Almost a year ago I traveled to Europe for the first time. I had dreamed of visiting London and Paris for as long as I can remember, and, a couple years ago I had come to realize that if things kept going the way they were going that I was never going to get to London or Paris or anywhere else. So, I had some decisions to make. I chose to end my marriage and start living the life I used to dream of, before I got so entangled in someone else’s misery. I loved my ex-husband and I care for him a great deal but he was a true ball and chain. I’ve grown, lived, and learned a lot since I broke free from him, and it has been difficult but wonderful and beautiful all at the same time.
The photos above were taken at my first stops in Europe; downtown London, Windsor Castle and Stonehenge. I felt at home in these places, I fell in love with traveling, with England and with Me.
Sometimes the best choice is the hardest one to make, walking away from someone you love is painful but sometimes that is what is necessary. Just know that you are not alone, you are never alone.
Keep you head up and your heart open.
Three weeks ago, almost to this very moment, I met a guy. I met him, and I was not expecting it but man, so much has happened since I met him. As, you all know I have been struggling with calling it quits on my marriage or not. So, about 3 weeks ago I went to Chicago to visit one of my oldest and best friends. During the trip we talked a lot about what I want out of life and my marriage and my two friends just listened and let me talk it out. We were celebrating my oldest, best friend’s birthday and kinda-sorta bachelorette. So, we went out.
On the first night we went to City Winery and drank bottles of wine and ate a ton of cheese and deliciousness and just had a perfect time. After that we migrated to Wrigleyville. Ladies, if you are single and you want to meet a good looking, sweet, Midwestern (but not always) gentleman that was brought up to treat a lady right; go to Wrigleyville. I am not kidding you, everywhere you look they are tall and handsome and courteous. They buy you a drink and legitimately ask you what makes you happy in life and what you want out of life. So, anyway, we are in Wrigleyville and we go to this dive-y place because the place we wanted to go to had a line half a mile long (this is fate, stay tuned). We are having a ball there, there are 4 of us and we have all known each other for over ten years and we are all just fucking happy to be together and having so much fun. So eventually, I decide to slow down. I take a break and go off to the side next to a group of guys. There’s this one guy that I would think is so totally out of my league and back home he probably is but there in magical Wrigleyville this beautiful man thinks I am something special and he starts talking to me. He point blank asks me if I’m married numerous times and I am unprepared for this. I never thought I would get hit on or approached like this so I just keep dodging the question any way I can. He eventually cozies up real close to me while my friends dance their little butts off a couple feet away… he put his arm around me and starts running his fingers up and down my arm and I melt. Inside my head I am freaking out, asking myself why this guy is paying attention to me, why is he so sweet and gentle? Do I deserve to be treated this way? Is this what it’s like to be single… to be liked?
It’s getting late and the guy, Peter, we’ll call him, his friend keeps coming up to him and bitching that he wants to leave. Peter keeps telling him no and refused to leave my side. I kept telling him that it was ok, he could go, and that maybe we could meet up later but he would just say “no, no, I don’t want to leave. I want to stay here with you.” This went on for a while until some other guys talked my girlfriends into leaving so I asked Peter and his friend if they wanted to come with us. When we step outside the bar we all start talking and one of the guys my friends met was a complete asshole; so you know me; Ms. Psychology, is asking him what his fucking problem is and why is he being such a douchebag? That goes on for a while and then we start walking to the next place. Peter starts telling me how my friends and I kind of stick out from the other girls; we’re classier, more put together… not drunken messes. He laughs when he hears my “Boston” accent and tells me that I should meet him at the beach the next day. When we get to the next bar/club the line is really long and we all decide to bail after a few minutes. Peter asks for my number, I hesitate but I give it to him. We texts back and forth a couple times but that was it. He was 25, still in school and he was really sweet and good looking but it just ended there… but there was another factor here, the fate part that I had referenced earlier hasn’t even come in play yet.
