still processing….

I’m still processing.  Like the little spinning rainbow wheel on a mac when something isn’t loading, that’s my brain right about now.  After checking in with a couple of friends, and my therapist, I think I definitely got triggered, and I think the triggers were real.  Meaning that they were real events that are warnings that I should think about carefully.

So here I am, standing back from this relationship.  In my mind, I keep thinking we are pretty much broken up.  A three-month-young relationship that has been unable to be sexually consumed…  how do I even restart the momentum after being frozen in my tracks?  The only path we were on to intimacy was emotional and sharing, and I’m not at this very moment in time willing to go there.  I mean, the other night when we had dinner, I didn’t mention that he got so frustrated/angry/upset/whatever that he got up and left the table twice – twice – for at least five minutes, and left me sitting there.  The second time he came back just as I was like, okay, fine, and putting my coat on to leave-leave.  He didn’t even walk me to my car.  This is three months in.  What happens after six months?  A year?  I don’t see a rose garden.

I am pretty sure he is confused and sad about my pulling away.  I told him this past weekend that I am reducing the speed from 80 mph to 30, throttling back.  In the time we have been seeing each other, he has managed to infiltrate my entire day almost every day.  I haven’t seen my friends in months.  Haven’t talked to my best friend (you know, the guy/missed love-of-my-life in NYC) in weeks.  And I started a new job just five weeks ago, and am in that exhausted adjustment phase, and he isn’t giving me room to BREATHE.  This is NOT GOOD.

And I do feel bad going kind of silent.  Only I don’t.  Because I am annoyed, maybe even angry, that he worked his way into my life as this sweet, gentle, thoughtful person who (i) can’t get it up and falls into a messy sobbing puddle if we even fool around and turn the focus on him (not just his dick) for a minute (so where’s the fun in that) and (ii) is turning on the sickly sweet corny gushing romantic bullshit to cover up what apparently is a bit of an anger issue.  So really, what the fuck.

I don’t trust romantic bullshit.  I hate it, hate it, hate it.  It’s so flipping phony.

But it’s so sad!  We were having so much fun otherwise!  He was kind and considerate and sweet and charming.  Yes, sometimes he overdid it, but I was feeling so happy.  And now, I don’t believe a word he says, trust any of his actions.

I did tell him that if he ever directs that anger at me like I saw him do with his kid, his ex-wife’s boyfriend, it’s a dealbreaker.  We’re done in a second.  No second chances.

Same old shit, different guy.  No wonder I have trouble calling him by his actual name, my ex’s name has started to come to mind instead.

triggered? real or imagined…

Until I wrote a couple of nights ago, I had forgotten how important it is for me to write.  Processing, processing, processing….  I am doing some pondering about this so-young relationship I am in.  Him telling me he loves me is a trigger, a stopping point, a let’s-think-for-a-while point.

As if that alone wasn’t enough to freak me out, my daughter turned 21 (yay! Boo hoo!), which added some murky bittersweet emotion into the mix.

But the most difficult part of this past week has been Anger.  I mentioned that last Saturday, I had the pleasure of going out to dinner with his angry 16 year old son.  And his bird-like, child-like 13 year old daughter.  Those kids are caught in the middle of a couple of angry parents.  His son?  So angry.  And not just his son, there was plenty of anger flying right back from dad to son.


Anyone who knows the story of my marriage will know it was not a good one.  Although it could have been worse.  But he was abusive, and it was a long marriage, and I loved him.  I have spent years in therapy dealing with the fact that I loved a man who treated me so badly.  Now, a lot of it has receded, only leaving its mark when I find myself being faced with intimate anger.

And I go numb.  The shutters close.  My brain goes quiet and I hum in my head.  I feel paralyzed, and cannot move or speak or feel.  My heart closes.  I retreat.

Tuesday he told me this whole long angry story about his ex-wife’s boyfriend confronting him about getting his stuff out of the former marital home already.  My guy was so angry.  I said, dude, get your shit out of her house.  Really.  The whole issue will then go away.  She’s in the right.  You know?

Last night we had dinner. Kind of.  I asked when he was going to deal with it.  He got so angry, frustrated, whatever.  I don’t get it.  Just get the crap out.  Anyway.

