two lessons i’ve learned during the ‘big d’ #2

Almost 12 months ago, I found out that my ex was cheating on me and at the time, I felt like the world stopped and wouldn’t start again. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t figure out what to do, I couldn’t see what was really standing in front of me – a pathetic excuse for a man.

Today though, I see this man in a slightly different light. I’m actually thankful that he did what he did. I hate his actions and choices and don’t condone them but I have chosen to forgive him for things he did to me and for how his actions affected my kids. I can’t say that I don’t have moments where I have to talk myself down from huge amounts of anger that I have toward his continued poor choices, but I’ve had to make the decision to let God deal with him and also to make the choice to allow God to grow positive things in my life by just letting a lot of things go. (And please don’t think that it’s easy to do this…I have to make a conscious decision to do this every darn day.)

And what a difference 12 months can make.

life lessons during divorce_for blog post

Lesson #1: I had to grow my little Mommy and Me Gang.

My kids have grown so much, emotionally, in a positive way. I didn’t fully realize the negative impact my soon-to-be-ex really had on them and shame on me for not realizing it. I’ve really beaten myself up over some of the things that they’ve shared with me now, that they felt they just ‘had to deal with’ because they knew I loved their stepdad.

Now though, my little family of four is so solid and I can honestly say that had I been with my ex still, I think my family-unit with my three kids would have suffered even more because they were silently struggling with my ex. Now that he’s gone, I’ve watched my second son really open up to me about everything that he’s feeling because he feels supported and heard; I’ve watched my oldest son learn empathy, sympathy, and how to care for others; and my little lady…well, she’s learning how to drive her brothers insane but that’s what two-year old little sisters are supposed to do.

I’ve learned how to connect with them and we have this weird gang-like mentality – that to get past one of us, you have to get past all of us. And without my ex making his poor choices, I wouldn’t have had that. I didn’t have this before my ex and I got together but I’ve had the last 10-12 months to build that relationship and it’s the most incredible experience. They are fully aware that they come first, before any man in my life, or anything else.

As my best friend told me a looooong time ago, give yourself time, if you’re getting divorced, to build a bond with your kids that is impenetrable. I didn’t…I thought I had, but I didn’t give it enough time before being in a serious relationship and it prevented me from seeing exactly what they were experiencing because we weren’t impenetrable yet and they just wanted me to be happy so they avoided sharing how they were feeling about my ex…sadly, I don’t think that they felt that they had a choice. Today, they know that they get to pull the kill-switch if they have issues with someone that I am dating.

My advice – wait until you are on solid ground with the kiddos before you introduce a serious relationship to the kids. I would even recommend waiting until your relationship is solid with your kids before jumping into a serious relationship yourself.

Lesson #2: Don’t expect your relationships to change until you change your habits.

Basically, if you don’t change anything, you’ll find yourself in the same types of relationships over and over and over…until you change something.

I like to serve others and make them happy. It’s who I am and it makes me happy to know that I was the one that put a smile on someone else’s face. The only problem with that is that I’ve only focused on being the support for someone else I’m in a relationship with instead of making sure that my needs were also being met. In a way – I needed to learn how to serve myself.

About nine months before I found out that my ex had been cheating on me, I left my job, my career, of 17 years so that I could help him with his business and support our household needs while he built his business. While it was the dumbest decision I could have agreed to, in the end I think I may end up thanking him. I’m working my tail off to build my own business so that I can create and maintain the same lifestyle that my kids have always been used to and so that I get to use my brain every day doing the things that I love – being creative and being there for them as their mother and support system.

Had I not left my job, I wouldn’t have been in a situation that forced me out of my comfort zone to create my own little world in which I allowed myself to fully do things my way. I had to make myself become a little selfish and to choose to do things that I’ve always wanted to do but was never given the chance to do because my spouse didn’t want to do them…like make my kids Matzo Ball soup whenever they wanted or choose a restaurant other than Ale House if I was going out to eat for dinner. (It’s the little things that make me happy.)

I’ve really had to self-reflect over and over and truly learn what I’m worth and how strong I really can be and I’ve learned how to serve myself. It may sound extremely selfish but I needed to be forced to do that because otherwise, I likely would end up with another man that took and took and took from me, because I like to serve, without the guy giving back to me or serving me. And I’m not high-maintenance…I promise. I don’t expect much more than thoughtful attention, learning my coffee order, and giving me the time I need to watch any of The Real Housewives.

