Tag Archives: affair

The Lessons We Learn

29 Dec

Tonight I have been contemplating lessons, specifically those I have learned from my parents. A lot of what we know is what we we have gleaned from those who have birthed us. Whether we come from traditional families, single parent homes, homosexual couplings, adoptive or foster homes, and so on, we take away basic beliefs and values from whatever it is we have as our roots. I was blessed and cursed to have been raised by my two biological parents (as far as I know). They, miraculously, remain married to this day despite the many, MANY ups and downs that have comprised their pairing.

If you haven’t guessed because my sarcasm doesn’t come across via textual portrayal, my parents have not always been able to call their marriage a happy one. In fact, most of my upbringing was marred by arguments and unhappy compromises. This may in fact be because the human brain biologically and infallibly holds onto the negative more than positive (side note: did you know it takes seven positive compliments to counter act one negative remark? Lesson: compliment EVERYONE you meet, even if its to say they have a nice button on their sweater), but regardless, I remember more ways to make a bad marriage last than a good one. Remind me to tell you the story of the Christmas tree being thrown out the window one day (ornaments and all).

I think this post is sounding rather negative right now, but trust me when I say most of the lessons I have chosen somehow turn out positive.

Lessons I have learned from my parents:

1. The real meaning of what love is.

My parents grew up in a faith-based world. Both of them. This has lead to many other contributions to my lifestyle, but the one I want to talk about here is the meaning and value of real and honest love.

Growing up in a society where there are marriages that are based on touchy-feely butterfly-eske  emotions that dictate when we commit “forever” and then later when its justifiable to then leave the one we made that commitment to, I have come from a world where love is a choice we make, an action we take, rather than a whimsical emotion we guess about. I believe that Kim Kardashian and Brittany Spears marriages are avoidable and fake. I don’t aspire to have a Hollywood marriage, I want what my parents had, just better.

Don’t get me wrong here and think that all of my other posts about relationships are made up. I’m still terrified of commitment and run away every time something good comes along, but that’s a me thing I’m working on. Part of me still wants to be Cinderella, part of me still wants to wear a big ol’ white dress and walk down an aisle, there might even be doves, its just the getting to where that can happen that is the problem. BUT, when it does, when I finally make that huge commitment, it will be based on a mutual agreement that isn’t going to fall apart two year down the road. I will make the CHOICE to be with that person, through all of life’s challenges, despite how I may “feel” at any given moment. Real love grows through the bad and reaches new heights in the good, but both are necessary for a beautiful story that we can be proud of. Its not something to be given up on when things don’t go just the way they do in the movies.

2. Credit cards can quickly escalate to crisis situations.

Financially I am a responsible and mature individual. There are times I struggle to pay the bills, but that’s because I chose to be a social worker (who does that?). I started a  budget, planning ahead, and a savings account all before I was 18. I have exactly one credit card which is more often than not paid in full each month. However, all of this was accomplished not because my parents were model financial blueprints, but rather the opposite.

Growing up I never wanted for anything. If I asked, and the request wan’t outrageous, I got. Birthdays, Christmas, and random times during the year were met with a plethora of gifts. When I was young I was unaware that this was an issue. As I grew up I became wiser, or my parents worse at hiding the burden of the debt they were sinking ever quicker into.

It was later in my life I realized my mother had issues beyond compulsive spending habits. That she felt inadequate and felt that if she couldn’t be the perfect mother who could connect with her children,   then maybe she could buy their love. The guilt was something I dealt with before I had this perspective, and somewhere in my early teens I learned the difference between “want” and “need.” This has proved invaluable and I’m glad I have this lesson in my repertoire, I just wish I could give my mother the same lesson.

3. When basic needs are met sometimes you just have to be content with what you have.

We moved A LOT when I was a kid. Many things came as a result of that. Number one is my core desire to have roots. I often stay where I am even if its not perfect because I just don’t want to make the huge changes that I had so often in my childhood. Its like some part of me just wants to be still. Again, not to discount anything else I have said to this point, I still am in my mid-20s and want to live a life of adventure…its just nice to have something stable to come back to when I need to recharge.

Beyond that there is also this feeling of contentment with just having that. I think it connects to the want/need lesson. I’ll always have things that I want, but as long as my needs are met, then I really don’t have much to complain about. The rest can come with time.

