Today on the blog we have a special post – a very personal story told by a brave man. It is a story that everyone should read regardless of your relationship status. The author has requested that he remain anonymous in order that family members be protected. It is not important who wrote it but rather what was written and so bravely shared with us here today…
Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was 2007, the day after Fathers Day. I woke up relieved. My girlfriend and I had broken up. A huge weight had been lifted off me. A burden had been removed – one that I had been too weak to push away…
I sat down at my computer and logged on to Facebook. The first message I received was from my fiancé telling me the wedding was off. She was done with my cheating ass.
You see, my girlfriend had written my fiancé and told her everything. That for 3 years I was two people. I had two women and two lives.
I was devastated, I had nothing to say. I had done it.
I could blame people, which once again would have been the easy way out. Who to blame?
My Fiancé? Sure we had drifted apart. Sure I was unhappy, but stepping out of our 10 plus year relationship was not the answer.
The other woman? Sure. But she was single and had adored me for years. Almost like a school yard crush. I’m not giving her a pass, but really I was the one who opened the door and allowed her into my relationship.
My friends? Peer pressure? They had told me not to do it. They warned me. They tried to guide me away, but at some point they accepted my situation. They knew I wasn’t going to listen.
It was all on me.
I remember people telling me “that you didn’t kill anyone” or “we are only human”. It was true and yes we are only human. For me, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the hurt I caused. I think for 3 years it felt like a movie where everyone was a character. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my situation was very real and my “me” actions had effect a lot of people.
My life or should I say lives had been turned upside down. My fiancé moved out. My girlfriend and I connected after everything settled down, but there was too much damage and too many bad memories.
I was alone and found myself in a dark place. I needed to recover. I needed to get help.
I went to therapy. I wanted to change. I hated who I had become over the last 3 years. The stink of being a Cheater was so strong. I had heard all the lines and at some point in my life, I’m pretty sure I had said them before too “Once a cheater, always a cheater”; “A leopard never loses its spots.” …on and on.
I knew deep down that this was not me. I hated myself. I didn’t feel worthy. I certainly didn’t feel like a man. My family offered me great support. My friends stood beside me. I was still small, weak and felt alone.
My therapy was huge. I knew what I had done wrong and I knew where I needed to change. I just needed an ear that wouldn’t judge, but that could confirm what I already knew.
One of the first things I learned in therapy was if you talked ill of your significant other, about the things that frustrated you in your relationship, you were opening the door for “outsiders”. It was an invitation for that person, if they wanted what someone else has, to try and take.
Somewhere in the relationship I stopped trying. At that point I should have left. I wasn’t committed. I wasn’t a man, but a scared boy – afraid of being alone.
We had disconnected. That was one thing I would share in all this.
Relationships are always a work in progress, because like anything else we require growth and movement.
For the next 5 months I dated. I tried my hand at online dating. I was meeting a lot of great women but I couldn’t get into it. Mental I wasn’t ready to move on. Inside I felt like I didn’t deserve to be happy – at least not yet…
January 2008, I connected with an old friend, Maria, (the story of how we meet up really is a good one, but that is for another time). We haven’t seen each other since our first year of university – 1989. She was coming out of a 10 plus year marriage and had 2 kids…and of course we know my situation.
We talked and decide to go out together one weekend. Now I wasn’t sure if it was a date or just old friends catching up. We had a blast that night. We got back to my place. Hugged and talked about doing it again. We really weren’t sure how we felt about each other. It was one night.
Like high school kids we stayed up talking when got she home. We both agreed our night was a success and we wanted to move our relationship forward. We didn’t live in the same city, so we emailed, talked on the phone for 2 weeks. She was easy-going and we could talk forever. Really she was looking for a way to fill her “every other weekend” off from her little ones.
Over the next 6 months Maria would always ask me what happen in my previous relationship. She couldn’t understand why my ex would leave me. I was such a good guy – caring, gentle and respectful. I wanted to come clean so many times. I had this struggle inside me. I knew letting her know my dark secret could change our relationship. How she looked at me. Not telling her though would leave me with that guilt.
In July of that year, Maria and I had been dating 6 months. I had met her family and she met mine. Her two daughters and I were hitting it off. Then one day on my way to work I saw my ex’s mom walking down the street. I don’t know what happen but it triggered something.
I cried the rest of the way to work
Mentally I hadn’t moved on. I had instead just tried to avoid the situation. After that moment I went into a state of depression.
One day I called Maria and told her we had to talk. I felt it was time she knew the real reason I didn’t get married. She left work and we drove to Niagara on the lake. I told her everything from my past – every dirty secret. I was scared because I didn’t know what her reaction would be. Deep down I though she will never trust me.
It was amazing how it felt to get it off my chest. She said she was going to take some time to process it. It wasn’t long before she said people make mistakes. I believe in you and love you.
I felt good. I still decide to go back to therapy… not sure why.I guess it was a safe place and to get some “outside the bubble” assurance.
I sent my ex an email. I needed to apologize. I know you are saying “Why now? Why after almost a year?” I think it was for closure. I wanted her to know that I was truly sorry and glad that she had met someone. Even though I had said sorry a million times after the breakup, saying it now had more meaning to me. I wanted her to know that a day didn’t go by where I didn’t feel horrible for my actions.
She wrote me back. I was scared to open the email. I really didn’t know how she would respond after almost a year. She was shocked to hear from me. She said she forgave me. Hated what I had done to her but she didn’t hate me.
A burden that had haunted me had been removed. I could finally move on. To this day my ex and I are friends.
Oct of 2010. Maria and I found ourselves down at City Hall getting married. It was one of the happiest days of my life. It was a big step for me, one that I was glad to embrace. December that same year our son arrived – the greatest day of my life. January of this year we closed on our first home together.
I love my wife. She took the time to let me grow but also pushed me to go after what I truly wanted – a family. I believe in fate. Since Maria and I have been together things have fallen into place for us.
My “WE” Section:
I always say “We own happiness”.
We respect each other, and we trust each other.
We don’t go to bed angry.
We embrace each other passion and loves.
We love to hear the other speak.
We can appreciate the beauty of others without being jealous because we know what we have.
We don’t allow for disconnect. Even if it’s just the two of us playing a word game on our Blackberrys, we always stay as “one.”
We never forget our bedroom 😉
Relationships are always a work in progress. I’ve learned to never take anything for granted. Every moment should be captured! Every second of life embraced.
My wife would be the first to tell you she is not perfect. I would be the first to tell you she is perfect for me and that’s all that matters.