Monthly Archives: July 2016

Unrequited Love – Knowing When to Walk Away

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To say that love hasn’t obeyed my expectations would be the understatement of the century.

I still remember it like it was yesterday. The excitement of a new relationship, the flutters, the nerves, the pounding heart.

Marcus, no doubt, had captured my heart.

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Our first kiss took my breath away. Literally, I couldn’t breathe.  I was shaking and my heart was up inside my brain. (Maybe it was in that moment that my heart and my brain switched places, leading me down this very misguided path.) That night, he had me. He had all of me, no questions asked.

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That kiss took my breath away. Still, 2 years later, I can’t breathe.

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When I married my husband, I vowed to myself that I would never get divorced again. As such, I did absolutely everything I could to keep it on track, even though we were derailed before we even started.

I’d never met anyone involved in the kind of life he lived. It intrigued me. People in my world up to that point didn’t operate the way he did. It was beyond my comprehension at that time. I dismissed his irrational, abusive behavior as emotional wounds. Wounds I had the power to heal. I excused his lies, aggression and out of control drinking as a phase. A phase he’d soon grow out of because of his love for me.

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I got married believing I would have a partner. Someone to do life with. Someone to lean on in times of struggle. Someone who loved me for me, not what I could do for him. I believed I was marrying someone who wanted the same things I wanted. Who was ready to support me and his children. Who understood what marriage means.

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Much too soon in our relationship I invested my whole self into him. I gave him every piece of me I had left to give. And he took them all. No questions asked. Before long I found myself in a twilight zone of abusive patterns and addictive behaviors, and the lines between love and sickness had become so intermingled I didn’t know what was what. I didn’t know where I ended and he began, and I had no idea what to do.

I stayed for many reasons. Some right, some wrong.

I stayed believing I could fix him. That my love would be enough. That underneath it all, he really was this gem of a man. That his sick behaviors and attitudes were just the result of his own pain and with enough time, patience and prayer, I could be the one to heal those wounds. That he could be the one to heal my wounds. That God had me there for a reason and I could not abort the mission before it was completed.

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I feared that after investing all of me and all of my time and all of my love into this one soul, if I walked away in the middle of it all, someone else would swoop in and get the benefit of all my hard work.

Through that process I’ve become even more lost.

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I found myself in a constant loop of trying to explain the truth to someone who was set on twisting it. It was like living in a fun house. Everything was distorted. On the outside, he presented the image of a loving, husband and father. Even I bought into that image many times. Despite the many times he proved that was in fact a lie, I still wanted to believe the lie. My heart wanted him to match the image he created of himself. Because of his alcoholic soul and narcissistic heart, I found myself in a twilight zone of manipulation. I was sucked into the vortex, and like a vampire, my emotions were sucked dry.

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I tried to backwards loop my way into a healthy relationship with someone who was incapable of looping with me.

I spent hours a day trying to get him to be on the same page as me. To operate in the same world as me. To be truthful. To have a genuine emotion and express it. To care more about his family than he did himself.

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No matter how hard I swam away from it, I was inevitably sucked down into the undertow of his reality. A reality that left me wondering at times if he was right, and if I in fact was the crazy one.

Whether love was built in sickness or in health, the heart gets wrapped up in it and it’s hard to pull it out.  I believe we tend to fall in love with someone based on the missing pieces of ourselves they seem to fill. This can be good. But it can also be very bad. Two broken, messy souls cannot “love” each other into wholeness. You simply cannot find missing pieces of yourself by giving more of them away.

But that’s what I did. I gave it all away to a man who didn’t want any of it. I gave my everything to a man who only knows how to take.

Marrying an alcoholic with narcissistic personality traits sets you up for a lifetime of frustration, loneliness, and pain. I took many of the things he did and said personally for a long time, and still struggle with the pain it has caused me and his children. However, I have come to understand that it is simply not about me. There is nothing I can ever do or say that will be right. Many things will never make sense. I will have an eternal hole in the place of many unanswered questions. The truth will always remain twisted. And the reality of who he is underneath the image he presents the world will likely never change.

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Love isn’t supposed to be painful. Hard, yes. Painful, no. Our love was devastating. It left me breathless. Confused. Hurting.

For me, the decision to separate from my husband was made out of a place of such a depth of love that I was drowning. I had to get out in order to survive. My initial prayer was that separating would give us both the chance to catch our breath so that we could dive back in together. What my husband made blatantly clear was that he had no intentions of diving into anything but himself.

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Letting go of someone you love is devastating. It’s like a death. But I am learning that my love is not enough to sustain the life of another soul. My love for my husband has changed a lot the past couple of years, but it isn’t gone. It’ll never be completely gone. That man held my whole heart in his hands, and though he didn’t cherish it the way he was supposed to, he will always have little pieces of it. But he doesn’t deserve all of it. He never did.

So now here I sit on a journey of self-discovery.

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