22 months out, and a new kind of anniversary
Well now. It's been... a minute. I don't come on here very much, but I know there were a number of people who followed my story, and I think... I think it's time for an update.
The battle with the ex is far from over. She still lives in my home, but we have developed a schedule where we seldom see each other, and it's worked out well. i work Saturday thru Tuesday during the day, she is out of the house doing her own business on Wednesday, and she works during the day thursday and friday, and she leaves to work the night shift on Saturday and Sunday. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights I spend with my girlfriend. That really only leaves Tuesday and Thursday nights where the ex and I have to interact with any regularity.
I get the kids to school every morning and pick them up three days a week (wed-fri). I handle two of the three days of therapy for my two disabled girls (wed-thurs). I do three days of housework (wed-fri) while the ex does two (mon and tues). The weekends, we rest beyond the essentials. I make dinner five days a week (wed-sun), the ex does the other two. It's... not entirely balanced, but it sort of works. It's an equalibrium, at least.
I am 99.9% certain that I am going to marry my girlfriend. We've talked about it, it's been a year together as of today, and we're both so happy whenever we're together. if I'm not staying with her, we video chat. We have the same goals, the same interests, the same moral sets, it's like holding hands with someone whose fingers perfectly match yours. It's crazy how we just sort of found each other.
I've been waiting for the newness, the honeymoon to wear off and to become, I don't know, indifferent, but while I'm no longer giddy, I feel something different, something stronger and more calm. I love her and she loves me. Unless she is a skilled manipulator who has managed to work me hard over the last year, then I am confident she feels the same. her kids love me, her parents love me, my kids love her, my mom and siblings love her, it's all going great.
The ex decided she was going to move out. She put in an application for a house to rent, thought she was going to get it, and gloated in my face that she was better than me, more successful than me, better equipped to handle everything than me, and then... it fell through. And again. And again. Ten houses so far that she has been denied. I have taken the high road and not thrown it back in her face, and i think she recognizes that, because she has been WAY less combative.
She recently took a six day trip to stay with her lovers in Texas, and it was like heaven. The house ran smoothly, the kids behaved, everything was perfect. I got a chance to see what life was like without her in it, and I liked it a lot.
However, whens he came back, I mentioned that we should, yaknow, actually GET DIVORCED, and she said she wanted to wait until she moved out first because it was going to get contentious and she didn't want to be in the same house, for either of our sakes. I asked what made her say that, and she said because she wanted to move to texas to live with her partners and be a throuple... and she wanted to take the girls with her.
Well, OBVIOUSLY, I am not on board with that. I will accept no less than 50/50, so I will NEVER sign off on her taking the kids halfway across the country to a place they don't know with no other family to support them (my extended family is all they have ever known), away from their schools and friends and the IEPs for my two disabled girls, so on and so forth. She'll have to get a court order, and I don't see that happening.
Frankly, the fact she thinks that a judge would think it's best for the kids to uproot them to go live with an unemployed mother in the home of the people she is in a polygamous relationship with, in a state they do not know and have never been established in, while their employed father with extended family support networks only gets them during the summer is... well, absurd. Add to that that none of the kids want to move to Texas, and the eldest two are vehemently opposed to it, and I think that particular brain worm is sufficiently squashed in the larval stage. Regardless, I have already asked my extended family that, if it comes to it, can they help me pay for a lawyer to fight on my behalf, and they said yes.
On a high note, my girlfriend's parents own a HUGE house that is just too big for them at their age, just the two of them, and they want out from under it. They offered for us to take over their mortgage and move in to the 8 bed, 4 bath, 3 kitchen, and 4 family room house with a full woodshop basement as soon as they find a place in their desired town (other side of the county), and I am so down. The remaining mortgage is roughly what I owe left on the house I'm in right now, and I would willingly sign it all over to the ex to move out and into a house that could comfortably house all of my kids, and my girlfriend's kids as well.
In any case... I feel like this drama saga, while not yet over, is entering its endgame. Things are looking up, life is moving on, and I can see the light at the end of this incredibly fucked up tunnel of adultery.
