Six years–or so–ago I went through as much crap one could possibly go through. I was at the whole “one step forward two steps back” point in my life. However, it was my fault. A series of decisions and miscalculations led me there. I just had to pull myself up by the bootstraps and deal with it, and it paid off. I was promoted at work. The second most important thing I wanted, in my life, was to be recognized for my hard work. This promotion didn’t happen by some freak happenstance. It was due to my clear-cut focus to the second most important thing in my life–work. Along with the promotion, I also received the salary that went along with being in the management élite. This was the second most important thing in my life.
The single most important thing in my life is love. Specifically, it is to be loved. Being able to get what you give. Funny how the single most important thing in life is always the hardest to achieve, but I digress.
I had a lot of work to do. After just a few months…I met a girl.
It was great, but aren’t all relationships great at first? We had everything in common, and all her little quirks were cute. We would spend hours, upon hours, upon hours, talking…and “other stuff”. We were very adventurous too! I wasn’t bothered that she lived fifty miles away from me–in a neighboring State. Life was good. I finally had something to look forward to after a hard days work. Man, could that woman cook. I could always count on a great meal sitting on the table when I went over her house. A nice house indeed. Her cooking was so much better than the microwave burritos I would eat on a daily basis. We would go out to dinner, play pool, go for long walks, golf…and “other stuff”. She was so good that I felt the need to tell everyone about her. Looking back now, I think I was acting like some virgin ninth grader. I didn’t care, and she didn’t either. Within a very short period of time she talked about marriage. Previously, the institution of marriage scared me. I witnessed my parents go through the most turbulent ups and downs of a relationship. A relationship that ultimately ended in divorce, and forced my mom to single-handedly raise three kids at the age of thirty years old. My mother had to give up her life for us. I wasn’t about to do that, but I did.
We agreed to get married.
I just looked at her and thought what a great life we’re going to have, but if I were only to have the same focus in my single most important thing in my life as I did in my second most important? I never would have committed to getting married. We never mapped out a plan. Who would move in with whom, finances, etc. I didn’t know her income, goals in life, pet peeves. I just knew she loved “other stuff”. Shortly after getting married things finally started to sink in. I was the one who had to move. After-all, It is not common for married couples to live in separate homes. It wasn’t a big deal. That long commute that I didn’t mind became a very expensive one due to the high gas prices. Driving one hundred miles a day five days a week in a V8 truck was becoming very, very expensive so that meant that I had to leave my job. I was faced with the decision to leave the second most important thing in my life. I was forced to throw away all the hard work that I put in. I was forced to throw all reason and logic out the window, and quit my job. I did, and I took a less paying job closer to my new home. I was doubling down on this investment I just made. Just putting my story in word form looks and sounds completely insane. I know that, but the things we do for love.
Every single decision that I made was for our marriage. More importantly, every decision I made was for her. I wanted to prove to her that I loved her, and I did. However, I didn’t take the time to know her. Things were good for a few months, but I went back to eating burritos. All the “other stuff” just turned into talk. Talk in the form of, “Why didn’t you take out the trash?” or “Do you have $20”. It didn’t stop there. It just went on, and on, and on, and on. I felt all alone, and that was the complete opposite of why I jumped so quickly into the relationship–to not feel alone. The spark was gone, and I was reminded of all the decisions that I made that lead me to this point. All of this, and it would’ve been alright if I had the perception that I was being loved. Sadly, I wasn’t. I just felt like I was her roommate. I was used. I would remember that peace and calm that I had when she wasn’t home. I recall my daily ride home from work the joy I would have when I didn’t see her car in the driveway when I got home. I felt alive! At the same time; I would feel a deep level of dissatisfaction when I did see her car in the driveway. I felt the need to put on my happy face. I would enter the residence prepared to ask the same old questions, “Hi! How was your day?” She was prepared too with, “Anybody piss you off at work today?” This went on for months. I think we both knew that we fell out of love. She decided to work a second job. I volunteered to take a road-job assignment two hundred miles away–for six months. Things were good, but eventually we had to face each other. We needed to decide where to go in our relationship, but it was hard. As difficult as this was; it was comfortable. We were both comfortable in our own misery. Don’t get me wrong–there were some good times.
I know that she was thinking I was not meeting her needs, as well as I knew she wasn’t meeting my needs. At the end of the day, I knew I had to leave, but I didn’t want to hurt her. She was hurt so much in life. Why add to her pain, but it was inevitable.
I was laid-off from my job. I ended up getting a better paying job, but that job totally sucked. Who would’ve thought that would be the perfect way to escape a miserable relationship. Apparently, my new job was so bad that it motivated me to look for another one. Another job that I was so fortunate enough to get fifty miles away from my home. Ironically, the new job was next door to my old job–the one with the promotion. I made that long commute for four months, because it was easier to do than tell her that I wanted to leave. I went back to my old apartment complex and filled out an application for an apartment. I was to pick up the keys after a week. That was one week I had to tell her. The clock was ticking. However, in this miraculous fate she suggested to me that I should get an apartment that was close to work. “We can see each other on the weekends”, she said. I think deep down we both knew that wasn’t going to happen.
It took me a while to get over what I just did to her–two days. I felt so alive. I was finally free to do what I want–when I want. I felt like I was getting back some semblance of my old life back. Funny, because I thought my old life was so lonely and not satisfying. Every decision and miscalculation has brought me to where I am today. I can live with that, and I would’ve been better off telling her I was miserable much earlier. I’m pretty sure she would have told me the same, and I can live with that.
I know it’s hard for people to leave a turbulent, yet comfortable, relationship. A relationship that relies on a one way form of love. A relationship in which one doesn’t get what they give. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t be that way, and it won’t be that way if you decide to focus on what you need. Not what the other person needs.
In the end, all one has is the person staring at them in the mirror.