And then…

…when I least expected it, someone really important entered in my life. And because I was more solid within my own expectations of myself and my behavior, I knew what I was willing to allow into my life and into my kids lives and how much I would allow myself to serve without being served in return.

The beginning of a new relationship is fun and exciting and you want to do everything for that person to not only impress them but to make them happy. My fatal flaw in relationships is that I have always misinterpreted the happiness that I feel, after serving someone, as happiness, that the person I’m with, is returning to me.

The reality is that the happiness that I felt in past relationships, in the beginning, I had created on my own and that’s not healthy. You should be with someone that gives as much as you give.

And with this guy, I have this. Had I not learned to focus on making myself a priority and how to appreciate ‘how I’m wired’, I could easily have gotten lost in a new relationship. I appreciate my quirks now and won’t let myself be in a relationship unless that person appreciates them as well.

Thanks to my ex, I was forced to take a hard look at myself and the personality traits (from the people I was with) that I had been allowing in my life. I wasn’t questioning myself about what I had done wrong in my marriage, because no one should take blame for my divorce except the cheater and abuser, but I was quizzing myself about the type of person I would ever again allow in my life or my kids lives. And I’ve learned a lot about myself through this process.

My advice – reflect upon your past in order to know what behavior contributed to the divorce and then work your tail off in order to not repeat that behavior, whether that is allowing it in your life or determining that it’s your behavior that needs to change.

The key, though, is to give yourself time to make these changes and not to rush things or allow others to tell you what your timeline should be. You’ll know when you are ready for your next step in life.

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it but the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website. Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. Thank you for your trust and readership!
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my relationship goals

About five years ago, I gave some advice that I thought was sound…marry for passion – and that’s all someone needed to make a marriage successful.

A friend of mine told me that he was thinking about ‘the future’ with his girlfriend. I had been married for a little over 8 years, at the time, so I thought I knew all about what you should and shouldn’t do…which was basically don’t marry someone because you think you owe it to them because you’ve been with them for a certain amount of time – marry them because you want them desperately…and if you had passion that’s all you needed. (I was sooo wrong!)

I had been missing passion in marriage #1 for different reasons (not necessarily his fault) and so as I divorced my first husband, I thought that if I found that then it would fix the issue I had in marriage #1.

So marriage #2…I married thinking that I was marrying for passion yet what I hadn’t found out yet was that my soon-to-be-husband (at the time) was passionate with a lot of people, not just me. Regardless, looking back I realize that I was looking at one quality in each of my husbands and focusing on just that one trait, putting all hope in that one trait, instead of looking to find someone that was the ‘whole package’.

I’ve had my fair share of issues with both of my ex husbands but the one thing that I will say in defense of #1 is that he tried. He may have had blind spots that just couldn’t be changed but he tried. Even when I told him that I was done, he tried. The issue is that I had been done for months…if not longer. My fault was in waiting so long to tell him that I had issues with him and our marriage. Maybe if I had told him sooner things could have been repaired but even as I ask myself that same thing today, I don’t think that anything would have changed. He is who he is and I am who I am and we weren’t right together. I just wish that we could have figured that out 13 years ago and saved a lot of people a lot of time and headaches…but then I wouldn’t have the two best squirt league hockey players ever. 🙂

My ex husband #2 ran when things were exposed and even to this day, instead of admitting when he’s done things that just aren’t right or sane or kind or normal – he makes things worse. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. He was raised to think that running from responsibilities was normal…that mom and dad and money would fix things…it’s just that the dad with the money isn’t there any longer and the mom didn’t invest her money wisely and instead has flushed it down the drain by supporting three of her four boys without ever getting a cent in return because they can’t keep jobs, take advantage of her and repay nothing.

So as I look to the future and consider who to date and what my next steps will be when I’m ready to even think about a serious relationship, I have some advice for my 24 year old self (the person I was before I was married).

