I wasn’t looking, but I found you. We were both involved with other people when we first met and it was like fate stepped in on our behalf and had them leave us. Neither you or I could understand why they decided to let us go, but as I look back on it now I am so happy they did. Sure, it hurt at first and then it was as if they were mere stepping stones to our finding eachother.
Somehow I think I must have known you’d be the one my heart needed because for the first time, I was afraid of how I felt. You had asked if you could come up the following weekend and without hesitation I had agreed: the kids would be at their dads and I really wanted to find where this was going. While waiting for you, something happened that never had with anyone else: I paced the floor; was very nervous; wondered why you would drive 7 hours just to see me; questioned what the heck was happening to me and demanded from myself why I agreed to this. Shortly before you arrived, near midnight, it dawned on me that for the first time in my life, I was actually in love. That imaginary, faceless person that I saw in my mind all of my life as my perfect match now held the image of you. It totally scared me!
There you are, knocking on my door and I think I did a pretty great job of hiding how I felt. I needed more time to digest this new set of feelings. Sitting on the sofa watching television as we held hands and talked about things, something else started to happen. All the walls of self-defense that had built up during my previous marriage and even earlier datng experiences started to crumble. That scared me even more as they were my security blanket against those that would hurt me. It’s as if my inner self knew you, knew that I was finally safe after all the years I believed I didn’t think I would be.
I have had a happy life with you. For the past 12 years I have known that I am loved. Not just by anyone, but by the only one that could. I have known a peace that I’d only read about in dime store novels. I’ve never doubted your love for me, never had a moment where I thought you would be just like all the others and cheat on me. I’ve only ever felt at home with you, even now when time has brought us to this point of where although we love eachother very much, we rarely sit together on the sofa holding hands. I know you will forever be there for me as I will be for you no matter what.
I love you. Three words that without that certain feeling one gets when they say them, are just three words strung together. We never end a phone call without saying them, we never leave eachothers company without saying them and topping off with a little kiss. I still get goose bumps each time. Sometimes, you pop into my mind and I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have this life with you. Not that we have great wealth or possessions, we have something not many have no matter how hard they search for it: Being given the true gift of love by that one person we know could never, would never hurt us; knowing we are eachother’s reward for having made it through past realtionships that should have left us cold towards the thought of ever being close enough to someone else to allow for pain.
I know I would be alone without having found you. I know I would not have ever known this happiness without having found you. I know I would have never known what love could be without having found you. I am blessed and rich in all the ways that matter because of you.
I love you WBSdM
It was Christmas Eve, 1994. My then husband had informed me earlier in the day that I didn’t deserve to spend Christmas Eve with his family and there was no way he was allowing me to go. We were in one of our worst times together, he being angry all the time and my continuing to allow his treatment of me had me on the edge of a precipice I wasn’t sure I wanted to back away from. As the day wore on, my mind went places it hadn’t gone before. I’d tell myself, “He’s right, I don’t deserve anything; I am nothing; I shouldn’t exist”. Time seemed to crawl slow, almost to the point of standing still that day, and as each minute went by, I became more and more determine to show him just what he’d done to me.
As I was getting the children ready to go with their dad to his family’s Christmas Eve, I remember hugging each one of them intently; not wanting to let go as if I needed them to keep me from myself. I didn’t cry, just hugged them and told them I loved them very much.
After they had pulled down the road and out of sight, I cracked open the first of many beers that night. I wasn’t a big drinker, so it didn’t take long for me to start feeling the effects of it. When I finished about a six pack of beer I started on the vodka. When I thought I was almost where I couldn’t stand up, I went to the medicine cabinet and pulled out every drug we had in there and proceeded to take them all. I lay down on what was being used as my bed (blankets on the floor) and believe it or not, I felt happy for the first time in a very long time – I wouldn’t be in any mental or emotional pain anymore! Just knowing that all of it would be over let me close my eyes to wait it out feeling peaceful.
My lowest point happened when I woke up, after taking all that in, I woke up and didn’t feel anything at all. Not hung over, not sick, not love, not hate, not even indifference. I did not feel anything at all accept numb. I wanted to prevent my kids from seeing me this way, but I failed. I wanted them to grow up in a loving home but I’d failed at that. I’d wanted to be a better mom than my own was but I’d failed at that as well. I wanted him to come home and see what he’d pushed me to, but I’d failed at that – he didn’t even believe I’d tried it. My depression went further south over failing at yet another thing: suicide.
I spent months in a depressed state. The photographs of that time show a person who is physically there but emotionally empty. I tried very hard not to let the kids see how bad it had gotten for me, I played games with them, read them stories, made sure their meals were always good and ready at the right times. For the most part, I think I covered pretty well on the day to day basis, but the photos tell the true story. One day I was playing with the kids, with my happy face on, when my middle one told me she thought I was the best mom in the world because I would always play games with her. I truly wanted to feel something huge by what she said but I could only manage a slight twinge of guilt and give her a hug.
It was a few days later, reflecting on what she had said that I started to actually feel again. My baby loved me despite me. She couldn’t see the negative about me and I had to go into the bathroom and run the tub so none of them would hear me cry. When you’re depressed, you don’t cry. I hadn’t cried in months because I couldn’t feel. Running the tub turned into taking a shower to better drowned out the sound of my crying. The very next morning is when I literally woke up and saw that I deserved better for me and my kids. They saved me from me and I had to do far better by them.
Happy re-Birthday to me.
ask Bette by clicking on the ling on my About page
I wasn’t the type to do that, as a rule. When my marriage broke apart, I was essentially a single parent. Sure, their dad would take them on some weekends and paid a pittance in child support until I sought the services of Family Court, but I was the one who fed, clothed, bathed, and read to them at night. I could only work part time hours because of the cost of a babysitter – how was I going to manage bills and kids?
I must say, it wasn’t easy at all. The child support I managed to get went towards whatever it could cover for rent and utilities. I was able to make enough in tips to cover the rest of those bills, food, and a babysitter for when the kids weren’t with their dad. I did make a personal rule that all change I received would be put in an old coffee can and used to have fun with the kids. It would be once or twice a month, but those were the best times for us together!
My husband, we were not divorced yet, was supposed to keep up the auto insurance on the car I was driving through the final divorce decree. He, however, decided to cancel it when the policy came due in December (we were not officially divorced until March the next year). My lawyer did nothing about this, so I was screwed on how to get to work. Fortunately for me, I had some great friends: two of them would alternate days on taking me to and picking me up from work! They also took me and the kids to doctor appointments, to the grocery store – where ever we needed to be, they were there for us. (Later, a man I dated who lost his license let me use his vehicle).
Being an independent person, I didn’t ask them for help. Instead, they told me I was taking it from them or else. One of them talked to me very straight forwardly about how everyone has a time in their life where they must remember what real friendship means: giving help and knowing when to ask for it. I learned a lot about how he viewed our friendship that day and I’ve never forgotten when to ask. When I needed a place to stay during the custody arguments, all I had to do was ask and I didn’t have to worry about a motel bill.
When I started dating my current husband, I was using someone else’s vehicle and I felt bad about it because we had ended our relationship. Friendly, but it was still over. I had no way to get a car, but I was determined to find my own way. I gave myself two weeks to come up with an alternative. My boyfriend had made plans to come up that second weekend and I was excited about spending time with him. He said he was bringing a surprise for me, and I was getting anxious to see what it was. When he arrived, he said I could have the surprise the following day, and I was so glad just to see him that I didn’t care about any surprise.
The next morning, we were leaving for breakfast but I couldn’t find his car. He led me around the building to a back parking lot and headed towards a yellow car. He tossed me the keys and said to get in and take us somewhere – he had given me a car! It wasn’t the grandest thing in the world, but it was priceless to me. It wasn’t just the car he gave, he also paid for the registration, inspection and roughly three weeks of gas. I never expected any of it, and he never gave any clue. I knew then what his intentions were towards me and my children; he may not have been ready to vocalize them, but he sure knew how to show them. I didn’t just have someone to love and who loved me, I had a real and true friend. Funny how things can work out when you are so used to being disappointed by life.
I am still a very independent person only now I know when to ask for help when I need it. Your friends are your support system when you’ve no family around. They are there to wipe the tears, share the laughs, and help pick you up when you fall. It’s great to be self sufficient, strong, and determined but those traits alone will not provide a needed shoulder or hug when you feel life has hit you hard. It wasn’t a fun lesson to learn, but I am so glad I did.
ask Dear Bette by clicking the link in my About page.
When a separation happens, be it through a break up, divorce, or a spouse passing on, you may have certain feelings rise up that leave you wondering “why bother trying again”. That’s expected and certainly acceptable. If there were issues that now have no opportunity for resolution, you may be angry and close yourself off to the prospects of a new relationship either as a self defense mechanism or just because you are tired of looking for the next ‘right one’.
Personal experience gives me insight on this very topic. When I was going through my divorce, I was known as the Freezer Queen until I had met some new friends and began going out with them. I met even more new people and after several months, I met someone I allowed myself to get close to. I call him Interim Man. He was so nice and respectful, loved playing with my kids and just spending time together. Until he lost his license after getting a DUI and started drinking in front of my kids. Let’s just say that Interim Man was just that.
I was still seeing him when I met someone while at work. Interim and I were fading into oblivion and we both were okay with that, so it was no surprise when I told him that I couldn’t allow him to be around my kid anymore due to his drinking. Fortunately, he let me use his vehicle so I could get back and forth to work. He really was a nice guy.
