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« Let Your Sweet Tooth for Lollipops and Life Out to Play | Main | Why You Really Can’t Eat Just One French Fry »

July 20, 2009

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Lori Marcel

I recently had to have arthroscopy/knee surgery and needed a ride home afterward the procedure (seems most of my girlfriends were just to busy working), I called my first-ex-husband who I married (and divorced) again, making him my second-ex-husband. He picked up the phone saying,"I was just talking about you," to which I replied,"no, I don't think so this is your second-and-third-ex-wife." To which he agreed he was confused at the phone number. Well he did agree to pick me up after my surgery and as I was coming out of anesthesia, I looked up at him, thinking OMG, he looks so old and very tired! I had to enquire as to whether or not he was okay to which the surgeon (looking very confused) said something to the effect of "wait a minute, who just had surgery?" Once and ex and even twice an ex but never a third!

We have a beautiful 17-year-old daughter which helps us to always find the good in each other; realizing we had our time together and other than co-parents, our time is over.

Chellie Campbell

Ah, what a beautifully written, heartfelt reflection on life and loves and moving on. All our relationships have a collective beauty, happiness and sadness woven together in memory. Thank you for taking me with you on this journey.

Monica Regal

I have enjoyed all the comments.

Thank you.

Very enlightening.

Ex-boyfriends... gotta love 'em!

Monica

Kristin

I do have "dinner with my exes" every day. Not actually but in the memories of each of them - like when I fix a 7 and 7 at the start of each winter, see a photo of Block Island or even when the Tigers are playing (and my team is the Red Sox). Each boyfriend brought me to where I am today - happily married to my hubby of 10 years. I don't ever want to forget them and I was lucky to have known them (even if it ended badly) because I was very fortunate to have such a love filled life.
Great blog Monica!

Pattyann

I learned with my ex that I am a very selfish woman-I broke what little heart he had when I walked out and then fed him false hope that I'd go back-not because I wanted him but because I didn't want anyone else to have him-I was that awful little girl at the playdate yelling Mine-Mine Mine at anyone with a toy

PJ

I want you to know I was going through some old sorority pictures and came across one of my big brohter at the Sig Ep house.... he had always been so nice, and had sent me letter from Duke U. where he got his MBA after we graduated....

Well, I looked him up on line and dropped him a note to ask whatever happened to him.. He wrote back that he was shocked to get my email.... and the saga of his life which sort of paraelleled mine..... we had a conversation on the phone that went by in a flash for some 3 hours, and then another 3 hour conversation... but in it all, he became very upset when he was asked to share a moment of time with a business assoicate and when I told him I would like dinner.. the idea that after that dinner I would not just pack up and move to North Carolina immediately blew him away.. So that dinner never happened...

In some ways I was glad to see how he turned out, but I wish I had just been left with the memories cause I had to tell him that given his demands it was better to quit before we would start......

I dont know if an old flame.. or sort of an old fame is a good idea.... I still see my college fiance that is now married to a buck toothed blond, who has two kids and lives in the Palisades...

My idea is to Keep the memories of what you had and DONT LOOK BACK!

Michelle Hazlewood

My recipe for happiness....Live in each moment and do what feels best. If you are in peace and joy as you share moments this this beautiful being, it can only be for the highest good of both!
Love & Light ~ Michelle

