Last night was filled with nightmares. In one, I was out to dinner with my ex and his new wife. Everything was going relatively well until I went to the bathroom and came back finding them in mid-PDA. I flipped out, and this involved me cursing, shaking my fist at her, and giving them the finger as they drove away. This is a sight better than the other nightmare I had about my ex’s new wife (maybe a year ago), where I pulled a serious amount of hair out of her head. In the midst of last night’s dream, I felt extreme remorse for my angry and impulsive behavior. As I dreamt, I was thinking about how actions born of anger never bring anything but shame…and was desperately trying to figure out if it was a dream or if it had actually occurred.
In the next portion of the dream, I was robbed at gunpoint by three bandits with large rifles.
Clearly, there are a lot of issues that I’m working out subconsciously here.
This is the longest I’ve been MIA from this blog for a while. But It has been such a fast-paced week. I usually blog in the evenings after Sami goes to sleep, but this week I consistently crashed early. Seems as if my body needed it, recovering from a nasty strep throat I had acquired somewhere along the way. (And last night, we traveled to see my family in CA.)
It’s been a weird few days, that I don’t even begin to know how to blog about.
Monday evening was supposed to be Sami’s first evening alone with my ex, and I was going to meet a date for coffee. But by about 3 pm in the afternoon, I rapidly descended into a freak-out. It hit me that I was actually afraid to leave Sami alone with his dad. Not that I think he is going to hurt him or anything of that nature, but I was seized by this paranoid fear. It’s easy for such fears to blossom when my ex refuses to have a rational discussion about his recent 10 month hiatus from fatherhood.
My thinking started to go along the lines of, “well maybe he realizes how much he loves his son, and he doesn’t want to have to deal with me at all. Maybe under the circumstances he is thinking of taking off with him?” I have Sami’s passport, but my ex had been upstairs a fair bit during his visits to our house and I got paranoid that he might have found it and taken it. I had him scheming to take Sami and get on a plane with his new wifey-poo and flee to his homeland in the Middle East.
I know, it sounds like something out of that bad made-for-TV-movie with Sally Field, right?
But I couldn’t get it out of my head. I tried so hard. I threw all my mindfulness at it. Then I tried to distract myself with work. Yet my nervous system was in full-on fight-or-flight mode. My hands shook, I felt the blood draining out of my hands and legs. My reptilian brain was signaling danger to my body and my body was reacting accordingly.
By 4:30 pm I had texted the date and told him that something came up, and I was so sorry, and could we reschedule? Then I texted my ex and told him that my plans had changed and I would be staying home with Sami.
In the end, it all ended up being for the best. Sami, at his backup day care, had not napped and was beyond exhausted. It was good that I was there. I never let on what had been going on inside of me. But the whole time my ex was at the house with Sami, I just lay there in bed, wiped out and relieved.
The whole thing frightened me. On one hand, I have come a long way in two weeks in terms of accepting my ex’s physical presence in our lives again. But I realize that I have some huge trust issues to deal with. On a basic level, I don’t know where he lives. I know where he works, but have no idea where the happy newlyweds are residing.
Second, I realize that I still have feelings for my ex. I am beyond annoyed at this revelation. There is some kind of connection that remains. By and large, it is sexual attraction, but it is more than that. I find myself fantasizing about him at random times, and when he comes to the house I am sort of shocked by his physical beauty. I keep having these fantasies of propositioning him when he comes over, asking him if he will stay until Sami goes to sleep, and you know. But then I play it all the way through to his certain rejection of me for the woman he is going home for. That’s a buzz-blower.
Recently I met a man online who is from the same country as my ex. We figured out that we IM’ed each other at exactly the same time, which is kind of strange. I tried to wow him with my Arabic when we spoke on the phone. We have talked about meeting after the new year but we have not yet met. I almost don’t want to meet, caught up as I am again in a fantasy. Does this sound familiar? At least I see it this time.
It doesn’t take a PhD in psychology to intuit that I am attracted to this man in some part because he reminds me of my ex. Talking to him on the phone gave me this familiar sense of safety that I felt with my ex. I loved hearing his accent as we spoke in Arabic. But I can’t do that to another human being - I can’t use someone to provide me with that sense of comfort and safety. It’s all illusory, anyway. I’ve seen it come crashing down.
He asked me point blank on the phone the other day if I still had feelings for my ex. I stammered and denied it because I didn’t want it to be true, but it is true.
F–k. This is so complicated.
What do I do with all this?
I sit with it, and keep writing, and keep breathing.
Right now, I am not liking being single. I don’t like it at all. But resisting this state of affairs is not going to make things better or even tolerable. I need to embrace my life as it is now, to be fully with this single mamahood, without any goal other than acceptance. This is one of my aspirations, moving into the New Year. It’s not an easy thing, to start where you are, but it’s the only starting point I know of.
By the way, I’m in San Diego with my family, and there’s a whole lot to be grateful for.
Welcome to this blog - my chronicle of the illuminating, character-building path of single parenthood. I'm making this up as I go along. My life is my practice, and my five year-old son is my greatest teacher.