All posts tagged: Divorce

Life Blindsided Me And Then I Learned to See.

One Sunday afternoon about fifteen years ago, I wandered into a panel discussion at The Brooklyn Public Library just as Carmen Boullousa, the Mexican poet and novelist, was being asked a question. “How do you write?” the questioner asked. Carmen Boullousa threw her hands up in the air and slammed them down the table in front of her. “You don’t know what you’re doing!” she burst forth, with a shout and a laugh. “You start off blinded, and you work until you begin to see.” I was 37 or 38 at the time, with a husband and two young daughters doing whatever they were doing in our Prospect Heights brownstone a few blocks away. And for as long as I could remember, I’d been trying to connect life’s dots with a modicum of elegance and a minimum of fuss. Determined to press on, to be a trooper, to feign competence, to not give passport, ever, to a willingness to be blinded. Carmen Boullousa was talking about writing but I sensed her advice might help me …

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My Very Public Online Fling

After my divorce, I was as broken as a tree branch after a storm. Luckily, I found a female comrade — on Twitter of all places — who was healing from her own divorce. Our digital friendship blossomed into a long-distance digital romance. We sent corny notes to each other on instant messenger and kisses over Skype. After a few months of online communication, Cate (not her real name) suggested that we meet in real life. One caveat — she lived in New Zealand. After much thought, I decided to seize the day and off I went to catch my Air New Zealand flight. The exterior of the plane was decorated with characters from The Lord of the Rings movie, which was filmed in New Zealand. Like Frodo Baggins, I was off on an adventure. My trip to New Zealand has all the elements of a Harlequin romance: Cate was beautiful. New Zealand was stunning. The clouds were as white and fluffy as cotton; you wanted to grab a piece from the sky and feel …

Food and Sex: Should We Give In To Our Cravings?

Taste. Lick. Suck. Bite. This thing we do, every day, all day long, is a driving desire in life. We work for it, think about it, crave things to consume. The innocent act of eating can sound so lustful. And, eating food is, at its core, incredibly sexual. Birds and bees pollinate flowers, the sexual organs of fruiting trees and plants, and we eat the results of these unions. In fact, eating is the most intimate thing we do with other people…in public. [pullquote]We humans are pleasure-seeking machines. And there isn’t a dang thing wrong with that.[/pullquote] We take nourishment into our bodies at every meal, just as we take another person into us when we have sex. (Or enter into another, or just rub against each other like furtive bees on the hunt for more pollen.) We humans are pleasure-seeking machines. And there isn’t a dang thing wrong with that. But we often experience debilitating perfectionism, guilt, shame, heavy judgment and downright fear around food and our cravings for it, our bodies, desires for …

The Things No One Tells You About Divorce

We had just had sex. One minute, we were kissing and pressed against each other and I was in the safest place in the world. The next minute, I was lying alongside him crying and asking, “What do people do in a situation like this?” And he was saying: “Get divorced.” When I met Erik, I had never been in love with anyone. I was 31, and I saw him across the room at a party. My first thought was that he looked endearing, gentle, like he would never hurt me. We talked about his art and my job as a writer, and when we had our first date on a bench in Union Square we kissed for hours and held hands. I felt like a kid, giddy with excitement that someone wanted me on their team. By the time he told me a few dates later that he didn’t want children, I was already hooked. My thinking went something like this: Some people are never lucky enough to fall in love. I found an …

One Engagement Ring, Three Divorces

Two months salary. A girl’s best friend. A gift that lasts a lifetime. Our family diamond has been called many things, but it will no longer be called an engagement ring. I’m heading to the jeweler’s to pick up the shard of stone that’s been passed down in my family for three generations, sowing havoc and heartache wherever it landed. Humans have always attributed enormous power to rings. Think of popes, kings, seniors and Lords of — no one ever kissed an earring or bowed to a bracelet. And so, I’m having this ring deconsecrated. It is ready for a new incarnation as a sparkly bauble, no longer a promise of eternal love. After three failed tries, our diamond will be reincarnated as a harmless charm. The diamond was originally purchased by my father, hastily, in 1964. Not long after he thrust it at my mother, I was born in a manner that had the aunts and uncles counting on their fingers and nodding knowingly.  But despite its rocky start, the marriage endured for 14 …

Four Rabbis and the Get: My Jewish Divorce

“He shall write for her a bill of divorce and place it in her hand.” (Deuteronomy 24:1) Anyone who has been through a divorce will tell you that it’s a pretty horrific process, no matter how amicable, how mature or how quick. Separating yourself from another person — lover, best friend and confidant — is painful. By all counts, I had one of the “best” civil divorces possible. There were no fireworks. My ex and I used a mediator, and the overall cost was reasonable. The whole process took less than a year. But that was just our first divorce. Before I get to the second divorce, let me tell you about the wedding. It took place at the summer camp I attended for many seasons as a child and young adult. I walked down the aisle in a canvas gown and Jack Purcell sneakers to the tune of  the Sex and The City theme song. Our campy nuptials even included a sing-along rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend.” To this day, people tell me it …

The In-Laws: The Collateral Damage of Divorce

I married young. Well, young-ish. I should have listened to my grandmother (who didn’t live to see the wedding) when she told me it was a mistake. I should have listened to the voices in my head. I should have called it off before we stood under the chuppah and definitely should have called it off before the mauve-flowered brunch. But I didn’t. It was heartbreak to realize my husband had no interest in being married to me after two years. Sure there were signs. Big fat neon signs. And when he basically stopped speaking to me, I truly got the hint. He was a horrific match for me. We had nothing in common, it seemed. And that day (it was Rosh Hashanah) when he told me at the park that he hated my father and that I was just like him, it stung. Sharply. So when he asked for a divorce, I was all in. But at that moment, I didn’t think about how hard it would be to tell my parents who paid …

The Best Part Of Divorce? My Ex-Wives Club

When I was newly separated from my husband of seven years, I met a woman who was in the process of getting divorced. We were at our local watering hole — I’d met her through a few mutual friends, so we struck up a conversation. At first glance, she couldn’t have been more different than me. The kind of woman that was intimidating. The kind of woman that all men looked at and bought drinks for. Tall and blonde with a sexy German accent, she was the opposite of my short, mousy brown American self. But we started talking about what we had in common: our soon to be ex-husbands, what had happened to our marriages, and how the divorce processes were going. I asked her how her little kids, who were the same ages as mine, were handling living in two separate places. She said it was going okay except they always came back to her house bedraggled. Tired. Teeth unbrushed. Hair slightly matted. I guess I shouldn’t have been so shocked but wow, …