My two Gurus broke up. I am once again faced with the reality that love can't fix everything. It's heartbreaking all around. Tammy and Brian are what I refer to as Soul Mates. I have been friends with Tammy for over 20 years. She met Brian two years ago through a friend. Shortly after they started dating he introduced himself and told me that he was going to be a keeper because "he can put down the thunder." I knew then that Tammy had met her match. They are so similar that it is almost as if they are the male and female form of one soul. They share the same high energy and love for life.They are one of the craziest, funniest couples I know. Their chemistry is off the charts.
I have often wondered- Is there really truelove? Does it exist outside of fairy tales? If it does exist, what does it look like? Over the years I have only known two couples that I believe have TRUE love. This couple was one of them. I saw it. But, it's always easier to see it when you are just an observer. It seems that often the two people in the relationship can't see past their own insecurities enough to realize that their match is looking at them like they are the Sun at the center of the universe. It is so obvious when they are together that he just loves her so much. The way that he looks at her and talks about her shows it. He is loving to her kids and supportive of everything she juggles in her personal and professional life. She loves him so much too and not just because she appreciates his muscles and impeccable grooming, although that is what she will say if you ask her.
In the beginning of their relationship, I didn't hang out with Tammy and Brian as often as I do now. Life was different two years ago because I was still entrenched in the Stay at Home Mom life and in an almost decade long marriage. A lifetime ago it seems now. Back then, I would see them every few weeks or months and always laughed and enjoyed their company and could tell they were well suited. Tammy looked happier than I had seen her in years! Brian seemed like a really nice guy.
It wasn't until the shit hit the fan in my life and my marriage crumbled that I realized how strong they were as a couple and how essential their friendship would be to saving me from a nervous breakdown.
When I showed up on Tammy's doorstep in pieces one afternoon, she and Brian took me in. At first, they were disbelieving like everyone else. They tried talking me into going home and working it out. Then it set in. There was no going back. So Tammy started mixing the chocolate martinis. My friend Shannon showed up and Brian joined us at the table. Tammy and Brian have both been divorced and Shan's parents are divorced so she had that perspective. That afternoon turned into a friendship cementing moment. Nothing bonds a group of friends together like a collective emotional breakdown. Brian said he felt like it was a "freaking Oprah episode." We all cried. Then we laughed. Then I panicked and my mind raced in circles.
The reality was I had made the fatal mistake that Tammy had warned me about. I let a man own me. I lived in his house, I drove his car, my debit card was connected to his bank account. Thankfully Tammy never said, I told you so. I was on the edge and about to find out how the thin the line was between love and hate. I couldn't help thinking I would lose everything. My worst fear was what if I lost my kids? Without a job or a place to live would I lose them?
Brian was the voice of reason. He assured me that he had been divorced twice. He said during his second divorce he sat in the court room and watched 20 divorces be processed and the mothers NEVER lost custody of their kids. He said I had to stop the irrational thoughts and keep myself focused. He said the Stay at Home Mothers in the state we live in are the Elite and that I would leave my marriage with my children and everything I needed to raise them.
I felt so much better after that because I knew he was speaking from experience. He also told me that he remembered the day his marriage fell apart and he drove away. His little girl sat on the front porch waving to him and he felt like driving off a bridge. He told me to be compassionate to my husband because he was the one that was going to lose his family life. Be kind, take the high road he said. Over the months and months that followed those words would come back to me as we negotiated our divorce. In the back of my mind I kept hearing Brian say that I would be fine, the kids would be fine. Be compassionate.
In the end my fears amounted to nothing more than my own paranoia because Oz and I worked through our shit in the best way possible and he never, ever made me feel like he would not take care of the kids or me. In fact I ended up with the house, the car, the kids and all the debt that goes along with it. Life is good! The advice Brian and Tammy gave me helped me stay sane. I think it helped us get through a tough time without making it worse than it had to be.
From that point on, Tammy and Brian have become my Divorce Gurus. I have relied on them for advice and wisdom regarding co-parenting, rebuilding my life, and learning how to be single again.
The great thing about hanging out with your good friend and her boyfriend is that the guy becomes like one of the girls, but can still give you the male perspective. He knows all of your secrets because you either forget he is not one of the girls and tell him or your friend tells him everything you confide in her. Either way he knows. He knows you and all your crazy shit. Because he is in love with your friend, you don't care that he knows you are crazy. He sees you without your make-up, in your fat pants, crying until your face is covered in snot. And you don't care. He knows the real you and all of your shit, so he gives you honest opinions. Even when you don't ask.
In the beginning of my New Life, Brian would tell me I would be difficult to date because I am a "paranoid." Which means I fear crazy, stalker, psychos that might come near my children. I only want them to meet men that I know for sure have been finger printed and background checked (it makes the dating pool very small.)
Tammy and Brian decided they were brave enough to take on helping me navigate the Single World after a decade of being out of the game. They had no idea how challenging it would be.
