A Long Time Coming

As I mentioned in my last post, recently I finally ended things with Michael for good. I tried to end it two or three times before, but he always managed to keep me on the hook. The problem was, I had so many reservations about him and our relationship that I knew there was just no way it would ever work out.

First, there was the distance. He lives several states away and I truly couldn’t see any way he’d ever relocate up here. His kids, his job, his church, and his various activites were all there. My daughter is in the middle of high school, so there’s no way I was going to force her to move to another state right now. Plus my family and her dad are all here. That would be unbelievably selfish on my part to do that to her. I’m not one for ultimatums and wasn’t about to demand that he relocate. And I think, to be honest, I didn’t really want him to relocate.

Second, and most signficicant, was the dishonesty, which went on for most of our 16-month relationship. I put up with lies from my ex-husband for far too long, and I sure wasn’t about to put up with it again. First, he was dishonest about talking to other girls on Facebook {I knew for a fact that he had, on at least a few occasions}. Then he was dishonest about the Christmas gifts that supposedly got lost at the airport and arrived a month or more after Christmas.

He was supposed to come up for my birthday in July, but suddenly said he had to work. I don’t know of anyone who is able to cancel an airline reservation with such short notice and get any money back, but he claimed to do both. He said he had a gift and a card for my birthday, but even after he knew he wasn’t coming, he never put anything in the mail for me. I would have been happy with just a card, but nothing ever showed up. I was not in a great mood for most of my birthday because of it. I brought up the gifts he supposedly bought several times, but he never put anything in the mail. He claimed that the gift was still in his suitcase and that he’d bring it on his next visit. He did end up coming to visit over Labor Day weekend, and even though I knew it sounded petty and childish, I asked about the gift. He said he ended up bringing a different suitcase and forgot the gift. In my heart, I knew he was bullshitting me. I knew it was all lies.

On the last day of his visit, we stopped at the grocery store for a few things. When I was at the checkout, he said he wanted some pop and walked back to get it. I checked out and waited for him. As he approached the checkout, I saw that he had one or two greeting cards in his hand {I swear it looked like a yellow envelope and a hot pink one}. I didn’t say anything about it because he had bought cards once or twice for me before and left them in my room when he left. But after he left, I never saw any cards. I asked him about it, and he said he had hidden it {suddenly now it’s just one card?} and wanted me to find it. I looked EVERYWHERE for that friggin card… nothing. I asked him about it again, and he said that if I didn’t find it soon, he’d tell me where it was. I had this feeling there was no card in my house and told him as much. He insisted that there was one. After another week or so, I asked him to please just tell me where it was because it was driving me crazy. And he said he couldn’t remember where he had left it. My heart sank.

There was also the issue of him never going public about our relationship. He had a million reasons why he felt justified in keeping it private {or secret}, but it just felt to me like he wasn’t willing to publicly give up his bachelor card. At one point, he actually changed his Facebook status to “In a Relationship,” but he never specifically said it was with me.

This guy, this asshole, who claimed to be so in love with me and wanted to marry me, was doing nothing but stringing me along, feeding me lie after lie after lie, and I was overlooking it. I would hear myself telling these things to my friends and realized how outlandish it all sounded. I knew that if any of my friends told me the same things about guys they were seeing, I’d be thinking they were being played. So why was I putting up with it myself? No more.

I could feel myself becoming more and more distant, and I knew this just wasn’t going to work out. I think the final straw was when he went through some serious personal drama. His kids were removed from his ex-wife and put in foster care because his daughter had a {single, not plural} bruise from an argument with her brother. Michael was forced to move into a larger place, take a psych eval, and have supervised visits, even though he wasn’t even present when the incident occurred. It just all sounded extremely fishy to me. I wondered if there had been previous incidents because removing the kids to foster care over one bruise seemed so extreme.

