“Are you closer to getting back together or getting divorced?”

Hello again, Long Suffering Readers! It’s been a while since I’ve written which Sylvia Trench reminded me of the other day when she asked me, “Where is the next blog? You are dragging ass.” And then one of my newest readers (who also happens to be my first cousin) reached out and asked, “How are you doing? Does it get any easier?”

This is the nutshell of what I wrote to her:

I’m doing much better, it does get easier. There was so much anger and angst for the last 2 years it was like a constant fog covering everything Catherine and I did together. Jan through Jun was the worst. After learning about the affair and all the anger and betrayal and every time I looked at her all I could see was an image in my mind of her fucking or sucking someone else… it was just horrible. And then, of course, i was supposed to play like everything wsa OK in front of the girls. The… absolute… worst.

But then I moved out. And then I started getting some new friends online which helped slowly rebuild my now-ruined self-esteem. Very slow process. But, by late Aug/Sept I was feeling “mostly” like my old self “most” times.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a fair amount of suck. While I don’t miss Catherine AT ALL, I miss my lifestyle; I owned a beautiful home, enjoyed my schedule, enjoyed my commute, enjoyed waking up with my children and putting them to bed every day/night, and I have none of that now.

I do enjoy my nights and weekends alone, gives me freedom to do my hobbies, but I feel guilty that I can’t be with my children. Still, I make the most of it, and I prioritize the time I do get wit the girls; when I’m with them I’m WITH them: I’ve very present and very engaged. We have a great time together when we are together.

Mary, my youngest daughter, asked me the other day, “Dad, are you and Mom closer to getting back together… or getting a divorce…” (Remember, gentle readers, the kids are still under the impression we’re merely separated; we give them the news that it’s an actual divorce after Halloween.) I answered, “Well, honey, I don’t see your mom that much anymore, but no matter what happens, we’ll still be a family and everything is going to be OK.”

In other news, followers of the Twitter account will know that I went out on an actual date a couple weeks ago with The Hot Pool Mom (or “Hot Pool” as I’ve started calling her for short.) There is a long and interesting tale here that I’m not yet willing to share, ‘cuz it would be tacky. I will say this though: I’m still physical affection free for all 2012 (not even First Base, people!) If and when that changes, I’m sure you guys will somehow know.

Bottom line: I’m OK. The “suck” that is in my life now is now within MY control, not Catherines, and it’s a much more empowering feeling. It will only get better as I slowly get some more elements into my life that I miss (e.g. romance)  as sadly, I do associate a lot of my self-worth to how other perceive me… I know that goes against all the ONLY YOU CAN MAKE YOURSELF HAPPY mantra which everyone spews, which I fully believe in by the way, but part of owning that is to see if I’m doing enough to make myself interesting and charming to others. That’s important to me. I really don’t want to be perceived as damaged any more than I would want to be perceived as a slob or flaky or untrustworthy.

So there you have it. Not looking forward to the Holidays, but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes.

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Defining Adultery (I was a Catherine, Redux)

 Hello Again, dear Long Suffering Readers. I was reminded this morning by one of the First FIGs, “You haven’t blogged in a while…” and like a great many things she knows about me she was correct in this as well. It’s not like I haven’t wanted to write, there are a great many things going on, but many of those things are more about what’s going on with me and less about what is going on between myself and Catherine, and or how I’m handling the divorce. I suppose in a way that’s a good thing; when I started this blog 7 months ago all I could do was obsess over Catherine’s behavior and what it meant about the future for myself and my daughters. I really feel I’m past much of the rough stuff although I know there’s a few icebergs still in the path I’m going to have to deal with (specific worries at this point: a. the holidays and b. once Catherine get’s a new live-in boyfriend/lover dude that’s going to be waking up in her house next to MY kids… I ‘m not so much worried about the her getting a new lover as how my kids will treat new Man Figure. That will be hard to watch.)

Anyway, there was something I did want to talk to you about Long Suffering Readers, and this is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart: Adultery. Specifically, the interesting lines and shades of gray I’m finding where people draw the line.

Henry, you cad you!

