tales from the surviving straight spouse

Dear Mom #1

I felt like shit today. Worse than shit. You couldn’t know, but I was accused of so many horrible things while you were dying.

I thought I was bouncing back and then I just got knocked down further. I can hear you. “Why are you with people who don’t build you up?” Which is a little weird, coming from you.

What I want to say is, thank you for the message. When I pulled into the parking lot and my favorite spot was available, I remembered you.

You know what I am talking about. Whenever we would drive somewhere crowded you would say, “okay God, find me a space” and voila it would appear. You would say “see that, God is looking out for me” and your grin would be huge. I found it fascinating that God knew we were going to the mall.

I burst into tears when I remembered that. I miss you so much and the world appears more cruel without you. I hope you are at peace – thanks for the parking spot.


Easy. Tension free. Less expensive. Who knew how good life would be? Yes, solo. Solo can be hard. The last alternative was not worth sacrificing my peace and relaxation.

I look at this picture and feel nothing. I am almost healed.

People ask, how did you stay so long? Well, he had me good. He had me right where he needed me to be. He is an expert. He knows all the right things to say, at all the right moments.

This picture is in Oklahoma. We came to attend my 3rd son’s completion ceremony from Army basic training. It is the first Friday in September 2016.

I had sent this man away just a few months before. I wanted the relationship to be over. He went. He lived with his step mother for 8 weeks during the summer.

He talked himself back into my life:

  1. When we are on, we are amazing (It had been a year since we were “on”)
  2. You’re a therapist, therapists help people to change, how can you not believe I can change?
  3. Look at all the amazing changes I’ve made. Even my mom noticed.
  4. We’ve been together almost 4 years and you want to throw that away?

He returns August 15th. Our four year anniversary of the day we met is August 18th. He has absolutely nothing for me:

  • “You sent me away, it’s all I could think about, how hard that was on me”
  • “The date came up so fast I didn’t have time”
  • “There I go again, not meeting your expectations” (hangs head)
  • “I haven’t been able to do anything because the pain has been so high, you know that.”
  • “I just haven’t had the time to get you anything”

He grabs his car keys and says he has to run out.

“Where are you going?”

“Meghan is out of Cannabis. She is in a lot of pain. I’m running to the bank and then I have to run to Carl’s and then I’m going to meet Meghan.”

“I thought you were in pain and didn’t have time to do anything.”

“Really? I’m helping someone and you’re going to criticize me?”

He left.

“That isn’t nice, is it, Mommy?” my son with an iq of 55 says to me. 55. Even he knows how to treat people you love.

Back to the picture. Ten days later he is in Oklahoma in a pool on my dime. Never once does he open his wallet.

I realize now that he moved back in with me in August 2016 with no intention of staying together. His goal was to use as much as possible and then watch me break down and send him away for good. He has orchestrated his victimhood like an elegant maestro. He has moved on to his next prey.

Imagine if that brain and heart were used only for good? It is a pity that he lost so much love. It was right here the entire time, but he could not live in it and receive or give.

I still have that love. I keep it close to me, waiting for the right person who will receive and reciprocate. I don’t know what he has and fortunately I no longer have to be involved.

Deal With It

Get your fucking foot off my heart

It hurts

Your fear, he sneered, deal with it.





She took that hitop (beautiful hemp, because lovers give, yes?)
between her hands that once held hope

and twisted that shoe near right around,
pushed and scrambled away.

blood peeked through her bra, her shirt, a mural of ache

but she stood

she leaned in

and all he could do was limp away.

Thank you for not showing up.

I sat in the coffee shop.  It is an old favorite.  The coffee was strong as tar (if I ever drank tar) and I loved it.  We met online and agreed to forgo the silly back and forth and just meet for coffee.

I didn’t mean to “like” his profile.  It was an accident and he liked me back and I felt guilty.  My thumbs get me in a lot of trouble and phone screens are unforgiving.  He wrote that he had retired early and held a patent that he sold to IBM.  Impressive.  The most important thing in his life is his son.  Sad.  Flags were starting to go up the pole.  I questioned his conservatism silently and joked about it.

He said, “this will mess with your 2nd amendment views, my nonprofit teaches gun safety to children to help keep households secure and people alive.”  I responded, “actually, I think that is a good thing.  I’m surprised your guns weren’t taken by Obama, though.  Poke, Poke. Poke.”  He wrote, “I will see you on Friday.”  I wrote, “looking forward to it”.

I arrived.  I sat.  I sent a message 3 minutes before our scheduled time “I’m here”.  I could see that he saw my message.  No response.  I waited 20 minutes, used the nongender restroom (sometime I will tell you about not using the restroom before getting on the road without going when you really should, urine trouble)  and then left.

He did me a favor, a favor I couldn’t do for myself.  That’s the part that nudges me.  Still trying to be nice.  What the hell is that about?  Now I have even more to think about.

The coffee was good, though.


Sound of Silence

This told me much about where we were and how I ranked.

When I heard this song: Sound of Silence  I immediately brought it to him to share.  He is (at that time) my number one – anything I love I want to share with my number one.  We lived together.  We were planning on being together for the rest of our lives.  I want the space between us to be the first thing I focus on, don’t you, as much as possible?

“This is amazing!”  I said.

“I know!!! Isn’t it?  I love it.  So powerful.  I first heard it six months ago and shared it right away with my Facebook friends.”  he said.

That would make me #3789.

Then I started to move even farther away.

Turning it back

What was it?

when he said his posts weren’t about me, then admitted they were about me, then insisted he never said they were and I needed to stop thinking everything was always about me.

when he told me what I meant, what I felt and told me I should go to therapy to get healed.

when he insisted he didn’t mean that I needed to go to therapy to get healed, he just said it.

when he called my kids fat and lazy.

when he couldn’t finish the projects he started around the house, projects I never asked him to do, but he felt I needed done.

when he sat around all day doing nothing, while I worked, then asked me what I was gonna make for dinner that night.

when he told me we needed milk and I don’t drink milk.

when he asked if I was allowed to eat those cheez-its.

when he said fat girls are usually better at blow jobs, they kind of have to be.

when he said I don’t have time to get you anything, I’ll be right back I need to pick up something for this other person I know.

when he said he would never date again, but had someone lined up before he left.

when he said I needed to change my hair, my clothes, my size.

when he said weight didn’t matter to him and I was imagining it.

when he said it was okay for people to disrespect me and I needed to get over it.

when he wouldn’t take his dog, who had to be euthanized.

when he said he was heartbroken because his dog was euthanized.

when he said he knew this would happen with his dog.

when he said his job was to be naked and buff and mine was to be wet.

when he said I couldn’t be his friend because I didn’t know how, because I said we were just getting lunch and it wasn’t gonna be naked/buff/wet day.

when he said people must wonder how a person who looks like me, could get a man who looks as good as he does.

when he made my children cry.

when he ran to his room, slammed the door and told my 18-year-old to “go away, I’m not talking to you”

when he told me I did a good job, and I didn’t even need his help.

when he took me away for my birthday, but needed to play games on his kindle and phone.

When was it?  It always was, I just needed to wake up and realize me and my children really do deserve better.  As a therapist, I am the perfect target, my entire life is about believing people can change.  If someone keeps telling me how hard they work and how much they change I want to believe them.  I am guilty of wanting to believe.  Have I stopped believing?  No, I just stopped believing him.