Category Archives: Redefining your relationship

Happy birthday

So…what do you do when it’s the ex’s birthday? Or, in my case, the STBXH’s birthday? Ignore it? Decide that celebrating his birthday is kind of like celebrating Pearl Harbor Day?

In my case I decided to send him a card. Take the high road, as it were. That was the problem.

I went to Target and headed right over to the bday cards. You know how they have those little signs at the top? For him… okay. Husband… nope. Son… nope. Friend… um, not really.KristinDavisBIG_468x698

I looked for the sign that said “Former spouses,” but I couldn’t find one. And there was certainly no sign that read, “People you don’t really want to talk to so a card would be better.”

I settled for the generic, impersonal kinds of cards you would give a co-worker (although, truth-be-told, I’m way fonder of them than I am him) or neighbor.

Then there’s the problem with the sentiment. Where’s the one that quotes Charlotte in the Sex and the City movie? Where she says to Big that she curses the day he was born? That would work.

It took me way longer to find a card this year than it ever did in the past. In the past I was always able to go with the jokey kind of cards that talked about getting lucky, not asking for directions or not finishing projects in the house (how prophetic!). Or the (ick) mushy kinds about being the light of my life, the greatest guy ever born or my bestest friend.

But for an ex? Not easy, gang.

Even the really generic ones were tough; “wishing a great person a great day,” “you deserve a wonderful year,” “make it a great celebration – you deserve it!”

The problem was that, even if I could bring myself to purchase one of those, I didn’t want it to come over as disingenuous (even though we ALL know it kind of is).

I needed one that said…

It’s your birthday and I didn’t want to let it go without notice and I can’t exactly curse the day you were born because then I wouldn’t have my wonderful children who really can’t stand you right now so I love them even more so happy birthday.

Maybe I’ll get out my calligraphy pen.

I thought about the cute little cards with pups but cute didn’t seem to do the trick here. I even thought about the ones for kids with a car on them, but that didn’t seem to work either.

What would you write to the ex? Maybe I’ll start a business making cards for times like this.

Cards that would say…

Have a great year – can’t wait to see who you’ll screw this one!

It’s your birthday – do something for you (hey! that’s your greatest skill, anyway!)

Or generic ones that say nothing like…

Happy birthday to a person

Happy birthday to my children’s father

Anyway, I still needed a card. Finally I tripped over the 99 cent section. Good start. These were pretty generic, because I guess it really sucks to pay 99 cents for a card that says “All my love to the greatest person who ever lived – isn’t it terrific that I didn’t even have to spend a buck to say that?”

I settled for one of those really plain ones with a flower drawing or something like that on the front. The sentiment was equally bland. In fact, it was so bland that I can’t even remember what it said. I’m pretty sure it was something like “have a great day.” Meh, whatever.

Now, for the signature. I kind of figured that I had to do more than just sign it. Here’s where I got to be completely honest:

No matter what happens, I will be grateful that our union produced my wonderful children.

’nuff said.

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Filed under Redefining your relationship

The ex: pondering the names

Romeo and Juliet
Image via Wikipedia

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet

I never know what to call him. My husband. The one who eventually won’t be my husband (that is, if he ever gets around to filing for divorce, but that’s a topic for different post).

Today I referred to him (in an email to a stranger who is willing to come to my house and pick up old computers that we have no use for and that my daughter keeps running into when she pulls into the garage) as my husband. Like it was something normal. I just didn’t see any reason to tell a complete stranger that, while he TECHNICALLY is my husband, he doesn’t live here and we don’t pay bills together. We don’t sleep together and we don’t eat dinner together… So I just called him my husband. ’nuff said.

