A bit of my background,
I spent the first half of my childhood on a farm. After moving to Omaha, my third move/school later, my parents finally settled. I didn’t grow up dirt poor but we were far from rich (Our house was still clean and nicely decorated but I thought getting your hot water or electric shut off every once in awhile was a normal thing for everyone). I was the youngest of three to my trucker dad and Homemaker mother. In my teenage years my mom was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. I didn’t know much about the disorder except now she “had an excuse for her mood swings and days of laying in bed”. A few years after her diagnosis, she started to self medicate. When she was good – she was the best! but when she was bad, you just had to stay clear of her path and let her ride it out. It is hard for a child to understand why one moment their parent is the most loving person on the planet and then all of a sudden the parent goes on a rage and you are being yelled at but you have no clue why.
I am no stranger to living on egg shells. Living with someone that has a mental disease/disorder is very draining. I’ve struggled with bouts of depression as far back as I can remember, because of it. But I have always learned how detach from her for a bit and pull myself out of it. Pretty early on in my childhood I learned to analyze everything I did and how it effected her mood, so that I knew what not to do (though sometimes I still did it b/c I was a little rascal).
It wasn’t until I found out that I was going to be a mom that I started reading into mental health and really understood why my mom was the way she was. I started to recall certain instances that I never understood as a child and tried to see them from her disease. It gave some good closure and from there I developed a love for understanding and achieving better mental health.
The fire has been lit.
I was a troubled kid and acted out a lot. I was on a first name basis in the principal/administrator’s offices. When I got pregnant (my senior year) something in me just snapped. I started reading everything I could on child psychology and I tried to think of the times I acted out as a kid and analyze why I was acting that way so that I could use that to help my son grow. Suddenly, all that mattered was doing better for him. And I not only wanted to do better, I wanted to raise him better. I didn’t want to raise him in the dark or ashamed. I wanted him to have an understanding about how and why some things are, so I can then teach him how to make better decisions.
I’ve made my set of mistakes but I try to learn everything I can from them. I have been married twice, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take marriage seriously. I dated them both for 3-4 years before we married. My first marriage was three days after I graduated high school, to my son’s father. We were extremely young, but I’ll never regret TRYING to give my son the family he deserves. My second marriage was into Military life. Within the first year of marriage, we were both struggling with PTSD (his from IRAQ and mine from the home invasion we had months after moving to Germany). Neither of us knew how to handle the other while we were both suffering so much, ourselves. We held on for a few years but ultimately, we let it get the best of us.
When I met my NarcEx,
I had just gotten out of a two+ year relationship because I couldn’t commit to moving in together and combining our lives. I was accepting the fact that I would not have any more kids. I always imagined myself married with 4-5 kids and a dog or two. However, the one child I have has been so rewarding. I count my blessings with him and am perfectly happy with one child. I had a great career and I had owned my own home for a few years.
Owning my own home was a big deal for me for many reasons. Owning a home in Nebraska, while there is so much that I love about living in the midwest, the ONE thing that I hate about it outweighs all that I love- WINTERS.
I despise being cold. I shiver so hard that my muscles tense up and it becomes very painful. The only relief from that is a condition that causes my hands and feet to go numb and when it’s cold it is way worse. I hate the cold so much that I just can’t see myself living somewhere with a winter for the rest of my life. We (my son and I) had been back for about a year from living in Germany (another cold place). My apartment lease was coming due so I asked my son about moving south, where winters were rare. He was not keen on the idea of leaving his dad again and told me that if I moved, he wanted to stay back with his dad. I understood that and couldn’t take him away from his dad again. So the next week I bought my house and planted roots for him until he graduates. It was the first HOME that he had that wasn’t a rental. Between his dad’s moving and Our Germany moves, he hadn’t had a real home to grow up in. It was nice to be able to give that to him. It was also one of the first big things I did on my own, without a man. I was proud to show my son I could do this for us and on my own.
And so it starts.
When I met my NarcEx, my son was at the end of his eighth grade year.
He messaged me on FB asking me out for drinks and shenanigans (that fact that he used the word shenanigans is actually what intrigued me). Mentioning he may or may not have had a crush on me back in High school. I remembered him but didn’t know much about him and I felt like I had just seen a female post about him on social media. So I asked him about it so I could confirm that he did not have a girlfriend (that happens way more than you think, it’s a little discouraging). He assured me that he was single and explained that the girl was his ex. She had moved out months ago and they broke up. They, at one point a couple months ago, tried to work it out but they are definitely split and have been for over a month. Curious and not really looking for anything, I agreed to meeting up (I thought worst case scenario – this will last three, Maybe four dates, he’ll do something that annoys me and I’ll break it off. He’ll tell all the mutual friends that we have that I am a ‘B’ word. End of story. no biggie).
I’ve had an oddly high amount of “sketch” dating instances throughout my years. I am a little more cautious because of it and my normal dating protocol may be a bit more structured than some. I’ve learned the hard way to not let guys pick me up at my place until we’ve had a few dates. I like to hang out with someone a few times so I can pick up any “stalker vibes” before I let them pick me up at my place of residence.
