Moving Forward

There is a side of you that you really don't know exists. And you don't know what the trigger for it is. You think you're a normal person and you have a normal life, but things can happen and you don't really know what's inside of you. That kind of tenuous relationship we have with our normal life was really intriguing to me. How one little thing can happen and your whole world falls completely apart.  – Callie Khouri, writer of Thelma & Louise.

It's not like I can detail exactly what is going on these days. I'd love to, but some things need to be kept private.

I will say it's hard to swallow that a man I was married to, known for 17 years and had a child with, has moved on to a woman with whom I cannot compete. (So I wont.) She's still a baby, not even in her 30's. She's in her prime. I have lines around my face. I am no where near as beautiful as she. I am not as thin and fit. I am not as silly and carefree. Mostly, I'm not as beautiful, and that, my friends, hurts. How the heck did he end up with someone so young and beautiful? What the heck!? Please tell me. Explain that for me.

Life happens. Life happened to me. I'm older. My magazines of choice are More and Vanity Fair. Not bad stuff, but lets face it, no one in their 30's reads More. And certainly, I'm not reading Cosmo anymore (unless I'm getting my hair done!). However there is a certain satisfaction that, honey, I could write for Cosmo at this point.

I think I am pretty, but I have a hard time believing I'm beautiful. My X never, not once, told me he thought I was beautiful. Yet, he says his new "love" is beautiful, very beautiful. He's in love. “It's serious.” he tells me. It's silly really, because they have only been dating 3 months. "But I've known her for six." he says in his defense.

Total Mid-life-crisis stuff. I'm 100% positive this is what has happened, and unfortunately for some men, that MLC can last years. I've read way too many books on the subject and to our society's discredit, MLC has been pushed by the way side, something people think only happen to men in their 50's in the 50's. But this is not some scene out of Mad Men. MLC can strike as young as late 20's, but more commonly it hits men in their late 30's to mid-50's. My X is a text book case. Read anything about it, and you will see his profile. The marriage I had could not survive the nitty-gritty experience of living together and raising a family. Matt was unhappy. Nothing about his old life satisfied him. He felt empty. He didn't want to live the next 35-40 years of his life with that emptiness. Today, he's living a fantasy life. He's got his bachelor pad set up. He left everything behind and started anew. New everything. Cool apartment. Large 60" flat screen TV and entertainment system. A shiny new manly grill. A second car, not a sports car, but a Jeep Wrangler. He's acting like a 20 year old himself! Dating a woman 11 years younger than himself. His new gal doesn't make him feel less of a man, instead, likes him for who he is (his words). He tells me he's happy, but perhaps it's only deceptive joy. And in order to live the way he's living, guilt-free, he has to rationalize and justify what happened. "Our marriage was long over." he told me earlier this year. "What about the Valetine's Day card you gave me only 2 months before you moved out?" I asked. "You hand wrote inside the card, 'I love you. Thank you for being the best wife. I'm glad you're in my life.'" "What was I supposed to write in a Valentine's Day card?" was his response.

Have you seen the new show, Nashville on ABC?

Photo by ABC
For those of us who are old enough to remember Thelma & Louise and its impact on women, this show is written by the same creator.

I saw a preview for it and waited with gleeful anticipation for the show to air. I love me a good drama, one that pumps me up and keeps me hanging on for more. Unfortunately I was up at the cottage the night it first aired, and even with a powerful antenna, I could not tune in to ABC. Bummer. Soon enough however, I was able to stream the show on, a week later.

A little too late.

My excitement for the show dwindled.

It was painful to watch.

By then, I had learned of the love affair X was having with a youngin'. 

Do you know the basic story line of Nashville?

Rayna James is a 40-year-old country-western superstar who's fame is fading. Her tour is not selling tickets, and Rayna's record company wants her to be an opening act for the hot 20-year-old, sexy new sensation Juliette Barnes.

I'm like Rayna, the fading Queen of country music. I relate to her much more than I want to. It's really tough to watch the show, and I'm pissed for her and for myself.

