Past relationships are always a hard thing to talk about. Whether you talk to a partner about them, or a family member, or even a stranger. You always get that feeling that they aren’t going to understand what you went through, and more often than not, you are met with someone that tries to downplay your feelings. I can’t tell you how many times people respond with, “Why didn’t you just leave?”
Some of us don’t. Some of us stay in that abusive relationship because it is something we’ve always known. I’ve always experienced a father who threw dishes at me since I was 6. I always experienced that alcohol made someone pick a child off the ground and throw them into the wall, or on the couch. I’ve always experienced that feeling like you are constantly walking on egg shells, expecting the worst to happen.
So when I met Cory, I expected nothing more. He was the first person I gave in to. The first person I fell in love with. The first person I went out publicly with, and the first person I started sharing my past with. It didn’t start out abusive. It started like most romances do, butterflies and hand holding. Cuddling late into the night, talking. Somewhere over the course of our dating relationship, he stopped paying for meals. He stopped wanting to hold hands publicly. He started getting angry for things that were out of my control. Things like our landlord not fixing the heater faster than four days. Things like that would always end with me being reminded how stupid I was. How useless I was. How ugly I was. When the words didn’t make me cry, out would come the fists, or the slapping. I’d been beaten so much as a child that I was almost numb to it. At the end of every day, Cory would always come back and tell me he loved me and that he was sorry. I was helpless. I was a scared mouse, happy to have found someone who would always forgive me for my mistakes, always stuck in that terrifying mouse trap. Notice that my mistakes were hardly anything I was doing, just merely existing. Abusive people twist your mind and make you thankful for them. That staying with them is the best thing that’s ever happened to you because without them you are nothing but a pile of garbage. You begin to think this is what love is. Then one day I found out that he slept with his ex. Cory cheated, and when I confronted him, he told me he was poly-amorous. Essentially able to love multiple people through sex- was his definition. He apologized and said he loved me, and I believed him until after nearly 3 months of him cheating and coming back to apologize did the light bulb in my head finally turn on. We terminated our relationship immediately when I stopped being that terrified mouse. The little rodent that would always take his apologies like they were the words of god. I wasn’t his little pet or puppet anymore.
Years later I meet my (now) husband, Patrick. We fall in love. We have our ups, and our downs. Once in a blue moon we have our verbal fights, but we have never laid hands on one another in anger. He has always listened about my past with Cory, and hugged me through the nightmares, the tears as I eventually overcame the abuse. I made an effort to find my father, to get to know him and overcome the fears I had as a child. Patrick made me feel whole again. He made everything from my childhood, my being raped, by broken relationship from my father, and my past relationships better. He made me better. So when gay marriage became legal in California, we went and immediately got married, that week, in the courthouse. It was small, with just 6 people from my side of the family, but it was beautiful. I’ll never forget the way he smiled at me as I tried to repeat my vows from the pastor through tears and stutters.
We had been married for nearly two years before we started to experiment with things inside the bedroom. It’s not as if we were bored of our usual encounter, but we had just become so comfortable with each other, we started telling each other about certain fantasies. Eventually we both agreed that we would like to try having someone else in the bedroom with us. So we picked someone out together, invited them over, things heated up, and eventually the night came and went. The next morning after the third wheel left, we decided that this was something that wasn’t for us. We liked our bedroom stuff better when it was just us. I don’t mean to put down others at all, but this was just something we both felt. We felt as though it was less intimate with someone else, and the residual feelings that I had from my past relationship with Cory had started to creep back. The feeling and fear that I would be cheated on. I was honest with Patrick about my fears after we came to the conclusion that we liked it being just the two of us, and he assured me nothing would happen unless I was there with him and comfortable.
So, we were happy. We hadn’t had anything major happen in our marriage since, it was beautiful and peaceful. Until last week when Patrick was sitting in bed with me and asked if I remembered our third wheel. I had told him yes and asked why he was brought up, for I had not thought about that guy in a while. Patrick then went on to tell me that he had been talking to him for a little while, and the third wheel was telling him about being a caregiver. Third wheel apparently went on to tell my husband that a caregiver was someone who would provide financially and sexually, all the things that they needed.
