“I bet she is going to want to get back together.” I said this a few weeks before Halloween after hearing the same old “What does she want now?” from Ironman (the guy I am currently dating). He had a stunned look on his face as his calloused thumb scrolled through the text messages. I don’t think Ironman was really having any of that talk about reconciliation or getting back together. That ship had long sailed and I said it to tease him. Secretly I was terrified of the prospect and my self sabotaging ways wanted to escape and have a pretty darn good reason not to commit.
“She’s asking if we (she and him) can take the kids trick or treating together with . . . no fighting . . . and be civilized. I told her I already have plans.”
Jumping to conclusions
Ironman and his children’s mother (That’s what I call her, calling her the “ex” means he still claims ownership to that and I am not having that) haven’t been divorced as long as I have. You could say I am a veteran of being divorced. Ashamed that I would even hold that title like a ribbon to my chest. Yet I have enough of the emotional scars and the experience of a wise old sage to understand the dynamics and complexities regarding the intimacies of human relationships. OR you could say I know crazy women having been one myself now long since matured and not wanting to deal with stressful relationships that go nowhere.
I am not an expert by education, I am an expert by experience. Heck it’s why I am Dallas Single Mom and have this blog. “Yeah, I’ll bet you 100 bucks she wants to get back together” I said as I slid off my chair. “I have seen it way too many times from way too many women.” Secretly though I could say this because I had made the plea to get back together with my ex. You can see the trainwreck only when you come right on it or you have already passed it. You can never anticipate it for yourself. Yes, I admit I wanted to get back together and I begged for it. Only to further cement my resolve NOT to reconcile.
The casualties of infidelity
In my marriage I was cheated on and yet I still pleaded to get back together. Being cheated on was something that Ironman and I could relate to. Both of us casualties of trying to keep our own marriages together while the other spouse cheated (sometime repeatedly) and the shell of who we are turned into ashes as we tried to get through divorce, reconcile and then get more determined about divorcing. We were dating like newbies. Seemingly convinced that the ship has long sailed off and we had to prepare our broken lives and that of our children. When Ironman and I met, we both carried the wounds as casualties of our own little emotional battles and we just wanted to feel the sun on our faces again, the breeze to our backs and a chance to smile again. That was accomplished a lot easier than I could have imagined with Ironman but the thought still nagged me. What if she does want to get back together? What would he do? What do I do? See in those split seconds I knew I had no control over the situation and I had to let it play out. If he chose to go back, it wasn’t something I could control. That didn’t leave me content. My intuition nagged at me at the same time I trusted him. No matter the outcome he would be honest with me.
“FAT chance! I would never go back to THAT”
He smiled as he thought I was doing stand up comedy and almost wanted to choke on his doughnut. “She does not want to get back together! Somebody that wants to get back together isn’t texting the F-word every other day” he clamored as he swallowed up the glazed donut that nestled in his fingers.
Ironman began referring to the children’s mother as an un-emotional situation or event rather than a person. You really couldn’t blame him. Referring to her as THAT reminded me of those times when people recollect stories about that one drunken time in New Orleans or a car accident that happened many years ago. Months later after this little episode, Ironman and I celebrated our anniversary. We joked about how cops weren’t called, restraining orders weren’t filed and nobody had to be carried out in a drunken stupor . . . it’s obvious we got a good thing going. I shuddered at how low we set the bar for ourselves in our previous relationships and allowed such disrespectful behavior patterns to go on for so long. Never mind we had kids with the “THATS” in our lives.
While my intuition played around with the idea of him getting back together with THAT, life moved forward.
Life Moved Forward
A few weeks passed and glowing pumpkins filled the neighborhood. Not quite yet Halloween but the momentum shift of the holiday season was upon us and it meant that we both got closer to spending time with our extended families as a couple. A public declaration of sorts. It was only Halloween but Thanksgiving and Christmas were not far behind. The last vestige of what was once her place in Ironman’s life was coming to a complete close and I was replacing her. I empathized with her because a few years ago I was her. Even if my ex had cheated and treated me badly there was a sense of identity I had in his life. So it took me by surprise when the actual phone call came in. ” Who the f—- is Dallas Single Mom?” (Ok she said my name not the blog name). He jumped up with the phone and quickly went to my porch so my littles wouldn’t hear the profanities on the phone. I was across the living room and I heard it so I hurried my children to another room.
I am not sure what we were running from since it was my house and it was just a person on the phone. We acted like as if tornado sirens had gone off and that we should all go hide in a closet. As quickly as he went out he swooped back in and said, “Nothing to fear. She is having a meltdown. In fact she is interrogating my kids right now about you. It’s a good thing we took things slowly.” At this point we are moving slow when it comes to his kids. I don’t want them to feel rushed and to see me as a friend and not as the girlfriend. Taking it slow with the kids was appropriate. I wondered if my kids should be hearing about this kind of talk about meltdowns but it cemented my belief about her wanting to get back together. I didn’t bring it up or breathe life into it but the eventuality of her wanting to reconcile took Ironman by surprise. Not me. This pattern that I have seen in so many other women was something I expected. I felt bad for the kids, because it didn’t matter what they said, she was going to believe what she wanted especially when her older child said, “Why do you care mom? You guys are divorced.”
