Friday, May 20, 2011

"Might as well be engaged?"

I wouldn't say we're at an awkward stage in our relationship, but it is a bit of a limbo. Alan and I have been together a year & 5 months now, been living together officially for 5 months, unofficially for about 7. We're very close, comfortable, and spend a lot more time than I realize together. We talk all the time, including about the future. We're not uncomfortable talking about getting married, when we'd have kids, what we want, etc. We've even looked at rings. But we're not engaged yet. Alan's even said that he IS going to marry me.... but we're not there yet. I don't feel like saying we're dating is a proper term anymore, but we're not engaged either.

So why the wait?

Well a lot of this is his doing. Don't get me wrong, I'm in no hurry to move things too fast and mess it all up again. I love Alan and I'm willing to do what is necessary to make sure this all works out. But if Alan asked me tomorrow, you bet your ass I'd say yes.

But that's the thing, isn't it? I have been through this before. And Alan's such a great guy! But no matter how awesome he is, or we are as a couple, there's no race! I have to keep reminding myself that there's no hurry, there's no reason we have go get married tomorrow. Marriage is a lifelong commitment, and no matter how much I want it now, self restraint is a virtue I need to learn better anyways. I'm not saying that if we're still together in 3 years and there's still no ring I'm gonna keep waiting around (I really doubt that would happen, lol), but why the rush??? Maybe it's because I screwed up before, I feel like landing a good marriage faster will make up for it. Or maybe it's all my friends around me getting engaged and/or married and rushing into it so fast, I feel like I have to run faster to prove some kind of illogical point. Every time I see a couple that moves too fast when it comes to getting engaged or married. I cringe. I don't think ALL of them will fail, but it's not the wisest move either. So why am I not cringing at myself every time I think I want to be engaged ASAP?

We have the hardest time criticizing ourselves. We can make a million excuses why it's ok if we do the things we judge others for doing. Even with my life experience AND the fact that (as mentioned previously) I was pissy with the fact that X was engaged so quickly, I still want to barrel headfirst into something.

And I'm sure that this entry won't end my want for a proposal as soon as possible, and I'm sure I'll still hint and tease Alan about being engaged, but my rational self will chide my immature self, and Alan will just laugh affectionately and tell me to calm down and be patient. And I will. (For a little while at least.)

In the mean time, I'll still be wondering and waiting to see what he has planned. Because I know Alan, and I know he's making some kind of plan. <3

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Last night I had a dream about X. It wasn't even a bad dream. For some reason Alan & I had to go see him to get more of my things. And X was incredibly polite and nice about it. He smiled a lot and acted almost as if he was happy to see me. Upon waking up I was somewhat irked by this since he was such an ass about everything in real life. But he seemed genuinely happy that I was getting my things, that I was with Alan. I don't remember a lot of the details anymore, but I just remember waking up and being kind of annoyed. I'm not sure why, but having that kind of dream bothers me.

Perhaps this dream was triggered by the alcohol I'd had the night before around the bonfire, or maybe it's because I had mentioned him to some friends who (I guess?) are still friends with him. Or who knows why. But I sometimes hate the fact that he still has any place in my subconscious. Every once in a while a dream pops in. I don't think it "means" anything, just that my brain must still be organizing information about him. Or maybe it's the new info that I hear or create based on situations.

Pretty sure my subconscious is trying to tell me he's not an all bad guy.
And I'm pretty sure I know that he isn't.

Just acted like a super shitty guy to get rid of me.

It's hard to say "Well I don't really give a shit." When I heard he's getting remarried (to the girl he left me for), someone told me I shouldn't care, what's it matter to me? Even though I've moved on and have no desire to ever even talk to him again, it doesn't mean he doesn't have some piece of me I can't recover. Hearing that he was engaged, not even 2 years after he left me, well it stings. It shows a complete lack of respect for what we had, but obviously I don't have the full story. Or something. I guess? I know, sure, I'm talking about getting married and such, so maybe I'm a hypocrite? I don't know, I really don't. I don't have all the answers for the petty jealousy and irritation he causes me, but I'm pretty sure all these feelings are valid. I have moved on, and I'm happier than I ever was with him, but he was still someone that I gave myself to completely. So the feelings I have? Probably pretty normal.

This entry kind of rambled. I suppose that's what happens at 3 AM, ha ha. :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Starting over

When I moved back home, and settled into my new place (which, amusingly, was also my old place!) with my best friend, I began to decide what to do, where to go from there. My best friend had just gotten out of a long-term relationship that had started (and ended) just a month before mine. (Weird how all that stuff works out, eh?) So she & I were in much the same place. What now? Almost immediately after my return, we decided that we needed to move in together. Being unemployed (but making enough on unemployment I figured we could find something) we began to search, and my dad offered up the house I grew up in. While we couldn't afford it, they said it was better than no renters and we could try & find someone else before the end of the summer. We were so excited about the idea of living together in my childhood home, we moved in that very weekend, only 2 weeks after I had returned to my hometown. The electricity wasn't even on yet, but we didn't care. We used the light of lanterns and candles and used matches to light the gas stove for the first couple days until our power came on. And it was awesome.

