Tag Archive | divorce

The Tragedy of Arnie G.

Some blog entries come easier than others. This one has taken well over a month to complete, with my writing long passages only to delete them entirely. This may be the fifth or sixth version from scratch. I dance around the topic of Arnie G. and what happened to him, and how he became what he became out of privacy but also because I don’t think I’ve looked at it honestly before. I didn’t see the signs that were there earlier than I recall, when I reminisce about an idyllic romance that fell apart in a short period when his mind started to fracture.

The way I’ve often relayed it is that we were two young kids in love who moved in together in a week, married in less than two years, had typical struggles, had Ivy, and then a few years later looked around at a marriage that was quickly and utterly shattered by mental illness and drug abuse. And how twenty years after we divorced, Arnie is still spiraling out of control, and we’re still close, and there’s still nothing I can do about it.

Most of that is exactly how it went, except that none of it happened quickly. Memory is funny that way. In my mind, it feels like he was perfectly fine, best husband and dad in the world, and within a week was checking into his first of many hospitals.

When I try hard to think back, to reconstruct the timeline, it’s fuzzy. I know I won’t get it all right and I don’t want an entry that’s a bulleted list of what happened when. That’s not ever what this should be about. But I do need to look back with open eyes about the way we were.


We were young. I was twenty-one and he was twenty-five when we met in a store where my mother and he worked. He was quirky and brilliant and within a couple of hours of talking to him I knew our meeting was something special. It was a whirlwind romance for sure, the way many things are in your early twenties.  You’re a blank slate then and for me, with my life planned out in precise steps, all I needed was him to walk into my life and then everything would fall into place. I ignored the fact that he’d had “a problem with cocaine” his words, or an arrest record, or that he’d just moved back to his parents’ house because “things got out of control.” In my life, everything was under control. This was my naïve, youthful thinking, which has since yielded to the understanding that I can only control some things and the rest I let wash over me like waves, adjusting myself so I don’t drown. But back then I hadn’t learned.


There’s no point in rehashing all of it now except to say there were a lot of arrests, a lot of probation officer visits, court fees, fines, losses of license while I sat by, a dutiful wife, honoring my commitment to stay by his side. I complained a lot, cried a lot, yelled an awful lot. I think we fought so much in those ten years that I wore myself out. He had a nervous breakdown at one point that lasted for months. He stopped working and though I wanted to argue with him about it, I agreed he couldn’t handle work anymore. He was fragile, and has always been fragile and I suppose that was one of the things that drew me to him, his fragility and sensitivity. He cared so much about everything, all the time, just like me. His empathy and kindness toward others was boundless. But those were the traits that crippled him. He cared too much, all the time, about everyone. All of this was years before that short period of time I refer to as “When it all fell apart.”


There was no one thing, no final straw. It was years of everything getting worse. There were probably about five things at the end that caused me to say I was done, once and for all, that I had to take Ivy and leave. I’m not going to broadcast them here because it won’t help anyone. I stayed as close to him as I could and I have to admit that all the serious boyfriends since him were really good about including him when he went through his clean or lucid periods, and even when he didn’t. I’ll give credit where it’s due. Even Husband #2 was a good sport in that regard.


Arnie’s mother passed away last week. She was too young, and cigarettes are to blame. Ivy and I were close to her before and after the divorce. Her other children will surely miss her terribly as she was the one who held everything together. Her grandchildren will be very, very sad because she was a wonderful person. Despite Arnie being a mess though, and in and out of rehabs and jail and shelters and sober houses and then starting the cycle all over, and despite how much his mind isn’t as logical as it was, I think he will be the hardest hit by her passing. She was all he had, even if he didn’t always acknowledge it. Once I left him all those years ago, and after he went from bad to worse, and hit his rock bottom and stayed there, she was his touchstone. No matter where he was, he would call her, let her know where he was living, let her know that he was living. And she’d report to me and I’d report to Ivy and the three of us would breathe a sigh of relief that he was okay. For at least another day.

