My ex recently moved in with his lady friend. I found out about this through my children, because of course it would be far too simple to straight up tell me himself. I guess my reputation for snarky comments precedes me in all serious matters. It was something of a non-event for the kids. They are old enough to have a basic understanding of complex adult relationships, and besides they like her. I have to confess in all fairness that I do too…
What I can’t seem to wrap my emotional brain around is this…her condo is directly across the street from the building that was once our marital home. Not the same block, mind you… Directly. Across. The. Street. Her master bedroom window looks into my old master bedroom window. Her living room, into my kitchen.
The exact location of his new digs came to my attention while I was engaging in some real estate porn late one night. Ogling and fantasizing over the listings that are vastly beyond my price range, I noticed a building that looked familiar. Knowing that my daughter had visited the place a few times I asked “…isn’t that her building?…” “Yes,” she replied, and pointed out the unit from the elegantly styled image on the listing page.
The next day I made a detour while out running errands. I drove to my former home and pulled over in the valet space out front, pretending to check my phone, but really checking out the proximity, and reminiscing about my years in that building. It is the home in which we talked about getting married, where we spent the first months of our marriage, where we conceived and raised our children, and lived for the first seven years of their lives.
I lived in that building for eight years before getting married. I loved that place. Together we expanded by buying the unit above, did a gut renovation, built a home, raised a family. I remember the day we moved out to the suburbs. Three children and a dog were too much for city living. I sat alone in my home – our home – and absorbed the memories and experiences for one last time, then I turned out the lights, locked the door, and headed to the closing.
I never expected that within a few years of that day we would be talking about divorce, or that it would ever really come to fruition. But it did. (Maybe we should have stayed in the city – I hear suburbia can do a number on relationships…!)
When you are divorced – even happily divorced – there are daily assaults to your senses; reminders or triggers of events and episodes that were once shared experiences and now are reserved for an audience of one…the odd piece of gossip that is meaningless unless you were in on the joke, the “you can’t guess who I just bumped into” encounters, the “remember when” moments…
I wonder what it feels like to wake up every morning and stare out the window into the window of the place that you used to call home with another person. What is it like to walk out the front door on the opposite side of the street? Does it feel awkward, like putting your shoes on the wrong foot? Does the location itself foster an onslaught of “remember when” moments even before you have had your morning coffee?
As my daughter so thoughtfully said to me “Mom, it’s not your problem. Let it go.” She’s right of course. But I can’t help marvel at the irony that of all the people he could have met, and all the places he could have moved into, that he ended up right back where we started. And I suppose therein lies the seed of another post….
Coming next week: Sexting While Driving: What NOT to do when texting your Ex…