Saturday, January 31, 2009

Loving the ghosts of the past

I’m been busy lately. Really busy.

My mother and sister Lori were here for a week (we had a blast) and then Thursday night I went to Beer and Blog Las Vegas, where I got to hang out with my blogging buddies Hurricane Mikey, Carmen (Poker Girl in Vegas), and Sarah (408 Down), who’s also a former co-worker and precious friend for life. Then last night I worked until 8:30 (!) finishing up a proposal that had to get out. Me? Working till 8:30 on a Friday night? Yeah, I know.

Hey--welcome to all the new readers who’ve landed here thanks to Hurricane Mikey, Carmen, and Julie (47 and Starting Over). And thanks to all who commented on my last post, which was the synopsis of my book, Bastard Husband: A Love Story. Very much appreciated.

I’ve had some feedback, both on this site and from other readers, that the title doesn’t quite match the content. I agree; the story is about my first year alone in Las Vegas after a mid-life divorce, though I’ve threaded reflections on the relationship that led me here throughout the book. I figure it’s a working title; if I get an agent who in turn successfully shops it to a publisher, I’ll leave it to the professionals to determine whether it’s spot on or not. And if I self-publish, I’ll probably leave it as is—the title certainly gets attention—and I'll let the text on the back cover explain more.

My only problem with the title is that it sounds negative; I don’t want my book to be dismissed as a rant from an angry ex-wife. On the contrary, I think it’s clear throughout just how much I loved him. (And I still do.) But his path was wide enough for only one, and it wouldn’t have been healthy for me to tag along to where he was headed.

We were married for only two and a half years, but it’s taken me twice as long to get over Bastard Husband. As I wrote in my synopsis, “He was perfect and I loved everything about him. Until his thirteenth beer.” But as my father would say, “Other than that, Mrs. Kennedy, how did you like Dallas?” Anyone who's loved a person struggling with an addiction knows exactly what I mean.

In his book Effortless Prosperity, Bijan Anjomi talks about how some people come into your life as a boat; their role is to help take you toward your destination. In retrospect, I realize that my marriage to beloved Bastard Husband was, in itself, not the destination, as I had thought. No, he was the boat that took me here to Las Vegas. I do believe that was the role he was divinely meant to serve in my life, and once he got me here, his job was over. If it weren’t for him, I would not be enjoying this fabulous time today. So what’s not to love?

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately, in part due to my renewed commitment to getting my book published, but more so because I’m in the, well… zygote stage of a new relationship. Actually, we’re a bit farther along—he’s met my mother(!)—but you get the picture.

One of the biggest differences in starting a relationship at age 51, compared to when you’re 21, is that you come to the table with history. When you hook up with someone in your 20’s, you have no real points of reference. You conclude, “He’s a nice guy” or “He’s an asshole” and that’s that. But if you’re single and over say, 35, chances are you’ve endured some battle scars. You view a potential love interest through the lens of your past and think, “Hmmm… I’ve seen this behavior before.” You project what's coming next, always expecting the worst.

That’s not fair to the new guy. Or gal--the concept works both ways.

So how about you? Do you have ghosts of relationships past that you need to embrace? Can you thank them for the roles they've played? And--this is the hard part--can you release them?

Once you reach that point of peace, I believe you clear your energy and make room for a new person to enter your life. And chances are, you'll enjoy that relationship a hell of a lot more. I sure do.


Anonymous said...
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Hurricane Mikey said...

Hmmm... I always seem to be the boat. Never the passenger.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Laura, you raise some important questions. Thankfully, I think I have them covered, having been playing the "road to publishing" game for a couple of years now. I appreciate your insights.

Mikey, Mickey, Mickey... I think the goal is to find another passenger and ride in the boat together!

Anonymous said...
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Vegas Linda Lou said...

Hmmm... interesting take.

I gladly accept half the responsibilty of why my first marriage ended after 16 years. However, when one party is struggling with an alcohol problem, the playing field is hardly level. That's not to say I was perfect, but in this case I don't think anyone, even BH himself, could say it was a 50-50 split of responsibility.

I'm happy to report that BH and I enjoy a loving relationship to this day. He's one of my biggest supporters, God bless him.

travel girl said...

First of all, I have to say I hardly see you as bitter. I love your approach on this blog. You are positive and bring some great points to the table.

My Mother died a bitter woman, never letting go of her love for a man who never loved her.

I refuse to be that woman. But, as I head into this new relationships with all the baggage on both sides, I am hesitant. I am afraid to love completely again because truthfully, my heart has not yet fully recovered from my last break-up. I'm just not sure I can take total devastation so I'm guarded as if that will make a difference if this relationship ends.

I know it won't, I just don't know how to let go.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Travel Girl makes a good point. It's hard to shed that layer of self-protection. I've held men at arm's length for a long time. Even now that I've allowed someone to get close to me, I sometimes think, "This is nice, but the bottom could fall out at any moment." I recognize that as a holdover from the past, and I really need to let that line of thinking go.

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Anonymous said...

Demographics for divorced females. Why just them? The story is much more than a divorce. The title makes it a demographic towards divorced females. How about row row row my boat.

Sandi said...

Linda Girl-

I know from reading this blog that you don't need any of us to tell you what to do, or what we think about what you do. You are an amazing, smart, funny, and full on with it woman! I want to be your friend!

I can't wait to see where this next adventure takes you.

Bar L. said...

