Living under the same roof while maritally separated sucks. To add insult to injury, we broke up right before the holidays. It’s painful to be stuck in a situation when you can’t physically move on. We got along okay, but I avoided interaction with him the best I could. To get away from the tension, I spent Thanksgiving visiting my daughter at college. An old friend told me about a job in another state, so I used it as an opportunity to spend Christmas with my daughter, then drive to the other state.
Don’t ask why I did it, because sometimes it’s just something stupid women do. I was looking at my phone bill to see what Bear was up to. He was probably using another messenger instead of his actual phone, but on Christmas Day, he spoke to Stacy right after he spoke to me. I felt like he was lining up his next wife.
The drive to the other state was about 6 hours, which gave me a lot of room to think. I wasn’t sure I wanted to live in a large Southern city with a street dedicated to drinking, but I felt I should check out all of my options while they were there. The city was super expensive for what it was (touristy), and the job’s pay was low vs high cost of living.
My initial plan was to take a tour and visit my friend there. He got weird and spooked me (another blog), and we didn’t see each other. I had no actual plan for what I was doing, nor did I want a plan. It exhausted me to be living in a situation that exhausted me. All I needed was time to myself, time to think, and I didn’t want to be obligated to anything.
I hadn’t had sex in close to a year at that point. The word “separation” seemed to have opened the floodgates to feeling sexual again. It was the way I remembered I used to feel, long ago, maybe even before my marriage. Bear had truly put out my fire, and now it was burning again! I’d forgotten what it felt like to feel sexy and wanted. Men of all ages looked at me. I wasn’t used to it at all, but now I didn’t have to feel guilty about it.
I stayed in a B and B close to one of the popular areas. It was super tiny and not a place to spend more time than needed. I wanted to be close to places, since parking was impossible, and I was walking everywhere. The weather was cold and rainy for a few days (depressing), which only allowed me to go out between rains. The area was lit with holiday decorations, families were together, and performers were on the sidewalks. It was an interesting place filled with artists, but still not sure a place I wanted to live, because I had already lived in a place like it.
Hearing some incredible music playing, I wandered into a few bars. I thought it was a good idea to ask the locals places they suggest and about housing in the area. One small bar had an amazing band with a lively audience and strong drinks, which was important to me at the time. It had been a long time since I’d heard really talented musicians in a bar, and this was a place known for its music.
The more drinks I had, the cuter the 28-year-old friendly bartender became. (I thought he was in his 30s.) We exchanged numbers, and he came over after work. When I saw him off after sobering up the next morning, I cringed. He looked like a younger version of Bear (and the sex was just as vanilla). Barf! Creeped me out! After speaking to a friend about why I subconsciously chose someone that who reminded me of Bear, we agreed it was because he felt familiar. I did not see Baby Bear again.
Even though Bear and I were no longer together, I felt guilty about having sex with someone else. I suppose maybe I still felt committed to him, but I’m not sure why. It’s really hard to explain how I was feeling, but I knew I had to move on and thought that having sex with someone I will never see again might be the best way to start. I can’t say if it was or not, but it opened the floodgates, and suddenly, my body wanted sex again. Navigating that was going to be tricky until I could move out.
There is something about long drives away from the current environment that frees the mind. Road trips help me gain clarity when I need to think about things. When I returned to my “new normal” from the trip, I made an appointment to visit the attorney I worked for, seeking his advice as to how to go about this divorce. We wanted to do it ourselves without lawyers involved. We owned nothing; we owed more. I brought the paperwork home and showed it to Bear. His response was almost laughable.
“So this is it? You’re not going to fight for me?”
“Fight for you?” I was taken aback. “We already discussed this, so how is this a surprise?”
Fight for him? What an arrogant thing to say!
“I thought you would want to try to work it out.”
Whatever in the world made him think that? I had a feeling that Stacy wasn’t into him the way he was into her. Smart girl. Did he think he could come back to me as an option? No thanks!
Since I was the one moving out, saving money was priority. However, my teaching job didn’t pay well, and I was still covering some of the bills Bear and I shared. By the end of the school year, I still hadn’t saved enough to move into a place to stay permanently. Eventually, things became so bad, I was forced to leave in a hurry.