alternately titled: the post i keep promising. its finally here.
i was 19 and about 3 months into a long distance relationship. i had just flown up to the bay area and was spending 3 or 4 days with ex. because those days partially fell on weekdays, ex was at work and i was spending the morning relaxing in his apartment until he got off.
i called my mom to let her know i was safe and sound and she made a comment to me about looking for red flags. not a bad comment, just a you-are-young-and-dating-is-fairly-new-to-you-so-i'm-gonna-give-my-little-girl-advice comment. i'll be painfully honest and say that i kind of blew her off. as we've established, i was young. and even more painfully honest? i was in a rough mindset of just wanting to be loved and accepted. so blowing her off was more because, in my mind, this guy loved me and wanted me so i could deal with any red flag thrown at me.
after moving back 5 months ago, i went to lunch with my little sister and she asked me what the red flags were. "i have no problem telling you what the specific red flags were that i ignored, but what i'd rather tell you and what i think is more important is not to ignore them. there are good, sweet, wholesome, love-you-for-exactly-who-you-are men out there. so don't ignore them. no guy or girl is perfect. there are going to be little things. but those big things that make you pause and go hmmm? don't ignore them. address them. give them clout. make sure its not something that is going to make you miserable down the line." that's what i said.
in all honesty, the things that happened in my marriage got a lot worse after the wedding and a million times worse after buying a house. but there were little signs all along. there were fights where i thought about packing up and leaving and was sweet-talked into staying. there were promises of changing. aren't there always?
what it comes down to is this: i was never good enough. i was never skinny enough. i never made enough money. i was too careless. i didn't clean the house the right way. i didn't wear the right clothes. i didn't spend time with him the right way. i didn't watch the right tv shows. i didn't read the right books. i didn't interact with his family right. i didn't make the right decisions. i spent too much time blogging and tweeting. i made too big of a mess crafting. i didn't decorate our house right. i didn't drive right. i didn't buy gifts right. i didn't go after the right profession. i didn't dream the right dreams. i wasn't the person he wanted to mold me to be.
i wish i was kidding. i wish i was being ridiculous and exaggerating but unfortunately, that's not the case.
i will be the first to admit i'm not perfect. not even close. but he managed to take a perfectly good human being and make her feel worthless.
i know what you're thinking. why did you put up with this? why did you allow him to make you feel this way?
i wish i had all the answers. i can tell you that, like i said above, i wanted to be loved and he loved me. maybe he didn't love me the way a person deserves to be loved. but he loved me in his own way and i was stupid enough to think that was normal.
after moving in to the new house, he was completely consumed by it. i think that's fairly normal but suddenly we had a mortgage and a 3600 square foot house to furnish and never enough money coming in and that was my fault of course. somehow in the 6 months we lived there, i managed to take off my rose-colored glasses that i had been hiding behind and started seeing things for what they really were.
it was a rough realization to come to. it was painful in a way i can't even put into words. i cried a lot of tears. i spent too much time staring off into space trying to figure out how things had gotten so bad. what had i done wrong. how had i gotten myself to this place. after a couple months of going through the motions while i had an inner turmoil going on, i packed up a bag and drove to my parents to get away. i laid it all out on the table. told them the truth about the fact that my husband didn't even believe in unconditional love. and the truth about everything else. and i just spent time in the moment trying to figure out how to move forward.
you pretty much know the rest of the story. 3 weeks after that, i packed as much as i could fit in my car and officially left for good.
i am posting this now because i desperately want to put this behind me. because this is a post i have wanted to write but now i want it done. i have gone through a lot of stages in the last 5 months and now i am ready for the rehashing part to be over.
i have told people about my life with ex. the good, the bad, and the ugly. there were good times. i can't deny that. but the bad and ugly? was my daily. the good came way too rarely to ever have a happy life. a nice big house and a vacation every now and then don't make a person happy. they aren't enough. ex seemed to think that those things were enough and it gave him grounds for which to treat me horribly. unfortunately it doesn't work that way. he doesn't seem to understand that but that is no longer something i can worry about.
because everybody seems to ask it (its a legitimate question) i will answer it ahead of time. there was no physical abuse. it was an emotional and verbal issue but he never hit me.
so there it is. i believe in being real and being honest. and more than anything, i believe that my story can help someone else. looking back on my mindset at that time, i don't know that i would have listened had someone tried to tell me (and in actuality, people did in subtle ways and i ignored it) but i still hope that, like i told my little sister, someone may read this and pass it on or whatever, and remember that red flags are there for a reason. and maybe its not a huge deal now but think logically about whats behind it and realize people are who they are and there are certain things ingrained in them that will never change.
a couple months ago, i was up north getting the rest of my belongings and ex told me about a girl he was dating at the time. at one point, i asked "so is she super skinny?" (almost completely joking but remember, my weight was one of the biggest issues between us) and he said "i wouldn't say super skinny, no" and i said "oh you better be careful, we know how you have an issue with that" and his response was "well you know how i like to have a project." after months of him telling me he had changed that was it right there. the moment when i knew without a doubt that people can change here and there but that man would always be the person he had been for the last 7 years. he would never stop making me feel like crap unless i was his ideal weight. and that is just one thing.
i will end this lengthy and heavy post with this: i believe wholeheartedly in the goodness of people. it legitimately upsets me to realize some people are just plain mean no matter how much i put my friendly, altruistic self forward. i believe ex is a good person in a lot of ways. there are some inherently good things about him. i can't deny that. but he and i were not a good fit. my loving, kind, supportive nature was just not compatible with him - the good or the bad.
i truly, from the bottom of my heart, hope he finds happiness. i honestly don't know what that looks like or means for him at this point but i do hope he finds it. i believe there is a right person for him. and i hope with every ounce of my being that he finds that person. and even more so, no matter what it is, i hope he will be happy. we all deserve happiness in one way or another.
(i will answer any and all questions via email from your comments or you can email me directly at snapshotsofjoyblog[at]gmail[dot]com i have no problem answering questions, hearing your stories, giving advice or just being there for you if need be. please ask :)