I don’t know what will become of him now. I’ve been in touch with him a lot lately out of worry. Ivy and I flew to Boston a few weeks ago to see Mrs. G. one last time, knowing the end was near. Mr. And Mrs. G. were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and the immediate family got together for one long day and night in their in-law home attached to my sister-in-law’s house. An attendant brought Mr. G. from the nursing home in his wheelchair. He has mild dementia and Multiple Sclerosis but seemed healthier to me than I’d seen him in a long time. It was nice to see all my ex-in-laws and for a brief time on that visit it felt like we never left. Except that in other ways, it was a stark reminder of how much had changed. Ivy and I were so cold, and the little nieces and nephews were so much older and more vibrant, and Mr. and Mrs. G were so much older and sicker. And Arnie…it was heartbreaking.

He was too skinny, looked emaciated. His muscle disease left his hands curled up and fingers mostly unusable; his calves had almost no muscle on them at all. Nonstop facial spasms that he says are excruciating, a side effect of years of prescription and street drugs, were the hardest to witness. He was barely recognizable from the twenty-five year old I met almost thirty years ago.

His mind is different too, as changed by his path and drugs as his body. About a month before the visit he said to me in an exasperated voice, regarding how the government keeps breaking into his phones, “Carly, you thought I was crazy but see, I’m not. They’re watching me. The FBI and the Attorney General’s office, they want me because of what I know. I can prove it now.” He keeps getting new phones and phone numbers and Ivy and I have started naming the contacts “Arnie Jan 19, Arnie Feb 19” so we won’t ignore calls from strange numbers. For once I didn’t argue with him. At this point he will never accept that the panic and paranoia stems from his mind, not covert government agencies. And my fighting with him comes across as name calling and that’s the last thing he needs.


Ivy sat on the floor next to him as she did when she was little and talked to him, relating to him on a level that was endearing. For a few hours she was a little girl next to a father who told her about his adventures and his findings: flat earth, the Illuminati, secrets in dollar bills, the faked moon landing. There was no judgement that day, and when he dumped out his tattered bag of thrift store treasures on the dining room table, items picked with love, something for everyone, I think he felt good, like nothing had ever changed.

But now Mrs. G is gone, and Ivy and I are back in California, and Arnie is out there in the cold of a brutal Massachusetts winter, figuring out where he’ll live next, trying to stay warm, while his body is breaking down a little more each day. Mrs. G.’s passing has nothing to do with his homelessness; he seems to have a hard time staying anywhere for very long. But I hope he will not drift too far away from reality, from life, without Mrs. G. there to reel him in. He talks about moving to Peru because it’s magical there, or South Carolina, because it’s the first warm state when you head south, or to Sedona because there are people like him, or in a tent in the woods, or maybe just another sober house right there in Massachusetts.  I don’t know where he will end up but I hope he will keep chugging along one day at a time as long as he is able.

Rest in peace, Mrs. G. We will miss you so much.

And to Arnie, may the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.

To Carrying On

-Carly G



Outside, Looking In

imagesOne of my biggest fears is losing my mind. This worry stems, I think, from the fact that my brain is always going in a hundred directions, that my imagination is a little too strong, and that there are constant weird parallels in my life that make me wonder, too often, if I’m living in a video game.

They say there are only so many fiction plots, and I add that beyond that only so many subplots. Assuming our lives are predestined, there are only so many different situations we can encounter over the course of our lives before they start to repeat or overlap. I’ve mentioned these before in this blog: the time the priest who married my first husband and me twenty years prior, magically appeared in my life the day after I sold my engagement ring from Husband # 2. Or when I met my ex-stepfather again after twenty-five years and upon walking toward him ran into Ivy’s ex-stepfather.

