I was corresponding with a fellow blogger, @poeticjourney521.com about how it’s impossible to love someone else if you don’t love yourself. Sometimes the trauma of heartache leaves us on empty. We find ourselves void of emotion, including love, and mentally unhealthy. My new friend, @poeticjourney521.com is compiling a book on how different couples first met. I am excited for her and wish her the very best. Go follow her now. After our conversation, my creative juices began to flow.
The first time I fell out of love with myself, we hadn’t been married long and I found out he was cheating. In fact, I ended up with my first STD after only a month. He confessed to sleeping with someone two weeks before our wedding. We lived in his childhood family home. After the first month at my in-laws, he’d hide clothes in the bathroom closest. Get off work at 11 pm, go in the bathroom, speed dress and drive off before I could get up and greet him. His pager messages often told of his escapades from the night before.
I was completely and simply naive. From the start, he made me feel inadequate and alone but I honestly thought things would get better. The one thing I learned from my parents was that staying together in toxicity was nothing was worth leaving over. Small bits of happiness and infrequent smiles was enough. Inadvertently, I learned that loving him was more important than loving myself. I watched my wonderfully loving mother do it my whole life and if she could do it… I had no idea about her fears and that her love for us made her stay.
Devastating enough, my earliest memory of complete devastation and subsequent repetitive forgiveness occurred in the form of a phone call. I was working my way through nursing school as a carhop and drive-thru attendant at Sonic. He worked as a mental health worker at a mental health facility. He always spent weekends like a single man, going out with friends instead of spending time with me. One weekend, he fell off the face of the earth. I mean disappeared without a trace for days. As you can imagine, I was frantic, calling hospitals, his parents, friends, everybody, but no one had seen or heard from him.
At this time, we lived in a duplex facing the street. It had an open floor plan, meaning, no hallways. You walked from the living room into the first bedroom, through to the second and from there to an open kitchen with a side back door that led outside. My mom and oldest brother lived on one side and we lived on the other. His cousin, my sister, my mom and I were sitting around trying to figure out the next step to take. Because he was over 21 and had done this before, the police wouldn’t file a missing person report. So we waited.
Some time into the third day, my brother in law gets a phone call. He hung up the phone, told me that he is fine and tries to brush me off. Good thing is, the feature star 69 had just become popular. The investigator in me, along with the ‘oh hell no’ that surfaced picked up the phone and *69 the number. A female “hello” responded. I asked for him by name. She messed up and asked who was asking? I said, his wife!
She proceeded to tell me that he told her I was his ex-girlfriend who was stalking and abusing him. Needless to say, after our conversation, she slapped him and put him out. I found out they had been together for three months. I’ll never forget her name, Bobbie. She was a culinary arts major. This explained why my best friend told me she saw him with a girl in the mall that was dressed like she was a chef. Hat and all. I should’ve believed her.
I never thought that forgiving him then would be the beginning of 100s of times I would be devastated by him only to forgive him again. I don’t know if he had a sex addiction, was just a whore, just didn’t love me, didn’t love me enough to be faithful or loved me but didn’t care enough to not hurt me. But what I do know is that wasn’t the first time and wouldn’t be the last.
I wanted to ask him many times, does it not matter that you were my first everything? That no other man had ever touched me? Do you not think I’m special because you were my only? But his continued infidelity over the next nine years would answer those questions many times over. Even now over 15 years after our divorce in August of 2002, I have this innate need to know if he ever loved me?
Did I waste my entire young adult life, the best years of my life, on someone who never even loved me? These years led to the destruction of my entire world as I knew it. Had I left him after the first time I knew of, would I be a pediatric nurse now, neonatal nurse, a nurse practitioner or even a doctor? Would I have never gotten fibromyalgia if I had just given him his freedom or never married him, to begin with?
I loved him. Everyone could feel that from me. We used to have a bond so strong; a connection nobody could break. So I thought. But he chipped away at it every time he hurt me. He had this habit of giving me a single silk rose every time he broke my heart. By the end of about seven years of marriage, as we packed up one military house to move to another, I had an entire box of silk roses.
I looked at them one day and said to myself how many more before I say enough is enough? I must admit I did blame him for my sickness and for me losing everything I worked so hard to achieve. I blamed him for not being able to provide a normal life for our children. I was angry for a long time. Now I know we were too young and immature. Because of my sheltered upbringing, among other things, I was too naive. He wasn’t done messing around in the streets. I still have issues concerning our children because he walked out on my daughter when she was six weeks old. I don’t think I ever got over that.
We divorced when they were young because I didn’t want the hurt to begin to touch them. They were almost six and four years old. After our divorce, he chose not to see our kids for two years and still was not in their lives until they were 16 and 18 years old. My daughter married her first true love when she was 19, like myself. She had her mother, but sons need their father. My son never had his in his life. He is now 21 years old. I watch him continue to struggle with that every day.