14 comments posted: Friday, June 4th, 2021
18 months out
So, I haven't been on here much. Not much time. In between playing peacekeeper with an increasingly calm ex wife, I've been working as much as I can, cleaning up after the kids (which is seems the ex does very little of) and spending time with my girlfriend. The 4th was 8 months that we've been together, and she makes me happy. I make her happy. Her kids love me, and my kids love her.
Due to logistics, she hasn't been to my home yet (I don't feel it would be appropriate to being her over while my ex S T I L L lives in my house) or met my kids in person, but they have met her and stuff over video chat. So, all of our time spent together is at her home.
her kids keep asking me when I'm going to marry their mom, when am I going to move in or they move in with me, her daughter (a VERY sassy 6 year old) is demanding that it be no longer than 2 years because she wants to be a flower girl and she doesn't wanna be "too old".
I've met her parents and they like me. They say I am great with her kids and that she is happier since she met me, so yay, unnecessary stamp of approval I guess, lol. My mom likes her but wants to get more time to know her. Since we're all getting vaccinated as soon as possible, that should be sooner rather than later. She says she can see how happy my girlfriend makes me, so she is already positively inclined. Again, unnecessary stamp of approval, but a stamp nonetheless.
I feel... reserved. Happy but reserved. Like maybe I should be more enthusiastic in the relationship, but I'm holding back because I have been OVER enthusiastic in my previous relationships and it's gone badly. I tell my girlfriend that I love her, and at times I feel it swell up and become almost intoxicating, but the rest of the time it feels like a slow burn. IDK if that's my meds, if it's me being jaded, if it's trauma or if I am mistaking what I feel for love, or if I am mistaking what I feel for -not- love because it's not all hyper-gushy-fairy-tale infatuation... i don't know and it vexes me, so I just stay the course.
I haven't written now in 15 months. I'm almost 2 years since I last published. I think I am waiting for my ex to leave my home. She has plans, but they are infuriatingly slow.
My therapist, which I adored, is moving practices and positions, so I have a new lady that... well.. she's not as good and I do not have the same rapport with her. I feel more on the spot and I feel like withdrawing when we talk. She is a perfectly nice lady, but... idk, I'm just not feeling it.
My anxiety is low, though I can tell when I miss my meds. Working on weaning off of them, but I'm currently staying stable at a lower dosage. I'd like to have a time where I don't need them at all.
So yeah. Quick update before I go to work.
1 comment posted: Sunday, February 14th, 2021
I don't know how to do relationships
So, I've been spending a lot of time with my girlfriend. Every night that I can slip away and spend time with her, I can. My ex has been staying home with he kids, and with two special needs kids, it is challenging and very stressful. Cohabitating is hard, y'all.
Tonight I was going to go to my GF's house. My ex got super upset and said that if my daughter had another hard night, she couldn't handle it and she'd call me. I decided that it would be better for everyone involved if I stayed home.
my girlfriend said that she felt like I was letting my ex have too much control over me and was upset that another woman mattered more than she did. That is not the case and I tried to explain that, but she was very upset and the conversation hinted that she couldn't do it anymore.
The conversation went thus;
Her: I don’t want to be something you have to balance. You can focus on your kids and getting the ex situation handled.
Me: So, those words are part of what scares me. I feel like you're cutting me loose because I've done wrong.
Her: Yes, but you haven’t done wrong you didn’t make things fall apart with your ex but things are definitely not tidy and I’m nervous they won’t be for a very long time
Me: Yes, as in you are cutting me loose?
She didn't respond for half an hour, then said;
Her: I don’t like how this went. I don’t like that you finally told me your feelings in this conversation. I definitely don’t like tonight
Me: I understand. I don't like this either.
Her: Ok. I guess goodnight then.
Me: I don't know what else to say. I want to make it better but I don't know how. I hope you sleep well. I wish I was there with you.
Her: Ok. I’ll sleep on it. I know I’m grumpy right now about it but I also want to think about things. I just don’t know how realistic it is to think this is going to settle magically once you aren’t living together. If she feels she has the upper hand I feel like she can still make things challenging for you living apart and I don’t want to be in a mess
Me: I get it. I do think it will improve, and I can tell you why, but yes. Sleep on it. We can talk tomorrow. I have been seeing to (15yo autistic daughter), and I need to keep doing that.
