We enjoyed going to a very large flea market that summer. They had everything from new socks to used junk to rabbits, chickens, etc. It was fun to see what they had. One day, we were preparing to go. We hadn’t set a time to go. We were just sitting around watching TV. It was a Saturday. He asked, “Are you ready to go?” and I said “Yes” and he walked out the door. Then I realized I had better use the bathroom before we left. The restrooms there were not very clean and I’d rather not have to use them. I was in the bathroom a minute or two, if that, then came straight out to him storming back in the door. “I thought you said you were ready!”
I said, “I just had to use the bathroom first”.
“Well, you SAID you were read!” He was mad. We didn’t go to the flea market and he pouted for days, maybe weeks. I was thrown off. I tried to apologize. I just wanted the fun man back that I had before. Where did he go? and why? It seemed such a minor infraction. As with many of our arguments, I was left wondering “what just happened?” I apologized until I was blue-in-the-face. Eventually, several days later, his anger started to slowly wear off, but I never got the same man back that I “had” to begin with. His mask had slipped. Perhaps he was just getting more comfortable with me and was letting his guard down, I don’t know.
I said yes. Though I had some concerns, I was happy it was over with. I knew he wanted to be with me, he just had some mood problems. He was very insecure. I thought, I still have time to back out if it doesn’t work out. I thought I could help him feel better about himself and he’d calm down. I thought I could help him. I think I DID make a difference in his life. I think I did help. However, I couldn’t help enough and eventually, I wore down.
But I had said yes, and I was happy. Unsettled but happy. We had a glass of champagne with dinner to celebrate. Other than that, he got mad at me, something about the fake fireplace. I’m not sure what I did “wrong” there. Our engagement night was full of tension.
We came home from our trip to find our neighbor and friend Robbie walking down the road. Phil suddenly seemed happy about the engagement. That was the first time he seemed happy about it. His excitement waned quickly, I’m guessing, as soon as we drove away from Phil. At the time, I didn’t piece it together, that his excitement could be an act. It was a pattern that would repeat over the years. Why would he ask me if he didn’t want to marry me? (Also see “The Honeymoon”)
We took a trip in August. We went a few hours away to a beautiful lake in the mountains. It was beautiful. We stayed at a German bed and breakfast and went for a boat-ride tour of the lake. I was pretty sure he was going to propose at some point on the trip but he was being so grouchy that I started to think that I was wrong. Because of his allergies, we couldn’t take the hike to the waterfall that he had planned. This seemed to make him angry. Something did anyway. I laid low and tried not to provoke him. I tried to make him feel better. He was quiet and seemed bothered. If he was going to propose, it didn’t seem like it. He didn’t seem happy with me, let alone anything else. He seemed frustrated.
We found a brochure on a wolf sanctuary that we wanted to go see but we couldn’t find it. We didn’t have very good directions and no one was answering the phone. On the way back from this little excursion, he was still grouchy. We stopped at a flower shop and he was in there for quite a long time. He wanted me to stay in the car. Finally, he came out with my favorite flowers. He didn’t hand them to me happily. He just gave them to me. I think there was something nice written on the card. It was a sweet gesture but seemed to have no feeling, almost as if it was a script he had to get through. I’m still puzzled by it.
Then we pulled off alongside the road at a shallow creek that ran close to the road. We sat there for a few minutes on a large rock in the creek. He proposed. I don’t even remember exactly what he said. Something like “I love you and I want you to be my wife. Will you marry me?” He didn’t seem too into it. He showed no emotion. I didn’t now what to say. I don’t know why I said yes. I guess I felt sorry for him. I justified his mood as being disappointed he couldn’t pull off his proposal as planned and his fear of an allergic reaction. I remember once thinking, “if I don’t love this man, who will?” I, to this day, have a lot of pity toward this man. It’s tragic. It’s hard to choose myself over him. He seems so pitiful, like a wounded animal that you must save, even though you know that it is likely to strike you if you get close. Still, you can’t stand to see it suffer and you try to help it and alleviate it’s pain… So, I said yes.
