Friday, November 11, 2011

"Don't ever get married."

You know what I think is funny? When middle-aged or older people tell me "Don't ever get married." "Don't do it, it's a mistake." "You'll regret it."

Just because you regret it doesn't mean I will.
I can't pretend I don't regret marrying X. But what I find funny is when people say these things to me and I tell them, "Oh, I'm divorced. But I'll marry again," the look on their face is almost worth carrying this disgusting title around. "There's no way, how old are you?" etc. are the kind of remarks I'm used to getting at this point.

I regret my marriage to X. But that doesn't mean every marriage ever after is going to suck. Humans have this fear that if one time means something bad, then it will EVERY TIME after. That's ridiculous. If we ACTUALLY believed that as humans, we would NEVER have sex. No one's first time was great, and if they tell you it was, they are LYING. It is awkward, sometimes painful, embarrassing, and weird. So if it was bad the first time, why do we do it again? Because somewhere we know it'll be better after some practice.

While I don't think anyone should have to deal with getting married more than once, as I find it an awful ordeal to go through, marriage does take practice. Perhaps I have a unique advantage going forward in my current relationship because I have some prior experience. My relationship with Alan is not at all like that I had with X, but I still know how to anticipate some of the changes marriage will bring should we ever reach that point. I also know how not to force and rush anything more than he is ready. I'll admit that is a harder task and I'm not great at it, but I'm certainly trying a lot harder than I did with X.

Regardless, I find it so sad when people try to "warn" me about marriage. Even with such a traumatic experience with my past marriage, I still have hope to marry again someday and truly be happy with my mate. Why? Because I know that the problems from my past marriage weren't due to being married. They were due to the fact that it was a bad relationship in the first place. With the fact that X was manipulating me the entire time to get what he wanted out of me. Marriage itself wasn't the problem.

I've always tried to stress to people that I don't think everyone needs to get married. I don't think it's for everyone. Like most everything else in life, it's a personal preference. It's sad that our society still thinks people have to be married to have happy, fulfilled lives, to have children, to live together, to have a home. Sometimes adding that extra burden of "responsibility" is enough to break and destroy otherwise happy and fulfilled relationships.

But I also don't think that marriage is "archaic." I remember many times feeling exasperated trying to explain to people that I think it's necessary that marriage is still a component of our society. I don't have to think something is necessary and think that everyone has to do it, those things do not go hand in hand. But I am tired of people poo pooing on my continued desire to marry, to have a wedding, to do all the stuff I want. It's not archaic. It's an old tradition, sure, but it's one that has persisted, both across time and generations as well as across cultures and societies. Sure it's not always defined the same way, but it's there in some form or another. And I think that makes it worth while. It's something I believe in, and nothing you can say will change my mind about marriage. I believe that standing up together in front of everyone to profess our commitment to making our family and future together is amazing and exhilarating, and I believe that it's beautiful. I believe everyone should have that choice also (that's my political interjection).

I'm sorry that your marriage ended, and I'm sorry if your divorce was long and drawn out, and if the kids are thrown in the middle of it. I'm sorry if your ex is an alcoholic who tries to turn your kids against you. I'm sorry your ex had an affair. But that doesn't mean every future potential will do the same to you, and it certainly doesn't mean every potential mate I ever meet will do that either.

Marriage makes things harder, make no mistakes my friends. It's not easy, but if you are truly committed to one another and your future together, it won't break you. It will be harder until you're used to it.

Just like when I got my car. X's car was a manual too, but the shift was really soft, as was the clutch. (JUST LIKE HE WAS IN BED OMG. BA DUM PSHHHH.) When we bought my car though, the clutch and shifter were much more resistant and strong. At first, my limbs were sore after a few days of driving it around. But in a few weeks, I realized I didn't notice it anymore, and I was starting to develop just a bit of muscle in those two limbs. Marriage will be much the same. It IS different than living together and dating, I assure you. You might think "Oh nothing will change," but everything does change. But just like learning my new car, it eventually gets a little more familiar. Maybe not easier, but you know you can handle the load. That period of adjustment is what X never made it through. He always was way too lazy, if something was too much work, he didn't want to do it. So he gave up. But please, dear readers (all 5 of you), don't give up. Once you have committed to each other, stick it out. Sure, we all make mistakes and sometimes, no matter what, you just can't make it work.... but at least wait longer than 10 months. Wait until you've gone through that adjustment period. Get help. See a counselor. Really commit. Marriage is hard, but it is totally worth it. I've never seen the other side of that period personally, but I cannot wait until I do.

P.S. Guys, I know you're out there reading this, my stats show I have hits and readers.... post some comments! Ask me questions! Share your experiences or just tell me how flipping awesome I am! I know you're out there reading, but it means so much to me when I hear back. :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's So Hard to Breathe

I don't want this blog to suddenly become a chronicle of complaints and stories about how awful X was to me. I'm biased, I can't possible see things objectively enough to post things and not expect that eventually he'll see them and I have to deal with some sort of backlash, some accusation of hyperbole or slander or whatever.

