Just Gravy

Where are you and where are you going?
Biscuits and Gravy
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Closed on the house. In addition to the sale proceeds, there are other checks trickling in: prorated homeowners and flood insurance, taxes, a rewards program with my bank, military rewards, and utility deposits. Ex and I split everything 50/50 as it comes in. Now I'm wondering what to do with the cash. There's no more debt to pay off. The Roth IRA is fully funded for the year. I've got my emergency fund. The market seems too high to buy into, but that's probably what I'll end up doing with a good chunk of the change. I briefly entertained the idea of tattoo removal, but I kinda like my tats. The Tacoma, as much as I lust for it, is a bad investment (financially and environmentally) and I decided I can scratch my automotive itch by buying some new hubcaps for my Mazda, vanity items which it desperately needs. I dunno. Thoughts?

Hristo Botev
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Hristo Botev »

Maybe just sit on it for awhile; or tie it up in a CD or something if you're worried having it too liquid might be a problem.

Biscuits and Gravy
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

I'm not worried about it being liquid, other than the fact it's not making any money. I don't really buy things and money doesn't burn a hole in my pocket. For instance, after the wire for $70k hit my checking yesterday, I was like, "I'ma celebrate!" So I went to a Jewish bakery and bought $20 worth of rugelach. And I still felt weird "wasting" the money.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Hristo Botev »

Well, I'd have already bought that Tacoma! (or, in my case, a Ram 1500) Liquid money doesn't last long in my hands.

Biscuits and Gravy
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

My ex moves out this week. He found a one bedroom a five minute drive away. We may or may not "nest," but it will be his space. I told him I'd give him $1,000/month to cover rent and utilities, continue paying for all of his essentials, and pay for half the cost of his new furniture. I am bleeding money. He'll be at my place during the day with the kids, we'll more than likely spend evenings together with the kids, then we split the weekends as so: he gets two weekends off, and then I get one. "Off" here meaning we can fuck off for an hour or three days or whatever we like in between. The divorce decree is in draft format, but we'll probably wait until he goes back to work to finalize and file it so he can stay on my insurance. No child support, no alimony, no debt to negotiate around, 50/50 custody. I gave him the $30k family car and I'll keep my POS Mazda (which still doesn't have those hubcaps). I think... I'm trying to make his landing from the divorce as soft as possible. I still really care about him.

This past weekend was my off weekend, so I went hiking. I wanted a mountain, but settled for East Texas pine forests. It was pouring rain the first night, but me and my trusty poncho did 4 miles, then over 7 miles the next morning in much better weather. I took the opportunity to address some backlog in my thoughts: my value system, the feeling of being unmoored, and my difficulty with self-soothing.

Value System.
A stranger told me the other day that I was beautiful. I receive comments or looks expressing such on a fairly regular basis, and I've come to accept that I have a relatively pleasing face and figure to a large population, but the compliment does very little for me. Sure, I get a little bubble of vanity, but my beauty really has nothing to do with me and everything to do with chance: the chance of genetics and the chance of whatever society is into these days. I don't slather myself in potions or take particularly good care of my appearance and I normally dress like I'm headed to an oil rig. I don't value beauty. But what do I value?

I came up with a list, and, reviewing that list, it was obvious to me why, compounded with other reasons, my marriage failed. We don't share the same values. Growing up, I had heard that "find someone who shares your values!" line many times before, but it's pearls before swine. I am 32 now and only just able to list out my values, and it took quite a few solo miles in the deep woods, reflecting on years of my own actions and thought processes, to compile that list. And it is also clear to me that the friction of different value sets is part of the pain of marriage: you marry, likely un- or under-developed, and you grow as individuals but you also want to grow as a couple. So you pull and tug and persuade your partner to grow in your direction, because you know it's necessary to the long term survival of that relationship, but people will be who they are, and if they are living out of alignment with their own values, especially for the sake of a partner, the dissonance will manifest itself. For me, the dissonance manifested as depression and self-doubt and no solid sense of self.

So, here are my values:
Physical and mental health
Emotional connection
Pleasure
Physicality
Strength
Thrift
Resilience
Intelligence
Curiosity

I thought quite a bit about what is not a part of that list, particularly the things that my society values. It felt good to examine a widely-held value and set it aside with a certain "no, that's not for me." I think that's a sure sign that I am really starting to understand and know myself.

