Real Love Series

Real Love…(Part 1)

If you could ask your ex any question and automatically get their honest answer what would it be?

I asked my mom this once and her response shocked me. She said “Nothing.” I was curious as to why she felt this way because all three romantic relationships I’d been apart of, left me feeling unfinished at the end. She said, “Everything that needed to be said was said during our relationship verbally or emotionally.” I was in awe of this wise woman. I didn’t quite understand but one thing I knew is that she was right. 

The first time Mom’s advice was relevant was back in 2010 during my freshman year in college. I was new to being on my own and although I was excited for college I had no idea how I would manage school, cheerleading, social life, and my three year relationship with a boy I’d known my entire high school career. All areas of my new life required a different group of discipline that challenged me as a person. School was the easiest of them to manage because I’ve always been a good lazy student. I didn’t have to try hard to get Bs and I was always uninterested in getting As because they required too much sucking up to professors. Social life was a close second to easiest responsibility to manage because I don’t like people. I had three rules I made my friends and teammates memorize to determine whether they should ask me to hang out.

  1. Do I have to walk? If so how far?
  2. Will I have a seat to sit in when I get there?
  3. How much will I have to spend?

The proper answers to these questions were:

  1. No or not far
  2. Yes
  3. Free

So you can probably guess that I spent a lot of time in my dorm room watching TV, on twitter, and sleeping by myself. Cheerleading kept me moving so I was often sleepy because of required school events, practices, games, and competitions. It was a very busy and crazy schedule that woke you up in the early hours of the morning and didn’t allow down time until well after the sun went down. Lastly, my relationship. It was TERRIBLE! I was caught in a very mentally and emotionally abusive relationship with a man that had been cheating on me for two of the three years we were involved.

We met in high school and he was the real life equivalent of my dream guy. He’s dark skin, big muscles, handsome, and plays football. He was a senior and everyone knew him. I was a high school freshman that no one knew or cared about. But he saw me and he thought I was special and different. I did what most teenage girls with unresolved daddy issues did… I fell head over heels in love for the first time! I spent the majority of my high school years doing any and everything to be in his presence. Even after he went on to college, I stayed loyal to him and kept our relationship secret for the most part. When he would come home on breaks, he would be at my house against my parents wishes (sorry Dad). Even though my parents were very vocal about their disapproval of our relationship, I didn’t care. I was in love.

They say that love makes you blind and boy was I blind. Isaac had a way of telling me I was beautiful and worthless in the same sentence. He would say things like “You are so beautiful that’s why I don’t trust you because all pretty girls lie and cheat.” So I would find myself doing everything in my power to prove to him that I was worthy of his love. I kept all my male friends a secret because I didn’t want to get accused of cheating. I remember a couple instances that he insisted so much that I was sleeping with guys at my high school that I admitted to being with a few of them even though they were just classmates. I just wanted him to love me even if it meant asking for forgiveness for something I never did. I saw his heart and although he had some areas that weren’t quite up to the potential he had, I thought eventually those things would go and we could be happy together.If I’m being honest, I thought my love would change him and I hoped he would love me enough to overlook his fears. But I was wrong…so wrong.

It wasn’t until college that I was finally so exhausted from our relationship that I knew it had to end. I found out he had cheated on me with my ex best friend, Leslie and this is how. At my yearly woman check up, my doctor suggested that I get a STD/STI screening. I hadn’t got one since after I lost my virginity. I knew before dating Isaac that I was clean. At the time I assumed we were only seeing each other. The results of that test changed my life forever. The doctor told me that I had contracted a curable Sexually Transmitted Infection. The same infection that Leslie had contracted during our high school tenure. It was because of that visit, I felt compelled to ask Isaac about his status. He had no idea I had been to the doctor, so I casually brought up the subject at hand. I probed him about women he had been with. I’m not sure what he said during the conversation but it made me suspicious of his recent activity. I sat in my room on my laptop searching Facebook for a distraction from the betrayal I felt. A private message popped up from a girl that used to ride the same bus as me freshman year in high school. She asked me what was new in my life and how I like college. I answered blandly giving her the highlights and skipping out the low points. She quickly changed the subject to her life and how great it was. She told me of her new boyfriend and how happy he made her feel. I was just getting ready to tell her I was logging off when she told me the name of her new beau, “Isaac.” The words hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I confronted Isaac about everything I learned that day. I honestly do not remember whether his response was apologetic or defensive, I only remember that I was done. Before I hung up the phone, I knew this would be the last time I would talk to him. I called my mom and she said, “Stay silent. Your time will come to speak. Right now is the time to cry.” So I did.

In retrospect, my relationship with Isaac taught me a lot about who I am. See, I believe that in order to know who you are, you have to know who you are NOT. In order to know the acceptable ways for someone to treat you have to have a clear cut line in the sand that distinguishes what you WILL NOT accept. Once that line is drawn, you have to make up in your mind that no matter what other qualifications the other person brings to the table (money, status, attractiveness) that you will not bend on these things. Isaac taught me that I am beautiful. That what’s inside of me is just as beautiful as my outward appearance. And if I am going to let someone in my space, in my life, they have to be just as appreciative of my beauty as I am. If I am okay with what’s on the inside of me then that is what is important. He taught me that with both the positive and negative things he said and for that I am forever appreciative.

In a casual conversation with my girl tribe (shoutout to the Crisis Management Squad) I found that we as women tend to fall for the potential of a man rather than who they actually are. We have womens’ intuition that allows us to see things that aren’t there. For example, any time I’ve ever been cheated on, I knew before I knew. Before I had any evidence of the infidelity something in my gut was telling me things weren’t adding up.  Adversely, any guy I’ve dated, I’ve seen all his dreams come true even if they were physically not close to them. Some wanted to be pubic servants or musicians or professional athletes. No matter the dream, I can honestly say that feeding into those dreams were part of the reason I stayed during ‘red flag’ times. I wanted them to have something they didn’t, support. Anyone who truly knows me that I have an obsessive personality. Either I hate something or I love it and wanna squeeze it to death. This includes boyfriends and their dreams. Its a gift and a curse because if someone doesn’t want these things for themselves you cannot force them.

Men do it too sometimes. They meet the girl that hits every item on their must-have list. She fits all the things he thinks he needs in a future wife. But, because of the stage he is at in life, he cannot treat her properly. He falls for her potential and fails to see who she is at that moment. She may be a Michelle Obama in the making but if she hasn’t reached her goals, she’s only Michelle Robinson at the moment (if you don’t know who that is look it up). He sees her future wife potential and gets scared because he may not be ready at that moment to settle down, he may have financial hardship, or is caught up in the hype that men should spread their seed as much as possible before settling down. Both ideals are false and, in my opinion, has lead to the lack of communication between our genders. Divorce is at it’s highest point, yet in our romantic life we are freer than we have ever been.

If you could ask your ex any question and automatically get their honest answer what would it be

I sat down with Isaac about two weeks ago to get some of the answers I have been dying to ask. I asked him everything that my social media followers gave me like,

How did you feel when u first found out I moved on?

-Would you give us a second try if possible?

-Why cheat and not break up?

-What advice would you give your daughter if she was dating a guy like you? (Than & now)

-What was my biggest flaw? Has that changed now?

I brought up old scenarios and lies he told me. I was shocked that after all those answers this is what I learned:

  1. If you are not ready to face the truth, you are only hurting yourself 
  2. Honesty is not something you can fake.
  3. Listening to a story from the other person’s point of view doesn’t make you feel better because with the information we have at the time, we made the best decision we could.

I understand now why my mom’s answer was nothing. There was nothing Isaac could say that would make me forget or ease the pain of our relationship and it was up to me all along to help myself heal. Ten years after our relationship I’m glad I can call him a friend. He spent the night on my couch so I wouldn’t be alone after my mother died. The picture in the header of this post was taken at his baby shower. I think of these memories and they definitely trump anything negative we did or said to each other before we were mature. Through prayer, growth, & maturity we’ve both morphed into better versions of ourselves. I’ve been able to heal from things that haunted me for a long time because I did not allow my own healing to be dependent on someone else. 

k, good talk.

-J

*Some names have been changed to protect identities

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7 thoughts on “Real Love…(Part 1)

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  2. I felt this in on all levels. I saw myself in this scenario and just wanting someone to love me cause I had Daddy issues. As I got older I have tried to protect my loved ones from this hurt and pain but I have learned you have to allow people to know what it feels like on their own. This brought tears to my eyes of the realness and authenticity of the testimony. Keep on doing what you do dammit!!!

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