We go home that night and I am kind of high off of the night’s events. I feel refreshed, like maybe I can do the single thing again, maybe it’s not as horrible as I imagined it to be. When I woke up in the morning I had the worst hang over ever. I tried so hard to suck it up but I just felt like I was going to vomit with every movement I made. We went to the grocery store and I tried to drink coffee and eat when we got back but it did not go well. We all decided to take a nap so I snuck into the bathroom; threw up, brushed my teeth, popped a couple Pepto Bismol tabs and snuck back to the bedroom my friend and I were staying in and friggin’ passed out. I awoke to my two gorgeous friends giggling over me, asking me if I had a good nap. I felt like only a few minutes had passed but they were both showered and getting ready to go out. They asked if I felt up to going out and I literally jumped out of the bed; I was refusing to be a party pooper. I jumped in the shower and although I still felt pretty crappy I wasn’t going to let that slow me down or ruin our night.
A bunch of things happened between that point and the important part so I am going to skip some things. We went out, we ate, started drinking again to try to rid ourselves of our lingering hangovers. I was exhausted but refused to give in to it. We walked around at this street festival in the hipster-y part of town and it was amusing and scary at the same time and then we headed back to Wrigleyville, aka a single girl’s heaven. I just want to mention that on the way there we had a bitch of a time getting a cab and when we finally did it was the worst cab ride ever. I was just starting to feel better and then we get in this cab and it was stop and go for I don’t know how long… we were all getting car sick. The point is, there were many moments at which this night could have fallen apart but it didn’t. We kept it together and I am lucky that we did.
First, we go to a sports bar and we are hit on relentlessly by these not so sober dudes that we could not get away from because it was so friggin’ packed in there that we could barely move. My oldest/best friend’s fiancé abandoned us to go to the batting cages upstairs with some guys, pretty much leaving us to the wolves. Eventually more people that we knew joined our group and we moved away from the drunk dudes into the next room. This room was chalk full of beautiful, tall, men. I kept saying to my friend’s fiancé “everyone is so good looking here!” and “where did all these guys come from?”… His answer: they’re Midwesterners; farm fed. I start talking to the fiancé’s friend, we’ll call him Dave, we had met before, and he was rude to me but doesn’t remember it so we are talking about that and laughing. Then we all decide to go to the place that we wanted to go to the night before. It’s a country bar, live music and BBQ. So we migrate over there fully expecting to have to wait an hour to be seated; we’re seated right away (again: fate). We’re eating and I am teasing Dave, telling him that we are on a date and making fun of him for ordering ribs. It’s cute, we’re complete opposites but I like him in a friendly way. I’m extremely tired at this point and I know that if I don’t get up and start moving that I am going to be a drag. So I get the girls and drag them to the dance floor and we dance right in front of the band. This is my favorite thing to do; I love to get as close to the band/music as possible. It is so much more fun that way and amazing things happen. We are dancing and everyone around us is so wasted; breaking glasses, losing clothes, falling down, just fucking wasted out of their minds. After the third glass breaks right by our feet we decide to head back to the table where more friends had joined. This is the moment: I am standing next to my friends and I blieve we were watching this extremely drunk couple that we had our eyes on all night because it was so very entertaining. They were shit faced, all over each other, girl’s boob keeps falling out because she can’t keep her fucking dress on because her winner of a boyfriend untied it in the back. So we are watching them and snickering and these guys walk by in between us and the couple. Now, keep in mind this is how I think it happened, I was extremely tired so I may be a little off. As one guy walks by he does a double take and points to himself and asks if I’m looking at him and I tell him no and point and explain what we’re looking at. I am pretty confidant I said something extremely inappropriate because he looked at me very surprised that something like that came out a such a small innocent looking girl (I’m assuming). He says “Ohhh.” Or something like that and kind of turns to walk away and the next thing I know is he turning back towards me, telling me that he is going to stay because I am pretty, and asks me for my number. He took me by surprise 100%. I immediately gave him my number and I think it was because I instantly felt a connection and everything in my body was screaming yes and it completely took me by surprise and threw me off guard. We’re immediately in this awesome conversation and bantering back and forth like we have known each other for years, like old friends. He asks me to get a drink with him; at this point I’m drinking water… I’m with my friends and I don’t want to be that asshole that ditches their friends just because a guy comes along. So he keeps trying to convince me to get a drink with him and eventually I turn to my friends and they are already saying “Yes, go. Have fun.” And he sweeps me away to the bar.
