Communication is Hard!

I’ve been rather miserable.  My conversation with Treun the other day was something that broke my heart.  Thinking that he didn’t want to marry me brought up all kinds of nasty realizations about myself.  First, I realized that I really do NOT know how to communicate in this relationship.  I still have so much baggage from every other relationship that it makes me hold back from speaking what is on my mind.  Second, I realized I’m rather insecure about the future.  Lastly, I realized that what Bubba did to me still haunts me. I have so much to overcome and so much work to do.

My parents never taught me how to communicate.  What Celia taught me was that if something hurt your feelings or made you mad, you didn’t say one word to that person about it and in a few days it would all blow over.  I saw the resentment in her build over the years, however.

For example, my father kept the basement a chaotic mess.  He never threw things away so there was a ton of rusted tools, pieces of broken equipment, stacks of papers, and various other “junk” strewn throughout most of the basement.  Whenever they’d have a party, my mother had to work hard to get the basement company ready because the family spread out throughout the upstairs and downstairs.  She would be so angry but she’d never express this to my father.  And he knew she was angry but he never did anything about the mess.  They never worked together to share their feelings or solve the problem.  That is just one example of how my mother’s feelings would be hurt but she would not talk to my father about it.

When I married Bubba, I tried to break out of that pattern.  I didn’t want to live like that.  Only with Bubba, it wasn’t safe to express my inner most being because eventually, it would be turned against me.  We made mutual decisions regarding family planning years ago that he threw in my face during the divorce and made it seem like I forced him to do things he didn’t want to do.

It was devastating to me to learn that decisions I’d thought we’d worked through together were really made to just shut me up and that he’d carried that resentment all those years.  We began our family together but later I learned that he didn’t want kids when we started having them, even though he seemed in total agreement at the time.  There were so many “mutual” decisions that we made together that he later threw in my face (not all of them were revealed during the divorce – many of them I knew years before that).  It became unsafe to reveal my wants and longings to him because they would always be used against me at a later date.

For me, telling Treun, “I want to marry you; I don’t simply want to live with you.” seems downright terrifying.  How do I communicate this to him when I’m used to these things being turned against me?  Logically, I know this is Treun and he is NOTHING like Bubba.  But the fear is still there.

When I talked to Endellion yesterday, I gave her a quick run-down of what had happened.  I really wasn’t in the mood for a logic cannon so I switched topics.  I just didn’t want to talk about Treun and how the conversation went.  A couple hours later, Arcadia checked in with me to find out what was going on.  I told her about the convo and she had a very good point…I can’t infer something from his tone and words if he didn’t outright say it.  He never said he didn’t want to marry me, only that he would prefer living together.  Arcadia suggested using, “I heard you say…” to start the conversation to get clarification of what he meant.

I was chatting with Arcadia while I got Shane to bed.  As soon as he was asleep, I headed over to Treun’s house.  I hadn’t planned to go back so he was pleasantly surprised when I texted and told him I was on my way.  When I walked in the door, he took my hand and led me to the bedroom.  He sat down and pulled me in to snuggle with him and said, “Why don’t you tell me what’s on your mind?”

I said, “Yesterday when we were talking, I heard you say that you didn’t want to marry me.”  He says he thinks about marrying me but it’s complicated.  He reminded me that he talks about life insurance and ways to make sure I’m taken care of if he dies first.  Yes, I’ve heard him say that.  I asked him if it is fair for us to put our lives on hold because of the kids and he said that he struggles with what is the right thing to do.  I totally understand that because I do that with every decision I make.

I told him that I’m really bad at this communication thing and that I’m trying but I just don’t know what I’m doing.  He said he struggles too.

I walked away from that conversation not feeling better about things.  They are complicated and from everything we talked about, the kids are the main complication.  I understand it.  I do.  In fact, I think he is a smart man for not wanting to jump into the step-dad role here.  I think he is a smart man for not wanting us to take over his life.

We are a huge package and we are complicated.

