In every 50 year old girl’s life there is probably an Ex. Mine, unfortunately, is an
ex-husband. And since he’s the father of my two oldest children, he will forever be a thorn in my side.
I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. There was no positive feedback in that house whatsoever. We were just always told what was wrong with us. Plus there was no affection in our home. I never saw my parents kissing, hugging or even holding hands. Now when I look back on that, it seems very sad and empty. My mother was usually drunk and my father was just plain mean and bitter. Though I was fortunate to have wonderful grandparents, I still thought very little of myself back then. Added to that I was so skinny, I practically had the body of a boy. And I was so young looking that I looked about 10 when I was 15. So, yeah, I had some major self confidence issues.
Then one day, along comes this guy, and he thought the sun rose and set with me. He totally put me on a pedestal, and nobody had ever done that. He thought I was the prettiest girl in the world, and nobody had ever thought that. At least that’s what I thought. And I was in love with the fact that he loved me. But I never really did love him.
I met him when I was 15 years old and he was 17. And even though I was very young, I still wonder, what the hell was I thinking? Though I really do know what I was thinking. I was thinking I couldn’t do any better. Actually that’s not what I was thinking at first. He really was a very good looking guy. But once I really got to know him, I knew somewhere deep down, that this was not the right man for me, even before I married him.
So my ex and I started dating and then it progressed to more serious things. He was the first man I ever had sex with. Unfortunately it wasn’t really worth it,but I didn’t know that at the time. I just thought for several years that I didn’t care for sex. Boy was I in for a surprise. Years later I figured out that I really love sex, I just needed the right lover. Anyway, shortly after I turned 17, I became pregnant. And we got railroaded into marriage. I was basically told “you will get married!” by my mother. For the life of me, to this day, I have no idea why I did what she told me to do. I never really obeyed my mother before. So why was I obeying her now? But I guess I knew I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. So like many girls I was married and having a baby at 17 years old. Not only did we get railroaded into marriage but his parents and my parents decided he was going to join the Marines. Yes, they had our whole lives planned out for us.
Well our daughter was born just a month after I turned 18. My ex was in California in training and I got to live at home with a baby and a drunk mother. And even though I did, and still do, adore my daughter, this was definitely not how I was picturing my life turning out.
My ex came home when our daughter was about a year old. He did not stay in his full term. He had gone AWOL when she was three days old and was living with some other girl. But I tried to forgive him, and for our daughter’s sake, I tried to make it work. This was the first time we actually lived together, and it did not go well. I left him a couple of times that first year, for very good reasons. But I kept letting him come back and trying to make it work.
Unfortunately, one of the times we did get back together I ended up getting pregnant again. So I tried to make it work……again. But shortly after our second daughter was born, I knew. No matter how hard being a very young single parent was going to be, I had to do it. And I did do it. I was pretty much alone and a single parent for four years before I got married again.
During that last part of my first marriage, I was already falling in love with my present husband. We had been very good friends for many years. And during those rough years with my ex and my parents, he was the only one who was really there for me. Though he still had a lot of growing up to do before he was ready to settle down and really commit to the whole family package (I was definitely a package now) and all the responsibilities that went with it. The contrast between the two of them was like night and day. This was a real man who really loved me for me. He was my friend and my lover and everything in between. His love helped me to heal. His love helped me to grow up and become the me that I am now.
I can’t say I really regret what happened. If it wasn’t for my ex, I wouldn’t have my two oldest daughters, and I can’t imagine my life without them. I learned a lot of lessons during those early adult years, like what a bad marriage looks like. I know that not all of the mistakes were his. It takes two to ruin a marriage. And since I wasn’t really emotionally there 100% in the first place, I do have to take part of the blame. But they say you can only do what you know how to do. And at that time I sure didn’t know much. But I grew up very quickly at a very young age.
Fortunately I finally did get past my past. And I was bound and determined not to raise my children the way I was raised. Our home was a home that showed love and affection openly. All four of our children (yes I had two more) all know that they are loved and valued for exactly who they are. That we think they are wonderful and beautiful and worthy of the absolute best that life has to offer them. That they should pursue their dreams, and that they should never settle for less. I wish someone had told me these things. But I’m grateful that I did repeat my parent’s mistakes. And even more grateful that none of my children have repeated mine.
Written by newme (LP)