Sunday, 4 March 2012

This isn't about Housework.

I got this from Pinterest (as you do.) Unfortunately I closed the window on it before I could link it.

Over on my Facebook page I asked you, the readers of this blog, if I should share this very personal (and somewhat dear to my heart) post. The reasons for not sharing are simple: it's easier to hide your feelings than to bare them. And it's also so, so easy not to talk about ex-boyfriends - especially if you used to blog about them in the past, using code names, and they got angry about this when they figured out their own code name ;). 

But there is one person in this whole equation I'd like to share this post with - okay there are you guys, the readers, - but then there's my husband, Bryan. 

So for the sake of my dignity and my ex-boyfriend's privacy I won't be sharing his name here, ever. I've already said that before, I'm sure, but I want to drive that home. I would be so grateful that if you did know his name that you also wouldn't share it. Thank you. 

Now onto the point of this whole post ;) :

Let's go back to when I was 19. I was studying for my HNC in Advertising. I was in a very unhappy relationship. And I honestly didn't feel 'complete.' I felt like parts of me were missing, scattered somewhere, and that I couldn't possibly pick up all the pieces to figure it all out.

My boyfriend at the time wasn't very helpful. He never wanted to talk about anything serious or not relating to string theories (I dated a nerd, what of it?) He put the relationship last, all the time, and with that I always came last in his list of priorities. I think I was happy with this because it meant I didn't have to try hard, either. When I think of the relationship now, 7 years later, I see fracture lines and then I see the gaping holes where everything went wrong. One selfish teenager and one selfish twenty-something year old trying to make a relationship work.

I remember there being many occasions when I knew it wouldn't work out between us, but there are a handful that really stick out in my mind. Not for any great reason, I suppose I just remember events in a strange order. 

I remember his parents had gone away on holiday and I'd come over that day to bake lots of vegan treats. I was trying out new recipes and experimenting with different ideas I had - at the time I had this idea/passion that I would one day have my own vegan food range and/or my own bakery - and he was testing these ideas.

When I'd made everything, cleaned up, stored everything in the fridge I then went home. The next day I dropped round after a college class and the kitchen was a mess again - just a general mess, with dishes and whatnot scattered all over the place. I bypassed the kitchen and went straight to the living room. My boyfriend was in a panic as his parents were due home either that night or the next morning (I forget which) and the place wasn't looking it's best.

Being in selfish mode I honestly didn't sense his urgency to clean up, nor did I want any part of it. I hadn't made the mess, that was the point back then and I didn't feel the need to help. I didn't see the need to help, either. He could do it after all, couldn't he? It wouldn't be that bad. 

I can remember, even to this day, the tension that was in the air as he cleaned in the kitchen. Maybe that's my own perceived tension, I don't know, but either way things were awkward between us.

There was a massive growing anxiety inside my belly about this, but neither of us spoke. He passively aggressively slammed things down in the kitchen as I waited nervously in the living room, staring back at a very pale reflection. I remember looking into that massive mirror above the fire place and thinking; How is this my life? 

My relationship 7 years ago and my marriage now have parallels at times, excepting that I've outgrown my selfish ways. I don't overlook or under appreciate. But the two men in question have such similar personalities and it's something I hadn't really seen until a few nights ago, in a 'discussion' about where my energy could be better used. 

Obviously this marriage is better and different - otherwise, why would I marry Bryan and not my ex? - and I'm not suggesting that it's completely the same, because it's not. I've learned from a bad relationship and I am now learning from a good relationship.

But there are parallels. 

Does that worry me? Not in the least. We fall in love with people and their personalities - you could say we 'fall in love with peoples souls' and I truly and utterly believe that. And although there are massive differences between people, there are amazing similarities as well. 

I remember a few weeks ago asking Bryan if he ever thought about how his life might have been with other people. My motivation in asking this stemmed from the fact that I was thinking about the above story I've shared with you today. I got thinking about that situation, that little slice of boring, domestic life together and thought about how every day, for the rest of my life, that could have been my life. That awkward tension. The selfishness. The silences unless they were filled with anything but talking about the relationship - about reality. 

And to be brutally frank I am grateful that was, and is, not my life. That I didn't break free from my 19 year old chrysalis and emerge trapped under the pressure of all that. And although I was sad to end that relationship a year later I was also so relieved. 

Life now is filled with different challenges but this time it's easier to breathe. I always knew I would marry young, but when I ended that relationship it was hard to see a way to that. Bryan was my 'missionary friend' (in the sense that we'd become friends before his mission and he'd gone off to serve a mission) and still needed to sand down the sharp edges of his personality. Although I'd made no secret of 'finding someone like my friend Bryan' to marry, I  didn't even put the pieces together to see that all along it was him. I thought it would be fun to maybe hang out a few times but I knew he was serious about things - and well, I wasn't. 

