Today's blog post title serves as an excellent example.
I knew it would happen eventually. It had to. And really, it's high time. But still. Meeting his boyfriend was easily one of the most surreal moments in my life. And yes, Mr. Hate is my ex-husband, but still, people.
I met his boyfriend.
It went pretty well, and I am quite proud of how I handled myself in the exchange. It was in a public place (restaurant, I was dropping Third off), the fry were all there, etc. I showed my children a truly excellent example of class, decorum and openness, and I could actually SEE them taking a breath and realizing the moment they have been anxious about passed and we all survived. Second caught my eye for a just a tick as I was leaving, and I swear, I saw something like pride in her eyes, and the definite sparkle of a shared laugh. She connected with me there for just a tiny moment, she GOT it, acknowledged it to me, and I will remember her look for a long time. And it was also hella awkward, but survivable, and even as it was happening I was thinking out what I would tell my girlfriends, but most of all it was....sad.
Because here's the thing. He seems like a nice guy. Really. He's good looking, well spoken, and appears to be a kind person. I can totally see the attraction. I think we would get along very well. And maybe we will. I don't quite see how, but life, as I have learned ad nauseum, has a way of altering paths faster than I can keep up with. He seems like someone I could (and would) have been friends with, if things had been different.
And there I go, arguing with reality again. Things aren't different. Mr. Hate handled things the way he did, and because of his choices, events will unfold in a much different way than if he had been honest and respectful. But he wasn't, and the energy I spend mourning what wasn't serves no one.
But hey - this is my blog post, so indulge me for a minute.
We could have been friends, the three of us. I easily have that much love and compassion in me. I could have sat at the table last night with them and celebrated One's upcoming birthday. I could have gone over to their house, we could be sharing some of the bigger household tools and things we both need occasionally (like the rototiller, log splitter, etc.). The children could relax, seeing that their parents might not be married anymore, but that there is still love there, just a different sort. But that reality would require Mr. Hate to be someone entirely other than who he is. Entirely. Be so much more than who he is. And he is not.
Oh, how I feel sorry for Boyfriend. He has such a road ahead of him. I wish I could warn him:
Look out! Everything that ever goes wrong will be your fault. Always. Every major decision Mr. Hate makes will be unilateral, you will never be included, and "Larry the therapist told me to" will be his excuse for every choice he makes that turns out poorly. He will never be accountable for anything. He will blame you for every one of his illnesses, his sleepless nights; every time something he has breaks, he will ask you pointedly if you used it. He will never let you in, not really. He will dismiss every idea you ever have, and insist his way is better, even when you can see it is not. He will flash money around to impress you and your friends (oh, and enjoy the free health insurance, btw, and ta for that, asshole), but when it comes down to brass tacks, Boyfriend, you will never, ever come first. Ever. And it will whittle away at your soul. You will begin to doubt yourself. You will decide it is easier to acquiesce and keep the peace than speak your truth and have to endure another fight. You have to be diminished, you see, to justify his size.
And that is a sad thing, isn't it? Because you seem like a nice man. You have been good to my children, and nothing else in this life could commend you more to me than that. And you are in for a world of heartbreak, because you are living with a shadow, not a whole man.
If you could really get to know me, what would you do with what you see? I am not a malicious, histrionic, unstable shrew of a woman at all. Perhaps, as you and I spent time together, you would see who it is that has been evil, who has lied, who is at fault for the children refusing to spend weekends with their dad. If you got to know me, the truths you think you know would shift, and you would find yourself asking yourself some pretty tough questions, and having to look at that meal ticket of yours in a whole new light. So really, when you think about it, Mr. Hate had some pretty good reasons for making sure we didn't meet for a long time, didn't he? If you and I got to know each other you would eventually realize that your boyfriend is full of shit. And then what, Boyfriend?
If I was your friend, I could tell you all this. You would see it for yourself.
And, oh, what temptation resides in THAT dear readers! I need to be so, so careful here. I am working so hard to become more than I was, to become the woman I know inside I am. There is no place in my new life for vengeance, for onslaughts, for underhanded devious excellence designed only to throw the flaws of others into focus. I am striving each and every day for authenticity and absolute truth. For me to be ever-so-calculatingly excellent in front of Boyfriend, just to show him what a liar his boyfriend is, is wicked tempting. And totally beneath me. They have their own path to walk, and my attentions are much better served elsewhere. If they live happily ever after spending all the money they can get their hands on it needs never concern me. I have my own house, my own ducks to keep in a row, my own gardens to tend, metaphysical and otherwise.
But it is a conundrum. Because I *am* working hard at all those things, and I am getting stronger and so much braver and raising some pretty excellent young people, and making the house my own, and yeah, not every day is Anne of Green Gables worthy, but on the whole, I am living a life I am increasingly proud of. And if I spend any time with Boyfriend, he will see that. And somewhere in his mind, a little voice might stop and say "huh. This doesn't jibe with what he said...."
Boyfriend, you're standing knee deep in gasoline. And you just met your match.