A year ago, I was a scared single mama. Taking the kidlet on a road trip, just the two of us. We made amazing memories during that long weekend. I agonized over whether to contact Leon, and remember how I decided to just do it. Hell, I'd just stood on the edge of a canyon with no railing. I could text a man I cared about to let him know I was thinking about him. I wished him well and he responded.
And I came home a different person. Braver. I remember racing home to see CF, who called me out on stuff, and got me out of my comfort zone. What we decided that night did not end up happening. But not because I wasn't brave enough. Because he wasn't.
And less than five months later, the kidlet and I flew to another state where I navigated a wonderful trip for him. On my own. And I wasn't scared and it was amazing. And a few months after that, I did it again.
I've got this.
I had avoided watching Private Practice for the last three weeks. I didn't think I could handle watching the Charlotte/rape storyline.
But yesterday, I went to therapy. And we talked about the assault. And we talked about how scared I've been. And we talked about how I need to remember not to let my anger at LI get pushed off onto the husband or to Eric. And how I should be responsive, not reactive. It's a little easier said than done. Because I can't control how other people act.
But last night, I decided to go ahead and watch the episodes I had been avoiding.
And, sure, it was awful. And, yeah, I looked away during the brutal scenes.
But what really struck me was how they focused on the reactions of those closest to her. And how they navigated the minefield of emotion around her.
And I found myself realizing that maybe... Just maybe... Eric isn't quite the asshole I think he is.
That maybe he simply did not know how to deal with what happened. And the flipping out I did freaked him out. So, he ran away instead of facing it head-on.
Am I excusing his whole "it's okay for me to cheat on my girlfriend and make you feel insignificant" act? No.
But maybe he was grieving too. Because if he ever did love me (and I really would like to think that he did at one time. I spent a significant period of time with the man) maybe it was really hard for him to deal with what had happened. Then again, maybe he didn't really realize what happened. I did downplay it quite a bit that night.
But last night, watching that show... I sat on this couch, beneath the red blanket, and I shivered. Just like I did that night. With Eric on the other end of the couch. He had to have known that something inside of me had shifted.
But for whatever tough act I'd put up that night, Eric was the one who knew me best. He was the one who pointed out the vulnerability inside of me. And he was the one who had sworn never to hurt me.
And then there's the husband. Maybe the reason why he wouldn't hold my hand the other night after dinner or when we went to coffee is that he's scared. He actually does know what happened. Maybe, just maybe, he deserves a little bit of grace because maybe, just maybe, he's scared to touch me because he's scared of scaring me the way he does know that I was scared that night.
And the girls who know and have not contacted me since? Maybe I can offer them some grace now, too. Because they don't know how much it hurts to share something so awful and then have them disappear. And they don't know that Eric did the same thing to me, so that makes their disappearance hurt that much more.
For whatever reason, people are who they are. And they don't get the answers when they don't ask the questions. And I can learn to be okay with that... Eventually.
Two years ago, TF and CB included me with their family. And I remember checking my phone for some kind of acknowledgement that HRT was thinking of me. (I really need to stop having major breakups in November! (Yes, even the husband and I broke up over Thanksgiving. Three years ago. LOL)
But this morning, I did that silly note about books on fb. And some of those titles were highlighted, thanks to people who are no longer in my world.
So, I sent a little Light and Love their way, and I'm moving on.
I'll get through this day. Even though I know where I'm not wanted. I'm grateful to know that I was wanted in many other places today.
And I'm going to forgive those who didn't want me today. Because they know not what they do. They're not wired that way.
And, hell, I'm even going to forgive the ones who didn't want me today that DO know what they do. Because I want to be THAT girl.
I'm going to be good to ME today.
And I'm so fucking grateful for the Thanksgivings past that brought me to where I am today. I DO have a lot to be thankful for, even if it doesn't look like it from the outside.
Scars heal. And they DO fade. I'm walking proof of that.
I have a wonderful child who loves me and I had an amazing day with him yesterday. And when I do see him again, I'll be so glad.
I have a plan for today.
I have my BGPs. I have technology. I have an awesome job. I have amazing friends. I am loved. Maybe not by one man who wants to love me and be with me, but I am surrounded by love. I do know this.
And I'm finally learning to be alone. And it doesn't totally suck. It's got its perks, too.
Happiest of Thanksgivings to you, the few who bother to read this drivel. Live and Breathe Gratitude.
For being the girl who cuts people out of her world.
And that's, supposedly, scary to those who love me.
Case brought up to me many times in recent months:
Look, Ari and I are fine. I emailed her on her birthday. I'm over it. She's not. This is no longer MY decision.
All I needed was time away from someone who was being deliberately cruel to me. Should I not have that right? Should I not be allowed to decide when someone is being poisonous to me and to eliminate that from my world?
Eric asked me early on if I tended to "break up" with friends.
And, yes. I have. I like closure, what can I say? ::shrug::
I wonder what it says about the person I used to be that I chose people to be a part of my world that would prove unworthy. Why did I have these people around me in the first place?
And I'm not breaking up with everyone who pisses me off lately. I'm just re-drawing boundaries. My inner circle does seem to be shrinking a bit. And I'm okay with that right now. I'm also trying to spread myself around a little bit. Pulling others into my inner circle so I don't completely overwhelm those closest to me with my pain and grief. I don't want to be the girl that nobody wants to talk to because I'm such a pain in the ass these days. I know I'm not my usual barrel of laughs right now.
Eric told me more than once when we argued that he was afraid that he would piss me off and that I would cut him out of my world... Like I had with Ari.
But let's remember that Ari didn't just piss me off. Ari hurt me deeply. And she compounded that hurt by flaunting it in my face. She showed no sensitivity whatsoever to my pain. She allowed me no time to wrap my mind around that new reality before she was throwing it in my face. And Eric was the one who pointed out what she was doing! And I actually defended her!
And then there's Eric.
And I'm, supposedly, the bitch who drove him away and cut him out of my world.
But that's not exactly what happened.
Yes, I diminished contact out of respect for my husband. And I think that most should agree that that was the right decision.
But when it came time to be friends? Eric was the one who had no boundaries. Eric was the one who walked out of Cara's house to talk to me for 45 minutes, and in that conversation he told me he was still attracted to me. I was the one who told him not to say that to me. How could he know if he was still attracted to me? He had not seen me in three months. I was the one who told him he was not being very loyal to his girlfriend.
I was being the good guy. Trying to be respectful of the relationship he had jumped into five minutes after we had broken up.
But then everything else happened. He was the one who said he wanted to kiss me. He was the one who told me he loved me. He was the one who told me that he had missed me.
I didn't say any of those things back to him at that time.
And then when he decided to compound his bad decisions by asking me to be an accomplice?
Why am I the bad guy for saying I did not think I could be his friend if he expected me to be a part of that lie?
And then... The guy who told me that he never wanted to piss me off so that I would cut him out of my world? He's the one who cut me out of his.
I'm tired of taking the blame on this one.
He's the one who cheated. He's the one who lied. And he's the one who cut me out of his world.
And I'm sitting here, feeling like I have to defend myself for not being friends with him anymore.
And then last night... When the husband told me about a phone call he had received. And all of that awful HRT stuff came back to him. And Cinderella's evil little plan to "tell him the truth", but anonymously? Ugh.
But then I started to think again... This really does smack of HRT. Jeez, I make bad decisions when it comes to love.
I thought Eric was different than HRT.
I finally came to realize that HRT was a sick, sick man. And he deliberately hurt me because that made him feel better about everything that was happening in his world.
But HRT felt helpless when his wife had left him. So, he decided to take it out on the next girl. And that turned out to be me.
And, I suppose that's what Eric was all about, too.
I wouldn't have believed it about him, though. So, now I get to just try. To believe that he was as cruel as HRT.
He's cut me out as effectively as HRT did.
But, oh... Eric... Who was so sad when his ex didn't acknowledge his birthday. And even I did.
I can't help hoping he will show me some kind of kindness. Some acknowledgement that I do exist. Some acknowledgement that we were supposed to have been together on that day. Just us. Halfway around the world.
