Monday, August 6, 2012

Some Guy I used to Know: Seeing the Ex

I got my daughter back on Friday.  That meant I had to see the ex. Strange how that was still stressful.

It's been eight years since we divorced, and I've never had any doubts that divorce was the right decision for me (and, so far as I know, for him).  It wasn't one of those cases where one spouse clung to the relationship and the other wanted out. It was decisively over. We've both moved, remarried, and started new families.  It's good.

But I still invested way too much energy into worrying about how my house looked and how I looked. Three days before he comes to town is probably too late to get the hardwood floors redone and lose the last twenty pounds of baby weight anyway. It shouldn't matter to me at this point.

Maybe it's just competition? Do I need to one-up him?

Or is it revenge? Like the Talmud teaches, "Live well. It is the best revenge."

Could it be just the strangeness of the situation? We've only seen each other in person three times since our split, all three in connection with getting M to her seasonal visitations.

We're good exes.  We communicate well about our shared daughter's needs and visitation setups via email and phone.  We plan for her future together without rancor. He is utterly reliable for the agreed upon support and not pushy or invasive about the day to day runnings of our lives.

I felt lousy the day they arrived. I had a medical procedure two days before (which shouldn't have left me feeling badly as long as it did). So, in the end, my house was clean, but not sparkling. I looked okay for a sick woman, but not the picture of health and wealth. I didn't even feel well enough to dress nicely. Soft pants and my favorite zombie teeshirt.

During his actual visit (a very brief tour of the house--he'd never seen it and M really wanted him to see her room and home), I felt very little.  I noticed the physical ways he had changed and remembered some things that I don't particularly like about him, but I didn't become awash in angst or have a flash of nostalgia for the friend he once was.

It was rather like having the mom of one of M's friends come by. I care that my house looks well-kept so that they will think well of my family, but I only know this person through M. I have no personal investment.

Maybe he really is now just some guy I used to know.