My Generation

OK, this subject is a touchy one, I know.

And I’m going to piss off more than a couple people, I’m sure.

But, I truly want to know…

What the hell is wrong with my generation?

I’m a Gen-X’er. 

Born in 1970 (yes, that makes me 46, I don’t lie about my age)

And it seems to me, that there is a seriously messed-up issue with my generation when it comes to relationships.

Yes, I know there are throwbacks to other generations – folks who found their “one”, married them, and have lived happily ever after.

But, most of the people I know from my generation have married, divorced, or never married at all. Maybe there was a long-term relationship in their life, marriage or otherwise, but it doesn’t last.

And, I’ve found a lot of men who just, simply, want to “hook up”. No dating, where you actually go out, with one or the other paying for both people to have an enjoyable night out. (yes, I believe in full equality of the sexes, and have paid for dates when I was the one doing the asking) No real relationship, where you are introduced to the other person’s friends, or their family, after a suitable amount of time spent getting to know one another.

Yeah, I’ve been the “dirty little secret” before, and I resented it. Whether we’d stayed together or not, not being introduced to the other people he chose to spend time with felt as though I wasn’t worth mentioning. It felt awful.

Men who thought that paying for dinner meant they’d be getting sex in return, only to find out that I’m not into prostitution, and went home, alone, never to return another phone call or text.

Women friends who can’t seem to find “Prince Charming”, perfect in every way, and they aren’t willing to even try to work through differences, compromise, communicate.

Wait…that one goes for the men too. Except for wanting “Snow White” instead of a prince. 

Instead, we seem to be the generation of Throw-Away Relationships.

Red flag? Recycle.

Quirk? Disposable.

Stone in the path? Whether small or large, personal or relationship related, the relationship is the first thing chucked out the window, so that the person struggling is left to do so alone.

Nevermind sticking by someone you care about, nevermind working through something together, which means it gets resolved quicker, oftentimes in ways you wouldn’t imagine, because 2 heads are better than 1 at solving problems.

Yes, I’m twice divorced. Does that make me a hypocrite?

In the case of the first marriage, probably. We were both young, headstrong, and he hit me. Not hard, just a light slap across the face to “prove a point” to a friend of his. But I wouldn’t put up with it. Wouldn’t talk calmly about it, and he could never believe that when he left to go to work (out of town, often overnight) I wasn’t secretly screwing his friends. (No, I wasn’t. I was totally loyal, but he could never believe it)

In the case of the 2nd marriage…No.

Our marriage slowly eroded from good and loving, to distant, resentful, and emotionless (except for anger and disdain, there was plenty of that). 

I’ve written about my 2nd divorce before, won’t do a complete blow-by-blow here. (If you really want to read about it, click here for Part 1)

So, for me, yes & no. I’ve acted the same way, in the past, but I worked really hard on changing those bad habits after my 2nd divorce. I’ve tried being the loving, compassionate, supportive girlfriend. I’ve been loyal – I call myself a Serial Monogamist.

But, what’s lacking?

Someone who is willing to fight for a relationship. Someone who is willing to work with me towards that goal. Someone who actually wants to spend thought and time on me, rather than money. Someone willing to trust that I can be that, well, not a freaking princess, that’s for damned sure…but maybe partner in crime suits the situation better.

Why are we Gen X’ers so afraid of commitment? Why do we just toss in the towel and give up at the first sign of wavering off balance?

Are we really that weak?

And now, here we sit… Middle aged, and so many of us still alone, whether willingly or not. Where is that “Happily Ever After”- Hell, at this point, I’d take “Happily in the Beginning, and Pulling Together When the Shit Hits the Fan”.

Because I do know the value of my time, my company, and Myself. I’m worth it.

If I could just find someone willing to take the time to see it.

(Well, I guess I found something to talk about today, after all)

The End of the Chapter

I got a surprise tonight from OnlySon.

The ex is dating someone.

And he went to a birthday party for one of the new girlfriend’s sons with his dad, tonight.

Kinda threw me for a loop.

Basically, because the ex was always so anti-social, and almost rabidly, anti-teenager.  I wasn’t sure that he’d date again, much less someone with 2 teenagers, and a pre-teen, all boys.

My first reaction, understandably, was a sort of numb shock. 

Of course, I had a million questions, none of which I felt comfortable asking OnlySon.  I don’t want to put him in the middle between his father and I, and I don’t want him to feel like some sort of “spy” for one side or the other. 

