An oral history of how one fucks up a relationship, then tries to rebuild

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I’ve told some versions of this story before, so if you’ve seen or read it in other places, my apologies. Let’s start with the setup and progress through.

The Basic Setup

March 3, 2017 was a Friday. I wrote a blog post, did some freelance work, played some Mario Kart, and even did P90X. (No joke.) Even after a mostly productive morning, I kinda lacked food in the house, so I went across the street to a bar and got a chicken sandwich and started drinking. It was a nice March day, and a bunch of neighborhood people I knew were there, and I got drunker than I should have. My plan was to go back home and chill for a while before a 4pm meeting I had to discuss some logistics for an event. That plan got destroyed, I stayed at the bar later than I meant to, and then I decided to walk towards the meeting. That was probably a sight to behold, as I stumbled across one major artery (at a green light for me, yes), and quite possibly peed in some bushes.

This is not a proud story.

I stopped at this other bar on the way to the meeting, then get to the meeting, which is at a fucking wine bar. Oh, I should mention that during all this, I was texting with a potential new therapist. How’s that for the height of irony? Indeed. So I get to this wine bar and I’m clearly pretty wrecked, but somehow I maintain this meeting within a degree of myself. I also cried in front of the girl about trying to become better friends with her husband.

Again, messy.

So about 7pm now, I’m texting with my then-wife, and she’s pissed because I’m not back from this 4pm meeting, and I’m sure my texts were all misspelled and all that, so we’re in this whole text back-and-forth that I barely understand because I’m, well, shitfaced. So I get an Uber home, and — yes, this is true — instead of actually going home, I meet a former co-worker of mine at what must be a fourth bar by now. Maybe fifth? I actually think I spilled a beer on that bar across about 1 hour there. So I get home, and I’m a disaster, and we get in this fight, and I pass out.

Next morning it was pretty much over. It had been building that way for a long time, but the final chapter was on me, for sure. Should be noted I had to attend an event that Saturday with Ross Perot’s son, and I’m notably hungover as fucking shit, but I laced up my Converse sneakers and attended that event. My wife (?) had to go to an event in Dallas, and she’s gonna be gone until the evening. So my event ends at 12pm and a bunch of people invite me to a brewery, and instead of going home and sitting there and waiting for a profound discussion, I go to the brewery, then I end up at the same bar that started Friday … ironically with the husband of the woman I had been crying to near the end of Friday. We get drunk, then I stumble home again and my wife (?) is doing taxes and we get in a fight about taxes and expenses.

This is one of the longer weekends of my life at this point, and most of it is my fault. So Sunday we finally talk, and that’s like the official end of everything I guess. She offers to move out then, but says she doesn’t really have the money to take a first/last month at that moment, so I’m like “OK, you can stay till April.” So this is March 5th. April is probably 25 or so days away, and we’re broken up but living together.

This commences Phase II

Phase II was mostly about mutual avoidance. She went home to Miami for a few days in there, and mostly one of us would coordinate an event after work or different events on the weekend to avoid being around the other. The tricky portion in there was that our wedding anniversary was March 16, so about 11 days after we decided the logistics of the ending. I don’t remember what happened that night anymore, but I think we avoided each other. I did not write a blog post on that day, but it looks like I wrote about “disruption” the next day. Ironic.

So during all this, she picks a move-out date and movers and that’s end of March, so I decide I don’t want to be sitting around then (remember I worked from home), so I go to Tucson for that weekend. My friend lives there.

We get to that final morning when I’m supposed to leave, and I’m making coffee, and she comes out of the bedroom, and Samson the dog is there, and I think she just goes “Well, take care of yourself,” and I said “Same,” and there was a brief hug, and she went to work. And that’s it, yo. That’s a bunch of years, right there.