At the bar we talked about nonsense and then we talked about serious stuff and then nonsense again. It’s very easy and he keeps looking at me sideways and smirking and I know I am doing the same thing. I never thought I’d meet a guy that was as naturally good at flirting as I am and it is fucking sexy as hell and I can barely keep myself from just falling into him completely. I keep asking myself what I am doing in my head and asking myself what is happening because it felt so intense and natural at the same time. I don’t
remember ever feeling like this before. He made me feel comfortable, safe, pretty, and funny and all those things are such a good combination and I loved every second I spent with him; talking or not talking. There was this crazy magnetic pull between us, we just kept getting closer and closer and it was hard to pry myself away from him again. He kept playing with my hair and looking at me like I was truly the prettiest girl in the room; like I was the only one worth looking at. I told him that my situation was complicated but I didn’t want to explain it to him there; in a loud bar. Eventually he got me talking about it and I just explained that “the guy” and I had been together since I was 21, he is aloof, doesn’t care about anything in life other than being with me, but treats me like crap and so on and so on. When he didn’t simply turn and walk away I was a little shocked… I am not kidding you, I was pretty fucking honest with this guy and he didn’t walk away and I was blown away by that. We’ve been texting and talking ever since… and there’s talk of a visit next month…
After meeting the guy… we’ll call him James, simply for the fact that I imagined that was his middle name, which it is not but it’s easy to remember. So, anyway, I met James at a bar in Chicago. It is a crazy thing to me, meeting a guy in a bar. I always told myself that I was too good for that, and if ever single again I imagined myself falling for someone at work or online dating, which sounds just as terrible to me as meeting someone in a bar. I am not passing judgment here, I simply feel this way because I am awkward when it comes to meeting new people… but aren’t we all? Meeting James, however, was not awkward at all. It was simply and wonderfully easy. It’s like, we just fell right into each other. I instantly felt comfortable with him, like I could be my true self and it was ok. When I told him that my relationship status was complicated and I was not going to discuss it in a loud bar. He stepped back, thought about it for a second and then told me that he didn’t want to talk to anyone else but me. I kept telling him that he could walk away at any point if he felt like I was wasting his time, but he never did. He told me I was pretty in such a genuine way that I believed him and it felt so fucking good. He played with my hair, looked into my eyes, held my hand, made me laugh, laughed at my jokes, and held me super close to him and such a non-threatening way it felt so wholesomely good, like down to the core, it felt good just to be next to him. I did end up telling him a small portion of the complicatedness of my current relationship status and he was so understanding and didn’t even have the expected look of terror on his face when I blurted out “I’m almost 29, I am sooooo ready for babies.” He just simply shook his head and said “that’s understandable”.
Eventually the girls came over to break up the fun after about an hour of James and I talking to each other non stop and smiling and giggling and blushing and said it was time to go. I was sad to leave him but for some reason I felt that it wouldn’t be the end for us so it was ok. I introduced them to him and we all talked for a couple minutes and then they were like “Ok, for real – let’s go.” I will never ever forget what happened next. You know how in movies they have that scene when two lovers have to leave eachother and they don’t want to so they hold hands until the very last second when they absolutely have to let go? That happened. We said goodbye, he kissed me, on the cheek and then maybe on the lips, I think… and then we went to leave each other and I couldn’t let go. He squeezed my hand and my fucking heart melted and I couldn’t believe that something good was happening to me… something that felt so pure and so real.
In the cab on the way back to my best friend’s apartment I thanked them for letting me do my thing while I figure out what the hell I should do about my marriage. They were supportive but neutral which is exactly what I needed.
The next day James texted me to say it was really nice meeting me and 3 weeks later we are still texting, snap chatting and talking in one way or another every day. When we both returned home from Chicago (me to Massachusetts, him to North Carolina) he friended me on Facebook… where he could see that there was something off about my last name. When we met, I gave him my maiden last name (because I never changed it to my married name), on Facebook both last names appear. He texted me “I just friended you on Facebook… I hope that is okay.” I was physically sitting in the same room as my husband but for some reason I had this very clear and telling feeling that what James thought and felt about me was more important to me than the man that was sitting in the same room as me. This man – my husband, has had a million opportunities and almost endless second chances and he never once made me feel as special as James did in the 1 hour that I spent with him. I texted James back and said “of course it’s ok.” I was more concerned with him being upset with me than anything else. That was all telling to me, I had my answer; it was time to walk away, not time to stay and see how much more I can endure in my marriage. I thought about it constantly for about a week (and clearly I have been thinking about this for months, years actually) and then I decided it was time and I ripped the proverbial band-aid off.
And that I did.