An Introduction: Part IV

They were separated, but living together for the next two months. God they were slow months. If the waiting to see if she would leave him was bad, the waiting for her to actually leave was even worse.

Sometime around the end of June, he told me that she'd signed a lease and would be moving out in the beginning of August. That only made July drag on even slower. We were still being "good." He was still going home every night after work. We certainly weren't dating or anything like that. Can you imagine being head over heels, ridiculously in love with someone, spending eight hours a day just a few feet from them and not being able to touch them except for a few stolen moments here or there? No dates, no sitting up all night chattering away, no phone calls. I was going mad. I was an emotional wreck. I never entertained the idea that it wasn't worth it. It was just hard.
I moved in the night she moved out. I didn't really intend to move in right away, I just kind of went to stay the night and never left. I wanted to be with him every minute. I didn't want to miss anything; I'd already missed so much.

For some strange reason I thought it would get easier once she moved out. Really, it was just trading one kind of difficulty for another. Instead of dealing with her as the "Other Woman," I was now being seen as replacing her and trying to be a mother to her son, which I certainly was not, but I can definitely see the insecurities and emotional instability that she was going through and the results didn't surprise me, just made things difficult.

She came by the following weekend to collect a few things she'd left and was none too pleased to find that I'd taken up her half of the closet/sink/bed/etc. Then she was informed the following weekend by my BF's mom (with whom she was still speaking, dining, and continuing their oddly close relationship) that I had gotten the Little Man up, had breakfast with him and played a bit while we let BF sleep in a little that Sunday. Can you say unexpected, unnecessary crisis? She flipped. Insisted that I either start spending my time somewhere else while her son visited his father or she's get herself a custody lawyer. Yep, that was her card. She could make their impending divorce easy and give BF the 60/40 split they'd agreed was best for everyone, or, if he didn't comply with her wishes, she could drag lawyers into it and try to make him an every-other-weekend dad, which was the absolute last thing he wanted to be. This card was to be played quite a few more times before their divorce was finalized. Understand that I mean every single time she didn't get her way by "quite a few."

So I spent Saturday through Tuesday evening back at my mom's. Sam and I were still working together at the time (something that would come to a sudden halt in the near future) and I was a full-time student as well, so Monday through Thursday I didn't get home until around 8:30. I was irritated to be living in flux again, sad to not be able to see BF as much as I wished I could, after all, Saturday and Sunday I was actually free from school and work and it totally sucked that I was never getting to see the Little Man; it's amazing how fast you can become attached to someone who's just learning to walk and talk. But "attached" and "want to be his mom" are worlds apart. She is his one and only Mom. Always will be. I can't replace her because she's a good mom and he loves her to death. Nor did I want to. I was 23, and had a full plate of my own that I did not plan to include motherhood on anytime in the near future.

And when the shit finally hit the fan with a small and ridiculous blog war between her younger sister and myself (which was so ridiculous we ended up on the now defunct trainwrecks.net), she decided to make the first move towards the near-perfect situation we now share. She invited me out for drinks and mini-desserts. So I skipped school and hauled my anxious ass down to the local chain restaurant, bar & mini-dessertery. I had no idea what I was going to say to her. If I said what I wanted to when I walked into the place it would have only made things worse and that would just be bad for all of us (a concept that her sister did not quite get - you’ll see). She was slightly late, so I got to think for a while and get more anxious going over the “how to start” scenarios in my head. I hadn’t seen this woman in nine months; I hadn’t spoken to her in six; it was weird. And then it wasn’t.

