Tuesday, December 31, 2013

27 Reasons I'll Never Forget Being 33 Years Old

On December 27, I turned 34 years young.

Being 33 was one hell of a year! One of the record books, and by “record books” I mean this blog. The year kicked off with a surprise birthday gathering with my closest friends in NYC (thank you again, Sue and Ali!), and it set the tone for the year. My 33rd year was one of ups and downs, but so much growth.

In chronological order, here are the 27 reasons I’ll never forget being 33:

1. Went on some dates with Todd. I thought I was ready to start dating. I wasn’t.

2. Made out with Todd. He was the first guy to see my boobs since Max. I thought I was going to have sex with him. Turned out he had HPV. No sex for me.
        2a.  Got my first of three Gardasil shots. I figured I was single again, so better safe than sorry.

3. Entered a courtroom married. Sat in the big chair next to the judge. Left the courtroom divorced.
         3a.  Started this blog the night before. Yay!

4. Interviewed realtors and then put our condo on the market in February. We thought it would sell in a month. We were wrong.
         4a.  This kicked off a streak of making my bed everyday for six months. I hadn’t done that since I lived under my parents’ roof.

5. Met a more adorable than obnoxious 25-year-old (who would become The 26-Year-Old) who thought I was sexy. Who, me? Hello, ego boost!

6. Bought condoms for the first time since Max and I first started dating. Put said condoms into the inside pocket of every purse I have. In the words of Pretty Woman, I'm a safety girl!

7. Formed a booty call relationship with the 26-Year-Old and had my first orgasm since Max stopped touching me. We hooked up here and there throughout the year (but no sex).

8. For the first time in a decade, I bought a pretty glass bowl and some pot, which I kept hidden in my night table drawer. My rule-following roommate/ex-husband would’ve been none-to-happy if he’d known about it!

9. Selected a wonderful vibrator and discovered the joy of masturbation. This toy is also stored in my night table drawer – they don’t call it a goodie drawer for nothing!

I absolutely love my I'm Married To Me ring.
10. Sold my engagement ring and bought my right hand ring. I've been wearing my new ring for nine months and that ring still fills me with pride and strength.

11. Went to Disney World with my parents, sister, and her two kids. Disney World is the happiest place on earth.

12. Went to Nora’s and Lillian’s weddings back-to-back weekends. I hadn’t gone to a wedding single since 2004. And you know what? I still had fun at both weddings (and, fine, a little crying in the bathrooms too).

13. Slept with someone’s boyfriend. Not my classiest move, but I FINALLY broke my three-year streak of zero sex! But no more getting frisky with a guy I know is taken.

14. Reconnected with Todd. Made out with him on July 4. Thought something would start up with him. I was wrong.

15. Signed up for OKCupid and went on some dates. I had never done online dating before, and I found it to be pretty fun.

16. Went to my first country show -- Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley! My two girlfriends and I set up an amazing tailgate and sneaked booze into the amphitheater. Awesome way to spend a summer night.

17. Met Jason, AKA The Incredible Sex. We would date for two months. I adored his openness, intensity, and skills in the sack. I couldn’t stand that he smoked, was irresponsible, less educated than me and my friends, and generally self-centered. Yeah, not exactly my best match, but it was a ton of fun until he told me he loved me and messed it all up!

18. After multiple price drops and tons of frustration, we sold our condo in August. From the verbal offer to closing, the process took not even three weeks. Thank you, cash offer. My verdict on home ownership: it sucked!

19. After being in separate bedrooms for almost a year, Max and I moved into our respective apartments. After living with him for six years, I’m still not totally used to NOT living with him.

20. Had a wonderful night out with my friends for my Divorce Party (but I didn’t call it a "divorce party").

21. Ran my first half marathon on a gorgeous autumn day. It was a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to do another!

22. Survived my first wedding anniversary as a divorcee with a Me Day.

23. Traveled to Cancun with Sue and two other college friends for a week of reading, sleeping, drinking, and eating. I hadn’t been someplace tropical since my honeymoon in 2009.
"Kat, I'm honored to be your secret boyfriend.
Hey baby, let's drop it to the floor."

24. Sat for a family portrait, which meant three married couples... and me. I’m so glad we did it, but it further reminds me that my stupid biological clock is ticking. Will I ever get married again and have kids? Time will tell…

25. Hosted my first party all by myself. I’d always wanted to host a Christmas party, but Max wasn’t one for hosting. And my Christmas brunch was great, if I do say so!

26. Dyed pink streaks into my hair. Because I wanted to, because I can, and because no one can tell me not to!

27. Saw Pitbull, my secret boyfriend, in concert. The night before my 34th birthday, Yoshi took me -- what a great birthday present. (Pitbull is my secret boyfriend because he doesn’t know he’s my boyfriend and I’m going to have his rapper babies.)

How can my 34th year top all of this? What are your predictions for my 34th year? 
Super Sunday Sync

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My 6 Tips to Financially Prepare for Divorce

In a fair world, the price you pay for divorce is your heartache.
In the real world, the price is heartache and cold, hard cash. 

It’s been about a year now since Max and I started separating our finances, but we didn’t fully disentangle until our condo sold in the beginning of September. It’s been three and a half months of living fully on my own financially. Since it’s the season of spending, here are my 6 tips for how to financially prepare for divorce.

Disclaimers: I’m the furthest thing from a financial planner, so these are tips I figured out or gathered from people who seemed to know what they were talking about. My financial situation with my ex-husband was fairly simple. We had a mortgage on our condo and otherwise had no debt. We don’t have children. There was no history of lying or deception. 

Six ways I financially prepared for my divorce:

  1. Keep a joint checking as long as necessary. Max and I lived together for six months after we divorced. There was enough emotional stress, so we did not want to nickel and dime each other. To keep things simple and civilized, with the help of our mediators, we deposited equal amounts into a joint checking account to pay the basic living expenses like the mortgage and utilities. We also paid our legal fees out of this joint checking account.
  2. Separate your savings as soon as possible. Savings accounts are about planning for the future. You and your ex don’t have a future anymore, so separate that money – or start a new savings account in just your name – so you can actively start preparing for your new goals. Also, separating the savings gives you a realistic look at what you have to work with.
  3. Stay together on some services to save money. I looked into separating our auto insurance and cell phones, but it turned out it would cost us both a fair bit of extra money as two single accounts. So, we stayed on joint plans until the condo sold.
    (Speaking of cell phones, be ready to be totally irritated by separating your cell phone plans. I swear, it was easier to get divorced than it was to separate our Verizon accounts! I might’ve cried on the phone with a Verizon manager.)
  4. Take a hard look at your current spending priorities. How will your habits change when it’s just you? Where can you cut corners? What will you absolutely not cut out? I knew I needed enough padding in my account so I could keep my gym membership. There is a nice-ish gym I could join for half the price, but nope -- my current gym is a priority, so I had to make it work. Bye bye, cable and a house cleaning service! Those cuts saved me about $150 a month, which I use to mentally justify my gym membership.
  5. Figure out what your new expenses will be and starting living according to that figure immediately. My expected cost for rent was going to be about $300 more than my half of the condo mortgage payment, so I started putting $300 into my savings account every month to get used to living on that new amount. (Bonus: my savings account got an extra $1,800 while I waited six months for our condo to sell.)
  6. Don’t just get tips from bloggers like me – talk to a professional. Did you know that there are financial planners who actually specialize in divorce preparation? I didn't! Make an appointment with some kind of financial planner before the divorce is final, and then make another one for after the dust settles. I have a second appointment the first week of January to take a look at my retirement savings in particular.

These are my favorite tips that helped make my financial life suck a little less during the divorce whirlwind. In terms of your finances, what did you do leading up to your divorce and living separately? What is your best tip or resource?

See also: 10 Things You Need to Do When You Get Divorced; Financial Advice for Divorce.
Super Sunday Sync

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dyeing My Hair Pink and Reviving the Incredible Sex

Sowing My Wild Oats

Nine years ago this month, I got so drunk that I blacked out and had sex with a stranger. 

I woke up the next morning and he was gone (what was his name?). My apartment was an incriminating, disgusting mess with the telltale signs of my booze-filled romp. Miraculously, I hadn’t been mugged or killed. I had a raging hangover and was late for work.

I was ashamed of myself.

It wasn’t the first time I’d done something that reckless and irresponsible. For all the ways that I was living a very conscientious, calculated, and careful life, I would sometimes almost rebel against my own good judgment with a night of boozing and screwing.

That literally unmemorable night occurred a week or two before my 25th birthday. I decided it was time to clean up my act and start dating the kind of guy who had the potential to meet my parents. Yeah, my standards were that low that I needed to actually declare this intention for my quarter-century birthday.

And what do you know? Max and I got together the night of my 25th birthday party.

Putting Away My Oats 

Max was so sweet, so clean cut. He was smart, articulate, and a major rule follower. Again, not that I was some rebel living on the edge of society, but I certainly had my share of stories that starred Kat the Bad Decision Maker. Max didn’t have those. I felt safe with him, but I also felt I needed to behave myself.

I wanted to be a grownup, one who was good enough for Max. He was super conservative in how he conducted himself. Maybe he was a little square for me, but maybe that was good for me. I told myself that I’d met the right man at the right time so I’d cut it out with those idiotic blackout nights and get myself on track with the perfect guy to meet my parents. 

I used to say about us, “Some people need to sow their wild oats before they can settle down. I had to sow my oats.  Max has no oats!"

I used to smoke cigarettes in my teens, and in my 20s I only smoked once in awhile when -- you guessed it! -- drunk. Max hated smoking, so I promised him I’d stop (and I did). Needless to say, he’d never touched pot (he lied to me initially and said he had and later admitted he’d never smoked anything), so I promised him I’d stop (and I did).

As time passed, I still hung out with my friends and all that, but I toned myself down. Maybe it was my getting older, but honestly, I think I just didn’t want to feel judged by the man I loved so much. If Max was with me at a bar, we always left earlier than I actually wanted to. Not that I had many opportunities to smoke pot, but I declined.