But I am going to delve into a painful time for me. Because, while I know the internet is full of people who have been there, who have blogged about it, who have told the world these things, I haven't yet done so in the manner I am about to, and in keeping with the spirit of this blog, I want to. So you have been warned. This is not a pretty story.

I am, nowadays, a strong person. I am happy, I am loved, and I live my life very free from most worries.
This was not always the case. When X and I became engaged, things took a downturn. I'm not sure when. But when you put the ring on, you suddenly become terribly afraid of calling it off. Even when you start to realize that your "second thoughts" are more than just jitters. You start to realize this isn't a good idea. You then begin to argue with yourself, constantly rationalizing why you are going to marry them. And you rationalize why you're so sick to your stomach about it. And when you can't do that anymore you begin to tell yourself "What will everyone think if I call this off? Does that mean we have to break up? I'm not sure if I want that exactly. What about the gifts we've already been given, where will I live? I can't afford to live on my own. Maybe I can. I don't know, this is too much, I have no good reason to call this off. I'm just being silly. He's not that bad to me, I can tell he... loves me. Right? Everyone else seems to think this is a good idea. Everyone else is always right. I'm too much of a spaz to make this kind of decision on my own. ....." And on and on, as you can see. It didn't help that I had other friends at the time in really awful relationships that made mine look amazing by comparison, so I rationalized that really, I had it good. "So what if he spends most of his time ignoring me on the computer? He doesn't beat me! So what if he calls me fat all the time, at least he still has sex with me. And I know he isn't cheating on me because he's never anywhere besides work and his computer. I have to drag him out of the house any other time!"

As you can tell, this pattern of thought just eats away at your ability to see things for what they really are. And worse, somehow I became dependent on him. I couldn't do anything without him. After we were married, I had friends invite me over to play some table top games. X decided he didn't want to go and insisted I should go by myself, and I cried and screamed for a half hour because I didn't want to go without him. I couldn't define myself without him anymore. So I didn't go. I sat at home, miserable, because I loved him.

Because I loved him? What a laugh.

And then he left me. After being treated so poorly, I let myself decay into such a feeble creature that I locked myself into a room for several days without eating. As I was in Seattle, I had 2 roommates who shared the basement of a house we were in. One of those roommates tried to run damage control by trying to talk X down from all this. The other was keeping his eye on me. After 3 or so days of laying in this stupefied state on an uncomfortable futon, curled up in my blanket cocoon hoping it would make everything go away, the second roommate came in and begged me to eat. He force fed me some soup. I eventually had to get up to take my car to a garage, I had bent a rim earlier in the day that X had called me to inform me of the end of our marriage, and my car only had a donut on it. So he followed me and after I dropped off my car, he drove me to the marriage counselor I had foolishly made an appointment with hoping X would do some kind of phone/web cam counseling but ended up having some excuse not to. Roommate later picked me up and drove me back to get my car. I then laid in bed for another day or two before finally getting onto a chat room that my Seattle local friends used and asking for help. Crying out and begging for monetary assistance, and someone to drive me home to Ohio. I felt like such a failure, I couldn't solve anything, I was wrecked. X had taken most of the money out of our shared account, and I didn't know what to do.

Thank gods for those people. I wish I thanked them more often, but such is life. If they ever read this blog, they know who they are. Many of them simply offered me emotional support, and some offered more. All of it went a long way. One of them did, in fact, make the drive with me. He saved me from imminent suicide because I don't think I could have made the drive across the country alone. I remember crying a good portion of that drive home.

When we finally arrived home, I tried to get into our apartment but could not find my key, and X was not very gracious about letting us in. My friend went to sleep, he had a flight to catch home in a few hours. I stayed awake, freaking out, while X went back to bed. I called a friend back in my hometown freaking out, not knowing what to do. She decided to drive down and try to talk some sense into X, she was friends with him too. She told me she was leaving right then, but that is a 4 hour drive, and I was freaking right then. I finally walked into his (our) room and started tearing up divorce papers he had printed up. I almost threw his printer against the wall. My insides churned and I was freaking out. He woke up and yelled at me, asking what I was doing. I really don't know what he expected me to do when he left me, if he just thought everything would be hunky dory. I flipped out. X had some kind of bizarre obsession with buying "cool" looking knives, and then hiding them around the apartment. He claimed it was so that if anyone ever broke in, he'd have a weapon. (Why a knife in a gun fight, I don't know. He wasn't really that bright.) So then I grabbed one out of it's hiding spot. He immediately figured out what was going on and wrestled me to the floor trying to grab it out of my hand. This is when my other side took over.

I wasn't trying to hurt him, by the way. I wasn't going to psychotically kill him in the heat of the moment.