He told me that on one occasion when he and his ex-wife were meeting with a counselor about getting the kids back, she wouldn’t shut up and kept running her mouth. He kicked her under the table to get her to be quiet. On another occasion, he was the one getting all fired up, and she tapped his hand to calm him down. That sure didn’t sound like the behavior of a divorced couple. Red flags were popping up all over. He said one day that he had called her to tell her off because he blamed her for all that was going on. I asked what her response was and he said she looked like she had been slapped. Looked. I asked if he had seen her in person since he said that, and he said that it was just a figure of speech, that he meant she had sounded that way. How do you sound like you look like you just got slapped??? The following day, he said he actually went over to her house to tell her off again.  I suspected that he was only saying that to cover his tracks about the previous conversation that had supposedly happened on the phone. I had heard enough. I flat out told him I didn’t believe him and raised all kinds of questions I had about the whole ordeal. He swore he wasn’t involved with her and that he really was divorced but I wasn’t buying it. Things were definitely coming to a head.

I finally ended things once and for all, telling him not to call me because I had nothing left to say. He has tried to call and text a few times, professing his love and saying he misses me. I haven’t responded. He even went so far as to say he had posted a few things intended for me on his Facebook page. Really? I dump you and unfriend you and NOW you want to post stuff for me?? Too little too late. It’s done. It needed to be done months ago, but I finally saw him for what he was — a slippery snake whom I could NEVER trust. Good riddance.

 

Worth Fighting For

Back in January, I ended things with Michael. I felt strong and empowered and sure of what I wanted and needed. I ended things, or so I thought.

His initial response was about what I expected. He was angry and hurt and didn’t understand where all of this was coming from. I blocked his number on my phone and removed myself from his Facebook. As far as I was concerned, this chapter was closed. What happened next, I did not see coming. After a few days of me barely responding to his e-mails, except to reiterate and justify my feelings, his tone changed. He began telling me how much he loved me and that he didn’t want to lose me. He went back to the beginning of our relationship and mentioned reasons why he had fallen in love with me in the first place.

At first, I was prickly. I stood my ground and wouldn’t let his sweet words break me down. I couldn’t figure out why he was so persistent and why he was wasting his time on what I thought was a lost cause. After a week or two, I read one of his e-mails, and something suddenly occurred to me. Michael was fighting for me. This man, who wasn’t getting much hope from my responses, wasn’t giving up on me, or on us. In my life, I’ve never had a man fight for me before. I was married for close to 20 years, and the only time my ex-husband did anything even remotely like fighting for me was when it was way past the point of no return. When he suddenly realized how much our marriage had deteriorated, it was too late. I had nothing left to give. I felt nothing anymore. Yet, here was Michael, a man I’ve known less than a year, texting me and e-mailing me every day. He was still calling and leaving voicemails, even though I still had his number blocked. This man loved me enough to fight for me. The walls began to crumble.

I unblocked his number and we started talking. We hashed out much of what had been bothering me and began to reconnect. Things haven’t been perfect, but I feel like we gained some kind of understanding through it all. We’re still not on each other’s Facebook, and that is still a sticking point, but we’re a work in progress.

He’s been amazingly sweet in the past few months. One night shortly after we started talking again, he surprised me by having 4 orders of chocolate lava cakes delivered to my house from the local Domino’s. He eventually did send a box full of Christmas gifts for my daughter and me. In February, he was told by flowers.com that there was no way to guarantee that anything could be delivered to me on Valentine’s Day, so he called directly to a flower shop near my house and made sure I would get flowers that day. And earlier this month, he knew money was tight for me and surprised me by wiring money to help get my daughter’s glasses, which I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford for a few paychecks. But it’s not all material things that have melted my heart. When I doubt myself, he shows me all the ways that he sees me as an amazing mom and a beautiful woman. He’s quick to list all the things I do, showing me that maybe I need to give myself more credit sometimes. Above all, he makes me feel loved every single day. No man has ever done that for me before.

