It has dawned on me that the reason Dylan is somewhat less comfortable with the idea of me dating than the other kids are because more of his life has been when my husband was in the Mr Wonderful stage. He doesn’t remember much about what my husband was like before that.
And furthermore, I see glimpses of young J in him, too. Like yesterday, we drove all the way down to the middle of fucking nowhere to try to get his permit. We got turned away again (this was attempt #5!!!) because we didn’t have his birth certificate.
I asked him before we left the house if he thought we would need his birth certificate and he said he didn’t know. I didn’t know either. I figured he probably wouldn’t because he already had to show his birth certificate to get his state ID.
But because this state has such fucking bizarre and strict and redundant rules regarding getting any form of state identification, it turned out that we did need it after all. I was so aggravated and frustrated and defeated.
Dylan kinda gave me some shit and asked me, “So do I have to be responsible for getting all my own documents, then? I thought you said you had your part handled.”
I could’ve just punched him when he said that. And honestly it reminded me so much of how J would have reacted when he was younger. Rather than just saying “oh well, shit happens” and getting over it quickly, he blamed me for something he could have also handled himself.
The difference between Dyl and young J is that Dyl got over it pretty fast. We stopped by a grocery store he likes on our way home and when we left, he said something about the effectiveness of retail therapy. Whereas I would have heard about my mistake for probably years with J.
The more I am remembering about the J of the first 22 years of my marriage, the less fondly I think of him. And that bothers me a lot because he DID change and become Mr Wonderful and he’s also dead now, so it feels extra unfair to have bad memories of him sometimes. But I do anyway.
I was talking with my friend the other day and her husband is so shitty and mean to her that he doesn’t even do some of the little nice things that J did for me even while he was in his prolonged asshole phase. So it’s clear that he was trying on some level to not be shitty to me.
I can’t help but really, really hope that I will someday find someone who truly loves me as much as I love him. Someone who is like J was during the Mr Wonderful years. I don’t want to think that I only got 6 years of being truly loved.
I want someone with whom I have a very real physical chemistry as well as a friendship. J always said that physical chemistry wasn’t a good thing to base a relationship on as an explanation for why we didn’t have it. I disagreed with him then and I even more vehemently disagree now.
I have beat myself up for so many long years, just for wanting to be loved and desired and thought of as fondly as I thought of my partner. I don’t really think that’s a bad thing anymore, but of course I have to rebuild my self-esteem.
I’m very picky and I’m not going to settle for less than what I want. I don’t expect that I’ll find it anytime soon. And in the meantime, I may just have some fun sexual encounters without any strings attached.
I know, most people would probably not think that was appropriate behavior from a widow, especially not this soon. I really don’t care. I think that it might be a valuable part of my healing process to pursue what makes me happy.
On the one hand, I feel extremely guilty about having the life insurance money and knowing how hard J worked to provide for us. I have a great deal of sympathy and compassion for what he went through his whole life—both before and after he met me. He really made the most of himself, especially given how he grew up.
But my healing process is so unlike that of other widows that I might leave my online support groups. Maybe I’ll start grieving more at some point; in fact, I hope I do. But for now, as odd as it is to say, I actually feel free for the first time in years.