Context, Part I.

Without trying to wax poetic about the trials and tribulations that frame why I feel the way I do about things like love, commitment, betrayal, loyalty, etc., I think it’s necessary to provide the abridged version of my pertinent relationship history.

I’ve never been much of a dater, per se. Most of my adult life has consisted of fairly long term relationships — albeit relationships that have ended in problematic ways, really never providing the closure my heart has needed to feel resolute. Also, if I am being honest, ways that have left me feeling inadequate. But, I digress.

My first long term relationship was with a guy I met when I was in high school. We were “together” (the term is used very loosely) for 10 years (from ages 17 to 27 — so essentially the formative years of young adulthood). We were young, dumb, naive and lacking in life experience.

It was a nice relationship, for the most part; but, being real, it also involved lying, cheating, sneakiness, mind games, body shaming (and a host of other problematic things). As this was my first real relationship, it laid a foundation for some of my habits and ways of relating to men in romantic relationships. It demonstrated that men are cheaters, men are liars, and men will wander if you don’t look perfect (in their eyes).

Of course, what I describe is extreme, and certainly isn’t a reflection of this man’s entire character, but it was significant in shaping my experiences with him. We were both young, which explains a lot. However, this relationship set a problematic precedent.

Digressing a bit, I have the most wonderful father in the world. He is the representation of what a real man is. It is baffling, to me, why I would allow myself to get wrapped up in some of the stickiness that I have. Perhaps it speaks to my insecurities — the ridiculous idea that no man could ever measure up to my father. Or maybe it was my youth.

Without getting into the gritty details, we’ll just say that the relationship’s finale reads as a corny, cliché movie.

Towards the end of our relationship, (a time during which I lived in his condo — talk about power dynamics) he cheated on me with someone I was acquainted with (we were not friends, but I am certain she knew we were together, or at the very least cohabiting). She owed me no allegiance, so I have no truly ill will towards her (petty, but nothing serious). I am generally not the type of woman to blame the other woman for my man’s betrayal (for the most part).

That said, I am a believer (based on experience) that how you get him is how you lose him. Or, at the very least, the Universe does not look favorably on intentions that slight others in sinister ways. The Universe doesn’t always administer justice in the ways that we want, but justice (or karma) is always served one way or another — it’s usually innocuous. That said, this particular ex-boyfriend (to be clear, this is not THE ex that I frequently mention in this blog), ended up marrying the woman he cheated on me with. Years later, I harbor no resentment towards him — we’re actually on friendly terms. As far as his wife is concerned, the knowledge of what she did to snatch him up, and the implications it had on my life (and what it set into motion), is something that she has (or has had) to reconcile spiritually and karmically (is that a word?). It has no bearing on me. I made peace with that a long time ago. Having said that, it doesn’t make recalling the events sting any less, but it’s a part of my story. Sidenote: To be clear, karmic justice has been served in that situation (justice that will not be discussed here), and I will leave it at that.

“All we have… is all of these years…” – Nina Mosley, “Love Jones | © 1997 New Line Cinemas — Dir. Theodore Witcher

If I am being perfectly honest with myself, our relationship had really run its course long before it ended. We had outgrown each other. It was comfort, time, and security that truly bound us together. That doesn’t excuse the way I was treated, but it needs to be said.

Here’s the bottom line, though. My first true relationship ended in a way that was centered on dishonesty and betrayal. My next relationship centers on betrayal in much the same way — from both of us. The details are just a bit messier. And over three years later, are still triggers.

 

REWIND: Karma’s Revenge, Part I.

I originally wrote this a little over two years ago (though never sharing it publicly) — shortly after finding out about my friend’s betrayal. I realize that my blog posts may seem a bit like a stream of consciousness; but, I assure you, as I tell the story (throughout my next few posts), it will begin to make more sense. Or at least I hope it does.

I have no idea what my problem is. I asked for it (so to speak), and now I’m dealing with the consequences.

After much picking, prodding and fishing, my FWB finally admitted to sleeping with my ex-friend (initially, he claimed she only gave him oral sex – I didn’t really believe that, but quite honestly, it’s all the same to me). Those of you who read my blog can clearly see that this man is no prize, but I can’t help but feel betrayed — all around.

Additionally, if you read my blog, you’ve seen that I knew that my (former) friend lied about communicating with him, but it wasn’t until he admitted it that I had confirmation that they had sex (I figured as much, but I can’t go around accusing people without having facts and receipts to back me up). But now knowing the full story, I cussed him out, of course (though, he blamed me — like the sociopath that he is — claiming that all I treated him like was “a piece of meat”). I am not even going to dignify his weak attempt at projection with a response.

All of this said, I walked on eggshells about accusing my (former) friend of anything save lying to me (which really is enough); however, being armed with facts, I let her have it (via voicemail & text, since she didn’t answer my calls). I was not nice. Friendship notwithstanding, talk about sloppy seconds.

I cooled down a bit, and thought that a good night’s sleep (after several shots of bourbon) would help, but it didn’t. True, I woke up feeling a little less violent than I was feeling when I went to bed, but…

I keep having to remind myself that my FWB was just that. And my “friend”; well, with friends like that, who needs enemies?

images
And to say that God was looking out for me would be an understatement (as you’ll soon read).

I am devious when I’m angry. I was telling my sister about my evil revenge plans, and she told me to let it go and let karma run its course. She’s right, but that is not easy (in hindsight, I should have wholeheartedly trusted the Universe’s divine sense of justice).

So, here i am, pissed and powerless. My ex-boyfriend always used to tell me: “Life will show you better than I can tell you”. This is true for everyone and every circumstance.