4. If and when you have kids, your whole world changes.

My dad had kids at 21 and he’s practically the best dad ever. Of course he has made his mistakes and of course he’s no where near perfect, but he has rarely let me down and I always know I can turn to him and my mom when times get rough. I think I admire him even more knowing that he had me when he was so young. I mean I’m 25 and I can’t imagine having children even now. I panic every time my period is late (and that’s often since I’ve never been very regular…TMI?)

Working in the metal health field, I work with so many families in which the parents weren’t ready. This has so many rippling consequences on the parents, on the children, and society as a whole (well that escalated quickly). Now that doesn’t mean there aren’t parents out there that weren’t ready and managed to step up to the plate, I just don’t get to see them very often. The point is, if you have a kid, you are responsible for developing a new human life. I will grant that some things are out of the parent’s control and there is a very delicate balance to learn around where that line is, but on a basic level your children learn the values and ethics you instill. That is a big deal! I was blessed with parents who taught me to be a caring, loving, hopeful individual and although I may have fucked up elsewhere, that core belief system exists because of their diligence.


5. Once a cheater DOES NOT mean always a cheater.

This is especially important to me considering how my relationship with Mr. Wrong ended and something I constantly have to remind myself.

A few years ago I was devastated to learn that my father had an affair. I was in college and it felt like my world was thrown into an abyss. It hurt us all and made me very unsure of a great many things. I had already been through my bout of infidelity, however, so I was a little more understanding and if I wasn’t convinced everything happens for a reason before that, I was after.

The point is that it wasn’t the end for my parents. My mother found it in my heart to forgive him and my father renewed his devotion to being the best husband he could be. They say that women look for men like their fathers. Not only do I think this is true, but I honestly believe that that is a large part f the reason I am still single.  I just have too high a standard.

My parents frustrate the shit out of me often, but they are solid figures in my life and I am thankful for the upbringing I had despite its shortcomings. Am I who I am with the dreams that I dream because of the family I was blessed with.

Idiots in Love – A case study of Wizard and Sammie

5 Mar

** I wrote this post in two parts. The first I started a few months back when I wasn’t in a very good place about the ordeal. Since then things are a bit more settled, less strings are left untied, and I have found a place of acceptance for what things are…here goes.

I don’t know what it is about love, but I have met very few people that are able to be smart about it. The mix of hormones, endorphins, flowery language, and finally having our narcissistic need for attention met creates a dangerous melting pot that, if we aren’t careful, can quickly turn from the warm fuzzies to singeing self-deprecation. I can only truthfully say I have been in love once. Mini-romances and minor flirtations aside, real, honest love, is life-consuming. It takes up every waking thought, seeps into every minute detail, until you have formulated a life in which you are constantly waiting for those next precious moments to be shared with the person you have made your end-all-be-all. Then when it ends, you physically feel an empty chasm in your chest that makes everything seem dark until you can fill it with brick and mortar and swear to yourself you will never let yourself fall so easily into the delirium again. Only, we always do, and most of us do it willingly.

You would think a woman would be the reason this procession of thought has come upon me. And although I will freely admit I see this train crash of amorous events happen more often in the land of estrogen, today’s homily on the pitfalls of affection sprouts specifically from the male half of a couple I have taken nearly a year to observe and (as I often do) analyze. For the sake of this case study and to maintain confidentiality, we’ll name them Wizard and Sammie.

Sammie, who also happens to be my estranged roommate (which may explain any negative bias I may have, although I promise to at least try to stay neutral), had been Wizard’s girlfriend for six years (with a short break a couple years back if I remember the story properly). Recently, approximately six weeks ago, they called a “break” in their relationship. This of course crushed Wizard who, despite explanation, did not truly understand the reasoning behind this turn of events. I of course know both sides given my situation, but from his perspective, he was told Sammie needed to work on herself and that she could not do that within the bounds of a relationship.

In the background, Sammie was trying to deal with her guilt around having feelings for another man, “Sloth,” whom she had met the previous year briefly, but then over the summer, had seen socially on multiple occasions. Sloth did not have a flattering reputation within the group, but he had certain skills which the other gentlemen he hung out with valued if I understand it correctly. Sammie and Sloth had an instant connection and began spending time together more privately. I bet you can already see where this is going, especially when I mention that sobriety was not always a factor in their dalliances.

One thing led to another and Sammie was dealing with the guilt of kissing, rather heatedly, Sloth when she called the break between her and Wizard. Being “single” and dealing with confusing feelings towards Sloth only increased the ante leading to a scandalous affair of both the heart and the flesh (despite the pledge Wizard had made to never return to her if she so much as touched another man while they were separated).

