The tooth (and truth) hurts

My father has been having some dental issues lately and had to have a tooth pulled. We were talking about it the last time I saw him and I was empathizing with him, as I have had dental woes of my own. He then casually asked me if I had my wisdom teeth removed. I told him that I did have all four removed when I was a teenager, to which he responded, “I don’t remember that at all.” I was SHOCKED because although I do jot remember a lot from my childhood, it is one of my most vivid memories.

Let me take you back and set the scene…I was probably around 16 and it was over the summer. My dentist recommended I get all four wisdom teeth removed, as they were all impacted. When an oral surgeon performs that surgery, you have to be put under anesthesia. I was very nervous. I had never had any kind of surgery or anesthesia before. I don’t remember anything from the actual surgery (although my mom tells a funny story about how in a panic I thought the surgeon removed my tongue when I woke up and kept touching it to see if it was still there).

What I do remember was how uncomfortable I was afterwards. I had stitches in four parts of my mouth, which was also packed with cotton. I had to take both antibiotics and codeine. When I got home, all I wanted to do was go to bed. My father, however, had different plans. He was incredibly drunk and a few hours later he began arguing with my mother. He told her, my sister, and me that we had to leave the house and forced us out of the front door, along with our dog. At that point the combination of anesthesia, painkillers and anxiety kicked in and I spent the next half hour vomiting into our front bushes. In case you ever wondered (although I doubt you have), throwing up with a mouth full of bloody cotton is absolutely disgusting.

Eventually, he must have allowed us to come back into the house, because I don’t really remember much else from that day or night. The bushes part is my most vivid memory.

Back to present day…I spent the whole rest of the night thinking about what my father said. I truly do believe that he honestly did not remember that night. It made me wonder how many other incidents that I remember, many of which scarred my childhood, he simply does not even remember.

For the past 30 years, there’s only been two times when my father was sober. One time was after he had a stroke and did not drink from October of 2013 to October of 2015 and the other time has been since December of 2019. During the first span, I remember having a conversation with him and mentioning a few of the things that he had done while he was drunk. It was clear that he was appalled and did not even believe that he was capable of doing those things. And I really didn’t even tell him any of the truly terrible things he did.

The immature part of me wants to stomp my foot and say that it’s not fair. If I have to live with all of these bad memories, he should be riddled with guilt and tormented by them also. Another part of me feels slightly comforted by the fact that because he does not remember doing these things, it was not really my dad doing them, rather it was this drunk monster that took over his body.

My mouth has long since healed and the memory of that experience has faded. Although I have to admit it did hurt a little to have him admit that he didn’t remember that day- added a little insult to injury.

Holiday Spirits <—-pun intended

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I have so many different things to write about, I do not know where to begin.  One of the topics, I am not ready to delve into, so for now I will stick to the one I know best: dealing with alcoholics.  So, here is a special holiday edition of Thanksgiving updates on the three drunks in my life, who coincidentally ALL drink vodka…

  1. The ex-boyfriend. Thanksgiving was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I had one 45 minute breakdown.  I know it is not healthy, but I would occasionally “unblock” my ex-boyfriend’s Instagram page to see if he was okay.  It felt like the only last tiny connection I had to him.  When I went to check it on Thanksgiving, I realize that he made his page private.  I was already upset because this was always ‘our” holiday and it was the first one without him, but I felt like him doing that was unexpected.  Maybe he knew I was checking on him.  Maybe he met someone.  Maybe he wants privacy.  I feel so far away from him now.  In nine years, this is the longest I have gone without seeing or speaking to him.  But, I suppose that is what happens in a break up.  And I have to remind myself that I was the one who said I could not be in contact with him anymore.  I don’t know how to ever stop worrying if he is alright, but I know there is nothing I can do if he is not.
  2. The father. My dad was good on Thanksgiving, very well-behaved.  I actually took a selfie with him and at one point leaned up against him on the couch.  We took family pictures.  It was nice.  Friday, he was terrible…leaving mean voicemails and sending shitty text messages.  Saturday, my sister and I had already agreed to go to my parent’s house to help them with some things and he was totally fine again.  It is was like a sober-drunk-sober sandwich over the course of three days.  He is truly a Jekyll and Hyde. 
  3. The friend’s boyfriend. My good friend, practically my sister, is in a terrible and abusive relationship with an alcoholic.  She is 18 weeks pregnant and he just got his third DWI over the previous weekend.  I felt so badly for her- they were supposed to do the gender reveal for the baby on Thanksgiving.  But, I also do not understand why she stays with him.  I try not to think about it too much, because after 30+ years, I still do not understand why my mother has never left my dad.  Today, my friend’s boyfriend put his hands around her neck and pushed her against a wall.  He threatened her and then pushed her outside into the snow, refusing to let her back in.  My sister (her best friend) called her brother and he ran over to the apartment.  My friend’s boyfriend then assaulted him, was arrested and the brother is pressing charges, although my friend still will not.  I realized while all of this was going on, I was feeling such anxiety.  It is hard for me to be a good friend to her and support her while separating my own experiences and it brings back a lot of my own traumatic memories.  She is safe now and that is all that matters in the moment.

