Time changes some things, but some things never change.

Someone recently asked me how long I’ve been divorced. I said 5 years, and they said, oh, it’s still new. That’s a pretty different attitude (and obviously a more experienced soul) than the guy on Match.com who’s just separated and claims he’s ready to “move on.” I think it’s true. It’s still new.

It took 5 years for the confusion to calm down… 5 years for me to remember who I was before… 5 years to claim my sanity and begin to emerge from my protective selfishness and consider the other people in my life.

It’s a beginning. I’m excited… hopeful… grateful… and expectant.

But after 5 years, Mr. N/A doesn’t seem to have changed all that much. He did change his name during the divorce – maybe a desperate attempt to shed his past and become a new man. His whole life, he went by his middle name and introduced himself as such. Now he signs his emails with a name neither I nor his family used in the almost-20 years I was with him. It’s very weird.

Golf has returned to consume his life; he conveniently leaves his latest girlfriend and the 5 kids between them at the country-club pool while he feeds on his self-importance. I always considered golf one of his 5 addictions – I guess it’s not as bad as some of the others, but it was definitely an escape from his family responsibilities. On the first Father’s Day following our divorce, he had a scheduled weekend with the children, which he asked to trade for another so he could golf in a tournament. My kids were sad and confused about why their dad wasn’t with them on Father’s Day.

Sometimes I feel sorry for the girlfriend, but she has to live out her own story. My girls pity her, because when she talks about her horrible ex, they hear a description of their own father. They don’t understand why she’s dating another man just like the one she trashes. Maybe she doesn’t know. Maybe she thinks she’s special enough that he won’t do that to her. Maybe he won’t. But my girls are embarrassed for her when he flirts with the waitress right in front of her face – something that used to really bother me. I would never tolerate such disrespect today. Maybe she just doesn’t care. I have changed, for sure.

I’m so grateful that I’m not the golf widow. I’m so grateful I’m not the one driving his ass home after he drinks too much. I’m so grateful not to be the one answering to “Mrs. ******” at the country club. I’m grateful I wasn’t with him when my kids found a picture of a strange girl in her bra on his cell phone. (He told my daughter she had just gotten a tattoo and she had asked him to take a picture of it for her.) I’m so grateful I don’t have to listen to his lies.

I’m so grateful I have a life of my own and don’t need his.

There was a time when I couldn’t imagine a life without him in it. Things certainly have changed.

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