Manic Mom's Mental Myriads

Stop by and have a laugh from Manic Mom's Mental Myriads on Motherhood, and some other stuff too, but mostly motherhood, wifehood, thoughts on writing, etc. No politics will be discussed here or geography, and I will not be solving any mathematical equations. Just some BS on whatever I feel like blogging on...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Finding An Ex - How, Why and What Happened

Reconnected! I Found My Ex Online
By Stephanie Elliot
January 13, 2004

It was happening again. I was hovering in a foggy sleep where reality and fantasy intertwine. I was this close to kissing his lips. I could feel his breath on my eyelashes and see my reflection in his eyes. Faintly, a baby whimpers. He’s coming closer, wrapping me up in his arms. He’s stringing his fingers through my hair, caressing my auburn locks. The baby’s whimpers turn into cries. I feel a nudge on my shoulder. “Get up, the baby’s crying and it’s your turn.” My husband, my baby, my dream is OVER!

After consistently waking up aroused from dreams starring my ex-boyfriend, I knew I either had to quit dreaming or do something extraordinary. It was time to take action.

I was going to search out my ex, and I was going to do it online.

My “relationship” with Joel* was more off again than on again. But when it was on, it was way on, and basically consisted of sex… really, really good sex. And that was pretty much the extent of it. I wondered if we really even liked each other, and if what we were doing could even be considered dating. We never got past that tentative stage where you always said and did the right things. I don’t think we ever really felt like ourselves with each other unless we were naked. Then all relationship rules were broken and we were blissfully oblivious to anything but each other’s nakedness. Fortunately, we were naked a lot.

But, unfortunately, a relationship can’t really be based on just sex and things ended just when I was starting to feel more for Joel. Things just kind of fizzled, and without much closure. And because of that, old memories and newly invented ones kept interrupting me at night, now more than a decade later.

There was something about Joel, out of the handful of boyfriends that I had had, that kept me preoccupied with him. I wondered where he lived, what kind of job he had, was he married, did he have kids. Was he lonely and wishing that I was still in his life? I imagined him pleading with me to leave my husband and children and go to a deserted island with him where we could have sex all day long, drink from coconuts and swim in the blue lagoon as Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields had done. I couldn’t wait to turn him down.

These dreams, while exciting, were invading my sleep and I thought if I found Joel the dreams would end. I knew I had to handle this situation carefully with all parties involved - first and foremost, my husband.

I felt it only appropriate to get Scott’s go-ahead before I began my search. If he would have said, “I really wish you wouldn’t pursue this kind of insanity,” then I would have quietly gone back to spending time with Joel in my dreams.

But Scott simply said, “Go nuts. What’s for dinner?”

I think he felt that since we had moved 800 miles from where this affair took place he didn’t fear me finding Joel and leading him to the nearest Holiday Inn.

And so, the search began.

I searched missing persons websites and I logged on to classmates.com, not even sure what school Joel had attended. He was very illusive, even back then. After typing his name into various search engines and websites, I discovered switchboard.com. I typed in his last name, first initial, and the midwestern state we had both lived in.

BINGO!

The match that I figured had to be Joel indicated he no longer lived where I thought he did, but was still in the area. I typed the address listed into a real estate website and discovered it was a town home community. If he lived in a townhouse, he surely didn’t have a family yet and was still longing for me! Oh, the wonders of the Internet! The listing included his phone number, which I put to memory immediately.

A couple weeks after I found out Joel’s info, I called him. I didn’t want to speak to him; I just wanted more information. If a woman answered, or a child, then I would know he had a wife and family.

It was a Saturday night, the kids were in bed, Scott was out playing poker, and I had just finished a bottle of Merlot. I dialed Joel’s number hoping for the answering machine because who, aside from me, stays home on a Saturday evening?

My heart pounded. One ring… two rings… three… a machine! Thank God!

“Hi, I’m not home right now. Please leave a message and I’ll get back to you. Thanks.”

I’m Not Home.

I hung up, elated to hear Joel’s voice. He sounded a little older, a little tired. Maybe the sadness I heard in his message was because he had never recovered from losing his one true love years ago! It was perfectly clear that he was single, or at best living alone, and that he had been unable to replace me.