And then nothing since. I have no idea if I am single again or if I screwed this up or what. I have never been anything but honest as to my situation. I care very deeply about this woman, and I told her so, but I also understand if I am too much of a mess.
I don't know what to do ir if I should have done anything differently or if she is just feeling jealous or if this is a red flag or if I'm just royally fucking this up.
17 comments posted: Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020
First real relationship post separation
It's been one year and two weeks since DDay 2.
Things with my gf are progressing. I stay over at her place several times a week. She is head over heels for me. The only thing keeping her from telling me that she loves me is the fact that we had a conversation about how I am just not ready for that at this time. The sex is great, her kids love me, and I have no problems at all being exclusive. I still have a huge feeling of comfort and contentment whenever I am with her.
But I'm not in love with her. I don't know if it's something wrong with me or if I'm just not ready or if it's going to be something persistent, and the longer we go, the more it sits on me. It's a huge time expense being with her, one that I gladly pay, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't eating into my other obligations and priorities.
I'm not sure what to do, if anything. Any tips?
4 comments posted: Friday, August 28th, 2020
So yeah. I guess the title says it all. It was really, really hard for me to leave my girl's house tonight, but I know that if I didn't, she would have likely said something that starts with "L" and rhymes with "Glove."
I am not against falling in love, but I know that I am a heart-before-my-head kind of guy. Every single time I spend the night with her, it gets harder and harder to leave, and I have five daughters that I love more than anything in the universe that wait for me to come home. I can't be like their mother and dip out because I have a new partner. I just can't.
And I know that I'm in the 'new relationship' fog. I know that right now, my brain and my hormones and my libido and my pain and my loneliness are all telling me that I found the woman I should have married the first time, the woman that would have made me happy, that would have been faithful, that is better in every single way than my hateful, spiteful, lying, cheating, vicious ex.
She is attentive, compassionate, a generous lover, she makes me respond to her in ways that my ex never bothered to try for, and she responds to me as if I were the sexiest, most kind and caring man on earth, and when she looks into my eyes, I see nothing but heartfelt adoration. She is wholly and completely twitterpated.
And... I'm not far off. I'm seeing it coming and it scares me a little bit. What if I'm wrong? What if my mind is clouded? What if I'm so desperate for the holes in my heart to be filled that I am placing that burden on her? What if this 'honeymoon' phase is just that, a honeymoon phase?
She was leaning closer and closer to the "L" word. Before she said it, I told her that it would be a long time before I was ready to say it, and I would not say it lightly.
I'm confused and I don't know what to do. Above all, I desperately do not want to hurt her, and if this phase passes and I don't feel the same for her as she feels for me, then... who am I to string her along like that?
I told her that I do not want to spend our time together looking towards the future, to some far-off goal of being able to say "I love you" or getting married or living together. I wanted our time together to be in the present, in the now, with just us as we are together. I don't want it driven by some grandiose inevitability.
I'm just... really confused here.
17 comments posted: Tuesday, July 21st, 2020
New partner after your one and only cheats
this is my first relationship after my separation. She is wonderful; attentive, active, a generous lover, she responds to me emotionally and physically, and she can make me respond emotionally and physically. The sex is fantastic; I never have to wonder if I'm doing well in the sack, as it is blatantly clear, and she is overwhelmingly attracted to me. She is the only other person I have ever been with consentually, and it is fantastic.
But I can't help but feel like I'm doing something wrong. Like I shouldn't be doing it. After seventeen years of marriage, having sex with someone else just feels... wrong.
Does this ever go away? I don't want my ex's infidelity to ruin my sex life going forward, the way she ruined it while we were together.
4 comments posted: Saturday, July 18th, 2020
I don't even know what to call it
So, I'm not in what I would call a serious relationship by any means. We met for the first time face to face on June 10th. We've been texting and chatting for about a week and a half longer, so just a shade over three and a half weeks at this point. We matched on a dating app, and hit it off conversationally, and managed to meet for lunch.
