I'm being tested, obviously. F*ck you, karma.

I’m working at home today.  I have a lot of conference calls and didn’t feel like putting on a suit (being pre-menstrual will do that to a woman sometimes) and I had the rest of an IKEA guaranteed-to-make-you-insane piece of furniture to put together.

I have a nanny.  She doesn’t live with me and she goes to whichever house my son is at that week.  This morning, after my son got dropped off at school, she came to me and handed me a pair of black stay-up stockings, saying “oh I found these in the brown bag” (which is the bag we use to schlep my son’s stuff between our houses on drop off days).


They aren’t mine.

My ex has had the bag for the last month…the last time we did an exchange (two weeks ago; the schedule changed because I had my son on vacation) he said he didn’t know where the bag was.

So let me break this down for you.  It took my brain a moment too.

My nanny had handed me a (clean) pair of stockings that belong to my ex-husband’s girlfriend.

Here’s the thing.  Anyone who has read anything about my marriage knows that it was pretty much sexless for 13-odd years.  In the last many years, we averaged having sex maybe once every 4-8 weeks.  When it occurred, it lasted maybe 5 minutes.  It wasn’t always that, way, however.  My ex and I spent 2 days in bed together after our third date.  We had sex, ate pie (that’s not a euphemism…we actually ate pie in bed), and talked non-stop.  He was the first to try fisting with me (ironically the only ever two men I did this with were him and my faraway lover).  I say this not to titillate but just to demonstrate that we had a decent and interesting sex life.

That stopped after he broke my heart a few months later.  Yeah, that was January 1999.  Both I – and our sex life – were broken after that.  I didn’t have sex with him the night he asked me to marry him.  We were in a stunning hotel on the caldera in Santorini, Greece.  He had even bought me some beautiful lingerie.  No sex for him that entire trip.  I didn’t have sex with him on our wedding night, OR on our honeymoon.  Well, maybe once on our honeymoon.

It was my fault we were sexless at that point in our marriage.  All mine – I own that.  I was hurt and angry at the things he did and said, and still I married him.  He wanted sex so badly.  We fought a lot about it.  I even went to my Doctor to ask her about how to increase my desire – her first question was “are you having trouble in your marriage” and of course I said no, and convinced myself it must be medical.  Eventually he stopped asking.  I’m sure the constant rejection was just too painful for him.  At some point we both tried every so often.  Then I tried harder.  But it was long dead.

The only exception was when we decided to have a child.  Like good type-A goal-oriented personalities, we did what would guarantee success.  We had sex every. single. day.  For three months.  It was nice, actually, even though it wasn’t mind-blowing by any stretch.  After that we had sex more frequently but then all of the chaos and fatigue of having a child, and my continued deep-seated anger and disappointment in my marriage, pretty much guaranteed we weren’t going to have a healthy sexual relationship.

Several of my friends thought my ex was gay.  That was the only way they could explain what they observed – a relatively passionless relationship, with little affection and even less sex.  Don’t get me wrong, my ex is messed up about sex.  Doesn’t like affection.  Has self-esteem and anxiety issues.  So the situation was exacerbated by those things.  It wasn’t all me, but I started it.

So. Back to the stockings.

I have no doubt my ex is having a similarly renewed sex life post-split.  Given he’s in a relationship, I’m sure it’s not as, um, varied, as mine is, but I’m sure it’s there.  Well, I hope it is.  So I have known this in theory.  But he’s not one to display affection so it’s not like I’ve been literally faced with it before.

But these stockings.

I know why I wear stockings (real stockings, rarely thigh highs).  I wear them because they make me feel sexy.  Sometimes I wear them to work just because.  It makes me smile because I have this little secret that nobody around the boardroom table knows.  Sometimes I wear them because I think of the lover who will peel off my clothing later that day, and I revel in the delight they bring them.  Stockings are almost always sexual.

It’s odd to be faced with the fact that someone is doing this for my ex-husband.  When I was trying to save our marriage I did occasionally.  One time my reward was some hot, quick, from-behind sex in my walk-in closet.  Now there is someone else doing that for, and to, him.  Someone else getting the delights of his…assets.

I don’t want him back, not for a moment.  But it makes me melancholy to think what might have been, what perhaps would have been possible, had he been different and I different.  Which of course means it would never have been possible.  I do know this, in my brain and my heart.  But it still made me feel strange.

For about five minutes.

Then I saw the humor.  Had I not been home my nanny would have put them away and I would have worn them without knowing.  There is the possibility of hilariously awkward conversations (how to give them back).  Perhaps I will just wear them and say fuck it all – this is weird and messy and I will simply embrace it.