I am so thankful that I do not live with an alcoholic anymore.  My house is so calm and peaceful.  I feel such a sense of independence and freedom.  However, I also know that had my ex not gotten so sick and also cheated, I may not have ever left him.  That is a hard pill to swallow.  So, it makes me less judgmental of other women going through this.  I got an “out” and I took it and for that, I am so grateful.  I may not have shown strength throughout the bad parts of our relationship and I know I should have ended things with him years ago, but at least I put myself first when I got the chance.

Holidays can be so stressful and sad and sentimental.  I am trying to be positive, but I also know I need to allow myself to experience my emotions.  I have been through so much and I do not feel healed, but I know that I am in a much better place than I was a year ago, so if there is any silver lining, it is that.  But I am really tired of alcoholics…

Time flies…

When my sister was pregnant, so many people gave her the advice to enjoy every minute of the experience of motherhood. She heard the quote over and over, “the days are long, but the days are short.” Even being an aunt, I can see the truth behind this- in the blink of an eye, my niece is already one!

I can apply this to so many other parts of my life, too. Teaching, for one. This is the end of my 18th year being a teacher and it is hard to believe it! It seems like yesterday that I was finishing up my very first year. There are SO many days that feel endless, especially ones spent reading a novel with five classes filled with 28 teenagers, yet at the end of the year it always feels like it went so quickly. Here we are in June already- another graduation, another summer…

When I was a teenager myself I used to wish I was 30. In my mind, being a real grown up would mean having the ability to make my own choices. I would lie in bed at night listening to my parents argue and fantasize about having my own (very quiet) house and being “old”. And now I am almost 40…which is hard to wrap my head around. Of course the irony is that young people want to be older and older people miss being young.

When I was getting divorced, I lived minute my minute. The pain I felt seemed unending. I never thought I would get through it. Yet now, so many years later, it is like a distant memory. I guess time heals all wounds?

I already miss my niece being a little baby, but it is fun seeing her turn into a funny, happy (and sometimes stubborn!) toddler. I see her almost every day and marvel at all of the new things she learns. I wish it wouldn’t go so fast, but I remind myself it is better than it not happening at all!

Follow the Leader

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Since I was a young girl, I have always been a follower.  I moved across the country when I was in 6th grade.  Middle school is notoriously difficult, so add being the “new girl” on top of that…not fun.  Then throw into the mix that this is also when my father really started drinking heavily.  My new best friend that I met in my new school had a VERY strong personality and naturally took the lead.  I was happy to stay in her shadow because she was popular and by association, I became popular too.  One time when we were in 7th grade, she got mad at me about something and because she wasn’t talking to me, neither did anyone else (she was quite the little queen bee!).  I was completely ostracized at school.  For the duration of that fight, I was sick…like physically ill- not eating, crying, etc.  I remember staying home from school several days in a row and sleeping in my mom’s bed, as she worriedly questioned me about what was going on at school.  The next week, when my friend decided she wasn’t mad at me anymore and things went back to normal, I had an instantaneous and complete recovery.

I remained a “follower” for most of my adolescence and into my adult years.  Presently, in my late 30s, I still have these tendencies.  At the high school where I teach, I am a co-adviser of a club with another teacher, who happens to also be my closest friend.  The other day we were selling tickets to an event and reached our minimum goal.  I asked her if she wanted to add on an additional day and she said no.  So, when the students asked me about it, I told them no, much to their confusion and disappointment.  It was only when I was talking to my sister and she asked me why we couldn’t keep selling tickets (the more the merrier, right?) and I told her I wanted to, but my friend said no.  My sister and I had a whole conversation about it and it really made me think about how I constantly defer to other people.  Even though I thought having another day was a good idea, I ASKED her for her permission and then ACCEPTED her saying no, even though we are supposed to be equals.  I told my sister that I think a big reason why I always defer to other people is that I am afraid of them getting angry with me.  In fact, THIS is the root of the problem…I used to bend over backwards to make my exhusband happy because I lived in fear of making him mad. The idea of someone being mad at me makes me so upset and anxious that I regress into that 12 year old girl hiding in my mom’s bed.

