Facing the Dragon

It. Happened.

Almost four years now and it happened.

The event I’ve been anticipating and dreading since the text.

I saw him.

Let me go back a bit.

I received the text in July of 2009. I have had no direct communication with him since – only a single text conversation with my mother (detailed in the book) and through layers of lawyers during the divorce.

The divorce was final in March of 2010.

I kept up with his whereabouts (and his other wife’s location) during that time. The last time I looked was the day after the divorce was final. I have not know where he was living or who he was living with.

But today, I saw him.

I was at an annual Atlanta festival, one I used to go to with my ex and one which I now attend with my fiance and our friends. At the time I saw him, I was sitting on a tarp with a single friend while waiting on Brock and the others to make it to the park.

It’s strange. The last time I saw him was three years ago in court. My mom and I walked right past him and I didn’t recognize him, even though I knew he may be there. Today, I had not thought of him at all, yet when he crossed my path, I recognized him immediately.

He had the same walk. The same gray Banana Republic Shirt. The same hair. He was heavy. Fat, even. His weight varied quite a bit through our relationship, from a scrawny 160 on his broad 6’1″ frame to a high of 250. When I saw him in court, he was back to his skinny high school frame. Today? He must have been 280. His belly strained the fabric of his designer t-shirt.

But I knew him instantly.

He was hand in hand with a woman. It may have been the other wife. I’m not sure. She was blond and hippy like her, but I only knew her from pictures, phone and email so I cannot be positive. It doesn’t matter.

From our vantage point on a hill, I saw him several times. I felt sick. Ill. The shaking returned. Even now, home again after a purifying shower, I’m emotional yet I can pinpoint no singular emotion.

I certainly felt no love. No jealousy. No desire to speak to him.

I wasn’t angry.

But I feel violated in a way. I don’t want him here. In my circles. My city.

I came here for him but I’ve claimed it now.

I chose to not to run but also not to approach. I watched him for almost thirty minutes. By the time Brock and others showed up, the crowds had thickened and I did not see him again.

Part of me thought of alertng the swarms of police to the wanted felon in their midst. I guess they didn’t check for that when they checked IDs at the gate.

I watched him and I remembered being at that festival with him four years ago.

I watched him and I remembered a 4th of July festival on the second to last day we were together as husband and wife.

I watched him and felt a strange sense of disconnectedness, adrift from my old life.

I watched him and felt my body tremble with the release of emotion.

I watched him and felt relief that I faced the dragon.

I watched him and felt nothing.

So why am I still shaking?

Why the tears?


A few hours later… Raw.

And then humor returned…Slaying the Dragon





Thank you for sharing!

36 thoughts on “Facing the Dragon

  1. I so appreciate your honesty about facing the dragon that is your ex-husband, and while I cannot answer for you as to why you are shaking and in tears, I can still empathize. When I have been in similar situations, I find that my body and heart react to past hurt, not present healing, when I am surprised by a blast from the past. It reminds me of the pain that once was a constant companion, and sometimes, I wonder if it emerges as a reminder not to go back from where I can came.

    I hope you can rest and regroup tonight, and again, thank you for another piece of writing that resonates with me.

    1. It’s amazing how the body stores pain. It’s like this imprint on me was revealed again.

      In the process of resting and regrouping. Thank you for your support:)

      1. You are more than welcome, and just know that you are not the only one who bears scars of the heart. I hope that you continue to rest and regroup, and I look forward to reading more about your journey, as I relate to it on a number of levels. Thank you for sharing who you are!

  2. The authenticity of your post was incredibly touching.
    It reminds me of a story someone recently shared with me.
    They were talking about antelope and how when put in a predator, victim relationship the antelope that survives typically thrashes its body hooves and limbs flailing. While escaping the jaws of death it releases the energy of the experience.
    We are taught to suck it up. Hold in the energy of life’s experiences. When in reality that is completely counter intuitive to a healthy existence.
    The antelopes release allows it to carry on in a normal capacity without having the burden of the experience slow it down.
    I found the physical response upon encountering the person in my life that betrayed me so deeply disappated as I released their energy from my life.
    Life is such an interesting journey. I appreciate your sharing.

  3. I can empathize with your pain. There was no resolution with your ex-husband. There was no closure. Even though you have moved on, that pain is still deep within you. I am sorry that he hurt you so much. I also hope that you can rest and be glad of the life you have now.

    1. You are so right – it is the lack of resolution that makes this experience so powerful. I’ve accepted that there is no closure, but seeing him was very strange. In many ways, I have seen him as dead. I feel like I saw a ghost.

    1. I fell out of love instantly upon receiving the text. When I watched the woman with him yesterday, I had no sense of that “should be me” only that it was me four years ago. Thank you:)

  4. Simply put- I would put the physical reaction into the category of some post tramatic stress which is completely reasonable but you were brave. You are now conditioned to relate your ex to distress, anxiousness, bad feelings, heart ache, suffering…all of those terrible feelings but you have now added a new feeling- the feeling of being brave. Congratulations girl, I can see your big balls (or uterus) from here.

  5. Your tears are not weakness here, they are simply a physical reaction to the amazing amount of stress your body just endured. My 9 year old son tells me not to worry, I’m just sweating through my eyes, like when I work out…same thing 🙂 So, so glad that you wrote this. I, unfortunately have to face my dragon every time the kids see him. I long for the day that I can feel nothing.

    1. I sweated through my eyes and pores on my run yesterday. It must have been the heat:)

      I can’t imagine seeing mine on a regular basis. Does it get easier?

