As the World Turns
I told you of how I had a new chapter brewing the last time I had blogged. I met a wonderful man named Sam about three weeks ago who was tall, dark and handsome through a friend. He seemed to be a very positive person and have his life together. From what my friend had told me, he seemed to be the total package. We instantly clicked and had undeniable chemistry from the moment we met. We agreed that we were off to a running start and that we should slow down because we could both forsee everything happening…marriage, kids, the whole picture. Everything went great for about two weeks. Yes, I said TWO weeks. And then…
I began to see another side of my tall, dark and handsome man one hot, sticky summer Friday. Sam and I were supposed to spend all weekend together because my son had visitation with my ex-husband. Usually, my ex has to do the driving, but this time it just worked out where we agreed that I would drive. That alone can stress any grounded person out beyond belief. There I was, driving my son who was screaming and crying that he didn’t want to go visit my ex-husband, me silently crying along with him in the driver’s seat, reassuring him that it would all be just fine. After all, he is three and is very connected to me, since I have full custody of him. I am also bound by the court which has ordered regular visitations, despite my attempts to convince them that it is not healthy for my young son to be pulled away from his mother if he doesn’t want to go. At any rate, that was enough reason to be stressed. However, add the fact that I have been spending all summer switching positions at work and the fact that I had to drive to my ex-husband’s new house (which he owns with his concubine teenage love who he left me for) and see their four cars parked in the driveway, despite his measly and sporadic child support payments….it was enough to make anyone crazy.
When I walked into my ex’s house, on top of it all, was my ex-extended family waiting there for us. Arms open, ready for hugs and smiling their sympathetic smiles. To me, their looks said, “Look, we know he’s an ass, and we are sorry. Come give us a hug”. To me, it was like returning home after a long voyage away…and I ran to my ex-sister-in-law’s arms and wept. By the way, just to let you all know, Helen doesn’t usually cry…so this was monumental. Usually, I just get this pain in my throat and I don’t know what it’s from. Finally, when I do end up crying and it goes away, it’s like an epiphany of why it’s healthy to let your tears flow once and awhile. At any rate, there I was, standing and embracing each family member (with the exception of my ex and his concubine). Before I knew it, I had spent two hours there.
Usually, time is not an issue with me. The men I date are normally pretty understanding with my circumstances. However, to Sam, it was all a different story. Once I got in the car, I was shocked when I saw what time it was. I called Sam (as I told him that we would be meeting at 7, with a three hour drive ahead of me and the fact that it was now 5:30, I was never going to make it). I picked up the phone to tell him that I was running late.
This was the moment everything began the quick snowball downhill with Sam. Red flags began to pop up everywhere as he began to spout how disrespectful it was that I was late and that he was a man of importance and how dare I make him spend idle time waiting for me…and why hadn’t I told him at 10 a.m. that I was running late rather than ruin the plans at 5:30 (really, dude? Had I known at 10 a.m. I could have avoided it all anyway. Really?) On and on he went in his little tirade of self-importance and how I had ruined the whole weekend. Suddenly, before I could manage to get a word in, he was claiming that I didn’t have time for him and that the whole relationship would go like this (again, really?) and why didn’t we just cancel for the night. No, better yet, why didn’t we just cancel the whole damned weekend?
I know what you’re saying. I was doing the same thing. I was shaking my head, getting in a little squeak every now and then of response but never making enough sense to even string a sentence together without being jumped all over. Oh, my. We hung up and I threw my phone into the passenger seat like it was a stick of dynamite about to go off. Really, I had imagined myself throwing it as hard as I could out the window and watching it smash into a million pieces. I am very mild-mannered but when a person refuses to listen to me and pushes their assumptions on me, it drives me crazy.
Sam ended up calling our mutual friend (the one who introduced us) and telling her the story. Thankfully, she helped him to see how much stress I go through on a daily basis of juggling a full time job, being a mom and scraping to get the bills paid. He felt like a jerk and knew he had overreacted. I felt exasperated and frankly, wasn’t quite sure yet what to think of Sam. I felt like perhaps he had a whole lot of his own life issues to work out.
To make a long story short, our mutual friend talked us both into giving the relationship another try. (I know! Stop shaking your heads! I knew I shouldn’t have done it, but I did! LOL) So, on we went, realizing that we rushed into relationship mode too quickly because that is what we both wanted in the end. However, we forgot the most important building block to every relationship…friendship. Without that building block, relationships tumble and fall to the ground because they have no basis for understanding each other.
Sadly, although we knew we needed to focus on the friendship aspect of our relationship, we rushed right back into each other’s arms when he came over that Sunday night (the tail end of what was supposed to be our great, long weekend together). Although we knew we should stop and pay attention to getting to know one another, we didn’t. We took our lists of what we wanted in the future, in a mate and in our lives and tried to mesh them together. As you can all guess, what happened next led to the end. We had the same damned argument again. This time, however, I had a bunch of friends over (unexpectedly…one of them was watching my son because I had a doctor’s appointment) and all I did was let it slip that I was a little tired from the company. Before I knew it, he was off and venting again about how I was never going to allow him to be a priority in my life, etc. etc. The phone conversation ended with him saying goodbye and he didn’t think it was going to work out. As I agreed, I shook my head and warned him not to drag our mutual friend into our mess again. I told him that every time we had a fight, she wouldn’t be there to help referee our fights and help us to make sense of one another’s actions. This time, I was done and wished him the best of luck.
Sam ended up sending me one or two angry text messages afterward, looking for a fight or perhaps looking to make me angry enough to respond to him. Earlier in the relationship, I had warned him that I do not string ex’s along and usually don’t get back with them. To me, it’s just delaying the inevitable and people do a great job of torturing one another for a good number of years before finally realizing that they originally broke up for good reasons the first time. I learned the hard way with my first love, Andrew, and was not ever willing to play that game again.
So, I went silent on him, resulting in hearing about how heartbroken he was from my friend and fighting the temptation to call or text him again. I too, felt another little miniscule crack in the walls of my carefully protected heart. But, this time, I know better. After years of experience and hindsight, I know that I had better run, not walk away from this one. So many times after my divorce, I have ended relationships and have been thankful for my simple, little teacher life that I live with my three year old son. Even now as I type, I hum SnowWhite’s song, “Some day my prince will come…” Gideon jumps on my bed and reminds me that life is sweet. Yes, love does stink sometimes, but not all of the time. He gives me hope because just when I thought my life was over that day my husband left, he was born. He gave me new hope that life could be better than I had ever imagined. The lesson I have learned through the years is that sometimes we have to wait. As we all know, waiting isn’t always easy. But, if we are waiting for something great, it’s worth it all in the end. So, dear readers, Helen is going to do just that. I will wait. Until then, I am going to get up and jump on my bed with my little miracle dressed up as Spiderman. After all, although I don’t have a “man” in my life, this man in my life (my son) will always love me. So, pardon me as I end this excerpt. Today, according to my son, I get to be Wonder woman. Good luck to all of you and cheers to waiting for the right man to come along!