I've long been aware that people can be difficult to comprehend sometimes. I guess I feel like I've just had more than my fair share of difficult in the past couple of weeks. I've run the gauntlet of advice right down to people telling me how I should behave, when I should be "over it", and even defining the whole relationship for me. And as much as I understand that some of the advice was coming from well meaning people who could only see the devastated side of me, no-one but he and I really know exactly all the details involved and so some of the judgement and criticism that was dealt out ended up being very painful instead of healing.
That said, I don't understand how someone can be truly commited to making their marriage work when they continue to fall into the arms of another after the decision has been made. It was almost as painful listening to the comments such as "I know I'm probably doing the wrong thing but...." - "I know I'm an idiot.... but" and as much as I would have liked to spend his last couple of weeks in town as his friend, it seems the line in the sand was a little blurry and to save my own sanity I had to call a halt.
Picture if you will, 17 year old "boy" meets 27 year old woman (already been married, had a child - not to the husband but to one of the other 40 men she had slept with) they get married - boys parents refuse to go to wedding. Boy is a father at 19. Ongoing joke through 30 years of marriage is get them young and train them the way you want them. Woman trains boy very well. Woman is now 60, grossly overweight, no front teeth, diabetic, dyslexic, doesn't drive, often doesn't shower for days, hasn't worked in years, despite being at home ALL day keeps house like a pigsty (and I don't mean just untidy - I mean floor looks like it hasn't been swept in a year, cutlery/empty drink bottles/paper/clothing/dirt/ all just covering the floor, you have to wash a cup to offer someone a coffee, filthy benches, crap everywhere, not a chair to sit on without having to move a whole pile of stuff first). Woman has an affair 10 years ago with husband's best friend.... Husband comes home from work and often has to cook dinner finding her still in bed where he left her that morning. Husband almost dies in a car accident and greeting after not knowing for 4 hours what the outcome was is "You must have been speeding..." There's no hug, there's no "Are You OK" - there's just blame. There is no effort to encourage the things in which his passion lies or to fulfill his needs. There is only selfishness for herself and what affects her. Despite all this he chooses to stay because he says he realises, after 4 hour talk and admitting to affair with me, that he loves her, to which I say is his loss but in fairness I did in the end force him to make a decision he wasn't ready to make because I pulled the pin and said I wasn't waiting any more. He says there have only been 2 women he's ever had relationships with in his lifetime, she and I, and also says at one point that he's not even sure what love is. I can imagine - life without perspective must leave you with a very biased opinion on just about everything. Here is the best bit from "my" perspective. She says to me "Give it up Maree. It's never going to happen between you and he. I've invested 33 years in this man and he's not leaving. I need him here. I have the measure of the man, I know what makes him tick, I have him right where I want him, and he's not going anywhere". Ummmm is this a husband/partner we are talking about or a superannuation policy????? And the most amusing comment that was relayed to me from him later was that she had said she was actually astounded he had thought seriously about leaving her, No One had ever left her before, she had always been the one who left them...... Well how inconsiderate of him..... good grief!
A jolt is only going to change things for a matter of months or weeks, and the fact that he can't stay away from me is going to prove interesting when he's living in another city and has no choice. Whatever the outcome for him, I need to move on to other priorities in my life that have surfaced and as much as it is a time when I know I'm going to need support, I don't need it from him if it's going to be interlaced with confusion and a very unhealthy relationship (his - not mine). And the more I think about how a year down the track he's going to be exactly where he was when I first met him, the more it makes me angry and disappointed all at once that some people just don't see the forest for the trees.
Do I regret the past year? Not for a second. This relationship has raised the bar in terms of my expectations. I don't want to settle for the sort of crap I've put up with in past relationships. I see how wonderful it is to have someone who makes you feel confident and special about yourself, who encourages your hobbies and interests instead of making you feel like they are a waste of time, who is articulate and interesting, who makes you laugh and makes you feel like you are loved and desired, and above all who treats you like you are the most special person on the face of the planet. And damn it - the sex was sensational as well.... Regret it no, miss it - like all hell, but absolutely no regrets at all.
If there were to be any regrets, it's that along the path of this journey I have seen a rotation of friends. While I appear to have lost one or two, I have also gained others. I guess it's true what they say - friends do come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. True friendship is such a special thing to be cherished. True friendship comes without judgement or criticism. True friendship offers support but doesn't necessarily have to offer solutions. And nothing comes between true friends. The one particularly eye opening event probably only confirmed what I had been feeling for a very long time anyway. When someone you consider is your friend, and for whom you have done a great deal, starts to go out of their way to be more concerned for everyone but you and can't be happy for your success at anything without trying to tarnish it, then it's probably not such a bad thing to let them go. Likewise the friend for whom you have been there through troubled times who chooses to dump on you because suddenly you are happy and they are not..... I'm so over being the dumping ground. I can't be anything but the person I am. If you don't like it then just don't associate with me - don't stick around and expect me to conform to who YOU think I should be. It's that simple.
Every one of us changes throughout our lifetime, we evolve as our lives evolve. And it's ever more clear to me how important it is to understand that everyone has such different perspective on just about every aspect of life. We all have a right to believe what in we have come to know about life, but we should never expect that everyone else will see it exactly in the way we do. It doesn't make it wrong, it just makes it different. And if nothing else - we are all very different.