I Want to go Home: 8 Years, What a Surprise

Last night I had sex with my ex again. OK, just in a dream but it was so real, it woke me up. This isn’t the first time and, if I’m to be honest with myself, it probably won’t be the last. It’s been EIGHT YEARS for God’s sake! I am angry at myself.

Why is it that I can’t seem to move on?

Actually, I have moved on – many times. I’ve gotten to know someone, fallen in love…only to have it end. Picking myself up after a blow like this gets harder and harder. It reminds me of learning to snowboard. At first, I bounced back up, ready to try again. Again and again and again. Slower and slower to rise… Until finally, lying there on my back making snow angels and watching the clouds go by seemed like the best course of action, really.

The thing is: every time another relationship ends or I have any other setback, I go right back to wanting the safety of my marriage.

In my marriage, I felt safe.

I knew the routine so well after 32 years that there was comfort in it. More than I realized. Everything since our split is scary and new. I have lived in seven new places and had two new jobs with dozens of new co-workers in the eight years since our split. I’ve had a strata board with new neighbours to adjust to, volunteer positions with new people to figure out, a hiking club with all kinds of people to befriend – or not – every week. I’ve worked up the courage to attend concerts alone and even go to the movies. I’ve hired a realtor and contractors and negotiated on my own behalf.

And then there are the interpersonal relationships I’ve been trying to work out at the same time. New technology to find potential partners, being brave enough to actually meet up and date new men, knowing that the only way I won’t end up lonely is if I’m completely honest. Brutal. Rebuffing and being rebuffed. Until finally, I couldn’t do it anymore.

Ending up single. And unemployed. Only 8 years older.

Maybe it isn’t surprising that I dreamed of my ex last night. I had a difficult day yesterday. One of the lowest I’ve had yet. It was probably because I had spent two days scrolling through every job advertisement online and trying to imagine myself in the position. (“Could I drive a forklift? I could take a course, I guess. Buy boots and get a license. Wait a minute! I don’t really want to drive a forklift.”)

Then there was the op-ed piece in our local paper. I spent hours writing a refutation of several points the editor brought forward and then gave up, feeling defeated. No one cares. They just don’t. They have their own shit to worry about – I get it. (Note: the sun was shining this morning so I polished the piece and sent it after all. Enough of being bullied!)

In the dream, my ex was really enjoying himself.

I felt – relief. He still found me attractive and wanted to have sex with me. I was safe at last!

It isn’t the marriage I miss exactly – not the sex or the day-to-day mundane routine or even the friends we had together. It’s definitely not the feeling of guilt because I knew all he wanted was for me to play crib and watch a hockey game with him…and all I wanted to do was read or go to the theatre or a basement concert or a poetry slam or anything – anything at all. Oh! That hideous guilt!

What I miss is the knowing that he was there. That he would stand up for me and champion me – even if he didn’t agree with me. No one from outside was allowed inside. It was like I went through life knowing I could say or do anything because I had an army of my own to back me up.

And now I am the outsider.

Only one person has ever stood up for me as fiercely as he did – my best friend from childhood. Man, she would punch anyone who ever tried to bully me. What a protector! And I still mourn her moving away, don’t I? 40 years later.


So it’s not so much my inability to let go or move on – it’s the loss of the haven. No wonder I work so hard to make the places I live into warm and inviting spaces. Home.

In the middle of a tear-stained, howling eyed melt down, I always cry out: “I want to go home.”

One day I will but apparently not before I suffer the slings, arrows, and poisonous darts of nearly every other goddamned person on the planet. Ya beat me down! Are ya satisfied yet?


There is something interesting about these “protectors” and “champions.” They move on pretty easily. It’s as if it really doesn’t matter who they are protecting, they can just pick someone else. I am pretty sure that neither of my former champions has thought about me in years.

That’s one of the reasons I feel so foolish.

Am I more sensitive than they are? After all, thinking of some of the things they said to others (or did), I know I could never do that. I would feel terrible to hurt someone’s feelings. The times I’ve acted badly in my life and either honestly forgotten about others or conveniently forgotten to think of them in selfishness, haunt me. Yes, my ex is one from the latter category.

I have been working hard to forgive myself for the rotten way I treated him. The way I was so blasé about our relationship – how much I took it all for granted. Believe me, I am suffering for my short-sightedness still.

Even in my dreams.


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