I wanted to be a good girl, which included being very tame in the bedroom -- even though I wanted to be "a lady in the street but a freak in the bed," in the wise words of Usher. Max wouldn’t share anything about what he wanted sexually. I quickly learned that expressing my likes and dislikes made Max rather uncomfortable, so I mostly stayed silent – which eventually became a theme of our relationship.

Sowing Some New Oats

Fast forward to 2013.

Kat is truly, truly, truly outrageous!
This weekend, finally tried out a look I’ve been dying to try – I had two streaks of Jem-pink hair dye applied. When my hair is down, you don’t really see it, but when it’s up, it’s very obvious. It reminds me of playing with Manic Panic hair dye like Angela Chase in the early-mid 1990s, when I dabbled with purple, pink, and blue. (Blue was a bad idea. It looked great for a week or two then turned grey.)  It's just a bit badass -- but still acceptable for my corporate job -- and I absolutely love it.

When my wonderfully gay hairdresser revealed his work, two thoughts came to mind:
  1. Max would hate this look. 
  2. Jason would love this look. Yes, Mr. Incredible Sex himself.

So… yeah. Jason came over. (He loved my hair.) I promised I would tell you if I went back for more Incredible Sex, and I have. It’s actually been really nice because I get some attention from Jason, I get off, and then he leaves. No sleepovers, no telling me he loves me, no baking brownies. Oddly, given our history, it’s remarkably uncomplicated; we’re friendly so even though we really are using each other, it’s fun. We openly have said that this once-in-awhile thing can only work until one of us starts dating someone else, then it’s off, no questions asked. Works for me, but I know most of my friends will not approve. 

[This is the point where the worried/disapproving friends will start texting me, "Kat! Jason?! WTF!!!"]

Awkward selfie!
Tonight, Jason smoked some pot out the window that faces the apartment building I lived in when I had that awful blackout sex night. I marveled at how much things seemed to have come full circle. I live alone. I’m having casual sex with a guy who will never meet my parents. I’m around pot again. My hair has pink streaks like it did in 1996 (except now I paid $90 for it and back then I applied it myself with an old toothbrush).

But, here’s the difference. I’m not 24 years old. I now have nine years of living and crying and dreaming and loving, so I’m not the same person, even if I’m kind of reverting back to some of the old behaviors from before my marriage. My life just got too damn serious with Max in general and as the marriage fell apart, and then even more so as we had to do grownup shit like mediation and selling a condo. I think I have earned it to act a little stupid – but in ways that still allow me to respect myself in the morning. 

And my hair is so awesome.

After your divorce, did you find yourself reverting back to old behaviors? Any regrets about how you acted?

See also: In Favor of Casual Sex.
I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Monday, December 9, 2013

This Divorced Christmas Dork Doesn't Have A Christmas Tree!

You know those dorks who are totally obsessed with Christmas? I mean, seriously, the holiday comes every freaking year and these people go bonkers over and over.

They pretend to be annoyed to see Christmas decorations around Halloween… but secretly, they’re pumped.
“CHRISTMAS IS COMING, PEOPLE!” they gleefully think.

They go on vacation and MUST buy a Christmas ornament. It’s their law.

They have pretty much every Christmas movie from It’s A Wonderful Life to Elf.

They have multiple scented candles because every room needs to smell like Sparkling Snow or Christmas Cookie or Christmas Eve.

They have Christmas music on repeat starting Thanksgiving night.

I am totally one of these dorks.

Well, I used to be, but I’m not sure if I can be this year. Here it is now, the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, but I just can’t quite figure myself out. Are these familiar songs and smells and tastes comforting and soothing, or sort of sad and haunting?

Our first Christmas tree in 2007. Fat, right?

Max and Me -- The Christmas Dorks

Max was also a Christmas dork. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, he would literally say stuff like, “Let’s go look at Christmas decorations and get into the holiday spirit.” No, this isn’t an ABC Family movie. He really meant it.

Every year we’d take pictures of us buying a huge tree from our local high school marching band. Our trees were always obnoxiously large.

For all the ways that Max let me do just about everything but wipe his ass for him, he would happily wrap his own Christmas gifts.

So, yeah, we were pretty much two Christmas dorks. We loved it.

Do I Get A Christmas Tree?

Last week, I pulled out our box of ornaments and decorations. Last Christmas, we were living together but I’d already filed for divorce, so needless to say, there were no decorations for Christmas 2012. So, I hadn’t looked at this stuff in two years. As I put aside his Red Sox ornaments, I started pulling out our ornaments – Kat & Max, Boston 2007; Our First Christmas 2009; Naragansett 2011. Ugh.

You know what happened next. Me, on the floor, crying.

I called Ali and she patiently let me blubber.

“Each time I think, OK, I’m in the clear on this divorce crap, something else has to appear,” I sniffed. “I’m sick of stuff appearing!”

As a best friend should she reassured me that each moment like this is a big picture step forward and that I’m so strong. (I like when she tells me I’m strong.)

I took all of Max's and our ornaments and put them in a shopping bag to deal with later/never.

So anyway, here I am, a total Christmas dork with a huge tub of decorations, a drawer full of Christmas movies, and no Christmas tree. I can’t decide if putting up a tree will make me feel strong and independent or sad and wistful.