The irony is that when I was chatting on the phone a day or so later with my friend, I mentioned I thought it might be a good idea to add another day to ticket sales and she immediately said, “Ok! Let’s do it then”.  All my worrying, all my biting my tongue, all my anxiety usually turns out to be for naught.  If I had just been honest and said this from the beginning, I could have avoided a lot of inner turmoil.  In a lot of ways, I am my own worst enemy when it comes to this and I know I need to have more confidence in myself and my decisions.  I need to remind myself that I am not the same person I was when I was a teenager, but that I can use those painful memories to realize when I am regressing into that same behavior.

 

A child of marriage

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Next month it will be two years that my dad has been sober. TWO. YEARS.  I still can’t believe it.  It’s probably the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me!  I would have never imagined him not drinking for a weekend, let alone TWO YEARS.  I read an article today about being a child of divorce and the effects it has.  I have never been able to relate to that because my mother stayed with my father throughout my childhood.  They have now been married over 40 years…I guess she took the “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health vows” very seriously.  It has certainly not been a romantic fairy tale at all.  My mother was a battered wife, for lack of a better term.  Why she stayed, I will never understand, because none of us ever expected him to stop drinking.  I don’t think she ever saw the light at the end of the tunnel and I think she stayed for lots of reasons- fear, security, love?, fear, dependency, money, fear.  I used to pray that my mother would leave and take us out of that abusive family structure.  My little sister would tell my mom she wanted her to divorce my dad as her Christmas present (so sad).  But, my mom stayed.  Through good times (rare) and bad (often).  I am many things that define who I am, but I am not a child of divorce.

And now I wonder…if my mom had left my dad, would I have any relationship with him at all?  Would he even be alive?  I think if she had left when I was a teenager, I would have just cut him out of my life entirely.  I know it is a little cheesy to believe “everything happens for a reason”, but in this case, it kind of does.  My mom never left my dad and I have been forced to figure out how to have some kind of a relationship with him for all of my adult life (thanks, therapy!) and now he is sober and “normal” and we do have a relationship- a pretty decent one, too.  I called my dad today, just to say hi and talk.  If you would have told me that I would have done that two years ago, I would have fallen on the floor laughing, because two years ago I would have had an inbox full of nasty voicemails from him on my phone.  Two years ago, I still had a separate email address dedicated for him because he would send multiple daily harassing emails…now I email him pictures of my dog and cat sleeping together on the dog bed, just because it’s cute.  Two years ago, I had him blocked on all social media…just a couple days ago, I considered friending him on Facebook (still a little hesitant on that one lol).  It is just weird how things can change so abruptly and completely.  I still will never understand why my mother didn’t leave when things were at their worst.  Maybe she was weak, maybe she was scared, maybe there were things that happened between my parents that I don’t even know about.  Perhaps being a child of a divorce would have spared me many years of pain and abuse and fear and anxiety, but perhaps it would have also robbed me out of having a second chance with my dad.

And he probably doesn’t deserve this second chance at all…but I do.

Memories…

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Now that my father has been sober for over a year and a half, sometimes I struggle with writing this blog.  I started this in order to deal with the things that my dad currently did…the nasty emails, the horrible voicemails, the dreaded family holidays.  I tapped into memories occasionally, but so much was still happening when I started writing this that I very much lived in (and had to deal with) the present.  I find that now I have a tendency to think about and reflect on the past more often.  Doing so has brought up events that I have not thought about in many years.  There have been times when my sister and I talk about things that my father did when we were growing up and they just feel unreal…like hearing incredible stories from someone else’s life.  It is almost like having to still deal with him protected me from having to remember the past and now that he isn’t actively doing anything all those memories are flooding back.

