17 years, 28 months, 22 days

17 years, 28 months, 22 days

September 9, 2020

It’s a cool rainy morning.  Autumn is slowly heading our way.

Woke up to arm tremors again this morning and it took a while for it to stop.

As I sat there on my bed waiting for things to normalize out so I could get up and get moving, thoughts turned to the person I had recently been talking to, then it turned to all the people I had been talking to over the last 3 years then to all the people that filtered in and out of my life.  That is how depression and anxiety are some mornings.

I am a self-declared romantic at heart.  Romantic is defined as “…a person who often takes an idealized or old fashioned view towards love or who acts in a manner traditionally thought of as courting or wooing a significant other…”

Despite my upbringing which was horrible, terrifying, and tragic at times, the love in my heart is still there waiting to give to someone else who will reciprocate theirs.

I watch romantic movies, listen to heartfelt ballads and feel classical music representing the feelings of love wistfully wishing that someone felt the same about me.  I often daydream about what it would be like to have such a person in my life.

Then reality of life sets in.  It isn’t this romantic song or movie.  Life is full of obstacles, flawed ideas, and hard hitting truth sometimes.  When it comes to relationships then it becomes even more complicated.

17 years

I was married for 17 years. That’s a short amount of time when compared to a lifetime but it was long enough to figure out the kind of person that I need in my life and what I don’t want.

When I met him, I was a 26 year old single mom to two kids and he was 34. That is a sizeable age gap and it played more into our relationship later on.  My children had different fathers from previous failed relationships.  I never expected them to be in my kid’s life and left that choice up to them. They chose not to and this told me enough about them as men to shut off any lingering feelings that I had for them.

I knew that I had these two beautiful human beings who were relying on me to raise them to be even greater human beings. It was going to be a tough road ahead for us but I never doubted my ability to be a good, loving mom to them.

I met my future husband at the same workplace but we actually had met a few years before that. When I tell this story people say my life has been this kind of soap opera and it feels that way sometimes.

I came home off of active duty as a single mom.  I didn’t have any family where I was stationed and the daunting task of becoming a single mom was overwhelming so I came home. 

I came home, worked a few retail jobs and decided to go back to school to develop better skills for better paying jobs.  I was attending a private vocational school learning computer programming.  It was a year-long school that had an internship program that produced good results leading to a job position. That’s where I initially met him.  He was in my class.

We did not get along at all.  I thought he was rather rude and arrogant. He constantly talked about the women he was dating.  I was not attracted to him because of that.  We were all smokers back then and that was the usual topic of discussion between us, him and his behavior in class.  I wasn’t really sure why he was there since he was already a manager at a local growing convenience store.  Then one day he up and disappeared.  He had quit.

Then two years later while working in a call center for car rental reservations he appeared again.  I was heading out on a smoke break with a co-worker when this group of people came walking through. I saw him, stopped, and said “Hey, I know you.”  He looked so bewildered and I got so embarrassed because I had just interrupted the President of our company who was taking the new branch employees around the floor.  A week later, we had a potluck to welcome them to our building.  I was out again at our smoke hole when he and another branch employee came up and said hello.

That’s when this flirting thing began between us.  He couldn’t remember where he knew me from and wanted to know my name.  I wouldn’t give it to him and told him once he remembered to let me know. This went on for weeks.  He kept attempting to figure it out with the help of the other women I worked with but they weren’t helping him. 

Then one day he remembered. He asked me out on a date and I said yes. Our first date was July 5th, 1997.  Three weeks later on July 26th, 1997 he asked me to marry him. We moved in together in September of 1997 and got married October 17th, 1997.  We had two more children together, he adopted my other two, and we were married for 17 years. We divorced in 2015 and he passed away in 2016.  

It was this whirlwind marriage that by all accounts should have ended within the first few years but we tried.  The age difference between us hindered the growth.  Jealously, pettiness, and competition between us furthered that gap more. We both had these aspirations for ourselves but viewed how to accomplish them so differently it caused this ever growing rift between us.

There was no communication and no support for one another. Instead there was this hurt between us that could never be repaired filled with infidelity.

That moment in my life wasn’t always filled with pain and sadness.  I try to hold onto the good thoughts and memories when I talk about him to my kids.  That’s the part they need to remember not the bad.  I have kept the bad memories as a part of myself for too long and it’s a struggle to let it go.  It will eventually happen and I will find peace about him again.  Because despite what happened between us, the basic truth is he was my friend and I loved him.

Time moves on and waits for no man though.

