Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter! My Visit with The Rabbit

Updated: See my first post on Geek and JockIs Masturbation Healthy? Taking Matters Into My Own Hands With Joy.

On this Easter Sunday, I thought it perfectly appropriate and inappropriate to share with you that, this week, I had my first visit with Honey Bunny [link is NSFW!], AKA The Rabbit.

Yes, friends, at 33 years young, I've finally invested in a proper vibrator! It just came in the mail this week and I'm excited!

Why Didn't I Get One of These Sooner?!

Maybe it has to do with recovering from a Catholic upbringing, but I've never been able to get myself off. It's a sad thing for any adult, but especially for someone who hasn't had sex in almost three years (and very little the four years before that). I bought a vibrator back when I was 20 on a drunk dare. I was so sloppy drunk that night that I forgot I bought it! You can imagine my shock in my dorm room the next morning when I saw the shopping bag and thought, "Oh, I wonder what's in there? I hope it's Gatorade and Advil." Anyway, it was a cheapo piece of crap, but I've held on to it ever since because it just seemed like the kind of thing a woman should have in her night table drawer. Every once in a rare while I'd pull it out and try to use it, but never with any real success.

You might be thinking, why on earth didn't I take matters into my own hands (pun intended) when Max wouldn't touch me? I really wish I could answer that. Maybe I felt like I would be insulting him. Maybe I thought I was jinxing things, like what if I'm able to give myself an orgasm then Max won't think he has to try anymore. Maybe I was just being judgemental of myself, like a real woman shouldn't HAVE to masturbate, she should get her significant other to do it. I don't know, but it doesn't matter anymore, because I now have The Rabbit!

I view this time in my life as my opportunity to wake up the parts of me that were silent or underdeveloped during my eight years with Max. Judging from my first encounter with The Rabbit, apparently I've been missing A LOT. I mean, I actually dreamed about The Rabbit last night. I'm serious!

Not that I want to turn my blog into a X rated site, but I'm curious about masturbation's place in your life, given that I'm brand new to this. Is it a regular part of your life? Does your significant other know that you do it? Does he or she mind? Or does it help bring you and your significant other closer in the bedroom?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I, Kat, Promise to Love, Honor, and Cherish MYSELF.

You sure looked good on me. I'll miss you.
For any woman who’s gotten engaged, you remember the feeling of being borderline or actually obsessed with your new engagement ring. It’s new and sparkly and (yikes!) expensive, but best of all, an exciting statement to the world: someone loves me so much that he wants to spend his entire freaking life with ME! [See the story about how he proposed.]

I was no different. I love my engagement ring. I had no idea at the time, but Max shopped and compared and agonized over finding the perfect ring for me. It is a round cut diamond in a classic solitaire setting – a lovely reflection of Max’s and my tastes. I wore it with much pride and love for four and half years.

But as things disintegrated between Max and me, the ring felt more like a burden than a symbol of love. By autumn 2012, I was very ready to take it off. Once we’d picked a mediator, I was done. I put the ring in a box and hid it in my underwear drawer. I didn’t even want to see the box anymore.

I started detaching myself emotionally from the ring and shifted towards viewing it as an asset with monetary value. I decided that as soon as the divorce was final, I would sell it and use some of the money to buy myself a ring for my right hand and put the rest of money in my savings account.

I spent the past two months going to jewelers to see what they would pay me for it (not enough!), and eventually found someone to sell it for me on eBay. I then placed the order for my new bling – a set of three stackable rings, each ring with 12 diamonds in a different shade of gold. It looked absolutely nothing like any engagement or wedding band I’ve seen. It would be a little funky but classy. The perfect “I’m married to me!” ring.

Look, depression in a box!
Well, on Thursday, the time came to send my ring off to the eBay seller. That morning, I put it on one last time. As I packaged up the ring, I was surprised to feel a knot in my chest and a lump in my throat. This ugly brown box and plastic wrap was so unworthy of transporting the most beautiful piece of jewelry I’d ever had. Some stranger was going to sell this ring, and some other stranger will (hopefully) buy it. SOME OTHER WOMAN WILL WEAR MY RING. Was I really ready to say goodbye to the ring and the promises it symbolized? I considered waiting to send it, but whether I sent it that day or in a month, it would still hurt, so no time like the present. And there was no way this ring was coming to my new apartment whenever I move. I took a deep breath and sealed the box with excessive packing tape. [UPDATE: See the ring on eBay.]

I went to my company’s mailroom to send it off. Here’s how the conversation with Tom the mailroom guy went:

[me entering the value of the package on the UPS website]
Tom: Uh, did you mean to put in that many zeros?
Me: Yes.
Tom: Wow, what’s in there?
Me: My engagement ring.
Tom: Oh, you getting it sized or something?
Me: Nope. I just got divorced. I’m selling it.
Tom: Uh, I’m really sorry… uhh…
[awkward pause]
Me: I know, you feel awkward now. Stop feeling awkward. Let’s get this shipped!

