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Ex-Wife New Life
by:  Amy Koko
e-mail:  kokoamy2@gmail.com
twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/female50freaked
After 27 years of marriage my husband announces he is leaving me for a beautiful Swiss pastry chef. NOW WHAT?
October 24, 2014

Second Love Yes! Second Marriage - Maybe?

So, two girlfriends and I were sitting at lunch yesterday at one of those places that my friend loves because she says the organic salads are so good and I pretend to love too because I don't want her to know that I am that unhealthy fatty that is thinking "Please God, let them at least have a decent burger on the menu." Of course, dating after divorce topped our conversation. Two of us have been through divorce and one is in the midst. We sat there eating our organic, gluten-free, lactose-free, bowls of lettuce, while I wistfully stared at the Irish Pub across the street and salivated for a Scotch Egg.

Anyway, we talked about dating, how to date, who to date, when to date, and shared some experiences that we have already beaten to death but decided to revisit. These gals are somewhat new to the game and I of course am an old, though very well-maintained, pro. I regaled them with tales of my various dates, the one who took me to Cheesecake Factory and changed tables every time I went to the bathroom, the one who was an insurance fraud investigator, but was on leave because he had fired a gunshot at his wife -- (In his defense, she fired first, so, I mean seriously, what was he supposed to do?) and even the one who stood me up and left me standing at a tiki bar, like an idiot, totally overdressed in my new Anthropologie shawl. (Remember when they had that brief resurgence before we all realized we looked like that weird librarian in junior high?)

I can tell those stories now, without cringing and even enjoy them because those dates, and those stories led me to the relationship I am in now, with a man whom I plan to share the rest of my life with. And as always when I tell these stories and get to the good part about how I finally found this man I am asked the same question, "Do you think you will ever get married again?"

Now, years ago, right after my divorce if someone would have asked me that I immediately would have answered, "YES! Do you know anyone?" because I could not imagine NOT being married. Being divorced after 27 years of marriage made me feel, alone, lost, adrift and in need. I thought perhaps I could slide another man right into that vacant husband position and my life could continue on much as before, Saturday night dinners with other couples, my occasional infamous themed dinner parties with colorful napkins, and the Sunday night dinners at my parent's house. Yes, I was definitely taking applications.

And then, I began to enjoy the freedom that being divorced can bring. I saw that sure, I did enjoy the company of a man, and yes I did want a partner to go through life with, but marriage? Now, not so sure.
Of course, I believe in marriage for all and I do think it is the foundation of our society. Still, at this stage of the game, both of us in middle age, I don't know. We have seven grown children between us, we have past lives, alimony, life insurance policies, ex-spouses that are still going to be part of our lives. Why now? Why not now? What is the answer?

I am not going to be so glib as to say "I don't see how a piece of paper can make us love each other any more than we do." A marriage license is not just a piece of paper, it says "I love this person above all others." In fact, I came across mine not too long ago, in an envelope with my divorce decree. I held them up side by side, one a beginning and one an ending, more than just pieces of paper for sure. But, is it one we need now at this point in our lives?

So. What? I don't know. We are getting older, and down the road, there will be challenges, possible sickness, surgeries, etc. Would marriage make those events any easier? In fact my man had some routine tests a while back and while asleep in his hospital bed, a nurse came in with a clip board of questions that needed answering. "Are you his wife?"she asked.

"No,um, I'm just his girlfriend." I answered.

I am JUST a girlfriend and he is JUST a boyfriend, and we love and cherish each other every day. Perhaps that is enough.
*Originally published in Huffington Post Divorce, October 2014

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May 1, 2014

I'M TOAST

Every day it becomes increasingly clear that aging involves more than taking a Glucosamine Chondroitin pill with my lunch. (The creaking of my knees can be heard three reformers down in Pilates class, and every session my instructor says, “Ew. Amy is that your knees?”) Still, I forge ahead and fight the daily fight of trying to eat only protein and perfecting the art of drawing on my disappearing eyebrows, making me look like Witchipoo from H R Puffenstuff.

