Not OK

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Why am I posting a picture of a phone number on my blog you may ask. It’s because this torn off sheet of notebook paper is evidence. Evidence that no matter how much you may have,or still do, love someone, if they are being continually cruel and abusive to you, you’re not obligated to just accept it.

I had been in an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage for years. I tried everything to make the relationship work but I was the only one putting in the work. Eventually he did something I couldn’t look past and I filed for divorce. Years later I met a man I thought shared my values and I could build a future with and he too decided it was perfectly ok to blame me for his own insecurities and to lash out at me.

We eventually broke up because his insecurities were stronger than his proclaimed love for me. I had finally started to come to terms with the loss of our future together (any sane person should’ve been glad they got out of a bad situation but my stupid heart still loved him) when he finally started being civil towards me again. He enticed me into hanging out again doing shared activities he knew I loved. Then the whole reason for his insecurities reared its head again. Didn’t matter that I hadn’t “betrayed” him. Didn’t matter that I wasn’t trying to defend anything or argue against his bs accusations. He spent two days in a row subjecting me to emotional trauma and abuse…at work. On the third day I refused to acknowledge or engage. I even asked to leave work so I wouldn’t have to interact with him. After several more emails where he was threatening legal action against me for supposedly refusing to immediately provide him with a Bluetooth headset he’d attached to my motorcycle helmet, I told him in no uncertain terms that he had been traumatizing me, treating me like shit, I didn’t condone his behavior towards me and that if he wanted his headset he could arrange a time to come get it. He immediately just came to my place of residence. He refused to use the intercom system to be let in, wanted me to come down and open the door for him. When I insisted he use the intercom system he called the cops. I went down to talk to the officer. After the officer had settled everything and he’d gotten his headset back and left she turned to me and offered support and the number to a group that helps women dealing with abuse.

When the cops are called on you and they leave offering you help with filing a no contact order you know that you didn’t fail, you weren’t the reason your relationship didn’t work out, you don’t deserve to be spoken to or treated with such disrespect.

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Offputting

Ever heard of pheromones? Well they should not be dismissed lightly.

When you are exposed to the right ones they will absolutely impact your mood, thoughts and actions. Sometimes it can be difficult to separate your true feelings from a reaction to other people’s chemical offerings. One thing people shouldn’t do is try to use synthetic ones to manipulate other people.

I found out my ex has been using synthetic pheromones on me all last week trying to entice me back to him. He thought it was working (it wasn’t) and in the process I think he affected his own thoughts way more than mine.

By the end of this rather messy weekend I was downright uneasy being around him. He meanwhile has become even more convinced I am the love of his life. The more I pull away the tighter he clings. The tighter he clings the more I want to get away. He doesn’t see the error of his strategy. I just want to wash my hands of all of this and start over. No amount of pheromones will ever make me love him and that he’d try that on me just made me not want to even be friends with him. Why does everything have to be so damn complicated all the time!?

Killing Us Slowly

Our relationship eroded over time much like the arctic glaciers at the cruel hands of an indifferent humanity, and for similar reasons. Selfishness, fear, insecurity and denial slowly chipping away at the massive solid hunk of love that was the foundation of everything that bound us to one another. Melting away, adding some more, re-freezing, sometimes falling away in large chunks and repeating on and on until one day there was no more freezing and no more building back up and that was the beginning of the end.

We met in the spring of ’08 when I finally responded to his online message a day after he deleted his dating profile on the site we were both using. He got notified anyway and reactivated his account. We went on a date where (unknown to me) he laid his part of the foundation of our future relationship with falsehoods. I laid mine with honesty. We ate, we walked around, we held hands and made plans to see each other again. I thought he looked like one of my (female) cousins I wasn’t sure where things would go.

Several dates later we went to his family’s cabin for the weekend. I met his extended family, we went sailing, I fell in love with that place and asked him to be exclusive. He figured out why I had been feeling so weird, he tested my apartment and found a lot of mold there, hiding in the carpet they’d washed but never dried the morning I’d moved in. I stayed at his place while I fought against my apartment to get my unit cleaned or to be released from my lease. They refused to do either and won the court case even though I had ironclad evidence and they didn’t, the judge didn’t want to set a precedent. He was my rock through all of it, helping me, supporting me and loving me. I felt like I was home when I was with him.

The holidays were coming up, we’d been living together for many months and he started talking about what kind of houses we’d buy when we got married. The first couple times he brought it up I’d blow it off, we weren’t engaged so why talk about that. Eventually I got annoyed and asked him if he wanted to get married, he said yes, it was very anticlimactic as we sat in the car waiting to get tickets to a drive in movie. I told him he could resume talking about houses now. When I got back to our apartment I put on my grandmother’s engagement ring I’d inherited years ago. I guessed I was engaged, people seemed happy for me.

