I was married for 989 days. This may not seem very long but I consider it to be 17 dog years. I married late in life and I had always wondered about all the things my married friends had bitched about, you know, the way women spend money, the way they are moody as hell and how they have some grand scheme for interior design that doesn’t seem to serve any purpose but to spend more money. Mine had a bingo card of stereotypical wife traits and filled the card diagonally, by longitude, by latitude, at altitude, and in a 3D attitude. When the end came, slowly, like pulling a nine inch nail out of the bottom of my foot, I discovered a whole new world.
The first discovery is that everyone, universally, after they get divorced, wants to fix something they broke. Meeting a woman who was interested in me, and willing to get naked with me, and able to get up and the morning and not feel like I was going to be a poorer man for the experience was exhilarating. Yet at her door was my baggage and I trusted a woman as far as I could throw the paper airplane I had made out of my marriage license before I burned it in plastic pool filled with gasoline. NASA called and they said the space shuttle wanted to know what that bright spot on the radar was and I screamed, “FREEDOM!” in my best William Wallace voice. This isn’t the first time the government and I have crossed paths, and you’ll come to realize neither of us likes it when this happens.
I wandered a bit once the leash was released and I met a couple who had been divorced for a few years, yet were still dating. I can’t even write that and it not sound weird. I felt like calling in a single person as a translator. Being single is not the same as being divorced. It’s the difference between being a virgin and someone who isn’t being screwed right now. Single people are undamaged goods. They can still think clearly when it comes to relationships. Getting
a divorced person to sit in judgment of a relationship is a lot like getting a shark attack victim to help you set up an aquarium.
The dating ex-s said they couldn’t live together, but they found convenient to share time with one another because of the kids. As a writer I lack the filter that keeps inappropriate questions from popping out of my mouth, so I asked them if they were having sex. Drinking people will talk about sex, and we were all drinking or this would have never come up in the first place, so they admitted, yes, sex was the reason they were dating. My sex life during marriage was akin to pleasure cruise on the Titanic an hour after the iceberg. Propeller Man had a better time at the end than I did, honestly. The thought of having ex sex for me is akin to me reliving my last traffic accident. Oh sure, there was a bang at the end, but paying that deductible was a bitch. That’s what a divorces is, really, marriage insurance where you make monthly payments and then have to pay a ton of money at the end to get things fixed right again.
And like a car that has been T-boned, once you’ve been in a wreck you will never be the same again. You’ll start to compare women to the ex once you’ve reached a certain stage in the relationship and it will never be a good thing. When she flings something you own out of the backdoor because she found it on the floor the thought, “That just plain pisses women off when I do that” won’t pop into your head. The thought, “Oh my dog she’s as insane as the last one” will pop into your head and no matter what happens next, you’ll already be looking down that same path.
I was drawn to the dating ex-s because I thought it would be a bit like watching the smoldering fuse of a bomb that hasn’t gone off yet. How do you feel about her dating someone else, I asked and he said he was cool with it as long as the guy was good to her, and wasn’t a jerk. You were a jerk she laughed and I knew with a little prodding I could make that explosion happen, but I eased towards the door. Watching two people fight when they’re married is like being in the same room as two people chained to a ceiling fan with an Exlax overdose in both of them. Being in the same room as two people fighting who have divorced one another is like having to unlock them at full speed with your mouth jammed open.
Believe it or not, I still believe in love. I still believe in marriage, and by that I mean I believe that two people can commit to one another and decide to share their lives and not only be happy, but be incredibly happy. I believe that if you find the right person you’ll know it, and even if you are wrong, terribly wrong, horribly wrong, demonically wrong to the point you have that same sense to foulness the people who voted for Richard Nixon feel, it’s still worth it. If you’re going to be a fool in life, and trust me, you are if you keep living, what else is there to be, if not a fool for love? If you are going to believe anything at all, why not believe that one day you will meet someone and you will both be very happy until death do you part? Why not buy into this? No one else has anything else to sell when it gets right down to it, and it does. The two ex-s who are dating aren’t stupid for dating, no, they are stupid because they gave up.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
10 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Ex Sex”
Chris Isaak asked his mother the secret to staying married sixty years. Her answer: Don’t leave.
