3.04.2013

breaking the habit of "us"

As I get further out from being part of an "us" and I spend more time talking to new friends, I find myself not knowing what to do when there's a relevant reason for mentioning something from my past life, whether it's a story or what. I hate feeling like I am bringing up my dead marriage and all of that, but at the same time I don't want to NOT share aspects of myself just because they are, in my memory, inextricably linked with my ex.

For example, if I am talking about dog breeds with someone (which is something I do!) it might be relevant to mention the fact that I had a border collie when I was married. I don't have her now, and my ex doesn't either (she now lives with a family that has three young kids she can herd). Sometimes just saying I used to have a border collie is enough, but sometimes there are follow-up questions that would require me to mention my ex in some way or another. Is that weird? I can't decide; regardless, though, I don't like talking about him. But I haven't figured out a workaround.

There are some times when I can just say "when I lived in Denver" or "when I was going to the Presbyterian church" or whatever, but that doesn't always work. Talking about being a single-car family, for example. These days, it makes sense that I would be a "single car family" because I'm the only adult; there was a time, however, when I was part of a pair of adults sharing one car, and I don't know how to refer to that. It's weird if I say "when I lived in Richmond, we only had one car" because the pronouns don't match up and not everyone I talk to knows I'm divorced. Gah! This kind of thing doesn't happen often, but it happened a couple of times recently so it's niggling me.

I think the biggest issue is that I still feel compelled, at some level, to tell "the whole truth" all the time. It doesn't matter that I went to a firing range because it was something my husband and I did together; all that is significant is that I've been to one. There's a shift that needs to happen, somewhere in my mind and in my habits, but identifying exactly what needs to shift and how to make it happen has proven tricky.

Maybe it's just something that comes with time. Thank goodness there's plenty of that left.

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