I’ve pretty much shut down communication with the recent round of guys who were texting and calling me. [Calling me! Seriously, what is it with guys and the phone? Since when did the men of this planet turn into teenage girls from the 80s?!? I don’t talk on the phone, except for business-purposes, kid-emergencies, or with my 90 y.o. aunt who’s blind, and therefore can’t text. I hate talking on the phone. I don’t have time for it, anyway, because my free time is taken up trying to respond to 6 guys who are also texting me! Well, not anymore…. 😉 ] I did this by putting my phone in sleep-mode during my free time, so calls wouldn’t come through, and texts would get an auto-response that I was busy. Eventually, I did respond to each of them, and by continually reaffirming that I wasn’t available, they all finally seem to have subsided. Avoidance strategy? Maybe. But I had been perfectly clear saying to each one that I wasn’t interested in dating him. (Or anyone, at this juncture.)
I had to do it. My real-life — the part with the kids — has had some drama going on in it, and I’ve just needed to deal with that. It took me two whole days of decompression/alone-time after work this week, and then on the third day I finally felt like I could breathe again. Then, yesterday (Friday), I received some bad news: my annulment is still not over.
I’m Catholic, and I’ve been trying to get the Church to acknowledge that my 22-yr marriage to my ex was never valid. It’s been painfully obvious to me since 2011, but I had to wait until after the legal work was done (i.e. after the divorce was finalized, in June 2014) before I was allowed to even begin doing the paperwork for the annulment. A ton of questions and seventeen-thousand words worth of my response later (including edits my spiritual adviser helped me make), and I finally got the thing submitted in January 2015. Since then… crickets. Every few months I’d get a letter from the diocese saying they’d moved my case on to the next round, but they’d never say how many rounds there were. (The Catholic Church is horrible at communication.) At first they’d told me it should be done by early 2016. When that passed, they told me maybe it would be finished by June 2016. Then July. Every priest I’ve talked to about my situation has assured me that my annulment was a no-brainer, that it should go through with no problem. But for some reason my case is taking longer than normal. (“Oh, the Pope made a bunch of changes to the procedures, and even though it will make it faster for other people, it’s slowed down the process for you, while we implemented the new stuff.” And, “Oh, we were waiting on your ex-husband, because he’d indicated that he wanted to respond, but — oh, look — I guess it’s been over a year now, so maybe we can just count him as having decided not to respond.” And, “These things all move at their own pace, each case is unique.”) And now that we’re down to the final stages, it seems to be dragging out even more. When I called the diocese on September 1 to find out what was up, they said it might be another 6 weeks. (“It was summer,” the secretary told me, “and a lot of people went on vacation. Plus,” she reminded me, “these things are all really on God’s time.” She meant well, but sooooo not helpful.) Six weeks came and went. So yesterday on my lunch break, at the 7 week mark, I called again. The secretary told me my case was now with the judge – the very last person it has to be with – and it’s been with him since September 8. I asked how long he usually has a case. She said usually about 2 months (which would put us now at early November), “but it all depends on how many cases he has, and where your case is in his pile.” She went to try to find out how many cases were before mine, but was unsuccessful in finding out. But I know for a fact that other people who’ve put their cases in after mine have been processed more quickly. This is really getting nuts. “So I’m looking at November, maybe?” I asked. “Hopefully,” she said, “and then you’ll learn if they’ve accepted or rejected your annulment request.” What?!? It could still be rejected???
That thought made me want to cry and scream and give up. So last night I came home from work, bundled in a blanket, lit candles, and sat on my patio drinking too many mojitos.
One of the things I’ve forced myself to acknowledge is something I’ve kind of already known: none of the guys I’ve met/dated since my divorce are even close to being able to fit into my real-life. They just want to be around me in my free time, and not have to deal with the parts of me that are a mom-commercial construction employee-grocery shopper-errand runner-spiritual being-house cleaner-sweaty hiker…. Okay, maybe that last one they wouldn’t mind. But the rest of my reality? Not so much. None of them have been about “the whole package.” The other thing I acknowledged is that maybe I’m deliberately not seeking out decent, potential mates, and maybe I’m blocking myself from being truly open to getting to know a guy (on a dating level) because I’m waiting for my annulment to come through. If you knew my whole story, and all the crap I’ve been through, you’d know that it’s a miracle that I’m even still Catholic. But I am, and this is important to me. I need the truth of my situation to be acknowledged by my church. But what if it gets denied? Does it make it any less true? Does it change who I am?
So I’m working on getting this all figured out. On my patio last night, I identified things that make me happy. Dating (at least the guys I’ve dated so far — we’re talking maybe 15-20 guys), has not been one of those things. Writing, dancing, and hiking, however, do make me happy. With that in mind, I got my slightly-hungover butt out of bed this morning and did a moderate-to-strenuous hike. Driving home afterward, and then showering on my jelly-legs, I was proud of myself. It’s put me in a pretty good mood. I’m still convinced there is someone special out there for me, and I’m crossing my fingers and praying that my annulment does come through. But I’ve decided that I’m done looking for him. He’s going to have to naturally cross my path (i.e. not through online dating), and then he’s going to have to figure out how to fit himself into my life. I’ve got to go do my own thing, my own way, and follow my “soul directive.” Let’s see how this next part goes….