You might think I’m an idiot for giving him another chance, and who knows if things will ultimately work out between us. But I think there’s something to be said for his actions. He could have easily said, “Screw it, there are other fish in the sea,” and deleted my number. He didn’t give up on me, and that means something to me. For the first time, I see myself as someone worth the trouble and I don’t feel so alone. He knows I’ve been through some things relationship-wise, and he’s understanding and patient. The distance is still an issue, but he’s coming back to visit in a couple of weeks, so hopefully we can make up for lost time, since his last visit was kind of a bust. He saw me at my absolute worst when I was sick, but he’s still here. That means something. For now, we’re taking baby steps, and I guess all we can do is see where it goes…

Letting Go

“I believe it’s time for me to fly…”
~REO Speedwagon

I officially ended things with Michael yesterday. Things just weren’t working, and the relationship wasn’t making me happy. I was feeling more and more distant from him, and part of me wasn’t really interested in reviving things. I told him I was feeling very distant from him, and he said hopefully we could reconnect when he came back to visit {he was due to arrive right after Christmas}. I wasn’t so sure, but I figured it was worth a shot.

The day he arrived, he said that one of his suitcases hadn’t made it and that we’d have to come back for it {the airport is an hour from my house}. He said the Christmas gifts he had bought for my daughter and me were in the lost suitcase. The first night was fine…we fooled around, and I had to admit it was nice to see him again. The next day, he wasn’t feeling very well. I knew he was a little under the weather before he came to visit, but he insisted he was ok for the trip. He said he had called the airport and that his suitcase still hadn’t arrived. I didn’t worry too much about it at the time. On the third day, I started to not feel so good, either. I assumed it was just a cold or a sinus infection, but it started getting worse. We were both cold all the time and exhausted. The rest of his visit pretty much consisted of us laying around and sleeping under piles of blankets.

Ringing in the new year is usually something I look forward to. I always buy a bunch of Elvis food and my daughter & I watch the ball drop, toast with sparkling cider, and shoot the poppers all over the living room. This year, however, I could barely drag myself out of bed to watch the ball drop. But we listlessly rang in the new year, had a few sips of cider, and went back to bed. What a drag! On New Year’s Day, he was scheduled to fly home in the afternoon. I was so sick and exhausted that I didn’t feel like I was ok to drive the hour there and back in a blizzard to drop him off. He finally {thankfully!} called a cab and paid $98 to get to the airport while I spent the day sleeping on the couch. Incidentally, his suitcase never did make it, so he flew home without it, assuming it would eventually reach him. After he got home, he said it had finally caught up with him and that he would mail our Christmas presents in a day or two.

After he left, I barely heard from him at first. I knew he still wasn’t feeling great, so I dismissed it. After a week or so, I mentioned something about how he must have other priorities since I wasn’t really hearing from him much. Suddenly he started pouring it on really thick, calling me “honey baby” and “my sweet” and leaving me voicemails about how wonderful I am. It seemed almost contrived, like he had rehearsed what he wanted to say, and I wasn’t really sure how to respond. I wondered if he was busy talking to anyone else since he hadn’t really been talking to me for all that time.

Two weeks passed, and there was no mention at all of the Christmas presents. Now, I’m not one to have a fit about something like that, but I really started to wonder if there were ever any presents in the first place. I had never heard him talk on the phone about the suitcase to anyone at the airport myself. It was always him saying he had finally reached someone when I was in the shower or not in the room. I really did a lot of thinking about the relationship, and it wasn’t sitting well with me. I thought about the time, a few months ago, when I said something that upset him. He had talked about wanting to marry me before, and said, “Well, that’s real nice. Tomorrow I was going to go pick out your ring, and here you are thinking blah blah blah…” {again with the shaming}. There was never any mention of a ring again after that, and I never brought it up. I thought about how he flat out refused to acknowledge our relationship on Facebook, despite professing his love for me and saying he wanted to marry me. I thought about how he got so defensive about unhiding his friends list. I thought about a lot of things that had really been bothering me, all of which I had discussed with him multiple times, to no avail.

I realized this relationship was doing the opposite of making me happy. I realized that it didn’t feel so good to be involved with someone who insisted on keeping me a secret, despite knowing how much it hurt my feelings. So I wrote him a long e-mail explaining how I had been feeling, and basically ending things with him. I removed myself from his friends list {and told him so} and basically said that I couldn’t do this anymore.

