September 10, 2016 — Me: a divorced divorce attorney. No, really. I’m fine with that.
What I have: three beautiful (and sometimes annoying) children and a thriving legal practice. I just bought my own house — by myself. I exercise regularly. I rarely cook (thanks to New York City living). I pick what’s for dinner. I set the house rules. Oh and I have ALL the closets to myself.
What I don’t have? I don’t have to pick up after some dude. No underwear, socks and shoes left all over the living room. No surprise dirty dishes. No wet towels on the floor. No complaints about how much I spend on clothing or shoes. No gripes about how long it takes me to get ready in the morning. No surprise credit card bills (like the time I got a letter in the mail congratulating me on his Harley Davidson purchase! More on that later). I’m in control of my life.
Last year, I suffered a horrible post-divorce break-up. The relationship lasted four years before imploding. Seriously imploding. He showed up at my son’s birthday party drunk and then proceeded to pass out in between my guests’ parked cars. The end result? My beautiful daughter, an alcoholic ex-boyfriend, and my new resolve to make the most of out my life. Single.
Since that time, my ex-husband Jake and I become better friends than we were during our marriage. He comes over for breakfast most mornings and carts the kids to school so I can get ready for court. He even watches my daughter (aka, not his kid). Yep. We are rocking the hell out of this “co-parenting” thing and that gives me a few evenings alone each week. I date. I read. I blog. I get to hold the remote!
Every day in my office I see people struggle with the end of their marriage. The Reluctant. The Remorseful. The Distraught. The Angry (and The Very Very Angry). The Afraid. Months go by and with a little luck most of them turn into The Accepting, The Stronger-for-this, and The Hopeful.
Anyone recovering from a broken heart understands. It takes so much work to get back to yourself after a relationship, whether it was a bad relationship (or a good relationship gone bad). Over the summer I spent days literally sitting under my desk in tears, trying to find my inner strength, trying to work through the pain. I lost weight – in a bad way. I had to get out of bed for the kids. I had to go to work for the bills. I had to figure out how to move forward. I had to stop the tears.
In my grief I started writing poetry. I started reading philosophy. I started buying more shoes. I started looking for the little moments where I forgot my pain and enjoyed my life. Slowly those moments expanded into hours and days. My grief and pain shrunk into a small bruise on my heart. I will never be back in that place again, I vow. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. Over it.
Fast forward to this week. Thursday. My ex-husband Jake comes over to make french toast and wrangle the kids for school. “Erin is moving in,” he says as he slops the sticky egg-covered bread into the frying pan. Erin, his long-time girlfriend has been a blessing. My kids love her. She’s smart, funny, pretty and sensible. Why the hell would she ever live with a guy?
He goes on, “At Meg’s house the other night she had too much to drink,” he says. “She let it slip that I haven’t produced the ‘rock’ yet. I didn’t think she was into that.” He is such a dope. She’s never been married. She’s 36. Of course she’s into that! We all want that dream: the perfect love, the amazing relationship, the soulmate who can be your everything. The man on bended knee. The poofy white dress. Tulle. (I always wanted lots of tulle. Enough to make the New York City Ballet company puke).
“I’m happy for you,” I tell him. “Practice saying something for me, ok?” I say. “What’s that?” he asks, looking quizzical. Me: “Just repeat this several times: ‘I like the one on the left, but the one on the right is nice too; whatever works better with your theme.'” Jake looks confused. “It’s wedding planning talk. I know you hate that stuff, but this time, do it right. Participate.” I say. “Got it,” he laughs.
Pfft. I will never get married again — ever. (I don’t believe in Santa Claus anymore either).