Don’t:

  • Don’t be with someone just because of the passion. If they are passionate with you – maybe they are passionate with everyone?? (keep reading – I’m going to contradict myself soon.)
  • Don’t be with someone for their bank account. Obviously…this can change at the drop of a hat – take 2008 for an example.
  • Don’t be with someone for the ‘hopes’ that you have together. Hope is just that…if it doesn’t come to fruition, you’ll blame them but you should really be blaming yourself for putting your entire relationship on the other person’s shoulders. Marriage is 100%/100%, not 50/50. As long as everyone is contributing fully to the hopes and dreams you’ll probably make big things happen.
  • Don’t be with someone for what you think you can change them into being. Don’t change them…it won’t ever work – no matter how great you think you are at this. You may be able to change them for a short while but they will revert and either hate you for changing them in the first place or hate themselves for letting you do it.
  • Don’t be with someone for the status factor. – This can change fast!! A job can be lost; someone can be voted out of office; someone can sell their business; someone can change their career dreams. And then what’s left…nothing.

Instead…

  • Be with someone for all of it…be with them for who they are today…and nothing more. The person that is standing in front of you is who they will be for the rest of their lives. And you can’t expect them to be any different – that’s not fair to anyone.
  • Be with someone for who you are together. You may be with this person for the rest of your life…if you are better when they are around and visa versa then all is well with the world. BUT if you are better yet you drain them of their fabulousness, then that’s not good. If you are constantly taking and taking from them emotionally, you don’t deserve them. BUT if you return the favor and both of you build each other up…then that’s a different story.
  • Be with someone for passion. I still haven’t changed my stance on this. The only caveat is that the other person needs to be just as passionate (and that’s where I went wrong with my Irish Idiot). And when the passion dies, work your hardest to bring it back to life…this is one thing that can be revived if everyone is trying.
  • Be with someone that pushes you to see yourself the same way that they do and the same way that you saw yourself before ‘your love’ came into the picture. Don’t get your self-esteem from them but get reassurance from them. There’s a big difference. Be you and only you and never apologize. If you have to apologize, then this isn’t your person.
  • Be with the person that stays on your mind (and of course meets all of the above), whenever you have your brain on. You’ll always think about them, you’ll compare them to everyone else, you’ll want to call them during lonely moments, you’ll want to text them after every achievement…don’t ignore this because you think that you can forget them. But…forget them if there is only thing on your mind…..

So to the friend that I gave the advice to five years ago…I hope that your marriage is going well and that you can check off more ‘boxes’ than just passion, as I recommended because I only had a small idea of what I was really talking about. AND two marriages later, I can’t and won’t claim to be an expert…except I can give advice on what didn’t work and what I wish had worked.

What are some of the things that you look for in a ‘significant other’? I’d love to hear your thoughts…especially as I get ready to dive into the dating world again!

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website)(I do not get commissions from sites where you donate money or things). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and readership!

if nothing else, be nice

Don’t tell my ex-husband, but I owe him a huge apology. I was mean, I was persistent, and I was the one that wanted the divorce. I made the decision to divorce because of some poor decisions that he had made and I then was bitter about the fact that I felt I had been backed into a corner, forced to make a decision to keep my kids safe, but yet at the same time, made to completely uproot and change their lives.

So I was mad that I had to divorce him. And I made sure that he knew that I wasn’t going to just be simply cordial with him during each of our interactions. I was upset that he had changed my future, changed their future, made me the bad guy.

Yet, by the time I had made the decision to divorce, I had already come to grips with it and with what my future had to hold.

He hadn’t.

And that’s what I should apologize for. Because I expected him to ‘grieve’ the loss of our marriage as well as accept his mistakes at the same time and all within months.

I’ve now been on the other side.

The only difference is that I’ve done nothing to cause divorce #2. I was even told by my soon-to-be-ex that I was an amazing wife and I did nothing to deserve the divorce.

Yet, he still seems to be mad at me, all of the time, for things not just having to deal with my little redhead; or at least he treats me as though this divorce is all my fault and the consequences of his uttering “I want a divorce” all fall on me.

He has no idea what leaving our family has done to the kids and the fun memories that they had. For example, the other night, we were leaving hockey practice and we started talking about things that were fun that happened during our day. My #2 little man then took it one step further and said that one of his favorite days was when I took him down a big water slide and Erik took my little man #1 down a big water slide and how much fun he had and how he thought that was the best day ever and he wanted to do that again soon.

The sting that I felt from that memory and the fact that it was his favorite memory caused me to have to choke back tears.

…This is reality. This is divorce. This is what I didn’t want but Erik did because he thinks that the grass is greener on the other side…(aka the mommy-side, the McDonnell side).

