It’s day two of our fight and I’m standing in the bathroom, staring at his toiletries, hugging his toothbrush and listening to Dido.
After my divorce, a twenty-year good marriage, I stopped believing in Happily Ever Afters and swore off serious relationships. It was hard to believe in forevers since I couldn’t make it work with my proverbial soul mate.
Then I met him.
We were just friends. Friends for a year. I didn’t like him romantically, but we bonded through the pain of mutual divorces. He was a good listener. The kind of guy that would give you the coat off his back when you were cold, and I was cold, often.
After a year of long-distance late-night chats, I started seeing him in a new light. Boyfriend material? Maybe. Maybe not.
But I was intrigued by him. He was pure and good and gentle, a Prince Charming in this day and age of “Ghosting” and frivolous Tinder hookups.
I created a character in a book around him, a story about the possibility of improbable love.
One night, while driving home from a date with another—local—man, I asked my long-distance friend if he ever thought of me as more than—well, you know.
He confessed that he’d harbored deep feelings for me for months. I wasn’t sure what to do with that, but something deep inside me shifted that night. The possibility of “Maybe.”
Over the months, we flirted but continued with the understanding of “no pressure, no commitment.” Until the night of his birthday, when another gal—local to him—made her intentions clear.
I knew I was about to lose him.
I had to make a decision.
Take a chance. Risk getting hurt.
Go with “Maybe.”
We’ve been dating for four years. But it wasn’t easy. It took two years until I was mentally able to switch my FB relationship status.
It took two-and-a-half years for me to tell everyone I was committed to him.
It took three years to allow myself to believe that maybe someday I’d marry again.
We shared our deepest secrets, our goals, our struggles with exes and kids and dogs with bladder issues. I told him I was far from perfect and never wanted to be put on a pedestal. I confessed each time I snarfed down bags of chips or chocolate-covered almonds or the cigarettes I smoked. My vices.
I got him to hire a personal trainer and scolded him for his excess carb and sugar consumption. He’s diabetic, and I wanted him to live long, grow old with me.
We Facetimed and texted frequently. We made plans for a future together—later when all our kids were off in college. We talked about living in the same state, shared dream home pictures on Redfin.
He flew down.
I flew up.
Until this past weekend.
Is Love After Divorce Possible?
I’m an open book. I share my blunders and embrace faults and flaws. So, I thought he knew it was safe to share his with me. But I guess I was wrong.
He was hiding something from me. Maybe not what others would consider a big deal, in the grand scheme of things, but, trust me. When you live a thousand miles apart, trust is everything.
He feared I’d see him in a bad light if he told me. He was wrong. I would’ve loved him more, knowing he was damaged goods, like me.
Yesterday he told me he’d been in bed until late afternoon, sick with worry/fear/regret. My heart broke. I wanted to hug and hold him, hop in a plane and fly up to him. Cry with him.
I wanted to give him a way to win—an idea of how to work this thing out. Instead, I uttered a few sentences and ended the call.
Today I’m standing in the bathroom, holding his toothbrush, playing Dido and crying because I forgot to buy bananas.
Or maybe I’m crying because Dido is singing about how she doesn’t believe in love.
Or maybe I’m crying because I want to believe in Happily Ever Afters.
Or maybe I’m crying because my book is due to be released in February and the person I want to be there with me for book signings and author events might not be part of my life.
I wipe my face, shut the music off and put his toothbrush back in his drawer. Maybe later, I’ll grab my car keys and drive to the grocery store.