Then, guilt set in. I would tell Scott of my close and dangerous brush with infidelity.

“Honey, I found Joel’s number and I called him.” I told him later that night.

“Who’s Joel?” Scott asked.

I’m showing signs of irritability at this point. Doesn’t he ever listen to me? “He’s the ex I’ve been dreaming about!”

“Oh. Did you talk to him?”

“No, I got his machine and it sounded like he lives alone. Isn’t that great?” I chirped.

He didn’t chide me for swooning. He just asked, “What if he has caller I.D. and he calls here?” My rationale husband was always pointing out the obvious. I thought Caller I.D. worked only within the state a person called from. Ugh, now I was in trouble.

For the next week, I was terrified to answer the phone because WE are the only people in the United States who do not have Caller I.D. so to find out who’s calling, I actually have to answer the phone. When I finally realized that Joel wasn’t calling me, I began to think about my next move.

The holidays were coming and I thought it would be the perfect time to send Joel a simple greeting. People get Christmas cards from old friends all the time and so I wrote and rewrote one until it was just right. I wanted it to sound casual and light, yet intriguing, making him want to contact me.

Dear Joel,

How’s this for a blast from the past? I hope you remember me from way back when. I moved to the East Coast three years ago and was talking to Kimberly the other day – remember Kim? Your name came up so I thought I’d look you up to see how you’re doing.

I just wanted to wish you a happy holiday and I would love to hear from you – it’s been 12 years! If you’d like to catch up, I’ve included my email address.

Merry Christmas!

With Fond Memories,

Stephanie

Light and cheery, a harmless note! I sent it off and hoped he would contact me.

Christmas came and went. I was so wrapped up in the festivities that Joel was beginning to feel like what he was - a distant memory. That’s when it happened.

YOU’VE GOT MAIL!

I recognized his name and sucked in all the air I could before I opened his message.

From: Joel
To: Stephanie
Sent: Thursday, December 27, 2001, 2:21 p.m.
Subject: Hello

Well hello there. I was given your Christmas card the other day, it was actually sent to my dad. Perhaps you should seek a refund from your detective.

It was surprising to hear from you but nice to be remembered after all this time. I have heard little bits about you over the years. I think you married a football player and had a child, is that so?

My life has taken a few different turns over the years. I live in Seattle and am a priest in a missionary out here. I really enjoy it here and all the gifts I find in my life everyday.

I would like to learn more of your life so please send an email when you have a chance.

Take Care,
Joel

That explains why the voice on the machine sounded so tired and old… I hadn’t called Joel; I had called his dad! Then I laughed out loud at his joke about becoming a priest. He could never have been a candidate for priesthood unless he did years of repenting! He had had such a wry sense of humor, which was part of the reason I had been so attracted to him.

What next? Do I tell Scott? If I don’t tell him, am I officially conducting unfaithful business here? Is this how an online affair begins? Is this considered cheating? If I don’t tell Scott and he sees the emails, will he think I’m having an affair? I felt so guilty and I hadn’t done anything other than send an old friend a Christmas card. A card that my husband had read for typos before I mailed!

I told Scott about the email that night. He knew that I needed to get this little itch scratched so he didn’t ask me not to respond to Joel’s email. Plus, he now knew that Joel had moved to Seattle, making him practically a whole country away.

Joel and I began our correspondence, sending emails a couple times a week. I was cautious as to what I told him, and it was obvious he was also sharing only what he felt necessary. We joked; talked about old friends we both knew, and kept things light.

Little by little, truths came out, pictures were exchanged; questions about our relationship were asked and answered, openly and honestly. He said he did not remember much of our time together and told me that he had been dating another girl the same time he was having sex with me. I told him that I had remembered everything because I documented it all in tear-stained journal entries, heavy-hearted and desperate for more attention. I reminded him of places we had gone (art museum, bowling, the park), where we had had sex (art museum, bowling alley, the park). As we chatted online about the past, we also began to talk about the present.

He had a wife (a pregnant, tiny, cute one), he loved Seattle, was successful in his career, and happy in his marriage. We laughed about old times, and I harassed him for being what I then thought was a jerk. Now, looking back, I realized he was just twenty years old, and what do twenty-year-olds know?