And of course, I had to ask at least a couple of questions.  I found out that his dad has only been seeing her for a “couple of days”, according to OS.  She has 3 boys, ages 15, 13 and 12, and she was nice to OS.

Good enough. 

Then I had a talk with EldestDaughter.  We went out tonight to pick up some baby shower invitations for her big day a couple of weeks from now, and we both had to hash out how we felt about this.  ED and the ex had a rocky relationship, especially towards the end before she moved out. 

And me?  Well, I told her that I wished him well, and wished the new girlfriend good luck.  I think she’s going to need it. 

On the way home, ED told me something, that she “didn’t want the other person to be happy after a breakup”.  She wanted them to hurt, like she did. 

Understandable.  I totally get it.  I’ve had those feelings in the past, too, but I came to some realizations tonight after talking to A, and having him ask me how I felt about the ex dating.

“Are you hurt?  Jealous, angry, upset?”

Nope.  Mostly what I feel is relief.

I know, that might sound strange.  Most breakups are painful, my divorce was painful in many ways.  Not because I wanted him back, I hadn’t really had him for a long time, as I told a friend.  The marriage had died long before we formally ended it in court.

I felt relief, because this meant that I didn’t have to worry about the ex’s feelings for me anymore.  I didn’t have to worry that he might be “stalking” me, like my first ex-husband did for a while after our divorce, until I threatened him with calling the police on him in his own hometown… with the proof of his actions clearly dug into my front lawn, and my landlord aware that it had been him doing it. 

But then, after I got off the phone with A, I started thinking again. 

Do I really wish the ex well?  Do I really want him to be happy? 


Not really. 

See, here’s the thing – I don’t want him to be happy, but I don’t want him to be unhappy, either.

I just don’t care about his feelings at all.

Because the opposite of love isn’t hate.

It’s indifference.

The same indifference I lived through while we were still legally married.

I don’t feel anything toward him… nothing at all.

And so I can close that chapter.  Finally.

And that’s a huge relief.



Diary of a Divorce – Part 3

And so we come to the last chapter of the trilogy.

A few months ago, an old friend found me on Facebook, and followed a link on there to this blog.  She was my best friend from high school, and I’m ecstatic to be reunited with her.

She also brought another person from my past, back into my life, through a series of coincidences and some sneaky-ninja Facebook tactics. 

And talking to them, reliving old memories, rehashing old stories, was wonderful.  But it also brought up a lot of thoughts and feelings, like regret, and questioning why I put up with all the things that I’d let slide over the years of my marriage.

Was I happy? 

That was the hardest question in the world to answer.

And it shouldn’t have been.

And I’m not saying that either one of these people “talked me into” getting divorced.  Far from it.  Both of them simply wanted me to be the “real me”, the one that didn’t put up with crap from anyone; the person that stood up for herself and what she believed in, no matter who was facing me.  They both wanted me to be happy, and were willing to do whatever it took, whether it was talking till the wee hours of the night, or simply offering a shoulder to lean on, to get me to a place where I could say that “Yes, I’m happy”.

And when I stated that I wasn’t happy, it really snowballed quickly.

There was no attempt to “fix” anything, because my ex wouldn’t admit that he’d ever done anything wrong.  He wasn’t willing to work on the relationship, thought it was pretty-near perfect, in his eyes.  Because he was always getting his way, basically.

And I wasn’t willing to go back to the way things were.

So it was a stand-off, and I decided to just get off the ride, altogether.

The divorce process itself, was fairly quick.  I gave quite a few concessions in the divorce agreement, simply to get out.  But I also ended up with both children, and the house.  And that was the important stuff, to me.  There’s a very lenient visitation schedule for OnlySon, which I readily agreed to, since I want my son to have his father in his life.  I know how important they are to each other, and I don’t want to stand in the way of that.  But I also know that he needs a better structure in his life, and I can give him that.  After all, it worked with the girls.

From the first meeting with my lawyer, to yesterday’s judgment from the courts, the whole process took only about 2 months, give or take a few days.  Fast, I know.  But, since we had worked out the agreement, and no one was contesting the divorce, it fairly flew right through the court system. 

And sitting here now, I’m relieved that it’s over, while being sad that I failed.  I’m happy to start this new phase of my life, but depressed that I have to start off on this, alone.  Someday, maybe there will be someone to share this with.  And I am willing to take a chance again.  I have my grandmother to thank for that willingness, and I’ll tell about her story another time.  But for right now, I’m on my own. 

I’ve cut the ties that bind.

I’ve removed the rings.