This is how my day starts: I wake up and immediately tell myself, “I will not eat toast for breakfast.” I go to the refrigerator and take out two hard boiled eggs. I peel them carefully, and slice them into perfect little rounds. I salt and pepper them. I sit at the table and chew each slice. I tell myself “Good for you eating protein for breakfast! Now this will hold you over until lunch when you will eat lettuce with tuna.You go girl!”

I then head into my office and turn on my lap top anxious to get a full day of writing in. I pull up a fresh screen and stare at it for about three minutes. I then log onto Facebook where I take an IQ test, and a quiz to see what type of tree I am. From there I go to Craigslist looking for a job that pays a lot of money but where you work from home like one day a week. This whole process takes roughly thirty minutes. I then realize I am starving. I go to the kitchen and make two pieces of rye toast. I think from here we can guess that the lettuce with tuna is not happening either.

Clothes shopping has also produced new challenges. First of all, why do I continue going into Anthropologie? What is actually happening to me in that dressing room as I try on see through peasant blouses and billowy long skirts that look adorable on young girls but make me look as though I should be outside hanging laundry in a shtetl? Is there some kind of weird gas or something they release making me tell myself that “OMG this is SO me” only to get home and realize there is no way I can leave the house in these garments? Also I have stock piled wall sized letter A’s wrapped in bright fabric and a million little bowls with painted peacocks on them. I have to stop going in there. Seriously.

On the upside, life is pretty good right now. I love my little waterfront house, and I love M even though he insists on making the bed every morning (Meaning I have to get out of it,) and refuses to watch any of the Housewives, which I totally do not get. My kids are doing pretty well, still finding their way but, finally those pesky legal issues seem to have subsided. At times I worry about my financial future but then remind myself that of course eventually my book will sell, it will become a blockbuster movie and I will meet Meryl Streep, so that usually calms me down.

So perhaps this is the part of life where I decide I am content yet hopeful of good things that may come my way, mainly becoming a published author, a close friend of Jon Hamm, and at some way later future date, a grandma, or at least a mother in law. I will certainly contemplate this today, over coffee in my peacock mug and two pieces of sourdough toast.

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April 20, 2014

Alot on my PLATE

Buy a lottery ticket, say yes to an opportunity, explore an idea - do something to capitalize on the luck that is flowing your way now, Leo. Can you feel the vibe? Can you sense that something has shifted, and that your luck is growing increasingly fabulous? You need to be ready, willing, and able to take on any positive chance that comes your way. You need to be aware of the power you now have to change your life for the better. Your intuition is astoundingly accurate - something has shifted. Your luck is on the upswing!

This morning I read my horoscope and immediately went back to bed with my computer waiting for the good news to come my way. I checked my email for job offers, publishers reaching out with a 10k advance, or an Ellen DeGeneres' staff member wanting to book me for her show. Nothing. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

Wait a minute! I just got a text! At this point I will settle for a message from ALDO SHOES saying they CAN get the black gladiator sandals in a 9 AAA. Yes, that would be increasingly, fabulous luck, as my old black gladiator sandals now resemble the shoes Charlton Heston wore in Ben Hur.

Alas, it is not from ALDO, but from my ex husband's new wife. Could it be she is reaching out to make amends? I agree, it's time to bury the hatchet and co-exist peacefully. Perhaps she wants to meet for lunch or coffee. We can have a girl's day out, shooting the breeze and then doing a little shopping. (I am not sharing a dressing room, that is where I draw the line.) Better yet, perhaps a nice dinner out, where we sit like two grown up ladies drinking martinis. I'm definitely feeling the let's be friends vibe.

WTF? The text reads as follows, "Amy, it is ___ We want to hang a TV on the lanai and the metal plate is missing? Do you have the metal plate? We need the metal plate."

I'm starting to feel the "Dude. Seriously?" vibe. I lived in that house for 7 years with 4 teenagers. I spent months packing it up, and trying to figure out how to discard cracked bongs found beneath beds without alerting the drug squad. I could have paid my taxes had I taken all the empty Red Bull cans found in closets and cabinets to the recycling center. I packed up 27 years of kitchen knick knacks, family China, and saved t -ball uniforms. I emptied closets, bathroom cabinets, (still having PTSD from what I found under there,) and sat on the floor days at a time crying over boxes of photos.

