Moment

A few years ago, I returned to Spain where I had lived while in college. Back then, I met a boy with whom I fell in love. We dated for a year while I was there. Briefly, I considered returning there after college graduation, but I didn’t and so the romance was over.

A few years before the divorce, he found me again. I told the ex (we were still married) that this guy had reached out via social media (because that’s the type of girl I am). I didn’t keep secrets. The ex didn’t care because obviously the guy’s in Spain and not a threat to him. So, occasionally we would chat via social media.

When the ex left, I called him in Spain and told him what had happened. You must understand that back in the day, I thought we were going to marry. I thought I’d move to Spain to be with him, but I got cold feet. I didn’t want to be so far away from my family. He said he understood and later told me that he wasn’t the marrying kind.

But I went back to visit Spain a few years ago after the divorce. I told him when I was arriving and we made a date to go out. I saw him in the plaza outside of my hotel. I knew it was him even though I hadn’t seen him in almost 30 years. I knew his walk and mannerisms. So I stayed seated on the bench while he was on the phone walking in circles. When he finished the call, he looked around the plaza and when we locked eyes, I got up and started to walk towards him. He opened his arms wide and kept walking until I got up to him and then he held me in an embrace for at least five minutes. We kissed each other’s cheek, he reached for my hand and we began walking to a nearby restaurant, talking as if we’d not been apart for years. It was HUGELY romantic.

I spent the week seeing him while I was there. It was delightful, magical and wonderful. But I had a life here and he there and while I think now, I could have lived in his world, he could not have lived in mine.

Fast foward to since I last saw him and he still calls once or twice a month. We talk. He tells me how much he still loves me and I feel similarly. But things aren’t changing. There’s a love there that remains, an understanding and a connection. But our lives are so different that it remains a long, lost love. And I’m at peace with it. My kids are here and I don’t see me moving to Spain even after they move out.

In a poignant moment while we talking on the phone, I asked if I had returned to Spain so many decades ago, if he thought perhaps we would have married. He told me that there were no regrets because he’s not the marrying kind. He’s still unmarried. He went on to remind me that what we have is special and precious. And I agree. I love my kids and I wouldn’t have had them otherwise.

That week with him after 30 years apart was like a Hallmark movie except this girl got back on the plane to return home without him. But it’s ok. It was worth the memories we made.

Posted in dating after 50, divorce, love | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Falling In Love With Fall

I love Fall. I love how the leaves change colors and how it starts to get chilly at night. In the romantic images that have been running through my head lately, I am sitting outside around a fire pit watching the stars dance in the sky with a special someone. Snuggled under a blanket, maybe listening to some background music and just holding hands, while sipping wine and enjoying each other’s company.

Can you tell I was watching movies all weekend?

But really, wouldn’t it be lovely to fall in love during the Fall? Taking walks in the park, crunching on fallen leaves, holding hands, sipping cider (or wine?) and going with the flow to see how we get along? I am a huge romantic in case you didn’t know. And I love the season of Fall.

So, where do I find someone special? After watching all the rom-com’s this weekend, I think I need to take more walks, go to Home Depot and maybe visit the grocery store at a different time than I’ve been doing. Because that seems to be where people meet people, right? Maybe I should practice my clumsiness so that I can bump right into him accidentally!? LOL

I’ve done the online dating thing and I didn’t like it at all. I have friends who are still plugging away, but there’s nothing new there as far as I can tell. And I am not desperate. I just have this little spring in my step lately that’s imagining romance, kissing under the stars and holding hands (just to name a few things).

I miss when we were younger and dating because it was so much easier. Perhaps it was the time or maybe it was the age. Either way, I think this is harder to be over 50, divorced and additionally Covid’s not helping either.

What do you think? Don’t you think it would be très romantique to fall in love during the fall?

Posted in #womenofacertainage, dating after 50, love | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Silent Gaslighting

I just made up the term Silent Gaslighting because I think it’s a good way to explain what happened to me in the story below. If there’s a better term, just let me know.

My first brush with the silent treatment was back when we were dating. Of course, in hindsight, it was a red flag, but one that I was so baffled by at the time that I didn’t know what to do with it. The interesting part of it was that what made him so mad was that I didn’t trust him. I found this event in an old journal recently.

We went away with another couple to a ski lodge. After a long night of fun with friends we went back to our cabin. I was pretty tipsy and instead of ‘cuddling’ I was ready to sleep. I don’t know the details except that I barely remember him asking me if I trusted him and according to him, I responded “No” and promptly fell asleep.

The next morning I awoke to our friends knocking on the door because we had their skis in our cabin. It was my guy friend and his girlfriend and when he walked in, he asked about the many empty bottles on the fireplace hearth that were lined up. I hadn’t noticed them until he pointed them out to me. I shrugged and gave him their skis. Once he left, I looked and saw about 10 empty bottles that weren’t there the night before when we came home. My friend invited us to brunch in an hour at the lodge and I told him that we’d meet him there.