If you must leave, remember these words:
“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
— Maya Angelou
Once again, I enjoyed reading your work, Mike.
I too still believe in love, I just know that it’s for others, not for me. For me it’s like the lottery, I used to play it, hoping I would win, but I finally figured out I was wasting my time.Now I’m happy for those who do. Most especially if they really deserve it.
A good read Mikey. I almost lost my marbles over the ceiling fan example. Thanks, I needed that this morning. 🙂
As usual, your analogies are right on…
That’s the word I was trying to think of early this morning but I could only come up with “example”. Thanks Richard! I Love you, Mikey, Crispy, and Mathman coz ya teach me. Five Star. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
(PS, Mikey. Never been married, hooked up only once (one child) 😉 Ya, right and plan on keeping it that way. Chick is right. Some folks are meant to be on their own. We’re happier that way.)
I don’t have to share my pension with anyone. Hahahahahahaha…who gets the last laugh…. just saying…
An interesting read. I have always wondered how people who used to share each others’ bodily fluids willingly (among other examples of being close) could grow to hate each other as much as it sounds like you hate your ex-wife.
Your story is as old as time. And yet, humans keep making these mistakes, over and over and over. There are as many jokes about divorce and husbands’ and wives’ faults as there are drops in the ocean, and every time I hear one, I think, “Why do people get married, then?”
I seriously do not understand how you (the collective you) can love someone very much–enough to commit your life to them–and then one day hate them with as much fervor. This is especially a conundrum to me if the two of you created children. Do people REALLY change that much for the worse in a marriage? And honestly…you HATE the mother (or father) of your kids? How is that possible, and what does it serve to carry that hatred? I don’t even have kids, and I am consistently amazed at how callous and petty adults can be when marriages fail.
Or do newlyweds see the flaws, and gloss over them? Do those with impending nuptials not discuss their flaws, ever? How can you commit to someone in holy matrimony and not know the deepest negative things about them? Are these things not what will eventually drive you apart? I can only think that this is why divorce, especially bitter divorce, happens: you didn’t take the time to look down the road and envision what this person would be like in the future.
No one should stay married to someone who is verbally or physically abusive to them or their children. No one should stay in a union where the partner puts you in danger repeatedly (this is where blatant infidelity comes in), or develops goals and plans that differ completely from your own. Those are deal-breakers to me, and often could not have been foreseen. Example: a man who does not under any circumstances want to father offspring gets involved with a woman who proclaims she has no desire to have kids. They discuss this at length and are happy that they are on the same page.
Then one day, the wife decides she wants kids. There is no talking her out of it. It’s decided. The guy still has no desire to be a father. This is a deal breaker. Their goals have become diametrically opposed, and the union cannot last. It should be ended so he doesn’t have to compromise about something so major, and she can find someone to father children for her.
Another deal-breaker is when one partner decides he or she now wants an “open marriage,” and the other partner is staunchly opposed to it. If neither will budge, the union must end.
Abuse, severe addiction that the addict has no intention of fixing, and criminal activity that the person has no intent of ending are also deal breakers.
But so many people divorce for lesser reasons than these. Is divorce too easy to come by? Should all couples live together for at least a year or more before tying the knot?
It seems to me, and yes, I know there are exceptions, that many people do not take the idea of marriage seriously anymore. They are reluctant to delve into their future partner’s deepest secrets, so they marry people they don’t really know. My experience is that people really don’t fundamentally change “out of the blue.” So, the “bitch” you married was there the whole time. Why couldn’t you see it?
I guess I’m a bit sensitive on this subject because I cannot legally marry my partner of 12 years. This is because of religion and its influence on our culture, and it’s ironic that a culture that forbids gays to marry pretends to hold marriage in high esteem (that’s why we aren’t allowed to partake of it…I guess we’ll ruin it), but in reality, half of those who marry will divorce, and many of these divorces will be for *basic incompatibility reasons that should have been obvious from the start.* Many of these divorcees are religious people who want to deny me the right to marry.
