In less than a month, I will be married. The other night, Chris and I were talking about how far things have come. Specifically how far I have come and the journey it took to get me to where I am now.
A little background story :
For those who don’t know, this isn’t my first engagement. In my early twenties, I got into a relationship with a guy I met at the bar. From the get go, there was a lot of drama (which isn’t that uncommon when you’re young and trying to figure out who you and what you want in partner). After dating for a year, he left to go overseas for a year. I was devastated. More than devastated. I was unable to sleep and quickly found myself addicted to sleeping medication. I never focused on trying to move on ( I have some issues with abandonment, but that’s a story for another time) . My entire focus was on wondering what he was doing and when he would be home. A few months after he left, I moved out on my own and met life lesson #1, Chris ( not THE Chris, different Chris). Chris and I formed a fast friendship, we did everything together. He was kind, funny and we always had a blast. To this day, I feel like that friendship was purposely formed to help in grain in my brain what it felt like to be treated well by a man.
I still remember the day I got the text from my friend Leslie telling me that she had bumped into my ex. He was back from his trip. It didn’t take us long to start talking and before I knew it, we were back together. Over the next few years, we fought, argued, broke up and I cried more tears than I could count. Tumultuous is the best word I can think of to describe our relationship. He had a lot issues that I chose to ignore, and I didn’t want to be alone. While on a vacation with our friends, we got into an argument. As sat on the floor bawling my eyes out, a girlfriend asked why I don’t just leave? I didn’t have an answer because I couldn’t comprehend how that would even be an option. I felt trapped.
Eventually, we moved in together. I thought it was what I wanted. My close friends will tell you that the heart of me really wants to just be a housewife. I don’t say that in a degrading way, I’m just all about the cooking and the cleaning and taking care of a home. By now, we had been together (off and on) for seven years. Internally, I was starting to feel the pressure to get married, settle down and have kids. I feel like it is hard to explain (unless you have been in the situation) why I would want to marry this guy when things were so ( secretly) horrific. We found a ring and put it on my MasterCard (yes, I paid for half of my ring). The day he proposed, I had come home from a movie with a friend. He was in his sweatpants, got down on one knee and he told me I was “a pain in his ass” but would I marry him? I said yes. He asked me to go to the store and get some champagne. I went to the bathroom and stayed in there for over an hour while I collapsed and proceeded to have a complete breakdown. Everything I had thought I had wanted, had happened and yet, I was sitting on the bathroom floor, screaming inside.
Two weeks later, I called off the engagement. I never cried over the break up. When he finally moved out, I felt relief, freedom!
About a year ago, I ran into him. We sat on the curb of the road and he apologized for how he had treated me. I don’t think he will ever understand the toll that our relationship took on me. I still have very clear flash backs of laying in bed, tears in my eyes, telling myself that I deserved everything that he did to me . I would almost crave the tingling feeling I would get when I started to self loath myself; telling myself I deserved it. The thing was, no one knew. I still remember sitting on the couch with my Dad and watching is face turn pale as I explained the depth of our relationship to him.
After he left, I met life lesson #2. Just like with Chris, we formed a fast and easy friendship. He got me, like really got me. We talked about everything and I felt completely understood. I hadn’t realized the importance of having connections with others until this point. He highlighted my faults and made me realize my possibilities. It was difficult for me when our friendship ended. I knew I would have to figure things out completely on my own.
The time that followed was full of discovery, loneliness and on the odd occasion, happiness. I had my friends but I quite often felt alone. I felt a tremendous amount of worry about my future but I never regretted the decision to leave.
In late 2013, a friend introduced me to Chris. We went on a couple dates but mentally, I was completely in the wrong space. Chris could have been prince charming and I wouldn’t have even noticed. We lost touch pretty quickly after seeing each other a couple times.
In December ( of 2013), I threw myself a 30th birthday party and invited friends and a guy a had been slightly seeing. I have such a clear memory of waking up the day after the party and feeling sad about the nights events. I remember some how knowing that if Chris had been there, he would have made sure I would have had a fun night. That memory is so strange to me since we hadn’t talked in so long but my gut just knew.
The rest of this story maybe old news. Chris and I started dating again on Valentines Day of 2014. Maybe not as common knowledge is how things have been since then. I have not made it easy on Chris, I will admit that. There have been moments where my past has effective me to the point that I have almost attempted to sabotage our relationship. The thing is, when you haven’t known a loving relationship, one without hurt, fear and anguish, you don’t know how to function when the real thing shows up. Love is not complicated. I’ll say it again LOVE IS NOT COMPLICATED !!! I think of the amount of years I spent excusing away painful ‘love’ and I am horrified with myself. I will NEVER again be used, manipulated or dragged along for a ride. Chris and I aren’t perfect, no couple is. We have our off days. But everything is done with love. Doors don’t get slammed, he never yells and I never fear for my safety.
In one month, when I stand up and say to Chris that I never thought this day would come, I truly mean it. There were points during my life where I thought I had missed my ‘ window’ to find true love. I often hear my friends *(who have seen me go through the last ten years) say that Chris is my perfect match. I couldn’t agree more. I had originally planned on calling this blog post “The Broken Road”, but now that I think about it, it wasn’t broken. It was just windee and sometimes challenging. My journey got me to where I am today and for that reason, I am grateful.