“I’m not over my ex-wife. She left me!” Jason said, sobbing into the phone.
“The divorce was final a year ago in August, right?” I asked.
“Yes, she left me two years ago. I fought for her—for our marriage. I’m sorry. I quit taking my antidepressants recently and I thought that I was ready to date.” He sniffled.
OMFG what?! I was silently freaking out. I thought this guy had it all together. I thought that enough time had passed that he was over his ex. One of the rules is “Don’t Date a Guy Within a Year of His Divorce,” to avoid situations like this. WTH?! “I see. I guess you’re not ready to date, then,” I said, hoping that would be the end of the conversation.
But no, he had more to say.
“You’re the first person that I’ve dated since the divorce,” he told me.
Uh oh. Two years later, I’m the rebound girl? SERIOUSLY? For clarification, this was his 2nd divorce. Isn’t the second one usually easier than the first?
He continued, “I put clues in my Match profile. The caption on my profile picture is All the Kings’ Men. That’s a reference to Humpty Dumpty. See, when my wife left me, my son asked what divorce meant. I went to Goodwill and bought a cheap coffee mug that said Love on it. We took it to the garage and smashed it. Then we smashed it again. We gathered up the pieces and tried to glue it back together. My son said, Daddy, there’s a piece missing.” Jason’s voice broke, and he sobbed again.
Oh brother! Melodramatic much? I wonder if a teenager would understand the subtly of the metaphor. I’m relatively certain that a 10 year old wouldn’t. And I would bet good money that his three-year-old son had NO IDEA what his daddy was trying to convey. Seriously, his child is 5 today, so 2 years ago, he would have been 3. This man is insane if he thinks a broken mug explains divorce to a toddler.
I had to say something, so in the interest of ending the call, I said, “And there will always be a piece missing. Well, sorry to hear that. I had fun.” I wasn’t sure what else to say.
“I had fun, too,” he said. “This sucks. I’ve been messed up since 1992.”
1992 was the year that I graduated high school; he’s a year younger, so it was the year his junior year ended. I debated. Should I ask why, or just hang up? Curiosity got the better of me. I asked, “1992? What happened?”
“I loved a girl, and when she broke up with me, she broke my heart. I thought that I’d never love again. I settled for a friend, we got married, and I cheated on her when another girl came along. And then another, and another…” Jason said.
OMFG. Is this a See You Later phone call or a therapy session?! “Um, how long were you married, that first time?” I asked. I couldn’t help it; I wanted to know the whole story.
“Ten years,” he croaked between sobs.
Wow. He not only cheated on her, but he cheated on her for a decade?! I had no words.
He continued, “I still carry a lot of guilt, even though she’s forgiven me. We’re friends, and I still apologize, but she says she’s forgiven me,” he paused to take a breath. Then he whispered, “I didn’t cheat on my second wife. The divorce went on, for over a year, and I wouldn’t date. I made a promise.”
Again, wow. He is seriously messed up. He cheated on his first wife repeatedly, for a decade, but wouldn’t date anyone for over a year after his second divorce?! I heard my mom’s voice in the back of the head, from years ago when I was in a similar situation. Her advice had been, “You aren’t his therapist. Don’t try to be; you’re not qualified. You’re looking for a life partner, not a patient.” My mom was trained as a therapist, and had counseled many people, so she knew what she was talking about.
I asked him, gently and with concern, “Are you still seeing your therapist?”
“Yes,” he said, voice still cracking. “And my sister acts like my therapist; my sister who shares your name.” That was an attempt at a joke.
I said, “Ha.” I didn’t have the heart to really laugh. “What can I do for you?” I asked with an even tone, honestly wanting to know the answer. I may have sounded cold; that was the best that I could do. I wasn’t cussing (at least, not out loud), or yelling, or freaking out (again, not out loud).
“Nothing,” he said.
I took a deep breath. “Well, ok, I hope you talk to your therapist, or your sister, soon. Take care, Jason.”
Holy Shit! Not only was this guy in therapy, he was also previously on antidepressants and a cheater! I respect people who admit their mistakes, and I understand that going to therapy or being on antidepressants doesn’t define a person. I encourage people to get help if they need it. In fact, I have close relatives who benefit from therapy.
HOWEVER, crying on the phone to a woman that you’re dating, about your ex-wife who left you TWO YEARS AGO—that’s cray cray.
My son Jack told me, “Better to find out sooner rather than later.”
“Ya,” I responded, still freaking out. “But really, I soooooo did not see this coming.”
“People with depression are good at hiding it,” he said, “Like your cousin that you told me about. I didn’t see it, either. Really, it’s better that you found out this early in the relationship.”
I support having a therapist. I visit mine as often as possible. Of course, I call them “friends” and my appointments are over “happy hour.”
Seriously, though, if you’re depressed, seek help. Therapy works! Medication helps! And, for God’s sake, STAY OFF DATING WEBSITES!!