I woke up him up and explained how we were invited to brunch in an hour. I was excited to enjoy brunch at the lodge, but he wasn’t. In a clipped tone, he said we would be leaving and not going to brunch because he had to get home. I was disappointed, but didn’t think anything of it. I called my guy friend to let him know that we wouldn’t be at brunch and then proceeded to shower and get dressed. All the while the ex was ignoring me. I was confused, but I figured he was someone who needed quiet time when he woke up and remembered he’d downed all those beers too.

We got in the car to take the 2 hour drive to his house and he wasn’t talking to me still. I asked if he was ok and he didn’t answer. I was trying to figure out what was wrong. I asked about the empty bottles and he gave me a sneer. I figured he was hung over and didn’t want to talk about it. But he was being so aloof and standoffish that I didn’t know what to make of it.

“Are you not talking to me?” I asked, with no response from him.

“What’s going on? Are you mad at me?” He took his eyes from the road for a brief moment and stared at me with hard eyes. My mind raced trying to figure out why he was mad at me.

“Why are you mad at me?” I figured I might as well ask. I kept staring at him, willing him to answer. He stayed completely quiet with his eyes boring holes into the pavement in front of the car and began to drive faster.

“Please keep to the speed limit,” I quietly murmured. I couldn’t figure out what the devil was going on with him. He had never acted this way before.

“You know.”

“No I don’t. That’s why I’m asking you. Did I do something wrong?” No response.

“Can you tell me please?” The silence was deafening and finally after a long, long, long pause he answered.

“You know what you did.” Deadpanned. The words hung in the air.

“No, I don’t. Honestly. Why are you mad at me?”

“You hurt me.” He glared at me and I began to get upset because I don’t hurt people intentionally and I thought we had a good time the night before so I was confused. I began to apologize and try to smooth things over because he was obviously hurt and mad.

“I’m sorry that I hurt you. Can you please tell me what I did because all I remember is that we had a good time and then I was really sleepy when we got back to the cabin. Are you mad because I fell asleep and was tipsy? We were all tipsy last night. Please talk with me.”

“You said it. You know what you said.” He was looking straight at me with anger in his eyes, all while now driving way over the speed limit and scaring me. His clipped cold tone made me almost wish he’d still be giving me the silent treatment.

I stayed quiet for awhile. I didn’t know what to say. How was I supposed to know what he was talking about? Ok, I know I was tipsy, but I couldn’t figure out what I could have possibly said to make him this angry and hurt. We drove in silence for awhile until I began to cry quietly. Who was this person? He was always so kind, so nice, so much fun to be with, but this was like Jekyll and Hyde. We had been together for a few months already and I’d never seen him like this. I didn’t know what to do.

“Don’t cry.” It came out like a command.

I was afraid to talk. His tone was icy without any compassion. I tried to stop crying, wiping away the tears with my head down. He was still speeding, but not as badly as before, so maybe he was softening.

“Why won’t you talk with me? I’m sorry for whatever I did to hurt you. I would never intentionally hurt you and I don’t remember a lot because I was tipsy. I’m sorry for that. We didn’t eat a lot last night and I…”

“When we got back to the cabin, I asked you if you trusted me and you said no.” His words were delivered in a measured monotone as I sat stunned.

Of course I trusted him. We had been dating for a few months and I really liked him. Truth be told, I loved him. Everyone did. So, I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know the context of his questioning if I trusted him, but I vaguely remembered although I was surprised that I had answered ‘no’ according to him. Because I did trust him, otherwise I wouldn’t have gone away to the ski lodge with him.

“Is that why you drank all of those beers?”

“You made me do it.” He was seething in a clipped tone and underscored it by looking straight at me with a venomous look.

I didn’t know what to say. I made him drink those beers? That was a lot of beer to drink by himself after what we’d had before we got back to the cabin. I knew he had a high tolerance, but still, that was a lot of beer. And how did I make him drink them? I was asleep! I wasn’t even aware. What was going on here? Why was he acting this way?

“I don’t know what to say except I”m sorry. I do trust you.” Entreatingly I reached out to touch him. His hand shot out and brushed mine away.

“Really, I’m sorry. I don’t remember that part of the night. I vaguely recall you asking if I trusted you, but I don’t remember saying no to you. I don’t know why I would have because I do trust you.”

I began to cry again. I couldn’t help it. He sat stoically driving in silence.

I repeated myself multiple times. “I’m sorry. I do trust you.” But he wouldn’t answer so after awhile, we just sat in silence.

When we finally reached his place, I got out of the car like a scolded child. I didn’t know what to say, so I simply got out, got my stuff out of his car as he came around to the trunk of the car.

“Thanks. It was fun until the end. I’m sorry,” I said as I looked at him.

He kissed me on the forehead and then whispered in my ear, “I know.” I turned to look at him again and he winked. Then walked into his house as I stood there transfixed in the driveway with my car just a few feet away wondering “What just happened?”.

Posted in divorce | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments