Sunday, March 10, 2013

Desolate Places

Now that you’ve seen a fraction of the LOTR emails that went straight into the “Oh, hell no!” folder, I thought I’d share with you some of the quite promising conversations I had with nerds / potential dates. 

*Please note: For the sake of trying to meet someone genuine and real, the usual bitter, jaded, snarky, mocking tone of Kimberly has been put on hold. Chris is an honest to goodness great guy. Read all the way to the end to find out why I did not choose to date him.*

Good evening,

Are you still looking?  I am available and have the LOTR trilogy on DVD. I am not really a nerd. I am pretty athletic, love sports and all types of movies. But also really into sci-fi and fantasy as well. I consider myself to be interesting, intelligent and very open-minded. I am a witty, fun and outgoing man. Often flirty. I am educated, professional, experienced and well read. I have many, many passions and would love to know more about you!

Sincerely, Chris

Hi Chris! 

Yes I am still looking so thanks for replying to my quirky LOTR ad :-)

I think everyone is a nerd in their own way (present company included). I am a total bookworm, I watch Glee, and I bake some pretty awesome cookies. Also, I can talk baseball and love pin up not a total chick lol. 

So you say you have many passions. What are three things you're most passionate about? 

Xo, Kimberly

Hey Kimberly,

I am also a bookworm and love to cook. Maybe we can bake something as we catch up on those movies?  Baseball is cool and I also love photography. 

Passions: Family. Travel. Experiencing life. How about you?  Passions?  What else do you like to do for fun?  Interesting hobbies? 

I was in the active army for over 10 years. I have been off active duty now for almost 5. It was a fun time, but sandy desolate places started getting to me. 

Also, did I tell you yet that I have also interned at a museum while in college?  What else about me would you like to know?  History major, intern at a museum, army veteran... :)

Hope to talk to you soon! Chris


I have to tell you, the word "veteran" both impresses and scares me. I guess I always think of Veterans as people like my grandfather who served in a war before my lifetime. Not guys who are my age and onto another career after their service is up. I know not everyone makes a life out of the military and I'm so glad you found meaningful work that makes you happy. It feels silly to say thank you for serving, but I sure am grateful you're back safe from those sandy, desolate places :-) 

Also, I'm not sure I asked how old you are! 15 years sounds like a lot of time, but holy heavens - that's how long ago I graduated high school so we could very well be the same age! Excuse me. Moment of feeling old. Lol

I was an English major. Then a theatre major. Then a writing major. Then an education major. Somehow ended up with a couple of minors in humanities, languages, arts and psychology. Ahhh school. If only I could've made a career out of it! I’m currently pursuing my dreams of being a writer while running my own business (to pay back all those student loans!)

Talk soon, Kimberly

Hi Kimberly, 

I know what you mean. My father fought in Vietnam and is highly decorated. When I think of a veteran, he is what I imagine. However, I have seen some action as well. Sometimes it is hard to look in a mirror and put myself in a similar category. Few in our generation experienced the level of combat he saw; maybe 100,000 in a nation of what - 275 million?  A lot of us have some fraction of that; but these wars have not been the same as Vietnam, Korea or WWII. 

I am 38 - I joined the army when I was 20. Am I too old for you?  Lol

What else would I like to know?  Ever been married?  Engaged?  Have kids?  Want kids?

Xoxo, Chris

Hi Chris, 

To ease your fears - no, 38 is not too old. I'm turning 32 soon so it's not a tremendous jump. As long as you've got a good head on your shoulders, a good heart in your chest, and you don't qualify for AARP, we should be fine :-)

Yes I have been married (and engaged) but we separated in 2007 and divorced in 2009. Together for 8 years total, I got married before I was legally able to drink at my own wedding. He's since remarried and has a baby. They live on the other side of the world and seem happy. I would very much like to be married again, and yes I am 90% certain that I want kids --- BUT that being said, I would never get married again if I thought for the smallest fraction of a second that I would ever be divorced. I wouldn't wish divorce on anyone. It's heart breaking, and even though our split was fairly amicable, no break up is without what I refer to as the casualties of war. Hence going forward, I am far more cautious about who I date and if there is long term potential there. Sure, it's fun to go to the movies or out to dinner or to the museum, but I really want to get to know someone on every level to see if we're right for each other. I think it's important to invest time and energy in another person before choosing to spend your life with them. I rushed into it last time, a mistake I don't intend to repeat.

I hope that wasn't too forward or personal, but since you asked, it's only fair to tell you. I'm quite happy with my life. I have the best family and friends and job a girl could ask for. I've got awesome hobbies and interests and take trips and my world is really quite full. It would just be even more amazing if I had one special person to share all that stuff with. Too cheesy???

Xo, Kimberly

Hi Kimberly, 

Thank you for sharing about your relationship and marriage. No, you were not too forward or personal. Being happy with who you are and what you do is by far the most important thing. Also, not too cheesy at all. It is impressive. To be in a position in life where you are (happy, confident, content) is an enviable position to be in. A lot of people are not so lucky. 

