It has been a hot minute since I last posted a blog. I get ideas and inspirations to blog and think, “When the house is cleaned up, when dinner is done and eaten, after I’ve charted, when the kids are in bed…then I will write that down.” And it never happens. So here I am, inspired by a news story that was like a needle under my nail, to put it down here. No hikes to talk about, no massive adventures, just time. Too much time.
Let me preface the rest of this by saying I’m currently in the healthiest, happiest, most secure and confident place I’ve been in many, many years. The past few years have been rife with anxiety and torment. Somehow I managed to identify the major sources of that anxiety and decide I didn’t deserve to be shackled to them any longer. When you know yourself, you know what you need, what you deserve, what’s worth your time and energy.
My Grannydaddy is dying. He is in his final days and will be gone within the next week, maybe two if we’re blessed to have him for that long. But truthfully I hope it is sooner, for his sake. Still, there is so much I want to say to him, to show him, to do and for which I want him to be proud of me. We both realize he will never meet the man who will be my life partner. My Grannydaddy is just too sick. However, recently, he and I had a surprising but poignant conversation (and here is where this round-about introduction gets to the point) about my heart. He said – and I quote this word for word because coming from my Grannydaddy, it carries weight – “I just want you away from that no good loser man whore.”
I was admittedly a bit embarrassed. Not by his words or by my poor choice in men, and I have chosen some real shitheads in the past several years. I was embarrassed because while I had myself convinced I was dating a “good guy” and thought I had covered for him well enough that no one else would see what was actually going on, based on my Grannydaddy’s eloquent phrasing, the level to which I was manipulated and lied to over the past year was so profound that even someone like my grandfather, who never leaves his home and still uses dial up on a computer made in the 90s, saw what I was allowing into my life.
Despite being a self-proclaimed “positive influence” this dude was really only focused on one thing: himself. Over the past year and a half, I can’t even count the number of times I was called names, lied to, made promises that were never intended to be kept, told I was difficult to love, ignored, forgotten, talked down to, disrespected, sent the eye rolling emoji when I expressed human emotion, and so many other behaviors that I SHOULD have seen right away as indicating he was only using me.
He tried to tell me I meant more to him than any other woman, that the other women he was banging (yep, that happened) were just “casual sex”, including his – wait for it – WIFE.
Rewind: I knew he was legally married but he assured me they were separated, he was only using her for her address so he could keep residency in that state and she was using him for his medical insurance. Sad, but I went with it. He trashed her every time she came up in conversation (yeah, I have screenshots of those messages and I still think about sending them to her some day but it wouldn’t give me any pleasure and it would only hurt someone who despite her intelligence is dumb enough to continue letting him use her for sex and a place to stay…lady I hope you read this and realize you are so gorgeous and smart and most of your mental health issues come from letting him stay in your life – he’s toxic and he’s gonna give you an STI soon). The things he said about her were so cruel, so heartless.
By the way, I’ve been reading her blog. It’s excruciating for so many reasons. The biggest eye-opener has been that despite him telling me she was fine with my relationship with him, she wrote whole blog posts about how him abandoning her was causing her so much mental anguish she couldn’t stop crying. The more I read, the more I see how stupid I was to believe his lies about their marriage, about how she was the one with the mental problems, about how she meant nothing to him. I have screenshots of the mean things he said about her. He even at one point told me that if his kids lived closer to me, he’d be spending his time with me and not her, that he didn’t go to her state for her at all, which is interesting seeing as how he’s convinced her to let him move in…I wonder if she knows it’s only for the summer until he gets the itch for his other women again. For her sake, I hope he’s suddenly changed and stays with her. She deserves better but I know it breaks her every time he leaves and runs around on her. It’s cruel.
He never should have told me the things about her that he did – her mental illness, her dependence on medications, how his family hates her…none of that was any of my business and the fact that he thought so little of her he had no problem telling me these things proves how easily he can disrespect other people, people he claims to love but who he’s just using.
I should have seen all the red flags; he never cleaned up after himself, he wore his shoes inside (despite knowing none of the rest of us did) and even IN MY BED, the fact that he couldn’t go five minutes without checking his email or social media, even in the middle of the night. I think it’s funny he claims to not care what others think of him, but his whole world revolves around how many likes and comments he can get. He truly can’t function without someone stroking his ego, and somehow he’s duped many many women into thinking he’s some kind of special man when really, he’s just like all the rest of them out there, and now he has multiple women thinking they’re special when in fact, they’re nothing to him.
