sex diaries

The Divorced Woman Trying to Stop Sleeping With Her Ex

Photo-Illustration: James Gallagher

This week, a 36-year-old physician’s assistant transitioning out of her marriage while managing her work and kids: 36, straight, single, Battery Park.


7 a.m. It’s a miracle: Both of my boys woke up at 7 today — usually, it’s much earlier, sometimes as early as 5. I have a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, and I’m in the middle of divorcing their father, who’s currently living in another apartment a block or so away. We’re getting divorced because we were fighting nonstop. I hated my kids seeing our worst sides.

8 a.m. I take my oldest to preschool and my youngest to day care, and finally get home to focus on myself for half a second. First I attempt to clean the house and make the beds, then I make a second pot of coffee and go on Tinder. I was on Tinder briefly before I met my husband — I liked it and had good luck back then too. I find it kind of amazing that I can meet so many different people from the comfort of my couch. Tinder, to me, is full of possibility.

Only a few friends know I’m on Tinder, though everyone in my life knows I’m getting divorced. I’m worried it looks like I’m not hurting enough about the end of my marriage. But believe me, hurt is something I’m not lacking.

10 a.m. I’m a physician’s assistant and I work three days a week. Today isn’t one of those days, but I answer a couple of work emails anyway. I love what I do and feel grateful that my work has been a good distraction from everything else going on.

12:30 p.m. More cleaning, cooking, and laundry. I’m always tired. My husband (ex-husband?) has a pretty good job in advertising but we can’t afford more than a weekly housekeeper, and I never had a nanny or night nurse or anything like that. I’m lucky that he’s always been extremely generous with money, even if he doesn’t make a ton compared to other New York families. He takes care of us and never questions what I spend or how I spend it. As of now, the money is still mostly managed by him. It will change when the divorce papers become official, I’m sure…

2 p.m. A Tinder message from a single dad. Let’s call him B. He’s cute, but I can tell he’s short from his pictures. Now that I’m a divorcée with two kids, I wonder if I can still have high standards or any standards at all. It’s not like I’m such a catch anymore. I used to be! My husband (ex-husband!) would have done anything to take me off the market and marry me. We met at a wedding, of all things. We had a whirlwind romance — great restuarants, great sex, wonderful experiences with each other’s families — and got engaged after six months. Things didn’t get bad until my youngest son was born — about a year ago — but they got really, really bad and never rebounded. I don’t remember a time in the last year where we were a happy couple. Until, ironically, NOW.

We’re getting along really well now that we’re drafting our divorce papers. And we’ve recently started having sex again. Yep.

5:30 p.m. Time to get the boys. I have them in school or day care until 6 p.m. all week. It’s the only way to manage being a working mom. On my way out the door, I write B back that we should meet IRL tomorrow. (My kids are with their dad then.) He instantly writes back: “It’s a date.” It’s not my first date since splitting with my husband, but it’s one of my firsts. I haven’t had sex with anyone else yet.

9 p.m. Regular hellish grind of getting both kids fed, bathed, and put to bed. I’m dead tired.


9 a.m. I’m at work today. It’s a high-end, downtown office.

12:30 p.m. B picks a place near my house to meet up for drinks later. It’s such a bad spot. Essentially a sports bar but not even. I think he’s trying to keep it convenient for me (it’s like a block from my apartment), but going there doesn’t excite me at all. Mama needs a little glamour on her night off.

I text him a better suggestion. That’s the great thing about dating in my position: I don’t really give a shit. I can just say what I what I want and not worry what anyone thinks because in the end, I don’t need anything from this person. He says he likes my new suggestion. Great. Done.

6 p.m. I cannot describe the luxury of showering and getting ready without my kids. It’s better than the anticipation of the date itself.

7 p.m. We meet at a dark restaurant slash bar. B is totally handsome in an All-American way. He’s short, but it’s not so bad. Maybe a solid 5’8 (I’m 5’7). He’s also getting divorced, though further along in the process than me. We talk about everything and I tell him the truth about my situation. That I hated him with every bone in my body simply for existing and he felt the same way. That we both threw around the D-word and eventually decided together, at the same time, to cut the shit and just end it.

8:30 p.m. I’m tired. I want to go home and enjoy my only night off without kids. We kiss good-bye on the cheek. I’m too tired to ask myself if I even liked him.

9 p.m. My ex is texting me pics of the kids tonight. The pics are so cute. I miss them.

10:30 p.m. My ex calls — our oldest threw up.

11 p.m. I’m at my ex’s place. It seems the eldest has the stomach flu. Great.

11:15 p.m. Once my oldest is back asleep, I crawl into bed with my ex … and we have amazing sex. See, that’s the thing. We always had great sex. We were doing it when no other married with kids couples were doing it. It never stopped or slowed down. We can’t seem to shut that part of our marriage off even though the rest is dead and over (I’m sure of it). I end up sleeping in his bed, at his apartment. Luckily our kids are young enough that I don’t think this will confuse them too much in the morning.


7:30 a.m. My kid is still puking, so I tell work I’m not coming in. My ex and I have coffee while juggling the boys and the puke. My ex goes to work and I stay put with the kids, even though I’d rather be at my place.

