The ghosts of relationships past

We’ve all had the relationship that we throw ourselves into. The one where we want to do everything right, and we do what we can to make this person happy. We do it. With all of our heart. And then it goes to shit. At that moment we say, “I’m never doing this again. It’s not worth it.”

We’ve all been there. I sure was. And it has affected me more than I realized until now. I was young and stupid and I was with an asshole for three years of my early 20’s. I wanted to make him happy and I wanted him to love me. So I did what I needed to. I learned to cook with his “help,” I did his laundry, and I learned how to walk quietly on eggshells. I kept doing these things, with the hope that he would finally appreciate the things I was doing and he’d stop taking me for granted. It never happened. I was still there, walking on the eggshells that he expected me to sweep up off the floor. And I did.

This relationship has shaped me. I hate that, but it’s true. I learned from him that if I give and give, I get nothing. It has affected every relationship I’ve had since. You know what I mean. That moment when the person you’re with does one little thing like the person that broke you. And you stop in your tracks and say, “Oh god. I’m not going through this again.” But is it really the same? Most likely it’s not, but the stories we create for ourselves make us want to run. But who are we running from exactly? The person that left us broken, or the person that might finally be different?

I have a strong domestic side. I love being in the kitchen. I love folding laundry (putting it away is another story), and I love taking care of those close to me. But when I indulge in this part of me, I have this knee-jerk reaction that I’ll be taken for granted and I’ll end up emotionally depleted and forgotten like I was before. This relationship taught me that no matter what I do, it isn’t enough. So I’m on the defensive. Always.

So I do the things that come naturally. I cook and fold laundry and try to take care of the person I love. But this also makes me vulnerable. Something I love to do has also brought me pain, and I struggle with this daily. And this is all because of one person. One person that distorted my thoughts and because of that, I can’t see how things really are today. I hate that one person, one person that is in my distant past, can affect me in this way.

I’ll cook an awesome dinner with so much love that it makes my heart burst, and I’ll clean up and do laundry and it makes me feel wonderful. Like I’m making a home for myself and my loved ones and I’m happy. Until I think about him. And he brings me down again. He’s no longer a part of my life, but he still has some kind of control. He doesn’t deserve to control me.

So when do we give up the ghost? I’m ready, but it won’t happen overnight. Maybe realizing that he’s shaped my world in the most unhealthy way possible is the first step in releasing his hold. I was a different person then. I’m not that girl anymore. And not everyone is the person he was to me. I can’t blame everyone for what he did to me, and I can’t blame myself either.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I guess I want to start over. I can’t erase these three years of my life, but I will not let them sabotage my future. So I’m writing this with the hope that I can let these fears and hang ups go. I wish this for anyone that has been hurt by someone and is afraid to reach out to someone new. You deserve better than your past. And so do I. I’m stepping out. <3

The Elephant in the Room

I’ve been married to Steve for almost 8 years. I love this man deeply. We have an amazing friendship. But when is friendship not enough?

It’s not enough when you go from a married couple to just friends. We laugh together. A lot. We get along on every level. We quote The Golden Girls via text almost every day, and we laugh at the same things. We both love Dave Matthews, and he plays guitar and I sing his songs, not well, I’ll admit.
But we don’t challenge each other. We are so much alike, we cancel each other out. We are happy just being together. But are we growing? No. We are such good friends, that we enable each other to be complacent. It’s fun, but that’s not good for a marriage. I know a lot of people are in my situation. But most of them have no relationship with their partner whatsoever. I’m fortunate to have Steve as my friend. I love him and I always will. Just because you aren’t good as a married couple doesn’t mean you can’t be in each other’s lives.

I’m torn. I won’t lie. I’m diving into a world of responsibility. I’ve never had to worry about anyone but myself until now. And Steve, he’s taking his own path. He’s empowered on his own, and I’m proud of him. I’m ready for the new life I’m entering, and he’s happy for me. And I’m happy for his new life too. Unconventional, yes, but that’s how we are.

Steve will always be a part of my life, because he’s a part of me. I wouldn’t be who I am today without him. But we don’t work as husband and wife. I’m sad because of our memories. What could have been, and how we used to be. But that’s not our reality now.

Things change. We change. And we move on. I’m thankful that we are together for life. As friends, as we have been. I’m a better person for knowing him, and he has supported me during the hardest time of my life. He’s my best friend. People may not understand, but this is how it is.

We are moving forward to our separate lives. We share animals, that are like our children. We recently lost our beloved dog Molly, and it was heartbreaking to say the least. We always said she was the glue that kept us together.

We share a history of both turmoil and happiness. Our separation won’t erase those things, and they won’t make us dislike each other because we couldn’t make it work as a married couple.

I’m thankful that we will always have love and respect for each other. It’s more than most people have.

The end