I am feeling so disoriented.  This is a side of him I have never seen yet.  I don’t like it.  I actually can’t handle it.  Tonight we talked on the phone, and he told me he was thinking about anger, and realizing that he has often been too angry.  And that he wants to do things differently.

So we went from me feeling like I was simply triggered by these interactions stirring up traumatic events to me feeling like this is actually maybe a real problem.  Or maybe he is saying what I want to hear.  Or maybe…  I don’t know.

Right now, I feel stunned.  Numb, disoriented, paralyzed.  I am interacting with him as per usual while I figure out what to do, although I am taking some time for myself.

I guess I won’t know if it’s real or not unless we spend more time together.

Sigh.  If it doesn’t work out, I would guess he will have an easier time seeing the reason as my having difficulty with anger than his impotence in bed.

Tea-time… and sleep.  That’s what I need.

what defines a relationship?

This has been quite literally a whirlwind of a year.  My daughter was abroad for a semester, spreading her wings, dealing with major challenges, finding her footing and a different rhythm of the heart in faraway lands.  My son is now entering the home stretch of high school, and although almost certainly college-bound, it is all a little uncertain, the damage to his self-esteem from his crappy dad leaving him struggling, emotionally, academically.  He seems to be on a good upswing now… I am so hopeful for him.

And me?  Well, I ended up really going for it with that guy back around new year’s.  best.  Sex.  Of.  My.  Life.  It was incredible.  It lasted a week.  He ended it, because it had no future.  I knew it had no future, because, as it turned out, he has a major drinking problem.  He thought it had no future because of the age difference.  I tried to argue that we should just ride it out for a bit.  He was afraid he would start to feel.

I was heartbroken, I wrote poetry, I texted once in a while, I ran into him a few months later and we talked.  It was bittersweet.  In a way, I loved him, for a while.  If I let myself think about it, I still cry.  The connection was beautiful.  The sex was so intimate, so connected, I weep for the lack of it in my life.

Fast forward some months.  It has been so long since I wrote!  After a dating hiatus of about six months, I reentered the market.  And I met someone.  Online.  Weird.  Anyway, we have been seeing each other pretty intensely for over three months.  He has met my kids and they like him.  I have met two of his three kids and it’s okay (his middle child is either a spoiled angry child or going through some stuff but he is stressful to be around).  He has told me he loves me.  I can’t say it back.  Scares the living crap out of me.  Despite myself, I find myself pulling away and shutting down.  I am trying not to, but I do.  I pick fights.  I am afraid of getting trapped.

He is a wonderful guy.  He is the right age.  He is thoughtful, funny, neurotic, romantic, kind, and wants to be in a monogamous relationship.  He is a musician and is working on writing music to my poetry (literally).  Until he said he loves me, I kept imagining this going on indefinitely, saw us taking trips together, overnights together.  We never run out of things to say.  Until he said he loves me, and I had the pleasure of an evening in the presence of his 16 year old throwing an uncontrollable tantrum in public.  And now I have nothing I want to say.

You see, besides the overwhelming addition of having two kids myself who are both in their senior years (college and high school) and having recently started a new and demanding job with a whole new wardrobe and commute, there is a hiccup in paradise.

He is a middle aged man.  As it turns out, after I encouraged him to go to the doctor, he has insanely high blood pressure.  He is working with his doc to address it.  He is scared and anxious with a loony ex-wife who harasses the crap out of him (maybe with good reason, some of the things she bugs him about he should address, I’m an ex-wife, I get it).

He can’t get it up.  He has a sex drive and we have been physical.  But it’s unbalanced, and it ends in this sad place.  I have been feeling so crazy about him that I was thinking it didn’t matter.  Until he told me he loves me, and I couldn’t say it back, and his son was awful, and I find myself backing away, backing away.  I find myself angry, so angry.  Not at him, he can’t help it, poor guy is so distraught.  But I am angry that I can’t seem to find this one thing in my life.

I tell myself about all the wonderful things about him.  That someday it won’t maybe matter so much.  That all the other things will matter more.  Until all of a sudden, he is treating this like it’s a Relationship.  And, man, if it’s a Relationship, I need sex.  Maybe not five years from now, or ten or twenty if I’m lucky enough to still be around.  But right now, right now, it’s huge.  Only it isn’t.  Huge, I mean.