He’s self-absorbed, arrogant, and condescending. He’s also obsessed with his own body. After I ended things and even though he was aware I had moved on and begun a new relationship, he continued to send me inappropriate texts and messages and even tried to send me nude pictures of himself because he was “sort of proud”. Ew.
I hate that I let him into my life. I hate that I included him in so many of MY experiences because they would have been beautiful memories, if only I didn’t have to associate them with his presence. I hate that I tried to love him and he took every bit of my love he could and never gave any back. How many times did I tell him I loved him only to get silence in return?
I knew it was over when he broke two big promises last year. He gladly humiliated me, put my health at risk, gaslighted me, lied, and treated my kids like nuisances. His constant statement was “When your girls are grown and out of the house,” and never “I want us to do this with the girls”. I honestly should have seen that one coming because he did the same thing to his own children, abandoning them to his first wife to raise and then now trying to take all the credit for how they turned out while simultaneously tearing down their mother. In his eyes, all women are at fault and he is their savior. He told me he wanted to “be an inspiration” to me as if I needed inspiration from him because without him my life was meaningless. He told me he wanted to “show me how things can be”, totally discounting any life experiences or intelligence I might have. He even told me that I had nothing to offer him in the way of experiences. I guess because he’s so much better?
But here’s the thing: He’s definitely not. I’ve been through abusive and mentally draining relationships. My relationship with him was no different. And as I read more of his wife’s blog and recall the things other people have said to and about him, I can see that his abuse is scarier because it’s underhanded and unrelenting. His favorite response to me any time I told him he was hurting me was “I’m sorry you feel that way” totally pointing the blame back at me and denying any accountability in the situations he created. I guess when you’re born into privilege and never have to be told no, acknowledging your own guilt and responsibility in anything is a foreign concept.
I knew it was over a long time ago. I tried to let him see my worth in November and hoped he’d look at me and realize what he was doing. But it was obvious he either refused to see me or was too busy looking at himself. I thought strongly about asking him to cancel his trip here in February but felt too guilty about it to actually say the words. I let him come but I was miserable the whole time. He spent the whole time staring at his phone and tablet (I have a picture of him focused on his tablet while we were supposed to be on a vacation together).
I nearly told him not to come back while we were waiting for his plane when he left. I was too sad, though. Sad that this person who I genuinely loved and cared for could be so truly cold and unfeeling, that he turned out to be just like all the other men in my life, that I spent so long opening my fragile heart to someone who assured me he was safe when really he was emotionally dangerous and mentally abusive. So I told him I loved him and let him go.
And when I realized how light I felt once he was gone, that I was smiling again, that I felt relieved, I knew it was time. You shouldn’t have to explain your relationship when people ask if you’re okay. If you’re making excuses for the other person because your friends and family are questioning if you’re being respected and cared for, then it’s likely that you’re not.
It helped that as soon as he left here, he went straight to another woman’s bed and spent three times the amount of time he said he would with her. More lies. I shut the book and told him I needed to detach. I cried from relief and fear that he would guilt me about it. I was right – he kept messaging me and texting me, more than he ever had when we were together. Whether he realized what he had lost or not, I don’t know and I don’t care. It was too late.
I hope his wife knows what she’s dealing with. He’s been with her long enough to basically have her submitting to him so I doubt she’ll ever find her strength and leave him to what he loves most: himself. I feel sorry for her. I’m not angry at him (well, not a lot) because I don’t care about him. I do care about what he did to me. And I hope one day I can plant new memories in the places he dirtied. I hope I can erase him from my memory, that he’ll become just an “oh yeah I forgot about that” passing thought. As for the other people he’s duped, well maybe one day they’ll figure it out that he’s not that special or great that he’s just performing. Or maybe his fan club and followers will give him what he needs and hopefully that will keep him from mowing over another woman who he has no intention of caring for. But I’m glad to be out of that picture. I stayed for too long.
As for me, I just lost 200-something pounds of dead weight. I can go back to living and loving and having genuine adventures, focusing on my children who never deserved to be shoved aside. A long-time friend saw me and stepped in and we have a beautiful relationship that has blossomed into a committed life-long partnership that is exactly what I’ve always wanted and deserved. We have a good life now with two families who love us and celebrate us and include us. I’ve had multiple people tell me how much my energy has changed and how happy they are to see me back to myself and truly happy again. I’ll eventually forget about the past couple of years. I’m sure it won’t take too long.
P.S. This will be the last I speak of him or that horrible relationship. I’m going back to sharing my (mis)adventures in hiking, camping, writing, and life.