Heather Summerhayes Cariou

HOW TO HAVE DINNER WITH YOUR EX-HUSBAND

After almost three decades, catch a glimpse of him at the Opening Night of the play your current husband is starring in. Get a bead on him in the crowd at the after party. Talk and laugh with friends but look up every few seconds so you know where he is in the room. Know that you have no intention of rushing over to him, but neither are you going to let him take you by surprise.
Watch with fascination and not a little chagrin as he tries to sneak past you down the stairs on his way out. Before you know what you’re doing, take five quick steps and tug on the back of his jacket. Lean over his shoulder into his left ear and murmur sweetly, oh no you don’t.
Stay steady on your feet as he whirls around to embrace you.
Laugh nervously and ask him if he really thought he could get away with it. Be mildly amused when he says ingenuously, I didn’t want to intrude on your evening.
Say, then why did you come?
Listen in amazement as he blurts, I’ve wanted to apologize for years. I should have written you. I should have called. Lorna (wife #3) keeps telling me I should have. None of it was your fault. I’m totally responsible for what happened between us.
Feel the room whirl around you, as if you’re at the centre of a bizarre scene being shot by a movie camera on a circular track. Be aware that a few feet away, the beautiful, blue-eyed man you are now married to has stopped taking accolades and is staring at you quizzically.
Say to your ex, “I want to hear what you have to say, but this isn’t the time or place. Let’s meet for a drink later this week.” Give him your phone number. Don’t believe him when he says he’ll call.

Spend the next several days watching old memories play like TCM movies in your head. Dig out the yellowed, dog-eared magazine articles you’ve had stashed in a shoebox since the 1980’s: Colette Dowling on The Cinderella Complex, Melodie Beattie on co-dependency, something from Glamour on re-decorating your bedroom in a weekend with a set of sheets and a staple gun. Throw them out.
After the call comes, and you’ve arranged to meet at a restaurant ironically called “The Hot House” and begun to process that this is all actually happening, look into the true eyes of the man you’ve been married to for twenty-two years and tell him your ex wants to take you to dinner. Interpret the silent shrug of his shoulders as a tacit blessing.

When the night arrives, light candles and get into a hot tub. Remember the tub you crawled into twenty-seven years ago, a glass of scotch clutched in your fist, your face wet with tears as hot as the water you wished-to-God you could just let yourself drown in. Think of the phone call on that far away night, how you heard the other woman smacking dinner plates down on the table in the background as he spoke. Remember how he said he’d rather rot in jail than give you another penny, though you had just separated and he’d barely given you a dime. Remember that pain, still neatly folded in the dark cupboard of your heart like an old T-shirt you can’t quite bring yourself to get rid of.

Stand naked in front of the closet and run your gaze anxiously back and forth over your wardrobe. You were a size 6 then. You are now a size 14. Fight breathlessly with your Spanx tummy slimmer. Load your breasts into a push up bra. Smirk at yourself in the mirror. Say out loud, “Who are you kidding?” Pull on a black silk knit turtleneck and black pants. Add a funky jacket and sexy high-heeled boots. Carefully apply makeup to a face you barely recognize as you think of the soft, hopeful countenance in your old wedding pictures. Remember the girl with the long, wild hair who drank Singapore Slings. Remember his agate eyes, and the way his fingers made fast love to pianos. Sing softly to yourself, lyrics from one of the old songs his band used to play, do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart?

Walk six blocks beneath a chill autumn sky. Wonder at the thick mass of yellow leaves still clinging fiercely to the hard maples. Think of long ago autumns, country fairs, crisp McIntosh apples. Remember baking pies for him, cozy nights eating cheese fondue and snuggling in front of the TV. Remember the damp leaves one morning on the front stoop, the cold metal of the letter box, the nausea that passed through your body when you saw the envelope addressed to him, sealed with a lipstick kiss. Take a few deep breaths.
Gaze up at the halo of milky light quivering high over the city landscape. Practice what you want to say. Tell yourself not to say anything until you have listened. Remind yourself to listen the way you never did when you were married. Notice a group of teenage boys huddling in the shadows on the other side of a small park. Be amused by the gaggle of tight-jeaned girls on the corner, twitchy and coy, glancing back over their shoulders at the boys. Stop at a red light and realize how calm you feel. And how old.

