It’s not Spring Yet! Malaise

Y’all tuned in here this week to read about perfume, didn’t you?  No Joy in Perfumeville again today on that count.  I’m about three weeks into a End of Winter Malaise. I’m not depressed or unhappy, just seem to have arrived at one of those Brightly Beaconed Turning Points in life where I’ve sat down in the road and punted on life for a while.  I don’t really feel like I have to do or choose something – it feels more like I’ve been remaking my life for the last year now, and I’m just a little exhausted from all the changes and need a big, deep cleansing breath and assimilation before I start back in sorting, discarding and embracing new things.  There’s a lot of my real job stresses going on as well (not TPC – that’s a joy – my other real job).  This post is going to be more personal, so those of you just wanting your perfume news/reviews delivered without personal junk, this is a bad day to be reading here.

Looking back over this year, for those of you that aren’t aware, I’ve gone through a divorce, now have both of my sons gone from the nest, and I’m in my home alone, figuring out the New Plan since the Old Plan was an Epic Fail.  I do have a question, for those of you that have gone through this, can you really remain friends with your ex? I already have another ex, but he’s the father of my sons, so we’ve always been civil, just not best buddies.  This ex was a great friend for the last two decades of my life, even though he has been at many points a really shitty human being, so I’m a little more invested in getting this to a great friendship.  Can people live with the tenson of liking and hating a person at the same time?  I’ve been working on this for a year now and still not found an answer that feels comfortable, nor has the duality of my feelings changed where he is concerned. Maybe I’ll never find an answer that feels comfortable, and maybe I never should.  Life may be best lived in tension without the safety net of certainty. I know I work much better on that edge than anywhere else.

The life I’ve created now is one I love. It is full of friends and fun and joy.  I’ve gotten all healthy with yoga and juices and horseback riding.  I’m free to travel to the places I want to go after so many years of only going the places other people wanted to go.  I’m truly happy in a way I never thought possible.  I am truly living a life I don’t deserve and never for one second am unaware of how fortunate I am.

So I’m not sure if I’m at the big inhale or the big exhale in life, but I sure wish it would pass.  I’ve gotten used to being out and doing things and attacking life, and I just want to shake this malaise off.  I’ve got a couple of perfume choices that I keep thinking should help, but haven’t so far. The new Vanille Galante is just wonderful, and I’m one of the Feminite du Bois parfum partakers, as well – what a deliciously smooth skanky thing that is!  I’ve thought about breaking out the Apres L’Ondee or En Passant, but even though they fill me with hope, there is too much melancholy in there for where I am right now.  Ideas on something to shake me out of this perfume-wise, or just advise-wise?  Or if you’ve been through major life upheavals successfully, just tell me what’s normal so I won’t worry that I’m in some weird place now.

Until y’all give me the answers to perfume and life, I’m just going to content myself with Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies right from the freezer.

Oh! You can also help cheer me up by friending me on Facebook. Once you friend me, you can friend March and Lee, an I have a lits of tons of perfumistas that you can just keeping adding! I’ve got this strange thrill about having a lot of friends on FB, it’s a weird little obsession, but I’m just going with it for now since it seems harmless.

  • Robin R says:

    Patty, this will be the first time I’ve ever commented on your site, but I read this thread at the perfect time, since I’m going through a very, very similar experience emotionally. I’m Robin Razzell on Facebook and Marina is already a friend, in case you want to have me as a friend, too. I hope that you are feeling better than you were a couple of weeks ago. I love your site and admire all your close friends here and hope to be a more regular visitor as my own life settles down. I’ve posted a great deal on NST and am wanting to expand my online perfume blog horizons. Thanks for your honesty and good advice, everyone.

  • Anita says:

    Hello Patty, So sorry to hear about your painful upheaval. However, a divorce is not a failure. It shows that you have the wisdom and strength to see and pursue what is best for you at this juncture. Many cannot do that and they stay together. I have not been married but this seems clear to me. Also, from what I have seen, it takes strong and independent people to be friends after marriage, so that there is no psychological game-playing or efforts to instill guilt in the other person. You certainly seem to fit that bill. I wish you a future of happiness and good fortune.

  • Dain says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your troubles. Maybe No. 19 will give provide a dose of optimism and strength, it dreams of spring but smells a bit icy and self-assured too. I am sure in time you will both be able to become friends again.

  • mollypenny says:

    The easiest way to appreciate the life you currently have is to go do something you don’t really want to. ie- if you have to spend an afternoon volunteering, it makes you appreciate the routines you DO have. Also, when you’re feeling stuck or melancholy, focus on someone else who could use some help. Go visit a friend who is down or rake the yard for the elderly single neighbor. Or do something sweet for your kids that they’re not expecting. Or write someone an ACTUAL LETTER! with a pen and paper and all!

  • mollypenny says:

    Hi Patty, the first thing I have to relate is not to be hard on yourself just because you’ve had failed relationships. You’re not alone and it truly is part of life. I think it’s a good thing because it means we’re living and trying new things. Better to have loved and lost, right? Even though I didn’t marry all of my relationships, they were just as real none the less. And I don’t regret any of them because they’ve helped me live and grow.

    Sounds like you’ve done a great job of getting back on your feet and finding yourself. It’s a hard thing to do and I have to commend you, you’ve worked hard! I’ve also just gone through a year of divorce. I myself have been lucky to have a lot of great things in my life this past year (family, friends, work, home, travel, pets, perfume;) I have a wonderful boyfriend and we only get together a couple of times a week, so I’m absolutely loving my space also. I think Facebook and this blog is also a great thing for you, it’s good to know there are so many folks out there that care about you and share interests. It also helps us get out of our own heads.

    Now, as far as being friends with the ex- it’s absolutely possible, but all circumstances are different. The first question is SHOULD you be friends with him. Does he deserve your friendship? Is he hindering you from moving on? Does it make you happy that he is in your life? (that would be mostly happy, not sometimes) Don’t feel obligated to be his friend. I understand the two of you have been connected for a long time now, but there are other people out there that you will connect with. You’re not going to fully grow if you’re still allowing the ex to be the person you share most things with. But hopefully that’s not the case for you (that he is still your instinctual go-to friend) I’ve also found it’s much easier to be friends with your ex after you’ve fallen for someone else. If you’re still in love with your ex or would still sleep with him given the right circumstances, then absolutely no on the friendship (although you’re a wise gal, I don’t have to tell you this).

    I’m friendly with all my exes including the ex husband. We realize we hurt each other and are truly sorry for it. We would never hurt each other/or anyone else in that way again. Does your ex feel that way? Has he owned up to his faults and tried to change them? If not, I would say he’s not worthy as a friend. Unless there are no faults and you simply weren’t meant to be married, but you said he’s been a shit, sooo… Basically, is it ultimately good for Patty to have him in your life? Be honest with yourself and you’ll know whether you should be friends or just be friendly.

    And one last thing, realize that you will always have your ups and downs. Although you will have absolutely fabulous days, not every day can or will be a fabulous one- life and our bodies are too complicated. Just appreciate your good days and know that your bad days will pass. Every day is a new day. It’s really awesome that way!

    perfume for the malaise… I guess I would think bright and cheery to give ya a boost, maybe something from the Acqua di Parma line 🙂

  • Lucy says:

    I wish you the best, and having experience in this field of endeavor, I have strong opinions about this. I would say you definitely need a period of separation from the ex for a few months at least, with no contact at all. You can always be friends later, after a you have had a chance to really heal. Take a look into the term “no contact”. It’s a technique people use to get over a long marriage or some connection that is neither on or off. It’s takes a lot internal fortitude to get over a long marriage that ends in divorce. Divorce is the key word here. You have put new boundaries in place, for your own sake. This can’t be done together, only apart, and as difficult as it is it will allow you to start your life over for real. Also don’t forget, that if you really are friends he will still be available to be your friend after you have taken the necessary time out, be it months or more than a year.

    It sounds like you have enough going for you in your own life right now to be able to pull this off, even with style.

    That said I think the most comforting take on it all I found was that each big relationship is what you really needed at the time, and taught you exactly what you needed to learn and to grow more into the real you.

  • quimerula says:

    Bandit. Really. Go, sniff, mischief.;)
    No wise advise about living issues though, mostly because I don’t have any.

  • Olfacta says:

    Oh my goodness. Let’s see. An ongoing divorce, two kids, a job and a business, a house and a Denver winter? I’d be under the bed. It sounds as though you’re doing all right.

    Maybe it’s too soon to be friends.You shared a lot, but there’s so much baggage now.

    I think Angela’s idea of the gbf (gay boyfriend) is great. That is a special and lovely kind of friendship. My own gbf, who is gone, was the best remedy for getting over the ending of a longterm relationship that I could’ve ever found (well, that and a year of therapy.) I still treasure the memories of some wild times we had together. He got me back out into the world.

    Wishing you the best.

  • AngelaS says:

    I think there’s no reason you should be friends with an ex–unless you really, really want to, and want to for more than three days running.

    It’s time to go out for that drink and do some heavy duty flirting (just flirting) to remind yourself how fabulous you are! If you can’t stand straight men yet, go dancing with some terrific gay men. You find too much joy in life, I just know it, not to have a great time and fall into bed remembering what you’re really all about. (Plus, it will justify downing another sleeve of thin mints.)


  • Lavanya says:

    Hi Patty! ..*big ginormous hugs*..Hang in there!!

    The question of friendship with exes is always tricky especially when it is one with whom you seemed to have shared so much..Having said that I almost feel that *that* might be one of the reasons why it might be difficult to be really good friends (and only friends)..It obviously (As many people have mentioned) depends on how things ended..

    I think it finally comes down to this:

    1. Do you care too much to be only friends
    2. Do you care enough to even be friends..

    From some of your comments it almost seems as if both might be true . It is really important (I think) for both people to be in the same place emotionally, one not needing more from the friendship than the other..And when I say more I don’t just mean wanting to be more than friends but also just the needs/demands of a friendship..

    There are too many other factors to consider: Do you think even if you do become friends, will it actually be the same kind of friendship that you enjoyed and shared or will it always be sort of clouded by the betrayals and with the ‘things that did not work’…It needn’t be- but that probably depends..

    Having said all of that I feel you should just give yourself more time without trying to force anything..You need time and you actually seem to be doing a wonderful job of structuring your life
    according to how you want to live it ..and I think you should focus on that and things will fall into place..*touches wood*
    The bottom line is: Do whatever you think will make YOU happy (and the boys)!!

    As for perfume (you’d think I’d be done speaking for, I’d go with Caron Poivre(I know you love this one) or SL TC- not because they are particularly joyful but when I put them on I always feel like smelling my arm so it serves as a wonderful distraction!!..Also buy yourself a huge bunch of flowers- like Tuberose (can you tell that it’s my favorite and read a book (like Middlemarch or even Jane Austen-if you like her ) with the flowers next to the bed(Or we’ll buy you flowers when you come to LA!!!-I’m really hoping I can make it!)..sounds corny but smells goood!!

    !..and big hugs again..Don’t worry!!

    • mollypenny says:

      Lavanya, after I wrote my diatribe, I realize I could have just said, “yeah, what Lavanya said!” I totally agree with you.

  • Cynthia Lesiuk says:

    As I am reading this, I am sitting in an internet cafe at Narita (Tokyo airport) on a stopover to the States to visit my Mom. I was feeling blue on the flight, having said goodbye to my three high school seniors, and thinking what will I do when they are a half a world away from me next year in college? So your opening lament really struck a cord with me. As for the ex, my ex was pre-kids,…a foolish mistake in my 20’s that I stuck with for far too long. I don’t hate him or anything, but just wanted to be rid of him once I finally left, so I’m no help with how to remain a friend.
    The main reason I’m commenting (always read but rarely comment) is to say how brave I think you are. You have always been so open on your posts (although I somehow missed that you were divorcing) and I’ve admired your honesty. It’s part of what makes for such compelling reading. I know that you’ll pull things together. It’s ok to feel bad now and then! All the best to you.

  • Tara says:

    As a veteran of 2 failed marriages, I feel your pain. It takes a lot longer than you think it should to heal from the embarrassment and grief – my 10 year marriage took me 5 years to heal from. I’m happily partnered now with no desire to marry again. To me the marriage created a third entity in our relationship which became like the elephant in the room – there was me, him, and then there was The Marriage. I think 3’s a crowd – I’ll stay happily shacked up with my SO for life, just the two of us this time. I regularly get in funks, and I just tell myself it’s like having a bad flu – you just have to wait for it to pass, and it will. Hang in there!

  • Disteza says:

    I’m sorry to hear of your relationship woes, but it sounds to me as if you’re struggling more with emotional/mental inertia than sadness. Keeping busy is one way to avoid having to do any self-examination, and it is the drug of choice for many who choose not to look inwards too closely lest they see something they don’t like. It’s good that you have other interests in your life to help you get past the rough spot, however, it is hard to prevent that malaise of inertia from creeping into other areas where you found enjoyment. But please take everything I say with a grain of salt; I am in no way a trained expert. The only bit of advice I can truly offer is on the perfume: have you considered Quand Vient La Pluie? I can’t imagine a more comforting, happy perfume to help you through a rough spot without making you too wistful for the spring which has not yet arrived.

  • Elle says:

    First of all – sending you big hugs and hoping you start feeling *much* better *soon*. I saw you mention above about being embarrassed over your divorces. Just wanted to say that I don’t think you should feel even a tiny shred of embarrassment – quite the opposite. It’s a time to celebrate your courage that you went through those divorces – not at all an easy thing. The real tragedies to my mind are people who stick w/ a non-functioning marriage endlessly and out of fear or shame don’t leave. There are no crystal balls predicting the future when you enter a marriage and people change, situations change, things happen. Change is the *most* inevitable and constant thing in life. Real success is accepting change, adapting and going w/ it – not sticking rigidly to something that has hopelessly withered and died. Anyway, I hope you can allow yourself to celebrate your courage and the renewal you’ve opened yourself to now. I don’t have an ex DH, but I do have two ex SOs w/ whom I’m still quite good friends. I really value this as I shared so many wonderful things w/ them. It would be like losing some of my own history if I didn’t have them to talk to and have as sort of touchstones for those segments of my life, those memories of who I was, who we were together. And, although not a divorce, I’ve gone through my share of major upheavals – unexpected deaths, major illnesses (both myself and DH) and extreme financial crisis. Am still dealing w/ a couple and all I can say is that it’s all about giving yourself time and trying to be patient. Time *does* smooth out the worst of the sharp, painful edges…eventually. I rarely wear perfume during the middle of a crisis (want no such memories attached to scents I care about), but for coming out of something I’ll wear scents that I associate strongly w/ happy or peaceful places/times and which I think of as being scent equivalents of orange or pink hues. Amoureuse and L’Artisan’s Tuberose are two of my all time faves for this.
    Oh, and I still one of the three people left on the planet who has yet to join FB, otherwise I’d definitely friend you. 🙂

  • dleep says:


    I don’t post here very often but your very brave comments made me want to say some things. You are a very strong woman and I wish I could give you a hug. My ex desperately wanted to be friends and it took a long time before I could be civil to him. If you were friends during your marriage – maybe you could give it a try. But you have to be patient with the grieving process. My ex passed away 6 years ago – we weren’t “buddies” but we weren’t enemies either and I am happy that it ended that way. You will figure it out. All the best to you.

  • March says:

    I can’t think of anything to add, and I probably know more about it than some folks. It’s up there already, but I guess I’d say: figure out why you want to stay friends with ex-hub. For your sons? Because you were together so long? Because you’re uncomfortable with being unfriendly? And then you could let that guide your choices. I’m taking a stab that for you, hating the man is more work than being friendly with him. That doesn’t mean you can’t sort out boundaries, though.

  • violetnoir says:

    Patty darling–I admire your strength and your honesty.

    Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to chat more in March when you come to LA. I can’t wait!


  • Erin T says:

    I’m no expert on exes – I haven’t broken things off with anyone since I was a “kid” (before grad school). The Big Queso and I have some tumultous periods together, however, and I think part of what has kept us together through those times is the gut feeling that we would not be able to remain in each other’s lives if we split. Embarassingly enough, we started as good friends as teens, but he broke contact off with me then because he said he couldn’t do “just friends” with me. When he re-entered my life and we started dating, even I had to admit that the, um, physical side of our relationship just came naturally. It still does, and it’s the friendship side of marriage we sometimes need to work on.

    Of course, we have a child now and therefore would probably just be stuck together in the event of a split anyway. Not to pry at all, but how do the boys feel? Have you talked to them about how you’re feeling about this lately?

    • Patty says:

      Relationships do come in all sorts of configurations!

      I haven’t talked to the boys about this, no. I’m really very happy overall, it’s just the lack of motivation that’s pinning me a bit right now. I do think it’s mostly seasonal and partly exhaustion from the last year’s growth and hard work you go through to move on. My sons are just a huge bright spot in my life. It’s the one thing I look at and believe I did pretty great on, they are really wonderful human beings.

      I probably forgot to leave out part of this, which is why my malaise is even weirder for me. I’m ADHD/OCD, so not being all wrapped up in some project or ten is just disorienting!!!

  • erin says:

    Patty, your post touched me very much–I’m getting the feeling that the compliments here are making you wriggle a bit (as you are obviously a modest woman), but it is admirably honest of you to put this out there for us to share.

    I think I was in a similar place about 5 years ago–2 divorces under my belt, the last involving a profound betrayal (infidelity with the nanny!) by the man I had thought was my “soul mate,” a dreadful sense of personal failure and embarrassment, of being the world’s stupidest cliche. I think what you’re experiencing is basically grief in all it’s complicated shadings.

    It took me a long time to call it that because, after all, no one had actually died. It seemed so overwrought and self-aggrandizing to think of it that way. But the end of a marriage is a death of one sort, and the body and mind react to it physically as such. And the worst thing about grieving, at least for me, was not knowing when (or if) it would end. So I fought against it, struggling to throw it off, afraid of letting the deepest pain come. But eventually I got so tired of trying to be okay that I finally kind of relaxed into–as in, “Alright Sorrow, I’m exhausted, do what you will to me.” And weirdly, that actually helped. Giving myself permission to not be “okay” was hard–given that I am committed to optimism and generally a “can-do” sort of woman–but I think it was absolutely necessary to accepting the death of something I had loved and cared for for many years. We mourn in order to heal.

    I guess what I’m saying is be kind to yourself. Give yourself the patience you would give to your best friend. Don’t be too embarrassed to let yourself genuinely grieve. And don’t worry about the friendship with the ex–that will still be there when you’re ready for the transformation. My ex and I are real friends now–if we can find our way to this, you all will, too, I’d bet. And I promise you, grief does end. One day you wake up and smell the tea olive blossoms in the backyard and hear the barred owl calling and you know that spring is back and life holds its essential sweetness again. I know that for a fact.

    Sending you all positive vibes.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, erin, thanks. I really have done well with grieving and letting me be sad when I needed to be. Gosh, couldn’t y’all tell over the last year? Much of the time, my writing has been fairly muddled and uninspired. It only feels like the last couple of months I’ve come out of that cocoon.

      I totally get the embarrassment. I’m not going into it here, but suffice it to say my pride was mortally wounded with the choices made after me.

      It is good to know that you got past that. I think it just takes more time and less thinking about it than I’ve given it.

      • erin says:

        I’m awfully glad to hear it–and please forgive if I offered too much advice in too many words. But I would never use the words muddled or uninspired to describe your posts!

  • Lee says:

    Hey there sweet plum. ((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))) of course.

    Sounds like these doldrums are as much seasonal – the tail end of the winter rhino has arrived, but it feels like that pachyderm is sitting on us still. Perhaps in spring / summer, your mojo will be full on again? I have only just come out of my own winter hibernation and I still feel that malaise has a hold of one of my legs.

    I don’t know if people can live with the tension of liking and hating at the same time. But hate normally diminishes. I hope it does, even at those ‘aaargh’ moments. You’re a chrysalis somehow now, reforming yourself – that casing needs breaking before your wings can expand…

    As for dealing with the doldrums in general. I dunno. I nearly died 4 years ago. Since then, even when I’m in the doldrums, I know I’ll come out of em. It gave me a different perspective. But I guess you have that one too…

    • Patty says:

      I think hate is probably too strong of a word at this point. Revulsion? Recoiling? But you’re absolutely right, I know this will pass, I’m just the impatient sort and wish it would get on, already!

  • MJ says:

    I’ve got nothing on point re divorce, but I’ve been in my own malaise for a while now, and I do know that the only way out of malaise is through it. Just hang on and keep going. Sounds like you have a lot of good, fun things in life for the often disorienting “through” portion of the journey.

  • sweetlife says:

    Dear Patty — like others, I admire your bravery in forging a new life. It is always so difficult to know the difference between a rough patch that requires work and renewal, and when it is really best to let go and begin anew alone. The latter requires a great deal of courage.

    I have no advice about exes and such, but I am an expert at malaise. I have perfumes for maintaining and sinking down into it, and I have things that buck me up and give me the spine I need to keep going forward. Since you sound a bit tired of sitting in the middle of the road how about some of those moving-alongs? Basically, anything with a slap of galbanum will do it, but I love most of all No. 19 in parfum and Niki de St. Phalle in parfum. They brace me up, but there’s still plenty of room for tenderness (No. 19) and productive error (St. Phalle).

    All best to you.

    • Patty says:

      I don’t know that bravery is a good word for it. some days, I didn’t feel very brave at all, I just wanted to curl up in a little ball. My sister should be along any moment now to tell me to snap out of it, stop being self-indulgent and get back to work. 🙂

      Oh, I love those two suggestions!!! Niki sometimes is exactly right for what ails you, especially in pafum!

  • pattie says:

    Hi Patty, sorry to hear you’re in a funk. It has to be, at least in part, the weather in Denver. What a weird winter- no great big snow storms where everyone bitches but comes together in the neighborhood to shovel, and all that wind . . I’m on the west side near Morrison, and it’s been really horrible at night. Making me very irritable . ..
    I’ve found that sometimes the energy you need and use when you are getting through a hard time simply runs out when you’ve accomplished your task. Even if you are exactly where you want to be, it feels blah, just because you are out of gas. it took a lot to get where you are, which sounds like a great place by the way, and now you just need to be there.

    As far as exes go, every relationship is different. I personally loathe my ex husband for what he did and continues to do to me, and its gotten worse since we got divorced. I assumed we would be on good terms and wouldn’t be one of “those” angry divorced couples, but here we are. You can’t really control your feelings, but I expect the roller coaster of wanting to be friends/not really wanting much to do with him will settle down one way or the other. Like winter, give it time.

    Like some others who comment on this site, I don’t know you, but feel like I do through your writing. In fact, when you write about your trips and your family, it makes me think I wish I could go drink with that lady, she seems really cool. You are really very good at this. I don’t know that anyone “deserves” happiness more than anyone else (with a few notable exceptions of course), but you have plenty of people rooting for you!

    • Patty says:

      This winter HAS been weird, no? It’s sunshine, but gray sunshine. I’m in the mood for just an all-out 3-foot snowfall at this point. At least you can cocoon with abandon then.

      Hey, and I’m totally serious, if you ever want to go out sometime, just holler. I’d love to! One thing I know you can never have too many of, friends you can go drinking with! I think it’s an old Irish saying, or maybe just an old Patty saying. :d

  • My feeling is this: if we don’t know sorrow (although we don’t need to live there) How are we going to recognize joy? I had an experience of driving down the road after my sister’s death with my heart breaking and in an instant, it turning into joy. Exquisite joy. Is perhaps joy the inverted frequency of sadness?

    When we find out what we don’t want in a relationship, it helps us focus on what we do want. The hardest part for me is to not get stuck on the don’t wants and I can’t believe he did this parts.

    On the lighter side I have a friend who says that there are only two servings in a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints. Each sleeve is one serving. She used to work with money so I trust her math.

    • Patty says:

      Sage advice. I do know what you’re talking about. After my dad died, I was so grief-striken, I just couldn’t figure out what a world without him in it looked like, he was just bigger than life and so much fun. I was driving and thinking and crying, and for a moment, I sensed this very thin veil between us and the dead, or the changed as I like to think of it, and it was an overwhelming sense of joy. I think part of it was relief because I knew I could keep going, and also know that he was still out there somewhere and also deep inside of me where death can’t touch.

      the best part about endings, and what I should have done after either one of my previous divorces, is taking the time to sort through what you value most and want from a partner. Too often, we can see the fatal flaws in another that we know are a deal-breaker, but the heart overlooks it. Next time around, I will be brutallly honest about character that is necessary for me to love fully. Without that, you always hold back the best parts of yourself.

      • Trish/Pikake says:

        My response was to….” I am truly living a life I don’t deserve”

        I didn’t want you thinking I meant you deserve malaise….LOL!

        Oh, eat the thin mints, enjoy the week off and then get back to yoga. It’ll feel all that much better for you.

        • Trish/Pikake says:

          Woah…replied in the wrong post!

          While I’m here though,

          “On the lighter side I have a friend who says that there are only two servings in a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints. Each sleeve is one serving. She used to work with money so I trust her math.”

          I like your friend a lot and trust her math a great deal!

  • donanicola says:

    Hello Patty – it’s been ages since I commented here (been adjusting to changes in work and home life) but something in your post tugged at my heart and I wanted to say hello! I’m sorry for your pain re the divorce and also the gap caused by your two sons leaving home. That sounds like one hell of an adjustment. I sympathise with the seasonal blues. I get them once every year in Winter, never at any other time so I do think there’s a lack of light thing going on. I’ve also recently been wrestling with the friends with the ex problem and have decided that in this instance it can’t be done because what we each want out of the friendship is different (he wants reconciliation, I don’t.). However I think also that each relationship is different and you will eventually answer your own question yourself. I hope you carry on being good to yourself with the yoga and good food (and wine too)! Oh, and I agree with Carmencanada re Attrape Coeur and Eau Premiere! Hugs from London. Nicola

    • Patty says:

      Thanks, Nicola. I think it is partially seasonal, the deep intake of breath before spring. I’m counting on that! it’s so inverse to the way I normally feel, it’s just been unsettling.

      Agree on exes must have the same goals in friendship. We’re fine on that count, neither of us has any interest in reconciling. It’s just sorting out the 18 years of crap that you need to either get past or ignore to get there.

  • Maura says:

    Patty…I think your roll in life has changed dramatically over the year and you’re trying to find yourself again. It’s most difficult when you become to know yourself as a wife/mother and then suddenly *poof* those titles are gone or changed. Give yourself plenty of time to adjust and just ENJOY your new wonderful life!

    As far as your ex: What do you miss about him? What do you miss about yourself that he brought into your life? Can these voids be filled by something/someone else? We tend to remember the best parts of a relationship forgetting the bad.

    Ok…if L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger 2005 or Le Labo Tuberuese 40 don’t give your heart a *pang*…well not sure anything will 😉

    • Patty says:

      Well, that’s more difficult to answer. As marriages fall apart, the bad gets emphasized on both sides, so it’s a struggle to go back further in time to find the person that made me laugh and taught me not to take myself seriously. I think in time, the heart does remember what it wants, if you don’t dwell on the negative, and then it finds its way to friendship without pisstivity.

  • Catherine says:


    I’m hoping the “rose” came up!

    I’ve been giving such questions a lot of thought. Friendship is such a big word covering a lot of gray. There are deep friendships, friendships based on fun of a common love (“perfume posse” wonderfully captures that), etc. etc. etc. I have a hard time imagining transforming a friendship based on deep intimacy and common goals into an easy-going “let’s talk so we know what’s happening with each other.” Of course, it depends how it ended. If betrayal, well…absolutely not. How much do you trust your ex to keep you safe, even if just in small ways? That would be the question I’d ask myself.

    I’m echoing Joe above: Carnal Flower. It and La Chasse aux Papillons sprayed on linens and cushions and furniture just helped me through a down period. Vero Profumo Rubj now takes me into the next stage of happiness and innocence and pure joy. I echo Carmencanada: Attrape Coeur is rich and beautiful and surrounds me with more serious, centered joy.

    Warm embrace, Patty!

    • Patty says:

      That is the heart of the question, no? On one level, the defunct romantic one, there is zero trust, but, again, we have always had this deep connection to each other, it’s just a “knowing” that you very rarely get in this life. We would have been better off if we were only friends because we would have been absolutely great friends all of our life, if that were the case. So I do trust him on one level, but on the level that’s no longer relevant, I don’t, but that bleeds over because it is hard to separate the two.

      There, that’s convoluted and complicated, but where I’m at.

  • Francesca says:

    Dear Patty,

    I’m sorry to hear you’re going through a rough patch, but you seem to be doing all the right things to nurture/nourish yourself. Yoga and horseback riding–how fantastic! Don’t say you don’t deserve the good things coming your way; it sounds as if you’re working for them, not that they’re just falling into your lap.

    Even without anything as upsetting as the breakup of a marriage, I think a lot of people are or have been suffering from blahs at the very best. Post-holiday, the economy, in my case the publishing industry (though my company seems to be OK, knock on wood)–all very depressing.

    As far as exes go, I have two (one ex-husband, one ex-SO), and even though they were quite nice guys, it was definitely time to move on when I did each time. We were together 6 and 5 years respectively, so not that much time invested, and I didn’t see any reason to pursue a friendship. If kids are involved, though, being cordial is a good idea, since you’re bound to see the guy sooner or later.

    So best of luck, you will feel better, the days are getting longer, and there are buds on all the trees.:x

    • Patty says:

      thanks, Francesca! I’ve never felt any need to keep an ex as a friend until now. I’m truly a dump ’em and don’t look back kind of girl. Which is why this is so perplexing!

  • Kathryn says:

    You wrote something I thought was pretty brave:: “Life may be best lived in tension without the safety net of certainty. I know I work much better on that edge than anywhere else.” And the loving kindness you are showing in working to keep your heart open to your ex despite his flaws is equally impressive. John Kabat Zinn and Pema Chodron are just two of the wise people who have written books about embracing the path you have mapped out with those ideas. You have my rueful empathy for just how difficult that path is to follow. Yoga helps. As for perfume, I second the suggestion of Attrape Coeur. It’s what I wear on those frequent days when I would just rather be in Paris!

    • Patty says:

      I’ll have to look up those two authors! Oh, hey, I have all my own fault in my marriage’s demise, it wasn’t just him at all. But it is harder to stay open to people and soft, and it’s one of those yoga areas that I work on the most because they are the hardest for me. It’s easy for me to be strong!

      • Joe says:

        Just adding that those authors are great — both Buddhist, as is the author I recommended, Cheri Huber. Also goes along with your comment reply about not wanting goals and plans and preferring to “just live” instead. I need to remember that ALL the time: It’s so hard to feel okay about not being DRIVEN and goal-oriented in our society!

  • fountaingirl says:

    I’m so sorry for all this. I read you daily, and I am not offended or disappointed to be getting ‘non-perfume’ info for what it is worth.

    I wish I had an answer for you re: divorce. The real answer is — it depends on a lot of things. I actually specialize in postdivorce conflict, I am a sociologist, if you ever want to reach me you can email (I am local to you, Louise has met me and can vouch I am not a nutter.) I can’t promise I will have ‘the answer’ for you but I have a LOT of experience in providing ‘an answer’ for a lot of people.

    Hugs to you.

    • Patty says:

      thank you somuch for that offer! Can you just shoot me your e-mail by clicking on the Contact Us link? I’m not sure that I need anything more than time, but if this doesn’t shake off soon, I’d very much like to talk to you.

    • Louise says:

      Nope, no nutter here :d/ !

  • chayaruchama says:

    Sweetheart- you’re a very brave lady.
    I doff my hat to you, for all the work you’ve done, all the adaptations you’ve made in your life.

    I differ, in my own inexplicably arcane way- I don’t do ‘deserve’, as it’s a Divine determination for mystical me.
    It terrifies me…in the extreme.

    But THIS I DO know-
    You’ve EARNED and MERITED the right to enjoy your life, honey.
    No excuses needed.

    For a non-caloric yuck- have you ever seen ‘Adult Swim’ on Cartoon Network ?
    Squidbillies, Aqua Teen Hunger Force,Superjail, Robot Chicken, and Tim and Eric will make you yelp and howl, while wetting your petite panties- a la fois, baby.

    To quote my darling B- just now- “these moronic shows come with the Meister Seal of…” then he starts barking like a SEAL- of course ! [THAT was ALSO for naughty Louise…she knows my B 😉 ]

    Time IS on your side…yes, it is.
    And as my beloved Tom Petty is wont to add :

    “The waiting is the hardest part”…

    I love you.:x

  • Millicent says:

    Lots of good relationship advice here, so I won’t add anything about that (though I did send a FB friend note). But, I will chime in a tiny bit on the perfume. My boss of only a short time really hauled off and yelled at me the other day, and the next day I felt like I needed to reclaim my space with an edgy, brassy perfume. Silver Factory worked for me — you might want to rotate in a confidence-booster of your own?

    • Patty says:

      Thanks! It’s not really confidence, though. That’s the one thing I’ve got too much of, confidence. Maybe I need something softer?

  • Louise says:

    Patty, we’re already FB (and real life!) friends. It’s a fun distraction, and can be a real boost at times.

    I have no authoritative wisdom on friendship with exes. My son’s father and I maintain a cordial relationship, because of Wonder Boy. We talk fairly often, and express a rather formal caring for each other’s well being. But like many men, he has needed to distance himself more emotionally than I have, and his new wife isn’t real encouraging of a friendship, either /:)

    i’ve just broke up with my 5-year (relationship, not old!) bf, and am not at all sure what type of friends we may be. In the past when we “took a break”, the reunions were still very charged and led to continuing the relationship. This time, we’ll need to tread carefully if at all. Still, I have several former lovers that I count as close friends, after plenty of time has passed.

    Hugs to ya 😡

    • Patty says:

      I think that’s part of it. In the past, we would break up, become friends again, and then… well, you know. 🙂 But neither of us wants that anymore, it just doesn’t work. I figure time will sort it all out, I’m just impatient for it to get sorted and easy again.

  • Jan V says:

    Though I don’t “properly” know you, I do get that you totally deserve the joy and happiness that you’ve earned in your life!

    While far far from being an expert, I believe that it’s easy to remain friends if you both care enough to, and it’s also easy to let it all go if there’s no reason to remain friends. Maybe I sound cold, but I do think that if something/someone is no longer really of any interest, it’s best to move on; conversely, if you and the other person still feel connected, then it’ll be natural to remain friends…this is the (over)simplified version!

    I’m guessing you’ll be getting past this drab spot sooner than you think. You seem like too vibrant and too joyful a person to let it get you down for long.

    Oh, and thank you thank you for the Soivohle samples from the drawing…and I love your vampy pouch, very sassy! They smell amazing and I can’t wait to wear them (just arrived today)!

    • Patty says:

      I think you sum it up pretty well, and we’re definitely in that we both are working on it area, and we haven’t seen a reason yet to not keep trying to work through the crap that you have to and get to a good place.

      This won’t last long, i’m sure, it’s just lasting longer than any down spot has lasted in a while. I blame it on a lot of things all ganging up on me!

      You are so welcome, enjoy!

  • JAntoinette says:

    Oh Patty, you and I are going through the blahs at the same time. Like you, I have had major upheavals this year. I left my whole life in the States to move to France with my fiance. My friends and family don’t understand how it could be possible not to be living a fabulous life here. It does have its wonderful moments (starting over can be so exciting), but I also get lost in translation here and miss my family and friends terribly. When I look out my window into the cold gray, it’s hard to suss out what I am feeling. Sorry to ramble on, but I saw a lot of me in your post, so know you aren’t alone with feeling a little confused:)
    As far as the ex goes, he will float into your mind, but don’t let the thought linger(kinda like yoga, when all those thoughts come to mind, focus on your breathing and they will disappear). This is your time, embrace it even if that means sitting in your chair with a cup of tea and staring out the window. Don’t expect the answer to come right away, just live in the moment.