She came in, sat down, ordered a drink, apologized for being late, and we both just took it from there. It was awkward getting started. Voicing issues that we both felt passionately about in a civil way, trying to work things out, gaining an understanding of where the other was coming from. The conversation tended to drift away from the “business at hand” and on to more intimate details of our pasts, what we were like, what had gotten us to that point, how she needed to reign in her fucking sister, well not quite that harsh, but that’s what I would’ve liked to say. We talked for hours. After the first half hour or so of weird, you would’ve thought that we were old friends rather that a wife and her husband’s mistress. But the fact was that we were both so much more than that and actually sitting face-to-face, eating miniaturized tarts and s’mores, we both really started to understand it. It helped that we’re very similar: nerdy, antisocial, weird. It helped that she was in the middle of a massive rebirth as whole new person that she’d apparently submerged deep under the titles of wife and mother. She was happy, moving on. She wasn’t looking forward to a reconciliation; she just wanted to make sure that her baby boy wasn’t being exposed to someone who was going to be here today and gone tomorrow. She didn’t want someone else thinking that they could step in and take her life right out from under her. And she didn’t want me invading what she considered her blog-turf. I didn’t want her and her wonderful sisters painting me as the Whore of Babylon on their respective blogs or anyone else’s. I wanted to reassure her of my intentions and calm her suspicions about what I wanted here. I also wanted to move back in with BF full-time and stop the bullshit back-and-forth between his and mom’s houses. I wanted her to chill out. We both agreed that BF needed to be more upfront with her when it came to their de facto relationship; she had needed kid gloves in the preceding months, had still clung to the concept of separation but not divorce, but she was doing much better now and could be handled much less gently. We couldn’t have known that, thus the need for such a sit down.
I felt like so much was accomplished that night. I established in her mind, pretty firmly I think, that I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We talked about how we envisioned family life moving forward. The word “blended” was mentioned, as were joint birthdays, vacations, dinners, soccer games, etc. I felt like we’d laid the foundation for a positive relationship rather than hostile one.

As we left the restaurant, I gave her a hug (!) and she told me to kiss the baby for her. It was so much of a relief, a release, hope for the future and hope that this would actually end up being a good thing for everyone.

That weekend her brilliant younger sister propped eight three-inch long nails up behind each of my tires. BF and I were in Baltimore on a mini-vacation, sleeping in a gorgeous hotel, spending the day perusing the inner harbor and the National Aquarium. He noticed the nails the day after we got home while outside raking leaves. First we called the police and filed a report. I didn’t want them to actually do anything, I was sure that that would be taken care of privately, I just wanted a report filed, a formal record of this crazy girl who’d threatened me repeatedly and had now acted. If she tried anything else I wanted good standing to have her ass arrested. BF called the Wife, and she, from what I hear and have no reason to doubt, gave little sister a serious earful. She had no more desire to make the situation hostile than we did. She didn’t want to end up in court because her asshole little sister went and fucked up the good thing we all had going.

The next few months were no joyride, but they weren’t bad at all. I lost my job and went on unemployment in October. We shared custody of the Little Man with no disagreements and no resentment over the holidays; he spent Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve with her family, came to our house late Christmas Eve, woke up with us and had a great Christmas morning with his grandma and us, followed by Christmas day with my family. It was interesting to get a first taste of what’s to come. My parents divorced when I was young and I’ve been dealing with sharing holidays and birthdays for almost all of them. Throw in two more sets of families to the mix and I’m realizing that I’m going to have to get pretty good at turning down invitations and setting priorities.

The Little Man seems to be dealing with all of this incredibly well too, which makes everything better, because we all just really want him to be happy and lead the most stable, happy, loved life possible. And with my lack of a job I was free to stay home with him for the two weekdays that he lived with us, saving ridiculously large sums of money on daycare and allowing some excellent bonding time. I fell in love, seriously hard. This little boy is incredible and though I had had no plans to be any kind of parent at 23, I was rapidly feeling more and more like a step-mom.

BF and the Wife began the process of becoming ex-husband and wife at the end of last year. No lawyers, no fighting, just a few trips to City Hall for paperwork and some great software that made sure they covered all the angles and no one got screwed. Splitting up the household goods wasn’t easy, but they worked it out equitably. The biggest problem was their house; it had been on the market for months without so much as an offer and it was a huge financial burden that neither could afford, considering that they were now splitting the mortgage payments in addition to the rent on her apartment in the city.

To Be Continued…

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