Enter the restaurant with resolve. Spy him sitting in a quiet corner. See how familiar he looks, how at home you feel sliding into the booth across from him, as if you’ve both just been beamed back in time on one of those Star Trek episodes he used to love. His hair is laced with gray, his charm still evident. Point at his drink and ask with a knowing smile, “Is that C.C. and coke?” Some things never change. Enjoy his sheepish grin. Order a vodka citron straight-up, very cold, with olives. Watch his eyes flicker. When the waiter says they don’t have vodka citron, order a Cosmo. Hope you seem sophisticated. Feel your heart spin just a little when he says you look beautiful. Say to him, “I’m glad we’re doing this.”

As you’re waiting for your cocktail, remember another drink, another night, finding him with another woman in a dark corner at a party. Remember tossing your full glass of red wine in her face. When your Cosmo arrives, and that first sweetly burning sip has settled you, say, “I want you tell me what’s in your heart, not what you think I want to hear. Otherwise it’s a waste of time for both of us.”

Listen as he tells you he is sorry for all he did to hurt you. Try to read those inscrutable agate eyes you loved so long ago. Watch him let his food get cold. He’s learned that he’s a coward, he says. Your courage made him feel like less of a man. He’s a boy, he says. He runs when things get tough. None of it was your fault, you were a good wife.
Say, it takes two. We were so young, there was so much bearing down on us; two careers that took us in opposite directions, a sister’s painful death, the sudden discovery that he’d been adopted. The thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. Remind him of the night you closed a door in his face and he needed stitches. Listen when he tells you that you once more that you weren’t to blame. Want to believe him, even if you can’t. It’s all too easy. It’s all too hard. Quite simple and very complicated. Tell him you’ve become friends with the other woman, the one whose lights you punched out after they moved in together while you were still married. Say, if she’d fallen the wrong way on the sidewalk you’d just now be getting out of jail. Laugh weakly.

Couples pass in the cold night beyond his reflection in the restaurant window. Sit in a golden circle of light and hold his hand. Tell him that if he’s apologizing, he needs to know what happened after he left. Not to punish him, just so he knows it all. Tell him about pawning your engagement ring to pay the rent. About the night you wished you could drown yourself in the hot tub. What it was like in the divorce court he never showed up to. Watch his eyes fill with tears. Say, I forgave you long ago. It was the only way I could move on. Say, it’s time you forgave yourself now. That’s the hardest thing. I can’t help you with that.
Talk a little longer with each other about the happy times you had. Talk about his teenage daughter, your step-grandchildren. Talk about his wife and your husband. Say I love you, I’ve always loved you, I always will love you, but he is the love of my life. Nod when he says he’s happy for you, proud of you, proud that he was once married to you.

Finish off your second Cosmo as he asks for the check. Feel your heart drifting like smoke toward the man with the true, blue eyes who is waiting for you at home. Notice your cheeks flush. Let your ex-husband be gallant as he helps you with your coat. Stroke his back maternally and ask if he feels better now. Smile as he returns the question. Walk together outside. Breathe in the light chill, the soft yellow glare that bounces off the maple leaves. Think of the nice cup of tea you’ll have later, on the couch. Turn to him. Embrace your past. Turn away now, and walk with a light step across the street. Hear him say I love you as you go. Fold his words into the dark cupboard of your heart, and lay them gently on top of the old T-shirt.

Heather Summerhayes Cariou is the author of “Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister’s Memoir.”

Monica Regal

Dorothea:

Thank you for your wise advice.

And goodness knows, I can always learn something!!

Monica

Shanikwa Anderson

I've learned the hard way -- Don't look backwards, girlfriend!!

MmmmHmmm . . .Thank You!

Dorothea Hover-Kramer


Yes, I believe as we mature, we can enjoy rekindling old friendships with our new insights on. It may be that your ex-boyfriend is in your life just to explore what friendship is really about--caring, companionship, no demands, and acceptance of another person as he is.

If you wish, and only if you wish, explore what you can learn with this relationship. Let it go if you cannot learn anything.

Best wishes, Dorothea author of "Second Chance at Your Dream"

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