What did you do the first Christmas after your divorce? Did you decorate? Should I let my Balsam Pine candle suffice this year or should I put up a tree?
I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I Hung Out With My Ex-husband... Voluntarily.

Before we moved, Max and I had talked about going to visit his friends Evan and Kate. Evan is Max’s friend from college, but the four of us became very close. We used to hang out with them all the time and even went on vacations with them and their children. I hadn’t seen them in over a year, and I missed them.

“We should go visit them after we move,” Max said.

I raised an eyebrow. “Umm, will that be weird? And are you sure they don’t hate me?” I asked.

He assured me that it would not be weird, and they missed me too.

Maybe we'll be like Demi and Bruce.
So, two and a half months after Max and I finally got our separate addresses, we did it. We not only got together socially, but we went to visit a couple that we used to hang out with. Instead of two couples, we were now one couple and two single people.

I picked up Max from the train station in what used to be his car and we drove an hour to our friends’ house. We chatted easily, asking each other about work, road races, his niece and my nephews and niece, and whatever else had occurred since we stopped living together. We did not speak about dating.

(Halfway there, I blurted out, “Oh shit! I forgot to put on deodorant!”

Max responded, “Don’t worry, there’s a CVS on the way. We’ll stop there.”

I mention this because Max, as my former husband, knows that I’m totally neurotic about deodorant. Telling me not to worry about it would be unheard of. It's nice being with someone who knows your quirks.)

After I bought an emergency stick of deodorant, we arrived at Evan and Kate’s house. It felt like no time had passed. We laughed about the same type of jokes. We ate Doritos. Max and Evan tossed around a football while Evan’s children tried to interrupt the game. Because things felt so familiar and comfortable, I had fleeting moments of wanting to grab Max’s hand or wrap my arms around his waist like I used to.

Burning Our Important Documents

Evan has a fire pit in his backyard, so we mentioned that Max and I happened to have a big box of important documents in the trunk of the Honda that needed to be disposed of. So, we had a little Burn Your Important Documents party. We tossed in bank statements from 2005, my offer letter for my first job from 2002, condo board contracts (was Max supposed to give those to someone?!), and mortgage application materials. The kids took turns rotating in to toast marshmallows on our burning documents.

In the pile, I also found a copy of our marriage certificate, the paperwork from our mediators, the court summons for February 19, 2013, and the How To Get Divorced handbook from our state government. Kate and I exchanged looks across the fire as we continued to burn the documentation of the demise of my marriage. Oh the irony of watching all of this go up in flames. (I didn’t point these things out to Max. We still don’t use the D word.)

After pizza and s’mores, we drove another hour back to the train station. We hugged goodbye and wished each other a happy Thanksgiving.

Hanging Out With My Ex -- Was It Worth It?

I spent the next day reflecting on my time with Max. We were now “friends,” though that word isn’t complex enough for what we are now to each other. How did I feel about it?

Here is what I noticed after hanging out with my ex-husband for the first time:

  1. I still find him attractive. He is a good looking man, from his perfect nose to his height (almost six feet) to his long black eyelashes. *sigh*
  2. …but I feel no attraction to him. I find him attractive now the way I’d recognize that my cousin is attractive. 
  3. I still have shivers of sadness and frustration that he couldn’t fix his problems. If Max could've conquered his demons, I believe we could have fixed our marriage. 
  4. …but I have no doubts whatsoever that getting divorced was the right thing to do.
  5. I still am not totally used to living without him. Yes, I was ready to pull out my hair with frustration during the months we lived together after our relationship was over. But the day after I saw him, I had an extra sad case of the Sunday blues.
  6. …but I’m adjusting and coping everyday. Yes, I miss him, but I feel myself healing and making progress as I get to used to him never walking through my door.

We emailed that Monday and agreed that it was a little hard for both of us, but at the same time it was really good to see each other. We intend to hang out again – no rush to do so though.

Have you ever hung out with your ex? Was it nice or sad? Did it help you or set you back in your moving on process?
Two Chics and a Blog

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Accepting A Liebster Award and Nominating Other Bloggers!

Thank you to the very talented artist and blogger Sandy Ramsey for nominating me for a Liebster Award! It is truly the greatest compliment I can get when I hear that I have made a reader laugh and cry, and that is why Sandy nominated me. So thank you Sandy and happy Thanksgiving!

Check out the beautiful plate I ordered from Sandy’s Etsy shop, Nix Heart. I loved it so much that I got one for my dad and one for me.