But that doesn’t mean that all the marks of this finished relationship have faded.

Some scars take time to heal.

Diary of a Divorce – Part 1

My divorce was final on the 25th.  Yesterday.

I am, once again, a single parent.

And I’m not sure quite how I feel right now.

I took a break from blogging.  Mainly, because I was feeling a little “burnt”, between the frustrations of work being hectic, school ending for the kids, graduation for a friend’s child coming up, trying to finish writing my book before my birthday-deadline, and the whole “divorce in limbo” thing, I’d had it up to my eyeballs, and couldn’t think of anything interesting, entertaining, or even semi-coherent, to say.

I’m still not completely back, but I wanted to let my friends out here in Blogsville know, that I’m breathing, I’m upright, and I’m still here.  I will be back, full-time, soon.  Just not right now.  I still have a few things I need to deal with, before I can really get back into the swing of 5-days-a-week-blogging.

And this has all happened so fast, that I’m just now starting to get a handle on how to process the things that have happened, just in the last 2 months. 

When I started realizing that I needed to be single again, to not be married, I was terrified of what was going to happen.  It was so overwhelming, and I kind of fell off the deep end, emotionally.  What that meant for my friends and family, was that they were dealing with an extraordinary amount of radical moodswings from me.  I would be manic-hyper-happy one moment, and super-depressive-moody the next.  There was also a lot of repressed, snarky anger and guilt thrown in the mix.  I never really knew, myself, when the mood-swings would strike.

I cried.  A Lot.

I vented.  A Lot.

I fell into moody depressions where all I wanted to do was curl up in a corner, somewhere, and turn my face to the wall.

There are still times, like just in the last couple of days, where I contemplated simply packing my bags, and checking out.  Running.

I question people’s motives, their actions, and their words.  I may not say it out loud, and I know, somewhere inside my head and heart, that I’m reading too much into everything, overanalyzing – but I still wonder… if maybe I’d be better off simply starting over somewhere that no one knows me.  No past.  No judgments.  No preconceived ideas about how things should be, or how I should be acting, Only future.  I’ve had people tell me that for as much as I’ve changed over the last few years, they wish I was how I used to be.  Happy, outgoing, carefree. 

I wish I could be that person.  But I’m not her. 

That person was happy, yes.  Mostly because she was so focused on the present moment, and the fun to be had, that she didn’t stop and take a look around at the consequences of her actions, most of the time.  A great deal of the time, the only person that ended up getting hurt, was her.  And she dealt, and moved on.  But, sometimes, the fallout of her “present-mindedness” hurt others.  She didn’t see it, blew right past it, on to the next thing.  She was young.  It’s over, and I don’t have many regrets from that time.  But there are a couple that linger.

That person was outgoing, definitely.  She could talk to just about anyone and didn’t worry about social class boundaries, or age boundaries.  She could talk to adults, teens, and children, all with the same candor, humor, and respect for whatever group she was in.  She was a chameleon and a social butterfly, flitting from one group to another, able to talk, at least a little, about almost any subject.  She still lives within me, and I treasure her ability to help me blend in and get along.  Her skills have been invaluable to me in my line of work, making me able to talk to lenders, realtors, and customers alike, and do so in a professional and honest manner, while still being friendly, helpful and pleasant.  Sometimes, even funny.

That person was carefree.  Well… I don’t know about that moniker, so much.  If by “Care- Free” you mean having no cares, no worries?  Well, yeah, I suppose.  Mostly, because she simply didn’t face the problems.  She ran from them.  So, yeah, she was care-free.  But not “Problem-Free”.  Those came back like a boomerang.

And even after I got married, I was pretty happy.  I can admit that.  There were a lot of good years, happy, content years.  I had a good job, a nice house, 3 wonderful children, and a man that supported me, accepted me, and was affectionate with me. 

And honestly?  I couldn’t tell you when it started to fail.  It was a slow descent, an erosion of what brought us together in the first place.  And I know that it was not all his fault.  I was in the relationship too.

But it wasn’t all my fault, either.

And when I realized that the wine was turning to vinegar, I tried to reverse the process.  But, hints weren’t enough.  Stronger measures, coming right out and bluntly telling him that I needed more, wasn’t enough. 

I’ve never thought of myself as a “high-maintenance” kind of person.  I’m pretty low-key most of the time.  But… if you don’t ever work on keeping a relationship going, much less strong, it will fail.  Every time.

And he was content to sit (literally) and watch me do all the work.

That didn’t work for me.

 (To Be Continued)