My life is fraught with parallels and coincidences and I have come to accept them as messages from some metaphysical being or God saying, “I’m giving you some clues here, some hints that you’re on the right path.” Stuff like that makes me wonder if I’m going crazy, but more often than not I like it and think it makes me special, in a good way, not the lock-you-up-in-an-institution way.DownloadedFile

The other night I went to a hair salon to take a few inches off my uncontrolled mop. I never can remember the names of the hairdressers there, except for Ling but Ling is always booked in advance, and I always show up on whim. A very young, skinny, blonde girl (I’ll call her Lori) said she could take me.  I told her what I wanted and she began to snip away.

We talked as she cut. I explained that I was from Massachusetts, met a guy online, etc. Lori listened intently and then said, “My mother did the same thing. She met a guy online but from the east coast. They had a long distance relationship and flew back and forth a lot too. They’ve been together a few years and he just proposed to her and now she’s moving out to Pennsylvania.” I asked her age and she said twenty-one. The same age as Ivy. Lori is also an only child. DownloadedFile

For a moment I thought, what are the odds? A girl Ivy’s age whose mother meets a guy online and moves to the opposite coast? It was clearly another one of these little notes from the universe. So I waited with bated breath to see how she felt about it. Not that this necessarily reflects what Ivy thinks but it’s been my experience with coincidences that they are pretty spot on.

We talked about relationships and how, above all else, I’m content and relieved to have a permanent partner who is nice. To have a best friend, a companion. To live without my focus being on fixing a broken relationship, or getting over a man, or finding a new one. She nodded and said she is very happy that her mother has someone to spend her life with, to settle down with, so she won’t have to worry about her.

Children should not have to worry about their parents. They should be able to watch them being responsible adults, leading by example. I regret that many of Ivy’s lessons learned about relationships were from my “This is what not to do,” teachings.

Ivy has not said much about my relationship with Ryan in the past six years. She was never one to pull punches about other men I dated, or married. thVDPX3FZ6

Some of her most poignant comments, about various people were: “It makes me sick to look at him, he’s obnoxious, he’s conceited, he’s stupid, he’s crazy, he’s lying, he’s mean,  he argues about everything…” I could go on all day. With Ryan, she never said a word, which was odd. Maybe because she knew how much he meant to me. Maybe because at that point she was tired of her very valid complaints falling on deaf ears. Maybe because Ryan didn’t deserve her venom and she has never been critical without reason.

Last year Ryan bravely asked her if she liked him, sort of joking, as we assume by now that she does. She said quite plainly, “All we ever wanted was someone who was nice to me and to my mom. You’ve been nice so yes, I like you.” Simple words but it’s the core of so many successful relationships, and the lack of it is the downfall of so many more.

The hairdresser explained that her parents used to fight all the time. There was no physical violence but so much anger and shouting. This reminded me of the time Ivy and her stepsister at the time, they were about nine and seven respectively, put notes all over the house saying “STOP YELLING!” I told the hairdresser about this and how nice it is now that there is no yelling. She said there is no yelling in her mother’s new relationship either.


I wondered, what was the message here? What was the universe trying to tell me? Then she said it. “I want to find someone to settle down with and have that kind of relationship. Like she has now. A best friend, someone to love, to depend on. Someone nice.” And there it was. The new relationship is the one she’s using as an example of how things are supposed to be, not the failed marriage of her parents.  This revelation made me realize that Ivy may be using my relationship with Ryan as her basis for how things should work, not all my ghosts of relationships past.

Ivy has learned from me, for better or worse, and hopefully I met Ryan in time for her to see that there is such a thing as a good match. When I see her with Trevor, placid and peaceful, I think we are all on the right path.

Here’s to looking for signs in everyday occurrences,

-Carly G.

The Curve Ball

IMG_0001At my age, I like to think I’m an adult. I’m in control of my emotions and my life is pretty settled and happy.  I’ve got my share of stress like anyone: typical parenting stuff, financial challenges, family discord on occasion. But overall, things are finally just right. Predictable and manageable. Even Lily the puppy has settled into an easy routine. No surprises.