Depending on how well I already know them, I like to meet at a public place. If I suspect they are married or have a girl friend, I like to see if we can meet at their home so I can make sure there are no signs that a girl lives there. I thought I knew my NarcEx well enough (or at least knew enough people that knew him and vouched for him) to meet him at his house for our first date. And though I believed his story, it is nice to have that confirmation before you have to learn the hard way.
When I suggested meeting at his house there was no hesitation, he agreed immediately. When we finally met up for our first date – I walked into his house to see no sign of a female presence. It was a clean house but very minimal. There was one old stretched 7up bottle on the kitchen counters and that was it. The walls were bare except for a large red framed picture by the dining table. It was somewhat updated and well kept. And for furniture he only had the essentials, and most were hand me downs. Hoping it was more of a cheap thing than a OCD thing (his house is a lot different than my ‘cluttered eclectic’ home). He loves to brag about how cheap he is, so I quickly found out that it was because he was cheap and he doesn’t like to spend his money on those types of things (no worries, I decorate. he’s clean and that’s a big plus). His house was definitely a bachelor pad and was almost completely girl free. The only thing that stood out was the hand soap he had in his bathroom. I gave him crap about it and he said his sister buys it for him (Cool. He doesn’t have a girlfriend).
Sitting at the island in his kitchen, He’s wearing short sleeves to show off that he is covered in tattoos – he asks me if I have any. I told him about the Fairy I have on my back. I got it when I was 16. My mom took me to get a tattoo of a lady bug on my foot (that has meaning to me linked to the farm I lived on when I was a child). At some point during the wait, my mom talked me out of the lady bug and into a darn fairy on my back. I’ve hated the tattoo since the third day that I had it and at some point I would love to get it covered up. He went on about his tattoos and how stupid some of them are. He said you can hate them but you can never cover them up. He made a bet with me that if he got a fairy tattoo then I could never cover mine up. I laughed and agreed (yea, what ever you say, guy I’m on a first date with).
**Around six months later, he got the fairy tattoo on his leg. And I am, presently, struggling with the decision of being a Woman of my word and never covering it up like we agreed – or – b/c he never kept one promise that he made to me AND now the tattoo reminds me of him, that is even more incentive to cover it up…… ??
The more we talked the more our stories linked up. There were a million different coincidences.
Our paths had been crossing since we were kids. Omaha is small but I have never met some one who knew so many of the same people as I did and all from different groups of friends and points in our lives. We joked that – ‘we were always just one step behind the other one. but it was all about timing. He had to get his craziness out of his system b/c I never would have put up with it, with every thing I have already been through’.
In the beginning.
At the beginning (first 9 months) he was supportive in every way. He wanted to get to know me better so that he could love me better. We had an understanding that you have to learn to love someone. He convinced me that we could not be who we want to be if we keep any walls up. We agreed that we would take down all the walls and love without the BS. That we would do what we needed for each other to keep each other happy. He wanted to be my fairytale b/c I was his. If I doubted myself in anything he would boost me up and tell me he had my back in what ever I wanted to do. He seemed to show that he had an understanding of the trauma I have already dealt with and he had a protective nature and wanted to keep me from going through more. He would tell me how he wanted to give me what I deserve and his only concern was to love me better than what I had had in the past.
In the beginning he’d joke/flirt by tossing his wallet at me and say – “Here. It’s all gonna be yours anyways. You might as well take it now”. This always made me feel a bit odd, I didn’t want to think I wanted him for his money. I could care less about how much money we had, I was fine with living in a shack, clipping coupons, and raising a family as long as it was with him. I knew we both knew enough that we could not only survive but thrive as “off the grid” people. We made everything fun. We could joke around all day. He’d talk about how he can’t wait to start a life/family with me. Immediately, he claimed that- what was his, was now mine. after a month or two he either called me “Mamma” – (b/c I was one) or “Wife”. He even registered me for a work event of his under his last name. I, stupidly, but gladly organized and combined our lives together.
I was riding this wave with a cheering audience.
In the beginning, if we were ever apart but in the same vicinity – mid conversation with other people – we would both scan the room to find the other, make eye contact, give a little smile, then make a silly face at the each other and go back into our conversation without skipping a beat. People would describe our flirting and weirdness with each other as “gross”. and we often got told to stop being so weird with each other. Everyone was convinced that this was It. I had conversations with his mother where she cried because she was so happy, when she asked me if we had already talked about marriage and I told her, “yes”. I think in that same conversation is when I thanked her for the son that she raised. A few months shy of our first year anniversary, we took a trip to Mexico. While we were there and after we got back all I got was questions about if we had gotten engaged (I think everyone was drinking the kool-aid).
Learning about each other was fun!
I loved hearing about his stories (I’ve heard them so much, I could tell them and convince people who were there, that I was there too). It always cracked me up b/c I couldn’t even imagine him being the person that some people described him to be before I came along. I thought his young rebellious stage was cute. I had one, it just didn’t last as long as his. but look at me – I grew up. I got over the BS and got real with ish. I didn’t care who he was BEFORE me b/c I loved who he was right now WITH me. I couldn’t imagine ever letting each other down- we always talked about how we were on the same team. He talked about stories of people he knew who cheated and how disgusted it made him. He talked about how no one has old school morals anymore. I trusted him with everything 100%, I trusted his character…………
Photo Cred goes to one of my best friends and a great photographer Karen. See more of her great work here – http://www.karenann.photography