Thursday, May 31, 2012


I am angry.

It seems I can't get the ex out of my life, quite yet.

Mufasa. He licked himself raw, due to stress from the divorce. He's better now.
Xena, holding my foot.
It's true we still are connected by our two surviving furry children. We do share custody of the dog, Mufasa, and the ex is entitled to one weekend a month with Mufasa, but I always have the cat, Xena. And that makes me angry, at times. She can be just as demanding for attention as the dog and seems to pick the most inopportune time to demand it, like when I'm writing, reading or grading papers. Yes, I know that is part of a cat's charm, but she has never been like this. She is changing and I'm not used to it. Could it be old age? She's fifteen. Her condition? She has hyperthyroidism and arthritis and therefore all the difficulties that go along with them; diarrhea, excessive thirst, pain. Mufasa is also somewhat demanding at times. He's a little neurotic, so he frightens easily and therefore wants to be comforted. And he's spoiled. Okay, so that's our fault. We weren't ready to be dog dads when we got the first one, Simba, may he rest in peace. (I miss him, terribly.) So, we hired a trainer to help us, and thought we were better prepared for the second one. After all, one's good, so two are better, right? Not necessarily. He's a sweetheart, but not as well-trained as I would like him to be. The tactics we learned with the first one didn't quite work with this one because he is very stubborn. He is also aging, he'll be nine next month and also is not well. He has hypothyroidism which makes his fur fall out and in places he's showing bare skin, so he doesn't have his typical Pomeranian coat.  He is also prone to colitis, so he also has occasional diarrhea. Both animals are somewhat long-haired and have diarrhea issues. And I am alone to take care of them.

And that makes me angry.
Our cake

I am constantly reminded of my connection and past with the ex. Because I am living in what was our house. There are other reminders as well. Our 'illegal' anniversary is May 29. It was our first real date. May 29, 1995. Our 'legal' anniversary was October 18, 2008 when we were legally married. And it seems something happens on May 29 to remind me of the past. Last year he sent me a text, ON THAT DAY, merely to ask how the dogs were. (Both were alive a year ago.) Coincidence? I think not. This year, his driver's license renewal arrived ON THAT DAY. Okay, so that was a coincidence.  AND a well-meaning friend emailed me to say, "I'm thinking of you today. Look at how far you've come in a year." Huh? Why remind me? That wasn't a coincidence. Since I've moved on, please don't drag me backwards.

And all that makes me angry.

I have belabored my financial situation here ad nauseum, so I won't visit it again. While there is never a good time to end a marriage, I am angry for my ex leaving me at this time with the economy in this situation. I realize it won't/can't last forever and my gut feeling is will be better off financially, if not emotionally and psychologically, in the long run without him. But that doesn't change the fact I can't live the single life I would like. Plus, there are repairs and upgrades I would like to make on the house, but can't.

And that makes me angry.

In the almost two years since the ex left, I have met one other man with whom I felt I could have a meaningful relationship. Maybe it was too soon for me to consider something so serious, and the Universe sent him just to show me I am still capable of falling in love with the right man. Maybe he wasn't the right man, exactly. But, I felt he was very close to what I want and need in a husband. As I've posted before, I now have my gold standard. 

But, that doesn't make me angry.

What hurts the most is the number of what I perceived were signals I thought he was sending me. When we met, and it will be a year in June, it was under the auspices of being friends.  When I told him I loved him, he said I had made it very clear I was not looking for a relationship and we could never be anything more than friends. I said I was looking for friends and that I had fallen in love with a friend before.  Whether he was deliberately sending me signals or unaware that he was at all is irrelevant. What is relevant is that there was some miscommunication and something I perceived that could have been deep and meaningful came crashing down. So, we parted ways based on, in my opinion, some misunderstandings.

And that makes me angry.

And afraid of dating again.

At least for now.

Until the anger subsides.

And it will.

In time.

All the anger will. The anger with the ex is much less than what it was at first, but I recognize it's still there, just covered up with a thin layer of compost. Maybe the anger with him is mostly tied up with the economy and therefore, my financial situation. And in having to take care of the 'children' alone. My anger with the other man is tied up with my fear of being hurt again and I am just now realizing it's there, yet directed nowhere and to no one in particular.

They say recognizing the problem is the first step in recovery.


  1. Hi Jeff,

    Lots to possibly comment on, but I'll stick to the "pet peeves". When I finally had the sense to end things with my ex eight years ago, I was firm about the fact that the two dogs would be going with me. In fact, I'd known for a long time that the relationship was volatile and I'd always insisted on paying all the costs for raising the dogs.

    I am fortunate that he did not constest my wishes. He knew the dogs bonded more with me and that I had more patience for dealing with their eccentricities along with the elder dog's long list of special needs.

    The dog is the only reason for any continued contact with my ex. (The elder one died a year ago and, yes, I too miss him terribly.) My ex is welcome to see Hoover anytime, but rarely asks. (Yes, his "how's the dog" texts come at suspect times as well.) Most times I drop off and pick up the dog at his parents' place. They're connected to Hoover more than my ex is.

    While Lincoln also required intensive care, his last year was particularly taxing on me, emotionally and financially. I regularly wondered if my need to love the little guy was causing me to selfishly prolong his life, but I know Lincs cherished every moment as did I.

    Hardship? Oh, yes. I wish someone else could have taken some of the middle of the night shifts when I'd have to let the dog out once, sometimes twice. I slogged through a challenging new job with acute sleep deprivation. I didn't travel except for a two-day trip to L.A. in which I spent four days driving just because the dogs had to be with me as Lincoln became more fragile.

    I had no one who would take care of Lincoln. I cut dates short. I needed to check up on the dogs.

    You may have encountered a right guy, wrong time scenario, but I never felt that my dogs were the reason for my prolonged single status.

    Admittedly, there were times when I desperately needed a break, when I felt I couldn't handle all the vomit and the bathroom surprises. But now Lincoln is gone and I would give anything and everything to have him for just five more minutes.

    Hoover remains an expensive buddy--he goes for doggy daycare while I'm at work--but even when he gets too demanding for attention, I gaze at him and find myself laughing. Now if only I could train him to take up less bed space!

    Through all the challenges, love your pets for as long as you can. Sometimes I wonder how much cats give back, but maybe you just have to look a little harder to find it.

    Good luck with it all and do find moments when you can take care of yourself. All the best!

    1. Thank you so much for a detailed comment. I wish you continued luck with Hoover, I know how much he touches your heart, and he is fortunate to have you as a guardian. I don't feel that my dog and cat have prolonged my single status, my finances have. My expenses take up nearly every cent of my paycheck. I'd love for Mufasa to have day care, but it's not in my budget. Cats can give back, I had two others before, who were the most loving cats I had ever had. I miss them both terribly as well.

      I do try and find time to take care of myself when possible, I go for photo shoots, write, or just sit in Starbucks for a while. I hope you do, as well. Take care of yourself, not just sit in a Starbucks. And soon, I will have summer break!!

      Take care, and best wishes.