1 p.m. It’s an uneventful day of being a sticky, tired, stressed-out mom. B has texted twice since our date, but I haven’t had the time or energy (or interest) to write back.

5 p.m. My ex comes home from work a little early to take over. He wasn’t as generous with his time when we were together (we always fought about his work dinners and work events and work trips, which took him away from us and always made me jealous and suspicious, though no affairs were ever confirmed). I do appreciate him being there today and right now. He sends me home to chill for a bit and says he’ll bring the boys home at 7 for bedtime.

7:30 p.m. Both kids are asleep and soon I will be too.

8 p.m. I swipe Tinder a little with my bleary eyes. A couple potentials. Let’s see if I get any interesting messages in the morning. Good night.


9 a.m. My son is better and back in school, the other is at day care, and I’m not scheduled to work today.

11 a.m. In front of the TV watching last season’s Catastrophe and doing nothing. This is a perfect TV show, in my opinion.

12:30 p.m. I make some coffee and get into Tinder. So many people looking for sex. I might be open to that kind of sex now but I have my ex for that. I’m too lazy to source someone else.

6 p.m. I have the unpleasant experience of receiving an email from my divorce lawyer. We’ve been figuring out our divorce terms and trying to keep it amicable but the latest notes are just shitty to read. Boring money stuff. We don’t have much money and it’s not all that dramatic but it’s not fun. I pour a glass of wine to review it. I’m hating my ex in this moment. He disappointed me in this marriage and continues to disappoint me now. I text him something like, “I never let you fuck me in the ass when we were married, but you’re sure fucking me in the ass now.” He writes back, “Is this sexting?” I can’t help but laugh. But only a little bit. Ugh.


10 a.m. I have work today but a patient is a no-show, which means I can hide out and answer Tinder messages. There’s a guy from England, who’s 50 (!), who might be okay. He’s here for a year, and not just like, a weekend, so that’s not bad. He seems like a grown-ass man, with a child in college here in the States, and he’s also apparently quite successful. We set up a date for tomorrow night. He picks an excellent spot in Soho so I’m pretty psyched.

5 p.m. Work was tiring and now I have to get my boys.

7:30 p.m. Evening grind is almost done. My ex texts that he wants to swing by and watch the new season of Catastrophe with me. I know what that means and tell him it’s not a good idea. Every time I think of the ugly divorce papers, it helps me distance myself from him.

9 p.m. I pull out my vibrator and put on some porn (two girls and a guy and they’re all tatted-up and rough with each other). I come in about two minutes and fall asleep.


7 a.m. As of now, our loose custody agreement is that my ex takes the kids on Saturdays and I have them on Sundays. So I’m getting them dressed and ready to hang with Daddy. I have so much crap and gear to prepare, it’s stupid.

8:30 a.m. My ex is supposed to be here by now and he’s not. I’m annoyed.

9:30 a.m. He shows up an hour late and looking like hell. He’s hungover, he tells me. It’s weird but I know he probably had a date last night, or even had sex with some random, maybe. I can’t be a hypocrite — we both know the other person is dating. We’ve been officially separated for four months and knew life wouldn’t just stop. I don’t ask questions, I just hand him our kids and walk away.

10:30 a.m. I’m crying in the shower. Sometimes everything feels so messy and wrong. I need our situation to get less casual and more clean-cut. The gray area has worked for the last few months but it can’t go on.

6 p.m. I’m getting ready for my Tinder date, and drinking a vodka-soda at home. I look good. All the hell with my ex made me lose a little weight in the last year. Plus, I did a lot of shopping therapy.

8 p.m. I’m in Soho. My date arrives. He’s sexy, and fun. I can tell right away that I’m going to have a nice time with him.

10:30 p.m. Two bottles of wine later and we’re making out in this restaurant’s downstairs. I’m drunk and having fun and I don’t care.

11:30 p.m. It’s time to call it a night. He doesn’t ask me to come back to his place and I don’t ask him back to mine either. We just keep making out until he calls me an Uber. He texts me a few times as I ride home. He had fun, would love to do it again, etc.! I respond positively to all.


8 a.m. I’m hungover and my kids are here. My ex dropped them off a little early. Not nice! But I missed them and don’t mind the cuddles. My ex takes off pretty much right after drop off.

9:30 a.m. We have a fun day of birthday parties and playdates. I know to keep our Sundays busy because otherwise we go stir crazy.

11:30 a.m. We’re at a birthday party at a pizza place. I’m gossiping with some of the moms about my newly single life. They seem envious. They shouldn’t be, but then again, it has its perks. It’s all how you choose to look at it.

5:30 p.m. I’m really, really, really tired after this day alone with the kids running around the city. Can’t wait to put them to bed so I can just collapse. The Tinder date texted, but I don’t have the bandwidth to be flirty or witty, so I’m waiting to write back.

8 p.m. Finally I’m in bed and the house is quiet. Most days I’m just in survival mode like today. I know this won’t be my speed forever so I try not to let it terrify me too much. I feel strongly that ending this marriage is the right thing to do, and I’m comforted in knowing my truth like that, even though it’s not a pleasant and easy truth. I let myself sleep. I’ll get back to figuring everything out in the morning. After coffee.

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The Divorced Woman Trying to Stop Sleeping With Her Ex