I had a totally different post planned for today, but then my husband went and did something wonderful. I had taken our kids to his parents’ house for what was supposed to be a Monday night supper. (Oh, it’s so good to be wrong sometimes!) But when he showed up at their house after work, he proceeded to whisk me off for a surprise night away. He’d packed everything I needed and arranged for the kids to be cared for that night and after school the next day.
But I haven’t always been so lucky.
I grew up with drama, and so for the longest time, I thought that was the only way to live. Don’t get me wrong, I knew my parents loved me and would do anything for me, and so I was blessed to have that sort of stability. But, like I said: drama.
Drama, drama, DRAMA.
Major, long-term boyfriend #1 had major, long-term self-esteem issues. This 7 year relationship was a rollercoaster ride of emotions because I really believed I could make him believe in himself. How can he not? I’d wonder. He was handsome, athletic, smart, came from a great family, etc…. OMG WTF, right?
But the more I focused my mental and emotional energy on him (to the exclusion of most of my high school friends, what a dumbass!), the more down he got on himself. And you know what? I. Missed. Out.
On a lot of things. Totally my fault. You can’t fix people who don’t want to fix themselves.
Alas, I hadn’t learned that lesson yet.
Major, long-term boyfriend #2 had major, long-term commitment issues (sound familiar anyone?). This 5 year relationship was both thrilling and depressingly tumultuous. To this day, I don’t know if I’ve ever met another man as charismatic as he (still) is. I was an enraptured moth to his bright flame. The dark side of this (for me) was that he can probably never belong to any one person, but rather, he belongs to his audience. He lived for the spotlight, and he knew how to work it. Like I said: charisma. But his charisma wasn’t the cause of our break up, it was just the vehicle he deployed to avoid the commitment thing.
Why did I stay so long in his shadow when I felt so alone?
I really loved him – who he was when there was no audience.
And on some level, I believe he loved me too. It just wasn’t the kind of long-term, I’m-here-for-you-at-all-costs, you’re-the-shit-honey love I needed for a lifetime. Breaking up with him was agonizing because he was actually the one to push me to work through some of my personal issues. He was my biggest supporter in that respect.
And working through those issues helped me see that…our relationship was not good for me.
So, it was both a sad and liberating time. After that, I made a vow to myself I would never again disrespect my needs the way I had for the last 12 years. If I had to wait until I was 50 years old to find a man who would put me first, he would be worth the wait.
Luckily, I didn’t have to wait that long.
So how did I know DH was THE ONE for me?
Mainly: I never have to de-petal a single freaking flower because I’ve never had to wonder if he loves me.
Now it’s your turn. What mistakes have you made in your relationships? How have you grown from them? And how did you know your special someone was THE ONE?