I know that he won't. On some level, I do know that he won't.
But I still can't help hoping.
The way that Eric left things with me? So unfinished. So unfair.
And you're probably reading this, going, "You deserve it, RetroMama. Karma's a bitch. You did it to Ari."
Sometimes it sucks to be so misunderstood.
Until last night, the husband did not even know whether or not I even had somewhere to be tomorrow. It never even occurred to him to invite me to share tomorrow with him and our son.
And he expects a fucking medal because he had fun at dinner the other night? And he took me out for coffee? (No, he asked me and drove to coffee. LOL.)
The husband and I are really good friends. I find myself being able to process out what LI did and the aftermath with him. Which is strange.
I'm grateful for that friendship.
But I know that is all it is. And he'll get there. Eventually.
And in the meantime... Fuck, I could really use some sleep. Eesh.
I had been texting with CJ before leaving for dinner. ("CJ?" you ask as you frantically go back in the blog about a year to figure out who I'm talking about. "Really? CJ?")
It actually makes sense. It's November. He was rather pivotal last November.
Went to dinner with the husband. Had a nice meal, we talked the whole time. I got a little drunk.
And nothing happened.
He actually drove to the front gate and asked if he could drop me off there.
"You're not even going to walk me in?"
He walked me in. Came in, sat down for a few minutes and then left. I think he hugged me goodbye and said he'd talk to me later.
And then I found the texts CJ had sent while I had been out.
And I explained that I was drunk.
And then the texts got pretty flirty. Nothing over-the-top, but flirty, for sure.
The last one I saw was where he said, "I definitely wouldn't turn down the offer to keep warm. :)"
And I stared at it for awhile, turned the phone to silent and tiptoed over to the other side of the room to put it on the charger. Where it stayed for the rest of the night.
I may be lonely, but I am fucking terrified. Even of a guy who has proved on more than one occasion that he wouldn't try to have sex with me.
But somehow, I've found a shred of self-respect throughout all of this. How on earth is that possible? Am I really respecting myself enough to not let myself be used again? And to not use other people for whatever comfort I can glean from them?
Or am I just too scared?
Whatever it is, it resulted in a decent night of sleep. (Thank you, Cadillac margarita and Nyquil!)
And today... I've been playing around and caffeinating... Not really getting done what I should, but I'm enjoying my own company right now.
And something just hit me like a ton of bricks.
Eric's gonna pull an HRT on me.
That apology isn't ever going to come, is it?
I know the answer.
The only difference is that one day, I will run into him. And hopefully it is far enough in the future to where my wounds will have healed into scars that have faded.
And if I could heal from what HRT did?
Eventually, I'll heal from these hurts, too.
Eventually. Even though the ones who did this won't ever be brave enough to try to help me do it.
Wait. That's not true. LI actually apologized. So did CJ.
I did not sleep as well as I had hoped last night. But that's okay.
Because when I finally decided to look at my phone this morning, I found this gem:
"The fact is that until you process all the emotions of (fill in the blank), anger will serve the many cover-up functions that nature designed it to. Even irrational anger makes emotional sense. And no one ever said "emotional sense" makes sense."
I can fill in the blank with what LI did.
And that means that everything that came after makes emotional sense.
And that means the horrible conversations I've been having with Eric in my head are... Dare I say it? Normal??!!??
A friend and I were chatting a few days ago. And I said that Eric will probably get to a point where he wants to apologize. She said I should not give him that satisfaction. Why offer him forgiveness if I've already forgiven him in my head?
And I admitted that I haven't forgiven Eric yet. And if he were to come apologize to me, I would let him because, dammit,I deserve that.
The day will come when I get past that need. But right now, I do feel like I would be better off if he came to me and admitted, "Yeah, I fucked up. I never should have touched you that night because it hurt you. And I'm sorry for hurting you."
I mean, shit. LI apologized for what he did. Told me he regrets it. (Does that mean I'm letting him off the hook? Nope.)
But Eric? Who is running around like he's the injured party? He has not apologized. Not to me, anyway.
I'm sure he apologized to Cara. I'm sure he threw me under the bus again. They're probably off snuggling together drinking hot chocolate, staying in during this storm. Hell, they've probably got all the kids together for a movie marathon. All cozy and happy because Eric told her that the crazy chick is out of their lives. He probably told her I lied about the whole thing.
But deep down, he knows I told the truth. And deep down, he knows that he deserves for me to be angry with him. Rational or not, he pretended to be my friend. He told me he loved me. He lied. And if he ever did love me (which I'm coming to the realization that he probably never did), he will come to regret that. Especially if he told me the truth while we sat here that night. When he thanked me. If he really meant that? He'll come to WANT to apologize to me.
And right now? I would let him. Because I fucking deserve that. I deserve for him to acknowledge that he hurt me.
I acknowledged I hurt him. Because that's the kind of chick I am.
But I'm going to continue to wrap myself in this blanket of anger for awhile. Even thought I can acknowledge that it's growing thinner each day.
And one day, I'll wake up and realize I'm not angry anymore. In the last 36 hours, the hatred has dissipated a bit. I'm more focused on what I can actually control.
I'm focusing on that text from this morning. And the email I got from a former student. These people believe in ME.
Going to bed early. Eating well. (Well, when it occurs to me.) Talking to those who are a comfort. Using my words. Telling my story. Working out.
There are those who tell me I'll just be victimized all over again. And it wouldn't do any good. LI is going to get away with it. Let it go.
And there are those who tell me that even without the physical evidence, I still have a case. I still have a right to be heard. I didn't do anything wrong.
I told my therapist everything. Yes, everything. And we laughed when I swore to him that I'm right-handed.
And then the couples therapy. That was actually pretty productive. The guy did tell us that it doesn't really seem like we should get back together. And then the husband acted like it mattered. And I told him about LI. And he was actually pretty nice about it.
And then I worked out with Pete Jones. And it was awesome. And I realized that he can never break up with his girlfriend. Because he's the only man I trust right now. And he's been so great to me. Helping me work out frustrations. Helping me focus on being healthy. Telling me that LI was a fucking asshole. Telling me that no matter what happened since, that he hoped Eric would step up and testify about how messed up I was when LI left. Because that would be the right thing to do.
And I'm being patient. And not impulsive.
And three days later, I spoke to a lawyer.
And I'm still just so stunned and grateful for the conversation we had tonight. He is the first person I went into detail with. And he let me cry. And he told me over and over again that it's not my fault. He asked me detailed questions. He told me what my options are. He was really, really good to me. I'm incredibly grateful for the kindness this stranger showed me this evening.
This week has been a rather difficult one. But I'm trying really hard to be good to myself. I haven't written much. I need to catch up. I've got a bunch of middle-schoolers counting on me. I need a good night of sleep tonight. I haven't really gotten one since LI walked through my door a month ago.
So, I'm offering myself the gift of sleep.
I'm not going to think about whether or not Eric would step up to tell the authorities about how I sat on this couch that night, huddled under a blanket, shivering uncontrollably. Or if he would continue to pretend I don't exist and just let me continue to suffer without justice.
I'm not going to think about the people with whom I work who are not quite as dedicated as I am to these amazing kids.
I'm not going to think about how I could have been on a transatlantic flight tonight.
I'm not going to think about the fact that my husband actually asked me out on a date for tomorrow evening.
I'm not going to think about any of that.
I'm just going to stretch the muscles that Pete Jones pushed twice this week and think about the book cover that a former student drew for me. And the poem that some girl I don't even know wrote for me because she loves the book I wrote last year and she believes that I've inspired her to "read and do right choices"...
I'm going to think about how snuggly my boy was tonight and how well he's doing in school.
I'm going to think about how I may be getting rid of this couch sooner than I had even thought possible.
I'm going to think about the girls who hugged me and yelled at me and loved me on Sunday.
If you are ever sexually assaulted, do exactly the opposite of what you want to do.
Number One: Do NOT take a shower.
Number Two: Do NOT wash your clothes.
Number Three: Do NOT throw out your clothes.
Number Four: Do NOT take the trash down to the dumpster. You know the trash. The trash with the evidence. Such as that shirt. Or the semen on the paper towel from where it was wiped off of your body.
