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Sunday, April 15th, 2012
Sorry for the lack of posting these days, you guys. I’m sort of paralyzed at this crossroads in my life. Up until now, I haven’t been able to put it together into anything coherent or remotely interesting for internet “strangers” to read, which makes me feel pretty bummed out about it all.
I mean, if you can’t even manage to construct a blog post about major decisions in your life, how are you ever going to figure them out and actually live them?
I’ve taken the military dentistry thing to the end. I went to MEPS, passed my physical, filled out mountains of paperwork, and am waiting to hear back from the board regarding whether or not I’ve been selected for active duty. I should hear back sometime this week.
Of course, in my own mind I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not this is the best decision for me and for Caroline. Recently, Tyler, who I thought was on board with the whole thing since he’s moving out of state anyway, informed me that he really doesn’t want me to join. I truly can’t decide what his motivation is. I don’t know if he’s afraid about losing time with her (he never takes his full visitation anyway), or if he’s afraid that I’ll be deployed and he will be left solely responsible for her for months on end and he won’t know how to handle that. It is probably a little bit of both.
His opposition is a big deal to me, as you can imagine. I want to be on good terms with him and maintain his relationship with Caroline for everyone’s sake… and, legally, he could put up a fight about me taking her far away. I don’t think he’d have much of a leg to stand on since he is also moving out of state, but to be honest with you, I’m not up for a court battle. The major reason I left him was that I simply do not have it in me to fight with this man anymore.
He says reluctantly that he will let us go, that we will work out visitation, if the Army is what I really want. But in the end it does not matter why he doesn’t want me to go. If he wants to step up and be more of a father, I need to support that. And if it’s just that he’s afraid to be responsible for Caroline all alone, then it’s not in my child’s best interest to risk having to leave her with him for months at a time.
If I don’t join the Army, it’s getting a bit late to be looking for other jobs, which is stressful. After Tyler told me of his objections, I scrambled to line up a few interviews for private practices, because the end of my residency is fast approaching, and I’m a poor resident with a lot of debt and a child to support, and I cannot risk being unemployed for any period of time. And further complicating the issue is a guy I’ve been dating that I actually really, really like. Who lives around here, of course. His situation is too problematic for me to even consider factoring him in to my decision, but realistically, if I leave him, I will miss him…
And yet. I still can’t let go of the Army, because I really want to do it. If I don’t, then I at least want to move away from here, from this state I’ve spent nearly my entire life in, from this dark apartment where my marriage crumbled and fell apart. I need a change. But I can’t even determine if that is a good idea. I was talking to the aforementioned guy about it, and he told me that I am struggling with all of this because I don’t even know what kind of life I want to have. I told him, with my usual tact and subtlety, that he was ridiculous and wrong, that I already know exactly what I want, that I always have.
He said, “The most important thing you have in your life is Caroline, right? So envision the life you want with her, just you and her.”
I said, without hesitation, “I already have it.”
“Then why do you need to change anything?” he asked. ”You may think you’ll be happy somewhere different just because it’s different… but you won’t be. Not unless you actually figure out what you want.”
He’s right, of course. But I’m no closer to a decision than I ever have been, and now my time is running out.
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Caroline, Custody, Dating, Divorce, Military, Money, Moving, Residency, Single Parenting, Tyler, Visitation | Categories:
Caroline, Residency, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting, Work/Life Balance
Saturday, March 10th, 2012
It has been brought to my attention that whenever I attempt to date, I turn into a magnet for The Crazy. (See here and here. Oh, and here. One more… here.)
I mean, I can’t really complain too much. I’m moving away this summer, so there is little point in entering into an actual relationship. (Though you’ve got to admit that it does make for entertaining blog material.) But I do find it frustrating that no matter what I do or how I meet these guys, I always manage to end up in Crazytown.
But hold that pity party for just a minute. I was thinking about it the other day and realized that this scenario sounded awfully familiar. In fact, I had a friend in college with the exact same problem. She used to sit me down in the dining hall and go on and on about how every single guy she’s ever dated has been a total nutjob, and I would smile and nod but couldn’t help but think, “obviously not every guy in the world can be crazy, my dear. The one thing all these guys have in common is you. Either you’re the crazy one, or you just pick all the wrong guys, and in either case, the problem is not them. It’s you.”
So, fine. I get it, b*tchy college me. The problem is me. I pick the crazy ones. I can own it.
Based on this philosophy, my best friend decided to take matters into her own hands and scour the internet for the perfect men for me. Whenever she finds a good one, she helpfully emails me a link so I can check out the dude. I thought you guys might enjoy seeing the lineup.
Ready or not, here they are: my future
blog subjects dates.
The more baby mamas, the better… right?
Wait, no, it’s “the more arrests, the better”.
This one loves kids! Or just their money. Potato, potahto.
It’s important to have similar views on parenting and discipline.
If he’s not crazy anymore, I will literally eat my shoe.
What do you guys think? Any of them worth a shot? I mean, all of these guys have to be at least 85% less crazy than some of the ones I’ve already dated, right?