She's totally not my usual physical type. She's a little big bigger of a girl when I normally go for petite ladies, and she is literally the first woman I have ever dated that is younger than me (most of my girlfriends (and my cheating STBXW) were all older than my by a year or two. I'm a few years older than the lady I'm dating now.
She was incredibly nervous when meeting me, but we both agreed that we'd like to have more dates like that.
On the 17th, she invited me to her house to watch a movie. We made it a game of me finding the right part of town based on clues in our conversations, and I was close. We sat on her couch and watched a movie while snuggling (Lucky Number Slevin, good film, all star cast, I recommend it), and then just talked for two more hours. On the way out the door, there was that moment, that pregnant pause, where we both stopped, held each others's eyes for a minute, and it felt right, so I went in to give her a quick kiss. Before I could, though, she ducked her chin down and just gave me a really close, tight hug instead. I left her place at 2:00 AM feeling like an asshole, like I'd overstepped my bounds. We texted more until about 3:30 and went to sleep.
The next day, she texted me that she HAD really wanted to kiss me too, but she wanted to be up front and honest; the reason why her last relationship ended was because her partner cheated, and the way she found out was that she thought she had a horrible strep infection, but it turned out it was oral herpes, brought home by him from an affair partner. I told her I understood and didn't judge her for it, and really appreciated her honesty
Since then, I've been to her place two more times. It's always the same thing; I show up, we chat for too long, then put on a movie and hold each other while sitting on her couch.
I can't even begin to describe what it's like. My ex refused to touch me unless we were having sex, then it was just during the act and then no more. Said the feeling of skin on skin made her uncomfortable. So we never snuggled, we never held hands, she'd never just reach out and rub my shoulder or anything.
This lady reaches for my hand, strokes my arm, leans against me and it's like I'm getting a drink of water when I was dying of dehydration. I can be exhausted from a day in my woodshop, spend the evening with her, and drive home energized. In fact, I got home from her place an hour and a half ago and I'm wide awake at 2:35 AM.
I don't feel a romantic spark for her. Like, I know it's super early (three and a half weeks is nothing), and I know that my understanding of WHAT a romantic spark even IS, is obviously skewed or broken. Totally not in love with this woman.
Like, despite her not being my preferred body type, I would 100% sleep with her if she was willing and enthusiastic. We haven't broached that subject yet, and I am content to wait (hell, it's been over a year now, so who even gives a fuck anymore). Even if it's not full sex, foreplay would be a blast, and I know we'd both enjoy ourselves. She has made it plain that she finds me attractive, and while I don't think she's a supermodel, I am attracted enough to her that it would not be a chore (I know I sound kind of shallow here, but frankly, her physical appearance isn't what is making me attracted to her. No other way to be but honest).
But then there's the herpes thing. I was under the impression for 17 years that my ex had it, and we were just careful; if she looked like she was having a flare up, we didn't have sex. She claims now that she never had it, and that she got tested years ago and was confirmed not to have it; I was unaware of any such test, and she used the excuse of an outbreak multiple times to shut down intimacy. Point is, I whought I was going to be with my ex for the rest of my life, and I was okay with it if I contracted the virus too.
But I've been tested (did the whole gamut after DDay2: Electric Boogaloo) and I am completely free and clear of any STDs. I'd very much like to stay that way, but I can see that we are slowly progressing towards the realm of physical activities. When she rests her hand on my leg, it's closer to the 'finish line.' When we laugh and tease with each other, the joking is getting more risque. When I get ready to go home after our movies, she -wants- to ask me to stay, but I gently suggest that since she has work in the morning, she should get some rest.
She doesn't have an active outbreak right now. Her virus is oral, not genital. I haven't quizzed her on it, of course, because I want to be sensitive to her obvious discomfort on the matter. I am well aware of safety precautions to be taken (condoms, medication, etcetera) in the event that we do become intimate.
If I continue this relationship with this woman, I have no doubt that we will sleep together. At this point, it just seems to be a matter of time before we are both comfortable with it (despite being willing, I'm still not 100% comfortable with the idea of sleeping with someone other than the woman I was married to... it's an alien concept). If I were certain that, right now, I was SURE I would love this woman and spent the rest/most of my life with her, then I wouldn't care.