Number Five: Do NOT turn to your ex-boyfriend to comfort you.
Number Six: Do NOT delete the phone numbers of your attacker.
Sure, you might have avoided the trip to the police station. You might have managed to avoid the horrific things they would put you through in order to make their case. But that means that four weeks later, when you're ready to press charges, you've got nothing. Even when it would have been a federal offense, what with the crossing of state lines with the intent to commit sexual assault and all.
Because, at the end of the day, it all boils down to a "he-said, she-said" kind of a situation.
And now, when I finally get angry at the guy who deserves it? It's too late. He's all back in his own bed, all comfy, with the wife and kids nearby, an upstanding member of the community, and I'm stuck with nothing. Well, not nothing. I've got scars. And he'll do it again to someone else.
But now that I've found my balls, it's too late.
Oh, and for the love of all things holy, do NOT turn to that ex-boyfriend who wants to be "friends".
Because he will just use you, too. But he'll tell you he loves you, so in your head, it makes it okay. Because you feel loved and safe. And you can pretend what happened earlier didn't happen.
Oh, but the ex-boyfriend will fuck you over even worse than the guy who assaulted you. Because he'll tell you days later, "Oh, that was a mistake. You actually DON'T matter."
At least the guy who attacked you never told you you were special. And you remember that maybe it was a little bit your fault because your hackles were up, but you still let him in the door. (And that's what the cops would tell you, too. Ugh.)
But that ex-boyfriend. Who used you and then pretended to be your friend, and then watched you fall apart... And then decided he wanted nothing to do with you as you spun out of control... Which, of course, made you even crazier.
And then you did that incredibly stupid thing. That thing that made you feel better for that night. That thing you never understood. Until it happened to you.
And then you suddenly felt guilty for telling his girlfriend.
Because a few people told you you had no right to do that.
Um, he GAVE me that right when he was with me that night. If he did not want me to tell her, he shouldn't have touched me.
Fuck, he should have picked me up and taken me to the police station, himself, that night.
But, he didn't.
And then he couldn't understand why I was upset. And that upset me further. And that led to all kinds of bad behavior.
And, then... I fucking apologized to him.
WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT ABOUT?!???
Even back when he was saying he wanted to be my friend, he never did apologize for hurting me that way.
Fucking Eric. Out of every human being on the planet, I NEVER would have believed that about him.
But then he decided to absolve himself of all responsibility by dragging TF into it.
And then... Even knowing how incredibly out-of-control I was... He told me to please stop emailing him.
It's a really good thing I'm NOT suicidal.
Kid's got some balls of his own for thinking THAT was an appropriate thing to say to me on that day.
And I know... With every fiber of my being, I KNOW that he will come to regret his part in hurting me. He's not there, yet. But he will be.
And, by then... It will be TOO LATE.
Because I think I found my balls in my hometown.
Everybody's telling me, "Oh, be glad Eric told you that you guys shouldn't talk." "Now, you can be done with that drama and focus on YOU."
Um, fuck that.
I should have been the one to say that to him.
And I would have... Eventually.
But for him to kick my crutch out from under me? And for him to tell himself, "I did nothing wrong. RetroMama should not have talked to Cara."
What drove me to do that, Eric?
And what drove me to do everything that came after that?
Sure, I made the decision to do the stupid shit. But you d0 NOT get to tell yourself you're blameless in this. If you hadn't touched me that night, I would have had nothing to TELL Cara.
So, FUCK YOU.
And while I'm on this note...
FUCK YOU, LI, for what you did. FUCK YOU for coming into my home and touching me the way you did. Even after I told you it wasn't okay. Especially then. And especially for finishing it the way you did. And then for apologizing to me the moment it was over. And saying you'd "make it up to" me.
FUCK YOU. The only way to "make it up to" me is for you to fucking own up to what you did. To your wife, to your kids, and to your entire fucking town. Oh, and to pay for my fucking therapy. I would have rather have watched you get arrested and hauled off to prison, but since that option's out, I'll have to hope for public humiliation instead. I want you to feel as ugly and dirty as you made me feel.
And since I'm slinging blame tonight, I've got a word or two for the husband, too:
None of this would have happened if you had done something. Anything. But the sitting and doing nothing? My letting you do that is what got me to that place on that night.
If you had told me that you wanted to be with me, LI never would have been here that night. If you had given me a fucking HUG once in awhile, LI never would have been here that night. Or if you had told me we were done, I highly doubt LI would have been here that night, either.
Yes, much of this goes back to decisions I made a long time ago.
But I'm still just a girl who wants to love and to be loved.
And I was so fucking desperate for that that I trusted the WRONG person.
And then compounded that by trusting the WRONGER person. (Shut up. I get to make up words.)
So, here's the new plan:
2. Not do the stupid shit anymore. Cold-turkey. Done. Clean for three days.
3. Get out of this fucking "marriage". Officially. For real.
4. Read a book.
5. Write a book.
6. Be with my kid.
7. Take any hugs I can get. As long as I follow my gut on it.
When Eric came to me the night I had been assaulted, he applied a balm to my wounds. And wrapped them up tightly.
And I clung to that. I clung to him.
And when he told me that he wanted to be committed to Cara, that being with me had been a mistake, it hurt so much more because he took himself away from me. He took the only person who knew what had happened to me that night.
And now when it's nighttime, that's when I'm all alone. And that's when it hurts so much all over again.
Bits and pieces I had managed to block out are flooding back to me...
I can see LI here. In my space. I can remember how I pushed him away, how I told him to stop, how I told him to slow down, to stop. And I remember how I just lay here so still afterward, just needing him to leave. And I hear myself telling him "it's okay" as he apologized over and over again. Because I knew that if I told him it wasn't okay that he would not leave. And I needed him to get on that plane. I needed him to fly far, far away. I don't think the door was even closed behind him when I clapped my hand to my mouth and tried to stifle my sobs.
And I just keep seeing that over and over again.
And I remember how I felt when Eric put his arms around me an hour later... And it felt so good to be held. And it was so lovely to be able to just hug him and smell him. And I felt safe.
And then everything got all fucked up.
And with Eric gone, I can't cover up what happened that night anymore. The bandage doesn't stick anymore.
And I don't want to remember that. I only want to remember what happened afterward. And I'm trying, but that's all ruined now.
And I'm hurting so badly that I lashed out at the one person who I could have talked to. And I broke it.
And I wanted to. Because he was the one who made me feel better, and then he took himself away. And now I get to deal with this double pain of betrayal.
And tonight... When I spoke to a friend... And I said that I'm going to have to have these tough conversations in the very near future. And I said out loud that I don't think I could ever tell the husband that I had been sexually assaulted. Because I'm afraid that he would blame me. "Why did you even invite him over that night?"
And Eric never blamed me. Told me that, no, LI had no respect for me to do what he did. But he never blamed me.
And now? When I find myself crying for hours each night? I find myself being able to answer questions that I had never asked out loud. Scary questions. Questions that I never asked because I did not want to hear the answers. But now I ask myself the questions and I find myself able to answer them because I know the answers for myself.
It's not a pretty place I'm in right now.
And I know it's gonna get a hell of a lot worse before it gets better.
But I know that I'm sorry. I am sorry I hurt Eric the way that I did. But I know it's too soon to tell him so.
So, for now, I'll keep going through the motions. Trying to infuse my days with enough gratitude to get me through the nights. Trying not to think about the answers I now know. Trying to get my strength up for what's coming.
Because this RetroMama shell looks like the same lady. She's just not one to return phone calls like the one she got tonight. From a guy she met awhile ago. One who'd intrigued her at the time.
She's not interested in talking to any man right now.
Of course, she's thinking she's not interested in talking to any man EVER.
In that last angry email you sent me, you reminded me that you and I had enjoyed each other. And that you wanted to focus on that.
And we really had.
So, why did you tell Cara that you and I were "incompatible for dating"?
That wasn't true.
You and I were totally compatible for dating. We totally enjoyed each other's company. We laughed together, cried together. We talked for hours on end.
