Tunnel Vision

Back when I was married, I would have a lot of trouble not thinking about trying to get pregnant. These thoughts are always on my mind. It was hard to escape them. Imagine every time you have sex with your spouse you wonder, “Is this the time I’m going to get pregnant?” Yeah, that was how my life was. It was all-consuming.

I’m happy to report that I don’t have those thoughts anymore. Since getting divorced, it has been like my brain has been rebooted. I often go days and sometimes weeks without even thinking about the idea of getting pregnant or having a family. Sometimes when I stop and think about it it’s hard for me to imagine, looking back, that I’ve gotten to this point. Again, those thoughts were constant and always on the forefront of my mind. It was as if I’d been suffering from a form of tunnel vision for years. Maybe my divorce was a trigger to snap me out of it. It is nice no be able to have sex with someone without that wonder clouding my enjoyment of the act itself.

Now, several years later, I find that my brain has found a replacement for the baby-making tunnel vision. My myopic thoughts now revolve around food. I’ve been on Weight Watchers for over a year now and have made zero progress. I do continue to go to the weekly meetings, and have not missed more than two weeks since I started. This new train of thought is at least different than infertility in the sense that I have total control over whether or not this works. If that’s the case, then why am I so narrow-minded about it all?

Sure, some people have tunnel vision about finances, while others have tunnel vision about not having enough free time. For me the issue, at least for the last few years, is always food. I don’t know how this started, but I sure as hell need to figure out how to end it. I wonder if the answer is to develop tunnel vision on some other activity. Maybe I need a new hobby to get completely obsessed with. The problem with this, in my opinion, is that being “obsessed” isn’t the answer. I need to get to the root of the issue and hope the light at the end of my tunnel isn’t a train.

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My Verbal Trigger

Sometimes a song comes on that reminds you of something from your past. Other times it’s a certain scent. These both can elicit strong emotions and vivid memories. Tonight it was neither of these two that brought me to tears. Instead, it was a simple line on a TV show. During the episode, the husband had lost his loving wife of 60 years after undergoing surgery. When he had made the arrangements for her and was leaving the hospital, he realized he’d arrived in an ambulance and was going to have to take a taxi home. The doctor who was with him offered to take care of calling a cab for him, but he replied by saying that he was going to have to figure out how to do things on his own now. Just those few words spoken by him immediately caused me to be reminded of a very significant time when those exact words were not only spoken by me, but someone else. That person was my ex-husband.

I’m not sure how other couples experience the moment when they decide their marriage is over, but as for my ex-husband and I, it was very touching. We had originally decided in a bit of an abrupt manner two days after our 16th anniversary. The night that it was first decided, I had found out the reason I had been feeling so awful was because I had strep throat. My husband at the time offered to make me some soup or get me some sprite, but I told him not to bother because I was going to have to figure out how to do things on my own.

Two days later, after I went to an individual counseling session, we both agreed that, just to be sure, we should go to a couples counselor to make sure this is what we really wanted. Fifteen minutes into the third counseling session, it was obvious that it would be our last session as we were at a critical decision-making time. The next day, my husband wrenched his back so badly that he could barely walk. He’d hoped it would be better the day after, but instead he looked like an elderly person as he tried to go about his daily activities. I tried helping him but he refused to accept any help. It was breaking my heart to see him like that.

Finally the next day, he made a trip to the doctor’s office whereby he was given two prescriptions. One was for a muscle, and the other was for pain. How he drove there I will never know. He came home after picking up his prescription and went to the bedroom to get some rest. When he was moaning in pain, I asked him if his pain meds were working. He said that he didn’t get them because he was afraid they’d make him sick. I told him that he can’t go on like that and that I was going to go pick them up from the pharmacy. He argued with me about it, but I stood my ground and told him I’d be back in just a few minutes.

When I got back home with his pills, I entered the bedroom where he was trying to rest. I got him some water, took out the recommended dosage, and handed both to him. At that point he was sitting on the side of the bed facing me. He took the water and the pills and, after swallowing both, told me through tears that he couldn’t have me helping him because he was going to have to figure out how to do it himself.