Do I love him?  Maybe, actually.  Sometimes the words just want to roll off my tongue.  And then I can’t say it.  I can’t be trapped.  Any willing guy some days on the train coming home seems like fair game to me, I’m so jazzed up.

So I figured I would log back in here, and put it all out there.  And then I look at my last few entries and I see SEX everywhere.  And I figuratively smack my head, like, duh.  I want to get laid.  Crazy wild sex, man.  Not love with kids and a crazy ex-wife.  I want fun and sex and adventure and laughter.

Fucking figures.


It has been four and a half years since my ex and I separated. Two and a half since our divorce day in court. In that time, I have had a couple of relationships, and have dated quite a bit. Enough where I can’t remember all the guys’ names, just because some were just first dates that never repeated, and left no impressions.

During my marriage, besides the fact that my ex was mean and angry a lot, one of the severe lacks was a lack of physical intimacy. Forget sex, that went out the window when our son was born. I am convinced that was some primal reaction to another male from my ex – all I know is that I would try to talk about how to get things back on track, and he would just get pissed off. Way to be intimate.

So basically for almost two decades now, I have had almost no physical contact with anyone except my babies. My family all lived pretty far away and now my sister is the only one living from my childhood family and she is a good long drive away.

But hugs from friends are NOT the same as sex. Obviously. I can go pay for a massage. NOT the same as sex. I can hug my kids. NOT the same as sex.

To top it off, and I am sure this is a controlling move, whether conscious or unconscious, my ex only takes our children (now 17 and 20) for TWO NIGHTS A YEAR. Meaning I am always having to be in mom mode. My daughter is in college so a little bit easier. My son waits up for me if I go out.


For a whole host of reasons, I am afraid of letting a man get close. The couple of relationships I had, they failed for their own reasons. One guy had sexual preferences that were irreconcilable. The other guy was controlling and cruel, and he was so kind and sweet at first. In a year, we had sex six times.  He had an issue with sex outside of marriage.  Scared the shit out of me that it took me a year to see the control, during which time he broke up with me repeatedly.

But I’m dying for sex. I have never been able to do one-night stands or the casual thing. I wish I could. I am desperate. Yesterday afternoon, when my kids left with their dad, I took a long shower and then broke out the vibrator.   When I was “done”, I started to cry, so much pain inside. I am so hungry for another person.

This does not lead to good decisions.

Anyway, I got myself together and headed into the city. A guy I met a while back, at a venue I like to go to sometimes, responded to my “hey how are you” text with a “I’m having an impromptu winter bbq if ur in the area” text. So I said I would try to make it, and went over an hour later.

He is 20 years younger than me and oh, so cute. And he was so very drunk. Oh my, wow. I thought there had been a vibe in the past, and when I went to leave, he pulled me into his room and started to kiss me. And I said I should go. Because why? Because I thought I “should”. By whose rules? And why the fuck should I go?

For the next, oh, 4 hours, it was amazing. He was too drunk to actually… you know. He pleaded with me to spend the night, to wake up with him in the morning, but I just couldn’t do it. I am kicking myself now. We have texted a bit today. He has continued drinking – he’s 29 and on vacation, you know.

But for those wonderful hours, we rolled and laughed and kissed and kissed, naked together. I would be a little sad if it doesn’t happen again – not too sad, he drinks a lot. And he is so young. And so sweet. And he felt so wonderful to kiss and wrap myself around.

But whose voice is telling me I shouldn’t do these things? Obviously I don’t want to rush into a full-blown relationship just to be sexual again. Years and years of deprivation. Why should I hold off? My head isn’t clear.

I need. I am desperate. My ex is still engineering it so I am not a full person. Fucking asshole.

getting caught up….

It has been five months since I wrote. There is no possible way to revisit it all here. I have been focusing on putting a lot of the feelings and moments into words through poetry which I won’t bore you with. I’ll hope it’s good enough to try to get some of it published someday.

So, a quick synopsis….

