Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Family Relations

In response to Moving On, Ina asked:

How are you getting along with your sister now?

Very little has changed.  Shortly after FosterEema and Danielle moved out, I wrote her a letter to share the news.  About two months later, she wrote back, sharing some basic news about her kids.  I answered that letter but haven't heard back.

Earlier this month I called my sister and left a message asking for her to contact me.  Our father was in the middle of a health scare, and I wanted her to know what was going on.  She never returned my call.

I am grateful that father turned out to be okay.

Our relationship is pretty much as it always has been.  Friendly, cordial, but not as close as I would like.

My stepmother is nicer to me now that FosterEema is out of my life.  Suddenly, it seems like she wants to be friends again, after years of estrangement.  While I am happy to see more of my father as a result, and I'm happy that relations have thawed between me and my stepmother, I can't simply forget.  Her conduct has left a mark. I can't pretend the past 15 years haven't happened.

My relationship with my mother continues to be difficult.  It seems she is able to get along with only one of her children at a time, and she recently patched up her seven year estrangement from my sister. They'll be spending time together this Christmas, which I think is a good idea, even though it means I'll be on my mother's "no good" list for a while.

I'll admit it's something of a relief to be on the outs with my mother for a bit.  She wanted to take my divorce personally, and she always had a mean word whenever FosterEema came up in conversation.  While I didn't want the divorce, I'm not angry.  I don't spend my time wishing my ex ill, and it pisses me off when my mother is intent on bashing her.

It sure feels odd to defend my ex from my mother, that's for sure.

All in all, it feels like very little has changed with respect my family relations.  Though really, I'm not sure that I expected them to change.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Moving On

I've heard very little from Danielle since she left in early October.  I received two one-line messages on a social media site -- one in time for my birthday and another for Thanksgiving.  Other than that, I've heard nothing.

I've not heard much from FosterEema as well.  She mentioned that Danielle had contacted her asking for a certified copy of her adoption papers.  Other than that, there seems to be little news.

Other than a few random contacts through social media, I don't think anyone else has heard from Danielle, either.  She's moved on.

FosterEema has moved on.

I am moving on.

Life is substantially different now, not having the constant worry and conflict.  I no longer find myself fretting over what destructive thing Danielle might do next.  I wake up in the morning, and I don't have to steel myself for difficult behaviors.  I don't have to remember deescalation practices or proper parenting techniques.

I can just be.

Life is much easier.  The constant stress of arguments and potential violence is gone.  I sleep better at night.  I no longer have to lock the master bedroom door.  My life mostly revolves around taking care of my house, my birds and my job.

Time has gone by so fast.  It's hard to believe that:

  • It has been almost a year and a half since FosterEema asked me for a divorce.
  • It has been eight months since FosterEema and I signed our get.  (Jewish religious divorce papers)
  • It has been almost five months since FosterEema and Danielle moved out.
  • It has been two months since Danielle turned 18.
In some ways, my life is very much the same as it was in the "before."  I am still surrounded by many of the same possessions and I work the same job.  Still, much is different.  My living space is much cleaner, and I have a much stronger sense of peace.

I'm also dating someone new.  I met him online a year ago, though we didn't start seeing each other romantically until after FosterEema and I signed our get.

Yes, I'm seeing a gentleman.  I'm sure it's a surprise to some of you, especially after knowing that FosterEema and I were together for 14 years.  From my perspective, it isn't much of a surprise -- I dated men exclusively before meeting FosterEema.

After being with FosterEema for so long, I will admit to there being a bit of an adjustment.  When I am out in public, nobody gives me a second glance anymore.  When I hold hands with my sweetheart, people don't generally notice.  When they do, we receive approving smiles.  I imagine people thinking, "Isn't that cute, a 40-something-year-old couple still holding hands."  When people talk to me about him, they never refer to him as my "friend" in a vaguely disapproving tone.

It has been an odd adjustment after living in queer space for so long.  Now, I get to experience heterosexual privilege in a way that's much more real and personal.  Sure, I experienced it before, when I dated men in the past, but somehow I never really noticed just how much easier it is to be straight until I lived and loved in queer space for 14 years.

It's an adjustment, to be sure.

As near as I can tell, FosterEema is happy as well.  We don't communicate much anymore, other than exchanging a few basic texts that are all business-related.  Occasionally she'll send me a message that she's heard from Danielle, but pretty much our communications are confined to exchanging information about client projects or legal loose ends.  FosterEema has a new job, which she claims to love, and she's made plenty of new friends in her new city.

I'm glad for that.  While I do miss FosterEema's friendship, now that we've had some time and space apart, I don't miss the romantic part of our relationship.  I guess some partnerships aren't meant to last, and this one ran its course.  Although I never would have been the one to ask for a divorce, because I was fully committed to our marriage, I do not see the end as a disaster.  We've parted amicably, and though it wasn't a separation I wanted, it has been an opportunity for growth and new experiences.

Mostly, I'm left with the sense of knowing that it's time to move on to the next thing…whatever that might be.