On second thought, maybe I’d better reconsider turning over the reins of my personal life to this particular friend… (Love you, babe.)
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Monday, February 27th, 2012
Remember that time I informed you all that guys without kids are too immature and crazy for a single mom to date? It is with a heavy heart that I now report to you, from the field, that men with kids are just as crazy. If not more.
Is it just me? It’s probably me.
I clearly lied when I said that thing about taking a break from dating. Hi, my name is Julia, and I’m a datingaholic. (Hi, Julia.) What can I say? I get bored. And lonely sometimes. (So, apparently, does my reluctant comrade-in-arms Kate Gosselin. All I can say to that is, DATING TIP: maybe don’t have eight kids and act like a crazy person on national TV for years on end and then try to play it cool like you’re totes normal and dateable. You’re welcome, Kate. I’m here for you.)
Where was I? Oh right. So I went on a date with this single dad, and this is how it went:
We had a relatively normal (if slightly awkward) conversation for about five minutes. Then he heaved a giant sigh, clapped his hands together, closed his eyes, and said, eyes still closed, “Okay. Full disclosure time.”
“Oh… okay. What do you mean?” I asked, full of trepidation. Does he wear complete dentures? Is he wanted for murder? Is he a Republican? What could it be that’s so terrible that it warrants mentioning five minutes into a first date?
“I’m married,” he said. ”Well, separated. I just moved out. I’m living with a friend until I can move into my own place. This is all new to me. But I want a relationship, and a serious one. I’m definitely looking for long-term here. I hope you’re interested in the same.”
“Oh,” I said. “That’s… efficient. Thanks for telling me.” I opened my mouth to tell him that I won’t be in the area for long, but he went off on a long rant about his wife and all the things that were wrong with their relationship and what a terrible nag she was, and admitted he was so miserable since he moved out that he gets drunk every night. I quickly decided it didn’t matter how soon I’d be moving away, because even ten minutes more with this guy was probably going to put me over the edge into alcoholism myself. We had met for breakfast, so I couldn’t even have a drink to take the edge off the terrible awkwardness that this had become. I stared at the grapes on my plate, wishing they were wine.
“So,” he said loudly, snapping me back to attention, “needless to say, I’m now trying to figure out exactly what it is that I’m looking for in my next wife. For example, she needs to be a lady. I mean, I’m a gentleman, you know? I’ve raised my son to open doors. My daughters will actually stand in front of a door and just wait for my son to open it. I hope they expect that from men for the rest of their lives.”
“Wow,” I said, raising an eyebrow. “I can’t say I agree with you on that one. Honestly, I’d prefer that my daughter didn’t ever depend on a man, for a door or anything else.”
He tried to backpedal, but I quickly blocked him with, “So what else is on the list?”
“You really want to know?” he asked with a grin. ”I’ve got it! Here, on my phone.” He grabbed his phone and brought it up while I stared at him, trying to figure out what I had done in a past life to deserve this. He handed it to me and I scanned through his list of “attributes”. ”I must not find her annoying” was one of them, along with “she must be undeniably attracted to me”. ”She must be M.O.” was another.
“What’s M.O.?” I asked him.
“Good question,” he shouted, banging his hand on the table so that the dishes rattled and I jumped. ”The first word is multi. And it has to do with sex. I’ll let you figure out the rest. Get it?”
That was it. I looked pointedly at my wrist (and no, I don’t wear a watch). ”Wow,” I said brightly, pulling out some cash to throw on the table, “look at the time. I’ve got to get to work. It was great meeting you.”
He stood up uncertainly. ”I’ll walk you to your car,” he said. ”So… do you want to get together again sometime? I had a lot of fun. I think this is a good match. Do you think this is a good match?”
I felt bad and smiled at him. ”I’m glad you had fun,” I said. “Good luck with everything.”
(So much for the single dad theory. In case you were wondering, he did not open the door for me on the way out. But then again, I’m pretty sure “gentlemen” don’t talk about multiple orgasms on the first date anyway.)
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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
Ever since the HSD debacle, I haven’t felt very enthusiastic about or interested in dating at all, which I think anyone would agree is understandable. Still, when a friend told me recently that she had the “perfect” guy for me, I figured, hey, why not give it a shot? He was a bit younger than me and didn’t have kids, and if I’m going to date I would prefer to date another single parent for all kinds of reasons. But as long as I don’t get Caroline involved again, which you can bet your last pair of mom-jeans I will not, what do I have to lose but time?
Oh, and also my last shred of dignity? There’s always that to be lost. Well, there was. It’s gone, now.
It started out fine. Pretty great, in fact. He asked me to go to this place where there was not only a bar but also all these kid-type games like mini golf and skeeball and a climbing wall, et cetera. We had a great time and had tons to talk about. It went so well that when he invited me back to his place to hang out with his friends, I accepted. (Because, again, why not?) I followed his car back to his place, and that’s where I realized I had made some kind of… miscalculation.
