Monday, January 23, 2012

My Ugly Little Secret Past

Most people don't know much about what my life was like a few years ago. I rarely talk about it. Even among friends. In fact, I bet my mother doesn't even know all of it. Even now I feel like I'm airing my dirty laundry, and I hope you'll forgive me. I hope you'll understand, I needed to write this. I needed to let this go. Maybe somewhere, this post will help someone else, but even if it doesn't, it helped me. Now it's all here, and not inside me. Now I have room to be who I want to be. I have room to carry my life because I don't have to carry my burdens. You don't have to read it. It's kind of long. I just had to write it. I just had to put a bit of my soul into this blog so that I could let it go. I'm grateful for a way to do that.


Below you will find a really long and tedious post... with no pictures.

He was always a charmer. He knew how to say exactly what you needed to hear. And it was easy to believe him.

I fell for him in high school. We had a youth activity about learning how to dance. He asked me to be his partner. As a teen I was not really concerned with what people thought of me, but didn’t have high expectations on actually being “picked” quickly, either. I was unique. I danced to my own beat. I seriously expected to just wait until everyone paired up and go with who was left. But he asked me. And I saw a literal twinkle in his eyes as he asked. Honestly, that twinkle was all it took to fall for him. Looking back, that is one of the few times I’m sure he was genuine. Before we practiced any new steps, he would ask if I was ready. I’d say, “no, but let’s do this anyway.” I thought it was so sweet he’d wait for me to really be ready. That night made history.

I later asked him how he remembered meeting me. He said we sat in front of his family the first Sunday we moved to town. He noticed me right away. His first thoughts? Oh, let me tell you they were romantic... “She’d be really pretty if she’d just brush her hair.”

We ended up in the same seminary class next semester. Brother W. always had some clever way of picking seats. My crush would look at the chart early, and tell me what number to say so we could sit together. We’d eat lunch together, too. I was in heaven.  An older boy was interested. In me.

His home life wasn’t so great. We spent lots of time talking about it. His dad had remarried, and he didn’t think his step mom was what she should have been. He’d tried to talk his dad out of marrying her. He said she treated him like a baby and assigned him chores. He made a split decision on his 18th birthday to move out, and his parents didn’t like that idea too much. They found out the day before he did it. As he was preparing to skip out on Family Home Evening. Then, all of the sudden, he wasn’t around any more. He worked all the time, took home free pizza to eat for every meal (said he’d call in bogus orders so that he wouldn’t have to go hungry), slept in his car during lunch, went home early from everything but Auto, and generally wasn’t around. He showed up for an early morning devotional, though. I  made sure to end up in the same car as him. Naturally, I overheard his conversation with another car-mate. She told him she’d heard about his new girlfriend. You can imagine I was in shock. I saw him with her later that day. PDA in the high school was usually no big deal. But it IS a big deal when the guy participating had been leading you on less than a week before. In all fairness, he never asked me out. But the only reason he didn’t, according to him, was that I was too young and my mother would have killed him. I called him later that night to get the scoop. He said I was more of a person he was looking for in a wife, and was afraid if he dated me now, he’d mess it up, and this girl was just someone to be with. I asked how they started going out. He said it’d just happened. And I fell for it! Fell for all of it.

He graduated after that, and headed off to boot-camp. He still had my heart, but in an unsettled sort of way. More because he still made promises than anything else.

I think I would have gotten over him eventually, if he hadn’t have come back. I was a Junior, then. We were in the middle of an oh-so-exciting pep rally (Actually, I didn’t mind, except I was a “band groupie” so every single friend was in the band or the choir or dance, and I usually sat alone for assemblies.) I looked over by the door, don’t know why I did, and lo and behold, there he was! He came back to visit seminary and all his old hangouts. I honestly said (quite loudly, in fact), “Oh man, I’m dead!” ...If I’d have only known.