Tammy told me I needed tighter jeans.
Brian told me to stop wearing turtlenecks to the beach and start putting "the big guns" on display with v-neck shirts. We shopped and shopped and revamped my wardrobe.
Then they started encouraging (really more like forcing) me to go out. We went to restaurants and bars and met up with friends and just made socializing part of my New Life.
Prior to the divorce my social life consisted of drinking decaf coffee at the preschool playgroups. I had spent so many years trying to get pregnant or being pregnant that I almost completely gave up alcohol and caffeine. I had to build back up a tolerance to alcohol. Tammy encouraged me to pick a drink and stick to it. We tried all different places and crowds including country line dancing, beaches, music events. One thing my Gurus know about is entertainment.
I am not their only protégée. They have a couple other single friends that need to work on their social skills. So sometimes we would meet up with them. My Gurus seriously could start a business helping out the singles.
As the year went on I got stronger. I worked, I tried to eat a smidge healthier. I found some babysitters that are essential to my mental health. I got out more.
But, I was not quite ready to step out of my comfort zone. My Gurus tried to get me to break out of my shyness. They would even line it up so all I had to do was say hello or smile at someone new.
Tammy and Brian are skilled Hunters in the Dating Game. The are both very flirtatious and friendly. It is in their nature to meet and greet every person in a 10 mile radius of themselves. I could not be more opposite. It makes it interesting. Especially when we are out and they are scanning a room or area for a prospective guy for me. What ends up happening is that they zone in on a guy, they make eye contact and start to reel him in for a conversation. The next thing you know the guys is so confused because he can't remember how he got into the conversation and he can't tell if Tammy or Brian or both want to have sex with him. It's hilarious!
Brian is what Tammy refers to as a "cockblocker." He has a Magic Mike body type and is the epitome of an Alpha Male. No man is going to walk up to chat with any woman near Brian. Even when we go out with a group of 4 or 5 women and just Brian, there is no doubt that men are not taking a chance to approach any of us. He doesn't do it on purpose and he can't understand why we think it, but it's true. But, I love to hang out with them.We usually laugh so much my face hurts. It's very entertaining, but has not actually helped me to meet men.
They have helped me with dating in other ways though like getting my confidence built back up and giving me advice on what to wear and ideas of where to go etc. They also motivate me to eat healthier and once even got me to exercise.
They were very proud of me when I finally went out on my first date. Although they have not been shy to show their disappointment in how awkward I was. I tried not to tell them some of my less than fine dating moments, but they are relentless and you can't keep anything from them. They laughed and mocked me for a long time. They tried to prep me better for future dates, but I do sometimes still manage to disappointment them. (Those stories are for another day though.)
Basically Brian told me not to play with puppies. Stick with the big dogs because they know how to bring it. Tammy tells me not take any shit and there are plenty of fish in the sea so if they can't tow the line keep moving. I try to keep all of the metaphors straight and make good choices. But, sometimes…I don't.
A few months ago Brian said he was proud of me because I am finally done being the divorced woman and now I am just single again. He said he was sick of me being broken. I guess that means I am better. I take that as a high compliment.
Of course they both think I have a lot more work to do. Brian told me the other day that I have to set high standards. But, don't be so picky. (I still have to figure out what the hell that means.)
Unfortunately, now that Gurus have broken up it's sink or swim time. I have to take what they have taught me and start to apply it on my own.
I feel a little like a 5 year old when their parents split up.
When trouble seemed to be brewing between Tammy and Brian over the winter and they had a separation, I was devastated. I felt like I was going through divorce all over again. Our routine of starting Saturdays with Bloody Marys and Martinis was going to change. So would the Saturday afternoons of appetizers, laughter and more martinis. Of course, Tammy and I would still hang out on Saturdays. We would shop and laugh and eat and drink. But, we couldn't help feeling something was missing. The stability of the known was gone. It was once again unchartered territory. Tammy was back on the single scene which was interesting. There is nothing like watching a Master at work.
But, I was secretly hoping they would reunite and live happily ever after. I had a difficult time accepting the break up. I ate a ton of chocolate chip cooke dough ice cream and mourned the loss of Hope. If they couldn't make it work, then how could I ever believe in finding love again?
They did end up reuniting after a few weeks. I was so happy for them. And for me. Hope was restored! There are couples that fight for love!!
But, in the end truelove does not fix it all. Life still happens. They broke up again a few weeks ago and this time feels more permanent. It is not all about finding truelove. It is about finding love and then figuring out if it's worth it. Sometimes it is. Sometimes people can overcome anything together. They can come out of a rough patch stronger than ever.
But, when is enough, enough? When can't love fix it? When is it time to move on from it all? Do even soul mates end up apart?
They are both awesome and loving people. I hope that they will both move forward in life and hopefully find future happiness. But, I can't help holding on to hope. That tiniest bit of hope that they will work it out, that true love will prevail.