My wife moved out six months and four days ago.
On April 1.
I felt like a fool. But it wasn’t a joke.
It seems like nothing has happened since then. But that’s not true.
A lot has.
Some of it has even been good.
A Six-Month Review
1. I learned that my wife left me to pursue a relationship with a rich guy.
The first thing I learned about him is that he took my son to his first baseball game. My, at the time, four-year-old son. The second thing I learned about him is that he hosted a sleepover for my wife and son. That news fundamentally changed me and everything I believed about my world, forever.
2. I created a Match.com account.
In one of my all-time worst moves as an adult, I tried online dating less than two months after my wife left. One of my friends convinced me I needed to as part of his Three Poles in the Pond theory. My online-dating experience was mostly sad and horrible and only made me feel worse about my life. I strongly considered renewing my membership. In the end, I told Match and the scores of women who hate me there to piss off.
3. I created MBTTTR and started writing almost daily.
This is one of the most-important things I’ve ever done for myself. I don’t suppose that makes sense to very many of you who don’t spend a lot of time writing. But, this is important to me. I don’t quite have the words. I don’t know what this is. I call it my journal. It sort of is. But it’s something else, too, thanks to all of the beautiful people reading and participating and rooting for me to succeed. This is the opposite of online dating. It’s been remarkably therapeutic. I get overwhelmingly positive feedback, which is beyond appreciated. And I’ve made some really nice human connections. It has accelerated my healing more than anything. I’m so grateful for this. And you.
4. The Pillage
My wife came and took a bunch of things out of the house—namely the living room furniture, my son’s bed and some barstools from my basement. It dramatically changed my mood. Because she was cohabitating with a man with loads of money, and still she was taking major pieces of what little I had in comparison. It was as much symbolic as it was a logistical challenge. Every day since, I’ve walked downstairs in the morning and come home in the evening to an uninviting living room. A place that echoes. A place that looks and feels empty. A place that made my home feel like a foreign place.
5. The Hearing
My life took a turn for the better on the day of my divorce hearing. And not because I was happy to be rid of her. But that was the day that I learned that my wife’s relationship with her new boyfriend had failed. I was not celebrating her sadness. In fact, I felt something akin to sympathy for her. But her boyfriend was a bad person. It was something I knew for most of their relationship, and she did not. I lost a lot of sleep thinking about that man helping to raise my son. My divorce hearing was when I learned I no longer had to worry about that. Something that should have been horrible ended up being positive. It felt like divine intervention. Seriously.
6. Every Day Since
It’s been a slow climb.
Slow and steady.
But I continue to inch closer. Closer to reclaiming my life.
And each day I feel a little less broken.
Friends in my life—both new and old—give me confidence.
My son has a bed. He slept in it for the first time last night. And a little bit of terrible went away.
I bought a new couch and love seat today. My son was with me and I let him choose between the three sets I liked the most.
My living room will be fully furnished on Wednesday. And then even more terrible will go away.
You can’t know what that means to me.
Because my five-year-old was so well behaved at the furniture store, I took him to Chuck E. Cheese for the afternoon.
Aside from the obvious problem of potentially contracting Kids AIDS, we had a great afternoon.
I bumped into a guy I know and his two daughters. He’s a new friend who is in a serious relationship with a girl I’m friends with from college. They live less than a block away from me.
In the Holy Shit, That’s Ironic Department, she’s the person who introduced me to my ex-wife in a city 230 miles away from here 16 years ago.
Her boyfriend Justin has two little girls that play well with my five-year-old son.
He had brought the girls to Chuck E. Cheese so they could attend a birthday party.
He was with a pretty blonde woman. She turned out to be his ex-wife. The mother of his children.
Justin sat across a table from me. We were handing out tokens to the kids each time they’d run out.
I asked him about being in the same place with his ex-wife. She left him four years ago after having an affair. She’s still with that other guy today.
But they’re friends now.
They appeared to get along effortlessly. Justin’s girlfriend—my old college friend—has become good friends with his ex-wife.
Just a few nights ago, Justin was using her phone for something. A text came through from his ex-wife to his current girlfriend: “I miss you and need to see you!!!”
Remarkable, I thought.
I don’t really want to be friends with my ex. But I like the idea that four years from now, so much could change for the better.
In only six months, so much has changed already.
I don’t miss her anymore. I miss companionship. But I don’t miss her.
I was rifling through my iPhoto library a short while ago to track down an image. I stumbled upon all my wedding photos.
I barely gave it a second thought.
My life got taken from me.
But now I’ve reclaimed it.
My son has a bed.
I have couches.
I have friends.
I have you.
I have peace.