I was going for myself. And he knew it. He'd seen this once before, the last time he broke my heart, but it had never been with something this dangerous, nor was I so out of my own body.

He tried to wrestle me, but he was.... a small guy. He was terribly out of shape because, as I mentioned, he spent all his time on a computer. I wasn't much better, but for all that fat he said I had, I also have a scary amount of persistence when I reach this state. Nothing deterred me when I was so psychotically depressed. At some point I did manage to get the knife into my leg and lucky for me that it was so sharp because the cut was clean. I made a long gash, just above my right knee. I'm still shocked to this day that the damage wasn't more than a small scar. At some point in this fight, the yelling started and woke up my friend.

My poor friend. He ran into that room and yelled at us. He screamed for us to stop, and chided us for being so fucking immature. It was at this moment I was shaken out of this state and realized what a complete idiot I was. I looked down at my gashed, bleeding leg, and passed out.

Passing out feels like carbonation.

Anyways, they tried to make a dressing for the wound as I was coming to, and the agreed I needed medical attention. At some point, they decided to take me to an immediate care clinic. Once there, I had to explain to the doctors and nurses what happened. I couldn't lie, it was too exact a cut. Either they would know I did it to myself or think X had done it. The doctor insisted I needed a psychiatric evaluation, and I had to lie and say I would go to the hospital after this, otherwise they would call an ambulance to take me away. I cried as X held my hand and they cleaned and stapled my wound. I watched X cry. He's not completely heartless. Two broken fucking people crying because they don't know what else to do.

My friend I had called earlier, arrived at some point after we arrived back at the apartment. X had left to take my friend to the airport, though both were uneasy about leaving me at home alone. But I needed to rest. I fell asleep in the living room until my friend arrived. She didn't know what to think when I told her what I had done, and she worried they might put me away if I got the psychiatric evaluation.

And then X arrived home.
He and my friend stepped outside to speak. She came back in and sat me down to say he was acting strange and she didn't know what to do. Then he came in and proceeded to tell me that if I did not get out, and move home with my parents, he would call the cops and have them take me to the psychiatric wing. Maybe I should have gone, maybe I should have just resigned to that.

But I didn't. I sat up. I knew what had happened earlier that morning was ridiculous and stupid. As soon as I snapped out of it I realized what I was doing wrong and what was wrong with me. And I argued with him for a bit before he just threw his hands up and said "I'm leaving. If you're not gone when I get back, I'm calling the police." I tearfully called my mom to explain what was up. When she heard what I had done, I can still hear her in my head, so dismayed and hurt, so confused and worried about me, she just said "Why would you do that?" and all I could tell her was "I don't know, but I know it was dumb." I told her I was coming home and she told me she wanted me home. My car was still packed from my cross country drive, and my friend and I headed out.

But first I needed gas. It had apparently been raining all morning, so it was a bit wet out. I stepped out of the car and began to pump my gas. I looked up at the gray sky and felt a bit hopeless. As the gas meter ticked away I started to ask myself "Why are you so in love with him? He doesn't give a shit about you. He'd rather you be in a psychiatric ward than deal with you as an adult. He'd rather leave you on the other side of the country than leave you to your face. He doesn't give a shit about how you feel, all he's ever cared about is himself. And you don't deserve any of the treatment he's given to you. You don't deserve to be treated like such a piece of dirt."

While I don't believe in cosmic signs or anything, it was as these thoughts cleared my head that I looked up and the sun broke through, and I shit you not, a rainbow appeared. I looked at it and said "Yeah. I can do this. I can live without him. I can start over. It's going to suck. I'm going to hate it for a while. But I can't be with him anymore."

I went home, and for the next couple weeks I still struggled with whether he would come to his senses or not. But I did come to mine and I chose to move on. I pushed myself forward and didn't look back. I don't miss him, I don't need him, and he certainly never deserved me. And it's so sad because he never even saw the real me because he was too busy pushing that girl into the mud to try & make me into someone he could control.

A few weeks after this incident, I was able to get my staples removed. The scar took its time healing that summer, and it's still there years later, but it's not too noticeable. I know it's there though, and it's a constant reminder to never ever let myself fall for someone who doesn't completely value and love the person I am right now. To never let myself fall so dependent on someone that I can't live without them.

Because love isn't about needing each other, it's about choosing each other, it's about choosing to make a life and a household together, which is honestly harder than choosing to live alone. Choosing to face the world and work as a team and make decisions as a team. Choice is what makes love so great. Not need.

I say all of this because I know it's hard. I know it hurts. It feels like there is no going forward. And I can't come and hug every single one of you out there in the blogosphere to tell you it's ok. But it is, it will be, and it can be. I know how painful it gets, the oppressive weight you feel. But it will lift, without that other person coming back to lift it. That person put it there for a reason. It's up to you to lift it yourself and say "Fuck your giant cartoonish 10-ton weight, you can keep it. I don't need you." I know you can do it. <3