Monday, May 23, 2016

Breaking Free is Not a Free Ride

Wow! My life has taken a drastic turn in a different direction. For quite some time now, I have maintained an intimate relationship with my ex-husband. Intimacy, beyond sex, also involves a unique way of communication and comfort that someone only finds in one other person. He and I have this connection that is at times the most amazing thing I've ever felt, and at other times the most toxic damaging relationship that anyone should have to live through. I've known for the past 7 months that he has a girlfriend, but our relationship is so convoluted that we both unconsciously accepted that I am the exception to any moral rules. Neither of us spent too much time thinking about how our actions might affect those that are also involved in this triad. If you read my post in March, I came to the conclusion that I couldn't continue to devalue myself and accept this 2nd place rung, plus I really was beginning to feel bad for this other woman. With my distancing myself, he became closer to her and ultimately fell in love. I use the term "fell in love" loosely, as can you really fall in love with someone when you've been cheating on them from the beginning? Unfortunately for all of us, he and I still couldn't maintain a respectable distance and as any bad love story ends, he proposed to her, I came clean about our relationship and now everyone is in hell. 

I could have sat on the sidelines and dealt with the punch in the gut on my own. I could have stayed quiet and watched them live happily ever after. But then it hit me. That is what I do. I protect him. Throughout  our entire relationship I put his feelings above my own. He likes to point out the lies that I told during our marriage and how I am the one who thinks only of myself. However, he has never been able to understand that my dysfunction and the mental illness that was raging inside of me, unmanaged and wild, was fueled by my desire to please him. Every lie I told, every failed money management scheme, every illegal act, and every series of reckless behavior was my irrational attempt to protect him from knowing how the life we had hoped for was not working. Neither of us were stepping up as we should to take responsibility for the things we needed to be responsible for. He worked so hard, but we would never have been able to move forward unless he was willing to take a drastic leap of faith by going back to school or finding some other career. His fear of the unknown and his own fear of failure has kept him stuck in an unhappy work environment his entire life. He knows how to use every excuse imaginable to keep from finding success. Of course, I am the reason to blame for all and any of his decisions that have kept him from moving forward. It's an old record that he has managed to spin for a very long time. On the other side of things, I was stuck in this emotional hell that I was too afraid to tell him about because my fear of losing him was so internally painful that I literally felt I would die. I tried to create a life where he wouldn't have to do anything uncomfortable and where I could go on pretending that I wasn't slowly dying inside. Ultimately this pretend bubble I created blew up in the worst way possible. 

So here I am. Finding out that he had used me. Lied to me. Used my past and my mental illness as an excuse for him to avoid the truth. Telling me he couldn't say how he really felt out of fear of what I might do to myself. Using me for sex was somehow all on me because he was so torn by his feelings and he didn't want to make me mad. My fault. Always my fault. My instability is the reason he could never tell me definitively that it was over. I asked him 100 times if he had stopped loving me and he never could answer that. I finally told him he needed to make a choice and he did. However, he continued to lead me on to the point that even on the day of the "disaster" he still maintained that there was a chance we would get back together again even when he was married. All I needed to do was prove trustworthy because that was the one thing keeping him from not being with me. (oh and my ability to be vindictive i.e. honest) Me. Untrustworthy. Not him? Here I am, held hostage by the idea of breaking free from him but losing him forever or protecting him and continuing to be the second hand piece of "nothing" that he can call on when he needs me or dismiss me when he doesn't. 

So I broke free. I told the truth. And I lost him "forever". I don't know if she will forgive him or where he or they will go in the future. If she does, it only speaks to her own insecurity. What kind of woman marries a man that has been with another woman emotionally and physically throughout their entire courtship? But, then what kind of woman hangs on to a man that refuses to let her go. I go back to something he has always said to me. "I can't be with you but I don't want you to be with anyone else". Control. He has always had ultimate control of me. Yet now, I'm on a train, I wasn't looking for, headed somewhere without the only rock I've ever known. I've become an unwilling passenger putting love for myself above my love for someone else. 

I still have the broken heart. I feel gut punched by what he did to me. Heart stabbed by his insensitivity and arrogance. Broken by letting go of that connection that has been holding us together for so long. The irony of it all is that deep down I know he will forgive me. Deep down I know that somewhere in the future we will end up right back where we started. There is something beyond either of our control that holds us together constantly churning black to white, to white to black. I don't know if we'll ever be in the same place at the same time, but I know that breaking free now is just a reprieve from his grasp on my heart. A clutch from which there is no escape. I am burnt into his soul and he into mine. We both will find happiness in someone else and we both may move forward in what looks like a "happily, ever, after" postcard. But we know the truth. No matter what he does to convince her (or anyone) of his commitment, we both know where this story will eventually end. 

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