Ironically, something happened that day that meant a lot to me. A girl in my seminary class had rallied up a few people to decorate my car. Just because. And she’d just randomly picked that same day. And he helped decorate it. And then he met me at my car after school. It was like nothing had ever been amiss between us. I see now that that was mostly because I ACTED like nothing had been amiss, but I was so ecstatic that he had come to see me! Then we started dating in earnest. My mom had this dumb can’t-go-on-a-date-with-the-same-boy-twice rule that I secretly thank her for (kept me out of so much high school drama and gave me the dating experiences all high school kids should have, while not getting serious beyond a teenager’s mentality. My daughters will hate me for it when they’re teens, too), but we still found enough time to be together. He’d come over to my house, I’d go over to where he was staying. And then it was time for him to leave for a two year mission for our church. And I was going to graduate high school and start college. I wrote him the whole time, but did not wait for him, per se. I was only 18, and didn’t think that’d be in my best interest. Or his.

In college, I had my fair share of dating experiences. And drama. Seriously, if I could redo it, I’d avoid college drama just like High school drama. It’s worse. I actually started dating this one guy pretty seriously, but somehow I was never good enough. And he had girls hanging all over him, but got jealous if I even hung out with a boy. I made a pretty great puppet. I almost wrote the missionary off for him, but the missionary ended up coming back early. The military needed him. When he came back, things got over-dramatic and confusing for me and although I still don’t like how it all went over, I ended up telling the college boy I was going to date the missionary while the missionary was sitting next to me. Never really gave the college boy a chance. Part of that is that I suddenly realized how unhealthy my relationship was with the college boy.  And the missionary had just gotten back, so I guess I still had blinders on for how unhealthy THAT relationship would be. Looking back at my journal, he must have been perpetually late, because I wrote that a lot! And it made the news, journal-wise if he was on time. But he was still charming and melty and made me feel good. It only took about a month for him to propose. He says I forced him into it, and for the longest time, I believed it. I took him to pick out rings, but it was more for fun and to help him understand my style than to actually MAKE him buy one. I wasn’t there when he purchased it, so he had to have gone back. He had it in his pocket when we went to the dance, and I didn’t make him put it there. Nor did I set out exactly how he was to propose to me! I admit I gave him plenty of opportunities, and I regret being so young about it, but I can’t still believe I MADE him do it. It’s more that I regret making it so EASY.

So we were engaged. And then married. He told me he liked my hair at our wedding. I remember that compliment, because later he would refer back to how pretty my hair was when I actually did it. I wanted to remember that day, so I wrote about it in my journal, and had him do the same. He wrote about how now he had so much responsibility, he had a wonderful bride and some amazing covenants. He said he looked forward to the challenge and that he was anxious to see how the future would pan out. I wrote that it was a long and exhausting day and that he got so frustrated at all of the family taking pictures so long. Ironic. Later, when everything had hit the fan, he told me that the day had meant nothing to him and that he’d taken it as a sign that he hadn’t done the right thing. That he shouldn’t have married me. He expected some grand epiphany, I guess. At the time, I was devastated. But now I look back and realize he shouldn’t have needed some grand epiphany. He should have known he was “supposed” to marry me long before he ever bought a ring! I felt good about marrying him! I know because I wrote it in my journal a lot! I really had a good feeling about it. And I had prayed unceasingly to know, even before he had come home, since I was “lucky” enough to be faced with options. I wasn’t making a blind choice. Or a naive choice. Innocent, yes. But not naive.

He didn’t have a really good job when we got married. He worked 2 days a week, for about 4 hrs a day. That was the only job he could get. He didn’t have a place for us to live until about a day before the wedding. I told him I’d call it off if he didn’t. I’m glad I put my foot down for something, at least. He used all of my savings as the down payment. If I’d have known better, I would have come up with some other option, but silly me thought life would be easier. We lived off of welfare and credit for a bit. Then he got a decent job. And quit it shortly after, because there was no growth in it. He DID have a stable job for about 9 months. He worked at GreaseMonkey as a manager. It’s because of that job that he almost didn’t make it when our daughter was born. My grandma who lives an hour away made it to help me. He almost missed it. If it hadn’t have been the worst labor ever, he would have! (26 hrs...) But I’m skipping ahead. Let me back track...

It’s funny, because shortly after we got married, my journal writing stopped. I said it’s because I couldn’t find a balance in when to write, because I wrote in it at night, before bed, and I was keeping my husband awake. The entries I did write was about how I wished he’d even act like he loved me. How I needed to be a better wife, so he’d be happy. How he’d come home from works and sleep all the time. How sometimes he’d come home so happy and glad he had a wife, and how other times he’d come home and act like he wished I weren’t around. And then there is this one entry that stands out to me. It sums up everything I struggled with my entire marriage. I wish I could have seen it, then! It is 3 pages long! I was 4 months pregnant at the time. It’s all the stuff I wish I could tell my husband, but can’t...

Things like “please notice that I’m here. Recognize Valentines Day.”

“Stop telling people I’m not a good wife. Stop insulting me to my face”

“Act like you believe what you say you believe.”

“DO something! Don’t just talk about it!”

“I need him to be okay with a girl baby, not his boy.”

“I need him to recognize how much I do for him! I’m giving him all I have, and it’s not enough.”

“I need him to not tell me how many girls hit on him all the time.”

The next post is a plea to the powers that be to not let my husband think I’m an idiot for doing yet another dumb thing. How he didn’t even want to have anything to do with me. He wouldn’t even kiss me. I always felt stupid. He’d call me things like lazy and moody. Every time I’d ask for a blessing for comfort, he told me I didn’t need one. I felt so alone. I had a pretty good friend, at the time, but she’d never want to do anything with me. I couldn’t understand it. The state I was in, I thought I was doing something wrong. I distinctly remember my birthday. She stopped by with a cake, and I invited her in. She asked if my husband was home before she’d come in. When “I said no, but he’ll be home in an hour. Would you rather come back then?” she was relieved, came in, but left quickly. Yeah, I was a dunce... turns out later, when she heard about my divorce, she said he’d make her feel uncomfortable all the time. Like he’d hit on her. And she didn’t know how to respond. I wouldn’t either. It probably would have ruined our friendship. Instead, we’d moved and that presented enough of a barrier. She wasn’t the only friend to confess that to me, either. ps, that was the only birthday gift I got that year.

Things got better for a while, once we bought a house. He got fired from the only job he’d ever had for more than a month, but somehow, we still made it. It was the last consecutive job he’d ever held. To this day, I wish I knew why he got fired. Now I’d find it intriguing. before, I was shocked that anyone could do somethiong like that to such a great guy (yeah, seriously. That’s what I thought!), and how no one could see how amazing he was and jump at the chance to hire him.  I’d spend hours on my knees saying, “Please let people see how great he is! He could really use the self esteem of a job!”

The true downhill started when he went to go to Pennsylvania to sell security systems. He only made it there a month. He told me to stop calling him to talk to him while I was there, because I just made him get discouraged. It hurt, but I figured I’d honor his wishes. So I didn’t call much. He never called me. I still don’t know what all went on while he was gone, but I know he didn’t come back the same man. He was darker inside. I constantly prayed to know what to do. I started having to really walk on egg shells with him.

And then he introduced me to someone that went to our church. He had met her husband a week earlier and thought I might get along with the guy’s wife. I still have a hard time talking about her, actually. I can’t believe I was so duped into being her friend! I spent every waking hour with her. We’d go shopping. She always seemed to have money, but never had enough to pay bills. I watched while she shopped. We’d watch TV. Even shows I knew I didn’t need to be watching. Shows with poor morals. My ex would come watch, too, if the girls had skimpy clothing (a couple of Dancing With the Stars dancers had him pretty intrigued). She let me have fun, though. And my life didn’t have much of that. She also WANTED to be with me, which I’d had even less of.

But I wasn’t capable of always being over at her house (she’d never come to mine. She had more kids. I only had one) and getting all I needed to done, so I would start stressing out. I was getting emptier and emptier. Truth be told, a month before my life changed forever, I started praying I’d know how to end our friendship. It was draining everything out of me. And her daughter was not a good example for my girl. She’d boss her mother around, and my child would start bossing, too. And my friend would give in to any whim either child would have, even if it wasn’t in the kid’s best interest. The strongest example of this is drinks after bed time. My girl was potty trained during the day, but had to stop having liquids (even milk) about an hour before bedtime, or she’d have an accident. My friend knew this, and she’d still give her a drink. And then I’d have a guilt trip when my girl would fall asleep at their house and have an accident on their floor. We brought pull-ups, but unless I was the one to put it on, she wouldn’t end up with it. My husband never even changed a diaper, let alone a pull-up. My husband started expecting more and more from me and our daughter, and I was getting emptier and emptier. He’d start holding our child down when she’d disobey, locking her arms in his so she couldn’t move. She’d go to some sort of trance. I hate to admit this now, but I seriously thought that was some sort of problem she had. That he HAD to hold her so she couldn’t move or she’d never listen. I can’t believe I didn’t see how dangerous that was! It happened all the time when he was in our lives. It’s happened only twice since then. One time when I was trying to give her medicine and had to hold her head to get it in her mouth, and one time when I should have known better and held her in her chair so she’d finish her vegetables. She’s got too much scarring for that. And I’ll never make that mistake again. It brought back WAY too many memories. Probably for both of us.