As I’ve mentioned in the past it’s been interesting to me that many of my Twitter/Blog followers are women. There’s a couple of men that respond to me on Twitter with any regularity but it’s literally just that: 2 guys. I did not expect this at all, in fact I expected the complete opposite: that more men in a similar situation to my own would find some sort of kinship with being dumped the way I was. What has been equally surprising to me is just HOW MANY women* have confessed to me that they too committed some sort of adultery.  (*I give this the disclaimer as I’m certain there are an equal number of men that the following stories could apply to, but like I mentioned, they’re not following my blog…)

 “This can’t end well…”

For the record, I’ll for first: So, Mr. Henry, how are you defining adultery? When I was with Catherine I governed my married behavior under the following principle: Would I tell my wife about this current behavior I’m undergoing with Ms. Unnamed Person? If the answer was “No…”, then I was probably in some territory I shouldn’t have been in. So, Mr. Holier Than Thou Henry, did you ever engage in any of that type of behavior? I will admit yes. When I was at the darkest part of my marriage with Catherine when she was very much detached from me there was a time when I was starting to have an “emotional connection” with someone I knew from my past. Did we ever meet up? No. Kissy face? No. Sexting? No. (Well, not in the way I’d define sexting today, but that interesting topic indeed needs to wait for another blog…) it was more, “What types of thigns do you like? Oh really.. what types of things do YOU like… oh really..?”  There was nothing more than some emotional talk (type, really) that eventually went away a couple weeks after it started once Ms. UnNamed Person and I agreed, “This can’t end well…”  So there’s my big confession. Was it adultery, by my definition and some Former FIGs I know: technically yes. Some of my friends, however have said, “Hey if you were only talking and you kept your dick in your pants…” then probably no.

“Married is Married. It’s adultery until the Judge signs on the dotted line…”

 In similar news, I was recently “dumped” by one of the first FIGs, and while she didn’t tell me why I suddenly found myself unfollowed and unresponded to, I suspect it has to do with the following: her opinion was that even though I’m separated (and filed for divorce.. and living apart from Cathine… and having not been intimiate with Catherine, since Dec 2011) that to be involved with me would be adultery. I was/am still, technically speaking, a married man. The state of California will sign some paper around Dec 2012 and I will no longer be a married man, but for now, I am. You’ve been warned, Long Suffering Readers! I feel bad that she felt I was on the verge of adultery—I don’t consider the flirty relationships I have with Fabulous Internet Girls adultery, but there are obviously others who disagree.

“It’s a sexual relationship with a machine.”

And here’s another perspective: about mid-way through my marriage with Catherine, back when things were OK, and hadn’t really turned to  shit yet we were watching some TV special about Facebook and the rise of internet affairs. She turned to me out and said, “Are you having an internet affair?”

This was years before Ms. Unnamed Person would come into the picture so I earnestly replied, “Does jacking off to internet porn count?”

“No.”

“Well, then no.”

“It’s a Sexual Relationship With a Machine”

And yet… I have a friend, whom we’ll call Jebediah, who thinks that masturbation in any form is adultery.

Huh?

When I started thinking about this blog post I asked him his views about it—he’s got a fairly interesting religious background—and his view is ANY sexual relationship with someone who is not your wife is indeed adultery.

Internet Porn? “Yes, it’s a sexual relationship with a machine.”

Masturbation? “Yes, it’s a sexual relationship with yourself.”

It doesn’t matter with whom or what it’s with, he says, “…the underlying morality is the same.” He does acknowledge that under his own strict definition it’s damn near impossible not be an adulterer. My interview with Jebediah went into some very interesting territory regarding how the brain starts making chemical connections to persons or objects that give them sexual satisfaction. Again, a post for another time…

“You are a very gifted writer. I read instead of napping. And I cried because it occurred to me that I am a Catherine too. Only worse.”

I’m going to close with this one. One of the other things that I’m now torn by is some of my favorite internet friend girls, indeed MOST of them, have some sort of behavior in their past they’re not really proud of. The quote above came from someone whom I’ve grown to care for and she feels, after reading my blog, that somehow I will see her differently because of some things done in her own past. This is a tough one for me. Catherine was very clear that one of the reasons she felt she could not be married to me was my “everything is so fucking black and white with you!” view of the world. I will tell you, my friends, and I don’t mean to sound preachy here… there is no one I’ve met, including myself, who is without sin (you just read my story above, right?) I have now met at least a dozen women, including the original “I was a Catherine” whom I respect, admire, and care for. These people have been, or are currently are, in relationships that are stifling, emotionally exhausting, or otherwise unsatisfying. Many of them have reached out and had some sort of online-affair, emotional affair, or physical affair. And many (but not all) of their stories are hauntingly familiar. All of these things did I hear from Catherine. Do I see these women differently? As of this writing, no. Perhaps that will be my undoing in the future, but for now, I’m hoping that it’s some sort of lesson in humility. It made me thing that one day My Catherine will be someone else’s FIG (if that makes sense?)

