Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No Thanks, I'm Not Lost...I'm Just Wandering...

Sometimes, I truly do not know how the time between April 2008 and January 2010 didn't kill me.

Maybe it's a testament to just how much stress I live under on a daily basis, or maybe it's something else.

I do know that waking up each day was a miracle in many ways. I died when I was at home.

Maybe that sounds dramatic, but it is true. At that point, I had been sleeping on the couch for a few months and "The Runner" and I had stopped having sex months before. We stopped shortly after the third or fourth time that he told me that falling asleep with me was uncomfortable for him. I only happened to move out to the couch because I fractured my hand and had to sleep with it elevated. I always look back at that time and wonder just how much happiness he was hiding when he fell asleep at night.

Finally, his words and his actions didn't matter. I was forced to sleep apart from him because of a medical reason, not because I couldn't take a hint.

I remember a trip I took with "The One" that October to Chicago. We had planned on spending the weekend doing random things, but then heading to a party with one of our friends.

It was extremely cold and windy that weekend and that became our excuse to stay indoors. The truth is that we had already gotten to a point where we didn't want to be apart for more than a few hours and we definitely didn't want to spend what little time we had with other people.

I can go back into my memory banks and tell you everything about our time together. I know exactly what we did; what I wore; how he looked; what we laughed about and I can also tell you when the tears started during each trip.

Each time we saw each other it was a Friday through Sunday. I would never be able to sleep on the Saturdays before it was time for one of us to go home. So I would wake up and either sit in bed next to him and watch him sleep, or, more often, I would curl up with a blanket near a window and look outside.

If "The One" woke up and asked why I was awake, I'd always have some excuse ready. The truth was that I never grew comfortable being in love with him as much as I honestly was in love.

I could never forgive myself for having those 72 hours of happiness. And yet, I never felt the guilt that I told myself had to be there.

Having an affair is not something I ever imagined myself getting involved in and I wanted to be devastated. Sometimes, I believe growing up Catholic did me a great disservice.

And then there are other times when I realize it is just me: I need to be the martyr, even if only to myself. That has to be it.

How do I know this? It is easy: I had never felt the type of love or connection that I felt to "The One". Never.

And to be honest, I won't ever feel it again. Oh, I will (and do) love. But never will I find my match in the same way. Yes, that is an extreme statement, but I am okay saying it because there is only one him and there is only one me.

That's a fair statement that any of us can understand.

Sometimes, I have a fleeting image of us together and I wonder which of us sabotaged the relationship. Then I realize, no, that's not what happened. We fell in love, we loved, we faced adversity and our timing was off.

But before it was off...we had our first Christmas together. And it was like a movie with all of its perfection. Even though it was in Atlantic City in the most ridiculous hotel ever. But we had Denny's. And presents.

And lots of love.

(Heart caption info: Lyons Township High School art teacher Jamie Rey's acrylic heart, located in downtown Chicago)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Science Of Loving Yourself Way Too Much...

Trust me, you aren't that interesting.

Actually, neither am I.

A few days ago I linked a HuffingtonPost article onto my Facebook page.
The article, Do Narcissists Know They Are Narcissists?, was a big hit as a status update.

Of course it was. First, we all know at least one narcissist, right?

I know I do. I love the ones who refer to themselves as 'empathetic' towards others. Grade school psych majors can tell you those two words can not go together. I remember saying that once. I was told I didn't know what I was talking about. Where is the 'that's so ironic' emoticon when you need it?

My favorite sentence from the article was:

Perhaps narcissists assume that others are just failing to realize how bitchin' they really are. They may think that people are just too dim to recognize their brilliance. Another possibility is that narcissists may think critics are just envious of them. Narcissists may take negative feedback and think to themselves, "Those haters are just jealous!"

Ha. Haha. Ha. See, I believe this sums up the whole study. Actually, it sums up all three studies. Prefection.

I had a long talk with "The Prince" last night and we went through the usual talking points of 'what's new, etc' and we started talking about narcissitic behavior.

He has a lot more patience for it than I do. I wish I could learn from him, but that would be a long learning process.

See, I don't find anything appealing abour the behavior. At all. I find it sad and annoying. I think a lot could be written about the stories "The Prince" and I could tell.

In fact, I have a friend, "The Writer" who wants to have dinner this weekend so we can talk about these books we all keep talking about writing.

My time on "The World's Largest Sex Site" should come in handy, right?

I mean, look at all of the stories I can now tell. No, no one will ever believe me. It is impossible for anyone to imagine some of the things adults do and say to each other all for the sake of being liked.