We all know how that ended ;). And you know what? I'm glad.

Glad I took the risk - although, really, it wasn't much of a risk...

There are things I'd improve on, sure, like making Bryan more house proud and organised but there are things I wouldn't change and things that are just 'there', naturally, God given? His desire to be married and have a family to cherish is the biggest thing I wouldn't change, especially in a world of deadbeat dads and selfish husbands.

And although there are parallels to the relationship I had 7 years ago and my marriage now, Bryan's heart and soul is not something that can be paralleled by anyone. His desire to do what is right, true and just can't be copied and it's something I've rarely seen shine so bright inside someone. He never does things he doesn't want to do - which brings about frustrations at times, but for the most part this is good. When he made the decision to eat vegan I knew he was doing it for his own reasons and the fact I was vegan was just a vehicle into his choice, making it easier for him.

But there is a point inside that remark that takes me back to my original story - there will never be any resentments on his part for the choices he makes or the things he does because his choices will come from him, informed by others. My ex used to make choices based solely on what others thought and then put his desires second to that and that bred resentment and tension. 

The resentment and tension in the relationship with my ex mounted and mounted until we had a blazing row around all our issues. We used to hurt each other a hell of a lot. I would cry more times than I would laugh. We'd argue more than we'd hug or show any kind of affection. I was scared to say what I really wanted, because I knew what I wanted most was out of the relationship - but I was scared of how he'd react to that. I was scared of where that would leave me and I honestly didn't want to lose him.

When that relationship ended I felt like a new person. But as horrible as things could be, I believed he was this great love of my life. When things were good, they were really good. But when things got ugly...they were horrendous. At the time I believed in soul mates and I honestly thought 'this is it.' But how could that be?

One person. Forsaking all others - and all other opportunities to love ever again. Yes, we all know that's what a marriage is but to me 'soul mates' doesn't make sense. What if you find your 'soul mate' and they die? What if they are abusive? Nasty? A person who is so flawed that you can't stand being in the same room as them? 

When me and the ex broke up so many people wanted all the details of the break up. And I only shared half the story with one close friend. Even at that I didn't go into any details at all. It just made it easier all round. I also avoided seeing or speaking to him for two months.

When we were together I made sure that I rarely spoke about the whole relationship and I kept my relationship a secret for a very long time. Why? Because I knew it wouldn't last and that it wouldn't work out - despite my own mum thinking I would marry him and despairing for the whole situation ;). We were together for a long time, but it was more off than on. I was also ashamed of the way  I was behaving around him and I didn't want others to tell me to get a grip.

I loved this ex boyfriend an obsessive amount, I wanted to spend every second with him - and when I did spend even a minute in his company I couldn't stand the things he said or did. He was a walking contradiction and drove me mental. He was good in times of grief or intense sadness and I remember one time I went over my ankle. He half-carried me back to his place, put my foot up on loads of pillows, ran cold water into a bowl and just took care of me. He bought my favourite things at the shops and wouldn't let me move. He took care of me. But was such a contradiction because out of everyone I've ever known, he's hurt me the most. 

We broke up because he couldn't accept the things I wanted; to be married, to have a family, to live in suburbia - although, I wasn't looking to live in suburbia - but what's wrong with suburbia!?

But I am so happy he hurt me that much, that he pushed me away so much because it got me to where I am now. It opened my eyes to how great things could truly be. And yes, I could have avoided that whole relationship (and often times I wish I had) and still have the beautiful life I have now with my husband, child and our suburban dream but I don't think the sweet would be this sweet without that horrible relationship. 

So even though there were heart aches and horrible things that happened, it all paid off. When someone tells you, one day it will all make sense, they are not far wrong. Listen to them. And wait for a bigger and better improvement in your life. 

To be with a man who not only desires, but whose goal it has been to enter into the temple* with their wife, to be sealed for eternity is a huge improvement from where I left off 7 years ago. To be with a man who desires to be with me for being me leaves me speechless. To be with a man who desires marriage and all the blessings it brings is something I struggle to put into words. And to have a child with a man who wants, dreams, hopes and desires for all these things is awesome. 

*Yeah, I know, your desire might not be a temple marriage...but you know...apply whatever your dream or desire is ;).

So when everyone told me, "IT'S TOO SOON! DON'T DO IT, YOU'LL LIVE TO REGRET THIS!", I present to you this post and my thoughts all cobbled together. And perhaps if you thought we'd rushed things or moved too quickly then things should really start to make sense by now.

I realise relationships are private but I felt inspired to share this - maybe to warn someone to think twice in their own relationship and to really think about what it is they want and if their partner is providing it.