Should’ve Known Better

My stubbornness isn’t news to me.  I’ve often joked that, “stubbornness is associated with my astrological sign, but I refuse to believe it.”  But it’s only in hindsight I can really see how strong my stubbornness is.  Sometimes stubborn is good – it can mean perseverance in difficult times which leads to triumph.  It can also mean a refusal to see what should be obvious.

None of these last few posts have been easy to write, but this one literally kept me awake at night because I knew I needed to write it, but I don’t really want to.  It’s 3 am and after being awake since midnight, I gave in and fired up the computer.

Several years ago, an old friend from high school stumbled upon my writing blog.  It was a crazy coincidence and we emailed periodically.  Things changed a couple years later when I started writing about the end of my marriage.  In particular, a poem about the drinking caught his attention.  He admitted that he, too, had been an alcoholic. He revealed more about his life that happened in the 23 years we weren’t in contact and I admired his honesty.  As I struggled with the decision of whether to end my marriage or continue the lie, he encouraged me to seek God for the answer.  This was always a struggle because God hates divorce, however, my marriage was destroying what little was left of me.

It wasn’t until after I filed for divorce that my friend revealed that “he cared for me more than the world says he should.”  I didn’t know what that meant.  He told me that in high school, he always went to the fast food place I worked at to see me.  I just thought he liked cheap food – I really had no idea.  He told me that he always liked my hair and my smile and when I laughed, it made him happy.  He graduated a year before me and went into the Army.  We wrote for a while (he still had the letters) but then drifted apart.  My senior year, I wrote a poem about him that was published in the school district literary magazine.  It was about feeling more than I should for my friend.

He lived across the country but I saw him in 2015 when he came to visit his parents.  We met for lunch,  I had hoped that seeing him would put an end to the crazy attachment I had for him.  He mentioned several times he was overweight, or his shape was round.  My ex had gained a lot of weight and I found it “gross”, so I figured when I saw my friend’s appearance, I would get past what I thought I felt.

I didn’t.  I saw him for the first time in 25 years and he hugged me.  My world was crumbling around me, but when he hugged me, I felt like I would be okay.  I felt safe.  I’d never felt like that before and I knew I loved him.  He said he’d never forgotten me all those years, and had called my parents’ house when he filed for divorce in 2000, but he thought my dad said I’d passed away several years ago.  My dad mumbles so I think he might’ve said he gave me away several years ago.  It was like my childhood fantasies were coming true – I was beautiful to him and he would rescue me.

There were several problems though.  The biggest:  he was still married.  He didn’t get divorced in 2000.  He said there was no chance for his marriage and it was “empty”.  I told him to keep praying for his marriage because God can work miracles.  I stopped contact with him several times – I really wanted him to work on his marriage because it would spare me the guilt over my feelings.  That didn’t happen.

In 2016, he applied for a job in Arizona with his company and he got it.  He would live about two hours away from me.  We went hiking a few times and met for lunch, and he helped with some things around my house that I couldn’t do myself.  I was bothered that he said his marriage was done but his wife was still moving with their high-school-age son (their daughter had already moved out).  However, I could understand he wanted to be near his son.  I couldn’t imagine living across the country from my child.

Things went too far last summer.  His wife knew and contacted me.  I avoided her.  I had no explanation and I knew I was wrong.  I thought that would finally get things out in the open, and bring about some honesty, but no.  They didn’t talk about it and are still married today.

I stopped contact with him again in February of this year.  Then I got a mother’s day card in the mail from him.  I was hurt/angry/shocked.  I ripped it to shreds.  The next day, I emailed him (I deleted his contact info but I remembered his email address.)  I told him that if it was him, I didn’t know why he would do that.  He did admit to sending the card but didn’t sign his name because he didn’t know how I would take it.  He said the more he tried to talk himself out of sending it, the more he felt he needed to, and he hoped I enjoyed the card.

Oh, he had no idea!

I told him that I knew there was no future for us and I hoped that he realized the same so he could stop being stubborn and stupid, and work on his marriage.  I told him I felt like he played me, took advantage of my vulnerability, and used me.  He had nothing to say.

This has been a painful lesson, but I’ve learned a lot from the experience.  I’m accepting that there is no one on this earth that can/will rescue me.  That was a foolish, childish dream.  As much as I wanted to share my life and grow old with someone who truly loved me in the way God intended for love to be, I am letting go of this idea so I can be focused instead on what God has planned for me.

If there is a silver lining in all of this, I would say that it has broken my stubbornness.  By removing every crutch, eliminating all chances of denial and forcing me to evaluate myself honestly, I can finally stop hiding and can let go of all these things that have burdened me.

Oh, and of course my parents don’t know about any of this either. My mom likes to tell the story of how my grandpa (her dad) used to pick on me as a child and get me riled up to argue.  My mom asked why he did that, and he told her ‘because it’s a tough world out there.  If she’s too nice, she’ll never survive.”  I hear this story almost every time we talk.  I know she likes it because it helps her remember her dad fondly.  While I can appreciate the love behind his actions, I’ve grown to dislike this story because it reaffirms the deep feeling that I was never right and needed to be “fixed” or changed from the very beginning.  I love my parents and I think they did the best they could, but I think there will always be a distance because of the disconnect between the daughter they wanted and the daughter they have.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

At least I’m not alone – my kitties are the bright spot in my life, and I’m thankful for that!

05-29 Lizzy
They love me…
05-29 Skye
and make me laugh! 🙂
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Author: findingmedaily43

I used to enjoy hiking and snapping pictures along the way. I used to have creative ideas jotted on pieces of paper stacked on my desk. I used to laugh and look forward to spending time with others. I used to write. A lot. Through this blog, I'm making an effort each day to find myself.