    As for the scent, I always spray a little Herba Fresca when I’m blue; I close my eyes and I’m sitting in the warm grass in the sun.
    – Hugs (or bisous here in France!)

    • Patty says:

      Oh, sweetie, hugs back to you. I can’t imagine how odd it is to live in another country and settle with it. I know you will in time, but that sense of unfamiliarity or unease is pretty normal.

      I used to have this ritual, when I traveled a lot for work, that as soona as I got to a new city, I’d order a cheeseburger. Once I had that, I was good to go, but I needed it.

      Maybe what you said is the best way of saying it, I feel like I’m a little lost in translation right now too. It’s me, a better, happier, more at peace me, but one that isn’t quite that familiar yet.

      Agree about yoga, which is why I love it so, it shuts down my overthinking and lets me just float.

  • Zazie says:

    Dear Patty,

    a big HUG!
    I have no suggestions, perfume-wise or life-wise, but from the vitality and passion that transpire through your posts I’m sure everything will turn out for the best. Really – be sure of that.
    And you do deserve all what is beautiful and satisfying in your life!

    Buona fortuna!!!

    • Patty says:

      Oh, thank you!

      I hope I didn’t make this sound like I’m all terrible, I’m actuallly great, just not as great as I’ve become accustomed to being, and it doesn’t seem to want to shake off.

  • carmencanada says:

    Hey Patty! Well, you know about my most recent ex and why I never want to see him any more if I can help it (I still get nightmares though). My ex-husband I’m cautiously friends with. But that’s me, I’m not the type to look back once a page is turned. Lots of people are friends with their exes, but as most commenters here say, you need to give it a little time.

    I’m with you on the end of winter doldrums. When I’m not testing stuff for my blog (which, between us, get to be a pain when all you want to do is enjoy your favorites), I’m rotating Vanille Galante, Eau Première, Beige and Sycomore.
    For cheering comfort I’d go for Attrape-Coeur. For a preview of spring I might reach for Le Parfum de Thérèse, or break out the vintage Vent Vert — but every drop gone breaks my heart.
    Somehow, sometimes Fracas fills me with irrational joy. And I find the Rosines very gay, like Mozart’s lighter pieces.

    • Patty says:

      It’s been a year! I was thinking my conflict about it would have resolved by now, but I’m beginning to think it’s a conflict that I’ll just live with until it either resolves or I’m okay with living with it.

      Most exes I don’t feel a need to be friends with. Usually by the time we split up, we aren’t friends at all. this one is different, we’ve always had this deep connection, which is why we stayed together far beyond the time we should have split up, we just get each other on some fundamental level. But I guess that’s also why some of the betrayals hurt more, because he does get me. Well, yeah, it’s complicated.

      Beige!! Yes, that might help.

  • Trish/Pikake says:

    But you do deserve it! Live in the moment. Relish in your ability to travel and horseback ride and go where you want to go. Eat those thin mint cookies out of the freezer b/c you’ve been working your ass off at yoga and drinking beet juice or whatever. (Those cookies are so bloody good aren’t they? my friends and I even made up a song about them when we were little). And rack up those facebook friends, it’s fun eh?

    • Patty says:

      Well, this week I’ve been eating more cookies than doing yoga! That’s really bugging me because Yoga keeps me really grounded, and my oomph to get up and go done got up and went. Maybe I just need a slow week?

  • Joe says:

    I haven’t been kicking around this posse for very long, so I feel presumptuous even weighing in at all, but I’m sorry to hear you’re in the funk zone. I know it well, especially the past six months or so. For me, it’s as if life is terrific but also vaguely shitty and directionless all at the same time. But that’s just me.

    I have exes (from relationships not nearly as serious as a marriage) who are dear friends, but as they say on Facebook: “It’s Complicated.” Speaking of Facebook, it’s great until you realize that you’re spending time reading daily “status updates” from people you barely even spoke to when you were high school classmates. What the hell is that? Newfangled technology… love it.

    This may sound completely ridiculous, but I’d highly recommend a book called “There is Nothing Wrong with You” by Cheri Huber (and don’t let the subtitle scare you). You can probably pick up a copy on Amazon Marketplace for six bucks. It may not fix everything, but it’s at least very entertaining for the three hours it takes to read the whole thing. And if I were you, I’d apply a lethal dose of Carnal Flower and go for a drink in the nicest bar with the best view in town.

    • Patty says:

      That’s it! I think it’s the directionlessness that’s unsettling. I’m so used to having goals and plans, and I’m just in between them right now, but I’m also not that interested in having them anymore and would prefer to just live instead.

      So maybe that’s the magic area, is figuring out how to really live without plotting it out?

      FB is hysterical. Luckily, none of my high school friends are on there, at least as far as I know. But I find people I don’t know very well at all saying some of the funniest stuff on updates, it’s like this cool window into people’s lives without being all intrusive, and you do feel like you start to know your FB friends. Though I joined it originally to get the status updates from my kids!

  • tmp00 says:

    Facebook is an interesting thing; I noticed the change you made to “single” and noted it but didn’t quite know what to do with it. I mean, I care, because I do feel connected to you (and March and Lee) but I’ve never SEEN you. We’re friends, but I wouldn’t importune by presuming to give advice.

    Unless of course you ask.

    Having written that I can only write that you are the one to answer that question. I have exes and I don’t bear then ill will since I am willing to own my part of the collapse of the relationship, and while I wish them well (really) I don’t really need to have them in my daily life. I guess if one of them asked me to be facebook friends I could do it. But then I wasn’t married to any of them and I never ran across anyone who really dumped on me.

    2009 seems to be the year of hunkering down and waiting for the worst to be over. Maybe the solution is for all of us to move in together and get temp work; a perfume commune? :d

    • Patty says:

      You know, it’s not that I was being all private about it. It was just embarrassing. Three failed marriages is not something I feel really good about. I suspect it has more to do with my choicing, though. Until I can figure out the person that actuallly fits with me and works, I won’t be doing any more of that marrying thing or even getting all knotted up romantically with just one person.