But a couple of weeks ago I got an unexpected email from my stepfather and suddenly I felt like a little girl again. I have to wonder if any woman, no matter her age or place in life ever loses that inner child. I am hence posting pictures of me as a kid. For anyone who has been reading this blog all along, or knows me in real life,  you’ll know I haven’t seen this man in over twenty years. He hasn’t met Ivy, and except for a couple of emails or calls in all these years, we’ve had no contact.

IMG_0003Even so, he was the man who raised me, was there for all the years of my early and late childhood. He left when I was thirteen, the summer before high school. Legally I suppose he’s my ex-stepfather but I never accepted that he was gone forever. He never called me a stepchild. “This is my daughter, Carly,” he’d say. And I’d beam with pride. His email said he’s been reading my blog and  following my life online for some time.  To the left is a picture of my Holly Hobby House, one of my favorite things ever. I’m obviously the one on the right.

Life would have been easier if he had stayed of course; and I could be a true childish brat and blame his absence for everything bad that ever happened in my life. But realistically more damage was done by the people in my life than those out if it. He was only thirty-three when he left a difficult marriage and two stepchildren aged thirteen and eighteen years old. He still visited me for years. It wasn’t cold turkey but a gradual parting between us, as I grew up.

IMGHe was only twenty-three or so when we “got him” and I remember clearly those first visits. Almost immediately he jumped in with both feet and we had a full family (for a while). Ten years is a long time in the life of a little girl, and though he left before I was an adult, he was a huge influence on me. When I was in kindergarten he went to Panama for the National Guard. I’m not sure how long he was gone but he brought me home this doll, which I named Panama and kept for many, many years.

IMG_0002I’ve written ad nauseam in this blog about all that was wrong in my past, and how hard everything was, and how strong my struggles made me. But for tonight I want to remember some wonderful parts of my childhood, times when my “dad” was still around full time. This picture shows me with my Castle Cake, my mother made me every year. The Hershey bar doors were my favorite part.

We are planning to meet again soon. Twenty years is a long time, but oddly enough I don’t feel any older than I did then, or any different. It certainly didn’t feel like it was that long ago we all split up and moved our separate ways. For better or worse, he and I both turned out all right in the end and seemingly for all we’ve both endured, we’re the same underneath.

With all that’s happened in the past years, it’s nice this has come full circle. Years ago I was at a marriage counselor and told the doctor about my stepdad and how we hadn’t spoken but I was sure he still thought of me, that he still cared even if he wasn’t there. The doctor looked at me seriously and said, “You need to accept that he was just your stepfather and he’s moved on. He has no obligation to you. What if he doesn’t care?” I argued that he did. The doctor looked at me like I was a foolish little girl. “You need to let him go.”

It was fair advice but I am glad that I will get to see my stepfather again after all, through the eyes of an adult, to see just how much little girl is still left inside.

-Carly G.

When You Run into an Ex

Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is just around the corner. It’s been a long rough year but the holiday spirit always makes me feel warm and happy. I won’t see Ryan over the holidays because he’s out of vacation days. But time is just time and it will go by quickly as it always does. For now though, his virtual presence is enough to make the holidays brighter.

If you read my older blogs, from almost a year ago, I spoke about ex husband number 2. When I started the Carly blog we were best friends, despite how bad our short marriage had been.  He went above and beyond as a friend to make up for everything.  He had a nice fiance that was better suited to him that I had been. And I had “met” Ryan and was very happy. We had started to cool off the friendship because we were both with other people and they were the ones we should have been focusing on. But it was still nice knowing he was there if I needed anything. Okay, looking back it was pretty dysfunctional but it was comfortable.

And then I had a dismantling with a mutual friend of ours and suddenly our friendship was over. There was no argument. He just stopped calling and he blocked me on Facebook. It was hurtful and I was confused. I could have reached out but there was no point. It was time to move on.