Here is what Sandy wants to know about me.
1. Give me one word that describes you from your own point of view. 
Decisive. When it comes to big decisions, ranging from signing my college acceptance letter to signing my divorce papers, I don’t look back. I usually believe that there are multiple choices that I could make that could make me happy, so it makes life easier to tell myself that I made my best decision with the information I had at the time.
2. What is the gutsiest thing you’ve ever done?
This one is easy: getting divorced. It was scary as hell. It challenged all of my beliefs and values about love and marriage. I truly never, ever thought I would get divorced, but I finally had the courage to admit that I had to. As I have often said, life is (hopefully) too LONG to be unhappy. 
3. Who has impacted you greatly but has no idea? 
What a great question. My second grade teacher is the first person who comes to mind. He had a Montessori approach to teaching, which was perfect for a student like me. He gave us space to explore and learn in ways that suited us. I still remember that at the end of the year, he gave me a journal and told me to keep writing. He got sick the year I had him with what they told us was cancer. When I was in fourth grade, he died, and that was my first experience with death. I later learned that he died of AIDS, which he contracted as a volunteer in Kenya with the Peace Corps in the late 1970s. When I think of him, I think of his encouragement of my writing, and that he (unintentionally) made the ultimate sacrifice due to his commitment to serving others. He is a big reason why community service is such an important part of who I am.
4. If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would they be?
Martin Luther King Jr., Cher, and Hillary Clinton.
5. What do you like on your pizza?
She's totally scary!
If it’s a really good pizza, just plain. Otherwise, any veggie except olives. I super love pizza and I super hate olives.
6. Do you have an irrational fear from your childhood? 
No. I think it’s completely rational that I’m still concerned that the evil queen from Snow White resides under my bed.
7. What is the one thing you use most in your house?
My dishwasher. I do wait until it’s full to run it, but how I love to run the dishwasher. It’s my favorite appliance.
8. Miley. Smart cookie or doing a Britney/Lilo/Amanda?
Britney/Lilo/Amanda all had legitimate psychological problems. Miley is just an irritating twit.
9. Have you ever bought something from an infomercial or and As Seen On TV item? If so, what?
Nope, but my former mother-in-law bought every gift she ever gave me from QVC. 
10. What are you most proud of?
I think I’m a good friend. I have friends from elementary school, college, work, and other random connections. For all that I can be a chatterbox, I can be a good listener and I’m careful to not judge others. This is probably why my friends are so awesome.
11. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
HA! That would be one boring movie. Maybe Drew Barrymore could make me interesting.

Now the Liebster Award says I have to give you 11 random facts about me, so here goes:
1. Snakes terrify me but I find hamsters precious.
2. My weekend breakfast has been coffee, a bagel, and eggs while watching Beverly Hills 90210 reruns for a decade+.
3. I have seen Cher, Kelly Clarkson, Madonna, and Face to Face in concert multiple times. I would see any of them again.
4. At this moment, there are 6 pillows on my bed, 3 for decoration and 3 for sleeping.
5. I don't have cable anymore and I don't miss it.
6. I don't eat meat and I don't miss it (but, oddly, the smell of bacon is still appealing).
7. I rediscovered the public library 3 years ago. I'm a huge fan.
8. I hate vacuuming but I kind of like dusting.
9. I wanted to be a mermaid or a writer when I grew up. Close enough!
10. I swam with dolphins in Cancun this month, so I can officially check that off my bucket list.
11. I am the middle child and the aunt of two nephews and one niece.

Now I get to nominate some great bloggers! The Liebster Rules say I’m supposed to nominate 11 bloggers but I need to go to bed soon, so here’s my list of not 11:

Darling bloggers, will you please answer these questions?
1. What movie do you own on DVD (or VHS?!) but you’ll still watch it if you find it on TV?
2. Did you want to have children when you grew up? Do you have them now?
3. Who was the first person you said “I love you” to?
4. How would you describe the way your home is decorated?
5. What was your most significant travel experience?
6. When you think back on losing your virginity, how do you feel about it now?
7. Other than the Liebster Award, have you ever won an award?
8. What is your greatest character flaw?
9. What book did you have to read for school and you ended up loving?
10. What was the last movie you saw in the theater?
11. Disney World: awesome or creepy?

Who are some bloggers you love?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

5 Ways that Living Alone After Divorce is Awesome… Except When It Sucks

"Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time
you most need to be by yourself.
Life's cruelest irony." -Douglas Coupland

Being home alone is awesome... except when it's not.
It’s been 75 days since Max and I sold our condo and officially went our separate ways. My new apartment is awesome and I’m thrilled to live by myself. I can be deliciously selfish. Everything is the way I want it, according to my rules. I don’t have to be considerate of anyone else’s feelings, tastes, or judgments. After living with my ex for so long, these are especially welcome changes!

But I’m discovering that living alone when I was 23 and single is very different from living alone because I got divorced. I guess I didn’t really anticipate that when I moved here in September. I thought I would love living alone as much as I did the last time.

Confession: I don't fully love living alone (yet).

Sometimes, especially on Sundays, my own company doesn’t quite fulfill me. Sometimes, I find myself wanting to do something some trivial task and then I realize it’s very challenging alone but it would be easy with someone else. Sometimes, I have to admit that I can get a little lonesome.

As I've noted several times since I got divorced, it's amazing how often I can experience opposing feelings at the same time. My current living situation is no exception.

Here are 5 ways that I'm finding living alone after divorce is both cool and uncool:

1. Cool: Monday through Saturday.
Uncool: Sunday. I’m still struggling a little with the first day of the week. Max and I always enjoyed our Sundays together, usually just chilling at home and getting ready to start another week. At night, we often got a pizza and watched a movie. Then when Jason and I were dating, we spent pretty much every Sunday together. Now, it’s just me.