Thank God my life is not that of the fictional TV show, but it doesn't mean I don't have to cope with feelings of being a has-been myself or being replaced by a newer model.

My life, well-lived, screams out in jest, "You're old girl. You're waaaaaaay past your prime!"

The C-section incision, a proud reminder of how Oliver came into this world, is not yet faded. The way extra poundage hangs near and around that mark is not favored by men who worship youth. I have several of those kinds of stories. I just can't compete with the younger version of myself.

This would all be so much easier if we didn't have a child. Then I would not have to see him. Not have to deal with him. Not have to notice each time he wears something new. Not have to hear about his life from Oliver (I don't ask). Not have to find out about Matt thru my son. Again, I don't ask. Four-year olds kiss and tell.

Lately, each morning I wake with dread. I am not sure why. It will go away, this I know. I'm not panicky or afraid (much). Each day is getting better again. Monday and Tuesday were rough. I cried. I hurt. But most importantly, I woke up. I see where my X is at right now. And we ain't in the same place. He reminds me of how young and immature he was when I met him at age 23. He's reverted back to that personality, that time in his life where he was just trying to fit in and figure out who he is. He's a nice guy most of the time. He's still good with Oliver. But his personal life — which is his to live and not mine to judge — is far different than mine.

I want you to know, I am happy. I'm functioning. I had a meeting with potential employers. I carry myself professionally and with confidence. I'm not walking around with a cloud over my head — at least not one that people can see.

I want to admit one thing to you. I cried in front of my son yesterday. I didn't mean to, but at one point it was too much. I received a very touching email from a friend. I bowed my head and sobbed, quietly so. However, Oliver heard me. He asked, "Are you crying Mommy?" I nodded. "Is it because you miss my Daddy?" I smiled. He gently pushed the tissue box toward me. He was so close. I tried to reassure him with a smile, no tears. I was sitting at the dining room table. He stood next to me; I pulled him close and told him it was OK. “We are both OK. Daddy still loves you very very much. You know that, don't you?” He nodded and walked away, his back to me. “Oliver. Are you crying? Come here baby.” He had a hand rubbing one eye. “Oliver, are you crying?” “No.” he responded. “Why then do you have your hand by your eye?” “Because there was just a tear in there.”

If you think this doesn't affect our children, think again. Maybe I should not have cried in front of him. I am private with my emotions. Oliver doesn't need to be in the middle. But kids know. How he knew my tears were about his daddy, I don't know. But he did.

I'll just be glad, as one of my readers said, when this is finally, legally, over.

I wrote in my journal:

I just want him “off” me, like I have this nasty cancer, and I want it removed so I can be free of it and start over.

Soon. I'm hoping in 6 months I can start my life again.


  1. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! You just can't see it. I promise you this: one day he will wake up and figure out who he lost (you) and what he did. I promise. You'll have moved on by then, free of this. And, it could be when he's 80... but I think some day, whenever, he will see it. He hasn't dealt with his feelings yet. Trust me. I've been thru this. YOU WILL BE OK.

    Chris (a long time reader...but my first time commenting)

  2. PS. not "think" ... I meant KNOW. I KNOW someday he will see it. It's just a matter of when. And that is when his heart will break too.

    Be strong. You are doing great.


  3. I believe you ARE beautiful. Society tells us to value youth and the present moment and things on the surface. God tells us to value wisdom, integrity, and kindness. From what you have written here over the past few months I can see that you have these qualities that God tells us to value. And that is beauty. I wish things were not so painful for you. I have been praying for you every day. Please know that you are beautiful.

    A person who worships youth and 'things on the surface' will never be satisfied.

    It is not necessarily a bad thing to cry in front of one's children. Parents are people, and sometimes people are hurt and need to cry.

  4. Dear one, Beauty is not the same as youth. And a lot of men go out and find something much younger. Anyone with maturity would run the other way from that haggard looking many. The new girl is young and dumb. And remember, he is a con. He probably can sweep her off her feet.

    You don't need to be around someone who worships youth. But from where I stand, you are kinda young!


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