I am about to take off my earrings
It’s called desperation. The flip flop in emotions. These emotional outbursts and triggers are meant to cause the other person to react without appropriately reflecting on your own personal state of mind. I figured she was probably trying to get me to react as well. The kind of reaction that would have me taking off my earrings and calling her to the playground after school. Maybe she wanted me to dump him so he could be vulnerable enough to want to go back to THAT. I had mentally prepared myself for her crazy a long time ago and for the first “Who the f— is so and so” text or call. It took a lot of my strength as well as affirmation to stay. Some women could easily have gotten scared and said “I am not putting up with this s—.” I had faith in Ironman that he would do the right thing. If he wanted to go back to crazy, I wish him well. Deep down I knew he wasn’t going to go back. We were already in love. I recall telling him I loved him and that was my gift for which he could do with what he pleased.
I couldn’t own how he received it, I only had control and power over giving it.
No force on this planet, not even THAT could take that gift away. I became increasingly convinced and decidedly prepared for the inevitable “let’s get back together” conversation. Except it wasn’t one my past relationships calling, it was Ironman’s first foray into it.
I want another chance!
Thursdays are “Our Days.” On those days Ironman spends the day with my children and I as his children go to their moms. Thursdays always mean something special to both Ironman and I. In a week filled with our responsibilities we get a few hours together to do whatever we want – dinner, watch a movie, etc. Thursdays are the best intro to a weekend full of home repair, soccer games, errands and more. If text messages could talk, this particular one sent to Ironman wreaked of a nasty school principal that smoked too much barking out orders in that lung cancer rasp asking Ironman to come to the principal’s office. “I need to talk to you” she texted to his phone. Verbally he told me “What does she want now! My Thursday was going great thinking of you and then she texts me and tries to ruin my day.” Like a piano player tapping on black and white keys he texted back rapidly, “What do you want? I have plans so we can talk another day.” She didn’t respond back. We went on with our day ecstatic about our plans that evening. As per the usual routine he went to drop off the kids to her parent’s house where she now lived after their divorce. He was happy to avoid her since she was putting herself through college and he knew she was in class that night. Strangely enough as he drove up he saw her sitting on the step waiting for him. A feeling of disgust swept into his face and he breathed an air of exhaustion. Her face was not amused, devoid of caked on makeup with cheeks hanging like a hound dog. The flashback of that school principal persona came flooding to his brain. Like a gazelle he tried to quickly shuffle the kids off and escape from the paw of the lioness on hunt. BUT . . . he was too late, the lioness caught a hold of his back leg.
He was trapped
“I need to talk to you!” she yelled as she started walking forward like a woman on a mission with her running shorts wanting to roll up on her never tanned legs and her tee shirt that said “Don’t be jealous just because I look this good in my forties.” Honestly it was hard for him to keep a straight face to what she had to say wearing a tee shirt like that. He tried to scamper off without being too obvious but she caught up to him. He was quite surprised at her agility considering she was balancing a cigarette in one hand perfectly without getting ash on herself. Knowing he was trapped he used his brain and mouth to try to defend himself. “What do you want, I have plans and I need to go.” he said. He had to raise his voice to make sure she heard as he made it to the car door hoping to slam it shut with him inside.
He didn’t make it. He was trapped as she managed to make it between him and the car. He was amused at how fast she moved considering she never ran a day in her life. “I want to know if you are seeing someone.” We all know what it means when the ex asks that question. As much as most people want to fool themselves into thinking they are being innocent, they are not.
She asked as her voice cracked a bit and she shuffled her feet. Ironman was surprised that she wasn’t swearing or telling him to fuck off. In answering her he said nothing. He said “Look I have my own life and I am happy with it now. My love life is none of your business.” She grabbed his arm and he pulled away and she said shiftingly “Well I wanted to know . . . I was wondering . . . if we could try again?” muttering a little to herself on the verge of tears. Ironman felt sorry for her. Heck after hearing this story I feel sorry for her. As much as he felt sorry for her he wasn’t going to return to THAT for pity reasons but he also wanted to preserve her feelings and whatever dignity she had left.
“Look you are the mother of my children and I will always have love for you but our time together is done. I am not putting myself through what you put me through.” Then the tears began to fall- not from him but from her. It was those ugly tears. The ones where snot backs up in your nose and the crier is heaving and losing air. “But I will change!” she yelled. “Yeah you said that the other 5 times (she cheated)” Ironman reminded her. Then he left her there wanting to escape. Once again the gazelle is able to escape from the lioness and live another day. His mind was all on me to let me know that I was right. I think it bothered him that the kids had to see that spectacle from the window of Grandma’s house. Seeing mom cry and wondering what dad said to her to make her cry. When he came over that night the first thing he said was “You were right!” I looked at him with calm and a certain knowing air and said “Oh about her wanting to get back together? When am I wrong?” as I pondered the moment. I wanted to be wrong so badly but I just knew. We didn’t need to say anything to each other the rest of the night. He had made his choice . . . he was with me.