We both knew that was it. It was over. This was the moment we decided to end our marriage. I gently held him in my arms as our emotions took us both over. We talked and together agreed that we were done. Looking back, it really was a beautiful moment. What surprised us both was that once we made this decision together, all of the stress we’d been feeling for so long was finally gone. That was yet another reason we knew we’d made the right decision.

Things for us ended amicably, and he is remarried with a daughter of his own. I, on the other hand, am still single but very content and happy with my life. I guess if things were going to end with my marriage, I’m happy to know that despite all our differences, it was the one thing we could agree upon together.

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The Not-So-Private Dick

I recently met someone online and began the normal “interview” part that we all go through upon meeting. You ask all the normal questions – Where in the area do you live? What hobbies/interests do you have? Do you have any children? Blah blah blah. One question that typically comes up is when you ask the other person what they do for a living. In the case of this guy, this question wasn’t addressed on his part until I suggested we exchange numbers and maybe even talk on the phone. He mentioned that he doesn’t normally give out his number since he works in a government job, but was happy to use an app other than the dating one so it would make things a little easier. He said he didn’t like the fact that big brother was watching but assured me it was only temporary. The conversation had been going well so far, so I figured it couldn’t hurt.

Famous last words…

I knew pretty quickly that this guy was going to be a bit of a challenge as he brought up sex fairly often, and I kept having to reel him back in. There are so many other things to talk about when getting to know someone. In all honesty, it was pissing me off that he was being disrespectful.

Here he was, so private about giving out his phone number, yet he was telling me about sex dreams he’d had about us and the fact that after waking from last night’s dream he had to finish himself off without me there. I immediately told him that was TMI and that I’d prefer to keep that conversation at least until after we met and decided there was a connection. He apologized and said that he’d just been very sexually charged since meeting me as it had been quite a while since he’d had sex. I figured that’s his own damn fault.

About 10 minutes had passed, and I was just about to forgive him when I got a notification of another message from him. Upon opening it, I was greeted by…yep, you guessed it – a cock shot. He said he was so hard and so excited that he just had to show me. I quickly said good bye and blocked him. Oh…and did I mention that I was at work when this happened?!

What got me this evening is that, as I was writing this, I had a horrible idea pop into my head. This guy who works for “the government” and who can’t give out his phone number because “big brother is watching” is probably married. Maybe not, but this scenario would make sense. A sexually deprived married man. Hmmm…never heard of that before.

Either way…what a dick!

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The Balancing Act

I’m not new to experiencing the effects of hormones on the body. After all, I went through 8+ years of infertility treatments. There can be very high highs and very low lows. The problem is, my mind doesn’t differentiate between good effects and bad effects in response to this fluctuation. The power these can have over my rational thought is what gets me into trouble most of the time. This is something I’m experiencing now, so I’m trying to become more aware of what’s happening so I can control how I react to delicate situations. The most delicate of these, especially right now, is my dating life.

The hormones that take over when I meet someone are what gets me into trouble every time. I’ve been reading a lot about the different chemicals that are released and their effect on the mind and body. Some of these include dopamine, adrenaline, oxytocin, and testosterone. Based on what I’ve read, I’m wondering if this is why, when I get to a certain point in the dating process, I screw things up. Are my hormones at extreme levels? Could that be how some people are able to successfully be in a relationship? Could it be that their hormones are better balanced than mine are at this point? Maybe. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to do research on how to combat this immediate reaction to the influx of emotions before it gets the better of me. I need to, or I’m doomed, and I don’t want to mess things up this time. This could be pretty amazing!

DAMMIT! There go my hormones again!!! I need an emotional cold shower or something!!


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The Boxing Ring

I’m feeling like a boxer right now. That’s the only way I can describe my dating life. I started off almost two years ago with the ding of the first bell following my divorce.

Round 1

I take hit after hit while trying to duck and weave to avoid the next impending blow. Every once in a while I land a good upper cut or left hook (yes, I’m a lefty). After being completely spent, I hear the bell ring. FINALLY, I can go to my corner for a rest. A round of unsuccessful dating has completed.

Round 2

I’m slowly learning to read my opponent (the dating pool). I’m able to evade a hit or two since there seems to be a pattern. Just when I’m feeling confident, my opponent throws in a fake right followed by a left. I did NOT see that one coming. My head is spinning as I don’t know what just hit me. I feel my knees go weak, and just as I’m about to give up for good I hear the bell.