Realizing I was going through this lesson in humility by the New Catherines, last week I had a long conversation with My Catherine about my newfound enlightenment. I relayed to her some of my experiences with the FIGs and the stories I’ve heard and complexity of my feelings towards the New Catherines based on my treatment at the hands of her, My Catherine. I told her, “Look, I can’t say I forgive you—because after all I was your husband and I was the one who got burned by this—but after hearing so many similar or only slightly modified versions from women who get desperate and lonely or are missing SOMETHING and then find it elsewhere… at least I understand it more than I did before.”

She simply nodded with a bit of a tear in her eye. I then did something I haven’t done in a while, I gave her a hug. We held it for a moment and then I turned away. I then continued to put all my belongings in boxes and loading up my the moving truck to take them away.

“Lots of people commit adultery!”

My dearest Long Suffering Readers! As many of you know last week I’m underwent the very unique experience of going on a family vacation with the ex “Catherine”. Up until the last day before leaving I was considering cancelling the vacation as I was afraid I would get up into one of my “early April-style funks” hanging out with her. So how did it go?  No seriously… really… how did it go?

Sure, it may look like a mound of dirt to you, but that’s actually one of the excavated sites on Roanoke Island, home of the famous “Lost Colony”. Yes!

Catherine is still, well, Catherine

At first I didn’t see much of Catherine. The first few days while I was in Richmond, VA with the girls she took off to give me Man Space with my friend Santo. We then caravanned without incident to Roanoke Island, NC so I could geek out at Ft. Raleigh and soak in the Lost Colony, but she mostly left me alone during those times as well. It wasn’t until we did the long road trip from Roanoke Island to Myrtle Beach, SC where I got a nice dose of the Old Catherine. We did talk a bit about the “failed marriage” rehashing old scenes I’d brought up in January through May (her most interesting and revealing quote: “adultery does not make me a bad person… lots of people commit adultery…”). There was no new discoveries to be made here other than to have her confirm that she’s got a date with some high school dude when she returns from vacation. (And how do you feel about that, Henry? Well, Long Suffering Reader, after obsessing about how she was sleeping with someone for 5 months until I discovered her affair, her going out on a date really does not even budge the emotional hurt scale…) Seriously. I don’t care about that.

Catherine is still Catherine, but Henry is not still Henry

I think my biggest hangup with Catherine is that while we were locked in the car talking I wanted to hear her take more responsibility for her adultery. Because, let’s be honest, my life has been totally eviscerated as part of this experience (house=gone; time with my daughters=halved; any sense of personal space=gone; any hope for me getting any lovin’ in 2012=gone). She made a mess of my life and in some small way I felt like she owed it to me to be more apologetic. And while she has apologized for the affair, it’s always with some sort of, “But…” typically followed up with one of the following:

  • But, lots of people have affairs…
  • But, it takes two people to make a marriage fail…
  • But, our marriage was doomed anyway…
  • But, I wasn’t looking for an affair…
  • But, I never meant to hurt you…

All true. But… you did have an affair, and it did emotionally devastate me. Then.

I digress.

Now that I’ve been back a week and I’ve had some time to process the entire encounter I can say this: I’m actually still surprised that I stayed with her for so long. Of course I know why I did it: because, I’m morally wired that. Common thoughts that went through Henry’s head when things were at his darkest with Catherine:

  • You need to do EVERYTHING you can to save a marriage
  • You must do EVERYTHING you can to stay together for the children
  • Even though she is no longer intimate with me I made a commitment to her and I will not dishonor that.

In the future, assuming I do get into another long-term relationship someday, 2 out of 3 of those statements won’t say anymore.  I’m guessing you can guess which one I’ll be keeping with me.

And lo, dear Long Suffering Readers, I was going to rant on the behaviors/traits Catherine had to has brought me to this space (and it was going to include words that sounded like “selfish” and “stubborn” and “irresponsible”) but I won’t. One of the Fabulous Internet Girls, Ms. @According2Jewls, made a comment that I was breaking Rule #1 by disparaging the Ex (“…no matter how insane [she may be]…”)  so I’ve been trying to take that to heart lately. I’m more than happy to tell you how ridiculous some of my own antics are—and let me tell you, there’s a couple of doozy blogs in the making but they’re not yet ripe for writing—but going forward I’m keeping the comments about Catherine to a minimum. Nothing to gain there.