Immediately the fears of cheating came back to me. I never forbid Patrick from talking to anyone, and tried to trust him. I never wanted to be that person in a relationship who asked to see his phone or text messages. However, the way I was feeling made me ask to read the message to see the context in which it was presented because the whole conversation took me right back to how I felt when I was cheated on by Cory.
Reading over the messages, I saw how Third Wheel was constantly hinting towards my husband about being sexual. How he was shifting the conversation slightly by asking sexual questions here or there. Patrick would always respond with, “my husband and I do this,” or things to similar effect, but when Patrick typed those responses back, Third Wheel would come back with, “Oh that’s turning me on.”
I kept reading these messages back and forth until I got past the caregiver section, and when I got to the bottom after Third Wheel explained what a caregiver was, I saw the words from my husband say, “Do you want me to be that for you?”
Immediately my heart was broken. It hurt so bad to see something like that, because I was reading that as Patrick offering. Patrick offering to be something like that for someone else and nobody had talked to me about anything beforehand. I took that as cheating. Especially because of what happened to me in my past relationship.
I immediately told Patrick how I felt and when he reached out to me, I pushed his hand away and started crying. I hit a super low point. Immediately my anxiety and depression came in, and I felt those feelings surging back. The feeling of being that terrified mouse. Waiting to be hit, to be slapped, to be called names, to feel the pain, and then hear the apology. Patrick tried to say that he didn’t mean for it to come across that way and he was sorry, but I screamed at him that he sounded just like Cory. That his apology was garbage and that it didn’t matter what the intent was because it’s what happened.
At the end of the day, he sent someone a message about sexual things, and Third Wheel responded with, “that’s turning me on.” Which seemed like key words to me, about where a conversation was going. I cried for hours, and Patrick cried alongside me. We talked back and forth, and he assured me he didn’t mean anything by it. That he was just learning what a caregiver was and was confused because it seemed like Third Wheel was wanting him to be that. Patrick said when he asked if that’s what Third Wheel wanted him to be, it wasn’t because he was offering, but Patrick was just trying to make it clear as to what the intent was.
It’s taken me days to get over it. I clocked Third Wheel on facebook. I told Patrick that I couldn’t handle them talking or messaging each other anymore. Patrick has respected my feelings. Patrick has assured me that he didn’t mean it to seem like he was propositioning someone outside of our marriage. He said he knows how I went through an abusive relationship, and if I have to be that crazy spouse that wants to check his phone, to simply ask and take it. He said he has nothing to hide and wants to be married to me. That he wants to grow old with me. Have kids with me. That he’s simply too damn old and tired as he is now to even try and play those cheating games.
I know what he is saying is the truth, but it’s hard when you’ve grown up like this. When you went through abuse throughout your whole childhood from an alcoholic with a bad temper. It’s hard when you’ve been raped by someone you trusted, to overcome the anxiety that keeps you from feeling safe or trusting someone again. It’s hard to not feel like someone is going to cheat on you again when you went through that already with someone in the past. Luckily, I found someone who is empathetic with the way that I feel. I can only hope more people are out there like Patrick, and that those empathetic individuals find those out there that are broken, like me.
I hope that others mend themselves, and are able to get over those bumps in the road, built by the past. I know today was a rant and it has been a while since I’ve done an update, but this is where my mind has been the past week. This is what I have been trying to overcome mentally.
I feel better, and Patrick texts me multiple times throughout his work period, talking to me about his shift, what he wants for dinner, and even the cutesy things like complimenting me, or saying he misses me. I just feel so stupid for letting my past relationships, and past experiences almost terminate our marriage. Almost ruin something so good, pure and beautiful.
If you managed to make it all of the way through my jumbled text rant from my brain, I am:
2) Thankful for all the kind words that people have sent me. I know I am a little broken, but this blog and the kind words from different readers whether it be in the comments or getting emails, means a lot. I genuinely appreciate you kind souls out there.