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Friday November 18, 2005: Dealing With my Ex

        My ex was at the puja. I was stunned by the change in his appearance since last year. He's gained weight--a lot of weight. Stress has taken its toll not only on his body but his face. His aura has become even more rigid, with an ever thickening outer wall to keep himself from noticing the accumulating pressure of doubts and fears bottled up inside.

         The ten years I spent with Thom remain in my memory as years of continual struggle and hardship. He had some good years after our divorce, when the stock market flourished and his third wife kept things running smoothly. He and his new wife traveled, bought a big new home and lots of expensive toys.

        Then the stock market dropped, money got tight, and a fourth prospective wife looked like a better deal. The recent years of financial strain, along with his third divorce, have taken their toll. It's becoming obvious (at least to outsiders) that his latest live-in was a disastrous choice, but---knowing Thom---until a new female comes along to take her place (God forbid he live alone), the current arrangement will continue. All in all, these last years seem to have been unusually tough. Yoga disciplines might be providing just enough emotional stability to keep him going, but it is not bringing inner peace nor physical well-being.

        At this point, when everything in my life is so positive and upbeat, I cannot help but look in horror at what has become of Thom and his life. I do not feel bitterness toward the man. I would have felt better to see him finally prospering and pulling his life together. I would have liked to see him find the happiness that I've found with Randy.

          It is painful to see his hurt. I can put up blocks toward most people's inner pain, but Thom's is too intense to ignore. He has so many defenses up that-- should I try to say anything to him-- I suspect  concern on my part would elicit a knee-jerking response of indignation ("What makes you think I'm not doing as well or better than you?").  Would he assume I've come over and made a comment just to gloat at the differences in our current situations? In his own mind he may assume this the natural response when confronting an ex.

          I search deep within myself and can find no unkind feelings, no satisfaction at the condition in which I find my ex. I can silently wish him well, but can find no polite way to offer emotional comfort.  My siblings would say I am being unrealistic; I am naive not to accept human nature and let Thom’s path run its course. Randy would say I'm too kind for my own good. I think if I were further along in my spiritual development I would have a clearer idea of how to ease Thom's inner pain, or I would be willing to quietly let him reap the results of his previous actions, while remaining myself at inner peace with the way reality has played out its patterns.

         Unable to find the right words, I spend the weekend keeping to my own activities, my own relationships. Despite the small number of retreat participants, Thom and I manage to keep distance between us. I do my best to look in the other direction, to accept the amount of time my son spends sitting next to his father. He has not seen his dad in some time and it is a good thing that they can hang out together this weekend.

         Why then are there moments when I feel a twinge of guilt, as if I am betraying the commitments of my past? Despite all the rationale and wisdom of breaking the commitment to Thom and his dysfunctional lifestyle, I'm still disappointing the part of myself that wants to be faithful and always honor my word. I probably am being naive if I ever hope to live in a secular world, but it is hard to give up the dream of how I would like to behave, regardless of what the world throws in my path.

Posted on Friday, November 18, 2005 at 05:43AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | CommentsPost a Comment

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