I had restarted a relationship with someone I cared about very much, loved even, before I took my high school reunion trip. While on that trip, the overwhelming impact of unearthed trauma, family memories, a pseudo-fling with my first love, left me reeling and pretty fucked up when I got back. I needed time to process it – lots of therapy and lots of tears! – and my boyfriend got so anxiety-ridden by my need for alone time to deal with it (despite my checking in constantly and reassuring him that I was still here and telling him what and why and that I loved him) that he blew up and told me he would NEVER trust me and would ALWAYS be suspicious, that I was unkind and inconsiderate and treated him badly.

So I told him to fuck off and goodbye. I’m still getting over this. Looking back it was a pattern – whenever I needed him, he turned the tables and told me I wasn’t coming through for him. It was the right decision. I still miss him.

My rebound was a young man half my age. We work together at my part-time job. He got freaked out because people started talking. It was very short-lived, just a few weeks, but I got three amazing nights of getting drunk with a boy and having SO. MUCH. FUN. I see him at work. I miss hanging out. But it’s okay.

My first love who was so eager to reconnect at the reunion, who I cautioned and held back from until he won me over with his passion and memories and what-the-fuck-ever, must have bared it all to his wife and has cut off all contact without so much as a “I’m sorry, I hope you understand.” It is the lack of the “I’m sorry” that bothers me. The pseudo-fling was what should have happened, we were back in high school for a weekend, it was amazing, I never expected it to be more than that. But we had been communicating on occasion as friends before that, and I feel absolutely shattered by his cutting me off without a kind word. He’s a high ranking diplomat, do you know? Some diplomat in his real life. Probably doesn’t see people as real. Asshole. Ruined my beautiful memories.

So. I’ve been working an insane schedule. I still think I am in love with my best friend, but drew the line at “you’re unavailable and so we’re just friends”. But that hurts too. So many loves in a year. I still love them all in their unique ways. I try to let that make me fill bursting with love. But it stings of rejection and sadness.

I am now officially in my 50’s. I am back in the present. My son is a junior in high school. My daughter a junior in college. My future is waiting. I just need to crawl out from my stack of breakups and all the grieving to start getting out there and seeing what comes next.

Heading down to NYC in a few weeks. That always helps me clear my head.

Phew. That was a lot in just a few months.

the missing pieces… part 1

Two months ago, I began my journey back. Back in time, back in my heart, back home. What is it, that famous quote, that you can never go home again? Maybe not per se, it will never be exactly the same.

But I did.   Several months ago, a few of my schoolmates from high school got together and gathered for the first time in the same place in many years. It was so inspiring that the idea arose of doing it again, on a larger scale, to give people the opportunity to plan and travel.

You see, I grew up abroad. My dad worked for a large international company, and we first left the US when I had just turned 8. We lived in three different countries over nine years. I was almost 17 when we moved back.

I went to foreign schools, American schools having a reputation for problems – lots of military and embassy kids who moved really often. Drugs and behavioral issues were common. And my dad himself was the son of Spanish parents, and seized the opportunity for us to have a truly international experience.

It sounds glamorous.   When I tell people now, they think it’s wonderful. It definitely shaped my view of the world, molded me into who I am.

But it was hard. No matter where we lived, especially the first place, I was different and had a hard time fitting in. I was very shy. People made fun of the way I talked. And so I became a bit of a chameleon at first. Adopted the local accent.

Middle school in country number two sucked, as middle school does. Anywhere. When we moved to the third country, I was so glad to have the chance to start all over again (every middle schooler’s fantasy). And what happened there was amazing. I was just me. And it all fit. I belonged, me with my quirks and my funny accent, and the fact that few people really understood where I came from.

I had a crowd of friends. I did well in school. Of course there were the usual teen issues. But what an accepting and tolerant place I ended up in. I fell madly and wildly in love for the first time. I have never truly been in love again.

One of the hard parts about the moving is that it was unpredictable. The other was that my mom hated it, and by the time we moved to the third place, she was crazily homesick, very depressed and drank. A lot. I was her only friend. She told me things and complained to me in ways I wish I could forget. But I was happy, as happy as I could be with the shadow of departure hanging over my head. When, no one knew. But it was a horrible unknown that followed me everywhere.

I suffered my first bout of serious depression in middle school. My last year of high school was both incredible and awful. I developed an eating disorder, and the thought that we would at some point be leaving made me want to die.

