Well hey there. I know a number of folks traveling to the great state of Tennessee this weekend for this little match up and for many of them it will mean something — SEC football = religion, remember. Some will go dressed in orange, others will be sporting the red & black. Hopefully, the group in the latter category — I’m looking at you Taskers — win out on having the better juju and the English bulldog chases that howling Bluetick up and down the field and right out of Neyland. Although last time I watched Georgia play in Knoxville we took a beating and the Tennessee fans let me and my friend know that we were definitely dressed poorly for the occasion. So I wish you well brave Bulldogs. I’ll be at Penn Quarter pulling for you.
So, something’s been on my mind and it seems the only way I come close to exorcising my demons is to write about them. I’ve been wanting to tackle this one for a while but it’s fairly personal and anyone who knows me from one of my other lives will immediately recognize the people involved. But I think maybe the statute of limitations has run out on not talking about it in an attempt to appear rational as opposed to hurt and — God forbid — bitter. But I think now it’s time…
Back several years ago when I lived in Georgia I was involved with a man I cared for deeply and might have married had circumstances been different. Ultimately, the decision to move here and do greater things with my life was prompted by what I saw (at the time) as my failure in this scenario. So, given that this “failure” led to what I think may be simultaneously the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done, I can’t look back and feel particularly sad or regretful. I watched what his life became before I moved and I can say that it most certainly would never have satisfied me. And so I’m content that things worked out exactly as they should for all parties. But there’s one little thing that has nagged at me — and continues to nag at me — and I fear that if I do not address and resolve it I’m doomed to relive it over and over again. And that just will not do.
Part of what has stopped me from writing about it in the past is that it sounds — even in my head — like snobbery. And I loathe a snob. But…there’s a chance I am one and, what’s more, it is a most unattractive quality. I’d like very much for none of this to be true. But it all could be. So here’s the nagging thing…
This man I loved — and I did love him and always will in some fashion because that’s how love works — allowed himself to become involved, before he and I ever even met, with a married woman. I’ll spare you the suspense and tell you now that she did eventually leave her husband and they two are now married and have a child together. It would appear — although I have no way of knowing anything for sure — to be a relatively strong union. Second marriages for them both, so maybe they got it right the second time. But for about a year, I was the girlfriend bewildered by how the man I was dating ever thought it appropriate to spend the amount of time he did with someone very married, who tended to lament her choice of husband as a matter of course when they would have their little lunch meetings or whatever (her husband, by the way, was a sweet man who had some sadness problems — probably because of his own choice of partner), and how he could deny to me that she had the agenda I was sure she had. Namely, she wanted out of her current marriage and had her eyes set on him. It smacked of an obtuseness that I was certain was willful because good God man are you blind?
Now, for a while I tried to convince myself I was a victim of all this nonsense — and it certainly felt like it at the time. And it did take a while for me to remember that he brought up the topic of marriage to me and was prepared to end things with her, even did until I became exasperated with how hard the decision was for him — I was offended. But more on that in a moment because that’s actually the meat of the matter — and told him that if it was such a damned difficult decision he should just keep the “friendship.” I think that probably told him what he needed to know. And his subsequent behavior told me what I needed to know. I will say that even after we officially split — and she left her husband a very short time later and flew to France where he was visiting his sister — he tried at least once to talk with me again. On the street, in front of my office, after work. I think he had his doubts even then. And I saw him coming, turned on my heel, and walked quickly in the other direction. I wanted nothing whatsoever to do with him even though my heart was breaking and I spent the next 2 years crying almost daily and hatching a plan to get out of there as soon as I could. And I did. It took me a while, but I did. Best decision I’ve made in a long time, as hard as it’s been. But I’m still troubled with why I walked away — and my mother has to remind me when I begin the victim stuff again — that it was ultimately me that did the walking.
So, why did I? Because I was so incredibly hurt and — yeah, offended — that he would ever even put me in the same league with someone who would hurt a man she promised to cherish and love till death do they part. I was taken aback that he would consider it a difficult decision to be with me — who had thrown birthday parties for his children and had been there for him through diabetic seizures at 3 am — because this woman who was essentially having an emotional affair with him behind her husband’s back was teasing and manipulating him. Ultimately, I found him to be tremendously weak and felt devalued that it was ever a hard choice for him.
And this quality — it must be — has to be very unattractive because I still have these residual feelings that I must think I’m better than all that and don’t I just understand that love is blind and all is fair and blah, blah, blah? It’s just that my understanding of love is that it actually looks nothing like those things I saw that were purported at the time — and at least in a surface way, appear still — to be the real thing.
And the truth is, I think I was right to be slightly horrified by being compared with — and in some ways, found deficient — next to someone who could be so cavalier about trampling another person’s feelings. My loved ones tell me that the problem was with him — something I guess I knew — and she was just sort of an ancillary catalyst. But as I move forward, I really don’t want to make the same mistake again. And I guess — well, I guess I’m just thinking about it a lot.
There. Purge complete. Wish me luck.