I had Ryan. And honestly, it did make it easier not to be around someone I had chosen to leave. It was nice to focus solely on Ryan and our relationship, and never look back. Though I live in a very small town and the ex lives just a mile from me, I’ve never run into him.

Today though I was headed into the grocery store and saw him walk in. It’s been almost a year since we’ve spoke and so I grew anxious.  I waited in my car for him to leave so I could avoid speaking to him. Let sleeping dogs lie.

But then I remembered that I wanted to tell him about Ivy, about some problems she’s had, about her successes. He was in our lives for seven years and there were things he should know, things I would have told him if hadn’t pulled away. And honestly, the tension of always worrying I’d run into him and how it would go makes me uncomfortable. So I got out of the car and went inside, not intent on finding him but figuring if I saw him, then so be it.

I did. In the bread aisle. It was weird. He looked shocked and upset to see me. He said, “Oh. Hi.” We had a solid wall between us, or we may as well have. I am nothing if not confrontational so I asked calmly, “So how come you just stopped talking to us a year ago?” He explained why, which was the reason I suspected. We had an awkward few minutes of updates: My new book,  his wife’s new business, Ryan. I filled him in on some Ivy stuff.

The conversation was superficial and cold. It reminded me how the relationship had been. We had been an awful match. Had never truly bonded. There was no drama now. Just cool, calm talking, a relaying of facts. Like we had a really bad date we wanted to forget, but saw each other and had to make an effort to make it less awkward than it was.

In the end he said his wife was waiting in the car and he had to go, and maybe he’d run into me in the store again someday.

I said Merry Christmas and he said Happy Thanksgiving. He left and I wandered the store and bought groceries. Seeing him rattled me a little. I guess the coldness threw me. It wasn’t cruel coldness, like anger. There was just nothing.

There are some great lyrics in the Rascal Flatt’s song, “Movin’ On” that sum this unexpected visit up nicely.

I’ve dealt with my ghosts and I’ve faced all my demons/Finally content with a past I regret,/I’ve found you find strength in your moments of weakness,/At last I’m at peace with myself.

It was an enlightening visit to the grocery store. I went there to buy ingredients for lasagna and meatballs and left with a feeling of emptiness but a trove of closure.

To leaving the past in the past.

-Carly G.

Greeting Cards from Exes

Last week I decided to sort through a box labeled “Special Cards.” I’m trying to whittle down my belongings to what I need, things that matter. For years I’ve thrown every greeting card in that box and it’s unlikely I need them all.

I brought the box up from the basement and started reading through the cards. Some were special, from Ivy, Ryan, or relatives.  There were also a whole bunch from exes. If the current Me received those cards, I would have walked away. Reading between the lines were commitment issues and fear of intimacy.

There was a Valentine’s Day card from one particular guy. On the outside it said, “I lo-, I lo-” and on the inside, “I like you a lot.” I read it and wondered why he even put the love idea out there. Why not just buy me a card that said, “You’re special.” It reminded me of the time we later went engagement ring shopping. We drove there together and he picked one out that was much larger that I had expected. I was thrilled of course because it was a lovely ring and this proposal was a long time coming. I’d told people we were going out that night, for that very reason. Ivy’s daycare lady kept her a couple of extra hours for the occasion. But at the store he told the man he wasn’t ready to buy one after all. I found out later he’d snuck out and bought it to put away for when HE was ready. In those months that lapsed until he gave it to me though I was hurt, unnecessarily, kind of like with the card. “I lo-, I lo-…I like you.” The whole relationship followed that pattern, of dangling the love carrot only to withdraw it.

There were cards from two serious boyfriends I had after him, and I laughed (in a sad way) when I read them. Every card, somewhere in the body, had “sorry” printed in apologetic cursive. Another thing I noticed was for the holiday cards, from both men, they read, “I hope next (Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc) year we’re still together.” Okay fine, we weren’t still together, but looking back, the fact that all the cards had apologies and foreshadowed a potential break up should have been big red flags.  I know people make mistakes and hurt each other, but shouldn’t apologies be a rarity and not the norm? There were no, “Just because I love you,” cards in the box. What was I thinking?

