Have you ever stopped smoking, or tried to lose weight and just really wanted to have what you knew was bad for you? I mean all the rational thought in your head told you not to want it, but it didn’t stop you from craving it, even controlling your thoughts, your actions, and your very relationships around you. Well guess what? My addiction was no different, I didn’t crave the man, I didn’t need the sex but I had to have that feeling again, that feeling of being wanted, of being desired. I fully expect that if I had been thinner growing up I know I would have been a stripper. I needed to see in men’s eyes that they wanted me. I mistaken this desire for them loving me. With Melvin being gone I didn’t have that anymore and I was scared to look for it in someone else. Diseases, abusers, and rapists kept me locked in fear of men I didn’t know.
No, it didn’t take long for me to call Melvin back, I was going to have the twins, I already had one son that had no contact with his father. I knew it was just better if I learn to either be a better partner with Melvin or accept his cheating. The only problem with this theory is that there was nothing more I could do to be a better partner, and Knowing his sexual habits (he never wears a condom) I couldn’t in good conscience accept what needed to be done.
He always had a cycle to his cheating; it didn’t take long to figure it out. I tried to let my intuition guide me, when I felt like things were a bit off is when I usually found a small clue to his infidelity. A phone number in a pocket (he would say it was his buddy’s), A woman would call asking for him (she was asking about his brother) and he would be gone all night after arguments.
The things about arguments is there are always one waiting to happen, a person can pick a fight on any subject really. So when Melvin was planning a night out with a lady friend, well, he would pick a good enough fight, say a few things he knew would upset me. Funny how I could spend so long being alone, recreating myself, finding that strong woman that didn’t need anyone and had learned to love myself enough to never listen to what other people thought of me. He knew what to say to make me angry and to flash me back to days I could never forget, “Whore, slut, lazy bitch, fat dirty, good for nothing”. I would either kick him out or he would storm off. Either way he was not technically cheating than, we were broke up and anything he did was in his mind acceptable. I didn’t know at the time that these things were happen. At the start of our relationship I had assumed he was just extremely moody and that all this improprieties were just a result of him not knowing himself how he felt about me.
I was wrong. He knew very well what he felt for me. We were always going to be wonderful friends. The problems we were having in this relationship had nothing to do with the love he felt for me. He did truly love me. There are degrees of LOVE. I lay somewhere in-between “I care for you and do not want you hurt” and “I would die for you” but the reality was that no matter how much he loved me, he was selfish enough to put his love of sex and excitement above me and his family.
I followed him one night, I watched him enter the bar. I stood in the dark alley across the street, it was hot, bugs crawled all around and I was 7 months pregnant. I settled down for my long wait pulling up a wooden crate to sit on. I could hear the loud music blasting, and peoples distant conversations and laughs. Crack struck the pool balls. It seemed a very happy atmosphere too bad with every giggle my temper rose. I sat there all night, hidden from everyone’s sight but seeing everything.
Hours later the bar was closing, I saw people stumbling out laughing, grabbing each other to keep from falling. Women hanging all over ugly men, I wondered why anyone would want to live like that. Out walked Melvin, my heart relaxed as he stood alone smoking a cigarette. Maybe my fears were for not. I wanted to think he was up to no good but maybe all he really needed was some time away. I understood how much stress he must be in. His exact words that night before he stormed away was “I will never see another pay check again”, as he signed his name to the check marked “rent”.
I worked and made good money but all of it went for car and utilities, his only responsibility was the rent. I knew that soon I was going to have to take off work for the pregnancy, I had no problem working, my job was not physically demanding at all but I was pregnant with twins and it was difficult for the other employees to see me, he might have been thinking the same thing. He might have been more worried about the fact that he had no money saved for when I would be un-employed, I actually felt sorry for him. I knew not everyone thought the same as I did. Faith was something I do not often talk about but the feeling of no matter what happens, everything will be fine, is a thought you have to have instilled growing up. Maybe Melvin was never taught to have faith.