He Doesn’t Want to Get Married

Well, it’s official.  I’m done dreaming of marrying Treun.  He doesn’t want to marry me.

All of us spend the day over at Treun’s place today.  I actually got the older two kids to go and was feeling rather accomplished about that.  They stayed upstairs, playing video games most of the time, but they were there.

I’d rented two movies for Treun and I to watch with the kids but only Shane watched the first one with us.  Serenity joined us for the second but we couldn’t entice Liam away from his video games.

After the second movie was over, I gathered the kids and headed home.  I got Shane to bed and went back over to Treun’s house.  He’d run to the store and got us things to fix salads for dinner.  We ate and watched t.v.  He made no move to take me to his bedroom and I followed his lead.  We snuggled on the couch.  That threw me a bit because that isn’t normal for us.  When we have such a limited amount of time to be together like that, we’ve always taken the opportunity.  I’m fine with him not being in the mood but it just seemed strange to me.

Thinking about it now, I can tell something was on his mind.  Right after the movie I told the kids to pack up their stuff because we were leaving.  Shane went to put his shoes on and said, “I don’t want to leave!!!!!!!!  If you guys were married, we wouldn’t have to leave.”  Treun replied, “Out of the mouths of babes.”  I just grinned at him but didn’t say anything.

As we were snuggling on the couch, he said, “If it wasn’t for that clause in your divorce, we could be cohabitating soon.”  I took a chance.  I don’t know now if it was the right now, but now I know.  I said, “So, if you had the choice, you’d pick cohabitating over getting married.”  He said that it would be the natural progression of things and with the way the older two feel…..  I said, “Yeah, the horrible children make it difficult.”  He said not to get him wrong, he wants to spend his life with me because he loves me.  But, apparently, marriage isn’t on the table.

You see, Serenity and Liam make life more than difficult.  They are both going through shit now and are acting extremely selfish and mean to me.  Treun watches it and feels helpless to help me because he isn’t their father.  He called Liam on his bad behavior toward me once and Liam has basically avoided him and has taken an active dislike to Treun since then.

I understand Treun’s thoughts.  I have a seriously over-the-top crazy ex-husband who is bound and determined to use our children against me and is still playing the “Let Me Hurt Hope As Much As I’m Able” game and I have children who are dealing with serious repercussions of having Bubba as a father.  Why would anyone willingly want to saddle themselves with that on a permanent basis?  I get it.  I do.

That doesn’t change the fact that I won’t settle for anything less than marriage.  Living together will not be acceptable to me even if I ever get that stupid clause removed from my divorce decree.  I want to be Treun’s wife.  I want to grow old with him.  I want to take our final breaths together after we’ve had a good 40 years together.

I didn’t tell him any of this.  I couldn’t tell him what I want because I don’t want him to feel pressured to marry me.  I don’t want him to ask because it is what I want and he wants to make me happy.  I want him to want to marry me because that is what he wants.  And if I’m honest with myself, I’m too afraid to tell him.  I’m too afraid to let him see how much it hurts me that he doesn’t want to marry me.

I let Bubba see me cry when he wasn’t ready to become a father and having a baby was all I could think about.  I cried for weeks and weeks, after I’d gone to bed, thinking Bubba didn’t know.  Except he did hear me and he figured it out.  A few days later, he told me we could try to have a baby and two months later we were pregnant with Serenity.  During the divorce he accused me of forcing him to have a baby with me and that he didn’t want Serenity.  How I hope Serenity never finds this out.  So, that is coloring my views about letting Treun in on my feelings about living together vs. getting married.

For now, I live for today.  I stop thinking about the future.  I stop talking about the future.  I stop dreaming about the future. I will take what the day brings and look no further.

Because knowing I won’t be marrying him hurts too much.

He’s Home!

I’m pretty sure that was the longest ten days of my life.

He got home last night around 8:45 p.m.  My plan was to leave work, spend some time with the kids, get Shane to bed, then head over to his house for a bubble bath before he got home.  Shockingly, my plan worked beautifully!  Shane cooperated with bedtime.  I grabbed my book, Treun’s pillow and t-shirt, and headed out.