Yes, when the day came and I walked out of that house for the last time leaving memories and beautiful Persian Pearl granite behind, I suddenly thought, "Wait! She can have my husband and my beautiful home but she is NOT getting the metal plate on the lanai wall!"

So, what do I text back? How about, "I'm so sorry, I was awarded the metal plate in the divorce settlement. Speak to my attorney."

But no, I can afford to be generous and magnanimous. My luck is on the upswing! I answered, "I did not take that TV so I do not have the metal plate. Sorry. Hope all is well."
She texted back, "Thank you, same to you," which I think means "I know you have the metal plate you evil bitch."

Yes. Something tells me she doesn't quite buy my story and we all know my intuition is astoundingly accurate.

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April 9, 2014

Okay, I Have Really Accepted 50

The other day I came face to face with fifty. By that I mean I came to terms with it, accepted it, conceded, and dealt with the fact that I am no longer “around fifty” I am 53 and overdue for a bone density test. During Pilates my knees sound like Fourth of July fireworks. Also, whereas I used to be obsessed with commercials for sexy new perfumes and face creams, I am now way more interested in the ads for Fosamax and Cymbalta. What? Possible dry mouth, and diarrhea? But I won’t wake up counting the hours until I can go back to bed? Okay, I’ll take that sweet deal.

Anyway, the way it happened was this: I was on my way home from spin class wearing the bike shorts my ex wore when he competed in an IronMan triathalon fifteen years ago and a Nike sports bra from the bygone era of Aerobics class routines set to “Let’s Get Physical” by Olivia Newton John. I mean the swish is long gone on this thing. WIthout getting too graphic here, the word BRA is being used loosely as I pretty much have to jam my boobs up into it and then hope I don’t see them later peeking out around my lap as I pedal away to TIMBER.

Suddenly I needed frozen yogurt, from the self serve place where I like to get a small cup, fill it half way with NATURALLY TART and then add like four cupfuls of chocolate sprinkles and a quart of hot caramel sauce. I knew that if I first went home and showered I would end up eating half a box of Cheezits and a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich and most likely after washing that down with a diet Dr. Pepper I would never make it to Menchies, and my body was really craving it. Therefore, there was a huge decision to be made. Do I actually go into a food establishment with sweat rings around my nipples or do I miss out on one of the few things besides Chardonnay and Mad Men that help me keep my mind off the fact that I only get six more years of alimony. It dawned on me right then, I don’t care what people think of me or my sagging bike shorts or sweaty boobs. I WANT YOGURT! I went in and loaded up. So, that is one way I know that I have come to terms with fifty. Ice cream over vanity. Here are a few other ways I think prove I have accepted the fact that I am definitely well into my fifth decade:

I now stand at the Publix checkout after I have paid the bill going over my receipt like a radiologist viewing a bone scan. The line builds behind me but I don’t care, I have to make sure I got the BOGO on my Oreos.

I will virtually try on any type of underwear that promises to hide back fat. Even if I see that it is constructed with what appears to be toilet paper and Elmers glue I never lose hope. This could be the one.

When I go out to dinner, instead of laying my purse on an empty chair or on the floor next to me I clutch it close to me on my lap and realize now it’s only a matter of time before I start sneaking sugar packets into it.

I now say, “Will you share something with me?” when I am out to dinner as if later, I am not going to go home and eat a bowl of Honeycomb cereal while watching Millionaire Matchmaker.

I invariably will tell my sister during one of our long distance cell phone conversations that “I’ll call you right back, I can’t find my phone.”

Believe it or not, I find there is a freedom in admitting to yourself that you are pretty much middle aged now, and it is more than eating yogurt in sweaty gym clothes. You can do what you want when you feel like doing it, (within reason, you don’t want to end up on Dateline or anything,) with the knowledge that those who love you will love you just as much with a little caramel sauce on your chin and even a tiny bit of back fat.

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A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R

Amy Koko is the author of the popular blog Ex-Wife New Life and a blogger for Huffington Post in the Divorce, Women and Comedy sections. She is also an anchor for Allvoices.com. She is currently seeking representation for her book "My Husband Left Me For a Swiss Pastry Chef - For Newbies."