By Monday evening, I was feeling human again. Every pain had been eased down to a dull roar, with the addition of the nagging cough. I was able to log on to Facebook and see the photos everyone had posted of the camping event!
I was Face Timing with my sister when the kids arrived. I told my sister I would call her right back as I saw my ex was walking to the door. I assumed he was going to give me an update on how my son did.
Well that was the start of what would be a full hour and a half long conversation.
My son hugged me and walked into the house past me. My daughter hugged me and also walked into the house past me. My ex told me that our son had been really grumpy and that he had missed taking some meds, but seemed to be back on track. Then my ex told me that he needed to tell me the rest of what had happened. It seems that our Leader brought her neighbor, who is an attractive man who has no daughters to this camp out.
I had noticed him as he is easy on the eyes and not someone I recognize from the mom's that regularly attend the meetings. I had written it off as a dad I had not met.
My ex explained that he believes that the leader, his former girl friend brought this guy to the camp out. She is most certainly allowed to do that. I guess the one evening when my ex came from his side of the lake to be a part of the evening camp fire and community, the leader and this man had been pretty touchy feely and shared space very often. This wouldn't be a big deal at all except that my ex was caught off guard and didn't know she was already dating again.
I said to my ex, "You know she denies that you two ever dated." My ex appeared confused. I explained to him that two years ago New Year's Eve when I camped with the girls and the leader at Garden of the Gods, that it had been an interesting evening. The GS Leader is a little awkward with women. She runs hot or cold and you just have to hang in there to even begin to get a clue about her. Early in the evening she loudly referenced that her 17 year old daughter was the same age as she had been when she got pregnant with her. 17 + 17 = 34. I had assumed she was my age (early to mid 40'). I had to pull out my phone to do the math, because I couldn't believe my ex, my normal old angry, grumpy, Know-it-all old man, had bagged a woman even younger than me. I just couldn't get past that and was lost a portion of the evening in my own jealousy induced fit. Then as I watched her I relaxed back into the moment and realized it doesn't matter. She is pleasant and focus's on her kids. She is as good a step-mom as I could pick for my ex.
At the end of the night, I was returning from the bathroom to the space where she and I would sleep for the night when she jumped in front of me to nervously announce that I needed to know that she and my ex weren't dating. I told her that they were. My kids had told me so. She denied it again and again. I told her it didn't matter. My kids felt their dad was dating her. They spent a great deal of time together. She met my older step son. She met my ex's mom. She could call it whatever she wanted but my only concern was how my kids felt about it and that she was a good person.
She tried to explain that I didn't understand and she is bad at picking out men. I had heard her talk poorly about her ex in vague ways, many times. She tried to explain that she doesn't date. She is only focused on her kids. I believe I told her "what ever." I walked away from that conversation feeling like she was telling me, that unlike me she doesn't date because she is solely focused on her children. I applaud that, on some levels. Life has put people in my path at the most inappropriate time and challenged me to take a risk and walk away and trust that if it is meant to be, it will be there when the timing is right.
I did not hold firm and have ended up making a huge mess of the most wonderful love of my life.
There are mother years. Years when a father/husband has to let his children be her main focus. I truly do understand this.
I let the subject drop two and a half years ago because I know how difficult it is to try and have the best of both worlds. However, I know what my children and my ex told me. If she was more comfortable playing martyr, not my life.
We had a terrible event happen at one of our Boy Scout camping trips. My ex was at the camp out and also the Scoutmaster. Her son and another boy made a bad decision. Instead of holding them accountable and moving on, several people said, her son would never do anything like what was alleged.
It still catches me off guard that adults have managed to make into their 40's without having learned that all people are human and all humans make mistakes. These two boys made a mistake, but instead of doing the right thing, it was turned into a moral affront and I got to read a small portion of an email where she alleges that my ex is making this event up because she refused to date him. I was floored that in any way would she ever need to mention that in defense of her son.
It just all struck me as extremely weird.
I told my ex that is was weird to watch him play husband/boyfriend around her house and to hear what the kids were telling me he was going out of his way to do for her. The kids and I all felt sad for him when she moved on and he was still trying to be with her. I told him that while I had initially felt the pangs of jealousy about her youth, jealousy turned very quickly to wondering what her baggage was that she would find herself in a relationship of any sort with a man old enough to be her father.
My ex didn't' like train of thought, and said she might have "daddy" issues. "Okay" I replied, thinking in my head, "MAYBE?"
While it totally sucked going to GS when they were dating or playing, it is equally sucking to watch him sit outside now, all alone.
Back to my front porch...
I guess the scene happened after I left camp. My kids both tried to stop the conversation between their dad and his ex girlfriend, as did the mom who would have been my camp site mate had I not gotten sick.
I guess there is still a great deal on anger and confusion between my ex and our GS leader.
My ex stood on my porch and detailed way too much out for me. I repeatedly told him, that I believed him and our children and he did not need to give me examples of how intimate they had been. He wouldn't be stopped. Even when I started making gagging noise to his stories of her son walking in on them doing some heavy "petting" and her shirt being wide open. I also stood firmly planted while he told me how fabulous her ass was. Best ass he has ever had in his hands.
Breathe in, breathe out. Let it go playing in my head. No need for me to expound upon the wonderful sex I have known since our divorce. Give him his moment, he did bag a woman almost 20 years his junior. All hail the great and mighty Ex!
Ummm, hurl. Not a picture my daughter or I needed painted in our minds eye. I believe when you allow your children to see you with another partner, you are in a relationship. Maybe not a traditional, long term one, but it is generally accepted that if you introduce a new partner to your family, that it is with the understanding that there is hope that this will be a regular and wonderful thing. When you have sleep overs with a person of the opposite sex while your children are home, it implies to most adults that this person matters to you. My children have only met two of the five people I have dated since the divorce. I am not a prude, but I didn't have anyone sleep over who I didn't hope would be a regular addition in our lives.
My ex agreed, but didn't seem convinced that I believed him and continued. To further explain, he added "and I certainly don't put people's junk in my mouth if I am not dating them." I looked at my daughter and then at my ex and told him this conversation had to stop. Then he told me that there were times when her older daughter would say (I assume uncomfortably) in front of them that it was sad that her mom had a better sex life than she did.
Personally, I think a mother should have a better sex life than their teenage daughters.
With bile crawling up the back of my throat, I announced again that he and I have a similar understanding of what a relationship looks like, to us.
I asked if we would be attending Girl Scouts anymore with this troop. I was told that we would as my daughter has interest in earning her Gold Award. I am not so certain how this will all play out, but I am far more interested in attending GS this week than I have been in months.
I called my sister back and rehashed the conversation with her. I love that she is strong enough to share the horrific mental images with via Face Time so I can see her process what I was telling her. Watching her face contort made my day!
Your married friends will sometimes make you feel like you chose the easy way out when you chose to get divorced. Like they are in the trenches working hard to save their marriages and you just get to give up and start anew! To any of you who have children and have gone through divorce, you know that your marriage doesn't end, it just changes.
Seven years this month, is when I told my ex that I wanted a divorce. That life seems like a dream in a far away place.
It has taken seven years of judges, mediators, court, many, many thousands of dollars, and 4 humbling unemployments (for my ex), and 2 years back alimony payments finally being Paid In Full for us to reach a point where we are able to stand on my porch for and not be mean to each other.
I mentioned to my ex that maybe next GS Family Camping over Labor Day Weekend, we should get tent sites closer to each other so we can let the kids hang out without all of the drama? :)