I guess because we are the constant narrators as well as spectators of our own lives, we don’t often realize each and every experience that causes us to shift just a bit from the way we were before. But we all have at least one experience that we know for a fact, completely revised a certain part of our lives forever, and whether for the good or for the bad, we are helpless to return to our former self because of it.
My incident was so traumatizing, unexpected, and consistently horrible for so many months, I had no choice but notice how my reactions started to change. It’s hard to miss going from a constant state of weeping and gnashing of teeth to hitting the ignore button on your cell phone because your 6th favorite sitcom is playing a rerun you’ve only seen 12 times, and that takes precedence over the dumb ass who cheated on you.
Lately, I’ve had some things go on in my love life that I’m not going to expound on much, other than to say, I really am not the person I used to be. I believe it is in this area I can see just how much I’ve been revised. I write this for someone I care about, and I hope he understands the shattered condition my heart is in is what causes me to pull away, not him.
As a young woman, I seemed to instinctively believe that in order for my life to be worth something, I had to have someone love me. I don’t know that I bought into all the All You Need Is Love stuff, but I wanted to be loved, and I wanted to love someone back. Marriage, kids, white picket fence. I’m not at all a trusting person, so when my marriage made it all the way to 20 years, I was damn proud of beating the statistical odds that were stacked against me.
And then it fell to shit.
And I fell to pieces.
I remember I thought I loved my ex so much, my heart would be his prisoner forever. I wouldn’t let him go for months after he was living with the other woman. I would go see him every day, give him money, beg him to come back, and scream at him in pain.
It was the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life.
He would invade my dreams, and every waking moment was consumed by what he was doing, and who he was doing it with. I wanted him to somehow convince me all he had done was just a big mistake…an accident he had no control over. I’d try to make him talk to me, without really realizing, he’d done too much for me to excuse, and each and every one of them collapsed into hateful insults and bitter accusations.
It took me some time to accept what deep down my gut knew all along…there are no magical words that could make any of it even mildly okay, and even if those enchanted phrases really had existed, my husband would have sprinkled them on anyone else before he would me. I had become the unimpeachable reminder of everything he once had and had lost — homes, money, careers, children, clubs, friends, and stability. He hated what he had become, and because of his bitterness, he also hated me.
That is a very hard reality to accept, especially in an overly logical brain like mine. I wasn’t involved in any of the choices that cost him so much. It took almost two years of me trying to reason with him to finally accept, he wasn’t going to let himself face the truth. I stopped talking to him when I finally decided it was a waste of time and emotions. But there are lasting effects of his bitterness in my life.
Somehow, his misplaced hatred tainted every good thing I thought we’d had together. 20 years of memories are locked deep in my heart, sealed away, contaminated by how it all ended between us.
In order to cope, I have rejected memories from any of our times together when we were happy. I grieved deeply for the man I once loved, and waded through oceans of tears, only to emerge a very wounded person on the other side. I simply am not the same girl I once was. Whether that is a good thing or a bad, time will tell. It just is what it is.
I am over the break up, and have struck a rhythm in my life that is comfortably my own. I struggle financially, but then again, who doesn’t? I have grown close to my father, and now, my brother, and I work at a career that is completely new. I’m a writer now. I wasn’t when I was with my ex. My life is mine and no one in it now has the power to wreck it like before. That is where I’ve changed. I don’t know if love is worth the risk. It cost me a lot, and I don’t know if I have it in me to try again.
I write all of this so that you understand, it isn’t you…it’s me. I can’t go back. I might never be able to trust enough to make a solid relationship work again, and that is where my reluctance is coming in. I am fine with you moving on to someone else because I know how unbalanced anything with me will be for awhile, or maybe even, forever, and no one owes me that. I’m not a martyr, hoping for a prince to come rescue me. Instead, I’m not entirely sure there is room in my castle for a prince at all. I guess it all depends on what we are each hoping to get out of it.