And yet, it is not only possible, but it is happening every day. And, for those of us who can read, it is also a wonderful study on human behavior.

Yeah, I may need to re-think my major. It isn't too late for med school is it?

For more on the science of self-love...

If You Look At My Life You'll See What I See...

"I hate you and I wish we had never gotten married."
....May 15, 2008; then husband's last words before leaving our apartment.

It stared small. A simple argument over one of us wanting to mop our hardwoood floors while asking the other to watch the Yankees game in another room. It escalated, quickly.

For years I said that while I knew "The Runner" had a lot of issues with anger and passive aggressiveness, he never took those issues out on me or "The Girl, A". See how foolish some of us can be at times?

"The Runner" asked me to marry him three times before I said yes. What changed my mind? 9/11. It feels like a long time ago, but it is really only about 10 years.

I never learned to listen to my doubts until about two years ago when I started seeing the world's best therapist.

Until that point, if something was wrong I simply found excuses for why I was the issue - not anyone else and never the actual issue.

"The Runner" was funny, smart, brilliant and gorgeous. How could I find fault with those things? Yes, I had all of the doubts firmly rushing through my head: The 'First Love" who questioned me constantly about why now, why this guy; the best friend who said I was being silly; the best girlfriend who pulled me aside and said she would get me through the wedding, but then would be done because she wasn't on board. All of it. I chalked it up to them not seeing the 'real person' that I saw.

Well...looks like they were the brightest bulbs.

Do you know how someone who is independent views quiet, behind the scenes abuse? Yeah, I didn't either until it happened to me. While I would have picked up on it if it had been directed anywhere else, when it was sent my way, I made up reasons like: He's the youngest and this is how he was socialized; or he's just got to lighten up; or, or, or. And then some more or.

I will always have "The One" in my heart because we were both aware that our timing was terrible.

But on May 15, 2008, when I called my best friend and then "The One" and cried on the phone for hours to both of them, I knew I was going to start packing away the emotional baggage of living in a marriage that was honestly making me sick. I also knew that "A" was well-aware of how unhappy I had been, regardless of how much I tried to hide it.

Six weeks after that night of the great 'angry outburst', I was in Chicago and pretending that time didn't exist. "A" was at camp and "The One" was showing me his city so that I would be able to navigate it like a native. I thank him every day for this gift.

When I returned to NYC July 4th weekend, I was ready to concentrate on all of these real-life things, then I got a call to start traveling with the Obama campaign as an advance-pollster. I sometimes wonder if that is really what did in my marriage. While "A" and I only grew closer during this time, "The Runner" thought my work (both paid and non-paid) was insignificant in comparison to what he was doing. I was 'just' this or 'just' that. And as much as I tried to engage him, I knew it was only on the surface.

September of 2008 was a true turning point for me, "A" and the campaign. Everything seemed to be moving at warp-speed. Right down to "The One" offering to move to New York to be closer to me.

I wonder what would have happened if I had said 'yes'...

(photo by CarbonNYC; Mosaic Heart near Grant's Tomb, NYC)

Monday, April 11, 2011

No, There Is No Such Thing As "Too Soon"...

I remember when "The One" and I returned from our April trip. He to Chicago and me to New York. We waited a full three hours before we started talking about our next trip.

I swear I thought that we would leave each other that April weekend and probably stay friends, but nothing else. That's not true. I had hopes that I could ignore what I felt.

Then I asked him where I could send him a birthday present. He said to send it to his house. Gasp.

His house? He laughed at me. Over the years, he did that a lot. Laughed at my naïveté about how he felt for me; laughed when I pushed; laughed when I tried to shut down. Laughed at my inability to see where he already knew we were going.

But that April morning, when he laughed, I cried. I had no idea where to go with 'us'. I just knew that I had to try to figure out how to make a lot of people happy from that point forward. Well, a lot of people excluding myself. Years later, when my then-husband and I were filing for divorce, he asked if I was happy.

It is hard to be happy when you put everyone else first. There. Now that I've said it, you can see why I have been seeing the same therapist for two years.

"The One" and I talked every day from that April trip, onward.

We made plans for me to visit him in Chicago that June in time for "Taste of Chicago". I laughed because I thought we could get away with seeing each other every three months or so. He laughed, too. I thought that was enough. Then I couldn't wait and he flew me out to see him for Mother's Day Weekend.

And that began two years of crying each time I had to say goodbye to him. Especially when I left him on an amazingly beautiful May Sunday in 2008 and said, with tears in my eyes, 'when can we see each other again? Three months won't work. I'm sorry I suggested it would.'

I wrote my first love letter to him on the plane ride home that morning. And then I allowed myself to breath. I knew exactly what would happen if I ever had to make a decision to not see him.

I knew there was no way I could do it. Not willingly. But I tried to resist everything that was abnormal about our 'lives' together and instead, focused on raising a teen ager and keeping a husband who couldn't see me unless we were in a crowd, happy.

A few weeks later I was back in Chicago for that "Taste" weekend and again, I could hear my heart break when it was time to say goodbye. I think that is when I started considering that not only was I in love but that nothing had ever been so scary to me before then.

Sometimes, when I allow myself to think about it, I wish I had never understood what it feels like to have that much love given to someone or received, in return.

It's made the past year all that more difficult.

(no rhyme or reason to the choice of images, other than I heart Chicago and the Bean. And so does Kanye).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Let It Burn, Let It Burn, Let It Burn...

I really wish I could write a story in real time. Perhaps that is the problem. Life is not always 'real time' even though it should be. Clocks say so.

Last night I asked "The Prince" a very simple question:

'Were you more in love with her than you told me? And, did I undervalue the importance of the relationship with her, based on what you have been saying for almost a year now?'.

That was at 3:37 PM. I will let you know when he answers me. He called, twice, while I was in a meeting. Then I worked late and he fell asleep.

Ahh...the differences in a time zone, huh?

I seem to do this a lot. Select men who are far away. Sometimes it is mileage. Other times it is emotionally. Don't let anyone tell you that an emotionally 'independent' man is any easier to deal with than a man who keeps his heart on his sleeve. He isn't.

So I wait. I wait to hear if the words "The Princess" wrote to me have truth, or if I will hear something different.

But...and this is the kicker of this story: Will it matter?

That's always the thing, right? When you already know what you will do, you just haven't done it for whatever reason.

Right now, I'm not even sure if I am feeling my own emotions or if this fucking Adele CD is just messing with me. I'll let you (and myself) know if I figure it out.

Red...I joke that you set me up with "The Prince" so it's partly your fault. I am kidding.

I knew what I was doing. And I know why I did it. I never expected to be 'here'. That's on me. I thought "The One" and I would work out after time apart. I hedged on that for a whole year. Even after Austin, I couldn't get it into my head that maybe I was wrong.

You know what "The Prince" was supposed to be...a fun 'thing' to help me deal with "The One" and our ending. I know that no one is perfect. I know it isn't easy giving up your heart...

Crap, there goes Adele again. Crap. I need to take her off of the auto-play.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why I Can't Title This...

...Because I'm not sure where to start.

After five years on the world's biggest sex site, I keep thinking I have learned it all. I haven't.

I haven't learned why people call themselves swingers when they are really insecure narcissists.

I haven't learned why so many people are looking for love, while saying they are really looking for casual, while acting like they are looking for someone to treat them like crap.

I haven't learned why people are so fucking mean to one another.

I haven't learned why everyone having an affair believes they are the only person to have one; the only person to feel 'this way'; the only person who has had to learn to live a double or triple life.

No, I have not learned the answers to any of these things and yet, I continue to try to understand. Why? Well, it seems to be in my nature.

It also seems to be in my nature to try to understand why people make others suffer for their own issues.

Yes, all of these are things I want to understand. Perhaps fundraising is not the right career. Perhaps psychiatry is.

I have a number of 'characters' I could write about and yet, the scariest part is that these are real people. They are parents (biologically speaking, only); they are educators and doctors and police officers and lawyers; they are homemakers and professionals of all sorts.

And what binds them together is a need to be told they are awesome.

Don't we all have that need on some level? Maybe.

But does that need have to infringe upon everyone else's life?

I wrote a post about the site's largest bully. It was removed. Why? It was the truth. Good lesson: Fuck the truth.

Then I learned that people want to have fun there. So I will have fun. For now. I don't think it will last long. I'm not really feeling it right now.

On this site, I will write about Chato "hereafter referred to as: The One" and I will write about "The Prince" and I will write about the people who are so ridiculously petty and mean-spirited and yet, on some level, looked at as nice and innocent. Oh, and the search. The search for the most awesome partner to my crimes. The one.

Yes, I will do that here because there is a story here somewhere. Or perhaps the story is everywhere. What we do to others when we believe we won't be caught.

The fact is: We will be. Everyone is.

No one who manipulates or bullies gets out unscathed.

They just do a lot of damage to others before they hit their wall.

Time to start removing the bricks.

Let's start with a story about "The Prince". It will curl your hair. I know it has mine.

