Once upon a time, two people fell madly in love. They moved in. Got a dog. Got engaged. Got married. And lived happily ever after. Wait - not so happily ever after, at least not together. You see marriage, and relationships are hard. And this couple had had it rough. Years of bad luck and loss, and they thought they could live through it all together.
But after months of only her working, him spending hours and hours a day playing video games and deciding he was still in charge of how they spent their money and how they lived their lives - a rift began. She spent too much on credit cards, shopping in secret online to make herself feel better, never telling him a thing - until one day she knew she had to come clean. She told the truth, completely unprompted and she never lived it down. She worked hard, and stressed about how to pay bills and put food on the table, and still he played video games and disappeared multiple times per week.
She felt totally alone, unloved and unwanted. She was no longer spending any money on herself, and was running out of things to make her feel better. Here's the thing men, when women feel unloved and unwanted we try to find that love in other things: shopping, food, affairs, drugs - whatever fills the void. It would be much easier if you loved us, spent time with us and communicated with us. But we can be hard to love and hard to please. We know.
One day, the girl had enough. She had found his wedding ring on their shower floor, and when he didn't put it back on, she went to bed in tears. Later that night, she asked him one question - half joking: "do you hate me?". Over text message all the things he could not say came pouring out, hurtful things, and things that were not true - perspective is an interesting thing. She pleaded and begged, not realizing that what was being said was not her
truth, or even the reality. It took a few days, number crunching and endless tears for her to stand up to him. She truly thought they could get through anything, so she made plans, budgets, and offered marriage counselling. But he was already gone.
She wouldn't know this for several more months. No, he let her cling to hope. She let him leave the house. He told her he was staying with his friend. She continued to pay both bills, including buying tools and paying back her mother for things he borrowed. She worked hard, and cried herself to sleep. She went without. She gave him the space he said he needed and never questioned him. Even though in her heart, she knew that he was lying.
When she asked the friend he was staying with if he was OK, just so she could sleep at night, he said "he's never been here". Her heart sank. She didn't know where he was, his parents didn't know where he was. And he was lying to everyone. When she finally confronted him, asking two questions : do you love me and do you still want to be with me, all he could say is "I don't know". Her heart broke into a million pieces that day, but she knew in that moment it was over. She packed up his things that night, dancing and drinking excessively. She labelled each box, folded clothes nicely, and didn't keep anything that wasn't hers. And when she was done, she sat in the middle of the room surrounded by boxes, breaking down into tears, wondering what the hell happened.
She cried for hours on the phone that night. Incoherently asking her friend why this was happening to her. Neither knew. She continued to drink and cry, until she fell asleep. Exhausted, broken and confused. It was in that moment, she realized it was over and she chose to move forward. It wouldn't be long after this, when she got a text message telling her what she had already known in her heart all along - there was another woman. He had been there all along. It's funny how this closure, let her move on with no more tears. If he didn't want her, someone else would. She loved herself, and she wasn't going to let any man treat her like shit.
He had lied, used her to pay his debts, took tools and things from her parents, and let her care for his parents while he dated this other woman. And she continued to work hard, to help others, and to work on herself. So when she got the photo in her inbox - a sonogram, there in black and white - a baby, she only faltered for a minute. There was no more love left in her heart for him. But she only wished him the best.
This story is shortened. Moments of darkness removed. Conversations had. Tears shed. But it's mine. Yes, she had lied and hid something too - but she came clean, and took action steps to fix it. The moments happened over months, but it felt like days. Looking back now, sitting here in the sunshine, I'm grateful for it all. It allowed me to find myself again. To practice unconditional self love. To find my health. To reconnect to old friends. To laugh. And to be whole while alone. I know now the things that I want, and what I will just not put up with. And I know that I deserve true joy and happiness, and that one day I'll be with someone who wants the same things I do.
I knew the moment I could honestly say I forgive him, that everything would be okay. And it is. Its better than okay. I've never been happier. Things are falling in to place. Things that were once a struggle, have now started coming with ease. Life doesn't give us what we cannot handle. But it gives us what we need to learn in order to find what we were meant to do, who we were meant to be and who we are meant to be with.