14 thoughts on “Should’ve Known Better”

  1. Yikes! It seems God has bigger plans for you than you do for yourself. After all, it was He who rescued you from what might have become a huge mistake. This post must have been awfully hard to write — I’ve long thought memoir would be one of the hardest genres to perfect. Yet you’ve done an admirable job laying out the facts without loading it up with too much emotion. I suppose, since kids don’t come with an instruction manual, that many parents are kind of feeling their way in the dark. I hope you can overcome the mistakes they made rearing you — and not repeat them on your kids.

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    1. I sure hope so. On the darkest days, my only hope is to believe life is more than what I see right now. Thank you, Debbie, for your kind words about the writing. There was so much more I could have included in all three of these very personal posts, but I tried to keep it in check…they were getting pretty long. I’m looking forward to writing something with more “fluff”… less tears 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s tough to find our way to ourselves once we’ve been lost. I don’t say “back” to ourselves, because the journey changes us. We are new people.

    I too have looked for a charming prince to rescue me. It definitely isn’t a good thing, but I think it’s more common than we realize and more common than many would like to admit. The right church home can help, but any church that tells you that you are responsible for people touching you inappropriately, or your husband being abusive, or you being preyed upon when vulnerable is NOT your church home. God gave you gifts to enrich the world and yourself. You were never meant to be a thing or a tool for others to use, oppress, or abuse. No one was.

    Sending *hugs* to you.

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    1. That is so true, momsomniac…. I am ever-changing with each experience. My eleven-year old asked me if I could go back to a certain time in my life, when would it be. I told him none of it – I’ve already been through those trials and I would rather experience what lies ahead.

      I do have a church home, but I struggle with being involved. I am an introvert by nature so it’s work to talk to people. In my pastor’s defense, he doesn’t know anything about my past… all he knows is that my ex scheduled a counseling session with him when I filed for divorce. What he saw was what my ex wanted to portray: a husband trying to save his marriage and family, and a wife with a ‘hardened heart that would cause trouble in the future’. The pastor didn’t know *why* I was angry and defensive and I didn’t explain because it wouldn’t matter. I’ve held myself responsible for all that has happened, and kept it inside to torture myself for the last 37 years.

      Thank you for you support and hugs… I appreciate it!

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      1. I feel like a good minister would know that an abusive relationship often manifests with an outwardly charming, dedicated abuser and an angry, defensive, withdrawn victim. This is common knowledge among those who help the abused. I’m sorry that didn’t happen for you. If you are “home”, you know and I wouldn’t argue with that. I have two very different experiences with churches – one loving as well as challenging me to be a better person and one in which I was treated…in a way best described as icky, in which I was encouraged to feel responsibile for and ashamed of things men did to me because I was a “woman” (at 10 apparently) and was therefore “marked” and a temptress because of Original Sin.

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      2. I do remember he asked about abuse… my ex didn’t hit me but was excessive physically with the kids and yelled/ cursed at all of us. He was arrested for domestic violence with a former girlfriend so he knew where lines were. I’m sorry you had the shaming experience at the one church. That kind of thing always disappoints me because we’re all sinners and should not be turned away.

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  3. “I’m accepting that there is no one on this earth that can/will rescue me.” is a wonderful realization. What amazes me with your ordeal is the extent the man went to to prey on you, taking advantage of you when you were most vulnerable. Moving himself across the country for an affair (he didn’t seem to have any intention of divorcing his wife), and uprooting and dragging his family along in the process, to me shows he is really self centered, and has a very twisted sense of reality. I wouldn’t have enough energy to drag myself across town for an affair, let along across country. I’m sorry that you had to go through all that after everything else you’ve been through. It sure makes it hard to have faith in humanity and take anyone at face value.

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    1. I hadn’t thought about it as preying on me, but I guess that’s what it was. I believed I was his “one and only” and all the other stuff he said. I don’t have faith in humanity and I have trust issues that I realize will keep me somewhat isolated, because there are walls that haven’t been there since I was a young child. But it’s necessary, because I don’t know if I could survive another betrayal. I’m not being dramatic here – I’ve prayed for death for most of my life and the only thing that drives my desire to be here is that my younger son needs me right now. I wouldn’t take my own life, but if I had a curable, but potentially deadly disease, I’m not sure that I’d opt for treatment. I know I must be here for a reason, and I’m learning patience as I go, as I wait to find out “why?” 🙂 Thanks for reading, Timothy, and offering your supportive comments.

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      1. Even though whatever you had wanted to be, and whatever you were supposed, got interrupted, you are now searching and I think you will discover something. But it doesn’t have to be big or earth shattering, as you work through the issue, piece yourself back together, just the witness of overcoming the horrible things people have done to you, and still being a beautiful person will help other people dealing with the similar issues.

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      2. I do hope that my experiences could help or encourage others. I’ve been so burdened and sad the last couple years I haven’t been looking outward but I feel like that is finally changing 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That sounds like a really hard journey, thank you for sharing it. Praying that God would guide and comfort you as you continue to process your emotions around this relationship.

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  5. You are too hard on yourself. You don’t need to be fixed and never did. The adults in your childhood were the ones who needed fixing and were too stuck in their own dysfunction to see the damage they did to others.
    Your recent posts must have been so difficult to write. Letting go of your burdens will make you stronger and life easier to live. And with time you will find the love you deserve, an equal and supportive loving relationship in which you can only blossom and grow.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting on these posts, Sarah Ann. Since writing them, I’ve felt a little lighter… a little more hopeful. I’ve also shared some of this with my best friend of over 20 years and found she can relate to some of it. I don’t see romantic love in my future, but I do want to be open enough to love as Jesus did and show compassion to others. Again, I thank you for your kind words and support.

      Liked by 1 person

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