I was able to take a nice, relaxing bubble bath and just sit in there and read for quite awhile.  Treun texted that they were twenty minutes away so I figured I’d better get out and make myself presentable since Noble and his girlfriend were with Treun.

When they walked in the door, I’m pretty sure that Treun had never looked as handsome as he did right then.  He looked exhausted but the smile on his face when he saw me waiting was a sight to behold.  I couldn’t even wait for him to come in the door; I had to kiss him.  Then I let him in the house and we went to his room to put his things down.  He took me into his arms and kissed me and held me like there was no tomorrow.  I’d been insecure enough to wonder if he’s missed me as much as I’d missed him.  Having him hold me like that was all the answer I needed.  Yes, he’d missed me.

Noble and his girlfriend headed out to pick up some wine so Treun and I took the opportunity for a proper welcome.  I think that is the first time I’ve ever gotten undressed faster than him.  Our reunion was, well, it was the stuff of legend.  After all the years of hell I lived with Bubba, it is amazing to me that sex can be so amazing.

As we were laying there after, I just randomly announced that I was hungry.  I’d only eaten a few bites of Shane’s macaroni and cheese for dinner and as it was almost 10 p.m., I was suddenly starving.  Treun said that he was hungry too as they hadn’t eaten.  They were just eager to get home.  He texted Noble to see if they wanted to grab a bite to eat.

Fifteen minutes later, we were sitting down at a Mexican restaurant to enjoy a nice meal together.  I was pretty sure than anyone with eyes would be able to see that I’d just been well and thoroughly loved but I didn’t care.  I was hungry and I needed food!  I was the designated driver so they all split a pitcher of beer.  We talked and laughed and ate.  I genuinely like Noble and his girlfriend so it was nice to sit and talk to them about their hopes and dreams.

It was a wonderful evening and I just hope that Treun doesn’t decide to leave me again like that.  He is planning to take me with him the next time he goes.  I am looking forward to the trip and meeting his parents and siblings.

It should prove to be interesting.

I Miss Treun

He went to visit his folks.  He’s been gone for three whole days!  I’m lost without him.  I truly am.

Treun left and took all of his calm with him.  I feel jittery and rudderless.  I feel quite lost without his quiet presence.  And I have to make it through six more days.  He won’t be in till really late Friday night which means I won’t get to see him till Saturday.   I think I may be hanging out at his house on Friday, just long enough to see him, kiss him, hug him, then head home again.

Before Treun left, he gave me a key to his house.  He gave it to me so that I could take his mail in and just in case I needed to escape for some time alone, I’d have a place to sneak away to.  I went over the other day to get his mail and I ended up pilfering borrowing his pillow and a t-shirt he wore the day before left.  They smell like him and I can sleep with them and feel like he’s still with me.  The kids had been with Bubba for a few days before Treun left so I stayed over there and it was so nice to roll over and feel him there in the middle of the night.  With his pillow and t-shirt, I can pretend he’s close.  I, of course, have no intention of telling Treun about this.  I will return his items before he gets home.  <giggle>

I’m not used to missing people.  The children go to spend time with Bubba and I don’t miss them – I’m too busy being happy for the break because they come so few and far between.  I’m in perpetual burn-out from 24/7 parenting that I crash when they’re gone and am far too busy trying to rest to actually miss them.  Bubba had us moving so much during our marriage that I just don’t miss people when they move away or when I moved away in the past.  I have learned to keep in touch or not and move on with my life.  So, missing Treun is a new feeling for me.

Every fiber of my being feels his absence.  I don’t have my calm.  I don’t have that sense of all being right in my world now.  It amazes me how much I’ve come to rely on him being my other half – my saner half.  He grounds me, he keeps me anchored.  I often wonder what I bring to his life.  What does he miss about me?  Wait!  Does he actually miss me?  Oh, I hope so.  I hope I’m not the only one feeling this keen sense of not being whole.

Then, as always when I realize how much I rely on him, I wonder: HOW IN THE BLUE FUCK DID THIS HAPPEN?  I mean really!  I used to swear up and down that I didn’t want a man in my life, I didn’t need a man in my life.  Then I look further back at how I used to tell Luke that I’d never have sex again and I vehemently meant it!  Now, I can’t imagine not having sex with Treun.  I can’t imagine not sharing my bed (or his bed) with him.  How this happened still tends to puzzle me.  How did I get to this place of missing this man so completely and wanting him so much?

And can someone make Friday come sooner?

Triggered!

Treun and I are ridiculously happy these days.  Things are cruising along at a good clip and I will, hopefully, be able to write more soon.  I’m finding that the happier I am, the less time and energy I have to write.  I also think I’m so far into my healing journey that I have less need to process.  I want to share my happiness and the good things in my life too but finding time between three kids, working, and Treun has proved to be problematic.

But I need to process this and get it out.  I was triggered in a massive and major way the other night.  It’s been months since I was triggered sexually.  It seems that I get to a point where I don’t even think about it anymore then BAM! something hits me.  It is horrible in its unexpectedness.  It isn’t that I go around thinking, “Hey, I’m all healed now and my life is great!”  I am just living my life and all the sexual baggage from the past just doesn’t exist in my day to day life.  It is, mostly, a non-issue now.  So when something happens, I end up having a massive PTSD episode.

Treun and I were right in the middle of having sex.  Sex with Treun is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.  It is simply amazing.  We are comfortable with our own bodies and with each other.  We know works for us and we’re also both enthusiastic about trying new things and continuing to learn about each other.  Treun was behind me and he pulled some pillows and put them under my hips.  I didn’t know what he was going for, but I was willing to go where he lead.  He gently pushed me down so that I was laying on the pillows.  When he thrust and I felt that sensation, memories flooded and I screamed, “NO!!!!” and my body stiffened.

I’ve sat since then and tried to remember exactly what I did.  I asked Treun later if I really screamed or if it was only in my head.  He said that I said, “No” and my entire body stiffened and I lifted myself off the pillows (even with him on top of me).  He immediately stopped and laid down beside me.  I was frozen in place, my breath ragged.

I was fully back in time, back to that place that Bubba used to rape me.  Bubba  had trouble orgasming sometimes and would put me in that position to help things along.  I hated that position and told him every time that I didn’t want to be in that position but it didn’t matter to him.  He was only interested into getting off and that position helped him.  Those were the times that the other Hope would escape from The Happy Place, jump up and scream at Bubba to stop and that she never wanted to have sex with him again.  I would lay there and beg the other Hope to go back to The Happy Place, to walk through the meadow and enjoy the flowers.  I would feel it all and would be unable to dissociate again once the other Hope got out.  It was painful because by then the lube would’ve worn out and I could feel Bubba not only hurting my vagina, but also my labia with the friction.

There I was, with Treun, reliving what Bubba had done to me.  Treun was whispering words of comfort and reassurance to me, even though I can’t recall now what those words were.  I just knew I had to fight the PTSD demon that was trying to take over me.  The litany in my head was, “I’m safe.  I’m with Treun.  Bubba can’t hurt me anymore.”

I was fighting to relax my body because all of my muscles were frozen in remembered terror.  “Relax your legs, Hope.  You are safe.  Relax your back, Hope.  You are safe.”  All the way up my body, I had to manually relax my muscles, inch by inch, muscle by mucle.  It is during times like this that I am glad for the multiple voices I can call upon to help me.  I can tell myself I’m safe while also hearing myself talking to me like a small child, giving me instructions about what to do.

I finally got to the point where I could move the pillows from under me and snuggle up to Treun.  He stroked my arm, calming me, waiting for me to take the lead.  I laid there, curled into his chest, and let the tears flow.  I refused to give into the wracking sobs that were threatening to tear from my throat but I couldn’t stop the tears that silently fell.

I couldn’t talk to Treun about this.  I was still trying to process it all in my head.  It felt like my whole body was sucking comfort from Treun’s body.  I could feel it seeping into my being from his through my skin.  I was triggered a few months ago and I couldn’t talk to Treun about it right away either.  It took a day to work it through in my own head and with Endellion before I could talk to Treun about it.  This was no different.

I got to talk to Endellion about it a bit later, after Treun was asleep.  The first thing she said was, “You did it!  You told him to stop!  That is huge!”

I could never tell Bubba to stop; I’d learned that it was futile and just caused a huge fight.  But with Treun I could say no and it was immediately respected.  Even if I don’t say no, he reads my body language so well that he’s stopped a few times and asked if I was ok when he felt something was just a bit off.  Yes, this was huge!  I am no longer trapped.  I am no longer a slave to a man’s power trips.  I am loved and protected and safe.

The next day, Treun and I had a long car ride so I brought up what happened and explained it.  He’d figured as much and he knew I’d talk to him about it when I was ready.  I’d apologized the night before when I couldn’t continue and he told me I didn’t have to apologize or worry about not finishing because the most important thing to him is that I am ok.  He’d told me that the night before and again in the car.  *I* am what is important.  *I* matter.

Yes, getting triggered sucks but I know that Treun is here for me.  He respects me and loves me.  It is still mind-boggling to me because relatively speaking it is still so new.  I had disrespect and selfishness and control for two decades, I’ve only known this great love for such a short time in comparison.  It feels like I shouldn’t be surprised by Treun’s character anymore but I still am.

He is a good man.  <happy sigh>

Something Wrong With This Wedding Photo

I saw this on Facebook today.  A friend had posted it and so I clicked the link because hey, I want to know what is wrong with that wedding photo.  I’m a need-to-know kind of gal.

The first photo is a picture of a bride and groom from the shoulders up.  Nope.  Nothing wrong there.

The second photo is a zoomed out picture of the same couple but from the waist up.  I looked and looked but couldn’t find anything wrong.

Then I scrolled down and read the statistics.  Sadly, I’m in the 25%, the 33%, and a member of the 2.3 million.  And it was NOT apparent.  I was not believed by my own family because I didn’t sport the bruises.  I thought I was protecting my family by not telling them what was really doing on.  No, I didn’t realize I was being abused at the time but I knew Bubba was not treating me right and I was trying to protect him too because my family holds a grudge.  They do not let the past die.  They do not forget.  They would’ve made Bubba pay for his mistakes for the rest of his life.

Sadly, that bit me in the ass.  I protected him so well that they believed all his lies.  They believe that I’m an alcoholic, that I’m a compulsive liar, that I’m a terrible mother, that I’m a horrible person.  It’s been a few years since I’ve spoken to my family and they are still trying to convince everyone around them that this is the truth.  It simply isn’t.  They are wrong about me on so many levels.

The back of picture of my life with Bubba resembled the back of that picture.  I lived in hell behind the scenes.  I was deeply shamed that my marriage was not the amazing, wonderful marriage that I tried to make it seem to be.  I was miserable and I was hurting.  I also didn’t know any better.

Now, I know differently.  I know I am loved and cherished.  I know that Treun would never hurt me, emotionally or physically.  I will never have to hide anything from anyone.  He respects me and cares about what I think and want.  He values my input and when we don’t agree, we discuss it and come to a mutual agreement rather quickly.  It still leaves me boggled how quickly we work out disagreements.  In fact, I wouldn’t even call them disagreements.  They are differing starting points.  We discuss as we move toward each other and our mutual goals.  And somehow we always end up standing in the exact same spot, thinking the same thing.

We work well together because we each put the other first.  Arcadia watched it happen the other day and said it was beautiful to watch us think and work and come to the same conclusion within five minutes.  She was watching it from my end while Treun and I texted and she watched me get all upset, thinking we weren’t going to get it worked out.  Then she got to see me totally befuddled that we figured it out so quickly.

Another thing that I know is exactly who I am.  I am a strong, courageous woman who walked through the fires of Hell to get out of an abusive relationship and keep herself and her children safe.  I drink occasionally but more often than not I plan to drink then wake up the next morning realizing that I got busy living life and forgot to actually have the drink.

I am forthright and hate to lie.  I despise liars.  I lived with one for entirely too many years to have respect for liars.  In fact, I have to work hard to not over-share because I’m still learning my own boundaries of what information I do and do not have to disclose.  I’m horrible at lying (you can read it in my face) and it’s too much work to try to keep stories straight so why bother with anything less than the truth.  (I’m so glad Shane no longer believes in Santa because that one was getting really hard to answer questions about without lying while also not ruining the magic of Christmas for him.)

I’m a good mom.  I’m not perfect, I make mistakes all the time but I put my kids first and would do anything to keep them safe.  I’ve provided for my children and taken care of them.  I meet their needs.  I’ve often met their needs while not receiving any child support.  I’ve always met their needs when Bubba has been behind in child support (for the record, he is still over $3K behind).

I’m not a horrible person for setting and maintaining boundaries.  I am respecting myself by not being in contact with people who are not safe for me to be in contact with.  It isn’t safe for me to be in contact with people who side with my abuser, who take his side, who do not believe me.

There are no more hidden, behind-the-scene pictures in my life.   I am safe.  I am happy.  I no longer live in fear.

It is truly an amazing life I have.

Is He Up To Something?

Treun is getting ready to go on vacation again to see his folks on the other side of the world country.  He does it twice a year.  Last time he flew out by himself.  This time he is driving out with Noble.  It will be good for them to have father/son time.  With Noble in school a couple of hours away they don’t get to have enough time together so this will be so nice for both of them.  I just have to get through ten days without Treun.

Over the weekend, we went to Sears to have his oil changed and his tires rotated in preparation for his trip.  He wanted to buy me a gift but said that I needed to help pick it out because it is something that I should like.  He’s been dropping hints lately and my first thought was that he wanted to look at rings.  We dropped his car off and then he said, “Does Sears have a jewelry department?”  My first thought at that was, “Aw, hell no!  You are NOT buying my engagement ring at Sears!”  What came out of my mouth was, “I don’t know.”  We ended up going to Penney’s and as he walked me over to the jewelry counter, I figured it was at least a good place to start.  He led me over, looked down, and said, “Here! I want to get you a watch and since you’ll be wearing it, it should be something that you like.”

Never have I been happier to be facing away from someone.  My face fell.  A watch?  Really?  We’ve had this conversation before.  I don’t wear things on my wrist because it drives me nuts!  I have just enough sensory issues that watches and bracelets makes me want to rip my hair out.  I just can NOT wear anything on my wrists.  When he said that, I simply said, “Oh.”  I just stared at him. I tried to hide my disappointment.  He asked if I saw anything that I liked.  I told him that I don’t wear things on my wrists.  Then what he said next triggered an internal struggle that I did not know that I could over come.

“You just need to learn to get used to wearing it.”

Exactly something that Bubba would say and expect me to then do.  I could feel my insides screaming that this is not something that should come out of Treun’s mouth.  I came as close as I have since dating Treun to dissociating, right in the middle of Penney’s.

I could see myself in my head standing there screaming at him, “NO!!!!  I DON’T EVER HAVE TO LEARN TO GET USED TO ANYTHING!  YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!  I DON’T WEAR WATCHES AND I WILL NOT WEAR THEM, EVEN FOR YOU!”  While that part of me was screaming in my head, the saner part of me was saying, “Calm down.  This is Treun.  He would not want you to be upset by a gift he wants to give you.  That is NOT who Treun is.  He is trying to please you, not control you.”

I don’t know what, if anything, he saw on my face.  I don’t know if I’ve mastered concealing anything on my face.  I highly doubt I have but I was really struggling to keep control of myself, to not let loose the raging, caged woman.

