Grief Ain’t Over Until It’s Over … And Then It Comes Back

I can't wait to have a new ex. In the About section, I promise that this blog is about the road to health and happiness post-cheater. Nearly a year ago I came out of the divorce funk and fell in love with my life, which was so much sweeter and better than it’s ever been. Yet here I am mired in grief. Again. Only this time my sadness is winging from Cheater Ex to the man I dated this summer to last week’s new romance that went south almost immediately.

“Your mind is shifting like that,” my therapist said today, “because you’re mourning the loss of attachment, which means so much to you.”

My first year of post-divorce dating seems to have been all about learning to walk away from unhealthy relationships.

That reminds me of last week’s strength training session with The Sadist.

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Anniversary Reactions: The Grief That Keeps on Grieving

The worst day without a cheater is better than the best day with one. The other day I made a left-hand turn out of parking lot and misjudged how fast a black SUV was approaching. I dropped into his lane and he hit the brakes and my eyes closed as I waited for the sound of crunching metal and for the hideous slam of impact.

Thank God, it didn’t come. But two other times in the last week, I’ve stopped short behind someone because I misjudged the distance between our cars—after twenty-five years of a clean driving record. Objects slip through my fingers and crash to the floor. I’m forever mopping up something I’ve spilled. I may not be able to run the half-marathon I’m training for because of a cookie dough injury—severe toe trauma involved.

Yesterday my distraction and slow-wittedness was one-half the cause of what could have been a serious accident. The woman (rightfully so) confronted me and I immediately apologized, but she lit into me with the need to prove what a horrible person I am. When I pointed out she herself had broken one of the rules of the place where we were, she informed me she had a very good reason for breaking the rules: the rules do not apply to her. Because she says so. She let loose with an all-too-familiar sneering contempt, which was more than I could handle in the midst of a turbulent day. Her entitlement and my mental state were a dangerous combination. Kind of like the toxic relationship we have with our cheating exes where the collateral damage spreads to the innocent ones we love.

These near-misses are the heralds of an anniversary reaction, when your body remembers and acts out past traumas. Take them as the wake-up calls they are, signs you need to slow down and take care of you.

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