Thelonious Monk, Minton's Playhouse, New York,...

Thelonious Monk, Minton’s Playhouse, New York, ca. September 1947. Photograph by William P. Gottlieb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the many profound changes since leaving my husband nearly three years ago is losing my ability to sleep.  From my earliest memories I can recall lying in bed completely awake worrying about something or pondering the meaning of the universe.   During waking hours I can chatter on about meaningless drivel but late at night my brain goes places I don’t quite understand.  I think it is why I tend to write better at night, as during the day my mind becomes distracted by all things trivial.

There is a song by the brilliant Jazz musician Thelonius Monk that perfectly explains my frame of mind post-divorce.

It Begins to tell
Round Midnight
‘Round Midnight
I do pretty well till after sundown
Suppertime I feeling sad
But it really gets bad round midnight
Memories always start
round midnight
round midnight
Haven’t got the heart
To stand those memories
When my heart is still with you
And old midnight knows it too
When some quarrel we’ve had needs mending
Does it mean that our love is ending
Darling I need you
Lately I find
Your out of our my arms
And I am I am out of mind
Let our love take wing
some midnight, round midnight
Let the angels sing
For your returning
Let our love be safe and sound
When old midnight comes around

The lyrics capture the essence of a broken-hearted person trying to shut down for the night while mired in misery.  At this point in my grieving, I no longer think of my ex-husband.  I haven’t for some time.  The man that he was in my life has become erased replaced by this guy that I talk to occasionally who feels sort of like a brother.  The fact that my husband was gay allowed me a type of closure that I suspect would be difficult in most divorces.  Since he was gay, I knew there was no hope of any reconciliation and no list in my head of things I could have said or done to change anything.  I no longer mourn for my marriage or my destroyed life.   But I do mourn for the sense of being loved that is completely absent in my life now.  I keep telling myself it will get better, it has to get better, but I feel trapped in a state of pure stasis.  Other aspects of my life have moved forward and in some ways I feel much stronger, but the emptiness remains.  Awkward painful date, after awkward painful date, only make my moods darker, my spirit more tarnished and jaded.  And I lie there and think this it, this is my new future.  Despite everyone telling me it is just a matter of time, the more I try, the worse things seem to become, so I stop.  I do nothing, I focus on my work and try to get out of the financial disaster that my divorce has left me in, and nothing changes.

But it could be worse, as I look around and see some people with selfish destructive partners and think to myself.

Well at least I am not in that situation.

I have male friends who I have no interest in dating, who tell me they will always be around if I am ever looking for a hookup.  And then I have the admirers, the stalker types who get obsessive and creepy.  I don’t quite understand it, but I am never without a few stalker types at any given time.  Men still shout rude comments as I walk through my low-rent neighborhood.  So I am getting some attention.

Having a decent conversation with a person who makes me laugh and who laughs at my stories, someone that I feel comfortable with and who doesn’t make me feel bad about myself or judged.  Someone that I find physically attractive and is close to my age?  Someone who does not immediately cringe at the story of my divorce.  These things elude me.  I would rather be alone than with the wrong person, or just any person but this existence is soul crushing.

I don’t remember how to date or flirt, I don’t know how to let my guard down for a moment and it seems like predator types surround me.   Men who flirt with me as a game, or just want sex.  Sex is easy, I could always get sex if I wanted it.  But the detached sexual experience does little for me.   Sex with strangers is usually somewhat awkward and self-conscious and generally lacking.  Some people can have sex, with nearly anyone and perfectly enjoy themselves but that person isn’t me.  So I remain in this frozen part of my life, a place I never thought I would be waiting for something to happen.   I try to focus on what I can do that is positive and will move my life forward.  And every night, for me usually well past midnight, I desperately try to fight the haunting feeling that it will never change.

And this is a bit cheesy of me, but I sang this for one of the burlesque shows I used to produce a couple of years ago and made this video as a promo. It is hardly a perfect recording, and I kind of screw up some of it, and it is recorded from my computer…but…

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7 comments on “Life After Divorce: ‘Round Midnight

  1. tropicaltheartist

    It’s not the deep love you are looking for, but I think a lot of your readers and audience members have genuine affection for you. Never forget that there are all kinds of love in the world, from simple kindness to the passionate partner kind. I think that you have plenty of love in your life, but not the kind you want most, maybe. That shouldn’t be a reason to ignore the other sort. 😉

    1. julietjeske

      Simply put, I am pouring my guts out on this blog. Without the help of an editor or proofreader. Even newspapers with their extremely quick turnaround use editors, because writers can’t see every mistake, especially if they have been working on the same piece for a while. It just gets blurry. So if the only comment you want to make is about grammar or punctuation, especially on a blog article this personal. Please save your comment. It is not exactly easy to write these.

  2. Anders

    Wow, awesome voice. I can’t really perceive where you “screw it up” as you put it. Maybe you have quite a bit of perfectionist in you ?
    Since you are working on finding an authentic partner to share life with, and, you encounter so much insincerity in that process, It can become an almost self generating cycle. Maybe taking a step back could help in letting the worst shit storm pass you buy, yes I just said that.
    I saw your interview on Australian TV on your You Tube channel , you where an excellent interviewee, and came across as a real person, genuinely charming and looked perfectly radiant. Apparently 100% of the good guys in the world was looking the other way and just missed you.
    The only reason that I can think of for you not to have found a steady partner, is that you just haven’t met the right man. This is not the prince charming version I’m thinking of but someone you need to have a relationship with and conversely, that someone needs to share his life with you.

    I’m rooting for you, which in of itself pretty much guarantees that everything will be all right. – Oh thank you very much randomguy how can I ever thank you. Oh no need to thank me I just roam the internet saving damsels in distress. I must now get up on my horse Pompousass and ride into the sunset.

  3. dontgetupitsjustme

    My husband came out one week ago tomorrow. I feel like a zombie. I know I must have dozed off at times this week but everything is blurred together and I can’t even really tell the difference anymore. It’s so nice to find the voices of other women who may not share my same story, but have experienced a similar pain. Misery loves company mentality? Reading about other experiences can become hauntingly familiar, which is oddly comforting.

    1. julietjeske

      You are going to be messed up for a while, I still am and it has been three years. It is a unique hell that only people who have been through it understand. If you haven’t yet I urge you to look up a Straight Spouse Support group in your area. I go to the one in New York and it is a huge help. There are also tons of books on the subject that will help, Bonnie Kaye has another great blog at

      Hang in there. I am truly very sorry for what you are going through.

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