So then I was faced with what I wanted to do next. I was looking for a job (as part of my requirement for being on unemployment), full time, but there wasn't much turning up. I was spending my days lazing on the Internet, playing with my and my roommate's dolls, and just taking things as they came. I had started seeing someone (to my surprise as much as anyone else's) and it was a good summer fling. Reminded me how much there was to love about me and how wonderful being TRULY close to someone really is. And somewhere in there it struck me. Go back to school!

I had dropped out after one semester to move to Cinci and be with the X, and since I hadn't taken courses anywhere else, I just decided to pick up where I left off. All I had to do was "reenroll" which was a simple click of the mouse, and fill out my FAFSA, and here I was. Almost literally right where I was before I left. School began to be the thing I was looking forward to the most about being home, and now as I wrap up my sophomore year, I feel like this was justified. I feel like I'm actually doing something for myself, something to take care of me. If things with Alan don't work out, so what? I'm going to have a college degree and be able to support myself. And I'm going to use it to have a job that I'll enjoy (hopefully, lol) instead of just taking a job because I need one. I'm taking charge, and that's a first.

How do you start over?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Crying "Wedding!!"

"The tale concerns a shepherd boy who tricks nearby villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking his flock. He repeats this so many times that when the sheep are actually confronted by a wolf, the villagers do not believe his cries for help and the flock is destroyed."
From Wikipedia on "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."

Sure. It's not a perfect analogy. I've only been married once, and those who are close to me know I'm not going to be some "repeat offender." But the stigma is still there in my head. I can't stop the list that runs through my head when it comes to this in conversation.

And what happens when I do finally get married again someday.
I know better than most that plans can change in an instant. I love Alan, and while I'm pretty sure we're going to get married, I'm not banking on it. I always remind myself that we're not engaged and not to jump the gun. But it doesn't stop me from thinking about it, and I do know that someday I will get married again, whether or not that's to Alan. And then I'm going to have to walk on eggshells about that wedding, making sure it doesn't call back images of my last wedding. And will people even come? I've already asked them to do this once, and it's supposed to be a once in a lifetime thing, why would they come again???

I know, as a rational adult, that this is silly. That the people who matter won't care, and the people who care don't matter. But I still worry about all these things. Especially when I remember how so many people went out of their way to attend, help with, or contribute to my first wedding. I feel like I couldn't possibly ask that of people again. My best friend isn't supposed to be my MOH twice. That's weird. And I'm pretty sure that I'll be asking several other people that were in my wedding to be in one again when I remarry. But I already asked them to put in that money and time once before, I'd feel so guilty asking them again.

And how do I plan a wedding just a beautiful and fun without using any of the ideas I had before? I put so much work into that, and I really don't want to ask my parents to contribute to yet another wedding. I'm not their only child, and they've already done so much for me. And I doubt Alan's parents would want to, it's not customary for the groom's family to contribute, especially if the bride's family isn't either....

And what's the worst part of all this? I know how ridiculous this all sounds! I bet if I asked my parents, they would offer to help. Maybe not in the same way or amount as they did before, but they would do what they can. And I bet Alan's family would too. They're very close, and they don't have any daughters anyways. But here I am mentally running down this list of things that mean next to nothing because I'm jumping way ahead of myself.

But I can't shake this stigma of myself as someone who cried wolf, and now I'm gonna cry it again, but I swear! I really mean it THIS TIME!!! .... It all sounds so sad and desperate in my head.

I keep walking tall and holding my head up. I don't let these things bother me for too long, and I always reassure myself that these things are just insecurities. But it doesn't stop them from forming.


Before I started this blog, I went around googling a couple things to see if there was already a good blog like this, both to look for examples and make sure I wasn't treading on anyone's toes. I didn't find a ton, but one I found referred to the kind of relationship I had as a "mini-marriage."

I was actually kind of insulted by this. As someone who went through it too, I'm sure the author didn't mean it to offend, but it still did. She also said they used to be referred to as "starter marriages." For some reason this didn't offend me quite as much, but still not a term I like. Probably because both treat it as if it wasn't a "real" marriage, so it needed to be given a different name.

The kinds of relationships they are referring to is a marriage that starts when the couple is relatively young, doesn't last more than a couple years (or less) and there are no children as a result of the relationship.

Ok, my relationship fits into that criteria, but I still don't feel like either of those terms are an accurate description. A "starter" marriage insinuates that it was just for practice. Both of these terms seem to trivialize how monumental the emotions were going into it. I didn't take my decision to marry lightly, in fact I had nightmares that I was making the wrong decision. And yes, it was the wrong decision. But it still doesn't mean I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I was gravely serious in my decision making. It's wasn't a "mini" marriage, it was a real marriage. We (I use this term lightly, I really can't tell you how X felt or what he thought, as I mentioned in the previous entry that I honestly believe I didn't know him at all after the way he acted at the end) were in this for the long haul, we had made plans for our future and were doing things to move towards that plan. We had talked about when we wanted to have kids, how we wanted to raise them, what kind of school we'd like them to go to. We (often disagreeably) talked about our future, and we seemed to have a real plan. We'd been together 2 1/2 years when we got married, and we had been friends for years before that. We didn't just... up & get married impulsively like I see a lot of my peers doing.