Next thing I knew, Tom was putting my beloved ring in with the pile of other packages for the UPS driver. (By the way, my package was the most expensive thing Tom’s ever shipped. At least he got a good story to tell his buddies this weekend.) With a $126 charge for the shipping fee slapped on my credit card, I headed back to my desk with a heavy heart.

It's not a coincidence that I got a manicure.
I'm going to show this baby off!
But! How is this for timing? The next morning, the jeweler called to say my ring was ready a week early (and not a moment too soon).

I put it on today and tears sprang to my eyes. The small diamonds sparkled against the three shades of gold. I might have another great love, or I might not. But no matter what happens in my life, this new ring will be on my right ring finger. It’s my promise to love, honor, and cherish ME.

What did you do with your engagement or wedding ring?


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Was My Marriage a Mistake?

On Monday, I was talking to a woman I volunteer with who is getting divorced in a few days. Let’s call her Kate. I always say that emotions are not a contest, but man, she sure got dealt a shitty hand. After 34 years of marriage and raising three children together, Kate’s husband served her divorce papers, completely out of the blue. He then moved out of their house and in with his girlfriend, who is the same age as his daughter! Ewww. Anyway, I forget how it came up, but over the course of our conversation, she lightly referenced my marriage as a mistake. I quickly corrected her and said I don’t feel that way, even if I did go through a lot of rejection and hurt.

But all week, I kept thinking about this idea of a marriage that ended in divorce could be a mistake. This wasn’t the first time I heard this either. The asshole therapist who Max and I saw together called our marriage a mistake over the summer and I never went back to him. Does a marriage that “failed” automatically get labeled a mistake? Does Kate, after 34 years, three children, and two grandchildren, think of her union as a mistake?

During happy hour on Friday, I brought up the subject with my friend Jen. She is younger than me and single, but she gives me some interesting insight into moving on post-divorce because her parents are divorced and both have been happily remarried for a long time. I told Jen about Kate’s comment, and how it keeps lingering in my mind.

On one hand, you could easily say we were foolish to even move in together, much less get engaged and then marry, with the intimacy problems we had. I’m usually an extremely practical and logical person. As I sipped my glass of Chianti, I admitted to Jen that I don’t know why I kept thinking/wishing that the next relationship milestone would finally be the catalyst to fix our intimacy problems. I suppose that was where the logic stopped and the naive optimism took over.

But on the other hand, I married a good man. He loved (and I think still loves) me with all of his heart. He was good to my family and friends. He was fiercely loyal and would have done anything for me.

Then Jen asked me a good question: “Knowing what you know now, would you have married Max?”

This really gave me pause. I thought about the past seven years of rejection. Confusion. Loneliness and longing. I know that no relationship is perfect, but I also know now that the weight of all those tears is not part of a normal, functional relationship. I also thought about how I’m 33 and now single, so I might never get to have a baby.

I looked at Jen, and then I looked down at the floor. I replied, “With the benefit of hindsight, no, I would not have married him. And that makes me feel like complete shit.”

Jen answered, “But you didn’t know at the time how things would devolve. You made the decision based on the love that you felt. So how could it be a mistake to marry someone you loved?”

And that’s what I’m going with. I will never call my marriage a mistake because the decision was made with love in our hearts. Max and I had plenty of good experiences together that I wouldn’t trade for anything. And even the bad stuff helps me know myself better and what I will never, ever tolerate again.

How do you think about your past relationships? Do you consider any a mistake?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Power of Mediation

Our condo is on the market, which means Max and I are still living together. Interestingly, we are getting along better than ever. I mean, we’re not snuggling or going out to dinner Friday night, but we are enjoying our time in the evenings to eat dinner, chat about our day, and watch junky TV shows. We are working together remarkably well on the condo, from agreeing on the asking price to keeping our home in pristine condition. (After years of my bitching about Max never cleaning up after himself, he’s sure making up for lost time and keeping the place spotless!)

When my friends ask how it’s been going with Max, they’re shocked at how not-that-weird it is. I’ve thought about why we’re getting along this well, and I have a guess: mediation.

Deciding Between A Lawyer and A Mediator

I went to a lawyer back in September. This would’ve meant the typical setup of I have a lawyer, he has a lawyer, and then we never speak directly to each other, which means an obnoxious, expensive game of Telephone. At $400+ per hour multiplied by two lawyers, this could add up fast, even with a simple divorce like ours. It just didn’t feel right.

Then I heard about mediation. I thought mediation was for a couple trying to work things out, so it was news to me that mediators can help you get divorced. I spoke to several mediators, and I really liked the idea of Max and me being in the same room through the whole process. None of the potential confusion of “That wasn’t what I meant when I said that to my lawyer!” Also, I liked that it would be a lot cheaper. We would pay one legal professional instead of two, which meant half the cost.