2. Cool: I don’t have to clean up after anyone. I keep my apartment clean!
Uncool: There’s no one to help me with the cleaning. Max was much better at vacuuming than I am. I get bored and the skip corners. He would actually move furniture to get every surface.

3. Cool: I can decorate my apartment however I want.
Uncool: Hanging stuff on the walls. It’s really hard to hang a picture on the wall by myself. Plus I get really impatient when it comes to measuring and Max was so meticulous with stuff like that.

4. Cool: I can be a little sketchy and no one has to know. I had to walk the straight and narrow with Max because he walked the straight and narrow.
Uncool: Temptation can run rampant! I could bring home a different guy every night. I could smoke pot every day. But are these good choices? Probably not. The only way to keep myself in check is my own conscience. Boring!

5. Cool: I can cook whatever I want. I don’t have to come up with recipes that would work for both a vegetarian (me) and a meat eater (Max).
Uncool: There’s no one to talk to over dinner. There’s no one to compliment my dish (should it actually deserve complimenting). There’s no one to do the dishes since I did the cooking.

But don’t get me wrong, dear readers! Overall, I really, really like living alone. I am so overjoyed to be rid of our condo, truly no words can express it. It’s a bazillion times healthier to not live with my ex-husband. But as with any big change, transitioning can kind of suck!

What was the hardest part about adjusting to living without your ex?

See also: What Successful People Do On Sunday Nights
I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Being Divorced on My Wedding Anniversary: Remembering My Wedding Day

Autumn in the New York City area is glorious. From the brilliant colors of the leaves to the return of sweaters, it’s an exciting time of year, filled with new beginnings and old traditions.

What Autumn Meant to Us

Max loves autumn. It reminds him of his glory days running cross country. He also loves football, the smell of crisp fall air, and knowing that Thanksgiving was just around the corner. 

Me? I liked autumn just fine but I also associated it with loss. In late 2003, my sister Katherine's then 29-year-old husband was diagnosed with lymphoma I was 24 years old when I witnessed fighting proof of my sister’s profound love for and commitment to her husband. She was just 28 years old and advocating and researching and caregiving with the tenacity of a spouse with decades of marriage behind her. 

Despite their fiercest efforts, my brother-in-law died in his home on October 17, 2004. I was forever changed by the love and grief I witnessed, particularly during that month. That "in sickness and in health" stuff was no joke.

Fast forward to 2008 when I joyfully accepted Max’s marriage proposal. We started wedding venue shopping and ended up looking for autumn wedding dates. October 17, 2009, was available but I declined for October 24, 2009.

Maybe now, I had thought, beautiful October could have new joy for me and my family.

Kat the Bride, being escorted into the church by my dad
and the umbrella carrier.
On October 24, 2009, Max and I said our vows on a rainy, dreary day. It didn’t matter. We were both deliriously happy. My wedding day will probably always be one of the happiest days if my life.

Almost exactly three years later, I filed for divorce. I was so emotionally overwhelmed that the terrible timing with our anniversary hardly registered with me.

But this year, free of living with Max and lawyers and paperwork and uncertainty, my anniversary hung over me like a threatening cloud. The question was whether the cloud would quietly pass or violently storm. I was awash in sad memories of my brother-in-law’s final days, the happy memories of my wedding, and the horrible truth that fierce love and dedication saved neither my brother-in-law nor my marriage.

Allow me to share the details of my wedding anniversary when I was no longer married.

October 24, 2013 and I'm Not Married Anymore

What would have been my fourth anniversary fell on a Thursday. I decided the best thing was to take the day off from work for a Me Day. I lined up a perfect day. 

I woke up to a brilliant blue sky, so already the day was different from October 24, 2009. I started Me Day with a bagel and The Golden Girls, two guaranteed Kat pleasers. Then I took a Spinning class. After getting nice and sweaty, I headed to a day spa for a facial. 

Fresh faced, I ate Mexican food for lunch while reading People. As I nearly gagged over Kate Middleton's post-baby body, I glanced at my watch. Four years ago at this time, photographers were capturing the primping process at my parents' house.

Today it was just me and my burrito.

I texted Max. I told him I was thinking about him and asked how he was. His response:
I am thinking about you too.
I was going to email you later but I’ll just tell you now that I love you
 and I hope today isn’t too tough for you.

Tears spilled on to my burrito.

I texted back that I loved him too, and that I have no regrets. He agreed.

And that is all we said to each other that day. Hardly as monumental as wedding vows, but those couple of texts made such a difference for me. I still felt sad and missed Max, but I felt... peaceful. (That doesn't feel like the right word, but close enough.)

That evening, I met Yoshi at the pub where we had my divorce party. We had a few beers and a few laughs, and then we called it a night. Later that night, I was able to rest peacefully alone in my massive bed in my one-bedroom apartment. I’d come a long way since last October 24, and I know I’ll be even stronger next October 24. 

In time, the beauty of autumn will feel hopeful to me again.

How did you handle your anniversary after your breakup or divorce? Did you ignore it or did you recognize it?