We took trips together. Wonderful ones. We enjoyed traveling together. We were good at that. We flew to faraway destinations and then took road trips from there. Just the other day, I was remembering how you held the door for me after we had played in the snow. And you leaned in to kiss me. And it was so sweet.
And we could talk about politics and religion and relationships and the dorkiest shit imaginable. All the way through two states and back.
And then we took that ride over the falls, something that terrified each of us. But we took that risk. Together. And then that walk over that bridge. Together.
We weren't compatible?
Fuck you for saying that. Ever. Sure, we argued. Because we were passionate about each other. But for you to dismiss our relationship like that? When even as recently as two days ago, you were still reminding me that I was the one who broke up with you???!!!
You betrayed me long before I told Cara the truth. You lied about me. You lied about our love for each other. Or maybe you didn't lie to her. Maybe you lied to me. Maybe you were lying to me as we drove down that highway, watching the deer hopping alongside the road. Maybe you were lying to me when we held hands in that cab in my favorite City.
I can't believe we've come to a place where you can minimize everything that we shared. And you were doing it long before I spoke to her.
Fuck you, you self-serving jerk.
And I'm sitting here, crying, because you decided to give me the big "fuck you" by blocking me on Facebook? You wanted to hurt me? Congratulations, you've done it. Again.
I guess this is what happens when you get too involved with a rebound.
I should have known this was going to end this way. I guess I did know that night when you first told me you were dating her.
That's why I asked for the journal back.
Not because I wanted it. But because I didn't want YOU to have it. Because even then, I didn't trust you with it. I knew the day would come when you would share our words with someone else.
I destroyed it. I destroyed it before I even saw you again.
And then everything else happened. And I realized that I still love you. That I'm still in love with you.
And I allowed myself to let you use me. And I allowed myself to get caught up in your games. And your shades of gray.
Dammit, Eric. I trusted you. And now I'm second-guessing everything you EVER said to me.
I owe you a huge "thank you".
Thank you for reminding me that anybody who says "I'm the most honest person out there. I never lie. I'm completely forthcoming" is probably hiding something.
Cara was stunned. She trusted you, too.
But her shock made me realize that maybe I really didn't know you as well as I had thought. Or maybe you really were completely honest with me, but since that blew up in your face, you decided not to trust her as much as you had trusted me.
Eric, I'm sorry I hurt you when I broke up with you. I really, truly am. I loved you. I trusted you. I was so happy to anticipate going to Europe with you. I actually let my guard down and thought we could have a future together. I wanted to let you keep your promise to kiss me under the Eiffel Tower.
You were the only man I really considered that way.
And I got scared. And I wanted my family back. And I felt like I couldn't move forward with you until I had actually finished my marriage. For real. It was a very confusing time for me. Surely you can understand that.
And today, I told V about where that marriage is going. And, again, she was not surprised.
I was, apparently, the last to know.
Except for you. I think that since you loved me so much, you couldn't imagine why my husband would not jump at the chance to get back together with me. Because you would have.
But, he didn't. And he wouldn't.
And I would not have known that if I had not broken up with you.
And, deep down inside, you know that. You do know that.
But I am sad to know that you minimized what we shared to the next woman. It makes sense. Hell, it would have been nicer for me if you had minimized stuff for my benefit. ::shrug::
But then we got to this place...
This place where you are probably seeing red.
I'm not sorry I did what I did, Eric. You should have been the one to tell Cara. And you can tell yourself all you want to that you would have told her, but I think that you knew you never would have. Especially since you chose to be with her again after what you and I shared.
And, I don't know where you are with her. I don't know if you have managed to talk your way back into her heart and into her bed. It wouldn't surprise me. Hell, you spin for a living. And one thing she said to me kind of set off alarm bells in my mind. Made me think that she just might be weak enough to take you back.
Well, I hope that if you guys make it through this that you end up being happy together. And at least you can move forward without secrets and lies between you.
I know you want to hurt me. I know you think I told Cara to hurt you.
That's not why I did it, though. At least, that wasn't the primary reason.
I told her because she deserved to know. And you had knowledge that she absolutely deserved to know. I stand by that. One hundred percent. (It was what I told her the next day. She said she would add it to her list of questions for you. Please tell me you are not so naive that you honestly did not think you should have told her that one thing from the first day.)
I am sorry that I hurt you when I broke up with you.
And I'm sorry if it hurts you to know what happened to the journal. (I kept it from you because I didn't want to hurt you then. I'm admitting it now because I'm angry and you did something to deliberately hurt me, so I'm doing the same back to you. Immature, sure. But I'm mad, too.)
But, Eric. I loved you. And to realize that with such clarity and then to find out that you lied about me and to me? So soon after realizing I would have to grieve for our relationship? When I'm realizing that I am choosing to live without Love? Without Affection? Two gifts that you gave me so freely?
I'm aching here. I'm missing who I used to be when I was with you. I'm missing the man that I thought you were.
You did the wrong thing. And I took that choice away from you because you made the wrong choice. But your mistake wasn't in being with me that night. Your mistake was lying about it. Your mistake was deciding that Cara was more important than I was.
Grownups hurt each other. Grownups make mistakes. But grownups don't go running out and getting completely enmeshed in the next relationship just because they're lonely.
Yes, I broke up with you. Yes, you were lonely, so you went out and found someone new. As you've repeated so often in recent weeks, "We each did what we had to do."
But you know, deep down inside, that if you had only waited... You and I could have had a chance. And you know that you miss me. And you know that you love me. And you know that the love you have for me is not "not that way anymore".
You do know that.
And you can hate me all you want to because it's easier than hating yourself.
But you know, deep down, that you're the one that fucked up. And you can pretend all you want to that you're just upset because you lost Cara (if you even did).
But she did NOT matter to you like you're pretending she does.
You miss being a family. And THAT is why you decided to become one so quickly with her.
You KNOW that you did the wrong thing there. You KNOW that my rules are in place for a reason. And you hate me because I actually follow my rules. And you hate me because you know that I am right. And you know you fucked up.
So, go ahead and blame me all you want. Go ahead and destroy everything I ever gave you. Go ahead and tell everybody that I'm a fucking bitch for telling your girlfriend something I had no right to say.
And, you're right. That was your job. And you failed.
And you hate me because I was the best friend you ever had. I was the one who knew you better than anybody else in your world, including your "best friend", who's known you for years.
But when you're tired of hating me, take a good look in the mirror, Eric.
I would have been that friend. Even if we were never lovers again.
Thank you for turning out to be such a coward. Thank you for serving to remind me to go with my instincts. Because my instincts were spot-on about you. That first time we met, you made it so clear that you didn't really respect me.
And then I dated you for the next five months.
Oh, my god.
What the fuck was I thinking?
Eric, I am sorry you got hurt. I am. Because I did love you.
But I needed to burn our bridge. Because I probably would have ended up getting back together with you down the line. I always said that you and I would work out in ten years.
But maybe now that I've done this thing, you'll still hate me in ten years. And that will keep us from making a huge mistake.
I'm going to learn not to discount what you and I did share when we were in love. Because we were. And we were good together. We boosted each other up and we challenged each other to test our own limits. We shared some amazing memories together.
Thank you again, for being there for me that night when LI did what he did to me. Thank you for holding me and making me feel safe. Thank you for making me smile and for helping me to sleep.
You'll be glad to know that I'm really having trouble with the whole LI thing now. I've scheduled an extra therapy session to help me deal with it. Since you hate me so much, you'll be glad to know that I'm pretty devastated by all of this. Throw in the whole victimization thing, and I'm just a bundle of fucked-up nerves. I'm sure that'll make you feel better.
So, congratulations, Eric. Your goal was to hurt me, and you have succeeded.
I'm not going to hate you, though. Sure, I'm really sad right now. And I wish I could talk to someone that I considered one of my best friends.
And, hey, if you're wasting a bunch of energy on hating me, at least you're thinking about me, right?
I'm going to keep loving you, though. And I'm going to remember that you're not quite the perfect man for me that I thought you were. And I'm going to remember that, yes, we really were "incompatible for dating". But I'm going to remember that there was a time when we weren't. When we were really good together.
Reason, Season, Lifetime, Eric.
I've been walking around with a Euro in my pocket.
I lost my virginity a few months shy of my 17th birthday.
It was a pretty good experience as far as first sexual experiences go. I was in love. I knew the guy loved me. We had already done pretty much everything else, so the actual act of intercourse was a simple progression.
I'm grateful for that.
Of course, once my parents found out that we were having sex (or rather, suspecting!), they put the fear of God (or rather, the fear of JAIL) into the poor guy. He had turned 18, and they threatened statutory rape charges.
The kid was so glad they did not make him stop dating me, but he was terrified of having sex with me again until I was 18.
So, there were other things. I was fine with it most of the time. But there were times when I wasn't fine with it. And times that he forced me.
I didn't even break up with him for that.
I remember the afternoon when we did break up. And I went to work that night. And after work, I went out with a guy I had become friends with through work.
And that young man kissed me that night.
And I remember going to school the next morning, anticipating seeing my friends. I was desperate to tell them that I had broken up with Alex, but that another boy had kissed me.
Of course, a girl at my school had committed suicide the night before, so my boy drama took a backseat to that.
Within a few weeks, however, I was messing around with the new boy fairly regularly. Not having sex, but pretty damn close. We did go out. He actually offered me a ring fairly early on. I refused.
It wasn't long before my friends found out I was dating the new boy. And a particular group of friends knew him. Because he was the long-time boyfriend of a girl in their youth group. The guy was practically engaged. But getting naked with me on a fairly regular basis.
Ew. I ended things pretty quickly at that. I had too much respect for myself to be the other woman.
Then I got involved with the next guy. He would end up being the fiancee. It was while I was dating him that I began to have flashbacks of what had occurred with the first boyfriend. It was the fiancee that used the word "rape" for the first time.
A year later, I would run into that first boyfriend. And I would use the word "rape" to his face. And he would look me in the eye and apologize for what he had done.
Of course, the fiancee felt pretty good about himself. He would never rape me. He would spend the rest of his life with a scar on his right hand when that fist connected with the first boyfriend's teeth.
Of course, that fist would end up connecting with my face a year later.
But I didn't even break up with him right away for that.
I had gone off to college during that time.
And once I broke off the "engagement", I went a little wild. I kissed a lot of boys. None of them respected me. None had a reason to.
Many of them had girlfriends. And I simply did not care. Because if they had a girlfriend, they would not get close enough to me to break my heart or my spirit.
Sex was my shield. Sex was my weapon.
I finally calmed down enough to date a boy who would never rape me. Or hit me. But he would let me know in other ways that I wasn't quite good enough. And I let him.
I went through a few more phases of being the other woman because it was safer.
And then I met the husband.
And he treated me like gold. For many years.
Until he didn't.
And when we were breaking up, I fell into that thing with the soulmate. Ah, the soulmate. The man who turned me inside out, woke me up, and got me out of that marriage I needed to leave. That soulmate.
He was no longer living with his girlfriend, but they were still speaking. I guess, in a way, I was the other woman for him. And because I was still, technically, married, he kept me a secret. Nobody knew that he loved me.
And when we broke up, he waited about five minutes before inviting a new woman into his bed.
But a few weeks later, he saw me. And I knew that he had been seeing someone new. But when he invited me to stay, I was pretty powerless to resist. He still had that hold on me.
And he did not kick me out the next day, bless his heart.
But I never did see him again.
I did hear from him for awhile. Especially when things were not going well with the woman that he would end up marrying.
Yep. He married her. And she has no idea that I even existed.
And I let that happen.
Because he and I were done. I would never see him again. We would stay in touch periodically for awhile. But I have not contacted him in over a year. And I have not heard from him in about that long. As far as I know, they're happy. He was not committed to her at the time we last made love, but once he did, he did.
Did I feel a little used? Nah. I got what I wanted that night. Was I sad that he would not be in my world for a longer period of time? Sure.
But thanks to Richard from Texas, I let that go.
When I mentioned him to TF the other day, she reminded me, "But you never thought you had a future with him." And she was right. I always knew that the soulmate and I were finite.
But I did feel a little icky about being the other woman. Which is a major reason why I never saw him again.
And through a lot of therapy, I've come to realize that I have some pretty serious issues when it comes to men. I won't go into all of that here.
However, you probably need to know that RetroMama has not always had this self-esteem that she holds dear now. She really let men use her as she used men in turn. She chose men who were "committed" to other women because it kept them from getting close enough to break her heart. Because she was sick of being raped. She didn't want to be hit. She didn't want someone to tell her that she really wasn't pretty enough, or smart enough, or good enough.
So, she chose other women's men.
But those days have been over for a long time. She does not choose other women's men. She's not that fucked up little girl who had been used and abused. She would rather be alone that with someone who will never be hers. (Clarity? Yes. But we'll save THAT for another blog for another day.)
Eric was the man who really made me realize that I deserve to be treated well. Eric respected me. Eric loved me. Eric made me realize that it's okay not to settle. That I am pretty enough. And I am smart enough. And I am good enough.
That night... When LI came over here and took something from me. I told him to stop. I told him to slow down. I told him to leave.
And he did not.
He did not "rape" me in the technical sense. But as TF validated for me, he did rape me in an emotional sense. He did something after I told him to stop.
I took the same shower I would have taken if he had raped me. I washed and washed and I made the water hotter than I could stand. I washed my clothes twice and still ended up throwing out the tee-shirt I had worn that night.
And Eric came to me that night and made me feel safe. He touched me with love and affection and gentleness.
But he had a girlfriend. Oh, but that didn't really matter because he was going to break up with her anyway.
So, when Eric touched me that night, I did not feel guilty.
For days, I did not feel guilty.
But then he threw me under the bus. And he not only did not break up with his girlfriend, but he told her that I had told him I still loved him.
Um, I would never have said that to another woman's man if he had not told me that, repeatedly, in the previous days.
But then he did not break up with her.
And he did not tell her what he had done with me. And what he had said to me. He only told her what I said.
Great. Now, she hates me.
And I stuck up for her that night when he told me he had booked that trip. I told him that he was leading her on. And that he wasn't being fair to her if he only told her half the story.
But that day... When he told her what I had said, but not what he had said?
Something broke in me.
Because Eric... Darling, wonderful, loving, amazing Eric... Eric made me into the "other woman".
And I can't condone that and I can't respect that.
And I was fucking pissed off that he did that.
Because he was the last person on the planet that I believed would ever disrespect me that way.
So, I told him we couldn't be friends.
But he fought for me.
And I thought I could forgive him. As long as he did not make me a party to his dishonesty. If we were to be friends, I would have to be friends with Cara, too. And I could not be friends with Cara if he did not tell her the truth.
So, he asked for a "break". "Let's take November. You write your novel, let me get through my stuff. Then we'll be friends."
I assumed that he meant he would have told Cara the truth. Because that was my condition. Not an ultimatum. Just a condition.
And as the days passed and we weren't talking, I realized that there was no reason to wait and have a conversation in December if he had not told her the truth.
And, surely, he would know by now.
So, I emailed him and asked him. He'd said it was okay to email if we needed to. I needed to. So, I did.
And he ignored me.
Until today. Finally. After I actually had started worrying about whether or not something awful had befallen him or his family.
And after dragging it out all fucking day long, he finally answered me in a one-word email.
Well, there's my answer.
I'm done with Eric. And while I did call him, hoping for a decent good-bye this time, he chose not to answer my call except for when he had a kid with him. Knowing I would not pressure him to speak in front of his kid.
So, I may have left him a voicemail. One in which I told him I'm so damned disappointed. That I had expected so much more from him. That he had always treated me with respect. And that I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around this. But that I hoped he would choose to be happy. That it would be worth it. I said that stuff at the end.
Huh. He must not have listened to that part. Because he described it as a "diatribe" in his last email. Which he sent about two hours after that voicemail.
He opened with how furious he is with me.
Yeah. I think he's going to be even more furious with me by the time this night is over.
Because, you see, I realized something that I never realized before. Back when I was in college, I liked being the other woman. It made me feel powerful. Sexy.