So long story short (which is hard for me to do): Had fun on the vacation. Had a couple of big blow outs with Catherine, which led me to believe I was with her at least 3 years too long. Enjoyed every minute I spent with the girls. I highly recommend visiting the Outer Banks, but can’t recommend you do it with your ex-wife.

The High Road Has A Ceiling

Good morning, Long Suffering Readers. This morning I write to you from lovely Richmond Virginia where I’m visiting my close friend “Santo”. Santa is one of my closest friends and has been since I met him about 20 years ago. However, this is only part 1 of a 4 leg vacation that I’m currently on with Catherine and the family. What’s that you say? You’re vacationing with Catherine? How the Hell did that happen?

The short version: we booked this vacation back in March or so before I discovered the affair. I thought long and hard about canceling it but there are 2 legs of this vacation that I really wanted to enjoy (Leg 1 = visiting Santo, Leg 2 = visiting Roanoke colony and yes, I’m THAT big of a history nerd!) and 2 legs I’m not as interested in (#3 = visiting Catherine’s estranged father in Myrtle Beach and #4 = visiting Savannah “as a family”). Many of my friends ask, “Isn’t that weird? Isn’t it awkward? Are you trying to get back together?”

So as Santo and his wife asked these questions let me be INCREDIBLY clear: I am NOT trying to get back together with Catherine. Catherine and I are over. Long Suffering Readers know that there was a time—basically Jan through April—where I was doing/considering everything I could to save my marriage. And that there was even a different time after the affair came to light—basically April 5 through April 16—where had Catherine essentially “thrown herself on her sword” saying words to the effect of “…I fucked up! I’ve been lying to you! I had an affair! I will do everything I can to work on this marriage!” I would have listened and try to determine if she was sincere. By the time Apr 16 came around I knew neither of these were happening. I have moved on. I explained to Santo and his wife how I felt about these emotions, about how there was a time when, just due to my character I would’ve done nearly anything to stay married but when she essentially told me that she had no interest in trying to find humility or expend any effort to try to save our marriage after all the truth came to light, I became really clear that neither should I. It is a decision I have not regretted at all and in fact am now starting to welcome. Staying with someone for close to 8 years longer than they had an interest in being with you is an incredible burden to bear. Or as Santo put it, “The High Road has a ceiling!”

So why are you vacationing together? The answer should be familiar to all of you by now: for the kids. To me, hanging out with Catherine is (mostly) like hanging out with a mildly annoying sister-in-law. It’s not pleasant but at this point it’s not hurtful either. In fact when I start seeing some of her behaviors that used to cause me stress as a husband I just say, “I’m not going to miss that…” And the opportunity to spend 10 days with my kinds on vacation? That’s what life is all about, and I’m not going to miss that even if I do need to spend much of that time with her.

You said, “I’m not going to miss that.” Are there parts you are going to miss about Catherine? To be honest: not really. Again, Long Suffering Readers, she has not been into me in about 8 years. And now that some time has passed it’s really easy to see: that kind of sucked. And while I have not started “real dating” yet I’ve met some Fabulous Internet Girls (and some are indeed more fabulous than others! You know who you are…) who have been wonderful company. Not really ready to write about any specifics there, but suffice to say, it’s been wonderful being able to talk to people again who are actually interested in talking to you. And while there’s still plenty of suck left to go (selling our house, figuring out where I’m ultimately going to live long term, etc.) I’m in a much healthier space than I was 6 months ago.

Part 2: Sylvia Trench reflects on Henry

Long Suffering Readers!

In last week’s episode I introduced you to “Sylvia Trench”, a friend-girl, and indeed ex-girlfriend, that Henry dated from approximately 1987 through 1989 (yes, Long Suffering Readers, I am that old!) I would like to thank you for making her guest blog post one of the most popular articles on the site. (I’m thinking it’s because I teased readers with a promised picture of my glorious 1980s hair…)

As a reminder, I’d asked her to use her historical insight on my character—albeit a much younger character—to perhaps shed some objective 3rd-party light on some on my blog posts. Her response was a 2-parter, and this is finishing act.

Syvlvia and Henry before some fancy pants event circa 1987. I’m not sure why I even bothered to apply the stay-secret-eye-black-out thing here as I look nothing like the dude in this photo anymore.

