health & wellness

Dirty John


It’s a new day, y’all.  Things are changing fast around here.  My youngest has entered the workforce and is pretty much independent.  I am seeing what single and alone will look like and I’m having some feelings about it I hadn’t expected.

I have never had a time in my life when I’ve been completely alone.  I’ve never lived exclusively by myself, slept alone in my home for an extended period of time and I have never not had to cook for at least one other person in my adult life.

I feel like I’m a little bit…..afraid.  Being completely alone is foreign to me and I don’t have a plan for what to do.  What if I choke? Who will call 911?  What if I want to fall into a tub of Chocolate Cookie Dough Ice Cream and never come out?  Who will give me the side eye to keep me accountable to eat more than ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner?  What will I do with my time when I have no one to care for but myself?  Well, there is my dog, but he doesn’t care if I eat ice cream, and I secretly think he would scarf down the cookie dough before even noticing that I was choking to death.  Not to mention without opposable thumbs, how is he supposed to call for help?

The idea of being alone has had me scanning my environment trying to imagine what dating would look like and who I might be attracted to.

Am I ready to date?  Am I ready to put myself out there again and see if I’ve learned what I need to be able to trust someone again?

I realize I am going back to what I know because I’m scared of the unknown.  Change is hard, man.  Doing something completely new is scary.  It’s been a year and a half since I ended my marriage.  I read somewhere that it takes a month for every year you were together to get over someone and be really ready to dip your toe in the dating water.  That would be a little over two years of solo life.  My heart is completely ok with that number.  My brain is the one that is suggesting that I take applications for a new partner.

Ultimately I should probably admit that I’m a little lonely.  I hate that word.  I don’t want to be lonely.  To me it feels weak and like I’ve failed at big girl panty life.  I want to be completely content being single and if I want to eat the ice cream, dammit I’m going to do it.  I want to be Murphy Brown, circa 1989.  Independent, alone, successful, professional and complete.  I’m all over the place here, I know.

So imagine my surprise as I’m processing all these feelings when I happen to get a random recommendation for a podcast called Dirty John.  To give you some back story, John Meehan is a skilled con man who has no inner voice, no conscience, no problem lying, swindling, stealing, but portrays himself as Prince Charming, a doctor, a loving and successful human being who has so much love to give.  Debra Newell is a successful older woman, a business owner, beautiful with healthy children, who has had several failed relationships and just wants to be loved and has a tendency to pick men who are broken and need fixing.

Sound Familiar?

This Podcast from the very first episode had me questioning if it was healthy for me to listen to it.  Dirty John had so many personality quirks of my ex-husband that it was like listening to parts of my life exposed but with the names changed.  The gaslighting, the turning things around making her feel crazy for his lies.  The ways he made everyone else think he was the victim and all the outcries of wrongdoing were just misunderstandings or outright lies created by people out to get him.

Now admittedly the man in the podcast was a psychopath.  My ex-husband is a narcissist for sure, and a liar, and a thief, but when backed into a corner, my ex would turn tail because he’s a coward, not try to kill someone.  But both men were broken from childhood and both men had the ability to justify every cruel and illegal thing they had ever done with flowery words and outward appearances of being a good man.  Both men are experts in spinning a situation to benefit them and lies are just part of their genetic makeup.

So basically once I was done with the podcast I was back to square one on the healing hopscotch board.  No way am I dating again right now.  I’ll revisit the idea at my two-year anniversary mark of being single.  I’ll wager that even then I’ll not be ready.  I don’t want to be that woman who gets divorced and never loves again.  I do want love again someday.  Truth of the matter is, I’m white-knuckled scared of getting involved with a Dirty John or a Dirty *insert ex’s name here*.

So for now, the barbed wire around my heart is still firmly in place.  No access, no entry, no applications currently being accepted.  I need to learn what it’s like to be an adult completely alone.  I’d wager it won’t be too long before my youngest wants to move out and be a young adult on her own.  I need to adjust to that kind of lifestyle and enjoy the stillness.  I need to channel my inner Murphy Brown.  For those of you young pups who weren’t even a twinkle in your Daddy’s eye in 1988, no worries, like everything else from the 80’s, the television show Murphy Brown is getting a reboot and you will get to see a newly adapted version of it soon.  I swear Hollywood has run out of new ideas.

If you, like the rest of humanity love true crime podcasts then take a listen to Dirty John. It’s a very well done podcast and sucks you right in.  It’s very similar to other popular podcasts in the true crime genre like S-Town, Serial and Atlanta Monster.

If you listen to it, drop me a message and let me know what you thought of it.  How many Dirty John’s have you dated or known in your life?  I’d be interested to know that I’m not alone.

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