I could have stayed – all my friends left for boarding schools and such when I went back to the US. I was in love. I wanted to stay in Europe, which was my home. I was not American. Nothing about me except my passport was American. But my parents made me leave. They tore me away against my wishes.

It was traumatic. This was a few decades ago. Long distance calls were impossibly expensive. Letters only went so far. I started college young, and my father would not let me live on campus and made me commute my first year. I didn’t drive. I was unable to make friends. By the time I moved back to the US, I had one of those “international not-quite-British” accents. I certainly did not sound, look, dress “American”. I was horribly depressed. I wanted to die.

My parents told me not to tell anyone about living overseas. They told me people would think I was a snob. In retrospect, some people might have found it interesting. If I had talked about it, I might have made friends with people who had similar backgrounds. But my parents had me so freaked, I clammed up. My mother was so glad to be back, she did not want to know I was unhappy. My father was so distressed at the idea that I might be unhappy, there was pressure to not talk.

And so I became silent. I lost everything I had ever known. I lost my identity. I became lost. At the time, I did what I could to handle it. I could not wait to escape from home, although I did live at home for two years after I graduated college. I gradually adjusted, I guess. I got married the first time very young – that’s when I moved out. Once I was away from my parents, my depression worsened as the wounds from the past surfaced, I questioned my marriage, and I – finally – started therapy.

For years I have tried so hard to make my life work. I have done all the right things. And it has never fit, really. For a few years in grad school it did, and then I got married again, moved back to the ‘burbs and became a mom, and once again was lost.

A couple of months ago, I went back to high school. And I found my missing pieces.  Let the stitching of past and present begin….



seeking to make peace…

This past weekend, I had the most incredible experience.  I attended a close friend’s daughter’s bat mitzvah.  I have known the girl since she was probably about 4.  Her mom and I talk a lot on the phone and email and text, but we don’t really hang out often.  But this little girl and I always just hit it off.  She was a pretty individual child, definitely marched to her own beat.  Smart, fabulous, creative, awkward.

On Saturday, I watched this now young teen lead a full prayer service, that she created herself with the rabbi and cantor.  I watched her steel herself with courage, her voice strong and confident, well-paced and poised.  She was amazing.  I watched her use her torah reading and its contents, focusing on the ability of the minority to create change and fight off the enemy, and use this to talk about her own status as a minority.  A young lesbian.  She talked with passion and pride about her work with LGBTQ teens.  I sat there with tears streaming down my face, me who had been nervous about going to this thing solo, humbled and awed and struck by her bravery and her conviction.

I left that prayer service a changed person.  She was beautiful.  Who knows how her life will go, but for right now, she’s in her rhythm.  She left me inspired.  All I have to do is think about what she has struggled with over the past few years, as a child, and I remember I am an adult.  I can be just as brave.

And it goes without saying kudos to my friends, her parents, who raised such a child.

A couple of nights before this, I was talking to my friend in NYC, and he was just being a total and complete ass on the phone.  So I simply said, this conversation is making me feel bad so I’m gonna go.  He said, okay, bye, and hung up.  I haven’t talked to him since.  I will need to talk to him soon.  I want the friendship.  I don’t want this other shit.  This definitely does not look like love.

A week ago from Saturday, my therapist said something that made me feel really ashamed of my behavior within my relationship with the guy I was with last year.  The guy who I broke things off with completely (well, I think he had really broken up with me before that, but I don’t know, it was a really confusing time) after I returned from London.  It has been bothering me, and I am sick at heart.  I have thought about so many of the things that happened.  I miss him, as it turns out.  I have probably lost him.  But life is short, and there are things I would like to have the chance to say.

So yesterday evening I called him.  It went straight to voicemail and I left a message.  He called me very late last night and we talked for a couple of hours.  I cried.  He talked.   I talked.  I am hopeful that I will be able to see him to say what I need to say.  I think he has moved on but I need to let him know certain things so that I can grieve and let go.

Just like my young friend who made her bat mitzvah, I don’t know what happens after that.  I pray for courage I guess.  I hope I find it.  The courage to speak up.

I am filled with tears lately.  They just come all the time.