For this segment, I’d specifically asked Sylvia to comment on some of Catherine’s complaints about me when she’d informed me that she could not be married to me any longer. And, my friends, I’m not naïve: Sylvie dated a version of Henry who was in a much different situation (just out of high school, still living at home, victim of 80s fashion…) than the one Catherine married and subsequently had children with (14 years older, eventual father, victim of 40s hairline…) But still, it should make for an interesting read, n’est-ce pas? Her answers have not been edited by me as you will tell by her answer to the Bonus Question that is consistent with what all the other FIGs have been saying that makes me roll my eyes and say, “C’mon! Really?!?” every time I hear it.

And so, friends, I’d like to bring you Part 2: Sylvie Comments on Catherine’s Comments On Henry’s Character (say that fast!)


Was Henry emotionally unavailable?

This is sort of a you then vs. you now situation.  I have not seen you in years.  I don’t know your daughters and I have never met what’s her name.  When we were dating we were teenagers. You were young.  You were learning.  You were interested in girls and found a way to be charming (which you got from your dad) and still push the right heart strings (a little something from your mom).  You were polite, smart, engaging, eager, all good things.  Unavailable?  We were young, but I would guess that you felt your parents had a good marriage and one day you wanted something like that. Something solid and predictable.  Not unavailable but at that age maybe you were looking ahead in a way I didn’t understand so it made me uncomfortable sometimes. Looking ahead did not really include getting married at that time. (And by the way, I don’t think I ever really thought we’d be married.  We were so young.)

Was Henry uptight?

No.  You probably thought I was uptight.  There was a lot of porn in your house (can I talk about that?) that made me uncomfortable.  You were a family of all boys.  I was a family of all girls.  You used to go pick up movies for your Dad.  You were not afraid of sex, but I think it means something else to a man than a woman.  Maybe it always does.  Your much younger brother used to sleep in the room next to us and your parents never even seemed to care. I don’t know if I could be that kind of parent.  But I loved them.  Still do.

Was Henry spontaneous?

Yes.  My 21st birthday.  I don’t know if we had planned anything but I do remember watching Johnny Carson on a Wednesday night and we decided to drive to Burbank and watch a show.  We must have packed in the middle of the night because Thursday morning we drove out there, got there at like 4 in the morning and then I stood in line till they gave us tickets.  We took the NBC tour before the show and during a commercial break I got ask Johnny Carson if he had evacuated his house due to the predicted tsunami (post earthquake the day before) and Johnny answered my question and I was so thrilled.  I still talk about that.  Then we went to Magic Mountain on Friday.  Disneyland on Saturday.  It was always like that.  You’d say “Hey do you want to jump out of an airplane.  We’d have to spend all day in a class but they let you jump without having to do it tandem”.  So we would.  I still miss having a schedule so simple that I could pack in twenty minutes and go.

Bonus q: would you now recommend Henry to date your (hypothetical) sister or best friend?

No.  Not because I don’t think you are a good person or think you are damaged.  The time is not right and it might not be for a while. I think from reading your blog it might seem like you are only interested in sex.  And don’t get me wrong, sex is soooooo important but I’ll tell you something you told me way back in the day: “ When you first start dating it’s all about sex because that is the one thing you have in common.  After you spend more and more time with someone other things fill up that space.  It’s not that you are having less sex, it’s that you are sharing more life”.

So, cool your jets.  Even if you met the perfect woman today she would come second to the situation with your kids and your ex.  And no one likes to be second.  But one day soon you’ll start dating and I’d suggest you date again like it was a new experience.  Do it differently that you have in the past.  Date women that are interesting to you and don’t judge them unfairly.  Don’t hold your past against them. Don’t try to make someone love you.  Love yourself.

You are a great guy.  At least the guy I remember was a great guy. Generous and funny.  And Gentle.  That might not seem like a compliment and I don’t know what was wrong with me back then.  I suppose I thought drama was important.  I’d much rather be with someone passionate but even tempered.  Gentle.  That’s how I remember you.

– -Sylvia Trench–

Guest Blog Part 1: Introducing Sylvia Trench

My Long Suffering Readers, today I have a special treat for you which is sometimes hard to come by: perspective. Thanks to the miracles of social networking I have within the last 12-months re-connected with “Sylvia Trench”, a woman I dated waaaay back in the day (approx. summer 1985 through autumn 1987). She’s been reading the blog and giving me feedback on the side: calling me out when I’ve sound overly confident and/or desperate; generally just keeping me humble.

