We're not in touch or anything, but this is the information age. It's almost impossible to stay out of the loop, even when you'd like to.
Oddly, upon presenting this news, the first question posed to me is usually "Are you okay?" Is it just me, or is this a weird question? I mean, it's been ages, yo. A dog's age. A donkey's years. A month of Sundays. I'm over it. Or if that sounds hard to believe (and maybe it should, since I rarely get over anything), let's say I'm "used to it." It's not as if this is some sort of bombshell. I've been spared this particular indignity before, certainly, but I knew it was coming. Married people in their thirties usually have children. It's to be expected. Frankly, considering what I remember of my ex's hatred of condoms (and incidentally, his odd refusal to get screened for STDs/STIs???), I expected it a lot sooner. At the very least, I'm sure there was at least one pregnancy scare in their past, followed by sharp relief. "No babies no babies no babies" what a oft-repeated motto of that former man of mine.
The stuff that happened years ago is the stuff that actually hurt. It was all such a surprise, even after years of unhappiness in the actual relationship. The lies, the realization that everyone had known but me, hearing that they'd purchased property together so quickly it felt immediate, hearing that I was being painted as a bitter friend-stealer and manipulator, liar/bitch. That is the stuff that kept me up at night. Those were the pieces of news that burned away in my belly. For awhile afterward, I had a recurring dream about being eviscerated. Someone would slice me open (or sometimes, I'd slice myself open), and my entrails would spill out, along with a gush of blood. I'd catch them in my hands, all hot and slippery. I had this dream literally hundreds of times, but I don't have it anymore. Haven't for years. I suppose what I felt, when hearing this news for the first time at least, was just an echo of that.
So time heals and in addition, things change. I think I've mentioned before my first boyfriend, who I once hated with the burning passion of a thousand suns*, is a close friend. Of course, we dated 18 years ago, so that's part of it. We were teens, so things felt very fraught at the time, but in the grand scheme of adult feelings, my angst about that situation now seems a bit silly and overwrought. And besides all that, he's changed. I've changed too. Of course we have. We're grown up now. And since 2002, when my now-expecting ex and I got together, I've changed again. Don't get me wrong -- this is a different situation and I've accepted that apologies will never be made. Furthermore, I don't want to be friends in this case, and it is my sincere hope that I never see the man again, but nonetheless, things DO change.
And of couse, I'm married now myself. People told me that this -- being in a happy relationship of my own -- would be the thing that would help the most, but it hasn't really been like that. We've been together for five years and my partner is lovely and kind and our relationship is calming and secure, basically the opposite off all my previous relationships, but that's our thing. It doesn't really have any bearing on what came before. Being happy doesn't make me a winner. It doesn't mean I won. And neither does their pregnancy, marriage, home-buying, cohabitating, or secret fucking mean that they won. I guess I used to think it did, and that's why I had all those dreams and felt so hurt and sad about the whole thing.
So to answer your question, I really AM okay. And actually, I'm sorry for what I said before. It wasn't a weird question at all, and I'm glad you asked. After all, I didn't know if I would be.
Thanks time. You passed, just as you were supposed to.
*Ha ha. Shakespeare/10 Things I Hate About You reference, twisted.
Psst. Who liked my Buffy-reference headline? It was great wasn't it? "The flaying of Warren Mears? Truly inspired. That was water cooler vengeance. Lloyd has a sketch of it on his wall." Oh Buffy, how I miss you.