I remember being in relationships over the years and standing in the card section, struggling to find a card that said what I needed it to. “I don’t want to be here,” “Trying to extricate myself from…” “Can we start over? Alone?” Buying cards is a lot easier now. I actually pick them up quite often to send to Ryan because I love that I can go in the romance section and pick up any one and the mushy sentiments ring true.

By the way, I threw away all the cards except the ones from Ivy, Ryan and family. Like my new life, this box contains nothing but happiness and hope.

-Carly G.

A Sign from God and Saying Goodbye

by Carly G.

Next weekend my second husband is getting married. Given that, I figured it was time to sell my old engagement ring. I’d held onto it for a long time, knowing I wouldn’t be able to get back what he paid. But at this point, it doesn’t matter because I didn’t pay for it and anything I received would be more than it’s earning me in my sock drawer. Friday I walked down the street from my office to the Jewelers’ Building. It was raining and I was nervous about the process. The idea of moving on, completely, with the lack concrete connection, was both refreshing and unnerving. I got to the store and it was closed.

As I walked back to the office, I suddenly realized how badly I did want to get rid of the ring. I peered in the windows of some of the neighboring stores, considered asking them if they wanted to buy it. I was ready, finally, and the idea of going back to work and having to bring this symbol of a relationship long dead back home for the weekend bothered me. I waited an hour and called the store. Turns out they open at 10am and I had been a little early. This time the trip was easy. I walked back to the store, still in the rain. After some small talk, and after showing them the original appraisal they had given my ex so many years ago, we agreed on a price, they gave me a check and I went back to my office. I felt a little off kilter the rest of the day but relieved.

The next day I was on a panel at a horror conference and I saw a man take a seat in the audience. He looked just like the priest who married my first husband and me. Surely it couldn’t be him, I thought. What would a priest be doing here? We made eye contact a few times and I sensed recognition. It had been fifteen years since I’d seen him. He left before the panel was over and I figured it would remain a mystery. A while later though I saw him at the booth my group was running. I walked over to him and said, “Excuse me, are you Kevin X?” He said yes and said “I saw you speaking on the panel and you look familiar. Where do I know you from?” I explained he’d married Ivy’s dad and me. We were pretty active in the church for that short period when he had just come on as a priest. It was his first job. He remembered us.

Turns out he’s a big horror fan and we know a lot of the same people. We had a wonderfully lively talk and I explained about my first ex and our divorce. Remarkably he said what I had always hoped someone of the cloth would if I ever approached them. “Well, you clearly had no choice but to get a divorce. If you wanted to get an annulment, I’m sure you could. It’s a big process but you’d be granted one I’m sure.” He then went on to praise me for going through two tumultuous marriages and  raising my daughter alone and also for my writing accomplishments. I told him I didn’t have any interest in an annulment, given I don’t know if I’ll ever get married again and since we had Ivy together, I didn’t want to pretend the marriage didn’t happen. But just knowing that even the Catholic Church agreed I chose an acceptable path, well it made me feel better.

The fact this man should show up the day after I sold my engagement ring  from Husband # 2 felt like a sign from God. I’m not a religious person, and haven’t really been a full-fledged Catholic in more than ten years but it did not feel like a mere coincidence. To me, it was a pat on the back from Someone that I was on the right path.

So today, I decided to also trash that bouquet of roses that are dead and drying upside down in my basement like a carcass. They were from another relationship it’s time to let go of. This has been a big year of letting go and saying goodbye but that is part of the process.

Purging all the parts of my life that were cluttering up my heart has been refreshing. Now that I cleared out my emotional junk drawer, I feel like there might be room left in heart for someone new after all.

