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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

I Hate Mums

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We walked into Home Depot the other day to buy a section of fence to replace the one that was splintered by the felled tree the other day (totally off topic, but you never realize how large those fence sections are until you try to carry one and you never realize how sail-like they are until they are trying to lift your CRV into the air from their position on the roof.) While walking in, a large display of mums (the fall flower, not the British mother) caught my eye. The flowers were a welcome sight of fresh color at a time when all the hue seems to drain from the other perennials as they succumb to the heat and decide to Rip Van Winkle for several months. I was admiring the diverse colors and full, healthy plants, when out of nowhere a voice in my head declared,

“I hate mums.”

It was a familiar sentiment; I remembered feeling that way and uttering those words. But I was confused. If I hated mums, why was I drawn to them? If I disliked their blooms, why did I have to resist the urge to gather some pots up along with the section of fence?

Perhaps my tastes have changed. After all, I now gravitate towards spicy foods when I used to prefer bland. I am more apt to don color now than the all dark tones that used to dominate my closet. Maybe I somehow developed a fondness for mums with my advancing age.

But I don’t think that’s it.

In fact, I have a very specific memory about mums.

My ex and I were walking into a house about twenty years ago. The front stoop was framed by two large pots of mums, their orange, yellow and copper blooms echoing the colors of autumn. They provided a welcoming, homey image and seemed to freshen the air with their presence.

Upon spying the flowers, my ex announced,

“I hate mums.”

“Me too,” I replied. But did I really have a distaste for the flowers? Or was I trying to show my allegiance to my mum-hating boyfriend? It’s scary to contemplate the latter. That I may have suppressed the urge to disagree with him on something so trivial. It makes me wonder what else I let him decide for me?

Maybe I never really hated mums.

I just let myself believe I did.


And now I’ve added them to list of plants to buy for the front of the house next spring. Because I’ve decided that I like mums after all. And, if I’m lucky, maybe they’ll have special ex-repellent properties:)



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19 thoughts on “I Hate Mums

  1. I think on some levels Ive done the same, minimized my own likes n dislikes to make him happy, but on other levels I think my strong bold opinionated attitude scared him off to someone less opinionated and weak… So many times now I hear him say “but u dont like ***….” and Im like , noooo, YOU dont like that, I just agreed cause you didnt, but I would like ****…. mostly trivial stuff like restaraunts, food, outtings with the kids…. Man if he thought I was over opinionated before, HAH! I already told him to be prepared because I am me, take me or leave me but Im not minimizing me any more! And… i like the color of the mums, but im not into them… look weird to me…
    Its amazing what a little insight into ourselves can do..

  2. Interesting. I hate mums, but mostly because they signify the end of summer. Also, they look fake to me, somehow– like wax flowers.

    I know what you mean about carefully modifying your tastes to align with someone else’s. It’s a good thing to recognize and address.

  3. I’ve done the same! Maybe we all do in trying to build something, to minimise differences. He gave up fettuccine puttanesca. I gave up a pink sofa. But the difference is I started to feel obliged to dislike the pink sofa. He still ordered puttanesca when we were out (just didn’t make it at home). I’m coming to the conclusion that selfless love is bound to be betrayed.

      1. Sadly I do not have a pink sofa yet. But I reclaimed my pink ottoman (heartshaped with stainless steel claw feet) from my mums. I had sent it to her when we went to live overseas and hadn’t got it back when we returned because Paul made fun of it.
        Hope one say to have a little desk nook in the end of the lounge with a pink mini sofa. In the meantime the pink ottoman is my daughters prized spot to sit while playing with her dolls house.

        You see, I stayed. He’s awfully remorseful and we get along ok now. It’ll never be the same, but it’s better than the alternative.

  4. By the way, here we call them Chryssies, I didn’t know what “mums” were. But it’s funny, here they are the Mother’s Day flower because of the season not the name. I like them because my kids always give them to me on Mother’s Day.

  5. i hate people who say they hate everything!!!!

    he used to say that a lot;.. about any and everything… i hate this i hate that, i hate broccoli i hate pasta i hate bar soap i hate cats i hate everything in the whole entire worlddddddd!!! just let them be, sheesh. you dont have to love them, but whats the point in hating harmless random objects?

    is there a NEED to hate these things? i could understand, if, you know, a chrysanthemum ate your dog when you were a kid and took a chunk of your hand when you tried to save it (this is how irrational i think it is)… really? you hate them? heh. i used to say that a lot..

    but why do i hate people who do that? because, like you say… it makes me hate stuff too. its a really strong word. and it spreads way too easy. thinking about it now, it almost sounds like a control issue… spread hate, its an easy way to control people… *cough* hitler *cough*

  6. I can totally relate to this! All the things I “liked” for fear of upsetting the precarious balance of my relationship. I love mums. I love their colors and blooms and all they represent. I love fall-the smell of the air, the crunch of leaves underfoot, the fond memories of marching season. Maybe, just maybe, we can both have that special ex-repellent!

  7. I wonder how much of what I used to like and dislike was to appease my ex. I recently went through the first anniversary of the divorce, and it really made me think about who I was when I was with him, and who I really am. Unfortunately, I have yet to find ex repellent. Perhaps, I should plant mums this year. He never had much luck with flowering plants 🙂

  8. I totally understand. There are places that I thought I’d been to that I dream about often. One day I realized I’d never been there. Weird. But on another note – I hate mums. They look very fresh but smell bad. Nasty.

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