My dad was such a belligerent drunk.  He was scary and threatening and violent and intimidating.  He bullied and harassed and screamed and threw things.  But when I think back to my childhood and teenage years, what I think about mostly is the psychological abuse he inflicted on us.  He did such bizarre and strange things. He recorded phone conversations…I thought I was so cool to have my own phone number and phone in my bedroom as a teenager, until I realize that he had an extension of it also installed in his office, where he would listen to my calls.  I don’t remember ever getting a piece of mail that was unopened.  I have almost an obsessive need to check my mail now as an adult…like I have to get to it before someone else does.  He followed my mother, sister and me.  I remember coming out of school as a senior in high school and finding a note on my car that I was “parked crooked”.  You know that song…”it always feeeeeels like somebody’s watching meeeee”…yea, that was my life.  I told my boyfriend the other day how I had gotten into an argument with my dad and then stomped away, like a 16 year old girl will do, and locked myself in my bathroom to take a shower only to have my father kick down the door.  There was just never any privacy.  If we slammed our bedroom doors, he would take the doors off the hinges.  If he was especially angry at night, he would remove the spark plugs from my car so I couldn’t leave for school in the morning.  Even when he wasn’t home, it was like I was on constant high alert.  I dreaded the sound of the garage door opening announcing he was home from work- I would get a pit in my stomach knowing he was home.  Any semblance of peace in the house was gone as soon as he walked in.  And on the days he was “normal” and didn’t drink, it was almost even worse, because I never knew what to expect.  At least when he was drunk, I knew what was going to happen.

One of my most vivid memories was my mother, sister and I going to Costco on a weekend when I was about 17.  My dad seemed fine when we left.  When we came out of the store a couple hours later, my father was parked in his carnext to my mom’s car in the parking lot.  At that time, Costco was almost an hour away.  It was like he couldn’t stand to not be involved in whatever we were doing, or he didn’t believe that we were where we said we were.  Obviously he was drunk, so he could not drive his car home.  My mother initially asked me to drive him home.  I had my license but there was no way I was driving alone with him for an hour.  Eventually, she agreed to drive him home in his car and I would drive myself and my sister home in her car.  I started to drive away and came to a red light to exit the parking lot.  Unbeknownst to me, my father ran after the car and completely scared the hell out of my by opening the driver’s side door and pulling me out of the car.  I screamed for my sister, who was 13 at the time, to get out of the car and quickly tried to open the back door to get my purse.  My dad jumped in the driver’s seat and gunned the engine with me still leaning into the car.  He then proceeded to pull out of the parking lot with the back door open and my frightened sister still in the passenger seat.  I screamed and yelled and my mom tried to chase them on foot.  Luckily, for some reason, my dad stopped after driving just a few feet and I was able to get back in the driver’s seat.  I remember just leaving and not even caring what happened with my parents; I just wanted to protect my sister and get us out of there.  I drove directly to my boyfriend’s house so we didn’t have to go home for a few hours.  The weirdest part about this memory is I vividly remember seeing a police officer’s car in the parking lot and kept wondering why he didn’t help us.  I even called my sister to ask her about this and she remembered it exactly the same (and mentioned it was one of her most vivid memories).

That is a more extreme depiction of what we dealt with growing up, but I have so many stories like that.  It’s weird how the mind works- I had not thought about that in years, but memories like that keep coming back to me at random times.  It is like now that my mind isn’t being violated by a constant barrage of daily crap from my dad it finally has a chance to recollect these old events.  I’m not entirely certain that this is a good thing at all, but sometimes when I tell someone a story like this and they are incredulous about it, it makes me proud that my sister and I survived all that craziness and became the people we are today.

Father Flashback

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I have been having a really hard time lately.  My father had a hip replacement two weeks ago.  After the operation, he was very confused for several days.  The doctors assured us that it was an effect of the anesthesia.  My mom insisted my sister and I should not come because the hospital was an hour away.  For the first week, he had no idea where he was most of the time (he thought he was at Taco Bell, the airport, home, etc).  What was even worse was that he was mean.  He yelled and screamed at my mother when she would visit daily.  He was a very difficult patient- he kept trying to get up and fell once and pulled all of his various tubes out.  Towards the end of the week, he was hostile and tried to hit a female nurse.  The hospital had to call security and sedate him.  Throughout the week, I was very concerned about his behavior because he has not really acted like that since his drinking days.  I was worried about the stress it was taking on my mom.  Finally by the first weekend, he seemed to be more “normal” (we loosely use that word in my family).  He knew where he was and seemed to have calmed down a bit, although he was giving her a hard time about wanting to get cigarettes (he was on a nebulizer in the hospital and has sleep apnea so she refused to bring him any).