I am hesitant to relate my relationship history. I definitely can attest to the heart breaking nature of divorce. The truth, well, is what it is. I will start by saying, when I am done, I will understand, whatever your reaction. 

Well, here it goes. I, like you, married far, far too young. Right out of college to a woman I thought was "the one". I graduated from college and went on active duty with the army. Life was difficult. I found I had married a good friend, not my soul mate. We were young and naive. We unexpectedly had our first daughter and shortly thereafter our marriage started to unravel. We tried to salvage things and a second daughter resulted. Things rather quickly went down hill and we separated in 2002 and divorced in 2004.  In 2004 I met another woman and in 2006 married again. Things were good for awhile, but repeated trips here, there and abroad with the army irreparably damaged that marriage. We have been separated for two years and are in the process of finalizing that divorce. We are amicable and ending things mutually. I can certainly attest to the pain and hurt that comes along with a divorce. Twice over. 

About 1/2 of my second marriage I was deployed. I am not in that position anymore. I really loved being married and being loved. I am 90% sure I would like to get married again. I think, being in the place I am in now, that a marriage would work. 

I look forward to hearing back from you, Chris


Thanks for sharing your story with me. I know it can't have been easy for you, but you might be right. That's a lot to take in. I think that one divorce is hard. Two is unimaginably heartbreaking. And with kids? That's awful. I'm sorry things didn't work out for you in either relationship but I know myself well enough to know that that yours is not a situation I want to put myself in the middle of. I don't deal well with ex'es, or family drama, or other people's children. My last boyfriend had a daughter I fell madly in love with, and when we broke up, I lost both of them (honestly, I miss her more!) I promised myself I wouldn't date anyone else with kids going forward. If I have them, I want them to be mine / ours and knowing that you're already a daddy to two little girls is incredibly sweet, but it's not something I can handle right now ;-( 

I'm so sorry. I like you and I don't want you to feel like I'm judging in any way. I'm not. Army life is a special breed of difficult and I commend you for coming out of it and wanting to start fresh. You deserve only good things.

Hugs and best wishes, Kimberly

Dear Kimberly, 

Thank you for your email and honesty. I would have truly enjoyed getting to know you. It seems as of we are kindred souls. However, I understand where you are at and you have to set a boundary. 

I ask you to remember this: Over the last ten years, approximately 100,000 Soldiers received wounds in combat; lost limbs, wounded in action, traumatic brain injury. But they are just the tip on the iceberg. Five times as many Soldiers, Sailors, airmen and marines who, after dedicating their lives to their country on multiple combat tours overseas, returned home to hopelessly broken marriages, damaged relationships with their kids and other serious emotional issues. In 2012, suicides in the army were twice that of combat losses. Many are attributing that to these issues. While in the military, we joked that many of us were in the 85% club; roughly 85% of us had been divorced at least once.  I just ask that, as you interface with people and families and you encounter the family of a veteran, you remember that. 

Life isn't easy. In many ways, us 85% are casualties like those 100,000. But our scars are invisible and often overlooked. I am lucky. I have identified and treated my wounds. I am in a totally healthy place for the first time since 2001. So many are not so fortunate. 

I will get off my soap box. I truly wish you the best. 

Sincerely, Chris

Dear Readers, 

This blog, at its finest, has always been honest, heartfelt, and humorous. The single girl's search for love is often funny and undeniably real. In this case, there are no jokes to be made at Chris's situation. His circumstances are the result of bravely choosing to serve his country, sadly at the expense of his personal life. I could not in good conscience put myself in the middle of yet another unresolved marriage, another ongoing divorce, another person's children. I know myself well enough to know that one ex-wife is a lot to handle, but two? That's beyond my capabilities right now. This is not a judgement. This is a personal choice. Chris is a great guy who I was lucky enough to get to know (through an additional 30+ emails not shared here.) I respect him for putting himself out there, and I appreciate that no matter how hard my dating life gets or has been, it pales in comparison to the men and women who have faced broken marriages and families for their selfless sacrifice. 

This blog is dedicated to the veterans and active members of the US Armed Forces and their families, with my love, sympathy, and sincerest gratitude.

Kimberly Spice


  1. Beautifully written by both you and Chris!

  2. Agreed. Although I can respect your decision not to get into the mix, I personally can see the other side of the equeation here. My cousin Michael went through the exact same thing. He married and and had his first child before being deployed. Came home to find she had someone else. Heart breaking. Filed for divorce and joint custody which they share amicably, surprisingly. He met another woman, remarried. Had one child. Deployed again. Came home, things were fine. Conceived second child. Deployed. Came home and she signed over both kids and ran off with someone else. SAD. Deployment took its toll in both his marriages. All in all, he is a great guy and excellent father to all three of his kids. On top of everything he has been through/seen overseas, to come home to all this heartbreak... you can only imagine why he played single dad for a good number of years before even dating again. His military days are done and he has finally found someone strong enough and understanding enough to help him raise his brood. They just married in July. I hope for his sake that third time's the charm.