Unmoored.
I met my husband when I was 18 and we've lived together ever since then. Leaving the marriage and now having him move out has left me unmoored. A long term relationship gives the illusion of stability, but it's time for me to steady the ship on my own, accept that stability and consistency are products of self-deception, and make do. In fact, it's time for me to make great. Eventually some aspect, big or small, of my life will change, and to manage the transition well and with grace requires flexibility and resilience and self-confidence. I would that I may have the strength to resist mooring myself in untimely or unfriendly harbors when the seas get choppy. Which brings me to

Self-Soothing.
I find this to be an extremely difficult exercise and it is currently the focus of much of my mental energy. This skill is incredibly vital to my well-being, and I have never mastered it, nor even attempted to do so until now. When I remove alcohol, my ex, food, family, friends, sex, my job--any and all distractions and appeasements--and it's just me, facing a difficult emotion head on, I get squeamish. I look for outs. I look for comfort outside of myself. If I can't self-soothe, I will continue destructive habits such as drinking and I will likely end up in another codependent relationship. I want neither of those things. I am committed to mastering this skill, and I know it will take time.

Tl;dr: Went for a walk in the woods. Feel better.

Numbers.
Retirement account: $73,000
Brokerage: $23,000
Kids' Roth IRA: $6,700
Cash: $6,000
Weight: 137 lbs.
Days Sober: Fuck, like 14 hours. It's been a rough week.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Since we are primates, I have found that one of the best ways to self-soothe is to perform simple grooming routines. Before I recently lopped off my hair, I usually wore it in a French braid and one of my calming routines was unbraiding, brushing, re-braiding. Reorganizing the contents of my everyday backpack has similar effect. You can also try just checking in with the parts of your body and your sensory input to make yourself realize that you are okay or to fix anything minor that is subconsciously tweaking you. It's likely that people who are very "S" need to do something similar but opposite; tune out rather than tune in.

Also, just cut yourself some slack. Divorce is extremely stressful. I remember pacing back and forth across my living room floor swallowing handfuls of fish oil capsules until I finally calmed down the week after my ex moved out.

On lighter note, you may have occasion to check yourself again on how highly you value Beauty if/when you find yourself on one of your first post-divorce online meet-and-greet dates and the guy who shows up looks a lot more like Shrek than in his photos. You might even re-evaluate your appreciation of Fashion if he is also wearing rubber soled white clogs with socks and plaid shorts.

Biscuits and Gravy
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

A Shrek look-alike that confidently sports clogs and plaid shorts?! 7w5, you just described my dream guy. Hopefully he's out there, somewhere, dreaming of a brunette with weak wrists that curses too [fuggin] much.

Thanks for the tips on self-soothing and reminding me to cut myself some slack. I do get carried away expecting too much of myself. What's with the fish oil?

Jin+Guice
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Jin+Guice »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:33 pm
On lighter note, you may have occasion to check yourself again on how highly you value Beauty if/when you find yourself on one of your first post-divorce online meet-and-greet dates and the guy who shows up looks a lot more like Shrek than in his photos. You might even re-evaluate your appreciation of Fashion if he is also wearing rubber soled white clogs with socks and plaid shorts.
You're making me look forward to dating in my 40s.

jacob
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by jacob »

@J+G - Feel free to ask me about fashion when that time comes 8-) That's literally my summer wardrobe except my clogs are black.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I believe that fish oil calms down my brain. Might be placebo effect.

@Jin + Guice:

My experience is that whether or not a middle aged man looks anything like his photos is almost a total crap shoot and can go either way. Most guys tell me I look better in person, but likely they want to get laid, so who knows?

Crusader
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Crusader »

Biscuits and Gravy wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:49 am
So you pull and tug and persuade your partner to grow in your direction, because you know it's necessary to the long term survival of that relationship, but people will be who they are, and if they are living out of alignment with their own values, especially for the sake of a partner, the dissonance will manifest itself. For me, the dissonance manifested as depression and self-doubt and no solid sense of self.
Disclaimer: I haven't read this entire journal, and I am sorry if this was addressed somewhere. I am curious as to what values your ex had that didn't align with your own that you listed, if you feel like sharing.

Biscuits and Gravy
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Hey Crusader. I haven't addressed that elsewhere, and it's a good question. I don't, however, think I'm in the right place to attempt publicly answering it in a way that would be fair to my ex. He's a wonderful man in his own ways and is no doubt asking himself similar questions.

Crusader
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Crusader »

No worries, all good. I am one of those "I don't want to repeat the mistakes of others and end up in a bad relationship" neurotic types, that's why I was asking, but every relationship is a world on its own and nuanced, and maybe not for public sharing.

Biscuits and Gravy
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Yeah, I think the best general advice I could give you is that couples therapy is worth it. If I could do it over, I would have done couples therapy as soon as we decided to get married and then throughout the life of our marriage, even when things seemed good. We only went once we were trying to “save” our relationship, and the benefits were immediate. Even though things were too far gone for us at that point, I am really thankful we worked out some issues for the sake of our future co-parenting relationship. Just last night, I told him, “remember in that one session we talked about [x]”, and it defused what would have been a contentious exchange.