      Well, after two decades, we just shared a lot of our life. Even though he’s not the father of my kids, he was so much a part of their life. I guess in my head it seems harder to just completely cut him out of my life than to figure out how to keep him in it. We had a lot of great times, and we can hold these stupid conversations that nobody around us understands because we’ve been talking in riddles and banter forever. It would just seem weird to not know him anymore. My original decision to work on this came from just asking myself if in a couple of years, if I cut him out of my life, would I regret that, and the answer was yes.

      I’m totally on board with a perfume commune! Can we do it here at my house? I have a lot of empty space. 🙂

      • tmp00 says:

        Then don’t cut him out. It sounds like you two are 3/4 of the way there already.

        We can do it at your house, sure. I love the rockies!

  • Flora says:

    Dear Patty, I had no idea that you had endured such a tremendous upheaval over the past year, I am sorry for you having to go through such pain. I am not the right person to ask about ex-husbands; when I was young and stupid I always said I never wanted to be divorced. Apparently the cosmic joke was on me, since I have never married in the first place. I do think it’s possible to be friends, from my experiences with my never-married exes, but the key is time and plenty of it – don’t try to rush things. It works best with people that started out as friends before were lovers but rarely with the other kind. (Do you remember that Seventies song with the line that goes “I love you too much to ever start liking you, so don’t expect me to be your friend” ? Yeah, that kind never works. I used to think that was a really lame song but now I totally get it.)

    • Patty says:

      Well, I think I hogged all the marriages. I’ve got three failed ones, which is why the failure of this one hit me so hard. it wasn’t that the relationship ended, it had been crap in reality for a while, though we loved each other. We just never brought out the best in each other in that way that good marriages do. We seem to do much better as friends so far, but it’s just at that easy point yet, though it sometimes is there.

      But all in all, it’s good. Even though I hate that I’ve been divorced three times now, I wouldn’t go back to where I was, it was sucking all the life out of me. I think I’m suited much better to being a single person – I love this life so much more, and can’t believe I’ve spent almost 30 years in relationships! Criminy, I’m a moron. :”>

  • QuinnCreative says:

    Well, life will do that to you. A little time, some fading of the embarrassment of a marriage that didn’t work like you thought it would, some fresh paint on the boundaries, and an ex- can become a good friend. You know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and when you no longer have to feel responsible for all the shortcomings, and can relate on the strength level,it becomes an easier relationship. When he’s being a not nice human being, you can walk away and return when he’s being nice.

    We can not only live in duality and ambiguity, we can thrive there!

    • Patty says:

      Well, it’s certainly a more interesting place to live. 🙂 On a practical basis, it’s just that I go through periods where I’m happy to see him and catch up with what he’s been doing, and ten I go through periods where I wish he didn’t live on the same planet I do. Not really hate anymore, just intense disinterest.

  • Natalie says:

    So sorry to hear you’re down in the dumps… I’m Ms. Glass Half Empty, so malaise is my default setting, but with a couple of marriages and a handful of other Serious Relationships in the rear view mirror, perhaps I can speak to the loving/hating-your-ex problem. I don’t believe that time heals ALL wounds, but it can sometimes blunt the sharp edge of hatred, and if you can stay in touch with the ex, you may find down the road (although it could be years) that you’ve forgiven or even forgotten his sins without really trying. A friend of mine once told me that you have to actively decide to shelve your hatreds and resentments and grudges — just turn them off, like flicking a switch — but while I understand the concept, I’ve never had much luck putting it into practice. Far easier to just remind myself that everything is temporary (including malaise) and let time do all the work.

    As for perfume, how about that lovely MDCI PN1 of yours? It’s certainly the most cheerful thing I’ve smelled in a long time — heck, it even brought a smile to my own mopey mouth. I do hope you feel better soon…

    • Patty says:

      Well, we’ve been working on this friendship since we separated, and it’s just difficult sometimes and not difficult other times. It’s not really about forgiveness, I’ve done that. It’s a matter of trust. I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on it, but just as it swings back and forth from my thinking yes to my thinking absolutely not.

      I’ve been wearing MDIC PdN#1 all the time! It does make me happy, I agree, and for some reason it’s just comforting.

  • Musette says:

    Patty –

    Let’s get one thing straight. You DO deserve a wonderful life and it sounds wonderful, indeed. Be grateful but: Enjoy it, embrace it!

    As far as exes go, my philosophy is this: unless they have done something truly heinous, if you liked them enough to marry them then, after some time has passed, you can like them again as friends. Most married people don’t start out as friends – rather, they are all ‘in luuuurve’ – but after time a good marriage becomes more than that. Even when it’s no longer reasonable to keep the marriage intact, the person is still there. My ex and I, while not thick as thieves are friends. He’s helped me in my art career and is generally available to help me sort out things I can’t sort out by myself or with anyone else. Oddly enough, this friendship has done something interesting – it’s removed the frisson of the former relationship altogether. Instead of that weird little feeling you get when you’re around someone you used to sleep with, you’re now around a friend. Totally different.

    El O hates his ex’s guts and when he talks about her it’s like she’s sitting in my lap!

    so that’s my two cents. 10 years of divorce. 10 years of friendship. Not bad.


    ps. I’m wearing Amouage Jubilation 25 tonight. Smells like soap. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that.

    • Patty says:

      That’s it exactly. We broke up and went back together so much over the years exactly because we are friends and didn’t want to lose the friendship that does sometimes disappear when the “in love” thing is gone.

      But it’s more complicated than that, too.

      Naw, I can’t do that deserve thing. To many people who are far better human beings than I live in circumstances that are horrible, so I never think the life you have is always the one you deserve, and I’m just incredibly grateful for what I do have.

      • Musette says:

        I didn’t say that the life one has is the life one deserves – just that YOU, Patty White, deserve a nice life. And you do. Heck, we all do! But don’t feel ‘undeserving’ because you do have one! Honor it by appreciating it and paying forward, when you can.