Yet, the lack of compassion that he has shown for any of the kids, let alone me is astounding.

I don’t get it. I at least cared about what the boys were feeling after I made the decision to divorce their dad. In fact, the boys and I grew closer than ever. Yet, Erik has barely made the choice to ask specific questions about how the boys were dealing with the divorce and what new things the little redhead was accomplishing, let alone actually talk to the kids about the divorce or express empathy or sympathy or any kind of emotion to show that he cares about what they are going through.

Part of me thinks that it’s guilt that he can’t deal with but then again, what human being with REAL human emotions can watch two little boys struggle with ‘desertion’ by someone that they love and not feel anything. I’m probably hoping for something that is completely unrealistic but I am saddened more and more every time I have to talk to Erik. He makes me realize that, unfortunately, the divorce may be the best thing that could happen to me.

So, with that said, I have some advice for those that may be the one making the decision to divorce, that should, hopefully, help you understand the pain that the other person is going through.

11 Things to remember if you are the person filing for divorce:

1. Your spouse never thought that this would actually happen.

The big “D” word had been thrown around during arguments but the day after showed that the issue had been resolved. Everyone always apologized for ‘taking it there’ after the big “D” word had been thrown out.

And because the word ‘divorce’ had been thrown around before, it really won’t sink in that you are serious until the day that your spouse is served. Your spouse will think that you just need to cool off and clear your head. So expect a breakdown the day that they are served with divorce papers.

2. They loved you with all of their hearts…and still do.

Don’t toy with it. Don’t feed their egos. Don’t be friends.

Just walk away…like you ‘say’ you really want to do.

Don’t hurt them more than you’ve already done.

3. They really want to hate you but can’t.

If you said, today, that you wanted to fix the marriage, you would have just handed them the biggest Christmas present ever…until they realize that you were just patronizing them into prolonging the divorce process. Only commit to the reconciliation process if you really want it. We don’t want to ‘fake it till we make it’ at this point.

Be understanding if they go from being ‘soft’ to ‘hard’ in a matter of minutes. They are having a hard time knowing how to read you now. They thought they could before but they figured out quickly that they didn’t really understand who you were because they never thought that you would put another woman ahead of them or actually file for divorce.

4. They still can’t grasp why they weren’t good enough.

We internalize why the marriage failed and we are likely to place blame on ourselves.

We fill our days, nights, and free time with ways that will make us feel like we aren’t insane for ____XYZ____ reason because the second that our time frees up, we start running through every scenario to try to figure out where everything went wrong.

The only thing that you could do to help the situation, for this, is to attempt counseling – not to reconcile – but to help them understand why you won’t put any effort into repairing your marriage and that it’s not necessarily anything that they have done (I know that sometimes it is), but that it’s something that YOU can’t deal with or work through.

5. Try empathy and softness, before you decide to be irritated that they ‘can’t move on’ within 6 weeks.

Try to understand their point of view and where they may be coming from, more than where you think they should be in life. They are in so much emotional pain and every time you get mad at them for still being in love with you is one more form of rejection and the knife is dug even deeper.

Be kind in your words, gentle in your actions, and patient with the time they need to cope with the end of something they thought would last the rest of their life because of the vows that you made.

6. Be gentle – they are hurt and want to hurt back sometimes. To them, you’ve already hurt back – you are divorcing them.

Using the term ‘hurt’ honestly doesn’t even describe how they’re feeling. They are feeling rejected and destroyed by the one person that they thought would always protect them and never let another soul hurt them. And the person that was supposed to protect them and be their support system is the one that has hurt them more than anyone else ever could.

A natural reaction is to strike back. Refer to #5 when this happens. Try to diffuse the situation with kind words or words of gentleness instead of biting back. You made this choice – you’ve already done the hurting…stop hurting them even more.

7. Remember – you wanted this divorce…not us. Should you really want the bedroom set, fix the marriage or walk away and buy a new bed.

We didn’t want to have to divide our belongings. We thought that everything we had would be ours, together, until the day we died. The memories are the priceless artifacts – not ‘things’ and when you fight for these types of things, we get confused. Why would you want something that was so intimate to our marriage, our relationship, to us??

You chose the divorce – the kind thing to do would be to let us choose the ‘stuff’.

8. Don’t flirt with us.

It’s confusing and then the rejection cycle happens all over again when we confront you about it and you deny that you flirted.

