> Looking forward to hearing about the dinner with your ex-wife!
The dinner was interesting. When Holly called and asked if we could get together, I told her no, that I didn’t think it was necessary. She talked me into it, and I must admit, I’m glad she did. I think that one thing that made it easier for me to agree to dinner was something that Holly did that showed me that she was beginning her process of healing. In the middle of our conversation, right in the middle in fact — it came from out of the blue, Holly apologized to me. She said, “Andy, I’m sorry.” I said, “What?” and she repeated it. “What for?,” I asked. And she replied, “I didn’t handle it very well with you,” and I knew that she was aplogizing for many things in those words, everything from the marriage to the breakup to the divorce, and more. I accepted her apology, and then told her that I’d forgiven her a long time ago and that I didn’t need to hear those words from her, but understood and supported her need to say them to me. I didn’t say it in a bitter way, but just as someone who’d moved on, sorta like if an adult came to you and apologized to you for breaking your favorite toy when you were 5 years old — it’s nice, but it just doesn’t affect you anymore.
During that, our first phone conversation in three years, I thanked Holly for everything that had happened between us. I told her that while what we went though was indescribibly painful, I was glad for the person I’d become through the experience, and that I would go though it again to become the person I am now.
Holly was staying with some friends, and she came over to the house at about 4:30 or so, with the rest of our dinner companions to meet us there around 5:00. She wanted to see me, the place, and Stanley. Right around 4:15 or so, I began to get really nervous. Pacing, sitting, standing, etc. When she arrived at 4:30, though, it felt ‘better’ than I thought it would. I gave her a hug, and she was amazed at how long my hair has gotten, etc. We wandered around the house for a few mintues, pointing out changes that I’ve made and want to make. All the while, Holly was gabbing on nervously.
Shortly, the rest arrived, and we were off to dinner at a place out in Milford (I think) called THE MELTING POT. It’s a fondue restaurant. I have to say, fondue restaurants are not my favorite. They’re expensive, they’re hot, and you have to cook your own food. Nothing there says “This is a good dining experience” to me!
ANYhow, the six of us sat down, and Holly was very quick to point out to the waitier that the other two couples were married, and that she and I are DIVORCED. (I think I saw the waitier breathe a sigh of relief when he heard that news — apparently, his life was not complete without that information.) I commented to Holly how odd it was that she’d feel the need to tell him that.
Dinner was fun; full of laughter and good company.
One funny observation about dinner: I was with my ex-wife, my divorce lawyer, my therapist, Holly’s therapist, and my accountant (and their spouses). When I noticed that, I got a laugh out of it, and then everyone else laughed when I told them.
At dinner, Holly sometimes referred to our marriage or divorce in a sarcastic tone or with a wise-crack of some kind. I would just look at her and smile; I’d been there before. I remember one accidentally-theraputic night during my process. I was an officer in a local computer club. Each monthly meeting, the officers gave a report. This particular month, I don’t remember which month it was, I got up and gave about 15-20 minutes about divorce and my feelings about it. It was a gushing forth of anger and frustration, bitterness and hurt, all delivered with my wry sense of humor. It was very healing for me, but I can imagine the poor club members, sitting in the darkened room, eyes wide, aghast at what I was saying but powerless (or unwilling) to get up to leave and possibly interrupt my process. I’m embarrassed about that, but recognize that it was a step, just placed a little poorly. It was with that in mind that I didn’t stop Holly for saying those things.
Holly and I rode home together, and had a chance to talk for a little bit about our lives, and where we are and where we want to be heading. She’s happy with her life, but I could tell that she was perhaps a little jealous about my progress. When we got back to my house, I gave her another hug and told her that it was nice to see her, and that it went easier than I thought it would. She agreed and then asked if we could get together sometime. I knew she meant as a date, so I said, “Nope. I’d love to see you when you’re in town, but please don’t make any special trips for me.” She nodded wistfully and that was that.
The thing about that entire encounter, (this being the part where I wax somewhat philosophical. You may just want to ignore the rest.) was that it felt like I was an AFTER looking at a BEFORE. I feel that is a correct assesment; Holly admitted that she’d repressed everything, and had only recently began to deal with the reality of divorce — three years later. Better late than never.
One thing about seeing her was my feelings of “Am I ready to see my ex?”, “Have I healed enough that this won’t be damaging to me?”, etc. Well, I am very happy to report that I came through it with flying colors. I did better with the entire situation than I feared I might. At no point in the evening was I bitter, angry, or even sarcastic toward Holly or about what I’d gone through. Those feelings just weren’t there, and I am proud of myself for taking an aggressive, directed route toward healing myself through that process.
It was a definate growing experience.