When I was in my early 20’s and still trying to figure myself out, as well as members of the opposite sex, it wasn’t that difficult for me to determine when something wasn’t working and it was time to let the relationship go. Although I never felt guilty about it, I broke up with a boyfriend on New Year’s Eve day. I loved him, yes, but he was still a boy who had great potential as a man, but I wasn’t willing to waste years of my own life waiting for him to discover that. I needed to start the new year fresh and the only way I could do that was by letting him go. I felt bad that I hurt him. But I knew it was best for both of us.
The asshole who tortured me mentally and emotionally, holding me under his thumb by threatening to take the business away from me, leaving me penniless was harder. I tried several times to end it, but every instance was met with threats of poverty or promises of change in behavior. Nothing changed with his behavior and in the last six months of our being together, the volcano blew in my head and my bipolar mind exploded. For my own health and whatever sanity I had left, I had to get the fuck out of that situation as fast as I could. And I did, never looking back. Never regretting it. It was probably one of the best things I ever did for myself.
After my husband died, I dated a man, a co-worker, for two years. At first we kept the relationship under deep cover, not wanting the whispers and furtive glances we knew others would be throwing our way, whenever we were seen together. But he was a “come close, go away” man. Perhaps he was never comfortable with who he was, or who I was, and he kept me hidden from the other parts of his life (his daughters, his parents and even friends). It was a very difficult affair, a difficult time. He was the first person I had dated since losing my husband, and like an idiot I thought he would want me forever and I could grasp the quickly disappearing string of the happily ever after balloon that had drifted away after my husband died. Who knows why I put up with his shit for two years – I think it was because I needed to feel needed. I wanted to know I mattered, because left to my own devices, I was a time bomb of grief, drowning in bottles of wine. When he told me, shortly after our 2 year anniversary that he thought we should “slow things down” or perhaps it was “take a break”, I snapped and ended the relationship immediately. I wanted nothing to do with this ass that had robbed me of 2 years of giving him all I had. In that moment, I knew he had never deserved me, nor did he deserve any more of me. It shocked him, which pleased me immensely. I remember staring at myself in the mirror as I spoke to him on the phone, and smiling like the Cheshire cat as I gave him the blatant truth about what a dick he was and how I would never be available to him again.
It took me years to want to jump back on the relationship merry-go-round. And then I met my current partner, who has done so much for me. He has seen me through hell and back several times and yet he is still here. But is that good for him? For me? He has been here for 3 weeks and this is the complete opposite of what I expected his visit to be like. Stress from outside sources, the pressure he puts on himself, and the anger he is still carrying around from my falling back into drinking before he arrived have all been simmering. I don’t know when the tea kettle will blow its whistle, or one of us will turn down the burner and we will make it through this. His constant fathering, which I have mentioned, is driving me up the wall.
I do not have a good relationship with my father. In fact, right now, when I think of him, I feel bile rise to my throat and the anger begin to boil in my stomach. He is blocking the medical treatment my mother desperately needs to make her life comfortable. She is losing her memories – every day another thought is gone, another episode of our lives that I have always relied on her to remember has been lost. And he, the man she has been with for over 50 years, who should go to the ends of the earth to make sure she is getting the help she needs, is in deep denial with a healthy dose of anger and resentment added in. Ironic for a minister, no? Aren’t those all things a good religious man should be able to look beyond in order to focus on what is really important? If it were one of his flock, he would. But because it is family, he ignores it, he ignores her. All he cares about is the dog and his daily schedule. And since she is no longer able to take care of his needs, he is discounting hers.
But he has always been a selfish bastard. He told us all, when we were children, that the church and congregation came before our family and as appalling as that sounds, that is how he lived and how he treated us. So he does not have a fond place in my heart. I think that is why having my partner here, for this visit, has been so difficult. He could see I was a mess when I picked him up from the airport, and although I told him immediately what I was struggling with, the looks, the unspoken disappointment that I feel is too intense at times. I don’t want him to leave and yet, I wonder if this coming week, before he departs, will be any better.
Perhaps by serendipity I just came across this quote. (Thank you universe, Facebook and Bob, one of his favorite musicians):
“He’s not perfect. Your aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”
So I will try to step back. Hell knows I am an imperfect soul. I have taken him to Hades and back too many times to recall. And still, he is here telling me he misses me and to come home. And so I will. I will go home, where hopefully he will be waiting with open arms, and our afternoon can be blissfully spent the way it used to be, wrapped around one another, creating the culture of us.
© Sorrow & Kindness