Don’t send funny texts; don’t call to reminisce with us; don’t hug us; don’t ask us to dinner to talk through the divorce; don’t share things about what is new in your personal life or with your family.

We are trying our best to cut our feelings off and when you flirt with us, it opens Pandora’s box and then we have to work even harder to shut the box afterward.

9. Have an understanding that it will kill them emotionally to see you with another person.

If they seem strong, just know that it’s killing them inside – so be gentle. Consider preparing them before they witness the relationship up-close-and-personal. Don’t expect them to like the other person and be ready to hear everything that is wrong with the ‘new girl’.

The perfect relationships that you see on TV between 1st wife and the new girlfriend are rare – it likely won’t be like that. Maybe consider avoiding the situation altogether for a while until things are calm between the two of you and then introduce the new girlfriend/boyfriend.

10. Every time you want to sing the blues about how tough your life is because you have a job and have to ‘pay for everything’ just know that your soon-to-be-ex absolutely hates asking you for help.

The last person that they want to contact is you but they don’t know what to do because you were the person that was supposed to be their support system for the rest of their lives and now that’s gone and they have nothing, including the income that you promised that you’d provide; all ripped out from under them because of a selfish decision on your part.

Don’t throw salt in the open wound by complaining about things that we wished we had.

11. Know that when you shut us off, we will be ‘found’ by someone else.

We WILL find someone better than you, much better. Someone nicer, someone more loving, someone better looking, someone smarter, someone with a better job, someone that isn’t you – that won’t hurt us…because you’ve taught us valuable lessons about relationships and how to define love.

Don’t become bitter when this happens. It’s likely that, unless we really did something to cause the divorce (which isn’t the case for me), you will repeat your relationship mistakes over and over and will end up alone much longer than us. Don’t take it out on us when this happens.

We wanted to work it out, we wanted to help you figure out your issues, we didn’t want the divorce. So it really makes us mad when you get upset when we find someone better suited for us. This was YOUR decision, NOT ours…get over yourself.

In the end, the biggest thing to remember is to be patient with us. We are trying to get to the point where none of this hurts anymore and a place of aSELRES_42c6c6dd-895e-4fcc-9361-4bfc8c49d3d2SELRES_351b38eb-f9d2-4f9b-a5e8-879205c2505bSELRES_351b38eb-f9d2-4f9b-a5e8-879205c2505bSELRES_42c6c6dd-895e-4fcc-9361-4bfc8c49d3d2cceptance, but it’s going to take a little while because we didn’t want our life to turn out like this.

If nothing else, just be nice.

Please note that this post and most of the posts on my website/blog may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to click on one of these ads and purchase something through this link, I will get a commission from it (the pricing is no different for you than going directly to their website)(I do not get commissions from sites where you donate money or things). Not all items recommended on this site are affiliate links. I only recommend items that I feel are amazing because I’ve used and tried them. Thank you for your trust and viewership!

i have 4 diapers…

…and 24 pull-ups left.

My choice is either to buy more diapers or potty train a 23 month old and my daughter is ready to potty train and it will be one less drain on my bank account so, ‘why not?’.

I know she’s ready, but I’m not sure if I am. She’s my baby and I know she’s my last and I don’t know if I’m ready to call her my ‘big girl’ yet. She’s everyone’s baby…my boys especially. This little girl is so spoiled and I don’t stop the love or the spoiling.

Tonight in Target we bought new ‘big girl Minnie Mouse panties’ (her fav is Minnie Mouse) and as we walked through the store a little boy, about 12 months younger than her, called her a baby. She was mad! She didn’t like it! I even tried to say, “Well, aren’t you Mom Mom’s (me) baby?” and her defiant answer was, “NO”!!

So then I asked if she was a big girl and was ready to sit on the potty (Men – forgive me – I know you’re ready to hit the “x” but don’t yet) and she said no, she didn’t want to be a big girl. She told me “baby” and pointed at herself. I was sooooo tempted to let my little girl continue to think that she was my baby but all that would have done is stunt her growth, mentally and physically.

Not her fault.

As much as I hate the torment that her father has chosen to put her through mentally because he has ‘ducked’ out of his marriage without trying to put any effort into it, it’s not her fault. I just have to protect her from the harm that his lifestyle may bring her.