But what do I call him? I sometimes refer to him as the SoonToBeXHusband (or STBXH), but that’s a little cumbersome and a lot too support-group-forum like for my taste. And I never remember the order of the letters, so I have to silently recite “soon-to-be-x-husband” in my head when I type it. Not unlike “the silverware had a fight, the knife and the spoon were right, so the fork left” when I’m setting the table. Really. Don’t you do that? Or “spring forward, fall back” for daylight savings time. Anyway…

The ex? I dunno. That conjures up visions of an overly made up waitress or something. Dangling a cigarette and wearing tight pants and 4-inch heels.

The man formerly known as my husband? Nice, but a little too wordy. And I’m not a fan of Prince.

Sometimes bloggers refer to their partners as Mr (blog name), but that would make him Mr. Coffee, and that’s the name of a kitchen appliance and it makes me think of Joe DiMaggio, which makes me think of “Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson,” which makes me think of Simon and Garfunkel. And I love Simon and Garfunkel, so I don’t want that association.

There are the obvious pejorative names, like sh**head and a**hole. But I’m not really interested in typing those words repeatedly. Or saying them. Or even thinking them when I think of him. Okay, well maybe sometimes, but not ALL the time.

I’m strongly considering FOMC, which is short for Father Of My Children. But does that imply that we weren’t married?

Which leaves me with his name, but I feel like I need something more descriptive. More descriptive, but not cumbersome and dignified (for me, the speaker).

Suggestions? What do you call your ex husband? Keep it clean, people. Help me out here – what do you call him?


Filed under Communication, Creating a new life, Redefining your relationship

Thank you

Dear soon-to-be ex-husband,

Thank you for deciding that you wanted a divorce.

Two months after you dropped the bomb, I am in a completely different place than I was then.

I’m looking forward to my life and to no longer taking care of you.

To not having to put up with your dishonesty with others and yourself.

Because I had this old-fashioned idea that marriage was a lifelong commitment, I don’t believe now that I would have ever come to this place on my own.

So, thank you.

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Filed under Evaluating a marriage, Redefining your relationship

Walking away from me, and walking away from responsibility

I’m realizing that he not only is divorcing me, but the dogs, the kids (who, thankfully are adults), and the house. He says to me that when he wakes up in the morning he just feels peace.

Why, of course he does.

Why wouldn’t he feel peace? He left me with the 50 year old house with the leaking roof, the barking dogs, the projects that he hasn’t finished, the garage full of his crap, his unfinished 1964 convertible in the driveway…

I asked him if he could stay at the house over New Year’s because I’ve been invited to go away with some friends. Now, I can’t really go away any other time since I’m a teacher and it’s hard to take time off during school. No, he says, he’s going away too, so I’M GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE OTHER ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE DOGS.

Note the use of I’m there…

Funny, I thought WE adopted those dogs and committed to them.

But, I guess commitments don’t mean much to him.

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Filed under Redefining your relationship

Together/Not together

There are the big family occasions: birthdays, holidays, life cycle events. Those, I imagine, will require both of us in attendance. I want to be mature and a grown up and be able to share those events with our children, and even with each other. I mean, we MADE those children, and we should both be there to enjoy their accomplishments.

But what about the “little” family things?

Older daughter – now a wife and homeowner – planned an apple picking date this Sunday. Off to the orchard, then back to the house for apple pie making and dinner. Dad was, well, put out when she told him that she didn’t think it would be a good idea for him to attend. “Mom won’t be comfortable,” she told him.

He was surprised.

“But I thought we were going to try to continue to do family things together,” he remarked.

Well, maybe some day.

But not now.

I mean, he’s the one who wanted to be divorced…not me. And this is being divorced is; sometimes you don’t get to be part of it all.

I thought this was what he wanted.

And then there’s Rosh Hashanah this Monday and Tuesday.

One day – in the future – I sincerely hope that we can be together for the holidays.

But not this year.

The pain is too raw, and too new. It has only been two weeks since he dropped the bomb. And I can’t face him at a family event right now. In private, or in the therapist’s office, yes, but not at a family event. For 27 years we have been a family of at least three, and the pain of facing being “not together” is too fresh.

I’m sorry. Not now.

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Filed under Redefining your relationship