But let me tell you – it’s sobering to make peace with the fact that I may never see karma’s revenge. And it sucks.

REWIND: Not a Love Thing.

This was written two and a half years ago about my FWB (before the drama with him smashing my friend). Re-reading this really shows me how starved for attention I was. Or, perhaps, how emotionally twisted I was after the number my ex did on me. FWB was the first person I “let in” after my ex — plus, as was said in my favorite movie, “Love Jones”, “This ain’t no love thing; we’re just kickin’ it.”

“This ain’t no love thing; we’re just kickin’ it.” – Darius Lovehall, “Love Jones” | © 1997 New Line Cinemas

There are many reasons why my “FWB” is no good for me.

I am more than willing to put the 10+ years he spent in prison behind him – he paid his debt to society, and I am not a judgmental person. However, he is only 36. He’s been “out” for a little less than a year, but I believe that the 10 years “away” has invariably left him in a limbo state of grown childhood. I’m no psychologist, but there has to be something to this.

He has 7 kids with 5 different women. His youngest are 12 and oldest is 20 or 21. He was a busy (and sexually irresponsible) man for most of his life. I have no children (on purpose). But, it’s obvious, based on little comments he makes (that I ignore) about me having his baby, that he’d be happy to “trap” me, and that’s never a good sign. I’m not with it.

He’s married. He and his wife have not been in a real relationship since he’s been out, but, uh, yeah (I didn’t know he was married when we first hooked up). Neither of them supposedly have the money to file for divorce. Whatever.

His “wife” is nuts. Seriously. Though she is in a new relationship, she has told him that she’d rather see him “dead or in jail” than happy. So, living 40 minutes away is likely a good (safe) thing for me.

I am a PhD candidate, and he has no concept of what a PhD really is. In the past, he’s referred to my dissertation as “that thing”. Hear me out, I am the least pretentious person in the world, and I have never required that my partners be as “educated” as me, but…that thing? C’mon, dude.

He’s not curious about my book collection. Okay, this may not sound like a big deal, but it kind of is…to me. I have two, packed full, tall book cases (with mainly non-fiction cultural studies stuff), and NOT once has he perused my collection – even out of curiosity. I once joked that anyone who steps into my space, and doesn’t at least browse my books is…no good. Things aren’t looking good for him.

He was (admittedly) physically abusive to his wife.

He’s possessive.

Enough said.

So why am I hung up on this guy? I don’t get it, and it’s really fucking with me.

tumblr_namhul1pdb1s7lveco1_500
“You always want what you want when you want it. Why is everything so urgent with you?” – Nina Mosley, “Love Jones” | © 1997 New Line Cinemas

My sister says that this situation with him may be the universe’s way of showing me that I’ve “moved on” a bit from my ex and/or I’m ready to open myself up emotionally to someone else. Who knows.

I’m a very witty, intelligent, attractive, never married and educated woman with no kids. I’m a catch, and I deserve better than him.

Let me keep repeating that mantra.

 

No Explanation Necessary.

This popped into my head the other day. I’m not sure what sparked the memory, but it really has me thinking and reflecting on life, relationships, self-worth — deep stuff, basically.

About a year and a half ago, I had a long phone conversion with my ex (not the jerk, “FWB” that I’ve been writing about, but a genuine ex). I vented about the aimlessness that characterized my love life (I use that phrase loosely — facetiously, actually). Despite what he did to me (I’m not sure if I’ll write about it here, but it was heart breaking, foul, shady — just all around wrong), I’m in a relatively better place now, and I still value his insight. He may have hurt me, but he’s one of the wisest people I know.

In any case.

We had a long talk about my life, and I ended up telling him about the assorted, not so good, shenanigans that cluttered my world. Without being judgy, he offered the following thoughts:

1. He likened me offering myself too easily & giving too much information to insignificant men to a library book. He asked, “Wouldn’t you prefer to be a rare book in someone’s private collection, rather than a beat up library book from which people can read the introduction and skip right to the end? Your story is too valuable for that. You’re classic, rare and exclusive; not a library book that the public can check out, a book that might end up in someone’s trunk, and not returned on time, or ever.”

Now, I know what you may be thinking — there is an air of hotep in that sentiment; but, I assure you, respectability politics is not what framed his analogy. I honestly feel like it was a suggestion to reflect on how I value myself.

2. My ex used to watch “Sex and the City” with me. In one episode, Samantha was interviewing with Richard Wright about doing PR for his luxury hotels. In any case, Richard looked at her resume and said, “This is all fluff. It’s nothing but parties and social events.” He reminded me of that episode and using that as an analogy, asked if any of the men I’m dealing with are worthy enough to be put on my (hypothetical) resume, or to serve as references (for anything significant or real). Obviously, the answer is no. They’re all essentially… fluff (or at least our relationships are).

3. And finally, I reminded him how passive aggressive image21& non-confrontational I am, and whined that I didn’t know how to end things with certain people. He offered me the best gem of this conversation. He said, “You don’t owe anyone anything. Does a dope fiend owe the dope dealer an explanation for not buying his product anymore? All he offered you was (XYZ), and it’s doing you no good. You don’t owe him shit.”

Touché.

So…in effort to (in the words of Iyanla Vanzant) do the work — my work, I stopped responding to the assorted, random “WYD” (etc.) texts from my fluff. It may not seem like much, but it was a start. Trust me, it didn’t eliminate anything, but it was a needed pause.

And a gentle reminder that reinventing my reality is possible whenever I choose.

“It ain’t nothing to find no starting place in the world. You start from where you find yourself.”
– August Wilson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone