I haven’t had a conversation with my ex wife in over a year, barring one short exchange on what would have been our second wedding anniversary last August.
Cutting off contact was definitely the way to go for me. It’s the way I’ve always had to do things to heal. Talking with exes has always ripped the scab off my wounds, exposing the tender pink flesh underneath.
But, of course, every once in a while, I get curious. I think that maybe I would like to check in on her life.
I’ve seen dozens of think pieces, of Facebook posts from friends and strangers, telling me how I should feel about myself and my outlook on this year. I should feel lucky, I should take a good hard look at myself and realize that it’s all my damn fault that I’m not happy (forget about the fact that we have no control over some very serious shit that can happen like death and poverty and mental illness and abuse and it’s a very victim-blaming way to think about it to tell us we can just snap out of it.)
Personally, I’ll admit that 2015 was the bigger dumpster fire for me. That was when my depression had gotten its worst ever, and shit hit the fan with my marriage. 2016 has been a year of growth and rebuilding my life.
But for this country, 2016 has thrust me into a huge amount of worry. But that’s out of my control in many ways.
So what are my take-aways for 2016? What have I learned? How have I changed?
Note: This post gets pretty quote-heavy, but bear with me!
The word “soulmate” is tossed around a lot.
It means different things for different people. Some think that there is one person out there in the world that they are destined to be with, and that is their soulmate. They will be the most perfectly compatible and complimentary couple in all ways.
I never quite subscribed to that philosophy. People are so unique, there are always going to be aspects that aren’t perfect.
And, after going through a divorce, perhaps I’ve become a bit jaded, in that nothing is as it seems.
I wanted to watch comedian Aziz Ansari’s Netflix original show Master of None when it first came out. My friends were all raving about it, all my feminist news sites I follow were praising it for its “woke-ness,” and I was in the mood for a good new show.
But it came out at the beginning of November last year, a month and a half after I moved out of my Chicago apartment, leaving behind (not by my choice) my marriage and soon to be ex wife.
And, from what I had read about it, the show talked a lot about relationships and marriage.
And, at this point, seeing even my Facebook friends post anything remotely regarding their relationships was like stabbing a knife between my ribs.
So I decided that, perhaps, it would be wise for my mental health to wait a while.
Months passed, raw wounds scabbed over, and I began to move on.
It has now been a full year since the downward spiral of my marriage, and, dammit, it was time to give the show a watch.
I’ll couch this post in several warnings/qualifiers:
In this post, I’m going to discuss my experiences and observations regarding dating men and women. I’m going to limit it to cisgender (a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex) partners. Experiences with my transgender partner are unique and outside the general scope of this post. (I’ve spoken with my ex and he’s given me permission to write about our relationship more in depth at some point. Stay tuned for that!)
Furthermore, since I only have experience with dating one woman (and marrying her and subsequently divorcing) my experience may be a bit limited in that. Though I have the experiences of friends to corroborate my stories and feelings.
So really what I’m saying is I’m just gonna tell you about how I feel. Which is what I always do here so why would now be any different?
Get ready for a ping-pong match of compare and contrast stream-of-consciousness wordvomit on this general subject. I make no guarantees where this will end up!