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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

No More Chasing Pavements

September 3rd would have been my 17th wedding anniversary. Instead, it was the third year that it was just another day. This year, though, it was a reminder of something that no longer was. It was a reminder that I spent almost 15 years chasing pavements. Adele describes her song, Chasing Pavements, as “...being hopeful for a relationship that’s very much over. The sort of relationship you hate when you’re in it, but miss when you’re not.” [source: HMV.com]. That was my marriage. 



I married a guy who cheated on me a few times that I found out about and broke up with him because of, but always ended up back with him.  When I decided to marry him, I was convinced he would stop cheating. He never did. 

In 2001, about 6 months after we'd had our second child and it seemed our marriage was finally good, he told me he no longer loved me. Nine months later, he moved out. Even though being married to him left my always wanting more than what it ever was, I wanted him back. At the time, I thought it was because I loved him. Now, I believe my mom was right and I wanted him back because he left me, but also because we had a very co-dependent, needy relationship. We had this very symbiotic relationship where each of us feed off the needs of the other, but I also resented the way he didn't want to be responsible of the head of the house or any of those things I'd grown to believe he needed to be. He never wanted me to change, but hated that I was all those things he needed me to be--independent, the breadwinner, motivated/driven, successful, etc. During our time apart, I really got things straight in my life. I stopped resenting him for not being what I expected him to be. I apologized to people I'd hurt with my fixed and preconceived notions of who they should be and what I believed they deserved. I finally liked me.

Shortly after my birthday in 2002, I handed him the signed dissolution paperwork. I finally had peace over letting him go. I couldn't make him come back if he didn't want to nor did I want him back if he didn't want to come back. Soon after that, things shifted and it seemed we were moving toward getting back together. During that time, I got pregnant with Gabby. I called him the day after I found out after I had talked to my closest girlfriends who already had figured out I was pregnant even before I knew. 

I didn't want him to come back because I was pregnant, though. So, I told him I needed him to make a decision about what he was doing--are you in or are you out?--because I was ready to move on and was not going to keep playing this game with him. He got all excited and exclaimed, "You're pregnant, aren't you?!" I denied it and said I wanted an answer. He said he was coming over. DAMMIT! I don't want him back because I'm pregnant. All I was thinking was that I had gone through with our wedding because I was pregnant with our first child even though I had SERIOUS concerns. I didn't want a repeat. At the same time, I was freaking out about having three kids and being a single mom with a single income. When he came over he assured me he wanted to be back together. He started to move back in, but told me he had a service call he had to do that weekend. I thought it was bullshit, but he gave me the name of the company, a number to call and the whole thing. I never called. I should have, though.

For a while, he kept his other apartment as we waited for them to find someone else to rent it out. He'd disappear over there. He'd not turned off his internet or phone over there which I thought was weird. More excuses. Then, in November, he went hunting with his father in upstate NY. On the 19th, the phone rang in my office and the caller ID showed it was coming from his company. I went to answer it and no one was there. I thought all sorts of terrible thoughts. And then I didn't have to wonder anymore because the phone was ringing again. It was the woman I'd seen him with when I had visited his office a year ago on my way to an HDI meeting. The woman who'd left him a VM telling him she loved him and missed him when she was in Vegas and I got the message at three one morning when his phone went off. She told me that he had left her a dozen roses in her mailbox when he'd left for NY. That she new he'd already gotten two deer because he'd called her. She told me that the weekend he'd said he was away for a service call he was with her...

I went up to MW's office and closed all her blinds and balled my eyes out. I called Pierre and told him to get home unless he wanted to be divorced. He wanted to stay another day. I told him he certainly could, but he'd find his stuff on the porch if it wasn't important enough to leave right now. He denied everything. That was always the way it went. I told him not to call me during his trip. I didn't want to listen to him cry. I didn't think he deserved to cry. He got caught and that was why he was sad. I told him when I took him back that things had to change. And now I knew nothing was. When he arrived home we had it out. He told him that he'd prayed and he was going to be different. He told me that he didn't want to hurt her. What about me? Did he love her? No, he said. He'd never loved anyone but me. I think that was part of what hurt the most. I was the one he loved--the only one he ever loved--but I was always the one he betrayed. I was always the one who got the leftovers. The one he told the others lies about. The one who felt less than and worthless because I allowed myself to believe this was all I deserved. He was the only one for me. I was wrong. 


Gabby was born in May 2003. I wouldn't change that for the world. She is my angel and I cannot imagine my life without her in it. I cannot imagine my life without any of my kids. They are amazing! They are full of love. They are full of life. Their dad loves them more than I could have ever hoped. For 15 years, I built a life with a man who gave me three beautiful and amazing children who have enriched our lives and the world around them. Because of them, I have no regrets about marrying their dad and staying with him as long as I did. They have grown up and continue to grow up knowing they are loved and wanted by both of us. When I took them out of the equation, though, I realized that I allowed myself to have less than I deserved. Less than I was worth. I believed a lie. Many lies. I lived a life filled with secrets and lies. I chose that life because I didn't see my own worth. I believed that no one else could ever love me. I believed that everyone else had left so that must be true. He was my longest relationship. Ever. No one ever got past a couple of months. Either I got bored of them or they got transferred. 

I only knew what I knew. I grew up with parents who didn't love each other. I grew up with an absentee father. I grew up with a mother who was having an affair with a married man. A relationship full of lies and secrets. And then I left home and never looked back. Until I came home again with my own secrets and lies. I wished sometimes he would die. I wished he would hit me hard enough to leave a mark. I wished that something would happen that would allow me to walk away from this man whom everyone believed was the best thing on earth and that I was a bitch. Well-deserved, I suppose. He was a much better pretender than I was. I wore my hurt on my sleeve and it leaked out my mouth. 

Filterless and tactless, I was the bad guy and he was so put-upon to have to deal with someone like me. Even my mother took his side. Those who learned who he really was or who they thought he really was told me after the divorce what they saw and really thought of him. It took a big, red, neon sign to allow them to see him for who he was, though. And, finally, I could leave. I didn't at first, though. I still felt obligated. I still felt like God wanted marriage to work. That's what I had always learned. Then, I was absolved of that, too. Even though I know the Bible says that adultery is the one thing that makes divorce permissible, I also believed that God could heal anyone and anything. God, instead, gave me His peace just like he had with the dissolution papers all those years before, to let go and move on. This time, I took him up on His peace. I called Pierre and told him I made my decision, "I want a divorce." He cried. 

When my ex remarried in May, I was so angry. I was angry that he got a do-over after everything he'd done. I was angry that this woman would get something I never got. I was angry that I was still alone. I was angry that the one person I had found to love and to love me back was over in the Middle East and I might never see him. And, then, I learned that I would never see him. That he was gone. Forever. He would not be MY forever; the one thing I wanted him to be. And I was angry all over again. I was angry that God seemed to not know that the one thing I wanted most in this life was to have someone to love me; my very own someone. I still don't really understand any of it, but I am trying to get over the being angry part. God never promised me life would be easy. He never promised me that my heart would not be broken. He never promised me my forever, just His forever. For me, I resolve to stop chasing pavements. I choose that for myself because I finally understand that I am what I allow myself to be, what I allow myself to believe, what I choose to embrace, what I choose to become!

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