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Even Though We're Divorcing, I Want You to Be Happy (And Other B.S. Tales)

“I want her to be happy!”

People lie so bad. They just do. I say stuff like that all the time.

“I just want her to find real peace!”

There I am having my morning coffee, spouting that one off.

Oh, look. She’s dating someone. Hey, he seems pretty cool. Man, I hope they’re treating each other right.”

You know how it is: When the time comes and the toxic dust storm has settled, I like to think I’ll say AND feel the right things. It’s not uncommon. It’s human nature. Unless we were married to someone who was whooping our ass or cheating on us like a disease, more often than not we tend to tell ourselves we want the best for our ex.

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We get off on feeling kind. We get stoned on our own goodwill. And we have this insatiable need, this fiendish desire to wish our exes eternal happiness in a raging fit of Zen.

I even tell myself that I will feel internal peace, and that of course I will say crazy crap ("I just want her to be happy" ) to myself when some mutual acquaintance just has to email me and tell me that they saw my ex having drinks with some guy in some old bar:

"They were joking and laughing.

"He looks exactly like JFK Jr. It’s f**king unnerving, actually.

"I know she saw me, man, so I had to go over to say hey. Turns out the guy (his name is Mika) is a children’s heart surgeon. He saves kids’ lives on a daily basis. He bought me a beer so I hung out for a bit.

"Jesus, was she smitten. They both were. Holding hands right in front of me and all that. Little kisses. Jesus. It was awkward, dude. It was like being the third wheel to someone else’s feverish beginning, you know? They looked like one of those enchanted couples in one of those boner medicine commercials on TV. Except this guy was way too handsome to need boner pills.”


Maybe the email won’t be that harsh. Hell, who would even send me an email about that anyway? It’s all in my head. All of it.

I just want her to be happy.

You don’t think for even a split second that you reaaaaallly, really want your ex to be all high and happy forever, do you?

Who knows how or where this whole idea of wishing blessings and fortune down on your ex-wife or husband ever came about, but it’s a bunch of bullshit. It really is. We need to move on to the best of our abilities and that’s completely understandable, right? Right. And when we have kids with the ex, well, it makes a ton of sense that we actually would hope they remain in reasonably good health and spirits. At least until the last kid is out of high school and can fend for themselves. At which point, all bets are off and may the best ex outlive the other one in a stunning cavalcade of success/riches/sexy partners/published novels on the bestseller list/a body that just gets more rockin’ with age and so much wisdom and centeredness that the other ex, the LOSER, ends up wanting the old ex back because he or she (he, probably) has proven to be like this unbelievable human with borderline superpowers when it comes to living life the way it is meant to be lived: as a cool person with a lot of friends and money and lovers and cars and helicopters.

Yeah, that’s right, I said it: Helicopters. With a z-sound.

Be the ex with the helicopter hangar.



The following is a general discourse aimed at anyone and everyone, but mostly at me.

Is it jealousy?

Or spite?

Is it something tinged with competition or what?

Maybe these true thoughts, the ones we REALLY think yet bury under heaps of psychobabble strata, maybe these thoughts are the ripened fruits of our lingering pain over losing love, even if it was a love we didn’t feel anymore. Even if it wasn’t love at all in the end.

Think long and hard about this, my friends. What devilish intent lies just beneath the rippling surfaces of our Internet Buddhist malarkey?

When we tell ourselves "the lies," that we sincerely wish our formers nothing but love and wonder and discovery (and even brilliant sex with someone else!), and even when we feel so confident and heightened enough to spout that stuff out loud—so other humans can hear it and raise their inner eyebrows in double rainbows of lip-biting disbelief—what do we honestly think we’re doing?

Love brings out the best in all of us. And it hacks up the worst, too.

We are preposterous to ourselves, do you know that? We punch ourselves in the face because we say we deserve it. But really, we’re getting addicted to the sting. You don’t think for even a split second that you reaaaaallly really want your ex to be all high and happy forever, do you?


It’s not that it isn’t possible. Anything’s possible, obviously.

But c’mon. This? This stuff?

OK, forget what I just said. It isn’t possible. We’re not that kind. Love is love, and then it isn’t. Love is forever, they say, but that’s not necessarily true either.

You cannot thrust your happy horseshit in mailboxes where it doesn’t belong. There are laws against it. Universal laws of sadness and blues and rejection and envy and distrust, galaxy-wide agreements between interstellar forces of emotion that simply deny us the ability to truly/deeply/seriously/committedly wish our best, day in and day out, for someone who we used to kiss under the mistletoe and who now kisses another!

It’s possible, yet it’s impossible.

No matter who you are, no matter what you tell yourself, the truth is this: Deep down, inside of the dank, candlelit dungeon where the REAL YOU spends most of your time, eating mildewed mouse bones off the damp prison floor, cackling loudly at the voices in your fried-egg brain, and peering through the cold, steel bars into the vast void of darkness that stretches out for miles and miles, offering not even a tiny glimpse of true calm or dignified existence, you, my kind-hearted friend who everyone loves and cares for and who sets an example to human beings everywhere with the way you live your life, even in the wake of such human tragedy and heartbreak, YOU, down there talking to yourself, are quietly hoping against hope that you end up with the JFK Jr. lookalike.

No matter what.

No matter what your sexuality or any of that Earthly nonsense.


Perhaps I’m off-base here. I might be off-base.

OK, I’m off-base. I admit that.

But it feels good to peer in the abyss of my own guts sometimes, and to reach down into the slime and take my own bloody beating heart in my hands and just massage it with unthinkable possibility now and then. It isn’t witchcraft, but it’s very, very close, indeed. Love brings out the best in all of us. And it hacks up the worst, too.

Me? I need to flirt with both sides. Because it feels good and I need to feel good. Because I’m an honest man and a goddamn liar, all at once, all the time.

And mostly because "moving on" isn’t some kind of Pop-Tart you sink into the toaster just so it can come back to you in a minute, all hot and ready to roll. It takes time, people. It takes kindness and compassion. It takes patience and rivers of unstoppable love.

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And every now and then, it takes being an asshole and getting off on the feeling, even just for a few seconds. Just until you get back up on your lumbering, beautiful elephant of good intentions; your thoughts and words, so pure and giving.

Hot piles of steaming elephant crap, covering every inch of rough road you’ve traveled so far.

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