It all started a week or so ago. First one old friend, then another, both men I completely respect and trust, told me they’d loved me for years. These are guys who are both super-intelligent and very thoughtful, and both have been good friends to me in my life, the kind of people you never forget, even if you lose touch with them.
So it made me feel pretty good, I mean, who wouldn’t? Now, for the past couple of years, I’ve been struggling professionally. Prior to that I closed the business that had been mine for ten years, that had been my father’s before me. The economy was too much to overcome. So after taking a couple of months off to relax for the first time since I’d had kids and started running my own business, I started looking for work. I took on freelance jobs, doing well at what I did. But between the economy and the flakiness of freelance work, it’s been a struggle. After two years of freelancing, direct sales, odd jobs, etc, I’m ready for a full-time, benefits and regular time off job. But with the economy still being what it is, and being in an area that is employment-challenged unless you work in the service industry (which would be fine if it were not for the issue of nights and weekends and childcare), it’s hard. So I’ve been struggling.
Two years of struggling, coming off of two years of a tumultuous, heart-breaking, abusive marriage, can seriously affect your self-esteem/confidence/self-worth. Mine had taken a beating, and while I still have always believed in myself and had faith that I would land on my feet and things would work out, it’s still been tough, emotionally.
Then comes this morning. I met a new friend for breakfast after getting the kids off to school. We are working together on a project and wanted to meet to talk about it. Of course, most of the hours we spent together were chatting and getting to know each other, as we didn’t really know each other before today. One of the first things she said to me was, “You were married to John XYZ, right?” Immediately, as is my custom now, I say yes, I was married to him for 2 1/2 months before I kicked him out. Well, it turns out she knew him when he was a nice guy, when I met him. Then she said, “He loved you so much.” I almost started crying. You see, all I ever hear now is how could you have married him, what kind of idiot are you that you married a guy like that. But when I met him, he wasn’t like that. He was nice and fun and funny. He was smart and made me feel good about myself. I started seeing him, thinking he was just going to be a fun summer romance. But he quickly became my best friend, and I was his. He treated me better than any guy had ever treated me (overall, for the most part, not all of the time, he also hurt me sometimes, not physically, but hurt me nonetheless).
So when my new friend talked to him years ago, after he’d been in a bad car accident, he apparently had sung my praises, saying I had saved his life. And she said he loved me completely. I needed that. I needed so badly to hear that from someone, but I didn’t know I needed to hear that. You see, things deteriorated between us and he became very emotionally abusive. He had a lot of demons and was an alcoholic – drunk 24/7, literally. Somewhere in there I went from being his best friend and the love of his life to someone he didn’t fully trust anymore because of his own issues. And he took it out on me. And in the blindness of my love for him, I continued to believe I could save him and still married him, although I knew by that time that I shouldn’t.
Since then, I’ve questioned whether he ever loved me. Whether the early caring and love and friendship and passion had just been a ploy to win my confidence and my love. And I was told that by so very many people, including law enforcement, that he had used me, had been trying to get at the inheritance he thought was so big, which really wasn’t. I knew his finances, he trusted me with them. His net worth far outweighed mine at that point, before the bad choices he made contributed to all of his problems.
As a result, I’ve been reluctant to trust my heart anymore, to enter into any relationships for fear of being used, or abused, or played a fool, or hurt. The one man I was interested in since him didn’t share my affection, which was fine. I had decided I would stay single until my kids were grown, it was easier that way. But that one simple sentence, spoken with such belief, “He loved you so much,” seemed to open my heart along with my tear ducts.
So it hit me as I was driving home from breakfast that this was another in a string of messages from the universe. And now I’ve heard it loud and clear. Watch out life, here I come!
Live, love, laugh…it makes it all worthwhile!