My little lady is so much stronger than I could ever wish to be. And she doesn’t even know how strong she is or will have to be in the future. I sit and tear up sometimes just watching how care free she is because she has no clue how much her father and his family don’t want to play an active, healthy, role in her life. They only play an active role when they are ready to or choose to or have time to or have money to.

For example, it’s normal that her father will get mad at me for something and then will pull the “I want to see my daughter” card. So I say, ok, as long as she isn’t around your felon brothers (still on probation until 2022) or mother (who has her own issues), then I’m cool with it.

Control.

Then he always responds with, “you can’t control who she’s around when she’s with me” which basically, confirms all of my fears – that she’ll be around his entire dysfunctional family that drinks a lot, excluding the one brother that isn’t dysfunctional (because he wants nothing to do with them). So, then I say that I’m uncomfortable with it, and then I become the ‘witch’…because he can’t possibly take care of himself and live on his own or take care of his daughter on his own, right? That’s too much to ask, right? He gets to be a bachelor and live like he’s 23 again, with a felon roommate/brother (that has a conviction that includes aggravated assault with a weapon) (and not just a conviction – he was in prison for 6 years) right? I should have NO say who my 23 month old daughter is around, considering how much her entire fathers’ family treats women like garbage.

False.

He’s a dad now. He needs to act like it. He just doesn’t know how. Good luck to him.

Thank goodness I have an amazing attorney.

My confidence level has come from so many places but one of them (not the main one) is that I found an attorney, at the last minute, that didn’t make me feel like I was being overly dramatic, or needy, or anything but jilted and wronged. She believed me. She felt my pain. She is going to work to get the most for me that I can possibly get, under laws written strategically for the protection of fathers.

Whether it was an act or not, I told my attorney exactly how I felt, how every other male attorney made me feel like I was ‘every other jilted wife’ and why I felt as though I needed to fight my hardest to win what was rightly mine, even after only seven months of marriage. And she agreed, she believed me, she got it, she understood…she took my case.

My soon-to-be-ex made soooo many mistakes including possibly opening up his girlfriend, Bethany D., for a lawsuit herself, that all I can say right now is to take your time…think through your choices…make sure you really want to do this (…or if other people are influencing your decisions.)

Dating a divorcee’.

Ending a marriage isn’t as easy as walking away. If you decide to date a divorcee and they’ve told you that they were the one that walked away after seven months, without question, without remorse, …you should be the one questioning things. Don’t hesitate to think, “this man is almost 40 and he can’t keep his marriage together more than seven months?? He must have issues.” And if you think these things, I promise you will be on-target.

Luckily, I’ve begun to move on. I wasn’t the one that inflicted the pain this time (or the last) so my conscience is clean. I will smile with a big smile and know that I’ve been true to my kids…that I tried everything. I wasn’t the one that bailed or chose another ‘thing’ over my marriage.

I will know that I was the one that taught my daughter so many important life lessons including how to live without diapers. That I told my soon-to-be-ex that these big life events were happening in her life and he offered zero support.

I did it.

She did it.

We did it. (or at least this week we will do it!)

Girl power!

who i was meant to be with

17.

Seventeen years ago I met a man that I agreed to marry.

I can honestly say that I was too young to get married at age 24…maybe I should say I was too immature. But who’s to say who’s mature and who’s immature at that age because from the outside looking in, I had it all going for me in the ‘maturity department’. I had a dream, full-time job that I loved and that paid for our lives (his income was extra). I owned my own home. I had a car almost paid off. I had little debt. BUT looking back, I never should have been given the ‘license to get married’.

My parents marriage looked easy…but only because I focused on the marriage that I remembered from about age 13 and on…and by that age they had been married for 18 years and at that point married couples tend to have an ‘ebb and flow’. I thought my marriage would be easy, or at least easier than what I went through.

But then you add in-laws (that aren’t easy – really tortuous) and then add in disease within your own family, throw in a dose of kids and a spouse that didn’t add physically what he didn’t add financially and then you have a whole lot of resentment.

And I had no idea how to deal with it. And to be honest, I can clear my conscience by saying that because of the disease, there is nothing that I could have done (and we tried a lot of things) that could have saved my first marriage.

A New(ish) Love.