Anyway, I was a waitress in a truck stop and this man comes in, sits in my station and orders coffee. We strike up light conversation, no big deal. He comes in a few times a week, sometimes alone and other times he meets up with other truck drivers – he always sat in my station and our chats became pretty fun. I remember waiting one week to see him through the glass that looks into the hallway all drivers have to walk down to get to the restaurant, and he never came in. I realized that I was missing him and I couldn’t understand why. Somehow, I would feel unbelievably happy when I would see him through the glass or feel so sad when I thought he would be coming in and he didn’t. What was going on?
One day, my son wanted to see where I worked and as I was off that day, I decided to take him out for lunch. My girls were in school so I had nothing to worry about and off we went. As he and I are sitting there having a sandwich, in walks the driver I thought I would see in two days. I invited him to join us and because he agreed, my life has turned out great.
We began a long distance relationship that day with our dates consisting of his coming home with me when he was in town. He’d sleep on the sofa while I fixed dinner for the kids and oh how they would laugh as he snored really loudly! When he’d wake up a little while later, he played games with the kids, watch cartoons with them, too. We’d talk about all kinds of things, learning all we could about each other.
One Tuesday, he asked if he could come up that weekend since the kids would be with their dad. So, I see him that Thursday which meant he’d get home mid day on Friday. He took a shower, made a few sandwiches and a thermos of coffee, get in his car and drive 8 hours just to see me! As I waited for him to arrive that night, I found myself very nervous, questioning what I was feeling – this is something I’d never experienced before, even with my ex husband. I was a wreck! Shortly before he did arrive, I realized what was going on: I was falling in love. I was dumbfounded, in shock even. If this is what it feels like to fall in love what was every other relationship I’d had that I believed I loved someone?
I wasn’t looking for someone new, and when I met this person he was seeing someone else, too. His ended when she broke it off on Christmas Eve.
I remember the first time he told me he loved me. His divorce had been going on for a few years and one day he called me to tell me that he finally got the papers in the mail and he really wished he could have told me in person. The date was February 12th. I was going to be seeing him in three days, so although I was happy for him, celebrating could easily wait a few more days. February 15th he came home with me from the restaurant and I could tell he was a little different. I made dinner and fed the kids, but he didn’t take a nap. Something was definitely up. We’re sitting at the kitchen table, kids running amok and having fun. He pulled my chair around so I was directly in front of him and he said (yes, I remember every single word almost 12 years later): “Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I had to wait until my divorce was final. I’ve wanted to say this to you, but I was still legally tied to someone else. I love you. I can’t believe it, but I love you very much. I know my divorce was a mess, but I feel God let me find you as a reward for still believing in love at all.” My oldest stopped dead in her tracks with a huge smile on her face and commented “I knew that, what took you so long?” (she didn’t hear the entire thing…).
See, when your life takes a turn that you feel has you closed off and shuts you down emotionally; when you least expect it, something worth waiting for can happen that will change you forever.
Ask Dear Bette by clicking the link on my About page.
Let me tell you about my major break-up and how I managed to move on from it.
My ex-husband and I tried just about our entire relationship to make it work as best we knew how. His version and mine on how to do this differed more than you might imagine – he thought cheating on me was a good idea, and I didn’t. I wanted to keep the marriage going because I had my three kids with him and I didn’t want them to experience a childhood without their dad as I had. Growing up without any involvement from my dad (his choice) always had me feeling I wasn’t worth it.
I gave it several attempts to get past what he’d done, but I just couldn’t do it. We’d split a few times only to get back together to see if this time we could make it. Not long after he would move back in, he’d go back to treating me the way he had before, and this last had to be the last time. The last time he moved out ended up being the best day of my life.
I had been in a major funk: I had no friends my that husband would allow me to see because they were guys. All but one of my best friends are men, always has been that way. No funny business ever, just friends. Anyway, I literally woke up one day thinking there had to be more to my life than feeling worthless and holding no value. My kids needed me and I needed them more. I knew I’d been slacking as a mom but I couldn’t seem to help myself. The good news is that I woke up morning. There must have been something wicked in that coffee because I had a new focus: Finding me.
I went out and got my old job back and got off welfare. The kids’ dad would take them on Friday’s before my shift and I’d pick them up Sunday after my shift. I put in a full week of waiting tables from Friday 3 pm to Sunday 9 pm so I wouldn’t have to pay a sitter. That left me Monday through Thursday to be nothing but mom.
Getting involved with someone new was not on my agenda, I was becoming known as the Freezer Queen at work. When I moved into a new place, it was a new beginning and I took full advantage of it. I made new friends and went out when the kids were at their dads. I needed to get back to me and even though my kids were my reason for the start back to life, without people my own age to converse with I was without another factor I had to have. People in your life are essential to living. You need them as much as they need you, whether you know it or not.
Your relationship may be over, but you are not. Find one thing about yourself that you can hold onto to help you pull yourself up and begin again. It can be the smallest thing but end up being your life saver.
Ask Dear Bette by clicking the link in my About page.