I finally turned to him and said, “Treun.  I so appreciate the thought but it would be a waste of money to buy me a watch.  It would sit on my night stand and not get worn because I truly cannot wear anything on my wrists.”  I could tell by the look on his face that he was sad that I didn’t like what he’d thought up but that he would respect my wishes.

When we left the store to walk around the mall, I told Treun I needed to visit the ladies’ room.  I texted Endellion and told her.  She laughed!  She said that he’s up to something.  She thinks he’s trying to throw me off the scent by claiming to want to buy me something that we’ve already talked about me not liking.

I’m doubtful.

I wanted it to be a ring so badly.  I want to marry this man!  When it was a watch, I can’t tell you the amount of disappointment I felt.  I can’t get my hopes up again.  If it happens, it happens when it happens.  I can’t look forward to it again only to be crushed again.  Endellion insists that it will come sooner than I think.  I am just as insistent that it will not happen any time soon.

He might be up to something, but for now, I will keep dreaming in my head and try not to look forward to it.

Dreaming of the Future

I have a secret board on Pinterest.  It is called “Dreaming.”  It is where I collect the many ideas out there that I’d like to have at my wedding.  Yes, there I said it: I want to get married.  More specifically, I want to marry Treun.  I want to spend the rest of my life with this man, going to bed with him at night, waking up with him in the morning, and spending what is in between together.  It is getting harder and harder to leave him at the close of the evening.  It is getting more and more difficult to drive away to find my own bed while he crawls into his own.  It just doesn’t feel right any more.

In one way it feels too soon.  We’ve been together for almost eight months.  He helped me on my journey through hell and back when I was so sick.  We’ve spent countless hours together.  But I think to myself, “It’s only been eight months!  How do I know he won’t change the minute he marries me?”  I still have that left-over from Bubba.

Then I sit and think about it.  There are simply no red flags with Treun.  There is no unease in my gut that I’m trying to ignore.  Trust me, I’ve looked.  The first few months were spent analyzing everything he said and did, just waiting to see the first hint of a red flag.  My gut was screaming at me while I was dating Bubba.  I simply didn’t know what it was trying to say.  I’d not been taught to look for signs of bad things in guys so when my gut was trying to tell me to run away, I had no clue what it meant.

Now, I know what to listen for from my gut.  I know what to look for.  I know how manipulation works.  I just don’t see anything from Treun that can be construed as run-away worthy.  He has good boundaries, he is kind and caring, and he is a good man.  The only problem is that we’ve both been so hurt in the past that we are moving slowly and we both still find it hard to talk about the future.  We are making huge strides in this area but neither of us is willing to start that conversation yet.  And that is ok.

I’ve often heard, “How do you eat an elephant?”  Well, the answer is, “One bite at a time.”  That is what Treun and I are doing.  We are eating this elephant one tiny bite at a time. Small conversations here and there.  I happened to mention the fact that I don’t want a diamond when an engagement ring commercial came on the other day.  We’ve talked about turning his house into a rental and buying a house together.  We talk about whether living together or getting married would be better.  No, we haven’t made any definite plans but we are having the talks, slowly chewing away.

For now, I sit here and collect things on Pinterest and dream about marrying him someday.  I don’t know if he thinks about it as much as I do but I can tell from our small conversations that he’s considering everything too.

Oh, look at those beautiful shoes!  I must go pin that!

One Year Ago

I was reading old posts and came to The Party and the Great Big Realization.  Wow!  I’m simply shocked by the difference a year has made.  It’s been a year since Sean was in my life and we were doing the dance around each other.

A year ago I struggled with needing him in my life.  I hated myself for needing a man.  I felt defective and broken.  Celia’s words were still so strong in my head.  It was a tumultuous time for me.  Wanting Sean in a physical way, knowing he wasn’t good for me, was just hard on so many levels.