But now? Now I feel dirty. (Which really sucks. Because last night when I was so upset, I found myself thinking about LI and what he did. And I can't focus on how Eric made me feel better. So, now I actually get to deal with that whole act.)
And I realized that I really feel a sense of solidarity with Cara.
And I said in one of those emails over the weekend, that this isn't about him telling her to hurt her. If he broke up with her with our secret intact, that would be okay. I'm just really not okay with allowing this woman to fall further in love with him when he has already betrayed her.
She's a single mom, for crying out loud.
And I would hope that if I'm ever in a relationship again (which is REEEEEEEEAAAAALY doubtful at this point!), that if that man made love to another, I would hope that someone would be brave enough to tell me.
Cara seems like a really nice lady.
She's a little pissed off, though, and confused. And says that Eric's got some 'splainin' to do.
But, yeah. I did tell her. And I apologized for my part in this, and I told her that she does not have to worry about me ever having sex with her boyfriend again. That I had told him two weeks ago to tell her what had happened, and that he had, apparently, decided against it.
Eric's gonna hate me now.
But you know what?
I'm actually feeling totally okay with that.
Eric said in that email he sent me a couple of hours ago that I can think of him whatever I want. That he knows who he is.
Several days ago, Eric emailed me. Told me that we should take some time off and then let's work towards navigating a friendship. Because he still wants that. And, man... I do, too. Big-time. There's been a gaping hole in my world since I shoved him so unceremoniously out of it.
But I realize that I have a deal-breaker condition.
And if he already knows that he cannot or will not do this one thing, then let's just call it all off now.
I have been living with the assumption that he has already done that one thing. My sister-cousin insists that he has not and that he will never.
Ah, rose-colored glasses, how you deceive me...
I thought that perhaps I should wait the period of time that he had requested before asking the question.
But that seems silly. Why postpone grief? If we are not going to be able to be friends, why not know that now so I can start moving past it? Or, if we are, then sure, allow me this knowledge so that I have something to hold onto in the meantime. Something to help me keep that hope alive.
I waited a day before sending the email asking the question.
And he has not responded.
Which means I have my answer.
And I'm so angry and sad that he is not brave enough to even tell me. When I asked, point-blank. And said, "don't spare my feelings. Just tell me the truth."
It's just words. Say them.
And then I think back to that last therapy appointment with the husband. When we stood on that sidewalk, both of us, apparently, thinking the same thing. "I want to kiss you."
And I stood my ground. And I was going to take that enormous risk.
And he pulled away from me, turned his back on me, and walked away.
I've done some really scary shit in my world.
I've traveled many miles, across bridges with no hand rails. I've used note cards to tell someone I love him. I decided to be with Eric even though I knew that the possibility was very real that I could end up with a broken heart. I left my husband. I asked him to give us another chance.
But a recent Daily Om entry was something about how the decisions you regret are the ones when you did not risk. Regret comes from not trying.
And these men that I have loved. These men that I DO love.
They are not as brave as I am. And they are unwilling to try. Which means that the day will come when they are the ones with the regrets. Because one word could have changed everything. One kiss could have changed everything.
Yesterday, I ran into a gal who has been that "right person at the right time" for me in the last several months. She has said the scary stuff at moments when I was, apparently, open to it. And she presented risks to me that I chose to take. I put that ring on my wedding finger because I had mentioned to her my hopes. And she suggested that risk. Which, as we all know, blew up in my face. But I'm so glad I took it. I'm so glad I tried. I'm grateful for the pain I am in now because at least I know.
And, yesterday... When she asked me how things were going... I told her about how things have been progressing (or not) with the husband. And I said, "I broke up with a wonderful man who loved me in order to try... And now it's too late for us..."
And she said this to me: There is someone even more wonderful out there.
That had not actually occurred to me in the last few months. I've been imagining being alone so much that I have not even imagined that, perhaps, there is someone out there who will be that wonderful man who eats sushi, drinks wine, brings me flowers, takes me traveling, calls, emails, etc....
But this man will actually be over his grief in his past relationships. And this man will be brave enough to stand up for ME when faced with a decision in which he has to choose. And this man will be someone to whom I will, eventually, want to introduce my son. And he will love my kid as much as I do. And this man will choose ME. And he will be brave enough to take the risks to say so.
So. Universe. I'm upping the ante. I have added to my list of Requirements. Read it, and understand that it's just a minimum list of Requirements.
THIS OR BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That said, I'm still gonna grieve this latest bit of clarity about Eric. And I've got a long road ahead of me when it comes to the grieving over the husband. And I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm all zen about it. That letter to "Cara" is still saved. I'm not saying that if I continue to get silence from Eric that I won't go all psychotic bitch on him. (What? I'm nothing if not honest here!)
I'll get to that "Oh, I wish him Light and Love" place. But even though I've had to come to this conclusion without his help, that doesn't mean that I'm ready to forgive him yet. I will.
But I'm not there yet.
As TF reminded me last weekend... This was the first guy I actually imagined a future with. And I know I broke his heart. (Or at least, that's the story some like to tell me. I think they hope it makes me feel better. Like I mattered at some point, at least, even though I don't anymore.)
But I broke my own, too.
But I remember how Nat told me that it's only when the heart cracks that we can let the Light in.
So, I'm letting the Light in.
But when I'm ready... I'm going to stick with the "THIS OR BETTER" mantra.
I was nearly in tears half a dozen times when I realized just what a disservice I had done to my students by trying out this new schedule just to prove a point to someone who will never look at herself and realize what a horrible teacher she really is. If I wasn't so enraged, I would have been flattered by all of the wonderful things my students said about me. But all I could think was that they deserve so much from every teacher with whom they work.
And the plans I had for tonight... Didn't exactly happen. Since it's the last night before the husband goes on his trip, I thought, for sure, we would go for coffee...
I thought wrong.
I told him to drop me off at home so I could get some writing done. He was too distracted to have a conversation with me anyway. Why bother?
But I did ask him: While you're gone, are you working under the assumption that we're still working on things?
He didn't even hesitate when he said "yes".
"And when you come back, you see us as working on things because you want to get back together?"
And for the first time since this all began, he said, "Yes."
Is he fucking kidding me?!?
And then TF played DA with me. And I so wasn't in the mood for it.
No, I'm not putting off telling him what is really happening because I care what people think of me. (Shit, if I cared what people thought of me, I wouldn't write what I do here. Haha.) I truly believe that allowing him to come to his own conclusions (either on his own or with the therapist pointing it out) is what will be best for our family, over all. And while it's hard to put off my real life while he's trying to figure this shit out, hell... I've been putting off my real life for three years. What's another few weeks?
But when he called to say he would pick me up instead of me driving over to meet him to pick up our son?
I pulled up the fucking BGPs, lemme tell ya.
And I got in his truck and said: You know how you said that you think you're coming back and we're going to work on stuff? Well, I don't believe you. I have no reason to believe you. You have given me nothing to hold onto while you're gone. I have no reason to think that you will be thinking about me. I have nothing to look forward to when you get back. I'm waiting for you to change. And you're 40 years old. That's not fair of me to ask you to change. And I don't think it's a matter of desire. I think you do WANT to change. But I really think it's a matter of capability. I don't think you're capable of change.
And he didn't really answer me. When I asked him if he had anything to say, he said, "I don't know what you want."
I said, "I want something to hold onto."
He said that he worries about how this trip will affect us, since it's been such an issue in the last couple of months. I said, "I'm not worried. Honestly? I don't even care at this point." And that was the truth.
And then he tried to say something about how he doesn't want his one big trip to be an issue, especially since I've made it clear that I plan to travel, too.
Moments later, I made this point: I would be inviting you on any trip I take in the future. You will never invite me on this trip.
And then there was the usual family dinner. And it was great. And we all had fun together.
And then we got to my apartment. And the kidlet clung to his dad because he's going to miss him. But he was pretty calm about leaving him.
And then as I got out, he said, "I'll call you."
And then he grabbed my hand.
And kissed it.
And I closed the door, slung my arm around the kidlet's shoulders and walked away. I didn't look back.
