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.
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.