So, eventually, Jason and I broke up. He moved away to a different school. I lost contact with Phil because he took some time off of school. I started dating another guy, Pete, who was very nice. We got along really well. We dated for three years in school and after school, I moved to where he was from. His brother had a business set up that he was expected to join. We had talked a lot about living somewhere in between where our parents lived. They were 8 hours drive apart. however, though we searched for a town that we liked to live in forever, we never found anything and it seemed his interest in compromising was waning. He started to value being near his family more, and so did I. We finally decided that it wasn’t going to work out. I was heartbroken. I had seen Phil once before we left for the town Pete lived in, and I sensed that he suddenly had “feelings” for me. (Looking back and from what Phil later said, his “feelings” started when he saw how some other guys at the restaurant we were at looked at me.) But, I was still with Pete, and Phil and I were just friends. I didn’t like how he was now looking at me like he was interested in me as more than a friend. I didn’t contact him until a year later, just after Pete and I broke up. I thought Phil would help me in my breakup with Pete. However, Phil had other ideas. He immediately assumed that I was interested in dating him. I had thought about it, but hadn’t made up my mind yet if I was interested. I had just gotten out of a long relationship and wasn’t really ready yet to date. I really just wanted a friend to talk to, and we had been friends before. However, when he said how glad he was that I had finally called, and that his heart skipped a beat when he read my letter (giving him my new contact info), I knew he was interested and he assumed I was too. While I tried to tell him that I wanted to take it slow (I wasn’t even sure I wanted to date him yet), he texted constantly and we talked on the phone for hours, often all night. While it was kind of nice having a distraction from Pete and having someone to talk to, I couldn’t help but feel just slightly violated by the lengthy calls. I felt as if he didn’t respect my time or the fact that I had to get up in the morning. We had very good conversations. There was never an awkward pause. It seemed the conversation just flowed. We started talking on the phone in January. By March, I was taking a beach trip with him. I drove 7 hours to where he lived and we drove the next 4 hours together the next day. On that trip to the beach, there was one occasion when I thought, “this is going to be a LONG trip” and “I wish I hadn’t come, but I’m stuck”. I don’t even remember what the argument was about but I got the distinct impression that whatever my opinion was, it wasn’t okay that I had it because it wasn’t the same as his. However, we recovered quickly and we had a great time at the beach. We cuddled on the couch for hours watching movies. Then, when it was time to go home, I was sad to go. He was sad for me to go too, but we visited each other every other weekend, taking turns driving the 7 hours. By June, I decided to move down there. I always liked the area where I had gone to school for over 3 years. The weather was nice and I had nowhere else to go. I didn’t want to stay where I was and Phil said that we could move to wherever I wanted to after he finished school. It only seemed logical to go back down there. I was excited. It was great! He’d just gotten out of the military and I was starting a new business out of our house, so we ended up having a lot of time fixing up the house, cuddling watching seasons of my favorite sitcom, and enjoying each others company. He was confident that I was the love of his life, which was refreshing after Pete didn’t seem so sure. Phil moved fast and never wavered in his feeling for me. It felt good. Stable. By August, we were engaged, but by then, there were signs of trouble.
I read a post today from One Mom’s Battle that really reminded me of my relationship with my N-ex. All N’s must be the same. 😉 To read the article, see below:
Like the author, after our hostage-situation squabble, (that’s a whole other blog post) I decided that I needed to see a counselor. I was majorly stressed out and exhausted from sleeping with one eye open. I was never sure he wasn’t going to try to run off with our daughter. I slept with one hand on her at all times. After I scheduled an appointment, the N-ex wanted to schedule one with the same counselor. Fortunately, she said she didn’t feel comfortable seeing both of us. He had no choice but to go elsewhere.
After that, he started carpooling to work with me and he was home much more. Usually, even though the drive was 50 minutes each way, he’d drive separately because my daughter and I would come along a little later and leave earlier than he would. He could waste time like no other and he’d be there hours longer than he worked, just chatting with people. His call frequency increased when we were not together. He always seemed suspicious. Of what, I don’t know. He threatened to take our daughter permanently two or three times and sternly mentioned that he would get full custody (and I would never see her again) because he was the one with a job and would get primary custody. He said I had a failed business and couldn’t support her. I DIDN’T have a failed business and I made just as much as he did. Both of us owned our own businesses and both of us made very little. Actually, I made more. And, like the author, I was more afraid of him after that day than I had ever been. He really started to watch what I did, where I went, etc. (Not that I ever went anywhere but work and home). Also, like the author, I went to the police and they couldn’t help. The courts couldn’t (wouldn’t) help.
I’ll post my hostage situation weekend soon.