I kind of forgot to eat dinner and then I had a glass of wine. And there was so little left in the bottle, I decided I had to finish that, too.
And drunken blogging has to be better than drunken noveling, right?
I so appreciate my TF.
Sure, we got in a huge fight a couple of weeks ago. Complete with crying and hurt feelings.
Huh. Grownups can own up to when they fuck up. And apologize. And a fight doesn't necessarily mean a breakup.
And I opened with, "I'm fragile today. Please no yelling."
And there was no yelling. Oh, no. She even expressed pride in me when I admitted some really painful shit.
And she's the only person on this entire planet who is still kind of rooting for Eric. Or rather, maybe not Eric, but the person she knows I am when I am with him.
I risked everything when I broke up with him.
And it has pretty much blown up in my face.
I don't know if the husband even realizes where this is going to end. And even though I said more than a week ago, I know how it will end, I'm still the stupid girl that hopes I am wrong. And it's not because of Eric.
But when TF was so proud of me for admitting how I really feel? And it seemed too late already?
But I am being me. The "in your face" kind of gal I am. Because at the heart of it all, I know his heart. Just as I know the husband's heart. It seems like the only heart I am denying is my own.
And Eric's been in this thing with another woman. I know he doesn't love her like he loves me. But he's mad at me. I hurt him. I get that.
And for a day, I've been hoping. Because when I got that email from him this morning... For the first time, I let myself believe that maybe we would end up being friends.
Because from the first day we ever spoke... I knew I should be friends with him.
But as I'm writing this book.... And really looking at my characters... They are young and they are flawed.
And we're not young. But we're flawed... But there are some flaws that we can live with...
And others that we can't.... And when push comes to shove... Eric chose to throw me under the bus....
It's not only that he put someone else's feelings before mine. That was his right. He owes nothing to the woman who, supposedly, broke his heart.
But that day... When he had a choice to make... When he chose to tell only half of the truth... He told the half that would make him look like a saint and cast me in the role of sinner.
And we all know that RetroMama's pretty quick to admit she's a sinner.
And I would, happily, willingly, jump on a grenade for someone I love.
But there's a difference between jumping on a grenade and being pushed under a bus.
And he did it because he chose to put another first. Someone he had already betrayed. As though betraying me would make that betrayal better.
But he did betray me that day.
And I want so badly to forgive.
But I don't know if I can forget. Because I can't help but wonder if that one choice was the choice that revealed his true character.
And there are a thousand other things I should be focusing on. But this one thing...
I know the day will come when he will realize I was right. And I know the day will come when he will regret trespassing on MY heart and not hers. But I don't know if it will be too late by then.
Yesterday was a tough day. I knew it would be. But I didn't know just how bad it would be.
I made plans to do something good, something hard, first thing in the morning. And I did it. Ten miles in the rain. And it was good. And it was hard. And there were moments when I found myself laughing. And others when I found myself sobbing.
There I was, thinking I was grieving one thing, and then it turned out I was grieving a whole lot more. It's almost like a domino effect. I start crying about one thing, then realize I've got something else to cry about, which, of course, leads to something entirely different to cry about.
I didn't make as big a deal about yesterday as I have in years past. I kind of wanted to go it alone. I kind of wanted to just... Be.
But the night before, I was overcome with certainty: I would hear from Eric. Because he knew what the day would be and he would care enough to contact me. I was also just as certain that I wouldn't hear from the husband.
While I was running, I found myself really reflecting upon what the therapist said last week. And the assignment we have to complete before our next session. And I realized that what he's doing is helping us see compatibility. Because that's what premarital counseling is about, right? Making a decision about whether or not you SHOULD get married. Whether or not it would last.
And it hit me that I know what those lists will show. That other than our son, we really don't have all that much in common. And while differences can really add to a relationship, they can only do that if both parties are willing to learn from the other.
And that's not really true in our case.
On Thursday, the husband and I had made tentative plans to meet for coffee in the morning before I went to work. And it didn't work out. He gave me all the reasons why it wasn't his fault, and said that he was really bummed about it, but I realized that there was one thing he could have done to ensure he was able to follow through with me, and he didn't do that one thing. It didn't even occur to him.
Because his family of origin is more important than the one he chose to create with me.
I remember how up until about 8 years ago, the husband always kissed the back of my hand when he was saying goodbye to me. He's the only one who ever made that gesture. And I loved it. And I missed it. And, yes, I mentioned it a few times in the last several years, and sometimes he would pull that out, but rarely. It no longer occurred to him.
And as I ran, I remembered how on Thursday night, when Eric picked me up for dinner, he got out of the car to greet me and open my door. The husband used to do that all the time. And he hasn't in years.
Sure, a lot of that is woo-ing. And some romantic gestures get swept away when real life steps in. But I'm willing to bet money that Eric still held doors for his wife even 20 years into their relationship. He's that kind of a man.
And now you're thinking, "What the fuck? She went to dinner with Eric?"
It was as friends. His new girlfriend doesn't eat sushi. I do. We went for sushi. As friends. And as friends, he opened up to me and I got pissed off at him. And that was good, right? Haha.
But then Saturday came. And he did contact me. And that was kind. And so many friends contacted me.
But what I really needed was a hug. A good one. One that would allow me to just let go. I needed to cry.
And nobody was around to do that for me.
Including the husband. Who is a mile away.
I called him to figure out the transition. Sure, he asked how my run went. But he didn't ask me how I was feeling. Or if I needed anything. So, we made our arrangements and I went to sob it out in the shower.
And then he changed the transition plan on me.
And when they arrived, he walked into my apartment without touching me. He played with the kidlet for quite awhile before leaving. Only then did he hug me, and quickly invited the kidlet in for a "family hug".
Yes, family is so important to me. Important enough for me to try to get past the pain of everything that came before and try to put our family back together.
But I am not a woman who can live the rest of her life with a man who simply doesn't believe it's important to show his wife that she matters to him.
And I know that in a long-term relationship, there's an ebb and flow to affection. I do understand that.
But I'm basically asking him to want to spend time with me.
And no matter what I do or say or think, I can't get him to change how he feels about what "family" means.
Shit, I remember when I scored us free tickets to a concert ten years ago. And we were so excited about going on a date. Dinner, drinks, the concert. It would be amazing. Between the time we'd planned the date and the concert, we got a puppy.
And as the concert got closer, he was no longer willing to go to dinner. Just the concert. He didn't want to leave the puppy for that long.
I should have known then that dating his wife wasn't going to be important forever.
And I know I'm not supposed to compare, but it's impossible, so here goes:
Eric was still dating his wife at the end. And I'm willing to bet that when they went out with their friends a month after she left him that he was still opening doors for her. In fact, I know that he was planning a weekend getaway for a week or so after she dropped her bombshell. He fucked up in a lot of ways in that relationship, but dating his wife was not one of them.
And I know plenty of men who have been married for years who make it a point to spend time with their wives. So, I don't think I'm being unreasonable when I'm insisting upon this.
And, yes, part of what I'm feeling now is that I know Eric is taking his girlfriend on a trip. A trip he'd asked me to go on. A trip that we won't take.
And I can't even comfort myself with the knowledge that I'll still take it. Because if I get back together with my husband, I won't take that trip. Sure, I'll take it with my son at some point. Or maybe with friends.
But I'll never get to stand in that city with a man who loves me.
The kidlet loves the scene in Ramona where she yells "Guts" because it's the worst word she can think of to say.
When referring to me, most people refer to "guts" as "balls". In some circles, they might call it "sass", "spunk", "chutzpah".
But your guts is where you sense stuff.
And while I'm very much on the "five steps forward and three steps back" path, one thing I'd thought I'd gotten better about was listening to my instincts. Following my gut.
Did I mention I bought myself a ring? It's an Endorphin Warrior ring. There's a word stamped on it. FEARLESS. But it's customized. So, the letters aren't totally straight. And when I chose it, I didn't read it as FEARLESS, meaning without fear. I read it as... FEAR LESS. And to me, that means being afraid, but not allowing that fear to rule me.
