Sometime in the mid-90's I created Cool Girl. Cool Girl is an alter-ego of mine that I would break out when put in uncomfortable situations to help me remain confident and in control. That time at the pool when I saw my new (we're talking DAYS) ex boyfriend canoodling with a hot freshman? Cool Girl took over, walked by them on her way out the gate, gave them a big smile, a not-too-loud-not-to-timid "Hey" and followed it up with a pointed look at the new girl that clearly communicated, "You're younger and dumber than me honey. Don't even try to compete." Cool Girl was fearless. She was effortless. She would also take over on high-stakes dates with guys who (at the time I felt) were way out of my league. She had a routine. A series of stories intended to impress, charm, and completely disarm the coolest, cutest guys. Cool Girl always worked. Like most superheroes, she would not stick around for long. So eventually I would be on my own. But Cool Girl helped me through many difficult situations with a confidence and grace I did not feel.
Cool Girl made an amazing comeback yesterday. I met my ex's girlfriend yesterday. For those of you keeping track, this is the same woman he started dating one month after he moved out, introduced to our son (without telling me ahead of time so that I could form an appropriate response for our child when our child informed ME that he had met her) three months after moving out, and the same woman whose house he took our son to sleep at last March without informing me - again, removing any chance I might have had to form an appropriate response for my child to see when I found out about it the following morning. Since that time, he's broken up with her once to try to reconcile with me, gotten back together with her when I politely declined, taken her to his hometown in the Midwest to introduce her to his family, and most recently, she is the woman he is "deeply in love with" and moving in with at the end of September. So now that we're all caught up, you can start to imagine why Cool Girl made her triumphant return. This is a woman I might actually have to take seriously, and I needed to get things started on the right foot.
The boys spent the night prior to my meeting her with their dad, so I had plenty of time to mentally prepare. I was not planning on bringing Cool Girl out of retirement, but she just SHOWED UP. And it was wonderful to see her again. She was confident and friendly without trying too hard. Because Cool Girl DOESN'T CARE about their relationship. Cool Girl only cares about her kids. Cool Girl SUPPORTS their relationship, and even threw in a bit of a vibe that it was not a relationship she thought much about - outside of how it might involve her kids.
And Cool Girl looked AMAZING. I can tell you, my ex values physical beauty almost higher than any other trait a woman can have. I could tell the side-by-side comparison was bugging him. Because the new girlfriend did NOT look amazing. She might be priding herself in this moment on the fact that she purposely didn't try too hard to look good for our meeting, and if that was her goal she did great. As the soon-to-be-ex-wife, I felt I wanted to put my best foot forward. I was not over dressed, but I looked nice. Cute clothes. Cute shoes. As if we were on our way to a birthday party for a kid whose single uncle is hot.
Most importantly though, I liked the new girlfriend. She was friendly. Warm. Welcoming. She was nice to my kids. She said nice things about my kids. I liked her kids, who were all polite and friendly, and they shook my hand and gave me genuine smiles and looked me in the eye. And so, when this move happens at the end of September, I feel comfortable with the idea of my kids sleeping at her house. Not thrilled about it - my oldest is having some anxiety about yet another big change for him, and I know my ex well enough to know that he is talking himself into loving this woman, who will solve a lot of financial problems for him in allowing him to live in her house - but I feel okay about it. And sometimes, okay is about as good as it's going to get.
When Cool Girl left, she looked the girlfriend in the eye and said, "I can't thank you enough for welcoming my boys - and (insert ex's name here) - into your home and making them feel so comfortable." I think Cool Girl did that because she wanted the girlfriend to understand that it's a package deal. The new girlfriend gets the ex, but along with him she gets the kids and me as well. I don't plan to insert myself into their relationship...but I plan on being involved in my kids' lives no matter what roof they are sleeping under, and my hope is to foster a "friendship" with her (or any future girlfriend or wife) that will allow all of us to come together and be a family for my kids. I wanted her to know I'm not afraid or adverse to being around her, and I don't want her to feel afraid or adverse to being around me.
And at the curb, Cool Girl looked her ex in the eye, gave him a genuine smile and said, "I like her" and gave him a big hug. Because Cool Girl has truly moved on from this relationship. And if my ex had any illusions or fantasies about me going in there and being brittle with jealousy and regret, Cool Girl buried those fantasies effortlessly. Welcome back, Cool Girl.