Super Sunday Sync

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My First Post-Divorce Breakup, Part 3: He Gave Me Orgasms

First, a batch of brownies told me it was time to end things with Jason.

Then, after days of excruciating post-breakup texts from him, he sent me a very different text:

“Well let me know if you ever miss the sex enough.”

Here’s the last part of the story of my first breakup since my divorce.

I stood in my kitchen with my mouth full of Baked Tostitos, staring at my phone. Was I walking into a trap? Was he going to accuse me of using him for sex? Or was he offering some freebie? So I carefully responded, “I’m not sure how to interpret that.”

"Hello, this is Kat speaking!"
You guys, I don’t know what the hell happened, but the next thing I knew, starting on a Thursday evening (my wedding anniversary, of all days!) until Sunday afternoon, we had a sexting marathon.

As you may remember, I was introduced to sexting by the 26 Year Old, but he liked some talk and some photos. [He actually just sent me one a few weeks ago. I texted back that he looked hot but I was kind of seeing someone, but would let him know if/when I am single again. Never burn bridges, folks!] It probably goes without saying but I NEVER sexted with Max, and before Max texting didn’t exist. And you know what? I think sexting is awesome. I’m not big on the photos but I love the talk.

Oddly, for the bazillion texts Jason and I had exchanged and how much we liked to talk about sex, we had never sexted. Well, we were sexting like champs and it was hot as hell. No photos, just lots of words.

Among the racy texts I did ask a few times if this might be a bad idea. I didn’t mind our bodies screwing but I definitely minded the possibility of screwing with his mind and heart (and who knows, maybe mine too). He insisted that it wasn’t a bad idea. That’s what I wanted to hear so I went along with it!

We Are Not Getting Back Together. Just Sex.

So, we set a date. Sunday afternoon, he would come over after work and we’d make our sexting dreams come true. I paced my apartment like a damn cat in heat. Finally, a knock at my door.

I opened the door. I hadn't seen him in almost two weeks. He stood there with a devilish grin – not exactly the warm smile I was used to. He stepped in the door and we started kissing. (Uggh, you guys, he is such a good kisser! And I love kissing!) I pushed him away and said, “Look at me. This is not a relationship. We are not getting back together. This is sex.”

He nodded and leaned back in.

“No!” I said, still resisting. “Repeat it back to me first!”

He repeated that we were not getting back together. Just sex.

Then I asked him if he’d been with anyone else since me. He said no, and neither had I, so I grabbed his hand and off to my bedroom we went.

Since I’m not looking for a career in erotic literature, let it suffice to say that we had ourselves some fun and he gave me my orgasms, as usual. When it was over, he left. No cuddling, no kiss goodbye.

In my afterglow, I paced my apartment again. Was that a good idea? How did the sex feel now that it was truly just sex and not tied to feelings? The sex was still hot, that’s for damn sure, but I wasn’t so sure about anything else.

Four hours later, my phone chirped.

We Are Not Getting Back Together. Just Sex. Again.

Him: “Are you up for round 2 at 9:30?”
Me: “Omg are you serious”
Him: “See you in a little over an hour”
Me: “Ok, let’s do it.”
Me: “No sleeping over”

He came over for round 2, and just like in the afternoon, he was gone as soon as it was over.

On Monday, I got another text, this time just “9:00?” With a smiley face. Of course.

What ever happened to romancing? A little foreplay? I wanted my sexts!

First I said no. Then I said yes, because I’m weak like that.

Again, we had our romp. When it was over, again, he bolted out of bed. As he dressed, I attempted to make a little conversation and told him that I might be appearing on Huffington Post Live. He was completely disinterested. Flushed from his orgasm, Jason strolled out of my apartment. And maybe out of my life for good.

Sex with the Ex -- Great Idea or Totally Stupid?

After he left, I also thought about the blog entry I wrote four months ago, when I shared with you my first time having sex after my ex-husband.
“Now that I’ve finally had sex again, oddly, I kind of don’t care when I have it next. The sexual side of me is definitely not going dormant again. But maybe it’s best for me to hover at third base until I have a boyfriend again.”
Maybe I had a point back in June. (Imagine that!)

As much as I love (loved?) sex with Jason, I admit that it lost something without the emotion. The way he walked out of my apartment was obviously completely different from how he used to depart. (Well, when I was actually home to see him depart!) The fact that we barely spoke made me feel a little... icky.

I am still processing what the hell has happened with Jason over just two weeks – from him being “in love,” to having his heart broken, to having emotionless sex. Can things really change that fast? Does this prove my theory that he was never actually in love with me? Or is he just faking a lack of feeling to bed me?

I am proud of how I conducted myself through my divorce; I still want to hold my head high as I venture into uncharted territory in my new sex and dating lives. I’m not ashamed of my choice to have post-breakup sex with Jason. But, I would be lying to you and myself if I told you I’m proud of my choice. And I would never lie to you, dear readers!

But you know if I have another moment of weakness for the Incredible Sex, I will confess to you. I promise!

