My other half.

Here’s a strange fact about me :  I’m dating my ex-husband.  A lot of people think that’s really odd but I know that it happens more and more these days.  There are a lot of different reasons people split up and a lot of different reasons people get back together.  Let me explain my situation for you.

I’ve known my boyfriend since I was about five or six years old.  That’s a very long time considering that I’m now thirty-two.  We’ve been in and out of each other’s lives more often than I can remember.  When we first met, we didn’t exactly get along.  He was friends with the neighbor kid and I liked to torment him on the bus ramp in the morning.  He chalks that up to the fact that I ‘liked’ him back then and that’s how little kids show their love.  Trust me when I say that couldn’t have been further from the truth!

I found him incredibly annoying as a child.  And again in middle school when the tormenting took place.  High school wasn’t much different.  We spent most of the class we shared kicking each other and the teacher kept yelling at us to quit playing ‘footsie.’

I think that was probably when I started thinking that there might be some potential there.  We weren’t in the same grade, though we were close in age.  He was two years behind me.  When we were in that class, I was a Senior and he was a Sophomore.  We were completely opposite — he was a jock, I was an art nerd.  So common ground was pretty minimal.  But somehow?  Something sparked.

I graduated.  We dated.  We broke up.  He asked me to his Junior and Senior prom.  We dated.  We broke up.  I dated some guy in college who later married my best friend.  We dated again and this time decided to get married.

The problem with how this story went is that in all those times we dated and broke up, he began doing things that I didn’t know about.  He was hanging out with people who helped him head down the wrong path, getting hooked on drugs and eventually winding up in jail.  Of course, the jail time happened after we got divorced.  We were only married for one year and one day according to the divorce decree.  And our marriage dissolved because I found out he cheated on me — while under the influence of heroin.

Now, you’re all probably wondering what the hell could make me want to take somebody like that back EVER.  You’re not wrong in questioning it.  I’ve gotten that a lot, actually.  Especially from the people who were close to me when my still brand new marriage fell apart.

When we split up, we really split up.  We parted ways entirely.  I might have seen him three or four times after the divorce was final over the course of ten years.  I didn’t really know what was going on in his life (aside from an arrest right out front of my best friend’s house — yes, the one who married that guy I dated in college).  He didn’t really know what was going on in mine.

I dated off and on after we split up.  There was a guy I was really interested in, but I sort of ruined that before getting married.  We decided to stay friends.  He currently lives out-of-state with his wife and has an adorable little girl.

He dated off and on.  Did more drugs.  Got arrested.  Spent time in jail.  Cleaned himself up.  Found a girl he ‘liked’ but refuses to admit that he was ever really in a relationship with (that’s another story for another time!).  And had a son.

When he and I started talking again, the first face to face, I had gone through a significant change.  I’d started to lose weight — 65 lbs, which I’ve since put back on and then some (grr!).  I was exercising and feeling more confident about myself.  I was happy.  And he seemed to be doing better, himself.  Somewhere along the line, going through all of those crazy things had managed to settle him down.

He was calmer than he used to be, not as quick to start an argument.  He was obviously enjoying being a Dad (I just wish he got to see his son more often — baby mama drama).  This hint of a responsible twenty-something had begun to develop in him, replacing the angsty nineteen year old I’d known and married ten years before.

When we were married, I couldn’t really count on him for anything.  I’d ask him to do something and he’d tell me he’d get it later, then disappear with his friends.  He wouldn’t help out around the house, pay for anything, or even really be around.  The guy I was married to was a dick, enough said.

The guy I know now?  He takes the time to figure stuff out.  He helps make dinner, does the laundry, takes out the trash.  He sits and plays board games with me or just watches tv while we cuddle.  He doesn’t go out every night like he did before.  He’s holding down a job.  And he’s fighting for time with his kid, hoping to get a custody arrangement in place before we move.

This man is like night and day to the one I married.  He’s proven to me, time and again, that he wants to be better this time and that he’s determined to make things work.  I still get inside of my own head a lot, still question things because of how it all went down before.  But I know in my heart that he’s trying his best to be who I deserve, and who he knows he should/can be.

So yes, I’m dating my ex-husband.  But I don’t really think of him as that guy.  He’s just my boyfriend.  Someone I’ve known for a very long time but am just now getting to see the best side of.

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