My sister and I decided to go visit him after he was moved to a physical rehabilitation center closer to where we live.  My mom had been there earlier in the day and said he was still cranky and difficult, but she felt it might do him good to see us.  My sister and I walked into his room and he instantly started screaming at us.  He told us if we didn’t have cigarettes that we should just leave.  He looked like a madman- he was screaming through gritted teeth and his eyes looked crazy.  He yelled that we are “fucking liars” and said not to come back until we had cigarettes.  I was literally shaking, but I asked him calmly whether he would rather have his daughters there visiting him or cigarettes…let’s just say he really wanted cigarettes.

We were literally there for like six minutes.  I started shaking and crying as soon as we walked back into the hall.  I was so shocked and startled.  I knew he wasn’t in a great place, but I was not expecting that.  I honestly think that while I was standing at the end of his hospital bed, I had a flashback to my childhood and teenage years.  My dad used to yell and scream at us like that every, single day while he was drinking (he drank every day from the time I was 12 until he had a stroke a year and a half ago).  For days after seeing him, I was so upset and angry that he treated us like that, but was also disgusted about how much it negatively affected me.  Looking back on it now, I don’t know how I lived through being treated like that all the time.  It was so horrible back then and this was a rude awakening I wasn’t expecting.  Over the past year, I have been very leery of getting used to my new “normal” dad and I guess I let my guard down.

Another week passed and my mom continued to visit him, but my sister and I never went back.  My mom said that he didn’t really mention it and I am not even sure if he remembers we were there.  We finally just saw him again for the first time over this past weekend.  My mom picked him up at the physical rehabilitation center and we met them for lunch.  He seemed a lot better, but definitely was still off and was not exactly nice.  Nothing was mentioned about our visit, which isn’t surprising- that is how we have always dealt with problems in our family (ignoring them) and there is never an apology.

But I feel differently now.  I felt so much closer to my dad right before his surgery than I had in 25 years.  I made time to call him a few times a week and I really put a lot of effort into our relationship.  I feel so let down and disappointed.  Even if he wasn’t of complete sound mind when he acted like that it still really hurts.  I felt uncomfortable around him when I saw him and afterwards I was in a bad mood for the rest of the day.   Growing up, we got so used to how he acted that it was so easy to shrug off how he acted or pretend like it didn’t affect us.  I don’t know how to do that anymore and I’m not sure I want to.

I understand.

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I teach high school English and I have always felt connected to those students who have difficult family situations.  A 17 year old girl handed in an autobiographical writing project today and it was filled with her hatred for her father.  Although her dad isn’t an alcoholic like mine was, he has damaged her and her family.  She is a very quiet, shy person and I know from her mother that she struggles with depression.  It is so hard to “leave work at school” in these situations…my heart breaks for her.  But, I have learned throughout my career that I have to have boundaries with my students.  I wish more than anything, I could hold this girl in my arms and tell her the following things:

1. It gets better…and easier, but the hurt always lingers.  Bruises heal, life goes on.  You find ways (hopefully healthy ones) to cope with the things that happen- sometimes you simply have to push things to the back of your mind so you can just get through the day.  Eventually, you do forget a lot, but the memories of the pain are always there and can be recalled easily.  This is okay.  The things that happen to you make you who you are.  Someday, you will be in the position where you might want to harshly judge someone else…remember how you feel in this moment and be kind.  You understand firsthand that you never know the problems that someone else is privately struggling with in their life.

2. Don’t be ashamed.  Ever.  You do not own the choices your parents make.  They affect you, yes, but they don’t define you.  I know that a lot of what you are going through right now feels like it has to be a dirty secret.  It won’t always be like that.  You will meet many people in your life who will care enough to encourage you to open up and share what you have been through…do it.

3. Forgive.  This one takes time.  A lot of time.  You hate your dad now…you hate what he has done to you and how he has hurt your family.  Someday you might have an opportunity to learn more about why.  Someday, he might apologize (probably not).  If you are able to separate yourself from the situation and look at it objectively, you will see that your father has had his own failures and hurts that led him on the path he took.  This does not excuse his actions, but understanding him better might help you heal.

4. Be so very grateful for your mother and sister.  They are your constant reminder that your family is not all bad and not completely broken.  You will develop a bond that is unlike those of other families.  They are the only ones who will share these memories with you.  They were there, too.  They KNOW.

