Dork-o-Rama: The Random Thoughts of a Total Goofball

Embracing the Dork Side....Because Life is Too Short to Take Yourself Too Seriously

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Mistakes, I've made a few...

....and today, I can't help but think about one of the biggest.

This would have been my 15th wedding anniversary.
(Hey, that thing on my head was the height of wedding fashion in 1990. The perm was not.)

I was smitten from the moment we met, nine years earlier. It was the start of my senior year of high school. He was a junior, and we were both on the high school newspaper staff.
A few weeks after we met, he told me he had a big crush on me. I said something dead clever (natch) like "the feeling's mutual, " and then proceeded to gracefully (as always) knock over my Coke. (We were at McDonald's. Special, no? Hey... we were in the 'burbs of San Diego, in the early '80s. It's not like we had any hip coffeehouses around.)
So you'd think we'd have started dating then, right?

We spent the rest of the school year engaged in this baffling back-and-forth dance that I would not understand until many years later. We became good friends, he was my date for prom and for grad night...but we were not dating, though many assumed we were. He often acted like I was his girlfriend. But by the end of the school year, I'd given up and resigned myself to the fact that I was in love with someone who didn't feel the same way about me. That is, of course, when he told me he loved me.

So we dated for many years, even over many miles, when I moved to San Francisco to finish school. He ended up in the Bay Area a year later.
We were never one of those couples who were constantly together, joined at the hip. I never wanted to be one of those couples. And we always had conflicting schedules, so even if we'd WANTED to be one of those couples, we couldn't have been.

But as the years went by, we had less and less time together. And that got really old for me... but not so much for him. I was miserable. I was working crazy hours, had no social life, and never saw the person who was supposed to be my partner in life. And he didn't seem to care. When people would comment on how hard our conflicting schedules must be on us, he would always say, "Oh, it's not that bad." It felt like a knife in my heart, every time.

On top of that, he had me convinced that I was the source of all of our problems. I was expecting too much, I wanted too much, I should find some hobbies. (Isn't that a caring, compassionate thing to say to someone you love? You need a fucking hobby? You need a fucking heart, asshat.)
Now, I believe in that old saw about how no one can make you feel bad about yourself without your permission, and I believe that we are each responsible for our own happiness. But he was the last person on earth I thought would ever actively work to help me stay unhappy. It never even occurred to me that it would benefit him, to keep me distracted from what was really going on. I trusted him implicitly.

God, I remember one really awful New Year's Eve we spent together. We went to his company's holiday party, and he spent the entire evening taking photos of other party-goers to raise money for the company's employee association. Even his friends at our table started commenting on how long he'd been away. Later, he said he thought I'd be fine, since I knew his friends. I pointed out that even THEY were wondering what the hell he was doing. He accused me of making a scene (believe me, I wanted to.....) . Had it not been pouring cats and dogs, I would have walked out and driven the 50 miles home.

It wasn't until I got into therapy that I realized I wasn't crazy. It's not normal to spend just a few hours a week with your spouse. It's not normal to never sleep in the same bed (and I'm not talking about sex). It's not normal to cry yourself to sleep every Saturday night because you're still awake in the wee small hours of the morning, thanks to those crazy work hours, knowing you won't see your spouse for another week. Who doesn't care. It's not normal to be the very last priority on your spouse's list.

Even when his schedule changed, and we COULD have spent more time together, we didn't. That just wasn't a concern for him. So I started pushing for some answers. And I got one I wasn't expecting.

"I'm struggling with bisexuality." I'm guessing there's never a good time to hear those words from someone you've loved for 13 years, but it's especially hideous during a post-coital moment, when you are lying naked on top of him.

Thus began an intense period of therapy -- together and separately -- during which he told me his ideal scenario was to be able to stay married to me, but to have outside relationships with men. Uhhh, no. I don't remember taking THAT vow. So we finally separated for about six long months in 1996, then reconciled in the fall. I was thrilled. I'd missed him terribly. He'd been a huge part of my life for nearly half of my life, and I couldn't see living without him. He told me he felt the same way.

But he was still seeing the man he'd met and fallen in love with during the separation. I learned about that when I found a letter to his lover on our computer's hard drive. Turns out he'd come running back to me when things had started to go sour in THAT relationship. Man, I felt special. I was the consolation prize.

We finally split for good after three more agonizing months. It was ugly. UGLY. Ultimatums were issued. He continued to lie and lie and lie, even when I told him the one thing I needed from him was his honesty. The last "talk" we had was brutal, and I even tried to hit him. I'm not proud of that moment, but all I can say is I've never felt such rage in my life. The degree of betrayal I felt still shocks me. He was certainly not the person I fell in love with.

That was nearly nine years ago. And it feels like a lifetime ago. The whole relationship feels like it was another life. I haven't seen him since the morning after that hideous last talk, and as far as I know, he's living in Seattle with his partner.

We are not friends. I can't see being friends with someone who treated me the way he did, especially once it became clear what the real issues were between us. Do I really need that kind of crap from someone who claims to care about me, but does nothing but shit on me?

I know this much is true: my life now, even with all of its difficulties and disappoinments, is soooooo much better than it was when I was with him.
By far.
I never thought I'd be able to say that.

*but the wedding was lovely.

At 22 September, 2005 18:09, Blogger Queen of Cheese said...

Yes, it is so so true. To be alone is worlds, hell GALAXIES better than being lonely with another.
So much fun is ahead!!! hoooray!


At 22 September, 2005 21:14, Blogger Michael B said...

what an amazing post. i've got to read it a few more times. thinking, for you, good thoughts...

At 23 September, 2005 11:43, Blogger Angela said...

did you really post this at 7:02AM? you wasted NO time.'s a haiku:

how were you to know
he bats for the other team
they just don't switch teams


Post a Comment

<< Home