The old canard is that gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry because that will “devalue” marriage, but it seems like heterosexuals are doing a fine job of devaluing marriage all on their own….and then bitching and whining about how horrible their exes are.
Personally, I understand this is a gray area, and I don’t presume to know what caused your marriage to end, but I have no desire to read screeds (or hear them n person) about ex-wives or husbands, ever. I’m not a Pollyanna, and you can certainly write and talk about those things because you are living them. But whenever I read things that paint former partners in such a negative light, I am saddened. I always say, “there are 2 sides to every story.”
I’ve been in deep relationships before the one I’m in now, and several ended with my heart being broken badly. But I never bitched about “what she did to me.” I accepted blame for what I might have done to end it, and I forgave her her faults. I wished her well. I not only do not hate these former lovers, I am still friends with them. Everything ends. How you deal with that is up to you, but I cannot fathom being irrationally angry with someone I used to be in love with.
My partnership isn’t perfect. But it’s strong and stable, and we are convinced it’s because we laid ourselves bare before we committed ourselves. We were friends before we were lovers, too (not by much–only 6 months–but it mattered). We both honestly stated what deal-breakers would be to us. “If you did this, I wouldn’t be able to stay with you.” We are honest about each other’s shortcomings. We do argue, but never for long. I am thankful every day for her, shortcomings and all. I consider myself lucky.
I truly hope you and your partner will someday have the opportunity to legally join, whether it’s called a contract, marriage, or something else. Life is too short to not share it with someone you love.
I’m very blessed with my marriage because rather than marrying for lust as many are wont to do, my wife is my best and truest friend. Even as emotions rise and fall, I know she’s the love of my life and I’m lucky to share my life with her.
(And since she doesn’t read this site, I don’t mind talking about how great she is…)
Troglodyke, that does bring up a question. I’m not trying to be sarcastic or anything, I’d really like to know. I know I’m going to ask this poorly, but it’s not meant to be.
Do you really want to be married per se or to enter a legal union with all of the ramifications of a marriage? I hear each side. Many folks say they must “defend the sanctity of marriage” and many gays say they only want the legal right to provide care, realize the benefits, and share responsibilities with their partner. Are we(the greater we) divided by semantics. Does the term have to be “marriage” or can it be “union” or something else as long as it has all the benefits and privileges of a marriage? I would hate to think we’re being torn apart because each side wants to “poke a finger in the eye” of the other by holding the term “marriage” hostage.
I realize everything is situational and I have to disagree however I don’t pretend to be as well spoken as Firesmith. My ex-wife and I divorced and while it was hard and it hurt real bad (it’s been almost 3 years and it still saddens me). We do have one wonderful daughter together.
Background is that I didn’t want the divorce and nothing was done by either party that were dealbreakers or semi-dealbreakers. No abuse, no alcoholism, no financial issues beyond the normal American family, no disagreements on faith, etc. She simply grew unhappy and I couldn’t do a thing about it as her husband. I tried my best, she acknowledges my efforts as well. But I honestly think she has some undiagnosed mental issues and I don’t say that out of spite, I say that out of love. Sometimes people are more proned to cancer, some people are more proned to alcoholism, some people are more proned to heart diseases. And sometimes people are more proned to have mental disease (it’s a disease) issues.
Anyhow, even though we are divorced, a daughter learns how she should be treated by men by how her dad treats her mom. Sometimes, she does things that I think are really freakin’ unfair, but I give in because if she wasn’t gonna give in when we were married, what in the world makes me think she’s going to now when we’re divorced. I’ve learned to just overlook things at the benefit of everybody.
Just like the saying, saying sorry doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re wrong. It just means that you value your relationship more than being right.
Anyhow, people do find it strange that we’ll on occasion go out as a family or even just the two of us without our daughter. We don’t consider this dating though cause it’s not. We were friends before lovers and like or not, she still understands me better than anyone else and I still understand her better than anyone else.
Yes, people find this strange, but I’m not going to apologize for having a successful relationship even if it’s not a successful marriage. Sometimes people should just be friends and not marriage partners. I think it takes a mature person to come to that realization (though this is not to say that all ex’s should be friends).
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