When I first separated from Evil Ex*, it was January.
I packed up a bag of clothes and toiletries, like I was taking a weekend away, and moved in to a friend’s spare room six miles north. Then, in the morning, I drove to work to start the spring semester like nothing was happening.
My larger group of friends didn’t know for several weeks. My co-workers were never informed, with the exception of my closest friend on staff, who heard the story while I sobbed over margaritas at a poorly attended happy hour gathering in March.
On the day in February when I realized he had been dishonest about the woman I wanted him to stop seeing, I sent a private message to our closest friends, letting them know that I was not speaking to him for a while, and that if they had questions they could ask me, but I did not want my whereabouts or activities announced to him.
Then I changed my Facebook status from “Married” to “Separated”, blocked him, blocked her for good measure, and decided a moment later to remove my relationship information from my profile completely. It was meant to be temporary, to avoid uncomfortable questions.
The news still spread. And within the next two months I had a handful of different men coming out of the woodwork, saying different variations of “Heyyyy… soooo… you’re not with that guy anymore, huh?”
I once thought of myself as a beautiful, sexy, vibrant, daring, intelligent, witty, exciting prize of a woman. Over the six years I had morphed into an old, dumpy, tired, angry, frightened creature who insulted herself even in public. Male attention was surprising, especially with the 70-80 pounds I had packed on in the six years I’d been with him (50 of those in the two years since our wedding, when the physical abuse began).
I put people off at first, then picked up a fuckbuddy or two, went out on a date or two. I learned again how much dating sucks. I got to the end of the semester, and put my profile on a free dating site, because I needed to meet new people and get out of my cocoon.
I met five horrendous people and talked to dozens more, people who heard me say “my separation is new… I’m still pretty raw… it’s been tough… I’m not ready for a relationship,” and their take-away was, “But you’re looking to have some fun, right? ;)”
The sexual attention, with or without a paper-thin veil of sympathy or “I’m here for you”, made me begin to seriously question what I was worth. I began to wonder if sex–more to the point, casual sex–was all I was “good for.”
It would be different if it was just coming from strangers on a website. This was the attitude of friends. Men I had known for years, even close to ten or fifteen years in a few cases. Men who knew me before I met Evil Ex, before I kissed a boy or had sex. They didn’t want to get together and talk to me about my divorce, or how I was handling things. They wanted to talk about whether I would send them nude photos, whether I wanted to see theirs.
They gave lines like “I’ve always felt [insert flattering things] about you, and if you ever want to meet up, I’d be happy to distract you from everything that’s going on.”
I mean… fuck. When your spouse invests six years into seeing you broken down to useful body parts which are unfortunately attached to an uppity personality that needs to be cut down to size, this is not a helpful offer. This does not help a fat ugly angry worthless broken creature feel like a woman.
This evokes the sense that perhaps Evil Ex was right, and what I’ve got going for myself is an impressive pair of knockers and a spankable ass. I can be quite attractive, I guess, as long as I don’t waste too much time speaking or having inconvenient opinions. I’m a fully pose-able sex doll who is down to help them act out some fantasies while being self-sufficient enough to not actually need anything from them.
It’s taking time. I still get the “heyyyyy” offers every once in a while, or perhaps I am now programmed to see every overture of friendship as such. Perhaps I have lost my ability to trust that anyone sees worth in my thoughts. Perhaps I am the one who doesn’t recognize what people are asking.
Either way, I’ve given up casual sex for the time being. And since I made that decision, I’ve had brilliant glimpses of what it means to find value in myself. Not in my photos, not in my reflection, not in my skill sets with certain body parts: value in being the beautiful, intelligent, bitchy hardass that I am. Value in telling people “No”, and value in what I choose to give my time and efforts to.
I do some things that are pretty cool, without or without throwing my blowjob technique into the equation.
*Evil Ex = I called him Good Will Hunting once upon a time, and during the separation called him Charles Manson… gonna need a better, more permanent nickname. Feel free to comment with suggestions.