When he read the e-mail a few hours later, he had a fit. He acted like this came out of left field, like this was the first time he was hearing any of it. He didn’t like that I didn’t answer when he tried to call. He chose certain parts of my e-mail to respond to, and completely ignored other parts. He said that couples talk things through, they don’t just send e-mails and disappear. I couldn’t believe what a prick he was about it. He pretty much turned the whole thing around to be my fault. I responded to his e-mail and again brought up certain things, reminding him that we had, in fact discussed them before and that he had totally disregarded my feelings. Again, he ignored certain topics {namely, anything having to do with Facebook} and attempted to lay a serious guilt trip on me. Interestingly enough, when I woke up this morning, I was in a great mood, as if a huge load had been lifted from my shoulders. I think that speaks volumes.

here we go again...

I admit, sending him an e-mail might have been the cowardly way to handle things, but to be honest, I’m much better at getting out what I want to say in writing rather than an actual conversation. There were no distractions and I was able to really think about what I wanted to say. As my friend Ace said, Michael didn’t like that I had taken control of the relationship from him and was having a tantrum. He didn’t like it one bit.

I just know that I can’t be in a relationship with someone I constantly have doubts about. I can’t be involved with someone who dismisses my feelings repeatedly. I was married far too long to someone who did that, and I won’t do it again. I told Michael I need a man who is proud to tell the world I’m his, who won’t insist on keeping me a secret. Apparently, Michael wasn’t that guy. Onward and upward.

Out, Damned Spot!

It’s been a while since I thought of him. I suppose I went through the stages of break up, not necessarily in the correct order: anger, sadness, more anger, apathy, rebound sex, acceptance. I admit, I truly thought things would be different with him. Despite our near-constant bickering, there seemed to be something underneath that held us together — chemistry, amazing make-up sex, or some kind of shared brokenness that we both understood.

When we split up, it was kind of a relief. Being with him had stopped bringing me much joy and I had stopped smiling when his name popped up on my phone. Sex had become less about physical love and more about his own enjoyment and release. I lost count of how many times I was left unsatisfied while he seemed blissfully oblivious. His carefully chosen words in his last few texts were like poison darts, hitting each mark and digging in under my skin like little barbs. But I never responded. As much as it stung to read those words and to know he was deliberately trying to hurt me, I knew my silence would hurt him just as much.

Occasionally, I’ll see something that reminds me of him and momentarily forget that we haven’t spoken since Valentine’s Day. When the new Thor movie came out {swoon} I felt a little melancholy because we’d both enjoyed watching all of the Marvel movies together. I knew he’d probably be going to see it as well, and I wondered if seeing that movie or the new trailer for Captain America made him think of me.

Sometimes I do wonder if he’s written me completely out of his memory banks or if I ever cross his mind at all anymore.

But I do know that thinking of him at all feels unwelcome, as if he snuck in and whispered hello in my ear before dashing away. His presence is not welcome in my thoughts anymore, and it annoys me that he still has a place there at all. In a way, I feel the same about any reminiscing about my ex-husband. There were some good times earlier on in our marriage, but as the years wore on, I felt like my face was becoming the way Bill Cosby described his wife’s face after they had children, saying that the corners of her mouth had drawn down into a permanent frown.

Only it was my marriage causing that face, not my child. I frowned for way too many years during my marriage, and I felt myself becoming much the same way in this relationship. It had stopped bringing me any kind of joy and it had to go.

So why, if this relationship made me miserable, would I waste a single thought on this man-child? No, I don’t want him back. And if he were to come looking for another chance, he wouldn’t get it. Maybe because, as with my marriage, I was deeply hurt by someone I never would have thought would hurt me. I guess, like anything, it takes time to heal — especially with emotional scars. It takes time for those thoughts to fade and find their proper place in my distant memory. Until then, I’ll mentally scrub and scrub like Lady MacBeth in hopes that one day they’ll finally be gone.