      1. Yes, I’m sure that is what it was 🙂 Unfortunately it does not get easier…or at least not yet. I am praying it will. Doesn’t help that I still love him (pretty stupid considering) but the Tsunami forgot to wash that away with the rest of my life. Let me clarify…I love my husband, not the man in his skin. I just can’t seem to keep the two straight when he’s standing in front of me and I let myself continue to hope and get crushed. I’m working on that part though. So maybe once I figure that out it will get easier. I’ll let you know.

  6. For years I was terrified of my abusive ex-boyfriend, who’d raped me. I’d moved to another state, but the thought that I could accidentally run into him when I went back to see my parents was a thought that made my stomach clench in fear. I had nightmares of being raped that took over a decade to go away. I thought I might literally throw up if I had to be confronted with him ever again. Then, a two years ago, I found out he’d become a cop. That sent me over the edge. (A rapist becomes a cop. Of course! Perfect!) Instead of being scared, I got angry. I began taking self-defense classes. If I’m ever in that situation again, I might go down, but I’ll go down fighting. It’s such a powerful feeling to know that I’m training to stand up for myself. That said, I don’t know what would happen if I ever did see him again….

    Your own situation wasn’t physical danger from this man. Well, okay, there was the risk of disease from his affair(s?), and the physical trauma you suffered when he left. But your major damages were emotional and financial. You’ve made huge strides to protect yourself in both of those areas. But I agree with what brokenbutstronger said, above, that you never had closure. Maybe this was your body’s way of going back to protective-mode, insulating you from the danger of him.

    BTW, you would have been completely in-the-right to have called the police. That man deserves to be locked up, and you SHOULDN’T have to worry about coming face-to-face with him. What he did to you WAS criminal. (But didn’t it feel at least a little nice to see that he was fat, while you’re skinny and beautiful, and engaged to a handsome-hunk? 😉 )

    You will probably feel “funky” for a while; this will probably be the reason why. Hugs, honey. He can’t hurt you anymore.

    1. I don’t think I’m in physical danger from him, but…I did love the fact that I was surrounded by a half dozen martial artists (all with black belts in multiple systems) at the festival. Interestingly, many them turned to martial arts so that they would never feel powerless again.

  7. elizabeth2560 – ABOUT ALMOST SPRING Two and a half years ago my 37 year marriage ended suddenly through no choice of my own. I survived the heartache. I have taken control of my present. I am planning my own destiny, which is moving onwards to a life of purpose and meaning. This is my journey.
    elizabeth2560 says:

    I read in a psychology book that you should regard unpleasant thoughts and feelings as if they were unwanted passengers on a bus that you are driving. You know they are there, you do not like the way they are behaving or how they are trying to intimidate you, but you can’t get rid of them until they decide to get off. However, at all times the thing you need to remember is that you are still the driver of the bus. It is up to you to take the bus in the correct direction, no matter how much noise and commotion the unwanted passengers make.

    This chance meeting today was a moment you had been dreading for four years. The unpleasant thoughts and feelings and trembling and tears came. And you survived. You deserve praise for making it through this day. You are definitely in the driver’s seat of your life.

  8. looking for buddha again – I'm a divorcing dad. Betrayed via infidelity by my wife. I love my kids and miss the wholenss of my family. I never thought this could happen to us. I always thought we would be that special couple and be together forever. But... Fast forward. Now divorced and it still sucks.
    looking for buddha again says:

    I see the ex and her affair partner/husband every week. Three years we have been apart. 8 years since she had the first affair. I have been dealing with this for so long that one would think it can’t affect me anymore. But, every email, every sighting, every time I hear her voice I go through the gamut of everything you describe above. I understand.
    Peace to you

    1. Wow. That’s wild that it doesn’t fade with exposure. I hope I don’t ever have to have a repeat performance of mine to test that for myself. Ugh.

      Sorry that you have to go there emotionally every week.

  9. wanderlustryramblings – Blogging has always been a cathartic experience for me. There is something about seeing your thoughts, dreams and desires in black and white. Writing down the multitude of thoughts passing through my mind every second almost gives the thoughts a sort of finitude. So here I have come to blog about the events and happenings that have affected my profoundly and will continue to affect my life as I endeavor to move on. I am also here to write about anything and everything that will help those like me seek solace in the understanding that they are not alone to ultimately begin to deal with their own pain and sense of loss.
    wanderlustryramblings says:

    I can feel your emotions at seeing your ex again. I went through the same thing when I saw mine in the court after over a year of separation. The tears are not a sign of weakness but the mechanism of your body to remove every bit of pain and anguish it might have still held onto but be rest assured in the fact that you did not feel anything. That ultimately shows how much you have healed and moved forward. As others have said you must pat yourself on your back for the progress you have made in the last four years not just in healing but as a person.

  10. candidkay – Experienced journalist, marketing exec and mother of two, I write about life as I know it. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious. But always interesting.
    candidkay says:

    Wow. HIts home. My ex is usually not so nice but helped me hang pics a few weeks ago, in a moment of weakness I guess. We’re tied together by kids, though. I cried after he left. I don’t want him. I cry for the innocence lost, the dream dashed–for what could have been. But I have to remind myself–it wasn’t meant to be with HIM. With someone else, I await something even better:) Thanks for the reminder!

  11. Heather – Nashville, TN – I'm an almost 30 something divorcee attempting to survive the worst crisis of my life with the help of God.
    Heather says:

    Running into my ex is one of my greatest fears. After reading some of the comments I think I need to take a self defense class or martial arts classes. 🙂

Leave a ReplyCancel reply