However... if that is NOT the case, then I'd really rather not bring any hitch-hikers along with me to another relationship. But where's the balance? I don't want to just bail from her as soon as she opened up to me and was honest. I don't want to make her feel dirty or discarded or lesser. I might not -love- her, but I do care about her as a person, and I do like her beyond that. I don't want to hurt her feelings. And I do genuinely enjoy spending time with her.
But like I said, if we do keep this up, eventually, she will ask me to stay over, and I will say yes. And I can (and will) be as careful as possible. But it's still a risk.
This... this is all so very weird and alien to me. I don't know what to do.
14 comments posted: Thursday, June 25th, 2020
Tomorrow marks ten months out from DDay 2. Six days marks a year since any physical intimacy ended.
I am not the same person whose life came crashing down on November 29th, 2014. I am not the same person who ended attempts at R on August 14th, 2019.
My weight loss has stopped, even reversed a little. I've gained back 15 of the 30lbs I lost post DDay 2, but my stomach is flatter, my musculature has returned, and my physical strength has increased. I'm replacing fat with muscle, and I like it. I'm still Captain DadBod, but I pull it off.
I've gotten back a lot of my short term attention memory. I remember things clearer now that I refuse to defer to my cheating ex's gaslighting. My mental acuity is much sharper than it has been in a long time.
My physical skills in woodworking have increased tenfold. It's a hobby that has started making me money. My writing has fallen off, but I am regaining my confidence, and I am certain it'll come back to me when the time is right.
I've been on one date total, and that didn't work out so well (the date went fine, but I didn't click with the lady), but there were no hard feelings and we amicably parted ways. I've been talking to another woman for about two weeks, and despite the whole Covid thing, we're working on a way to meet face-to-face. She's very different from my ex, and I think I like that. We have a lot of fun chatting. I think she's cuter'n hell, and I can see that she is very attracted to me, which is a very welcome change from the last decade.
I am comfortable by myself and I don't spend all day every day wallowing in despair or fury anymore. Don't get me wrong, I am still so incredibly angry, and I don't think i will ever, EVER let go of that grudge. The whole "someday you'll thank me for this" shit she said to me will never be true. I will NEVER thank her for what she did... that's absurd.
My hatred for all of her APs is just as strong as it was post each DDay. That doesn't affect me on the day-to-day, minute-by-minute of my life, so I see no reason to let it go. It'll never amount to anything, and honestly, I've earned it.
My feelings for my cheating ex are both complicated and simple. I get along with her on the day to day. I work with her in caring for the kids and taking care of the house. I can even share a joke with her from time to time. And yet, when I see her say things about how she won't water herself down or silence herself for anyone else's comfort, how she's tired of being judged, how she is living her best, most true life, I just roll my eyes at the absurdity of it all. In the actions of Michael Keaton;
When I see people bailing on her because of the light being shined on who she really is, I'll admit to a quiet, perverse pleasure. Schadenfreude is strong with me regarding her. And yet, honestly, I hope she does well after we complete our separation. Mostly for my kids's sake; they deserve a mentally and emotionally healthy and mature mother who is capable of providing the support they need, and right now, she's trying desperately to be a single 20-something in an almost 40 year old mother of five's body. I hope she gets past that, but a teensy-tiny part of me still hopes she absolutely crashes and burns and feels every little drop of pain she put me through, all the while knowing that it is 100% her fault.
*cough* so yeah, I did mention I was still angry.
I'm waking up on this day to sun outside, a purring cat on my lap, a skyrocketing credit score, a not-empty bank account, a workshop full of tools, and an easy job to go to. I feel okay. There's tragedy happening in my life right now; I lost my uncle very recently due to leukemia and pneumonia coupling together, and my soul aches for that, but life will go on, I know that. I'm looking forward and I'm seeing light beyond the shadowy places. I don't feel like I am in a losing fight. I don't feel like I am doomed anymore. I'm talking to a woman who thinks I am smart, funny, attractive, and enjoys my company. My kids love me. I am financially stabilizing. I have the love and support of my extended family. I have the respect of my friends and community.