I walked in the door and met his two roommates, who were very nice, just like he was. But the place reeked of smoke, and not the cigarette kind. There were giant speakers scattered around the floor, recycling bins overflowing with beer cans, a hookah sitting on a scarred kitchen table, beer pong “house rules” tacked to the wall, and above the fireplace was a giant whiteboard with a single word scrawled across it in dry-erase black marker: DIARRHEA.
(Well… at least it was spelled correctly?)
One of his roommates rolled by me (yes, in the house) on a Razor scooter towards the bathroom. I went to sit down in one of the chairs at the hookah table and my date grabbed my shoulder. ”Oh, not that one,” he said. “It’s only got three legs.”
“So, how long have you guys lived here?” I asked, brightly, and a little too loudly, in a desperate attempt to drown out the chorus of I’mtoooldforthisI’mtoooldforthisI’mtoooldforthis that was screaming through my brain. ”About six months,” my date said cheerfully. ”No, wait, longer than that…”
I’m not trying to be a snob, here, but really, how could I ever imagine bringing my child to a place like that if we started seriously dating? And what would he think of my place, which is usually nearly spotless and has organic kids’ snacks in the pantry and the lyrics to “You Are My Sunshine” hanging next to silver-framed smiling photos of me and my daughter on the wall?
Really, the last straw was the awkward moment where he playfully whacked me with a couch pillow and blood started gushing from my nose. ”Oh my God, I’m so sorry,” he gasped. “Captain Take-It-Too-Far over here. Are you okay??” ”I’m fine,” I insisted, peering at him as I tilted my head back and applied pressure to staunch the flow. “I’ll send you the bill for my transfusion.” (Awe. Some. This sh*t only happens to me. On dates.)
And yet he was such a cool and funny guy and throughout the few dates we had, we never ran out of things to say to each other. In the end I broke it off because I just couldn’t see it going anywhere– he seemed far too uncomfortable with the fact that I had a child, and I couldn’t get past the fact that we were in such different places in our lives. He seemed a little hurt at first, but quickly agreed that he wasn’t ready to date someone who was already a mom.
I’m in such a strange place in life, you guys. Being a mom defines me to such a degree that I would really prefer to date men who also have children, because they understand me and my priorities in a way that people who don’t have children never could. But I’m also young enough that I still really like to have fun… so 35-year-olds who have kids and go to bed by 10pm on weekends (like HSD) aren’t a good fit for me, either. I used to have a different life, back in college, like the guy in this post… and I loved it at the time, and sometimes I miss it, but I don’t want to go back and I don’t want to date someone who is still there, either. As I told him when I broke things off, I think that for younger guys who don’t have kids, my life might be a nice place to visit, but they probably wouldn’t want to live there.
So, it turns out that I’m extending my break from dating– indefinitely. Whatever happens will happen, but my life is apparently incapable of being non-crazy even when I’m not looking for anything… so who knows what unbelievable situation I’ll end up in next. (Stay tuned for the next episode of “Hey, At Least You’re Not Julia”.)
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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
Caroline is in Arizona for the week with Tyler, visiting his parents, because he has her for her birthday this year. Which means, of course, that I’m on momcation… and missing her.
Whenever she’s away from me for more than a day or two, I always try to make the most of it, and this week has been no exception. Since she left on Friday, I’ve been going nonstop, doing all the things that are impossible to do when you are a single mom to a toddler who’s in bed before 8pm. I went shopping with friends, salsa dancing with my South American friends from work, have been out partying with friends until all hours (a more-than-semi-ridiculous night which actually ended up with me stitching up my friend’s face after she nailed herself with the car door), went on a really fun date with a very cute guy (judge me), celebrated match day out at the bars with my dental student friends, and of course enjoyed the requisite sleeping in and staying up super late, just because I can.
Clearly, I’ve been enjoying my single, childless life to the fullest. I actually almost started to be grateful that she was gone for so long, because I was having so much fun and had really been in need of a break. Then I was at work today, talking to Caroline in between patients via FaceTime, and she noticed my scrubs and head covering.
“Are you done being a dentist yet, Mama?” she asked.
“No, not yet,” I said, thinking she meant for the day. ”I have awhile yet to go.”
“Oh,” she said sadly. “I thought it was time for me to come see Mama. I asked Daddy if I could see my Mama and he said no because you were far far away. I miss my Mama.”
That was the sound of the Fun Train coming to a screeching, crashing halt– stopped in its tracks by the Divorced Mom Guilt. I felt so guilty that I kind of wanted to cry. Here I am, going out nonstop and having a blast, while my poor kid is 2000 miles away, missing her mom.
It’s not that I don’t miss her, of course… I keep as busy as I do because there is no point in wallowing in the sadness of her being gone. All I can do is enjoy myself as much as I can until she gets back.
But man, that made me feel bad… as it should… I think. What about you, fellow parents, single or otherwise– are you able to enjoy your kid-free time, or do you feel guilty about it if you do?
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Caroline, Dating, Divorce, Friends, Residency, Single Parenting, Visitation | Categories:
Caroline, Divorce, Residency, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting