Posted on May 15, 2010


“i can’t live without you.”

i heard those words so often during my 8 year relationship/marriage that all i could do was smile and feel the warm fuzzies, all along ignoring the glaring issue at hand…

“can’t”.  not “don’t want to”.

years of these words left me with a classic case of co-dependency.  i so needed someone to need me.  and he needed me.  he just didn’t want me.  or just me.

i remember sitting next to him a year before our divorce was final.  i told him i loved him.  that if we could make it work, we should make it work.  but i knew deep down that there was a huge difference between could and should.  and an even bigger difference from would.  and none of those were even close to being attainable.

i remember the conversation like it was yesterday.  i told him i knew he wanted a family – someone to come home to, a place to feel safe and loved.  but i also told him i knew he wanted that family to accept the fact that he wanted a separate life.  a single life.  he sat silently.  he denied nothing.  he admitted nothing.

though it took me quite a while to finally let go, i had to.  there was no way i could continue to accept the less than acceptable life i had so willingly accepted for so long.  it was wrong.  and damaging…


i met him when i was 19.

i wasn’t physically attracted to him.  his shirt was too big.  and slightly faded.  one of his shoes had a hole in it.  he had a weird beard.

our conversations were more than entertaining.  he made me laugh.  and i never looked at him the same way again.

the courtship was swift.  he said “i love you” first.  and after a few weeks, i had all but moved in with him.  the signs that should have surely driven me away, only served to pull me closer.

the cheating began within the first month.  i would notice strange noises in the background when he would call.  i would see familiar cars parked at his apartment.  i would catch him in lies – ones he still won’t admit to this day.  and worst of all, i would find hotel receipts strewn about the counter-tops.  was he trying to get caught?  b/c he always was.

my heart was invested at this point and the pain felt so much worse when i would leave.  so i stayed.  for over 8 years.  the cheating didn’t stop.  neither did my willingness to accept this as part of our relationship.

and then we split.  for almost a year.


we somehow made it back…

when we got engaged over five years later, he seemed different.  doting.  sweet.  affectionate.  nice.  at first it was scary, i got used to it.  we planned our wedding.  i got pregnant.  we got married.  i lost the baby.  i was devastated.  he seemed annoyed at my devastation.  he went so far as to spell out words like “baby” and “diaper” on the scrabble board just a day after my d&c.  my heart was broken.

when i got pregnant with silly monkey, i was over the moon.  he just seemed over it.  and moments after he told me to “shut up” during labor, on the day silly monkey was born, he barely cracked a smile.  i never looked at him the same way again.

two months later, he resumed his social activities – going out, staying out late, sometimes not coming home at all.  it was about this time that i found a letter he wrote to a girl.  he missed her.  wanted her.  thought only of her.  the letter wasn’t to me or about me.  when i confronted him, he semi-denied it – blaming it on alcohol consumption and begged me not to leave.  i called an attorney the next day, but i didn’t leave.


when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, i shelved my life.  she was terminal and i wanted her to have as much time as possible with my perfect newborn baby.  it seemed unfair to rant to her or complain to her or complicate her life.  so i didn’t.  it suddenly wasn’t about how i felt.  i was on hold.  part of me felt that this could bring us back together – if other couples defy tragedies and find each other again, why couldn’t we?  but we never did. during the most difficult time of my life, he chose to disappear.

i didn’t know him anymore.  worse, i didn’t know me.

a year later, we separated.  and it took two years for me to realize that i hadn’t married a man.  i had married a liar.  a cheater. a  coward.

and i thank him.  every day.


i spent over 8 years in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship with someone who i needed to need me.  but the most abusive part of that relationship was what i put myself through.  cuts and bruises fade.  words are forgotten.  but the wounds i felt deep inside, ones that aren’t visible to the eye, are the ones that stayed with me long after i grasped reality and strength.

people ask me all the time if i want to get married again.  the answer is simple:  absolutely.  marriage is important to me.  it means something to me.  but to make it work, it has to mean the same thing to both people.  temptation will follow you through your entire life, but when you commit to forever, it is your duty to resist that temptation.

the man i will spend my life with will know that i was hurt.  badly.  and he’ll be the man who could do just as much damage, if not more.  the difference, though, is he never will.

[see part one here]