It seemed fitting to me, especially as I embarked on this "trying to reconcile with my husband" journey. Because I'm actually terrified. He says he's afraid that we'll get back together and in a year, I'll decide it's not what I want and I'll leave. I'm afraid that he'll do the work to get us back together, but that once I'm back, he'll stop putting in that effort. Which, of course, WOULD cause me to leave. And I can't do that to my child. I won't. So, yeah. I'm scared. But that fear won't stop me from giving this all I've got.
And last week... With the disconnectedness... I'd come straight home one night when I was feeling restless. Because I knew that I could find some trouble. But I chose not to. And I was okay.
I've been following my instincts at work. And, holy wow, has it been effective! The teacher with whom I share students says that one class is the worst she's ever had. And while they are challenging, sure, I've followed my gut and am reaching these kids. Today, one of the tougher boys said, "Yes!" all excited when I told him we would be practicing integer subtraction. Who does that? This kid. Because I reached him. And maybe I'm unconventional in some of my methods, but they're trusting me and they're learning with me. It works in our room.
And then this weekend... My instincts screamed at me to cancel my plans. When he got lost on his way to my house, something told me to call it off. But I didn't. And it ended very, very badly. I didn't follow my instincts, and I found myself in a horrible position, angry at myself for allowing myself to be there, disgusted, but ironwilled in my resolve to ensure I never speak to him again. Thankful that he lives many, many miles away.
And while I was initially confused when Eric followed his instincts and emailed me over the weekend, I became very grateful for that later. Because if he hadn't, I wouldn't have turned to him that night. And just being able to finally talk to him made me feel safe enough to sleep that night. And I was finally left with a sense of peace about him. No longer angry. No longer torn up over it. Just grateful, grateful, grateful.
Four months ago, as I was scrolling through my cell phone, I came across a number I hadn't used in five years. I glanced at the calendar and realized it was Rae's birthday. I'd skipped the last four, but something told me to send a text. So, I did. She had been my closest friend for 7 years, and it had a beautiful friendship. She was there to help out when my mom died, she was there the day my son was born. But as seasons change, so did our friendship. And about five years ago, Rae and I were done. There were a couple of emails breaking up, and we only saw each other once after that. But that day, something told me that while I was wishing her a happy birthday in my heart, I should actually tell her this time. And two weeks later, she responded, saying we should get together for lunch sometime. A few weeks after that, we did.
Not long after that, the kidlet asked me if I would ever be friends with Ari again. He was happily reading with a stuffed animal she'd given him on his lap. And I smiled when I made the connection that I had thought I would never see Rae again, but that when we did, we were happy to see each other and fill each other in on our lives. We related to one another as grownups, and while we have not made the effort to repeat the gesture, I know it's simply because we are both adults with very full lives. But we both know that if'/when we do see each other again, we will hug and be glad. So, I told him that I didn't know if I would be friends with Ari again. A month earlier, I might have said, "no", but this time, I said, "I don't know." But at that time, I knew with certainty that I held no ill will toward her at all. I've, apparently, forgiven Ari.
Time really does heal.
I woke up this morning with a smile on my face. For the second day in a row. I'm not beating myself up over the bad decision I made on Sunday. I've been sending so much Light and Love that it's truly been coming back to me in strange, yet beautiful, ways.
I remember when CoffeeLady reminded me that if someone was popping into my consciousness that there was a reason for it. And that I should follow my instincts. And I'm learning to go with my guts and not second-guess what someone's reaction will be. Because I learned a long time ago that I can't control the behavior of others. I can only control how I react to those behaviors. And I'm learning to remember that I can't control others' reactions to me.
But if my intentions are true, and my heart is pure, going with my instincts will never be wrong. And if it blows up in my face, well, I'll grieve it and move on... Eventually. Haha.
Wait. I said it would never be wrong. And I don't actually want to delete that and re-write it. Because I want to make the distinction, that yes, my instincts might be wrong, but I won't allow myself to regret them if I acted in a way that was true to who I am.
So, when Ari's birthday rolled around and I found myself thinking of her with joy in my heart, remembering some wonderful experiences we shared, I did not stop myself from letting her know. And if she chooses to take that in any way other than how I meant it, then that's really her choice. Because I felt truly free when I sent it.
And that joy stayed with me and touched those around me. And I sent a different message to someone else... Someone who responded in a way that had me surprised, and so damned grateful. I felt understood. And I was given words that I want to keep. Words that I hope I'll be allowed to "steal" for my next novel. Because they are poetry.
And then we went to the new therapist. And the dude is OLD. And deaf. And the husband and I had to act as translators for each other a few times when he spoke.
But, holy shit.
Did he nail our situation on the head in the first 45 minutes?
He said his job in the first session is usually to determine whether or not he's doing marital counseling or divorce counseling. He said that with us, though, it's pre-marital counseling. Because, sure, we're married, but on paper only. He drew a diagram that illustrated our lack of a union. And it made so much sense I cried when I saw it. He said that even when we lived together, we were both single parents. And he put a time frame on our situation. One with which the husband didn't quite agree. But the moment he said it, I was hit over the head with the proverbial clarity stick.
And it made me realize that everything that has happened since was inevitable.
Granted, my methods may have been faulty. I'll admit that. But I will regret none of it. Because there are gifts that have come from all of the pain.
And it all comes back to trusting my guts. Because two months ago, my instincts told me to issue an ultimatum. I'd never issued an ultimatum before in my life. And it was hard and it was scary. But it was also RIGHT.
So, maybe this week is about instincts and guts and going with it. But it's also, apparently, about forgiveness. And not just forgiveness of others. I think I'm going to forgive myself today.
From May: "I like grownup dating. I like doing my own thing, seeing [someone] when I can. Because I can truly appreciate those moments when we're together... I like my realities, meeting [someone] for 5 minutes at the coffee shop, sitting quietly together... Marriage is finding those moments within "real life" to connect... I love [getting away], but I love my life here too... We deserve those special moments outside of reality, but we deserve to appreciate the ones while we're in it."
From July: "...continue to plan for the future while we take it one day at a time."
I had an amazing day today at work. Utterly amazing. Wonderful. Fantastic.
But as the weekend approaches, I find myself thinking about my husband.
And how the thing I probably loved most about Eric is that I never wondered if he was thinking about me. Because he truly made an effort to show me that he was always thinking about me. With the emails, phone calls, visits, surprises left on my doorstep, etc.
I haven't seen my husband in three days. We've spoken briefly, but not about anything of consequence. And this afternoon on my way home, I found myself pondering the situation with him. I feel incredibly disconnected from him. I called him out on Tuesday (kindly, don't worry!) about his lack of courtesy over the weekend when I was so sick. (He'd promised to call and stop by and did neither, and then said, "You could have called me." Argh. On a thousand levels, argh!) We did have a decent conversation that evening, but I guess I just feel like maybe he's just going through the motions right now. Going to therapy and spending time together as a family, but not really trying to make an effort with me on a more intimate level. Maybe I'm just feeling this way because of Eric's unexpected return (brief! And not in person!) to my world.
But this morning, I found an incredible deal for a getaway. And I sent the information to a friend who would probably jump at the chance to share it with his wife. I didn't even mention it to my husband. And then I deleted the information.
It's like I'm not very hopeful anymore about us.
I'm hoping this is just a mood. I'll be seeing him in 20 minutes, and he did call me an hour ago to check and make sure we were still on for tonight.
And I look around my apartment and I don't want him here on a more permanent basis. And then I find myself wondering if I would miss my life here if/when we move back in together. Obviously, the joys of being with my son every night would far outweigh any missing of this life I could possibly do. And I want to take some of this life with me when I do go back.
But I'm scared. Because I feel these glimmers inside of myself. I know that I could very easily fall in love with him again. And that is something I know from experience is hard to get over. Well, over...Ish.
All it would take is the smallest bit of effort on his part.
So, I'm going to be grateful for him NOT taking that step with me right now. Because I'm afraid that with the smallest bit from him that I would be all in.
I am a mom. I am an open book. I am a teacher. I am unfinished. I rarely dress weather-appropriately. I am influential. I am tattooed. I am a Reason for some. I am relentless in my passions. I am multi-faceted. I am carving my niche.