So no, I don't appreciate these kinds of terms. It was a marriage. Plain and simple. It was short, and it didn't produce any children, but that doesn't make it any less a marriage than one that ends 20 years from the wedding WITH kids. I'm thankful that it didn't involve any children, but marriage isn't about children. Children happen with or without marriage. Marriage is about making a public commitment, and divorce is about giving that up. I got married, I had a wedding, and I failed at having a successful marriage. All these feelings are just as valid as any other divorcee, no matter the circumstances.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The "Shame"

So, theoretical readers (as it seems I have no outside visits to my site just yet) who share my past, I have a question for you. How do you deal with the "shame?" Or do you even feel ashamed?

While I will be the first to admit how much happier I am without my X, or how juvenile the whole relationship was, even back then, I knew on some levels, that I wasn't the happiest I could ever be. But back then, as I do now, I believed marriage is a choice.

Here's something people DON'T like to hear, but I'm going to say it anyways. Marriage isn't about love. Yes, you want to marry someone you love, and who loves you back, with all their heart. And yes, you want to marry someone who makes your pulse race, who turns you on. But that's not what marriage is about. Marriage is a choice. Marriage is saying "I am making the choice to be with this person, and to be honest and true to each other." Love comes and goes. Even in marriage. My parents have been married..... aw crap, I'm awful at this. I can barely remember how old my parents are, much less how long they've been married, but I'm pretty sure they were married 3 years when I was born?? So... almost 30 years now. And they are very different, and in all honesty, I never quite understood them being together. At one time, my dad even admitted to me that he & my mom had "long periods where they didn't really communicate." But he told me that they worked through it. And it's this example that I grew up with. My parents love each other very much, but I think that more than "being in love," they decided "This is the person I am choosing to make my life with. It might not be the best match ever, but I am making this choice."

Marriage is about making the decision to build your life, your future, and your family with someone. Hopefully you marry the one you love, but honestly? You don't have to in order to have a successful marriage. Marriage is an arrangement between two people. And as long as both of you agree to and act in accordance with each other's wishes, it is a successful marriage.

I remember asking my mom once when I was in Jr High, how she knew Dad was "the one." She simply said "I'm not. I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow." Choice.

So I knew going in to my marriage that perhaps he wasn't my perfect match. But I knew I was committed to him and that I was going to work hard and make my life with him.

He thought I was going to change into someone else after the wedding. As if somehow that would magically make me into someone else??? He knew all of my flaws, all of my problems, and I knew all of his. I had accepted them, they're part of who he is/was, and why I loved him.

So when he left me, it's because I didn't magically change. And after he told me he wanted the divorce, he finally let down whatever wall he'd been hiding behind for the 3 1/2 years we'd been together & revealed to me that he was a completely different person. That he didn't love me at all, but loved some imaginary girl he thought I was.

And I was ashamed that I had let myself be fooled into it. I'm not going to claim I was some perfect mate. But the problems I caused, the problems I had, they'd been there through the entirety of our relationship, these weren't new to him. And now, because of his misconceptions of what marriage is and what it meant for our relationship, I was now forced to be part of a statistic. I'm now included in the number of failed marriages. I'm part of that "50% of marriages end in divorce." I KNEW what I was getting myself into, why was I forced to wear this albatross around my neck??? I didn't give up, he did, and yet I am unable to get out of that label.

When I moved back home and began to reestablish my life, my mom told me that I had to inform my grandfather. My grandpa is old fashioned. He's a worrier, and he's also a guilter. He doesn't do it on purpose, he really just wants what's best, but he's kind of awful at conveying that.

So when I called him to tell him, I had to listen to 20 minutes of "can't you change his mind?" and "you're not trying hard enough," and "First Sandy, then Frank, then Sally and now you*," (referring to aunts & my uncle who have all been divorced, as if that has something to do with my divorce) all while I tried to explain that I did everything I could.

So how do I deal with that guilt? My best friend has assured me that it's not my fault. The divorce was all X's decision. I've often said "If he had given me more than 10 months, maybe a few years and we still couldn't work it out, I would have given up too. We could have just both looked at our marriage & been like, ok, this isn't working. We've tried everything. Time to call it quits." But instead he never even gave it a real chance to get out of that first, rough, year. And anytime someone says "I didn't know you were married once!" I tell them how short it was, and I feel like a failure. I'm not so ashamed that I avoid it in conversation, but it still stings. I think I deal with it by telling people about it. They ask about the tattoo on my wrist (X's wedding gift to me), and I tell them. And I answer their questions. Usually they reassure me that it wasn't my fault, and those reassurances are what helps me.

But how do you deal? How should one deal?

*Not actually my relatives' names.