I hope you are beginning to see my pickle. Being the roommate, I was privy to information no one else could know and sworn to secrecy, but being Wizard’s friend made it difficult to balance a neutral stance while being supportive. Not to mention the complication of remaining in contact with Sloth. He was a conundrum I was determined to unravel.

I have never claimed to be perfect, nor will I ever hold hope of being so. Maybe in a way chronicling this tale for you is my way of trying to find redemption. Whatever the case, after nearly a month my conscience and my loyalty were stretched to their limits. My head was full to bursting with information I had to very carefully navigate in conversations with the three players in this game. Over and over again Sammie sealed our conversations with vows of secrecy. I complied, not because I believed what she was doing was honorable, mostly I detested it, but I cared for her and we do foolish things for our friends. That is until we reach our breaking point.

A football game, apparently, was mine. The beer in mason jars more than likely didn’t help matters. I met up with Wizard and Mr. Big in Foxboro to watch our beloved Patriots at Toby Keith’s. Mr. Big was feeling generous and bought me several rounds of drinks during the course of the game. We were having a great time and the party didn’t end when the game did. Long, somewhat embarrassing, story short, the night ended with me and Wizard sobering up in my car, not silently. For most of the night I had avoided the Sammie conversation, but alone, in such close proximity, with my friend in need, I couldn’t help myself when he introduced the subject.

Put yourself in my shoes for a moment and look through my alcohol-clouded eyes. My friend, sitting in the car, heart in pieces, talking about his semi-ex-girlfriend and how much he loves her and hopes that he can find a way to stay with her. He trusts her, he tells me she’s told him everything, and even though it hurts, he’s just happy she hasn’t slept with this other guy. I know differently, and at first, its easy to let him believe this girl is being truthful because his heart is already hurting too much. But he keeps talking and something sets me off. I start thinking how deceitful this whole thing is, how despicable I feel for hiding the truth, for letting him believe she is worth his time. How do you care so much about someone, and hurt them so completely?

Before I know it, the words are escaping my lips and then they are there, out in the world. “You know she’s sleeping with him right?” Wizard just looks at me, and as he processes this information, I see his facial expression change from shock, to confusion, to rage. It’s the last one that scares me a little, makes me realize the chain reaction I have just put into motion. He jumps from the car, slams the door, and begins dialing. I know who he’s calling and I start to chase after him, I just want to fix it somehow, but he’s walking so fast and I can hear his voice rising. I know its too late, regret floods my mind, and I sink to the pavement as the tears start rolling down my face.

I don’t know how long I sat there, not long, but long enough to loose sight of Wizard. I start to run around Patriots’ Place, looking anywhere I can of where he might have gone. My phone is dead and I’m sure I look a little crazed when I finally decide to go back to my car. I wait. He parked near me so I figure he has to come back eventually. Again, I lost track of time, but eventually, I saw him, walking laboriously across the parking lot. I don’t know what words we exchange or how we said good bye, but I do remember him telling me he talked to her, how enraged he was, confusion tingeing every word he said.


It’s been a few months since that moment. The drive home was filled with doubt and I began questioning myself, analyzing every minute leading up to that one. The series of events that followed were a shit storm of dramatic soliloquies, awkward tension, and the breakdown of trust. Sammie and I found a way to recover after that first blow to our friendship, but a short time later, another situation, related, but ancillary, shattered it permanently. I am too ashamed still to divulge the details. I take the blame for it wholeheartedly, but no amount of penitence can make up for it in her mind. We almost amended the situation at one point about a month ago, but I quickly realized the surface bond was not strong enough to rebuild the bulk of the structure back up. I may not be perfect, but she is a child sometimes, and in the interim of our breakdown, I think I realized some things I had overlooked. Roommates we remain, but civility is not always a constant in our world any longer.

As for Wizard, he remains the victim of the tale, but his naivety has since dissolved my empathy. He is still chasing after a dream I don’t think he realizes should be left to rest, but he’s in “love.” Sammie got just what she wanted, the ability to chase after other men, while still having her backup plan.

I’m not really sure how to end this without sounding bitter and disillusioned. Love is wonderful and sustaining when its healthy and mutual, but how often do we pervert it, fake it, or try to force it into our own little mold? Romance clouds our minds, but love isn’t logical either. How do we let our heart fly free when we might loose our heads in the process? To every risk there is a consequence, and pain sometimes walks hand-in-hand with pleasure. I guess I’m just hoping I can learn to walk the tightrope before I take my next leap of faith.