Readers, I need some help. I’m gonna vent a little here, and perhaps you can commiserate with me, pat me on the back, or talk me down. I don’t know what I want from you, but I know I gotta puke this one out there for consumption, consideration, speculation and I guess, liberation.
Before I found myself happily ensconced in this unique relationship and family that is mine, I was nearly two years out of what was easily my most tumultuous relationship. For four years I kicked this dead horse, treading the same toxic, destructive path until my soul was worn bare, because I didn’t have the strength, the courage, and the self-love to admit that I was better off alone.
The guy I was with, and without, during that four-year period played me against his university love, a decade old, tumultuous relationship that reads like an Edwardian novel. A bad one, where everyone goes crazy and dies. Despite his protestations that this woman was sick, their relationship toxic, and their history a thing of the past, I discovered him embroiled in relations with her, on more than one occasion.
I met her, twice. The first time because I called her, to validate my suspicions. She did. The second time, after my relationship with this man had well and truly ended, she called me to relieve her suspicions. I did. She was beautiful. Incredibly beautiful. Like a heroine in a Gothic Edwardian novel. She was smart. She had sad, kind eyes. I felt sorry for her, and strangely protective. Weird, huh?
Fast forward to February of this year. I barely have contact with this ex any more. We no longer share custody of my beloved dog (really, in the end, the only thing he managed to truly take from me) and I live too far away to ever help him out with dog sitting. Yes, I did that. I thought “let’s let bygones” and “God, I love that dog” and so agreed to the odd summer weekend of dog care. I’ve got my own baby now, and things are wonderful in my world. My very close friend bumps into this guy and discovers he’s also going to be a dad. She tells me this news.
There’s always a funny moment when you realize a significant ex is going to pro-create with someone else. With this particular ex, it was a little bit more twangy because I miscarried our own unexpected pregnancy at seven weeks. This event really helped me shift away from that relationship as I realized how badly I wanted children, and how utterly disinterested he seemed in having kids. He was also horrific at taking care of anything that wasn’t the dog, including himself.
Here I was, with this information, and after the twang, I thought “Well, people change, right? Babies are a beautiful thing, and maybe he’s ready.”
I also wondered who he would mate with. His personal life was way off my radar, so I had really no idea. I assumed it was a new relationship. I guess I hoped for some forward progress, even though it’s ultimately none of my goddamned business.
I sent a note of congratulations after the arrival of the little one. It was sincere, because I know the joy and healing a child can bring. I still want to mean it, but now I feel ill.
Yesterday at a fluke media event that I was delighted to be invited to last-minute, I bumped into a very old friend of this ex. The new baby came up in conversation, and when this pal mused “… and who can believe who the mother is?” I felt the same kind of sickness I did when I realized he was cheating.
Why should I care after seven years and a whole new wonderful life of my own? I’ve been gumming on this since yesterday.
I guess it’s because I’m one of many innocent bystanders who have had their hearts and lives dragged under the bus by these two people as they try to sort their torrid shit out over a couple of decades. Why lie to yourselves, and worse, to so many other people, when you just keep going back for more? Why pull so many people, and their emotions, into your web of fucked-upness?
Why bring an innocent child into that web?
Okay, I can hear you now readers. C’mon, don’t be so judgmental and bitter. Maybe they’ve changed? Maybe they’ve worked their shit out. I hope so you guys, for that little baby’s sake, but in talking with his pal, it seems the nature of the relationship between these two adults is as sketchy and veiled in mystery as ever.
Let it go, you say? I’m trying. But I also reflect on how incredibly hard it is to raise kids, even in the most loving and supportive environments. I think of several people I know who would make brilliant parents, who want to make families, and who can’t. I think of what a gift it is to have children in your life, and how precious those little souls are. I just feel sick at the possibility that this innocent babe could be one more person to be manipulated and hurt by two people who really hurt me deeply.
Prove me wrong you guys, please. I hope to god you’ve finally accepted the fact that you love and want each other. Quit it with the Gothic torture and unrequited bullshit, if you haven’t already. Take care of yourselves and each other, and the precious gift that the universe granted you. Keep each other close, get a good therapist (I know a great one, btw) and keep other people out of your grand mess. It’s not romantic, it never was. It was sick, and hurtful to all parties involved.
You are both talented people who are capable of kindness. I hope that this child proves that you are worthy of love, and love for each other.
Okay, I already feel better. Thanks for listening, readers and friends.