0 thoughts on “I'm being tested, obviously. F*ck you, karma.

  1. You have such a great, honest and healthy perspective on all this. I went through something similar with my ex, including many years of frigidity in the last several years of our marriage. Although I have to say that if I had found stockings in one of my kids’ overnight bags after we divorced, it would’ve explained a lot… 😉

    • Thanks, Ned!! I try to apply my philosophy of: see the humor in things and don’t take myself too seriously. Otherwise I get into trouble. My mind goes down these paths (some of which you’ve read about) and it just doesn’t do me any good. Since I genuinely don’t want him back, why get caught up in it? Especially since I see many other friends wasting so much time over crap like this. I have other things to obsess about 😉

      • Exactly. If you’re obsessing or getting upset about your ex’s life, you need to work harder at moving on or ask yourself why you haven’t. Unless it involves the children, it shouldn’t matter even if your ex is on a naked cruise with carnival clowns.

  2. It’s never good to get caught up in the what-ifs. Though my ex-wife and I are completely different people and I KNOW we made the right decision in being apart, it still hurts a little bit to see her flaunting a new relationship all over Facebook. Of course, she then has to inquire as to why I blocked her. She can be quite dense, some times.

    Anyhow, yes, you could look back at every relationship and say “if only” or “if we had done this instead of that.” It’s unproductive and leads to drinking (or is that just me?).

    The hardest part about this is knowing how it affects the children, but they adjust to it much quicker than we do. You’re enjoying your freedom and seem much happier than you ever were as a married woman, so try not to let anything he may or may not be doing get to you.

    • Thanks for the perspective, TD. I’ve done my fair share of drinking, both during and after. But I like to drink so have no intention of changing that 🙂

      My son seems fine, absolutely. I’m in the midst of writing a post about an wkward conversation my ex and I had relating to sleeping arrangements in his house. All these things to figure out!

      You are right, I am enjoying my freedom although there are moments, like last evening putting together a very large piece of IKEA furniture, that having a man around would be nice. Drinking and IKEA-ing alone just isn’t the same.

  3. I went through a lot of that, too, with my ex. I definitely don’t want her back, but there is that touch of melancholy, especially when we are together at an event for the kids, where a part of me doesn’t wonder what could have been. The logical side, though, kicks in, and realizes how disastrous that would have been.

  4. Who knows what might have been. Had he been different. The way you describe your marriage is pretty much what I live. And I am changing it now. Because ‘he’ is who ‘he’ is, he is never going to change so being alone alone is better than being alone together, I am sure it is.

    • Hi and welcome…thanks for reading and for your comment. It wasn’t just him, it was me as well. And the combination of the two of us.

      I’m sorry to hear you are going through something similar. It’s very difficult. I do recall having to be okay with the notion that I might be without a male significant other for the rest of my life…and that I would prefer that to, as you so wonderfully say, “being alone together”.

      Good luck.

  5. First up I have a question. Why did you still marry him, and withhold sex all that time. Seems childish, going on what you said. Of course we don’t know the full story, but if he broke your heart, why keep going? He proposes and you still don’t share – where was the communication? I’m just trying to understand here, not pass judgement.

    Aside from that, if he has moved on and getting sex with a lady in stay ups, all the best for him.

    • It’s probably a whole blog post unto itself, but here goes:

      I married him because I was deeply in love with him. He was the only man I’d met that ever challenged me intellectually, helped me be a better person, and who shared many of the same varied interests. He was also prone to anger, cruelty, and depression…none of which I had the capability to deal with. He would say one thing then recant later – he broke up with me then wanted me back.

      It wasn’t a conscious withholding of sex – I knew only that I felt no physical desire, felt bad about my body, never felt good enough, and didn’t feel attractive. I thought there was something physically wrong with me. I knew there were problems in our relationship but also thought that it was the kind of “challenge” I needed so as not to be bored. There were many things that were good.

      We talked all the time about it…endlessly…we tried many things that books and counsellors suggest couples do. It’s only with the passage of time and the benefit of hindsight that I’m able to understand how deeply I was hurt, how much his anger and depression affected me, and how much it damaged my trust and our physical relationship.

      Hope that helps clarify.

  6. It’s refreshing to know that my sexless marriage is not unique. I fully take responsibility that withholding sex created a vicious cycle that generated more frustration and anger from him which was vented on me resulting in … No sex because I was angry.

    I was married 25 years. I should have left but I wanted my kids raised in a dual parent household so I stuck it out. He was never good in bed (with me) and any suggestions were rejected. Oh well, that chapter is over.

    I love your blog. I just discovered it today and look forward to reading more of it.

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