What Broken Looks Like
I could not tell you how many hours I spent saying that I was wrong. Saying that all of my shit was just that. It was bullshit because I had been indulged and spoiled and none of it mattered. I wanted us. It wasn’t David, it was me. I’d go to therapy. I’d do anything.
I was so wrong. Please, please. Please, do not go. Please do not leave me. I cannot live without you. I was wrong. I was awful what was I thinking I was horrible I won’t be like that anymore I promise. I didn’t think of you and I was so selfish and I’m sorry I love you so much. Please do not leave me. She is going to leave me. Please do not go, too. I will have nothing.
He did not listen. He ignored it all. He believed none of it.
I had never been repentant before. I had never been on my knees asking – begging – for forgiveness before. Ever. And here I was meaning every word I said.
Didn’t matter. Too late. No more.
* * * * * *
For months I had tortured him with my woes. He’d try and change and he was never enough. Everything he did was still wrong. I was unhappy at every turn.
I made him feel like a failure. I made him feel like he wasn’t doing a good job at being him.
He loved me a lot. I did not know it then but think I know now that he was more in love with me than I was with him. I think that will always be true of any couple – that you can’t have complete balance – but I don’t think it should be so obviously disproportionate.
I didn’t know it was, mind you. Not then.
I loved him, but I loved that he loved me more. I could throw tantrums and hate and scream and have fits and sound completely rational about the whole thing and he’d let me. He’d side with me. He’d work to change. He’d do whatever I’d bid.
I had no idea, none at all, that he had it in him to leave. Leaving me was the strongest thing I’d ever see him do.
I mean, I'd almost say it was sexy...if it weren't for the whole LEAVING ME thing.
* * * * * *
I was always upset that anything that we deemed “his responsibility” never got done, or got done poorly.
It was his job to pay the bills. Did you pay the bills? No, not yet. Will you pay them today? Yes. And then it would be later and he wouldn’t have and I’d come home to find the power had been shut off. Not because we couldn’t afford it but just because he’d just forgotten.
I’ll tell you, that’s what a broken relationship looks like. If he was so horrible at paying the bills, then why didn’t I just take over? They would’ve gotten done to my liking and the problem would’ve been solved.
But, right, the problem was bigger than that. It was bigger than us. He didn’t want to go to the party. I wanted him to be the kind of guy who wanted to be the head of the household, financially speaking. And he didn’t. He’d say okay, and then it wouldn’t get done.
What is that?
That’s what broken looks like. Want another taste? Here –
Before he was out of work, he clocked 60- to 100-hour weeks at the office.
Our “quality time” together was, understandably, diminished.
I tried to accept that that’s how it was going to be until we could afford differently. And mostly I did.
David liked to take these group weekend camping trips. They were organized trips he’d been taking for years, and involved two weekends in fall and two weekends in the spring and a whole lot of running around the woods mock-killing things. (Role players. Whatever.)
He would plan them and look forward to them all season. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.
Except you know? I do not begrudge anyone doing something they love. I thought it was awesome that he had a hobby.
But how was it that he could spend months planning a weekend away with his friends, and not manage to voluntarily plan a single dinner out with me?
He never proactively planned anything for the two of us. I’d ask. We would discuss. It would never happen.
Blah blah blah. Broken broken blah blah.
Does it seem stupid? Shallow? Maybe, but these are only snippets.
Plus here: There is a difference between “making it work” and “forcing it to work” and I am grateful to now know the difference.
And I swear I will never subject myself to that shit again.
* * * * * *
Fellas, I give you something to consider:
That shit you call a woman’s “baggage”? I would call it “knowing better.” And let me say, I would not want to have been the guy dating me before.
The after version is so much better.
* * * * * *
I will never know completely why he left me. But I have a pretty damn good idea, based on what he said then and what I’ve since figured out.
And here is what I think it comes down to, five years later. The thing he said to which I never had a good answer.
He said: “I do not want to stay with you and help you through this thing with your mom, only to have you leave me once it’s over.”
I think I made a lot of noise when he said it. But a tiny, barely audible voice from deep within the dark reaches of my collapsing mind thought, “Oh, I see. Fair enough.”
Still, in the real time of then, it was too much. I was still saying no, and it was easy not to listen to that tiny voice because a louder one was screaming and crying in pain.
So I begged and pleaded for David not to leave me all the same.