Here’s to starting my new life

-Carly G.

Sharing Special Places

by Carly G.

 A bunch of years ago, Ivy’s Godparents bought a little cottage on Prince Edward Island in Canada. We were invited to stay with them that first summer and I fell in love. I liked the area so much that I  interviewed for a job there, just to see, and planned to come back that following April and get an actual job and sell my house and relocate. Before all that happened I met my second husband and decided to stay where I was.

With a couple of exceptions, Ivy and I have gone every year since. My second husband went with us a couple of times. He wasn’t as swept away with the beauty as I was but he seemed to like it. Still, it wasn’t the same with him as without him as he always wanted to rush here and there and jog and ride bikes. I liked mostly to sit on the deck and stare at the water, or watch our hosts’ dogs roll in the red sand of the beach and come bounding up the hill looking completely different than when they left to chase after a ball.

When Husband Two and I split up, Ivy and I went alone a couple of summers in a row and it was truly magical, just like the first time. The sunsets and sunrises took my breath away. And we made our annual pilgrimage to North Rustico to stare at the jellyfish. It’s a small fishing village similar to Sweethaven from the Robin William’s Popeye movie. One large dock, that wobbles and frightens me, is one of our favorite stops to take pictures, despite the fishy smell. We like to walk along the water there and sink up to our ankles in warm red sand.

This last summer, when it was time to go on our annual trip, Mr. X was part of my life. I was leery about bringing him, as my ex husband had tarnished it for me a bit. As it turned out, Mr. X was fine, the trip was nice. Except he felt like an interloper on the normally fun ten hour drive as he decided to pick then to reveal he wasn’t as passive and easy going as I’d thought. He’d tired of the songs Ivy wanted to hear and commanded silence the rest of the drive….anyway the rest of the trip was okay. Mr. X seemed a little bored and didn’t like that we decided on where to eat breakfast without checking with him first and he had that episode of refusing to-well anyway I digress. Once we got home he said “that was fun but do you visit every year?” We said yes, we loved PEI. He argued that we should go every other year as he didn’t want to go back for awhile.  Ivy and I looked at each other, had a non verbal exchange of understanding.

Without words, with only the raise of an eyebrow I said “well maybe YOU can just stay home next year, Mister!”

We broke up a couple of weeks later and I was thinking yesterday that I really don’t want anyone else to go there and add any negativity. It’s MY special wonderful place (MY meaning mine and Ivy’s).

Years ago when I was in marriage counseling with Husband Two, the therapist asked  me during one of our private sessions why I was still married. I said (because sometimes I’m overly logical and compartmentalize a little too well) that I couldn’t bear the thought of bringing a third man to the office holiday party. I said it would be embarassing since I’d already brought two husbands and since I didn’t plan on leaving that company anytime soon, how could I ever date anyone else? She said that was not really a valid reason to stay married. As it turned out, shortly after we divorced, we stopped having formal office parties and now have after-hours, right-from-work cocktail and appetizer gatherings. No one brings dates.

My feelings of PEI are the same. It’s somewhat the embarassment factor and also that I don’t want to share PEI with anyone else. Today I pictured bringing someone new (no one in particular) on our next trip. At my age any man I date will probably have a child or two so they would have to go. And how would they all fit in my Mini Cooper? And what if they didn’t want to go to PEI Preserves for breakfast and spend an hour standing outside after just admiring the landscape and hoping to spot one of the local Bald Eagles?

This current feeling of not wanting to share PEI is probably representative of my relationship resistance right now and further confirmation, to me at least, that I’ve still got a bit of healing to do. Or maybe I’ve reached the point in my life where I admit it’s okay to have Special Places that Ivy and I visit together, just us. Or special shows only we watch. In the past I pushed so hard for total unity but I think this is my newest lesson learned.

I may date again someday, but I’m not sharing my PEI Ivy trips. I’ll add that to my “List.”

-Carly G.