What was your first breakup after your divorce like? Did you doing the dumping or did the other person? Did you ever get frisky with the ex again?
The Jenny Evolution

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My First Post-Divorce Breakup, Part 2: He Gave Me Flowers

In My First Post-Divorce Breakup, Part 1, I told you about the brownies that made me sure I had to break things off with Jason.

As promised, here is Part 2 of the story on my first breakup since my divorce.

The weekend of my half marathon, I made up my mind. I just had to end things with Jason. He was WAY too attached plus I knew I would never be able to date him for realsies. Fun as he is to hang out with and as super fun as he is in the sack, we didn’t connect in our interests or goals. And, again, I just am not keen on a relationship right now.

Planning the breakup

My first plan: Sunday night, I would see him and just do it. It’s not ideal but he can come over to my place in the evening.

The plan buster: I was still exhausted from my race and he had to work late (plus he was in a weird mood), so we didn’t end up seeing each other.

My second plan: Monday night, I would go to apartment after his work and tell him.

You can't get these THEN
dump the guy!
The plan buster: He showed up in the lobby of my office building with this huge smile and a vase with a lovely bouquet of flowers (exactly my taste). He was like, “I missed you this weekend, baby. I just had to get you these!” It made me feel like total crap that he felt so great about a sweet gesture that I did not want.

(There’s a cruel irony that I’d always hoped that Max would send me flowers and he never did. Then I finally get flowers and I don’t want them!)

Obviously I could not dump Jason that day.

My third plan: Wednesday night, I would go to his apartment after work and tell him. (Yes, this is the same as the second plan. I’m not that experienced at this stuff.) I texted him, “Can I see you tonight” and he responded, “Aww babe it’s the little stuff you say that makes me love you so much!” [He would later comment how stupid this exchange made him feel in hindsight.]

I was in trouble.

I drove over to his apartment. Throughout the 20 minute drive, I repeated, “Do not wimp out.”

Kat’s Breakup Background: Before Max and I got together on my 25th birthday in 2005, I only kind of dated two guys before that. Prior to Max, my last “boyfriend” by title was the guy I lost my virginity to in 1998. I actually have remarkably little relationship – and therefore breakup – experience. And I had never broken it off with a guy when he was still smitten.

Outside Jason’s apartment, we sat on the driveway. He was smoking a bowl (and no, I wasn’t – need to think straight in this moment), which he followed up with a Marlboro Menthol. Cigarettes are the 647th reason why Jason would never be my boyfriend.

(P.S. Who the hell smokes menthols?!)

Anyway, he says to me, with that warm smile that melts me, “So, Kat, like, where are we?”

Damn, I guess I gotta do this right now?! I hung my head and said, “I’m sorry, but I’m just not where you are."

He starts chattering about how it’s okay, I’m worth waiting for, and when I’m ready we can – get this – “Reveal to the world how perfect we are together.”

Yeah, this was not going to be easy. (And “perfect”? Really?!)

I shook my head. “No, I’m not going to get there. We’re just so… different.”

That’s the moment when the smile faded and the twinkle in his eye for me disappeared. (Seriously, how does he get a twinkle? Impressive.)

“Oh. I see. Well. Fuck, dude, I didn’t see this coming,” Jason responded.

The next 3-5 minutes are a blur. I start crying a little, babbling that I was sorry. He goes inside. I follow. I try to hug him goodbye. Jason sort of allows it then coldly says, “You need to leave.”

So I did.

The Barrage of Texts Begin

I don't wear ugly shoes like these.
By the next morning (Thursday) he’d defriended me on Facebook. (Can I say again... really?) Then starting at about 9:30 a.m. the barrage of texts began. Jason was heartbroken and confused, and I kept responding to his pathetic, sad texts. He wanted to know if it’s because he didn’t have a career like mine or because he didn’t have a master’s degree. He didn’t understand why I’d end it when we were getting along great and he was treating me well. I tearfully kept texting back until I finally had to stop because we were going in circles. (And more than once I asked if we could talk on the phone. Nope! These 20-somethings love their texting.)

Dear readers, you got a shoutout during his emotional breakdown. He texted, "This is going to make a hell of a blog post. Your readers will be intrigued." I hope you are!

Friday he resorted to “I can’t do anything how could you do this to us” type messages. I said “I’m so sorry you’re hurting” then stopped responding.

Saturday, I got one text, “I just hope by the time you realize you made a mistake it won’t be too late.” I didn't respond at all. Too lame and overdramatic for me to bother!

Sunday, the texts took a turn into, “I don’t need the relationship label can’t we just be together I can’t believe I screwed this up with relationship stuff.” I responded to those because they seemed more reasonable. Ultimately, I said that it was normal and healthy to want a relationship and that he should be with a girl who would happily say I Love You back. And my answer was no, I cannot be with him anymore.

He responded “Fine. Dude I don’t understand what’s going on. Bye.”

I thought this was the end...

Then three days ago he texted me:
“Well let me know if you ever miss the sex enough.”

Oh god. He mentioned the Incredible Sex for the first time. My weakness! It was like wafting a plate of nachos under a bride’s nose a week before her wedding.

Find out how I responded in Part 3, which will be the last in this First Breakup series! 

Peacoats & Plaid