As usual I appreciate your insight and wisdom about life/love. I am asking myself the ghost question and don't like my answer because I have to admit that I am the typically (ok every time but once) the one to end a relationship. I am not proud of that. I have a fear of intimacy and a crap load of other issues. Therefore I am a wonderful but messed up lonely woman.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

But Barbara, you're still wonderful!

Julie D said...

Oh, my ghost is still alive and well and I dropped him off at the airport for a 6am flight to Vegas! So he's your problem for the next few days. LOL.

I wish I could let go and move on. I want to. I try to. But there is nobody to move on with, and I always end up reverting back to the devil I know...

Truth is, I'm scared to death of another relationship. My husband's cheating damn near killed me. Literally. I pity the poor guy who comes next, he's not going to be able to go to the bathroom without arousing suspicion.

Anonymous said...

I 'll try to be more gentle so that I am not censored :) - I think your book reaches out to many walks of life because your writing is honest and people can relate to it regardless of the path they are on.
I believe that you can walk into a relationship with your eyes wide open and your heart wide open - all at the same time.
While I agree that a relationship requires accountability from both parties, I have seen many relationships fail where one party is far more than 50% responsible.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

@Julie: I'll be on the lookout for your ex--ha! But if you're driving him to the airport, you must be on somewhat pleasant terms, right? Which is a good thing for your son.

My first husband, after 16 years of marriage, went out for a beer one night and didn't come back. Well, that's a little dramatic--he was gone for only a day or two, but when he came home he admitted to having a 25-year-old girlfriend.

Of course, I was pissed, but it was something I'd suspected for a while. And over time, I realized I couldn't blame him--I took him for granted and made him feel he would never be quite enough for me. So who wouldn't blame him for finding someone who thought he was wonderful?

The two of them have been together since 1994, and we've all gotten along fine for many, many years. I wish the they'd take a trip out to Vegas--I'd love to have them.

I don't blame you for being apprehensive about the next guy. Men cheat for a variety of reasons, and there are simply no guarantees. I'd like to believe that open and honest communication can prevent the situation from getting to that point. And I make it perfectly clear from the beginning that if we're in a committed realationship and I find out he's cheating (which I will), he can expect to wake up some day with his bloody balls in his hands. Sounds harsh, I know, but they can take it or leave it. Cheating is a deal breaker.

I also understand what you mean by "the known evil." I nearly went to New Zealand last October to reunite with Bastard Husband. As we were IMing some details, I suddenly thought, WTF am I doing? It was almost like the planets magically aligned and it was time to just let him go. Six weeks later, the universe opened a whole new possibility to me and I am now with someone who I really dig. And he's healthy!

I have no idea what will happen with this new relationship, but I trust it will unfold in divine order. I have no agenda for it; I just enjoy the present moment.

Remember, the universe hates a vacuum. You have to clean out the old to make way for the new. There's no use holding on to things that no longer serve us, and that includes people, too. I will bet my last dime that if you release your ex with love, someone else will enter your life like magic.

@Mikey's Julie: No worries about censorship here. I would delete a comment only if it was hateful or psycho-scary. That certainly wouldn't be you! Thanks for coming back!

Julie D said...

He's not my son's father. I wasn't married to Jordan's Dad. My ex is the only husband I've ever had, and we were married for 2 years and 8 days at the time of our divorce. We've been divorced for almost 3 1/2 years now.

I've tried letting him go. I really have. He somehow manages to drag me back. I keep telling myself that if/when he does move to Vegas, that will be the time I can finally let go, when he's not here and I don't see him anymore.

Sigh. I need a drink. Who wants a margarita? I'm buying!

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Yeah, I was lucky that my ex moved to the other side of the world. That certainly made it a lot easier.

Lilly said...

Hey there, I think you are so not bitter and have brilliant perspective on it all. Moi? Oh I have a giant big fat Scottish ghost that haunts my dreams constantly. It wasnt that simple and it wasnt really a normal relationship or breakup. I have tried therapy and meditation and writing and everything and he still haunts me. There is something else he is trying to teach me and I wish I wasnt such a slow learner. I want him gone, far away. But for me its more a question of justice and I am not sure I will ever get that. But I totally agree with you we have to vacuum up the debris and have a clean slate before we are open to new things. There is something within us that attracts us to less than desirable types. A carer perhaps?

Anyway, I think that the books name is a good one because it will grab people's attention. I so hope you get published. As for the new relationship I am so happy for you. Truly enjoy the ride and I like your attitude to life in general. You have set up some mighty fine boundaries it seems. Well done and may the rest of us who need to follow your lead, jsut do it!! Or, just get into the bloody big boat and get the hell out of here lol!

Krissyface said...

I totally agree about the relationship boat thing. my bastard husband was the boat that took me to NYC and to my daughter. Then his work was done with a double DONE. Still, I'm ready to start writing my own memoirs about my insane experiences and I'm not sure I'm enough past the bitterness to write about it with humor the way I can sometimes do it on my blog.

Thoughts? said...

Wow! You expressed it well. After 21 years of marriage and now starting all over again with the man that I'm going to spend the rest of my life with, I've hit a point of fear. Fear of him just up and telling me that he's no longer attracted to me or that he's just too good to be true.

Plus, I have issues now that I'm 45 with the experience that I've brought to the table. With my ex, we were each other's first marriage so we created our own paths. Well, my Boo and I have paths from the past and now those paths are entertwining and it's hard...really hard.

There are times when I love him to pieces and then I feel the kind of "I don't like you very much kinda love" too. My expectations are smeared from the rejection of my first marriage.

Didn't intend to write a novel but you were so right on!