We planned our wedding for a year out, two of my friends got engaged around the same time, one of them had already taken the date I wanted so I moved mine up a week. I made him learn the flamenco and insisted we do our first dance to the song “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life” and he grudgingly agreed. The year leading up to our wedding was going smooth, then his cousin died unexpectedly right before my 26th birthday. He took it very hard, he started working more and I saw him less. I tried to talk to him about it and he told me not to worry and thanked me for loving him, he asked me to be patient and let him grieve. I did and the wedding date loomed closer.

The month before our wedding his uncle died and I found out he was smoking cigarettes again. He said he’d started up again to deal with the family deaths. He promised to quit before we got married. The day before our wedding I found out he owed 6 months in back rent from the time he’d been battling cancer (before I met him) and the landlord suddenly wanted the money asap or we’d be evicted. He didn’t have the money and I ended up having to pay it. I wasn’t happy about it but he’d let me live with him for the last 5 months of my lease without asking for any money so I tried to rationalize it, but it contradicted his previous assertion that he was financially responsible. I decided I would be in charge of the finances and prepared myself to say “I do” anyway, after all, I loved him.

…to be continued.

Just A Little Bit of Effort

“People do strange things when they’re judged all the time, instead of loved”

Humans are creatures of habit. Humans like to develop bad habits. Bad habits can lead to miserable lives and relationships. Once stuck in a revolving cycle to poor choices and unhelpful behavior it can be almost impossible to reassert kindness and healthy actions as the habit. Impossible, that is, unless people are willing to exert just a little bit of effort.

For years there has been a strain on one of my most important relationships. It wasn’t a strain I could fix on my own and I needed the other party to stop playing the blame game and start putting in just a little bit of effort to repair all the damage done by bad habits. Lately it seems that other person has decided I’m worth the effort after all and things have been awesome.

Suddenly conversations come easy, the company is desirable and anxiety is down significantly. It is amazing what that little change has created. It inspires me to do better. Healthy habits in others inspire healthy habits in yourself. Respect given is reciprocated. All is right with the world and your day opens up. I’m finding myself inspired and I haven’t felt that way in a long, long time.

A little bit of effort can make the biggest changes.

Unhappily Ever After

Relationships can be fickle things, the product of fickle people with uneducated and unrealistic ideas trying to merge their understanding of life with another person’s.

By the time you’re in your 20s you’ve probably learned to keep your guard up in pretty much every relationship you’re in, platonic or romantic. Knowing that every single relationship takes continual effort doesn’t ensure that the effort will be returned, or that the one day you’re just too tired or too overwhelmed to put forth that effort won’t be the day the other person is also too tired or too overwhelmed to be patient and understanding of your momentary showing of your humanity and flaws. It could stir up their own insecurities and in a split second words that can never be taken back escape from lips that don’t even understand why they’re saying them.

Decades long friendships have ended over simple misunderstandings. Marriages ruined over momentary slips in judgement made during weak moments filled with hurt feelings and (mis)notions of being unappreciated. Even professional relationships are terminated because the effort seems too great to expend anymore.

Every single person I know has watched in quiet (or loud indignity) as one of their relationships has burned up in flames. Many times they had no idea why things were suddenly over. Lack of communication, the bane of all relationships. With each ruined relationship the questioning of all your others becomes greater. Mistrust grows. The ability to ever feel safe in any relationship dwindles.

The whole idea of happily ever after is a complete myth. Books, television and movies lead the masses on a fool’s errand, searching for perfect family dynamics, friends forever and a Prince or Princess charming to sweep them off their feet. No one likes to talk about our ineptitude, our learning curves and our aptitude for self-destructive behavior. Psychology should be a mandatory class starting in 4th grade and being a continual requirement until graduation at least. Educate the population on their own motivations so they can learn to identify the basis for their actions and hopefully over time do better in general.

Happily ever after may be a myth but I’d hate to live in a world that only offers unhappily ever after.

The Secret To A Healthy Relationship

See me through lover’s eyes, not critic’s eyes.   Love me with a selfless heart, not a selfish heart.    Speak to me as you would a friend, not a student.    View our time together as something to look forward to, not as a chore to endure.    Do not dwell negatively on my imperfections but instead embrace them as endearing traits, proof that I am comfortable being myself in your presence.     Understand that your desire to “fix” me is nothing more than an indication of your own inner unhappiness.

Those who are content with themselves are free to give their love to others, those who don’t love themselves do not know how to love anyone else either.