When I first found myself separated the obvious question was now what? I had been married for almost fifteen years but if you add in how long we were actually together theres eighteen years where I was a part of a team. I was so good at being married or at least I thought I was and suddenly it was over. People who have lost a limb talk about phantom limb syndrome and it’s a condition where someone who has lost an arm or even a leg can still feel that missing limb. Being separated is kind of like that. There are some nights where I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and swear that my wife is beside me. I’ll smell her or sometimes even feel her comforting weight beside me and sure it sucks and maybe a little sad but it is what it is. Will it go away? I would hope so unless they smell like my ex-wife or feel the way she feels against me.
Let’s steer away from the mopey and weepy and focus on the blog at hand which is the man cave. What is the man cave exactly? It’s a place where I can be a dude, It’s that simple. My house is a woman free environment. We leave the toilet seat up and the sink actually has hair in it. Usually the kids carry the toilet paper all through my tiny house so it’s never in the bathroom where it’s supposed to be. I told my oldest son that this is our home and it won’t smell pretty or even be clean all the time. In fact my ex-wife proved me right the very first time she visited. I told her she couldn’t resist cleaning and I was right. I love my house and the oddest thing about living on my own after being married so long is the freedom I now have, I was asked to run to Wal-mart after work one night with someone and I was stunned for a second because I almost I thought I had to ask for permission, I asked myself if I was allowed to go and surprisingly I said yes,
As a parent and a husband I always had to compromise but suddenly it’s gone, It’s confusing to be able to make your own decisions and after three months it doesn’t get any easier. That’s when the phantom limb syndrome comes into play and I hate not being able to call my ex-wife for advice but the thing is that we’re separated I have the ability to make mistakes and learn from them. The man cave is who I am. At any given moment there is something geeky happening. Guy movies are playing and when I say guy movies I’m talking Fight Club or even Goodfella’s, and yes there video games being played all the time. As a married guy I have seen my share of chick flicks and once I moved into the man cave they were banned, No throw pillows or anything that matches because in all honesty men don’t care about things like that. Once I moved into the man cave I was able to listen to death metal all the time and even found that without my ex-wife complaining I discovered how awesome Christian doom metal can be.
The problem is that on Thursdays and every other weekend my daughter visits and then it becomes the Princess house, Suddenly there are stuffed animals everywhere and the guy movies are tucked away and replaced by movies that they would enjoy, No more death metal and usually I’m playing with Barbie’s. The thing is that I don’t mind because it reminds me no that no matter how much I love my man cave my kids are where my heart truly is, I may never master being single or even dating but to them I’ve mastered the best thing ever and that’s being dad. They don’t care that I have yet to decorate their rooms or even freak out because I’m not used to being with them over long periods of time them and have adjusted to the laid back man cave, Hunter is like me and the oldest he knows it’s the man cave and likes the fact that it’s for the most part a woman free environment. If I start dating I know I’ll have to give up my man cave and buy some scented candles to cover up the fart smell that permeates the living room. I may even have to straighten up my bedroom because women don’t understand what the man cave represents to all men.
The man cave is all about comfort and sure women may not feel at home here but that’s the point. I’m sure at some point I’ll meet someone and start shopping for throw pillows and actually buy pans that aren’t missing handles, but until then I’m just enjoying being single despite the phantom limb syndrome that creeps in occasionally, I’m not rushing into anything and I think that’s the important part of being separated. Waking up one morning and realizing that despite the scar over your heart you’re actually surviving despite swearing you wouldn’t. Sure I love my ex-wife but it fades a little more each day and I am learning that I can survive on my own and on those days I crank up the doom metal and dance with my shirt off.