I started writing some advice more specific to my experience, but it got long and personal. Short version is: don’t marry young, address issues as they arise, and don’t expect vulnerability if you’re unable or unwilling to give it.

Crusader
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Crusader »

At the risk of hijacking your journal, I want to tell you specifically why I asked the question I did (not that I expect some grandiose answer, just for the sake of transparency). What caught my eye is that in your introduction, you say that you are a "devout atheist" (me too) and that "life is utterly meaningless" (I agree). For the longest time, one of my requirements for a long term partner has been being an atheist or even better "militant atheist" a la Richard Dawkins. I am either extremely stubborn and closed-minded and impractical, or the most intuitive person in the world because I don't think I would be able to get along with a person who isn't in the long term.

Over the years, I became more set in my ways, not less, so now I don't think I could handle anyone who is even "agnostic" (unless we are talking about the philosophical idea that you can't disprove God with certainty, so therefore every atheist is technically an agnostic) or believes in some form of karma or "energy" or "fate" or whatever. Somehow, these people think in a different way and interpret things in ways that makes me think that I would never be able to be truly emotionally close to them (I also think they are wrong and irrational if you assume that objective reality exists, but that's practically less relevant).

So, I was just wondering if you think that this component that I just described is important (it might correlate with other things). I've had conversations with very intelligent (atheist or de facto atheist) people that I respect, who saw no reason why they wouldn't date a religious person, as long as they were X. X being something along the lines of "kind, trustworthy, loyal, intelligence...".

But in general, the advice you've given makes sense (well, maybe not if you are 18). As for couples therapy, I tried it multiple times but I always felt that they were trying to delay the inevitable, which is that we were just not compatible people and no amount of work was able to alleviate that. (But I think that results vary based on whether you have kids or not, which I don't... if you do, you really have a big incentive to repair the relationship.) The ideal scenario is that you are both introspective and mature enough that you can solve problems together, of course. But what do I know? The longest I've been able to keep a relationship is ~ 1 years.

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Alice_AU
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Alice_AU »

Biscuits and Gravy, I think you are doing remarkably well! At your age I was in debt up to my ears, with zero savings, and without enough emotional maturity not only to say 'no' to things that bother me in relationships but not even being able to clearly realise and admit they bother me in the first place. You clearly got all of these under control already.

And you're able to provide for yourself, your children AND also STBX all by yourself as well, which is amazing. (I still can't get my head around unthinkable generosity there but it's another matter). When I've done the calculation for myself should the similar situation arise (don't ask!) I worked out that I'll be able to just provide necessities like food and shelter for me+kids and will have $200pw left for non-necessities like new clothes and takeaways... My husband, if he becomes my STBX gets nothing but a pat on the back and best wishes to do well by himself haha...

Biscuits and Gravy
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

@Crusader I get it, you’re speaking my language. I also would never entertain the idea of dating someone that isn’t an atheist (sorry, @Hristo, it just would never work! You’re happily married and I’m an unrepentant heathen that joyously bathes in sin every morning). My ex is also an atheist and has been for the duration of our relationship. If it’s important to you, stick with that requirement. I think I get why people are religious and I would certainly never dissuade my children from that lifestyle if they were drawn to it, but yeah, in a romantic partner it’s a dealbreaker.

@Alice_AU Thanks for the kind words! As for “unthinkable generosity”, it cuts the other way for me: it’s unthinkable to me to tell the father of my children and partner for the last 14 years to get out and good luck. I am privileged that I am able to provide for all of us, especially in these times. I’ve also enjoyed the privilege of experiencing what has traditionally been the man’s purview of providing for the family, although I still “enjoy” the woman’s purview of managing the household on top of that, heh.

Crusader
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Crusader »

Oh I certainly get it why people are religious. And just because they are religious doesn't mean they are bad people or that even they can't be friends that I respect. But a romantic partnership is something on a different level if it is to be any good. Good, I am not crazy. Not that I should care what others think (I still do), but it helps to know that I am not the only one.

Oh, and good luck!

Biscuits and Gravy
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Biscuits and Gravy »

Dude, if I am your metric for “not crazy”, I just... I mean, maybe we should both be re-examining things. ;) Thanks for the good luck! As a woman who is going out of her way to be a single-parent while also still somehow clinging onto the possibility of retiring early, I need it.

Crusader
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Re: Just Gravy

Post by Crusader »

Haha. Well at least you made me laugh, even if my re-examination steers me in a different direction! :D

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