Round 3

My legs are wobbly, yet I somehow gather the strength to stand. I decide to change my strategy, so this time I come out punching. I don’t give my opponent time to react. I’m taking charge. Things are looking up as the round is finally going my way. I can see round after round of this and am so pumped that it’s finally working. Just then my target begins dodging my advancing shots. It’s obvious this round isn’t going anywhere. DING DING!…whatever!

Round 4

As I step up to the sound of the bell, my strategy is to just look busy for this round. I don’t want to actually throw any punches, but rather just keep moving. This works for a while and then time’s up, so I head to my corner.

Round…oh, enter whatever number you want…I think I’m approaching infinity at this point

I basically took a break the last round and gained a little strength. I’m feeling my confidence coming back, so I decide to throw my hat in the ring yet again. Maybe it’s a false sense of hope this time, but even Rocky had his moments. This time my plan is to take this round with caution. Yes, I’m cautiously hopeful. I’m sure it’s going to leave me bruised and beaten, and I’m afraid I’m going to get hurt, but it beats sitting in the corner.

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Lost in Translation

Every so often I meet someone online with whom I have a great connection. There’s witty banter, sweet “just because” texts, obvious intelligence, and even his voice has that manly tone I just love. Right after my divorce, this would get me all flustered because I figured I’d finally met THE one. I’d get so excited to finally meet him in person. The time would come for us to come face to face and then…

BOOM! No attraction! Shit!

What’s even worse is when you meet in person and they are obviously attracted but you aren’t. How do you not lead them on? How do you let them down easily without hurting them too badly? I know for many people this is cut and dry. No attraction…done! It’s as if it was a business deal.

Anyone who says dating is easy is completely delusional. It’s frustrating. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a constant learning process of trying to figure out what you like and don’t like and what you will and won’t settle for in a relationship. You spend so much time getting to know someone via text or actually speaking on the phone (aka – going “old school”), and then you find out that doesn’t translate to the 3D version of dating.

I imagine sometimes that dating is like being fitted for a suit. You see one you think looks nice, and you think, “Sure! It’ll fit!” You soon realize that there’s a lot of tailoring that needs to be done and you wonder if you are really up for that many alterations to get it just right. The truth is, the right “suit” shouldn’t need alterations. Instead, we should realize that one size doesn’t fit all. It takes time to figure out what your style is, but once you do, the challenge is to find one that closely resembles the style you already prefer.

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My Four Score

Four years ago today I was sitting on my couch contemplating the events of the day. I had acquired a new-to-me car who I have since named Gandalf. I was sporting an amazing new pair of silver pumps that I had purchased that morning. Both of these things were overshadowed by the one thing I no longer had as of that morning…a husband.

Today marks the four-year anniversary of my divorce. To most people it was just another day, but for me, it’s a day of reflection. I never entered into marriage thinking it would turn out this way. Do I miss him? No. I can honestly say I don’t. I’m in a pretty good place right now. Do I have everything figured out in my life? Hell no! Am I happier four years later? Absolutely!!

I’m proud to say I still have both the new-to-me car from that day four years ago as well as the amazing silver pumps. I’m sure someday September 6th will pass by and I won’t even register the significance of the date, but for now, I see this date as the anniversary of a new beginning. I see it as the first official date I started living for myself and no one else. Looking back, it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come. It’s nice to know that I CAN support myself and live comfortably. I’m continuing to learn to put myself first. I’ve made peace with my past, especially with not having kids. I know I’ve mourned that over the years, but now if it happens, fine. If it doesn’t, I just want to be happy.

Happiness as an end goal has made things much simpler. Now when I walk around with a smile on my face it is genuine. It’s not hiding the pain I’ve bottled up. That in itself is very freeing. Would I like to have someone to share my life with right now? Sure, but I don’t want to just settle for anyone. I’m in no hurry. I’m learning to stand up for myself and ask for what I want. All these things definitely make my life much happier, and that’s what it’s all about.

To my readers: I’m not sure what it was that I wrote that caused our paths to cross, but whatever the reason, I’m very grateful to have your company as my story continues.

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