To launch this blog series, I’ll tell you my story. And in upcoming blogs, I’ll tell you more true stories about my friends and other women who have gone from a bad divorce to a happily ever after.
And after I tell my story - I’ll give you the steps you need to take to meet that partner you can’t imagine living without.
I want to be your example of what not to do! The 11 years between my first divorce and my third marriage play like a really bad movie.
One that you didn’t want to be in.
All of the names of the men have been changed, but all the details are true.
On December 14, 2014, I was at a local church behind door 324. At an Al Anon meeting I’d been going to for a few months. I remember crying while I was talking about my situation and saying “My husband is coming home from a two-week work trip tonight, and I have no idea what kind of mood he’ll be in.” Then I got home from the meeting and found out what kind of mood he was in. And let’s just say, it wasn’t a good one.
And this man, who has substance abuse disorder, was my second husband.
But, before I tell you more about that, let’s go back in time.
Back to 2005.
After about 17 years together, 14 of them married, I told my first husband I wanted a divorce.
Let’s just say that after a really long time of being really lonely and emotionally disengaged, I decided I didn’t want to keep going that way. We’d done the marriage counseling thing with a wonderful therapist, but ultimately, I was really unhappy. So I ended it.
And to be honest, I was so happy when he left. I felt like life was gonna really get started for me at the age of 41. I was convinced after all those years of unhappy loneliness, I was finally gonna meet my man. My true love. My prince charming.
I thought the dating world of Match.com was just gonna open up and deliver my soulmate. Well, before anything happened online, I found “Mike.”
I saw Mike at my son’s t-ball games. And oh boy, was he hot. He was tall, gorgeous, and smart. I assumed he was smart because I heard he was a pediatrician. And I could tell he was the kind of pediatrician where you did your hair and makeup ahead of time. I can’t even imagine how many moms, and probably some dads, had the hots for him.
But, I noticed at the end-of-season picnic, he paid no attention to me whatsoever. And I don’t think he noticed me at any of the prior games either. But no matter, I was determined to meet him and fall madly in love. That was the summer of 2006.
And wouldn't you know, a few weeks after the season ended, my kids and I ran into Mike and his kids at a local ice cream place. So there I was, standing in line, chatting with him and his kids. After we ordered, we all sat down together and had a great time talking. During our little ice cream chat, our sons decided that we should all start hanging out for playdates.
So we did. For about two months that summer, we saw each other five days a week. Sometimes with his kids and sometimes without any kids.
And I was falling hard.
He seemed perfect. He was my age and so fun to talk to. He told me lots of personal info about his life and his two divorces. And he took things really slow. No kissing. Just talking. He just gave me long, lovely, lingering hugs every time he left.
I could see it in my head: We’d end up together like the Brady Bunch. He’d do his doctor thing and I’d finish my graduate degree. Then we’d get married and move into his house and live happily ever after.
But there was just one problem. I had no fricking idea what was really going on between us. Mike seemed interested. He was a busy doctor who spent lots of time with me. We had intimate conversations. And he seemed to like me. But I had no idea if we were ever going to go on a date.
I was confused. He never made a move, or asked me out for an official date. But the long hugs were not the kind of hugs you'd give your granny. I was getting mixed signals.
So, I decided to do something about it.
One night, after we’d chatted and fallen asleep on the couch together, I walked him out to the driveway. And he gave me another one of those hugs.
Then, I gathered my courage and said, “I've decided I can’t ever kiss you.” He got an odd look on his face and said “Oh, really?”
I replied, “Yeah, because if I do, I’ll want to strip you, lick you, and ride you like a mechanical bull.”
Again, he gave me an odd look, and said “Well, maybe a kiss on the cheek” and proceeded to kiss me on the cheek.
And then he drove away.
And then, I never saw him again.
He ghosted me before ghosting was a term. He vanished. Not a peep. I think I sent him some sort of email after that, but he never replied.
And then, I went into a tailspin. Something just happened. I couldn’t stop crying. I thought about him every second. I wondered what went wrong. I waited around for him to contact me. He never did, so I just continued to cry. And I couldn’t eat.
I got so skinny, that people worried about me.
I was also worried about myself.
I’d been convinced that he was the one. And him walking away felt like the rug getting pulled out from under me. I was convinced that love was right around the corner, but it wasn’t.
I became a person I didn’t know. I’d never been so depressed before. I was distraught.
And confused. I had no closure. I’d never cried so much in my life. Mike was on my mind every second. The optimistic and happy person I’d been had suddenly disappeared. And it scared me. I knew something was wrong so I started seeing a therapist.
And she was the worst therapist I’ve ever seen. She would sit there in her chair while I cried for 50 minutes. And when I finally found out that Mike was with a 23-year-old he’d met at the hospital, my therapist said “Well that makes sense, why would he choose a 42-year-old woman with three kids when he can have a young one who isn’t set in her ways.”
I thought things were as bad as they could get.
But, I was mistaken.
During this time I was still managing grad school and being a single mom of three kids. My ex didn’t really do much with them.
And I continued jogging as per usual. Well, my version of jogging. Imagine Olive Oyl jogging and you’ll have a good mental picture.
So one day I was jogging and I started to have pain in my left arm and hand. A few hours later I asked my neighbor to take me to the hospital.
And as luck would have it, I was having a heart attack. I got life-flighted to another hospital and got two stents in my heart.
Well, fuck me.
Suffice it to say that I had a genetic predisposition to heart disease. And the good news is that it did minimal damage to my heart.
Then, besides recovering from the heart attack, I spent time recovering from that relationship with Mike.
I kept looking back and wondering why I didn’t ask for clarity sooner. Why did I make myself so available to a man who clearly wasn’t that into me?
And why didn’t I just ask him out rather than wait to see what he was gonna do?
I was so desperate. (more about that in a future blog)
In the next blog, I’ll tell you what happened next.
Believe it or not, it gets much worse before it gets better. Stay tuned!