This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!
Here we are at that troublesome letter X. I’m cheating a little bit and going with “ex” words, because it seemed like a great place to talk a little bit about my exes.
I’ve been married three times previously, starting when I was 19 and thought I was so very grown up. Each one was relatively long term, and they were difficult marriages with much struggle and pain.
I met my first husband very shortly after I returned to South Dakota from Minnesota where I had been staying with a friend. He was a college student, and a member of the religious group I was a part of at that time, and also an “outsider” like I’ve always felt I was. He was very intelligent… had a genius IQ. But as it is said, “there is a fine line between genius and insanity” and he was more on the other side of the line than I realized at the time. I was so incredibly naïve when it came to men, never having been in a relationship before.
He, along with his sister, was the adopted child of a kind and good farm couple who were a bit older. Sadly, he took advantage of their love, and they catered to his every need and desire. In fact they had to sign permission for him to marry me because he was underage. He had graduated from a small town high school and started college early. There was much I didn’t know about him.
As I mentioned in a previous post, he was a practicing Satanist. In addition, I was to find out that he was bisexual with a preference for male relationships, and no concept of fidelity. While I was liberal in my thinking way back then, this wasn’t an easy thing to come to terms with, and over the years of our relationship I saw too many young men drawn in by his charms; I saw too much damage being done.
He also had a “gift” for charismatic intimidation, and while at times I was in awe of him, I was also in fear of him. I remember him telling me when I was pregnant with our daughter, my first child, that she would die if she wasn’t his. I knew she was, but was terrified he wouldn’t think so and would do something to harm her.
As I wrote about earlier, our daughter and I followed him from South Dakota to Denver to military service in Germany, and that is when I finally reached the point where I had to say enough. I won’t go into the details now, that would be a whole book in itself, let’s just say it was a horribly difficult time for a girl far away from home and no where to go (that I was aware of back then).
He moved out and we began divorce proceedings. In the years to come our daughter would spend summers with him and this was a whole other nightmare, one I will probably never fully come to terms with. May God forgive him for what he put her through.
He died in his thirties, a few years after surrendering his parental rights to his daughter. Supposedly he died from medical issues, though I have reason to question that. He is the one and only person you will ever hear me say that I am thankful he is no longer alive.
I met my second husband while living in Germany. He was also a member of the US Army stationed there. I was lonely, he saw an opportunity to get out of the barracks. He was from a large city on the East Coast and we really had very little in common.
Although we were together for more than ten years, I honestly don’t think real love was ever present, though I tried hard to make it work, as I did in all my marriages. Once again, being faithful was not in his vocabulary. He also struggled with addiction issues and had a vile temper. He treated me much as I saw his father treat his mother, heaping on verbal abuse and intimidation.
I followed him for more than ten years from Germany to Augusta, Georgia, then to New Mexico and Texas, and back to New Mexico again, where we finally both agreed that a divorce was the only answer.
I thank husband number one for the gift of my wonderful daughter, and husband number two for the gift of my amazing son, they were truly the only good things that came out of those relationships.
I met husband number three after my son had gone to live with his father in Jr. High, (which I hated but believed at that time that a boy needs his father). My daughter was in college and had moved out on her own. I had moved to a small house and soon met a friend of the couple who lived next door… the drummer in a rock n’ roll garage band.
He was fun and charming, and once again the “outsider” that that I always seemed drawn to. I often think back that my mothering instinct was much too strong when it came to choosing partners, as that is the role I most often ended up in. He was Hispanic and alienated from his family in the beginning. With my encouragement and insistence he resolved those issues, but I never felt like I fit in or belonged.
He was Mr. Mellow, which was of course due to his addiction to weed. That didn’t bother me at the time. The drug issues that followed in later years were a much bigger problem. I can honestly say that we cared for each other, it was simply not a good match in any sense, and I often ended up carrying the financial burden as well, since he lost or quit jobs with regularity.
There were good times and happy memories, but as the years went on they were few and far between. It became a situation where I walked on eggshells in fear of upsetting him and risking yet another drug-fueled scene. I dreaded weekends and I dreaded being at home when he was there.
He told me in the beginning that music was number one in his life, marijuana was number two, and I was number three. I believed I could change that… I was wrong.
I wrote and posted a Six Sentence Story a couple weeks ago that details the final breakdown of our marriage, when I knew that leaving was a matter of survival. I thank God every day for providing me with the courage and a way to leave.
I have forgiven all three of my exes for their part in our failed marriages and for the ways they hurt and betrayed me. It is in the past, it is over and done. What might surprise you is that I have retained a friendship with ex number three. We keep in contact and he is one of my Facebook friends.
He has gone thru several relationships, but fails to see how his behavior pattern always causes them to fall apart. I am glad that he has cleaned up his act somewhat and manages to hold jobs longer now, though music and playing in the band is still number one in his life, and he drinks way too much. Although he is several years younger than me, he looks older due to hard living.
I think that God intended us to be friends, not marriage partners, and it would have been far better had I kept it that way. All I can say is that it was a learning experience and I eventually grew much stronger and wiser because of it, but I had to be completely broken first. I do not love him romantically, that died long before we ended it; and as I watch his life choices I am ever grateful he is no longer mine, but I will always care about him and his wellbeing. We spent a lot of years together. He feels the same way.
There is so much more to each of the stories of my exes, but what I want to make clear is that I take full responsibility for the choices I made to marry them. I don’t make excuses for my life… I had a choice in each case and I chose wrong. My life has often been about making poor choices and the resulting struggles I have experienced because of that. But it is through our mistakes that we learn; I have paid the price and I have learned. When people ask me what I was thinking when I agreed to these marriages I always plead temporary insanity, it’s the only plausible explanation I can come up with! 🙂
Before I met Papa Bear I took a good look at what those three failed marriages had in common and then I decided to stop choosing bad boys and misfits, substance abusers, and those that couldn’t handle responsibility. I set might sights on something higher, I decided it was time to place a greater value on my own life too.
A year after I left husband number three, God brought Papa Bear into my life. He is more than I every could have dreamed of or hoped for, and as you’ve heard me say many times, in my case God saved His very best for last! I am thankful for all that I learned along the way that has enabled me to appreciate Papa Bear and ensure that our marriage is a tale of living happily forever after.
Have you been married more than once? What things have you learned from past relationships?
Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:
- A – Aquarian
- B – Blogging
- C – Cantankerous, Cats
- D – Divorce, Domestic Abuse
- E – Enabler, Encourager
- F – Fibromyalgia, Faith, Follow Through
- G – Germany
- H – Hearing Loss, Hair, Hope
- I – Introvert, Independence, Incarceration
- J – Josie Two Shoes
- K – Kids, Kindness
- L – Things I Like
- M – Middle child, Midwest, Moves
- N – New day, Noise, Never, New Mexico
- O – Ocean, Online Dating, Obesity
- P- Purple, People-pleaser, Promises, Peace
- Q – Quiet, Question, Quirky
- R – Rez Kids, Real, Realist, Regrets
- S – South Dakota, Satanism, Survivor
- T – Tattoos, Things, Thought for the Day
- U – Uncoordinated, Unwelcome, Understanding, Utopia
- V – Vibrant Colors, Veins, Vacations
- W – Writing, Work in Progress, Wrinkles, Wishes