Love can be a many splendor thing and when all falls apart and we are left picking up the pieces, we must look at each piece, examine our involvement and learn. I find myself in that position yet again as I embark on a new year full of new promise, I am, yet again, looking and learning.
After just over 25 years of marriage my divorce was final near the end of 2012. Halloween, of all days, marked this auspicious occasion. I’m not exactly sure how I feel, even now. I’ve known it was coming for some time. I’d procrastinated enough on the paperwork thinking it was for good reason; but perhaps it was because I never wanted to “end” the relationship; not for reasons that you might be thinking. Being such a failure at everything else, maybe I wasn’t ready to fail at this.
But, did I? Fail? I stuck it out for over twenty years. I lived through addiction, rehab, bankruptcy, lack of communication and years of a sexless relationship. (believe I painted the picture before). I know that I’ve had my contributions to the failure of our union; however, to take on the full brunt of the blame, I just can’t anymore.
I thought I would feel more upset, or mournful about this. Then again, I did go through all the grieving when I left over three years ago. I can remember not being able to drive past an area we lived in (not just the house we lived in… but the AREA) without bursting into tears. All I could think of were the dreams of that young bride; the years ahead of her, the children she had hoped to have and the wonderful years they would share. Or all the dreams of the home they had built (remember my post in 11/2011? Grief Is A Funny Thing That Stings Like Hell.)
That young couple was in love, that was for certain. I still consider my wedding day as one of the happiest days of my life. But people grow apart, and love takes work. I tend to believe that the twine that binds two lovers has elastic… for good reason. When the trials of life force a couple in their own two different directions, it is that “elastic” that brings them back together.
But as time wears on, so does the elastic… hopefully you aren’t needing it quite so much, so it is able to keep its elasticity. But as the trials of life wear on, many find they must rely less on the ‘twine’ and more on themselves to get the relationship back together. Inevitably, it is one partner over the other that is doing the “work” in order to keep the ‘togetherness’ back in the relationship.
Ultimately, that person gets tired, worn out. They get to the point to where they just can’t breathe, or see themselves worthy of that which they have longed for, for so, so long. It was in this place that I resided for years, hence this blog. I started this blog in the hopes of finding myself, my best friend, my worthiness (if you will). Then, as fate would have it, I found strength and what I thought was impossible, love.
A man came into my life showing me love, and laughter. He showed me that I was worthy of being touched, and kissed, and treated like a woman should be treated. We had a friendship and what grew out of that friendship was love. We grew to love each other very much and were very happy. Though it would seem that we grew happier and happier, time would soon prove how fast that happiness would start to erode.
This was what seemed to be the answer to my prayer, I couldn’t believe it. But it was all happening so fast. First it was his wanting to change our ‘relationship status’ on Facebook after the first week; not a big deal, but still… He was truly very sweet, but his “I love you’s” just felt like they were more for his ears than for mine. As if to say that the more he heard himself say the words out loud, the more he could believe them.
I met his son a couple of weeks later. After that he called to say that his son really like me. “Great”, I thought. Then he went on to tell me how his son told his mother about us (or about me) and said, “yea, she’s really pretty and she’s not fat.” Which made her cry. For some reason, he got some great pleasure out of this. And I can understand it to a degree, but still, I couldn’t help but feel really badly.
Then came the big day, they were making the ‘swap’ with their son and he asked if I wanted to come along to meet her. I was very hesitant, but reluctantly came along. So, we met at the ‘meeting place’ and they talked outside of the cars. Then he asked I come out and meet her, which I did. She was very gracious, pretty (beautiful eyes, hair). She seemed like a person I would have as a friend. At any rate, we met, got back into our cars and went on our way. On the way home, he said, “Oh, my God! I can only imagine what is going through her mind now. ‘He was right, she is pretty and she’s not fat!’ Babe, you have no idea how wonderful that feels!” And he kept going on, and on!
From that point forward, things seemed to change, little by little. I can’t place my finger on it, all I can say is that I saw it in his face and could pick it up in his actions. For starters, there were times where he would inadvertently call me by his ex-wife’s name. Meaningless, I’m sure; but still… it nagged at me. (even his son mentioned it and asked, “Dad, why did you call Ann by mommy’s name?”). To which he simply excused away. But there were the other things too, things that I just simply ignored. I bring this up because there was something about the remarks about my looks v. her looks that made me feel really awful (even worse than being called by her name). Again, I couldn’t put my finger on it for the longest time; not until I spoke with a friend of mine who said, “it was because it made you feel like an object.” Bingo! That was it, I felt like an object. What was even worse was that I just couldn’t get over the idea that he never got over his ex-wife (or at least what he felt she did to him). I can see behind the mask, remember?
Did he love me? I’m sure he did, in his own way. But my biggest question is why is it that I insist on ignoring the signs? Why is it so easy for me to believe the words I know are lies? All my life that seems to be the M.O. And now am faced with how to stop this cycle. Oh, I’m sure he thinks I’m nuts and that I have just way too much baggage (hell, we all do… even he does). But, I have a twenty plus year marriage under my belt that was pretty good, at least I tried and gave it my all.
Alas, I won’t be on the dating scene for a while (a long while) as I center on my career and craft; that’s not so bad. I will continue to look, examine and learn from the pieces of my lost loves and put all that behind me and move forward. That is how it should be. To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose… and mine is just beginning.