All of that sympathy fell to the dirty alley floor and so did my heart when a woman walked out the bar’s door and wrapped her arms around Melvin and he put his arms around her. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe I just watched like seeing a horror movie. I was not hurt, I had no feelings at all as I watched them kiss and walk off together. I had all night to think of what they were doing, it was well into the morning when he did unlock the front door.
I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had spent hours imagining what I do, but I also imagined the police being called and me giving birth in a hospital cuffed. I just stared at him and calmly told him he needed to find his own place. He never even argued, in the past he might have wanted to, but what could he say? Especially after I told him that I knew that he went home with that woman from the bar. He never even asked how I knew. He never came home that next night either so I assume he found his new home.
It is hard to remember all the times he left and came back, how many times I kicked him out and had his things on my porch. There seemed to always be a reason, the more he cheated the less I loved him, slowly but surely he killed our love and I became wiser to him. Less and less of his money went to our bills. After the twins were born He tried to be a good father and partner, we even discussed actually getting married but I was suspicious to just how long he would remain deserving of my trust.
2 months after giving birth I became very ill, I had several test done and after another month of pain and close to death they found that I had to have my gallbladder removed (thank my German heritage for that) I was in the hospital for 3 days and when I returned home with the instructions to rest and not doing any lifting, he seemed angry, like it was my fault I had gotten ill. He had no problems with going to work, I know because my mother watched the babies while he was at work. I didn’t understand why he was so upset. He left at 6pm that evening to go to the store and he didn’t come back until 6 am the next morning. He never got the food he had left to get, so when he had returned I asked for the keys so I could go to the store. I went straight to the store, came back with the things that my oldest son needed. And then left before Melvin even knew I had returned.
The doctor had said for me to rest and no lifting, I had just spent a sleepless night taking care of the twins alone, lifting and all. I checked into the hotel with a smile on my face determined to get worry free, undisturbed rest. I called my mother and told her if my son called worried to just get him and explain to him when she had him alone.
The purpose of my disappearance was to rest without him calling me or trying to tell me lies, I had 24 hours of healing and the added punishment Melvin experience was completely a bonus. He was absolutely traumatized. I on the other hand I had room service, movie channel and a softer then believable bed. I took a long soothing shower, noticing the incisions and looking in the mirror at the stitches. (The full length mirror) I had a good scrutinizing look at myself, here only 3 months after having almost 15 lbs of babies and gaining a proper but unflattering 40 lbs I had lost what womanly shape I thought I had only a year ago prior.
My insecurities about the way I looked had a lot to do with my need to continue my relationship with Melvin, I truly didn’t see myself deserving any better than him, regardless of whether I believed he did or didn’t love me, whether I thought I was capable of raising now 3 sons without a man or if I even wanted to think of having a life worth living or being happy, I chose to stay. I regularly questioned what he did, had him followed, tapped the phone, even met the women he cheated me with, we compared notes and couldn’t even come close to understanding why he felt a need to have other women.
We went to counseling and every excuse he gave was unfounded. I always gave him sex; I never even once said no, I put little to no stress on him. I always involved him and we often talked. So whatever was said meant nothing to me. I even worked and made 2 times the amount he made. I paid my own bills and didn’t ask anything from him. All I ever asked was for him to love me, love me like I was the only one, like I did him. I wanted to be everything to the man that meant everything to me and I was afraid that I saw something in him that just wasn’t there. The counseling was at the Faith and Family services so their whole point was to keep the family together but I knew what needed to be done. The counselor wasn’t going to tell me to save myself, we just needed more counseling. I didn’t need more words of encouragement and thoughts of working together for the good of the family, I needed to get a backbone and stop thinking about what I wanted and start making plans to what I could actually have.
I knew I couldn’t have Melvin’s loyalty, his commitment or his unconditional love. I could however have love of myself and that was not going to happen as long as I was with a man like him. Me actually taking the time, coming to that conclusion was “enlightening”
Remember the 12 step program? “Admitting your disease and your ½ way there to recovery”. I was recovering.
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