When a Facebook “Tag Request” Fills You With Dread

My ex-husband asked to tag a picture that I had posted on Facebook yesterday. It was a picture of me and my fiancé, Mike. We were standing on the deck of a ridiculous floating bar called Blarney Island, grinning into the camera, with the sunset peeking over our shoulders.

I looked at the tag request from him and my stomach flipped nauseously.

My ex-husband was the man who told me every day that he loved me and sent sweet, funny cards to my work address.

He was also the man who would get blindingly drunk in the basement late at night and then come upstairs and try to anally rape me. Sometimes he succeeded.

This was the man who made our yard and flower beds the envy of the block. He planted trees and prairie plants native to our area and our front yard was ablaze with color. He cultivated milkweeds in an effort to help the dwindling monarch butterfly population.

My ex-husband suffered from alcoholism and several mental illnesses. He refused treatment. As part of these issues, he found social interactions to be very challenging and, gradually, our social circle dwindled away and we lost touch with our friends. I hated the social isolation.

He had a dozen sweet and funny nicknames for me. Missy Moo was my favorite.

I asked him to leave our home when he told me that he had met a man on Craig’s List. They would occasionally secretly meet up so that my ex-husband could give him blow jobs. In case it mattered (because: he thought it did), he only gave the bj’s; he didn’t receive them.

My ex felt compelled to finally tell me about this because he wasn’t feeling well and was afraid he had caught an STD from the guy. Oh — and that he had had unprotected sex with me, his wife, and was afraid that I had the STD too. (As it turned out, he just had the man flu and was completely fucking fine. He was still out of my house forever, though.)

And so it was that my stomach flipped when I saw that notification on my FB. It was probably an accident that he had requested the tag, but I still didn’t like it.

I wonder when it is that ex-wives finally stop feeling frightened. So far, less than three years out, I’m not there yet.

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{writer | educator | Ed.D. | hiker | leader | feminist} email: lorimann921@gmail.com

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