I keep hoping that one day, he will turn into "The King", but I tell you...there must be a reason the 'awesome search' has continued, right?

Must be.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Do You Know Where You're Going To...

Do you like the the things that life is showing you..
.....Diana Ross

Those first few weeks of talking with Chato were simply amazing.

I remember our first call. I told him he could call while I was walking to the subway because it was a short walk. I didn't expect to sit on the steps outside of my office and talk for over half an hour. It wasn't until he got paged to go back to work that we realized how much we had said.

From that point on, we spoke daily. What did we talk about? Everything. Nothing was off limits.

A few weeks later I asked if he would come with me to a birthday party in Rhode Island. A part of me had hoped he would say no. Then I wouldn't have to put my money where my mouth was. He said yes, without hesitation.

That started the flurry of planning.

Now here is what I will say about being a parent who is about to embark on an affair: You want to take your child and run.

Run because while you can see where you have been and where you are heading, you want to protect your kids. I am sure of this.

I hear the stories. I know that good parents don't ever want to hurt their kids. Ever.

By the time Chato and I met in April, we were friends. The kinds of friends who would say anything to the other. But, I wasn't sure we were anything else.

He told me he loved me. I said 'thank you'. I couldn't say it back. As much as we talked and shared, he wasn't real. Not really, real.

We met on a beautiful spring day. He was perfection. I had never imagined that this stranger would show up in NY and drive with me for 3 hours and that those hours would feel like minutes. We laughed and we shared stories and we teased each other.

But like any good movie, we started our trip with a crash. A bridge that for years had stood lowered, was raised for a boat to pass through. As I stopped and looked back in my rear-view mirror, the car next to us was rear-ended. I rememebering saying to Chato: This is unusual. This bridge is never used. It must be the universe telling us something.

I still believe that. I fell in love that weekend like I had never fallen in love before. We did the most random things. We watched bad MTV shows and he laughed at me as I sat, mesmerized, by the NFL draft. We ordered pizza in and watched CSI marathons. And we woke up the next morning like we had been together 50 years.

And I wondered how I had never noticed that look before. You know the one. The one that says: You are my love.

Where was I all of these years? Maybe I had decided there was no 'one' for me. I'm not sure. All I know is that by the time I was driving home on Sunday morning and he was flying back to Chicago, I had changed my life in some way.

And I wasn't go to 'un-change' it for another two years.

Friday, April 1, 2011

We Were The Greatest...Me And You...

In thinking about how to write about the 'why' I have a broken heart, I guess it makes sense to go back and look at how I got 'here'. Where is 'here'?

Here is here.

The day I met my first husband for the first time, I looked at him and saw forever. I could see us growing older together, having children and grandchildren and a lot of other things that seem silly now, but meant everything then.

I was 18. What did I know? Everything. What 18 year old doesn't?

When we divorced, I was devastated. But I was a martyr. He had gone through so many different women during our marriage that at 23, I did not have to do any heavy emotional lifting. It was his fault. Not mine. I was a great wife.

That attitude carried me through dating and falling in love again, but it didn't do me any favors in the long-run. Not having to look at myself meant that I married a second man who not only didn't love me, but wouldn't. Notice I did not say 'couldn't'? There is a big difference.

I tell people that your righteous indignation about an affair only happens when it's your first time dealing with one. Once you have suffered the emotional destruction of either finding out someone you love is having an affair, or having one yourself, your indignation turns to something else.

Or at least it did for me. I learned to forgive.

It is interesting that I am trying out this 'remove grief' during Lent thing and this week has hit me like a ton of bricks. Every regret I had from the past year reared up and kicked me in the face this week. Thanks grief. You bitch.

Yes, right. I forgot. The story. Chato and I. March 16, 2008. That's the day that changed my life. I turned my life upside down. I learned who I was not. I learned who I am. A simple blog comment on the world's largest sex site. Up until that day, I had gotten away with 2 years of: I'm just here to blog, thank you. What happened?

That day should be an anniversary of sorts for me. In fact, a year after, Chato and I were still trying to decide what our anniversary was so we could celebrate in style. We settled on a date in April.

But no, it was March. 16. 2008...

A simple, cheeky comment about Apple and the iTunes monster. I ignored it for a few days. The 'stranger' commenting on my post was unwelcomed on my blog. Who was this guy and what did he think he was doing joining my little blog party? Didn't he see that I had a ton of friends there? What was he trying to do?

Maybe it hurt him that he looked like perfection. Who knows. All I know is that 3 days later we began our friendship.

Nothing has been the same since. Nothing…

Lyrics | Adele lyrics - I'll Be Waiting lyrics