When I was in high school, there were teachers who knew about my living situation.  They never really outright said anything to me, but showed me they cared in other ways…little kindnesses here and there.  I wish I could do more- say more- to my students sometimes.  All I can do is be there for them and try to protect them the best I can.

Fight, fight, fight…

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My sister and I are VERY close…but we fight like crazy.  I am 36 and she is 33 and we have always been best friends.  Weeeeellll…not always…there were a few teenage years that were rough.  But as a adults, we fight a huge amount.  I always justify it by saying that we fight “like sisters”, meaning that we get into a stupid argument and then make up five minutes later like it never happened.  Unfortunately, it makes the people around us crazy and it makes us look really stupid.  Today, we got into an argument over $1.50 in quarters.  Seriously.  Over the past year or so, I have made an effort to not engage with her in these dumb fights, mostly because of how much it bothers my mother and my boyfriend.  One thing I noticed is that my sister and I fight A LOT more when we are around my mom.  She often antagonizes or provokes me, but I buy into it and engage with her.  Like I said, I have been trying to just let silly things go.  What perplexes me more is the reason WHY we fight so much.  Some of our friends have suggested it is because we are so close- both emotionally and geographically.  We talk several times a day on the phone and see each other a couple times a week.  I think that because we grew up with our parents constantly fighting, we are both just accustomed to confrontation.  If you have never read my blog (ps thank you for reading, by the way!), my dad was a horrible alcoholic for two decades and would yell and scream at my mother and at us every night in his belligerent rages.  The weird thing is that I try to avoid confrontation with every other person in my life.  If I think a friend is mad at me, I literally become physically sick and I hate having to tell anyone how I really feel if I think it will lead to an argument.  My sister is clearly the exception.  My boyfriend’s theory (besides the fact we are both nuts) is that we fight for my mom’s attention because we oftentimes did not have it growing up.  My mom would be busy dealing with my dad or deflecting his rage away from us and even though she was an awesome mother, she wasn’t always accessible due to being preoccupied with my father. It really bothers me that my sister and I fight so much because I love her so much.  The only reason I am grateful for my tumultuous childhood is because it made us so close- I can’t imagine not having had her by my side throughout all we experienced.

Transitioning..

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So it has been three weeks since my boyfriend moved in…and the first two weeks were really, really hard. I was expecting it to be a bit of a transition and knew that he would have additional stress from beginning his new job, but I did not expect it to be so bad! We fought so much and he was pretty unbearable. I really tried to be supportive, but after a few days of constant tension and arguing, I became very stressed too, which negatively influenced my behavior. I think he was having trouble adjusting to living in my house and feeling like I was on top of him constantly and I was freaking out being afraid that I was repeating the living situation that I had with my ex-husband. Thank goodness that past week or so has been the complete opposite and now things have settled down and are so much better. I am so relieved because I really was starting to think that we made a horrible mistake moving in together. Luckily, I have my therapist on speed dial and made a rare emergency appointment. She helped me see things from his perspective and although she agreed that he didn’t have the right to be so nasty to me, she made me understand what he was feeling. He and I had a long talk (several of them, actually) and now things are back on track and we are enjoying having more time together. He actually acclimated really quickly to his new job and seems to really like it, which has made a huge difference in his attitude and behavior. I also am trying to be more conscientious about how I act about my house and him having space and feeling comfortable so we are both really trying and the results are noticeable.

My biggest fear is feeling trapped again. When I was married and living with my ex-husband, it seemed like I was never going to be able to get out of that situation. It took a long time to feel “free” again after my divorce and the couple of weeks that were so horrible with my new “roommate” (lol) brought back all of those feelings. I am not really opposed to marriage- my grandparents were married for 68 years!- but I feel like I could never go through that nightmare again and never want to feel trapped like that again. Although sometimes I think getting married again could be nice- and hopefully very different- I really believe the only way I can ever prevent getting into that position again (or getting divorced again) would be to never get married again. Living with my boyfriend reminds me of all the things I really liked about being married, but I don’t know if I could ever get over my fear and anxiety about it. It’s not like he is pressuring me, so it is not something I need to worry about right now, but I do still think about it. For now, I am able to enjoy being able to see my boyfriend every day and being able to go to sleep together every night (we were long distance for several years)…so I guess I will try to live in the moment!!