My ex-husband has a girlfriend. This really should come as no surprise; after all, we have been divorced for several years now. But I had occasion to hear this bit of news while hanging out with some friends a few days ago and I have to say although it was a bit surprising, all in all it was a surprisingly non-emotional moment. My immediate reaction was not one of jealousy or even indifference; it was more about trying to imagine anyone who would have him. “Poor woman,” I replied. And really, I felt that said it all. But the overwhelming impulse I had to call her up and warn her off him grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and simply would not let go, no matter how much I tried to bat it’s smarmy little claws away. “Maybe she sees qualities in him I never did,” the voice of reason whispered in my ear. “Nah,” I told the little voice. “People can change but nobody can change that much!”
Of course the fact that I don’t even know her name put the kibosh on any attempt I might have made to contact her. So instead, I decided to have an imaginary conversation with her. Frankly, it was really more of a diatribe; an encyclopedic laundry list I would have handed her, if only I could, although I truly doubt it would have done a bit of good. After all, advice from a bitter ex-wife is hardly fodder for conversation with a new girlfriend. She would absolutely have dismissed me out of hand, I know this. But it didn’t stop me from playing out the fantasy in my head. So if I did have her number and if she did have occasion to hear me out, this is what I would have said.
Be sure to invest heavily in ketchup futures as his more-than-abundant use of this condiment could make you a wealthy woman before you know it. When we were married he coated everything with the stuff, including my homemade lasagna. Had I been a bit savvier, I could have been set for life. I’m thinking about investing even now.
Be prepared to call it a day at 4:00 pm, which will definitely rule out the possibility of having dinner parties or going out with friends; he’ll be ensconced in his bed by then and, more than likely, you will not be there with him.
Keep a French maid’s outfit at the ready and make sure you look good in it while actually doing all the housework, because he will not only watch you while you’re bent over, but he’ll be sure to tell you all the spots you missed cleaning (from the confines of the nearest chair or his bed) and how much you need to spend more time at the gym.
Never again will you be able to drink a glass of wine while watching television with him. Besides trying to pry the remote from his unyielding grasp or having a vote as to what you watch, he will be utterly repelled by the aroma of your beverage and will make you move elsewhere until you have finished drinking it. You won’t know this right away as he’ll pretend to like wine and may even share some with you. This will not last long.
I hope you like a man in jeans, a button-down-shirt and tweed blazer because other than the sweats he wears to bed (which he will don at 4:00 pm) you will see him in little else. And don’t be surprised if he criticizes everything you happen to wear, as he fancies himself quite the fashionista despite the fact that he wears nothing fashionable.
He will absolutely have to be in control of every area of your life whether you want him there or not so be prepared to quit thinking for yourself. If you can’t do this because you actually have a brain, then be prepared to stand up for yourself every waking minute.
There is more I’d like to say; so much more. But this wealth of information comes with years of hands-on experience and so I hand the baton to you, new girlfriend. I wish you luck, I wish you happiness and I wish you had the good sense to run like hell as fast and as far away from him as humanly possible. But that, I’m afraid, you will have to do in your own good time.