Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

This is not a joke. Or a bad TV show. Or an even worse movie. Nope, this is my life, up close and in person. And I'm not kidding, I live next door to my ex. Why? well, it just sort of happened.

First some background. We met when I was 18. He was 23, handsome, successful, funny, and totally in love with me. I wasn't into love or serious. He convinced me. He wrote me letters - long ones (remember before email? Sigh). He sent me flowers. Brought me gifts. Drew me cute pictures. Made me tapes (tapes kids, before CDs - remember that?!). He held me when I cried because I was afraid he'd break my heart. And he promised me he never would leave me. He chased me up and down the highway throughout college until I said, "I DO." I never slept with anyone before him. He was IT.

Fast forward oh...10 years. He drops the bomb: he doesn't love me. Never loved me. Can't stand me. Oh but we need to stay married because we have kids. I am a stay at home mom - gave up my career to raise our perfect twins (and they are perfect - almost). They were 4, and I wasn't going to be left alone. So we stayed together.

Fast forward 5 years - (are you counting? we're at year 15 of the marriage....hey I'm math challenged, too). Still doesn't love me, doesn't like me. Thinks I am selfish because I leave my shoes around the house. OK so I gave up my family and moved to his. So I gave up every career (and there were good ones) to follow his career around the world. Cook his dinners from scratch, never freeze anything, rules about toilet paper on the roll and making his breakfast lunch and dinner, leave my church and my heritage to join his, coach the kids' soccer team, coach their after school drama team, sell more girl scout cookies than the entire troup. Yep, I'm a real selfish bioch. OH and go to Law school and graduate 3rd in my class so that he can divorce me....

Fast forward 4 years. Yep 19 long, unloving years of marriage and I finally say, "You know what? I can't wait til the kids are in college. I'm done now. Buh-bye." He freaks. Says No. But, obviously, ultimately we divorce. He moves out and takes his entire 401K with him. I keep the house. It was almost a fair trade - he got more on the balance sheet but I didn't have to move, so that was ok. The kids want to split their time 50/50 so we exchange kids every week. He moves about 4 blocks away, which is perfect. We even share the dog - despite the fact she's my dog - my mother's day present. but the kids want the dog with them, so I say ok. (I am so darn selfish I tell you).

Fast forward 6 months. Oh did I forget to tell you that his parents live next door to me? Yeah, they do. And they still love me. His sister still calls me nearly every day. Heck I've been a family member for 20 years. I still have the in-laws over to dinner once a week. Help with whatever I can. (See the selfish pattern just won't end). So why doesn't he live in the house and I move out? It's complicated, but it's about assets and, quite frankly, he stopped loving me years ago, why should I move?! he wanted out, out he got. Buh-bye.

I forgot - we were fast forwarding. One sad and horrible day, his mother has an accident and, very sad, long story short, the in-laws move out suddenly to a retirement home after months of hospitals and rehab. (Yes, I visited her and made her key lime pie when she couldn't eat hard foods and helped with her exercises and put food in dad's fridge. I am so selfish). Suddenly their house is empty of people yet full of 40 years of STUFF. Mother is a master "stuff collector." What to do? HEY what if Ex moves in, sorts through the stuff, gets the house in shape for selling? Great idea. Dad, adorable man that he is, asks my permission. I tell him, "GREAT IDEA!" Solves your problem, solves the kids' problem of always being at 1 house and the "thing they can't live without" is at the other house. Perfect.

Except for one thing. My Ex HATES me. Will not speak to me. Has asked his sisters why I won't just "leave his family alone." Tells the neighbors that I "took his house and left him with nothing." (Um what about that hefty 401k??). Says I was selfish to make him "move long distance" from his parents. I didn't realize 4 blocks was long distance. Says I took the house that meant so much to him - you know, the one we talked about selling as soon as the kids graduate high school. He won't answer my emails. Won't answer when I call his cell - like the time I called from the hospital to tell him his daughter had a concussion but would be ok. Nope, didn't answer, didn't listen to the voicemail.

And that, my friends, is where this story begins....

13 comments:

myra said...

um, ok. i am hooked. i feel i have to catch up on all of your posts now. :)
myra
wemakethree.com

Karen said...

You came by my place to see my house and I came over to say hi. I am now completely intrigued by your story. I think your friends are right, there is totally a movie script in this. I will have to read more.
Good thing I have a cold diet coke beside me, I think I'll be here awhile!

Amy said...

So I too think I'm hooked. I found you while surfing some other blogs and I was intrigued and figured I had to start from the beginning. So here I am....

Kalynne Pudner said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto. I love how you're burying him under your selfishness.

Lindsay said...

Hi~!
Just found you while reading Autumn at Oak Hollow, and now I'm officially hooked. Can't wait to read more!

Punk Rock Dad said...

Hey, I found you...actually you found me and I found you back....if that even makes sense. Adding you to my "Must read" list.

Punk Rock Dad

leann said...

My sister lives diagonal to me. Her Ex lives across the street from her and next door to me. Aren't we cozy! It will be 2 years at the end of Dec. He moved in with the new neighbor who played like she was a "good friend" you know cook outs, shopping, holidays, until he wanted to play house with the her(harlot) and still wanted to be married to my sister for insurance sake. Wait it gets better. Harlot has now been absentee for 2 weeks. He admitted to my sis that he thinks that she is with her ex. Can you say "SPINGER!" BTW sis and the butthead share 2 kids & a dog. I have an idea of your pain it's being lived right before my eyes.

Fleur de Bee said...

Going backwards here...from the beginning, wait, maybe that is forwards...ah, who's counting! I have similiar situations since my divorce. Share another time!

lynn said...

OMG! I am so happy I found your blog. My husband and I are seperated with 5 children together and 17 years of marriage. he had a total breakdown when I left. (he had an affair with our friend/babysitter in Aug 09') which I could not get past. Long story short, I left moved into a house on my parents farm and today he is moving across the street in a house his parents own. we grew up together, got married young and grew apart. Now we are going to try this for the kids sake. Give me some hope it will work. Both our families live on this street and they are all pissed beyond belief that he is moving there.

West Michigan Gardener said...

I feel your pain, quite literally. I divorced my first wife after 13 very cold years.

We divorced. I got engaged to an incredibly wonderful woman. When we announced the engagement to my ex and the kids, the ex glibly informed us that she was moving in to the house next to ours.

That was 3 years ago. She's since admitted that she moved next door to try to force me out of the neighborhood. She's also told me, "I know you and your wife have been watching me, because I've been watching you." Having a stalker next door is not a great feeling. The best I can hope to do is try to sell my house and get one with a fence and gate to keep her off my front steps.

Anonymous said...

Last year I ended a 15-year relationship that had turned violent and insane. Within a month I fell into a rebound imaginary-relationship with the guy next door. I think I just ended it. (With fantasy, one-sided relationships, it can be hard to say exactly what got ended and when.) I'm getting all the break-up symptoms of grief and longing, and it makes it worse that he lives next door. Today I felt fine until I went out for coffee, and saw that he's home. I need this blog to see how a person can cope with having an ex next door.

Mae said...

I'm hooked, totally, sincerly hooked. Life has ups and downs.

I won't tell you to get over it.
You've been through alot.
Ever need help writing a book about this, drop by my blog, leave a message about it, say what the key points for the book are, I'll fill in all the little cracks and crevices.
Whatever it is, I'll write about it.

Welcome to Microsoft Office Publisher.
Haha. :)

Ramona Norwood said...

Wow. That's intense. Just found your blog today but I'm hooked-- I can't even imagine!