Henry and Sylvia, June 1987. No comments on my mullet please.

I asked her the other day, “You know what would be interesting: if you wrote a guest blog for the Long Suffering Readers! Call me out on my bullshit, validate if I’m telling the truth or not…”

After some back and forth she agreed. Today’s installment is part one: originally she did not intend to publish this letter as the blog article, but more as a personal piece to me. It touched me, though, and she has graciously agreed to let me publish it.

I had given Sylvia a few questions that I thought the Long Suffering Readers might be interested to know—basically her opinion on Catherine’s complaints about me (Am I emotionally unavailable? Am I distant?). Sylvia answers those in Part 2 but in preparing she did say to me, “Good start… dig deeper…” so I posed something a bit more metaphorical: “Why is Henry Really Writing This Blog?” I found her answer insightful and hopefully you will, too.

Part 2 in a couple days, but for now, sit back and enjoy one woman’s perspective on what I was like then vs. what I’m apparently like now:


Part 1: Sylvia Trench’s Memories of Henry

Recently I scanned all the old photos I had I my house. I found an old photo album of our adventures together. They included the usual, us dressed up for some random occasion posing in front of your parents fire place like prom pictures and us snapping shots of each other at Disneyland and at Disney World. We did a lot of things together as a young couple. We both lived at home, we went to school together, and we were somehow able to get away with sleepovers. I remember you being generous. And if that sounds strange remember it’s been twenty years since we dated and in that time I found that not all men are generous.

After all those years one day Facebook did the thing that Facebook does and there you were. Friends again, if only in Cyberspace. What struck me first was your complete and total honesty about your life. You told me of the troubles you had been experiencing with your wife and wrote of your fears of an affair. This I do remember about you. You were always open and I don’t have any memories of you being sneaky. But I am me after all and being young and insecure myself I was always suspicious of everyone else. I still carry that. Maybe it’s a girl thing.

I continue to be amazed at your ability to multi-task so well. You have a full time job, travel, raise your daughters and keep them busy with activities every second you are with them. Your blogs are light hearted and it’s fun to read about your manscaping and getting to know women again. I read them and I remember you: the you I knew. I feel like we were friends, really friends which is something I can’t say about everyone I’ve dated. Which brings me to the blogs and what went wrong with you and She Who Shall Remain Nameless.

I have no experience with marriage or divorce although I have dated my share of men who have been. Let me tell you why I wouldn’t date someone who is still technically married (or, newly divorced). Even though you say you would never get back with That Woman you are still in love with her. And in some ways she is still in love with you. Over time this can change but for now—and for a little while still—you are connected to each other. The fact that you admit that this separation is a long time coming is odd to me. But I have never dated someone I didn’t have to break up with. Why, even for the kids, did you stay? Perhaps it’s selfish of me NOT to suggest you put your kids first but really is it best for kids to be raised in a home with so much anger and resentment? And what about the two of you? After the kids are grown aren’t you stuck with each other? And then what? Don’t you deserve to be happy?

You asked me to tell you why I think you are really writing this blog………..I would say you are doing what you always do. You write it down. It’s your ability to put it someplace and then walk away from it that helps you deal with it. Admittedly I did first answer that question by saying you wanted revenge. You wanted to make sure the record shows that you were not to blame, it was her fault and she cheated. That’s fair. She did and it hurt you. In the end who cares who was to blame. You deserve to be happy and so does she. If you can’t even enjoy a comic-com convention with an old friend that is a shame. You are not sneaky (but that was 20 years ago) but she was not convinced and she was insecure. Are you too blame? Not for sticking around too long. Are you to blame for perhaps expecting her to be something that she never was? Did you really see her for who she is or was it about the she you thought she should be for you? It takes two to make a marriage and it takes two to end it.

Keep writing. I read your blog, my sister reads your blog, and we discuss your blog in the break room. But realize that no one is perfect. If I was to give you one piece of advice I would say this is the way your life is now and you should think about how your life if going to be moving forward and focus on that. And be happy. The hard part is over. Walking away was the worst part and you are past that. No more heavy. Be of good cheer.



Up Next: Sylvia Trench Answers, “Was Henry Really Emotionally Unavailable?”

Why Am I Here?

