Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Piece of Me

Thankfully, my past is not something that I shy away from or refuse to talk about. As Normal Mailor said “Experience, when it cannot be communicated to another, must wither within and be worst than lost.”

Surely Mr. Mailor was talking about all kinds of experience—the good and the bad. In my life, I’ve had plenty of both, and my relationship story—or stories—both prove, and are a product of, that. So without further ado…

Once upon a time, there was a Princess. No, wait, scratch that. Once upon a time, there was a Pirate Princess. She left her hometown at the ripe old age of 18 and moved to Florida to work in a Magic Kingdom…and while she was there, she met a Prince.

A Salesman Prince.

And a mere year and eight months after they met, the Pirate Princess and her Salesman Prince were wed.

At 20 and 23, respectively.

Surely you can already begin to see how this is not a tale that ended in “happily ever after”.

The truth is (because obviously I am that “Pirate Princess”), I married someone who I barely knew, at a time when I was too young to know myself. And the next five years were the most trying of my life—definitely so far, hopefully ever.

Out of respect for what my ex-husband and I once had, I will not renumerate the many issues that led to the demise of our marriage. At least, not in a public forum. What I will say is that I tried. Tried to stay in love with him, tried to fall back in love with him, tried to make our relationship—no, more than that, our marriage—work. I won’t speak for him other than to say he didn’t not try—it was just that when he did, it was too little, too late.

Among my many attempts were the following: (1) continuing to live in a place that I despised, and putting my career dreams/goals on hold because that’s where he wanted to live (2) going to counseling by myself because he didn’t really agree with therapy on principle (3) a trial separation (4) finally getting him to agree to marriage counseling, and going maybe a dozen times together (5) moving to a completely new and different place together, to “start over” (6) constantly trying to spice up our sex life (7) letting him do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, with whomever he wanted, and basically never “nagging” him about it (8) working on my physical self so that I was attractive to/for him (including losing weight, growing my hair long and going back to blonde, no longer wearing jeans and sneakers and t-shirts all the time, etc.)

The fact of the matter is, if my marriage was meant to work, it should have worked. Not without effort, of course—relationships and marriages aren’t supposed to be easy. “Nothing that is worthwhile is ever easy.” But sometimes, you just have to know when to throw in the towel. When I finally forced myself to take a step back and review my life, I quickly realized that although so much of it was close to being perfect, my marriage was a lie. I had the right job, lived in the right place, had amazing friends and family…but things were still “off”.

With my husband, for my husband…there was nothing.

I do not pride myself on how long it took me to reach a solid conclusion about the end of my marriage. I made a lot of bad decisions and mistakes in the months leading up to “I-Need-A-‘D’-As-In-Divorce-Day”. But once the choice was made, I was immediately up front and honest about it with him—and I never looked back.

Now, that’s not to say that I wasn’t scared to death. I was. I even started having fairly regular, very physical panic/anxiety attacks—something I had never before experienced. But no matter how many angles I viewed it from, I knew that divorce wasn’t just my best option—it was my only option. In our case (whether or not my ex ever has or ever will admit it), “giving up” was the healthiest and best option for both of us.

In my case, it also helped that I was very, very blessed to get back in touch with a former acquaintance of mine quite soon after breaking the “I’m leaving” news to my ex-husband. That “former acquaintance” is now my husband, and although the marriage is very new (as of 8/28 of this year, in fact), our history goes back. Way back. Because we actually went to high school together, and were introduced on Halloween night in 1998. So although our courtship was not very long (approximately two years), we knew each other for nearly a decade before we gave in to fate, as it were.

Steve and I were thrown into each others’ paths off and on between 1998 and 2005, mainly because we had a handful of mutual friends. In mid-2005, we became friends of our own accord—but lost touch later that year, as our very different lives pulled us in separate directions.

Falling back in touch with Steve in 2008 was absolute pure, perfect coincidence (one of those serendipitous occurrences mentioned here), and also something that wouldn’t have happened without a few mutual friends pulling strings they didn’t even know where there. However, us falling in love, deciding to be in a relationship, and moving in together a few months later all came about due to mature, conscious, adult actions, reactions, discussions and decisions. Although he had never been married before, 28-year-old Steve and 25-year-old Tara were both products of long-term relationships with the wrong people—and we had learned our lessons. From the beginning, our relationship was comprised of unfailing honesty about our pasts, our presents, and what we wanted from our futures. We kept no secrets, told no lies, played no games. That’s not to say that we didn’t have any problems or issues then, or that we don’t have them now—quite the opposite, as we are both very much human. And on top of that, the first three and a half months of our relationship were spent living 900 miles apart!

So it was never perfect, for Steve and I—but it was always amazing. And even though the timing should have been off and wrong, it all worked out. Everything came together, against terrible odds. This is the healthiest and best relationship I’ve ever been in. Without even trying to do so, Steve has consistently inspired me to be a better person and a better significant other.

In conclusion, here is my advice…

…always do everything you can and try your hardest at making your relationship/marriage work, but…
…know that sometimes, it’s best to walk away, and…
…make that decision, be honest about it, and follow through with it, if/when the time comes…
…learn from the mistakes you made in that failed relationship (because the odds are really good that you made at least one mistake)…
…put that newfound knowledge into practice in any and all future relationships…
…be honest to a fault…
…don’t play games or allow someone to play them with you…
…and finally, if you find someone who inspires you to be a better person, recognize how lucky you are and just follow your instincts. Pin It

1 comment:

  1. what a great post - thank you for sharing yourself, I didn't even know you had another blog til today. Excited to follow along here too. I'm with you on the whole "needing to walk away" - I was with someone for four years before DJ and we were almost engaged but I just knew it wasn't meant to be and had to walk. And as fate would have it - that's when DJ and I reconnected.

    life is funny - funny, and amazing. :)