I’m glad that my post, “It Ain’t All Roses,” rang true with so many of you. It’s sad that so many of us can relate to those experiences, but thank God that we live in a country that allows us to freely talk about (and share) them, so we can actually heal from them. That freedom alone is such an immense blessing.
This week during my therapy session, Heidi and I were discussing my divorce, the past relationship with my ex-husband, and how it’s affected all else. Truth is… I’m still not over him. Not in a I-still-love-him way, but rather, I never mourned the loss of our relationship and my marriage. I spent so much of my time, being mad and rejoicing that I finally made the move and stood up for myself. Going back, so much of the relationship drama we had could be attributed somewhat to what I went through with my Dad. He was the very first person I looked to for how a man “should” act, how the man acts in a marriage, a family, his work life, and so on.
Well, he was good at working.
A lot of therapists believe that all girls end up with a man who resembles traits of their father-figure, whoever that may be. And what attracted me so much to Chris in the very first place, was that he wasn’t ANYTHING like my Dad. Meeting the old version of him was a breath of fresh air. Heidi said that people come into our lives to serve a purpose, (you know, that whole cliche’ of “Everything happens for a reason”) to teach us a lesson, whether good or bad. The truth was hard to swallow: I was so ready to get married at 19 because I wanted to escape my Dad and my family. I wanted to gain independence. And when the offer was made to get married, I JUMPED RIGHT AT IT. Chris and I only knew each other for 8 months before we were engaged. We were married 3 months later. I so badly wanted my Happily Ever After. I wanted something permanent. I was naive. I went from living at home (and never having lived on my own) to being a Wife. I remember distinctly coming home from our honeymoon and having a panic attack. I was thinking, “Okay. The trip was awesome. Can you take me back home now?” I was home.
Just like my purging post in “It Ain’t All Roses,” Heidi suggested that I lay it all out on the line, a final letter to Chris. Here goes.
Were you ever in love with me or mostly in a rush to please your parents? You had never dated anyone besides me- your first girlfriend became your wife. At the time, I was flattered, but now, I see just how wrong that was. You didn’t understand how to treat a girl, let alone a woman, or how to fight fair in a relationship. I remember that anytime we’d argue, you’d love to break in with fatalistic comments that we were over. How the hell was I supposed to find security in our relationship, to fully trust you? You seemed like you were always ready to leave.
I made damn sure every single day that I had the laundry done, my work done, and all of the daily chores completed before 6:30 pm, when you would come home every night. I wanted to show you that I took our relationship seriously and that I was ready to spend time with you every night. But every single night, I was once again met with the sad fact that you’d run to your computer or XBOX and start playing your video games again. For 3 and a half years, I was hoping you’d change, that you’d actually WANT to spend time with your wife… the one you made those promises to. You’d feign interest in parts of my day when you’d ask and I could tell my words and stories were going in one ear and out the other. Trying to peel you away from your video games was a near impossible task. Anytime I wanted to make love, you’d push me off or delay me with “Hang on, let me kill this Boss/finish this level/continue the madness.” Do you realize how rejected I felt and still feel? Once upon a time, you were this wonderful and charming young man, making the effort to take me on dates and surprise me with flowers every once in a while. I loved getting to know you. It seemed like once the marriage was final and official, you could let loose and do what you really wanted.
I remember talking to you about lessening the amount of time played on your games, and you’d flip out. I suggested taking one or two tech-free nights a week and you scoffed like it was the most ridiculous thing you’d ever heard of. I spent night after night, next to you on the couch as you’d be immensely plugged into your “other world.” We were inches apart, yet worlds away. I made do with reading a magazine or two, then falling asleep next to you on the couch. We never went to bed together. When you were finally done for the night, you’d wake me up to we could move to the bed.
After a while, I gave up on fixing us and continued to work on myself. This is when my weight loss really started to move ahead. I figured that you had no interest in taking care of me- or any of my needs- so I did it all myself. I threw myself, head first, into my business as a Coach and continued working, fervently, on my own fitness. It became addicting and I started to get comments and compliments from everyone- including guys. This made you incredibly jealous but you never said a word about it, just went on playing your games.
Being around your family was horrendous. I could tell from the get-go that they didn’t really like me or my personality, that they were simply making due because I would hopefully someday produce grandchildren for them. That’s all they wanted from me- just offspring. It shouldn’t be a wonder that I wasn’t even willing to try then. Your parents also hated that I had lost so much weight and turned my life and health around. They constantly made comments and tried to push unhealthy food on me anytime we’d go to visit them. The saddest part is that you never came to my defense when the belittling would begin. It was 5 against my lowly 1. And in a crowd like that, I could never win. Was it any surprise that I began to HATE going over there? If there wasn’t incessant talk about my weight loss and new body, it was all the questioning about when I’d get pregnant.
For years, I fell into an incredibly deep depression. My family would comment all the time on how my skin appeared gray. It wasn’t any surprise to me- it was a mirror image on how I felt inside.
Pretty soon, I was making more money that you were in your job. You hated that. You hated that I could fend for myself, that I didn’t rely on you to spoon feed me anymore. I took away your power and all you were left with was your computer and all of your internet friends. I was tired of being stuck inside. I found my strength and for all the times I dreamed of life outside of you and our faux marriage, I gained a little more courage. There was more life for me out there, I just needed to be willing to take the risk. I finally did. I was tired of being chained to a little boy, when I needed a man.
I wanted a husband, a provider, a companion, a biggest fan, a supporter, a friend, and a lover. Instead, I got a couch-mate. It shouldn’t surprise you so much that I decided to break the relationship off and go on pursuit of something new, of something beautiful, or my goals and dreams. You were my biggest critic and easily disabled all of my good intentions with my career, my schooling, and my life. You turned being protective into being flat-out controlling. You hated your own life so you decided to purge all of that onto me. I wasn’t willing to take it anymore.
I know I’m moving on when I still wish you well. But more than that, I hope the next girl is wiser and doesn’t stand for your bullshit. Real relationships that last are built on real life, and not cyber reality.