I'm going to be okay.
2 comments posted: Saturday, June 13th, 2020
So, I've taken the re-entry to the dating world slower than when I first started. The first lady I spoke to, I was hardly 6 weeks out from DDay.
I'm approaching six months now. I think I'm at a level. I've not really reached out on OLD, scrolled through once or twice and tapped likes on a few promising ladies, but I never really sent any messages or whatever, and didn't get any real responses.
Until just recently. About three weeks ago, ding! I get a notification from one platform from a lady I liked a while back that she liked me back and had commented on a quote of mine.
I had written;
Mankind's greatest danger lies not in aiming too high and missing his mark, but in aiming too low and achieving it.
... and she commented her agreement. I looked over her profile and recognized her. It turned out that we had chatted way back when on a different app, and she had actually been the first person I liked on OLD, and the first person I chatted with, but she had stopped using that platform so we fell away.
We've been chatting now for three weeks. Off and on, mostly on the weekends, maybe a message here and there during the week, more like letters between pen pals, asking questions about each other and getting a feel for compatibility. So far, we're jiving alright; the OLD platform gives us a 92% compatible rating, which is pretty good, I think (I realize algorithms and numbers are a poor judge of personal chemistry, but it's a start).
We were chatting at one point about hiking and exploring beaches (we're both fans of the coast) and I told her I'd never been to the region she was talking about, and she'd have to give me some pointers as to where to go. I quipped that it was a bit to early to ask her to show me herself, I hadn't even asked her out for drinks at a comedy show yet (we're both into stand-up comedy). She said I had her at drinks and comedy. Cue frantic search for a quality comedy show at a decent venue.
Tonight I asked her to go to a show with me on the 15th. It's a little ways out, but we both have kids and schedules to work around, and this gives us both time to make arrangements. She hasn't replied to the message yet, but I doubt she's seen it yet, since it's so late.
So yeah. I'm not as frantically excited about this one as I was the first one, I don't feel so desperate for connection... I've become more comfortable being alone, though I still hate being lonely.
I'm not going into this with a lot of expectation. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, if anything. I'm just sort of... looking, I guess. She seems fun. I think it'll be a fun night, if she says yes. If not, well, I'll probably just go by myself or with one of my buddies. It's after work on a Saturday, so the day is mine; my ex can't screw me up by staying out too late; I'll just, yaknow, not come home after work.
Still. Kinda nervous. I've never gone out on a date as a single adult. I don't wanna be too dressed up, but I don't wanna slum it either. I don't wanna be one of those try-too-hard guys, but I don't want to seem like I'm not trying at all.
Man. This crap is complicated.
4 comments posted: Monday, February 3rd, 2020
What would you have done?
I feel like kind of a coward, but I don't know what I should have done differently, if anything.
I went through McDonald's drive thru after my counseling session, because, well, I was hungry and my stress level was high, so I figured I'd eat, level out my blood sugar, and go home. As I was paying, the girl in the window asked me if I had come through earlier that week, and I said yes.
She said she remembered my bracelets, and that they were really cool. I said thank you and told her I made them, and she got really excited, said that she used to do viking re-enactment at renfests, and I told her I did too, as well as forging and chainmaille in general, and she got even more excited. She obviously wanted to talk more, and so did I; she was super cute, excitable, and interested, but there were cars in line behind me and I didn't want her to get in trouble, so I said goodbye, got my burger, and parked to eat it.
I kept thinking, I should drive back through, get a soda or something, and give her my number, and say if she wanted to talk more, I would be happy to. Even if nothing came of it, no big deal, but if something DID come of it, cool. But instead I ate my burger by myself, sitting in my car, listening to black sabbath, then drove home regretting it the whole way.
On the one hand, she's a woman at work, and it's bad form to hit on a woman at work. She's being nice because she is at work and she has to be, not necessarily because she's interested.
On the other hand, she seemed really interested.
But my picker is broken, so wtf do I even know?
10 comments posted: Wednesday, December 4th, 2019