Then a rekindling of a romance that was older than my first marriage started after I filed for divorce from my first husband and it was on! The butterflies, the sweet-talk, the hours of conversation, the romantic texts, the first time that anyone said ‘I love you’, the late night calls, the calls just to say ‘I love you’, the excitement before you see them the weekend that you don’t have the kids, the giddiness in choosing the perfect outfit…the excitement of a new love.

I had never felt it like I did with Erik. We would text all night…he would call me in the middle of the night when a rough night as an EMT happened, I would call to get his advice about how to fix something on my car, we would make each other laugh about the stupid things his brothers had done or why my boys would decide to stay up talking about Power Rangers for an hour after I told them to go to sleep.

Erik got me, understood me, we made each other laugh, we were there for each other when we needed to cry. When his dad decided to haunt me (he passed away in 2008), he would tell me how to stop the ‘haunting’; when I needed to give him another perspective other than the “I’m going to throw my gloves down and fight” perspective, he would call me. When I had a late flight home, I knew I could call him and he’d pick up, because he was working late too. He had faith in my skills and gave me the leeway to grow his business and I did it to great heights. We both love country music, we both understand that it’s fun to sit on the patio, around the fire pit and do nothing else…just sit. I didn’t have to fill empty air with him – he understood me. We were great.

Then…no new(ish) love.

Until we weren’t. Until he thought that the grass was greener on the other side.

Now his ‘perfect’ life is defined as living with his felon-brother and complaining non-stop about how much he has to work. Poor guy – he left a great life with a capable wife to live with his brother and be under his mother’s control because she has the money (or at least used to). Can you hear the sarcasm in my words?? 🙂

With all of that said, I still honestly believe that I was meant to be with this man. Maybe I feel that way because I am still so close to the situation, but if his family weren’t influencing him, I truly believe that we would still have a chance.

But then reality sets in. He doesn’t deserve what he threw away. He doesn’t deserve a marriage worth working for because he doesn’t have the guts and strength to fight for love or for someone that gave her all. He doesn’t deserve kids that loved him so much that it’s now painful for them to see him, that he has scarred them. He doesn’t deserve a life with me. He doesn’t deserve me.

For heaven’s sake, he didn’t even offer any help during the prep for Hurricane Irma or the cleanup after Hurricane Irma. I had to ask him for help to move the piece of junk Jeep that I bought and he was ‘improving’ so that I could get my car in the garage. Stand-up guy, right?!?

But that’s not who I was with for years before his family moved to town. I was with a man that was suited to be an EMT, a man that cared so much about people and how they were feeling, how they were doing, that it scarred him to see people in such distress one night after a car accident that he responded to, that he wasn’t sure he could continue in this field. I even pushed him to go back to school to become a nurse because he was that perfectly suited to be in that field. He was just that caring and had such a huge heart for others.

Within one or two months after his mom and brothers moved to town, he forgot who he was without them. He changed his whole persona to please them and meet the view that they had of him…to make his mommy happy, not his wife. He threw me to the wayside.

Stinks that he chose his mom and his adulterous life over his own wife and kids.

My New Love Life…whenever that happens…

It’s going to be hard to start dating again, because right now, I still believe he is the man I was supposed to be with for the rest of my life. Twelve months from now I may tell you something different but until then it still hurts to not walk hand in hand down the sidewalk of life with him. It’s still painful to plan for the future without him. But I have to and I have to keep moving.

Thankfully, God has given me so many wonderful things to focus on. I can’t even begin to tell you the strength he has given me through amazing people in my life. From my family, to my extended blood-related family, to my hockey family, to my work friends, to my oldest friends, to my best friends, to my neighbors and to my new friends that I’ve found during this tough time, God has shown me that my life is truly rich, no matter what the balance in my bank account is.

My ‘Staci 3.0’ has truly shown me who I was meant to be with, God and Me. And that’s it. If others want to join me on my journey, then join but this is my journey to own and enjoy. Jump on when you want and jump off when you want – that’s your choice. All I know is that I’m on this roller coaster ride whether I like it or not so I’ve decided to enjoy the dips, the climbs, the fast downs, the spins, the upside down loops…all because I know I’m on it for the thrill and that my God will keep me safely in my seat. When he’s ready for it to come to a stop and he wants to show me what’s at the end of the ride, I’ll be there but until then, I’ll just sit back and relax (or at least try to).

And until then, I’ll just enjoy being with me – the person I was meant to be with for the rest of my life.