So I pack, I go to the bar across the street for one (this was a theme of March, yes), and I go to the airport. Sitting at a bar at the airport looking at NBA memes and drinking/eating and my flight gets delayed. 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, etc. Finally instead of a direct, I go DFW to LAX and LAX to Tucson. Only … I land late at LAX, so I miss that connector, so now I can’t go to Tucson until Friday morning. So I’m at this shitty hotel at LAX that AA put me up at, sitting at the bar there drinking next to an Asian guy, watching the end of a Rockets game on TV overhead. I just looked around me and was like “Hm, OK.”

Tucson weekend

This was a good/interesting one for a variety of reasons. I won’t deep dive on it that much, but my friends were supportive and I got to check out some University of Arizona dive bars or whatever. My friends seem like a strong couple and have two young kids and live in a nice hood overlooking some mountains, so that’s a thing I had to reconcile in my brain a few times. Saturday afternoon I was sitting in his hot tub and I was like “Hmm, if none of this had happened, what would I be doing right now instead of sitting in a hot tub in Tucson, Arizona?” I couldn’t answer that question quickly, and that felt positive to me.

While I was there, I wrote a long blog post about the importance of higher education, which seemed like a weird topic, but I think I did it because I was in a room downstairs and I heard some beautiful, fun family enjoying life upstairs and I didn’t want to go up yet. That’s what you call “depression.”

If you read the above portions of this story, clearly I was drinking like an idiot at this time, right? Well, not to go too deep because I don’t know their full story, but some couples friends of the people I am staying with seem to be having issues around drinking, and I was like closely trying to monitor that situation. Meanwhile on Sunday I end up at a kids’ talent show at a bar, and I end up probably putting back about nine listening to young kids try to deliver stand-up comedy. This was the commencement of my April of discontent.

That flight back

So on the flight back, obviously I realize that when I get home, I will walk into an apartment we shared for 34 months and the apartment will be half to 3/4 empty. I’m trying to read some article or whatever, but that’s the primary thing I’m thinking about while I’m on that flight.

Land, get an Uber, go home. My Uber driver and I are discussing the NBA. It felt weird and unnecessary at that moment.

I get there and I walk up to the door and I’m like “OK, OK. I am not a strong person but I can do this.” I open the door and it’s like, BAM, holy shit, 3/4 of the stuff is gone. Also, I respect my ex broadly as a person, but in probably the most savage move of the sequence, she took all these pictures of us and just threw them in a heap in the corner, usually still in frames. That was pretty powerful.

Took a deep breath, threw my clothes in the washer, and went to get my dog. I guess this was Ted Bauer 2.0. Or maybe 4.0. I lost track.

Only it wasn’t

That night was the Gonzaga-UNC title game. UNC won. I went to the same goddamn bar that’s appeared a few times in this story. And actually, as a sad/funny punchline, my total spent at that bar in April 2017 was the fourth-highest single total for a person at that bar in that month. It was basically almost as much as I paid in rent. Whew.

I was with friends, and it felt OK, but I knew my life was now completely different and it would change in ways I could not comprehend and had not yet comprehended. That was a shitty sentence but you get the idea.

A few weekends later, a bunch of my friends were out of town at once. I was sitting alone in that apartment, the previously-shared apartment, and my dog was napping in the closet. I had nothing on saved TV and Netflix was shitty. I could look at porn, right? But I shouldn’t. I could read a book, right? But I didn’t want to. So I went for a walk, and ended up at a bar after a few miles.

Ended up pal’ing around with this thrice-divorced millionaire and talking about the Houston Astros. This was near the end of April 2017, and within the next week, I went back to therapy and started going to this gym, and gradually things got better.

If you want to read that whole arc, here you go.

I still have problems because I am a human being, and a flawed one at that. I still have some of the same problems. Life is a continual work in process of progress, but not perfection.

Is there a lesson here?

Not really. It’s a story more than anything else. But if you want to find a lesson, you can find your own. It could be about me being a wreck, or it could be about how things evolve when things are over, or it could be about writing final chapters, or it could be that seven year-olds shouldn’t do stand-up. You find your own path here. I just gave you a little framework.

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Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money:

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