This year is totally different.  Treun has been in my life for over half a year now and I have absolutely no problem admitting that I need him in my life.  I have no problem admitting that I want him.  There is no angst, no hearing Celia’s words in my head.  Where Treun is concerned, I feel like I’ve found my other half.  Yes, it has taken quite a few months to get to the point but I am comfortable in needing Treun in my life, in leaning on him, in relying on him.  It feels natural to do so now.

A year ago I was still fighting my body’s need for sex, for physical closeness.  This year, I embrace it.  I think the difference is in the man.  Sean just wasn’t the man for me and it feels like Treun was made for me.

There is no drama with Treun.  Just the opposite, in fact.  When I’m with Treun, I feel peace and calm.  Even as I was debating with myself about telling him I love him, when I was with him, the voices in my head calmed and were quiet.

This past week was a doozy.  Dealing with what would’ve been my anniversary and finding out Luke was engaged were hard.  I bawled my eyes out.  The next day when I was with Treun, I thought I’d have to do more crying because I didn’t feel done.  Yet, as soon as I saw him and he wrapped me up in his strong arms, all the terribleness that had been in me melted away.  As soon as I saw him again, I didn’t care that Luke was engaged.  As soon as I saw him, it didn’t matter that Bubba is an ass who tried to destroy my life.  I realized that Treun is what matters now.

Now, a year after that time with Sean, I feel like things are right with my world.  I remember the angst and the yearning and the fighting myself from last year.  I remember never being sure of Sean and whether he’d be there for me when I needed him.  Now I have a man who I know will absolutely be there when I need him.  There is no doubt in my mind.  He shows up on time, he doesn’t stand me up, he doesn’t walk out the door and disappear for two weeks.  He is reliable and caring and here for me.

Treun is a wonderful man and he makes me ridiculously happy.

Too Many Emotions

Today would’ve been our anniversary.  Over two decades we’d have been married had he not chosen to remain an abusive asshole.  Today, I’m angry.  Today, I’m mourning.  Today, I feel a little sick.

I think I’ve been so busy for so long just being happy to be free of the nightmare that was being married to Bubba that I haven’t let myself look back and really mourn.  Sure there was the mourning that I did while I was married to him that made it easier to just be thankful to be out, but since I left, I’ve confined my mourning to small moments here and there.  I’ve never really let myself mourn because there never really was anything to mourn.

Today I am mourning what we should’ve had if Bubba had been different.  Had he chosen to get healthy and truly changed from being an abuser to someone who learns a different way, we could’ve had a very different day today.  Our children wouldn’t be as scarred as they are now.  They could be healing too instead of being re-traumatized all the time because Bubba is still abusing them.

I mix that in with being so happy with Treun and my head is spinning.  It is hard to reconcile mourning the family the Bubba destroyed while simultaneously being deliriously happy with Treun.

If that wasn’t enough, I decided to take a look at Luke’s FB page.  You see, I took him out of my newsfeed eons ago because it was just too painful to watch him live his life knowing I’d never be a part of it.  Then when Treun and I got together I had no big interest in seeing what he was up to beyond the few times he would comment on one of my statuses or I’d share something funny with him.  Well, I looked today and he got engaged the other day.

So I sit here sobbing my eyes out that Luke got engaged.  I hope he is happy but it drives home the fact that we really, really weren’t meant to be together.  He didn’t want me.  I’ve carried a torch for him since Junior High.  The first time he got married, I cried myself to sleep the day I found out.  This brings back all that pain.  No matter how happy I am with Treun and how much I love him, there will always be something special about Luke.  It is what it is.  Luke played a pivotal part in my healing and he will always have a special place in my heart.  He just does.

I’m sitting here angry with Bubba and mourning what he robbed us of while saying good-bye to Luke once again while loving Treun so much I feel like my heart is overflowing.  Being a feeler, this is actually painful to me.  All of these emotions bombarding me is like drowning and not being able to hit the surface of the water long enough to take a life-sustaining breath.  I’m getting little gasps and all of me hurts with the effort to not let the feelings take over completely.

It hurts.  Tonight everything hurts.  I need the emotions to go away and leave me in peace.

I need to not feel everything so intensely.

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