I got married young; I was only 21. Ex and I met when I was 16 and started dating soon after. I’d had a couple of boyfriends before, but nothing really serious or long term. Ex was my first in many ways. I was in a serious rush to grow up once I graduated from high school. I attended a year of community college then my best friend and I decided to move out on our own. I had no pressing reason to leave my parental home, but I knew I’d be getting married soon and I wanted to experience living on my own before I had a husband.
Ex felt no such thing. He continued to live with his parents and as our wedding day neared I pressed him to look for a rental with me but he convinced me to move with him into his parents’ house. I wish I’d resisted, or decided to wait. I wish when the wedding day grew close and my mom said “I know we’ve spent a lot of money on this but if you don’t want to go through with it you don’t have to” that I’d listened. I might wish the marriage away, but I don’t wish our kids away, so I can’t really say that I regret it all. I just regret rushing out of my childhood so quickly.
My Ex decided he wasn’t ready to leave his childhood behind. For the first five years of our marriage he continued to work when he felt like it (he worked for his dad) go fishing when he wanted, hang with his friends when he wanted and smoke pot whenever he felt the urge. He thought nothing of disappearing overnight without calling and letting me know where he was. This was, of course, in the days before cell phones so I had no way of finding him, short of calling all of his friends until I got a hit.
He never did figure out how to choose appropriate clothes for any occasion that might demand more than a T-shirt and shorts. Just last summer our family had tickets to see “Book of Mormon” at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. He dressed in Scooby Doo pajama bottoms with a button up shirt. When we were first married I had no problem choosing his clothes for him, but once we had three kids I was overwhelmed choosing clothes for them as well as myself. I wanted him to be adult enough to dress himself.
About 8 years ago I bought a set of hair clippers and started shearing both my ex and my son. It saved money and was relatively quick. Three years ago I developed fibromyalgia and it struck my hands first. They hurt so bad that holding a pen was painful. I told my Ex that I could no longer cut his hair because it was too painful. I found out later he was telling all of his friends that I wouldn’t allow anyone else to touch his hair. I have no idea why he’d tell anyone that. Instead of paying someone to cut his hair, he just let it grow. Finally one of the people who interviewed him for a job suggested he might want to get his hair cut. So he cut it himself and it looked like it.
Three years ago he had a pulmonary embolism. He went to his doctor and was told he needed to go to the emergency room immediately. Instead of heading straight there he called me and asked me what I thought he should do. Duh! Go to the emergency room! On another occasion he was complaining that he didn’t feel well and I told him to see his doctor. He responded “I just want you to be my doctor.” I explained that I had no medical training and WebMD has limits.
When both my son and my husband were equally clueless about creating a resume and sending it out I realized I was willing to help my son since he was young and this was new. I was tired of helping my ex, he was 50 and I wanted him to stand on his own two feet. I realized I could see the end of the journey with my kids. Soon they’d be launched and I’d (hopefully) be done. There was no end in sight for my ex…he was going to be my eternal child and I’d never be able to launch him.