At this point in the online dialogue, Joel and I started Instant Messaging each other. These emails were more chatty and informal, like two friends talking on the phone.

One night, I was attending a school function for my son, and my husband was home and online. An Instant Message popped up. This is when my husband met my ex.

Joel: Hello there.

Scott decided to see where this went and emailed back: Hi.

Joel: Where are the pictures you were going to send me?

Scott: What pictures? (Was he expecting him to say nude photos?)

Joel: The pictures of your sister and her baby.

Scott (letting Joel in on his identity): My sister doesn’t have a baby.

Joel: Scott?

Scott: Yep.

Joel: Sorry to bother you, I thought it was Steph.

Scott: No problem, I was just looking up directions for a golf club I’m playing at tomorrow.

Joel: Well, shoot a low score. Bye.

And with that, Joel clicked offline.

Scott relayed the story to me, laughing, “I think I scared away your boyfriend.” At first, I didn’t know if Scott had emailed anything inappropriate, but he insisted that he hadn’t. My husband had met my ex online and was reassured that there was nothing suspicious going on. Fortunately, Joel wasn’t scared away from his run-in with Scott and he and I have continued our conversations now for almost a year.

If you had hoped this story would end with a torrid and steamy online affair, I’m happy to report that Joel and I have gone one step further. Now, we are what we had never been when we were together. We are friends. We’ve formed a relationship in which we are comfortable in our correspondence and are inquisitive and genuinely interested in each other’s lives. We offer each other advice, sympathy, support and laughter. It’s a wonderful relationship and I never thought that rediscovering my ex would introduce me to such a compassionate and kind friend.

I just wonder if his wife knows about us?

# # #

*Name changed for privacy

Post-script (3-24-05) We have since broken up, in fact it's been (OMG) 2-1/2 years since we last emailed. The reason we stopped being in touch? I told him I was writing an 'essay' on how we got reconnected, he FREAKED, said if something like this ever got published, it would be bad, bad, bad. Then he wanted me to call him so he could explain. I said, "Emailing and IMing is one thing, but talking on the phone takes it just one step further" and I wasn't about to deceive my husband that way. Interestingly enough, I have moved back to the state we met, and when I last talked to him, he didn't think he would be living in Seattle (okay, it was really California--Laguna to be exact) forever because his wife missed home (which is here, where I live NOW). I have told Scott "Mark my words, I will run into him someday." I just hope it's a day when I've decided to use some of that new makeup I've got sitting in the cabinet upstairs and my hair looks really, really good!

Another Post-script: His name wasn't really Joel, it was Joe. How's that for keeping things anonymous? And now, if anyone knows a Joe, married to a Tracy in Laguna, with at least one daughter, three years old. This is about him, and them, and HA Joe, now the story is out there for THE WHOLE WORLD TO READ. (Feel free to forward)

5 Comments:

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Stacey said...

Good story, Stephanie! I enjoyed reading it : ) It's always so tempting to look up those people in our lives who've done us wrong in some way or other! Show them how we are soooo much better off without them.

 
At 2:11 PM, Blogger mumma23qts said...

ROFL - you are bad - outing an old boyfriend like that!!! That husband of yours sounds like a riot, too. Have you started a therapy fund along with a college fund for ajers, diva and Tukey? They'll need it when they eventually find your blog!

mumma23qts

 
At 3:45 PM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

Stacey--he will live to regret dissing me!
Mumma--glad to see you! Haven't heard from you in a while--you were my VERY FIRST poster! That was about all I could say in terms of outting the ex. I couldn't even say he didn't have a lot going on, because HE DID! No small penis jokes there!

 
At 1:16 PM, Blogger Christa said...

I'm copying and pasting this story into my blog just so it gets a little bit more circulation. I don't think my ex, Dell (not your computer), and I could get along as friends. Plus, 'tis really not fair for the spouses of people when they try to be friends with people from the past in which they had a strong *sexual* connection. NO matter how you cut it, you are better off not having any type of relationship with an ex, I think.

 
At 8:13 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Omigosh, Stephanie! I cannot believe you did all that. And wrote to tell the tale. You should submit this to a magazine. Anyway, I miss you!

 

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