28 months

I spent approximately 28 months thinking I was developing a relationship with this person I met online. He was way younger than me, from a totally different culture and background but through the encouragement of others telling me “Age is just a number” I continued on with the hope of it becoming more. 

I helped support this person in many different ways over the last 28 months but mostly it was financial. I know most will say he was just a scammer and but I don’t think so.  I know from our conversations he just wanted a different life for himself. 

I, believing in the goodness of others, wanted to see that for him too.  So I continued on despite the doubts building within my thoughts.

Then when the pandemic hit, he stopped trying and talking.  I know that this time in our life is difficult and it can be extremely difficult for those in countries where jobs were already scarce and opportunities were non-existent. He happened to live in one and he began losing either hope in himself or me.  I’m not sure which because any conversations between us ceased.

He stated he needed time to find himself. I know as a younger person we see things as unsurmountable and like it will never end.  Things get better though over time.  This time in our history is unprecedented but so where other points on the timeline. I continue to talk to him even if it’s just to say good morning or good night. 

I want him to know that even though there is no longer a romantic relationship, I’m still here as a friend.  I never make a promise to someone that I don’t intend to keep. I promised to help him achieve whatever goals and aspirations he wanted.  If it means helping him to continue to develop the business he started or getting a visa to another country then that’s what I will try to do. It’s the least that I can do. Help another individual in need who helped me through some of my darkest days. I will always consider him my friend.

22 Days

That’s how long our conversations have been going with this new person that came into my life via a dating app. 

Everything that I wanted in a relationship has been put out there on my profile.  The things I learned that I don’t want and what I expect.  I have gotten to the age where I’m not holding back anymore and stating what I want at the beginning.  No longer will I wait for someone to decide or develop the relationship. 

I am taking back control as it pertains to my own wants and needs.  Being a romantic person all my life I always believed the man should take those initial steps and sweep the woman off their feet, ride into the sunset, and live happily ever after.  I was wrong.

I realized the last few years that if I want an equal partnership with someone that means taking power and distributing it between us. A true partnership takes into account each person’s strength and weaknesses.  I may be good at some things but bad at others and need someone that can help me develop those more, not take over for me.  Never give up control over your life to someone else.

I have also begun to realize that men don’t necessarily know what they want either despite this patriarchal society we live in.  They seemed to have developed the rules we live by but also fail by those same rules.  Society has always known that there is a balance between male and female that is a part of nature.  We can’t get away from it and why would we?  We are meant to balance one another not fight against it.

So this new person and I have been talking non-stop since day one. I have put out there what I am about and he seemed receptive to it.  He stated what he wanted and I appreciated his honesty.

Then we met in person.

He wasn’t happy with my appearance which bruised my ego. Not because of the words he said but because I knew they were true.  I haven’t been happy with my appearance for a long time either but I hadn’t made it a priority.  I told him in the beginning of our chats that I was brutally honest and expected the same.  Well he was brutally honest in what he saw when we met.

I was taken aback by it because in all my dating history that was the first time someone came right and told me they were not as attracted to me as I believed they would be. I know that sounds conceited despite what I’ve written about myself. 

It’s ironic when I put it out there that way.  I have always had men attracted to my personality and they told me that.  The physical attraction came second after we got to know each other more.  It was never the other way around.  I don’t know why I thought it would be different when meeting someone online? All of that despite the fact that my self-esteem has never been that great and I know my flaws.

I think it is because we only see what is in front of us and either immediately like it or not and an online profile is really just that.  We see a face, it’s interesting, we read the bio, and we message if we want to know more.  It’s pretty quick and very basic.  It’s not an overly complicated process.

So after I regained my composure after being upset, I messaged him again, stated how I felt and what I had been through in my marriage.  The deep dark things we had not gotten to in our conversations yet. Mainly because at the beginning you are putting forth your best and waiting to show the other side of the coin because that side is always a mess.

We kept talking to one another despite that disastrous first meeting.  I thought maybe he just wanted to continue on being friends and I knew my subscription was going to run out anyway.

Today we chatted and he wants to continue talking offline.  He wants to continue and see where it goes.

That was totally unexpected, so I told him okay. I wasn’t ready to give up as easily as I had before in other online chats. I’m not really sure why but following my instincts. 

I don’t know where it will go or even if it will continue for much longer but that is the one thing my life so far has taught me; never stop having hope, faith, and belief. Keep fighting for what you want. Stay motivated. Stay positive. Keep moving forward.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring but this time I am determined to not be afraid to face it.

Thank you for stopping by.

Have a great week ahead!

Stay motivated, positive, and keep moving forward.

Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes to you!

Suzanne

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