But my marriage failed. As strong as my beliefs in marriage are, I cannot change another's. And as hard as it is to explain my marriage, I'm grateful that it taught me what is not okay, not good enough for me. After my ex left, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted out of life, what I wanted for myself and for my daughter. What would make me take down some barriers and let myself love again. And a lot of it was respect. I wanted someone who would treat me like I mattered, like I was special. And I've already expressed a little bit about it, but it goes further than that. Any project I had was my deal. Any issue B had was my deal. Diapers, midnight feedings and nightmares, cuts and bruises. Locking myself out of the car at Walmart, needing groceries so I could cook dinner. Any project, or get together, or family occasion - it was my deal. My problem. And if things went wrong, man did I ever beat myself up about it. Dinner couldn't be late, the house needed to be spotless, and B had to be on best behavior, or I had failed. And I thought that was just how it was. That I wasn't doing enough. It's funny, but now, I look back at life and wonder what he really did all day. The first thing that came to mind was work, and then I remember that he didn't have a job for half of our marriage. What DID he do all day? And how was that okay with me? I mean, I still take full responsibility to have a clean house and a well mannered child and like the "domestic" part of being a wife (some day) and mother, but I didn't need to beat myself up about it. And just because that's my chosen "job" (some day) doesn't mean I couldn't use or have used some help. Or a kind word. Or any form of gratitude. And my ex-father-in-law... well he made me fear the concept of fathers-in-law. He told me that the affair was all my fault. That if I had treated my ex better, then he never would have wanted to go elsewhere. That if I had just done more, been more, this whole thing never would have happened. He told me I was evil. Seriously, that was his word. Evil. I have not seen that man in 2 years, and would like to keep it that way. I cannot express how much what he said to me really hurt me. I had thought that this man was someone to be respected, to look up to. And for him, someone I admired (or at least thought I admired), to say I was evil and not good enough... yeah, it hurt. And it was no surprise that everything was "my deal" because that's exactly how my ex-father-in-law made me feel, too. I didn't need any help from him, it was all my deal. If I couldn't do it, then I shouldn't have signed up for it. What it all boils down to is that I was empty. And I thought that was just how it was. I was empty, life was empty, marriage was empty.
And then life suddenly took a change for me, in the form of divorce, and I learned how much there really is to life. Or at least I thought I had learned it. But really I had no idea how much I was still missing. I had higher expectations, higher ambitions, and higher perspectives, so I thought I was set. And then I met Ranger. And he blew those expectations, ambitions, and perspectives right out of the air. My expectations were SO low. I wanted to be treated like I was human, but with Ranger, I'm treated like a queen. I wanted to be valued, but with Ranger, I'm treasured. I wanted to be respected, but with Ranger, I'm honored. I have never known such respect. If I had even thought I deserved such value with my ex, I would have been shot down; it was pride talking to think I deserved treated that way. I needed to work harder before I could be treasured. Or even valued.
I thought Ranger was too good to be true. And then I met his dad. If Ranger turns out just like his dad (hopefully with a few less trials), that would be just fine.