So, Long Suffering Readers, I had a long interesting chat with one of first women (and admittedly one of my favorite) I’ve met since I started blogging on this website (i.e, one of the Fabulous Internet Girls). We’d had several DM chats in the past, some IM chats, as well as some really candid phone conversations (she was one of the Rare 3 who’d heard the Real Voice.) In the last couple of weeks I hadn’t heard as much from her—not as many responses , etc. When I inquired if there was anything odd going on I was informed, essentially, “Huh, you’re married… I thought I was clear, I don’t flirt with married men.” 

Hmmm…. Seems contradictory to hear that now given some of the extremely candid and forthright conversations we’ve had in the past, but we are where we are.

“Married is Married.” 

At first I was going to write this blog as a bit of a venting counterpoint to some of the issues she raised during the conversation (which is effectively: I’m still legally married, not enough time has passed since my separation, I still need to do some grieving/healing, etc.) I do have a lot of thoughts on each of these points, many of which I’ve already blogged about in the past. I can point to any of these articles if you’re a new reader.

But then the more I thought about it, the more I thought that was a bad idea for numerous reasons, not the least of which is despite the hurt/disappointment I did feel from her—at least to my point of view—new stance, just because she is feeling differently about me doesn’t make me necessarily feel differently about her.

So I will bring up one thing that did get me thinking: is this blog working to my emotional disadvantage? As I’ve now met several people through my Twitter account and blog, many of whom I’d like to get to know better, I’m realizing they have an unfiltered view in my psyche, that most guys, probably smarter guys, would not offer people they were interested in. If you are dating someone for the first time are you going to blather on about your insecurities? Talk about your failures? Talk about your manscaping? Of course not! Well, probably not.

So instead, let me try to clarify again: why am I here—here being writing this blog—and let you, my Long Suffering Readers, determine whether or not I’m an idiot for being so forthright.

Why am I Here?

I started this blog back in January because I ‘d just been told by wife “Catherine” that she could not be married to me. And while the marriage had not been good, actually getting that news was devastating. I’m not “good” with therapy. I don’t mind talking, but I want to talk to people who know me, and at the time, I just didn’t feel I could not be candid, the really raw unadulterated candid that I felt I needed to be. Some of my friends heard the raw story, but my writing helps me gel thoughts that sometimes doesn’t come together in speech. I wrote/write it anonymously as I wanted it to be completely unfiltered. I needed to do some badmouthing—both of her behavior and my own—in a way that I could never do in public setting. Many of my acquaintances still don’t know the Real Story the way you guys do.  Bottom line: when I first started writing, I did not expect ANYONE to read it. I figured some folks would stumble across as a result of weird search results, but generally speaking, I was writing for an audience of one. It was then, and mostly still is, written vent and help understand (as if understand that sort of behavior were even feasible) what I went through.

More Importantly, why are YOU here?

So one of the things I did not expect was the reaction I started receiving from readers. I’ve received a lot of very heartfelt feedback from Long Suffering Readers and it pleases me that people enjoy and or empathize with the writing. It saddens me that most of these folks have similar stories of betrayal or loss or emotional abuse, but I’m glad that it helps people in some small way.

Get to the point…

So here’s the point I’m trying to make(if there ever was  one): one of the things that my friend said to me was, “You’re trying to make an emotional connection…” and, in a way, she was right. While I originally started writing for me, in a lot of ways, I know I’m now writing for an audience—an audience I genuinely care for. After so many years of working so hard for someone’s attention and then having it cast aside it’s refreshing to find people who actually seem to genuinely care about my well being.  So ultimately I guess my point is this: this isn’t necessarily all about me anymore. I’ve invited you guys in as well, and I’m glad you’re here. I’m hoping that some of the friendships I’m developing will last years or decades! I’m not interested in spending any more time emotionally alone. I’ve done that for 3 years, and I’m done with that. I know how that story ends. It DOES NOT necessarily mean that I’m going to ask the next person I meet to marry me (certainly not, although a I have several friends that say, “Dude, don’t engage the first person you meet!” Who does that? Well, apparently they have friends that have done that..). Anyway, welcome into my life. I hope you enjoy your time here.

Epilogue

I have to be really clear: while the inspiration of this blog came from my FIG friend advising me that I needed to spend more time alone, I want to be VERY clear: none of what I’ve written should be considered a dig at her (not that you know who she is, but still, it’s important to me to clarify). She gave me a lot of advice based on her own experience and out of compassion for me. And while it didn’t end like I expected, at the very least she had my well being in mind, and that is lovely in itself, even if the psudeo-dumping does is not 😉