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I Have to Stop Hanging Out with My Ex

I Have to Stop Hanging Out with My Ex

Usually, when a couple divorce, the time spent together is reduced.  Of course, with children, there will always be events to bring them together.  Graduations, birthdays, family milestones will draw divorced parents together.  Usually, they are few and far between. For my ex-wife Arlene and I, they happen far more frequently.

Or, to quote The Godfather and Michael’s ill-fated Sicilian bride, Apollonia, ‘Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Saturday’.

Okay, maybe not every day, but for a divorced couple, we spend a great deal of time together.  Most often, it is when we have dinner with our kids.  However, she has been invited to my family’s events, and I’ve been invited to her’s.  Arlene’s brother, Jeffrey, once called me his favorite member of his family (and this was after I divorced his sister).

The problem is, when out with my ex and her family, if I see a woman I would like to meet, it gets a bit awkward.

For example, called one Sunday to see if she and Alexander (son) wanted to grab dinner.  Alexander wanted Chinese so, of course, we decide to get Chinese.  I drove over to Arlene’s house, she called in the order, and we drove together to pick up the food.

The only two people in the restaurant, we wait for the order.  I stood by the entrance when a woman came to the door and tried to get in; I inadvertently blocked her.  We had a momentary dance as she glided around me.  Now it’s the three of us in the lobby.  This woman has my look.  By that, I mean, I can see a hundred faces, but only one will catch my eye. 

She caught my eye.

No ring on her left hand.  I spotted that before she even entered the restaurant.  Basically, when men get divorced, they acquire a sixth sense.  They may not be able to find the ketchup bottle in an open refrigerator, but they will be spot a naked ring finger at fifty-yards.

The three of us make idle small talk, I make her laugh, but in my head, I’m thinking of ways to nonchalantly drop that the woman with me was my ex-wife.

Before I can come up with something, the clerk handed the woman her order.  She smiled, I held the door open for her, and just like that, she was gone.

This past weekend, Arlene tells me she was going to grab dinner with two of her sisters-in-law, and that I am more than welcome to join them.

That night I found myself with Arlene, her boyfriend (fiancé, but never any actually talk of marriage so who knows), and two sisters-in-law, in the bar of this nice old pub, having drinks while we wait for a table.  In the crowded room, we secure a section at the end of the bar.  At one table I see a single woman, tall, black-hair, ripped jeans, and an interesting jacket and shirt.  An artsy look; I liked that look.

Over the course of the hour I steal glances; she was there alone but stared at her phone.  Probably waiting for someone.  We order more drinks, the bar starts to clear out, and this woman moves from the table to the seat next to Arlene.

It would be so helpful if I could just go up to her and explain the dynamics of the group.  That I wasn’t a couple with anyone here, and that I would like to buy her a drink.  It doesn’t help that while I contemplate a move, Arlene asks me to buy her a drink.  Her boyfriend (fiancé) is standing right there; why are you asking me?

I lean in between said woman and Arlene and order our drinks.

Over the next few minutes, I notice she turns to look back at us.  Ego tells me she is looking at me, reality tells me we are just a loud group.

With my drink on the bar, I reach for it with my fingers spread wide, like I’m palming a basketball, hoping she sees no wedding ring on my left hand.

Woman don’t have that same sixth sense, I guess.  No luck.

Hope dwindles as she asks for her tab (wow, just realized how stalky I am).  In no time, she is up and out of the bar.

In all honesty, I can’t really blame Arlene.  I’m not good at approaching women in bars.  Besides, if not for Arlene’s invite, I would have just been sitting home that night. 

But, it is awkward when I am in a situation, where Arlene is around, and there is someone I would like to get to know.

Maybe next time we do go out, I should wear a T-shirt that states, “I’m NOT with her”.

Photo by Michael Discenza on Unsplash

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