I found a mediation team that was comprised of a lawyer with a background in tax and real estate law and a licensed marital and family therapist. They would step us through everything, including taking care of having a marshal deliver the paperwork in the privacy of their office. That was huge, as I hated the idea of Max being served at his office.

Max was still very much in shock and denial when we first went to the mediators. I mean, he was still wearing his wedding ring. He was never much of a communicator, so not surprisingly he didn’t say much in the sessions. But I think it was very powerful to have us step through all of our finances and assets together. It was the uncomplicated, respectful way to handle things.

Money is one of the most hot button issues, and I can imagine how easy it could be in our situation to get really nasty and childish and nitpicky. I think keeping us in the same room made us both remember that we’re talking about the life we built together. Mediation helped us maintain respect for the choices we made over the three years we were married, and I’m proud of that. My hope is that mediation laid the foundation for what might eventually be a casual friendship with Max.

(In the meantime, let's hope this condo sells fast!)

Did you use mediation for your divorce? Was it the right choice?

Read more about mediation: There's No "Bad Guy" in a Good Divorce, Mediation Myths and Misunderstandings That May Affect Your Decisions in Divorce, and Choosing Between Mediation and Collaborative Divorce.

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Weekend in a Time Machine

I’ve heard that when people go through a divorce, they might make some interesting choices to put distance between themselves and the defunct relationship. Some might chop off or dye their hair. Some might gain or lose a ton of weight. Others regress and start acting like teenagers or whatever.

Judging from my weekend, I seem to have creeped into the regression category. I indulged in two things that I haven’t been able to enjoy in years.

1.  Getting high.

Back in high school and college, I smoked pot. OK, fine, I was a pothead. I LOVED it. But once I was done with school and became a grownup, I was kind of over it and rarely touched it anymore. Then, when I turned 25, I started dating Max. For better or for worse, Max is a major rule follower. I mean, jaywalking is a big deal for him. He didn’t drink alcohol until his 21st birthday. Needless to say, my pot smoking days were completely over. (And really, it was fine.)

2. Having an orgasm.

A huge reason why my marriage ended was due to sex. Specifically, we weren’t having any. Max is a great guy, and no sex life meant we became buddies, the best of friends. But, that is not enough to sustain any romantic relationship.

I was completely faithful to Max, which means that orgasms have been devastatingly absent from my life since George W. Bush was president. Now that I’m single again, I’m DYING to hit the sheets, but I’ve promised myself to wait until I’m in a committed relationship. Because, you know, I like to torture myself. Me and my damn morals! [A few weeks later, I bought a vibrator. Why didn't I do that sooner?!]

Backstory – shared.

Now, let’s return to my weekend.

My friend Nora and I decided to have a girls’ weekend. She was stressed from wedding planning and I was stressed from divorce planning, so what heals better than wine, pizza, and reruns of Beverly Hills 90210? How about some pot? Turns out that, yup, that helps. I had even purchased a glass pipe for the occasion. (I used to have a collection of paraphernalia, but that’s all been long since retired.)

Friday night, for the first time in years, we smoked up then giggled endlessly and got the munchies. Our conversation ranged from super serious and deep (though quite possible we made no sense) to utter silliness. It was so much fun to feel that light and carefree. We felt like we were 20 years old, and I guess that was part of the point of the experience.

Saturday night, after going to a fancy dinner and enjoying  multiple glasses of wine, we decided on our walk home that we wanted more pot. So where did we smoke? IN MY [parked] CAR, just like I used to do in high school. I felt like I was going to get grounded!

While Nora and I were being 33-year-old versions of our 20-year-old selves, I was getting text messages from a 25-year-old guy. This kid saw me at a bar a few months ago and has been hung up on me ever since. I’m no supermodel, but this kid sure seems to think I am the hottest thing ever, so far be it from me to correct him. In the brief time I've known the 25-Year-Old, I’ve learned two things from him:
  1. 25-year-olds love to whine via text (e.g., "whyyyyyyy," "shuckssss"), and
  2. 25-year-olds are otherwise exactly the same as they were eight years ago.
Anyway, he asked me to “watch a movie” on Sunday. (Yes, folks, “watch a movie.” Did I not just say that 25-year-olds are exactly the same as they were in 2005?)

I thought, Kat, do you really want to “watch a movie” with him? At his house? That he shares with two other guys? (Ugh, and really, not one but TWO roommates?!) How sketchy. How 2003 of you.

After all this careful consideration, how did I reply after four glasses of wine? "That should work."

Sunday night, I went over to his house and we watched that movie. I’m pleased to have finally orgasmed under the Obama administration (within the confines of the promise I made to myself). Well done, 25-Year-Old!

What a weekend of tapping back into my pre-Max self! It was fun for a temporary regression.

What unusual or even kinda crazy choices did you make after your divorce? No judgment from me!