(All of this took place over an eight-month period, so not all of it is in chronological order.)
Prior to moving into the new house, I painted the inside, so everything looked fresh. It hadn’t been cleaned as move-in condition, which created another big job. In the meantime, a friend needed a house sitter, and it was perfect timing to stay at her place for a few days.
Even though I still wasn’t fond of the location of the new house, I made the best of it. I made the house “cute,” as friends said, and stayed there for about eight months. With little to unpack, setup was easy – no furniture except the patio chairs and a table. I used all the money I had to move, so I had to be resourceful. Without a job anymore, I was unsure how I was going to support myself, but still had some side work. Out of one scary situation and straight into another of a different kind.
Because this house was only temporary, my mail remained at Bear’s address; I refused to give him my new location, just the city. We only communicated when we had to. Still not wanting to see him, I retrieved the mail and visited my fur babies while he was working. Once, I saw a crumpled note and looked at it. It seemed like Bear was attempting to write (bad) poetry to someone. It must be nice to move onto the next woman so quickly. This was something that stung me – how Bear could move on dating other people so quickly, as if he was ready for this a long time ago.
About three months in my new place, I was lying in bed when the phone rang. Bear’s number showed up. And since it was midnight, assuming there was an emergency, I answered.
“Hi, how are you doing?” He asked.
“Okay, what’s wrong? Is everything alright?”
“Nothing, just calling to talk.” He’s slurring.
“You’re calling to talk at midnight? How much have you had to drink?”
“Just a couple glasses of wine.” Still a liar.
“What do you want?”
He babbled and cried alternatively, and it went something like this: “I’m really sorry. I’m sorry for what I did to you. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I should have never put my hands on you. I wasn’t attracted to you. You weren’t attracted to me. It just didn’t work. I’m so sorry, Susanna. I still love you. Have you ever felt so close to someone like you’ve known them before? And the sex is so good?”
Huh? I was half asleep, but now I was wide awake and annoyed! Bear was talking about being with another woman! Why in the absolute fucking hell is he telling me this?! Was he trying to make me jealous? He was almost incoherent, and now I was pissed to hell that he disturbed me at such a late hour with this utter bullshit! I suffered from horrible insomnia as it was, and this wasn’t helping.
“I don’t want to hear this shit!” I interrupted him. “I have school in the morning and have to get up early. Don’t call me when you’re drunk!”
One day, I ran into the neighbor that lived next door to Bear. She told me he dated her friend, and Bear was a little too much, so she broke it off. He showed up unexpectedly and uninvited while she was out with a group of her friends, making everything really awkward. I guess he needed a lot of attention from her. I wondered if she was who the poem was about, and figured she was the woman he referred to in the phone call. Things started weirdly falling into place.
After Thanksgiving, I told Bear to file the divorce paperwork, because I was signing with new health insurance (this was the only reason we hadn’t filed earlier), and I needed to be single before the end of the year for tax purposes. I was happy to finally have some sort of finality, especially knowing he’s pursuing relationships.
Relationships were the last thing on my mind, but I was open to dating. Somewhere in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I started dating Dodger. (Read about him here: One Time I Dated a Dodger.) I knew nothing serious was going to become of us, but it was nice to have someone around during the holidays. I believe this was also the time Bear met his current fiancé. Suddenly, Bear decided to lose weight and get in shape and do all the things that he should’ve been doing all along. He still liked to rub things in my face in a passive-aggressive way, like “look at me, I can get anybody,” but I didn’t care. It still hurt that he acted that way towards me, but it always reconfirmed that we don’t belong together.
I found an office job not too far from Bear’s house. Since it was part-time, I decided I should pick up another trade and enrolled in school. Besides helping to maintain some living expenses, school took me to another part of town, away from my home and work area. For the first time in my life, I didn’t particularly like school. I was bored out of my mind, even though I really tried not to be. Then I found out what I could really do in the real world with this training and realized I made a big mistake by choosing this profession. Not for the first time in my life, I quit school. (If something isn’t right for me, I will not waste time suffering through it.) My job also suddenly needed me, so that was a little welcomed pressure.
A place of my own by myself was liberating and easy to get used to. It was awesome doing hobbies without being bothered by anyone. One night I drank wine, blasted music, and danced naked in the living room. Having no one to question why I’m naked felt freeing! I could finally do whatever the hell I wanted in my own house! I loved it!
Being newly single and away from Bear, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I had a new energy that I hadn’t felt in years, feeling young again, and ready to conquer whatever came at me. I really wanted to meet new friends and new people, because I thought that would mean more opportunities. Across the street was a restaurant with a bar that became a weekly girl’s night out with someone I befriended there. Between the new people I was meeting and the new “divorce party-friends,” my social life was very busy.
Shortly after Valentine’s Day, I needed to get mail from Bear’s. There were a dozen roses on the table, which I assume were from his (now fiancé). Or maybe he bought them for himself and wanted me to ask questions. He did things like that, but I purposely ignored it, because I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction that I noticed. It always felt like he was parading his evidence of other women. His behavior disgusted me.
Just to see what’s out there, I made a dating profile on POF, which turned out to be a colossal waste of time. Bunch of loser pigs called me names when I wasn’t interested. One afternoon, my new friend and I went to ladies’ happy hour at a different place. The young bartender told us about dating apps. I had heard of Tinder, but I didn’t know what it was (Tinder was brand new). She showed me how it works and suggested trying it, “because you don’t get bombarded like other dating sites.”
That is when a new social life began.
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