tales from the surviving straight spouse

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.


No more silence

I am back and have much to explore.  Whether my silence was self imposed, the result of emotional suffocation or pure laziness doesn’t really matter. 

I am grateful to return to expression.  I am grateful for my friends who want the best for me and yet can stay with me while I make my own way.  I am grateful to support my son who is enlisting in the national Army reserves.  I am grateful that I am here.

Run Away! Run Away!

Nanowrimo…You Shall Not Pass!

any way…I digress.

So, around 8 or 9, I started to get a bit curious.  As the youngest of a large brood, I didn’t have much baby action.  I loved them, cute, tiny, unpredictable.  I never wondered where they came from.  That bugs me.  I don’t know why – it is such a common question.  My best friend at the time, Hippo (you’ll get it in another chapter) had a gazillion babies at her house, adopted babies, babies with red hair, babies with freckles.  It was a baby extravaganza!  She knew where they came from, but she wouldn’t tell me.

I had to think on this.  Who could tell me where they come from?  How do people come from anywhere?  I was quite confused.  “I come from Philadelphia” sure, you took the high-speed line, but babies don’t do that.  They just appear.  Weird.  Of course I knew that they were in a woman’s tummy.  Are they growing in there?  Just bizarre.

Ah-ha.  My parents had seven babies, I bet they knew how they got them.  So into THE STUDY again.  Ugh how I love/hate THE STUDY.  My father’s sanctuary.  He was a very busy, very stressed man.  I never remember him with anything but gray hair.  I blame my older sister.

Entering THE STUDY meant you had to be quiet until commercial.  (Reminds me of my marriage)  It meant that if I commented on something or leaned over to tell my mom something, a harsh “Shhhh LISTEN” was thrown over me like a cloak of shame.  Damn, that cloak is sticky.

So, I waited until commercial.  I stood before my dad, my mom was sitting behind me.  I took a deep breath and began to do the side step, rocking back and forth.  “So, Dad, (rock), I was (rock) thinking (rock rock) and I wanted to know (roooock) where babies (rock rock rock) come from.”  The room froze.  My mother lowered the newspaper and looked at me over her glasses.  Her face was blushing fiercely.  My father looked at me over his glasses.  I couldn’t believe it.  Babies make my father speechless.  Boy, where they come from must be really complicated and slightly embarrassing.

He cleared his throat, uncrossed his legs and nudged his foot into my crotch and said, “They come from there”

Oh My fucking God.  Babies get peed out.  That’s why it’s called a wee wee!

I could have one tonight!  Yay!

But wait.  My dad just put his foot in my crotch.  Suddenly I was mortified.  I turned around and ran upstairs.  I heard my mother sigh and tsk.

I laid on my bed bewildered.  That answer didn’t seem to give me what I was looking for.

My mother came in my room and sat on the bed next to me.  She was much gentler that I had ever remembered.

“Honey, sometimes your father does things he shouldn’t.  Are you okay?  Do you have any questions?”

“Yes I’m fine”  Questions…well, that seems a bit dangerous.  I know who to go to for a kick in the crotch, now.  “No, no questions.”  I get it.  The origins of babies is not something to be discussed.  My mom has stated proudly over the years that she taught her daughters about babies and their bodies.  Jeez, I hope that thought process isn’t hereditary.

I finally got the logistics of baby creating in health class, 5 years later.  I was excited, but really, sometimes riding the high-speed line can be just as much fun.

Cherry Picking 101

Five years old.

It is weird to look back at being a small girl.  I can’t remember too many details.  Things pop out here and there about me, my body and attitudes about my body and being a girl.

Many moms, dads and siblings make up words for genitalia.  It makes me crazy.  One of the worst things we can do to our children is to apply shame, discomfort to a body part.  My hackles are rising as I think of all the phrases I’ve heard.  “PeeShee” and “Peachy” and prize for most damaging: “Junk”

I had a “wee wee”  I don’t any more.


If you just squirmed a bit, you can thank the media, the adults and peers of your early years.  Or curse them.  As an adult, sure it is fine in the right moments to have a little fun…but for a child…viewing their bodies seriously and proudly is vital.

Babies naturally begin exploring their bodies when they become physical able.  Imagine the wonder and joy when a baby begins to find places that give them comfort.  My 2nd son still twirls the same spot on his head he began rubbing as an infant.  I bet he started in the womb.

I don’t know when I started to explore my genitals.  I do know when I stopped.  My parents and a brother were in the study (apparently with the pistol…) watching television.  When I came into the room my brother said, “Someone’s been cherry picking.”  My father laughed.  My mother gave me a look that shriveled my insides and told me not to touch my wee-wee.  I must have been really at it – because everyone knew when I came the room.

There it was…I had done something wrong, bad, unacceptable.  I didn’t even know the effect that moment had on me until much later.  It took me 37 years to get COMPLETELY past that.  That fun filled story will be told in a week or so.

A bit later I learned that boys and girls had different “privileges”.  One particularly hot day I walked out into our back yard without a shirt on.  I was 7.  I never saw my mom walk around with out a shirt, but as far as I could tell, I looked just like my brother from the waist up (never dreamed that the waist down was different – hah! How do you spell naive?)  I look bewildered at my brother who was angry and shouting at me to get back inside and get a shirt on.  The question that soon became repeated over an over again until it echoed inside was “What were you thinking?”

I was thinking as a human being who is biologically formed, yet molded by the conscious of others who ignore developmental biology.

Sometimes I stand in front of the mirror naked and say “Hello there, I’m thinking that this is beautiful and naked it just fucking fine.”

It is easy to look at the past through adult eyes and dismiss these “minor events”.   For a five year old it is not minor and realizing that it happened to a brain not yet developed is key to releasing the damage.

Want to share your learned, early-years words for


because I’d be interested to know…

Nanowrimo here I come.

Hello November 2, 2013,

I watched you come and go last year and the year before.  No more.  I want to tell my story, just one track on  a twisted continuous revolution.  Marilyn Monroe said,

“We are all born sexual creatures,thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift.”  

November, I am giving to you the story of me…how I developed sexually.  I am not afraid of telling the truth.  I think there are many people who need to hear stories of damage, growth and living life fully.  By age of 18 one in six women will be raped and that is only what is reported.  Maybe, if more stories are told, the world will change.  Parents will accept and respect the “power” they have to foster the start of a healthy life.  I’ve read one coming of age story written by a man, “Running with Scissors.”  It was inspiring and appalling all in one book.  Maybe you will get a millisecond of that, November.

Look out November…I’m here.

Tune in to tomorrow for Cherry Picking 101.



Summer Passes Quickly

The air conditioner went back on, I was hoping that the season had passed. 

I went up to the Pocono mountains to visit my aunt with my father a few weeks ago.  She is 92 and I have never seen her happy.  I think of all the opportunities and choices she made, the guideposts she relied on to live her life.  Where did all that pain and misery come from?

My mother flipped out on me last week.  I haven’t spoken to her since.  She really made quite a stir and then became overly dramatic when I didn’t budge.  I had to come to a difficult  conclusion: she loves me as a mother is expected to, but she doesn’t like me.

It reminds me of an old boyfriend.  I climbed into bed in a sexy nightgown and he reached for an electronic device and began interacting with the alternate nebulous reality.  To some everything always looks better “out there”.  The could be and would be are temptations which erode the *is*. 

I wish people knew the secret:  let go of tomorrow and yesterday.

We have just now…that is all we ever really have.  I can’t say it enough.

I’m going to call my mom, she really hurt me, but festering, brooding and “should haves” is not living.