I knew that my friend and my husband were getting too close before I found out about the affair, but I didn’t know how to stop it. And I trusted them. I wrote that in my journal. I trust them. They both would have enough respect for me. I mean, shouldn’t you expect that from a friend and a husband? Plus, I had just helped her work through her feelings for another man, anyway! She’d almost run off with a kid from high school, and I’d talked her out of it! There’s no way she’d fall for my husband!

But then he’d start finding things out about her before I would. And I’d raise even more eyebrows.

The first distinct day I knew something was up that needed some addressing, there was a whole group of friends at her house and nothing to eat. No one wanted to go to the store. I said I’d go, but my husband refused to go with me. My friend couldn’t go because she had all the kids. My friend’s sister almost came with me, until another sister pointed out that we’d be leaving my husband and my friend alone in the house and that just didn’t sit well with her, so she decided to come with me, and we left the other sister there. When we walked in the door, I could tell that something was different. The “babysitting” sister had a funny look on her face, like she knew some new exciting secret. My friend seemed happy. And so did my husband. The kids were all playing elsewhere. I just remember a distinct feeling like I was missing something. I was getting that feeling more and more, trying to hold on to things slipping away from me, and altogether missing the REALLY big picture.

Stuff really hit the fan one normal afternoon. My husband said he was going to go get the car washed. He’d been doing that a lot lately. He had an image to keep up. He’d also been having a lot of meetings with a company he said he was signing up for. In fact, I had to take our kid with me everywhere because these meetings kept interfering. This day was just a normal day in my crashing life. Until I got a phone call. It was my friend’s husband. His exact words were, “Do you know what your husband and my wife were doing at a car wash.” That phrase changes history. Apparently he’d gone to hang out with the sister who knew, and my friend was there too. They were going to wash his car together. The other sister showed up, had a bad feeling about it, and asked my friend’s husband to just drive by, just because the situation wasn’t sitting well with her. I will forever  be grateful to that sister. I haven’t talked to her much, since, but I will never be able to express how much gratitude I have that she stood up for what is right.

Obviously, I had a hard time for a while. I can honestly say I was the perfect wife for two months. I had everything ready when he got home, our child was on best behavior, our house was spotless. Seriously, June Cleaver had nothing on me. And he’d still say he loved his girlfriend more than he ever loved me. I was the only one working on it. He’d use anything I said against me. Every step further away was something I had done. He never stopped seeing her. Nothing was his fault in any of it. He had no remorse whatsoever. Even the bishop could see that.

I was having trouble letting go, though. I kept praying to know what to do. One day, when he was out mowing the lawn, I looked out the window while I was thinking and praying. There he was. And over his head, I literally saw a black cloud. It was physically there. Then he came back in and our daughter was cranky and whiny and he got really frustrated with her. He sat on her to hold her down until she would calm down. It finally dawned on me how dangerous it was to keep him in our house and in our lives. He packed up to take off to his sister’s for a few days, and I called my mom. She dropped everything and came down. I told her I’d give him one more chance, if he came home penitent, I’d let him in. Otherwise, we’d change the locks the next day. Then I noticed that things were missing from our house. That was all it took to help me realize he’d never be penitent.

He took another month before he filed divorce. He said I drove him to it. Truth is, he got out of paying child support if he filed. He held off on that child support for a whole year. The paperwork came on our anniversary. Isn’t that a line for a storybook? He tried to stick me with all the debt and no car or means of support. He only stopped fighting everything a month before his girlfriend’s baby was due. He was married the day after our divorce was finalized. Believe it or not, that was more of a relief than knowing our decree was signed. I was done with him. He was someone else’s problem.

And then there was a year of bliss while he was overseas and had no contact with us. He completely ignored us for 9 months. Even when he came back into town on leave. Now he’s trying to be a “good dad.” And it frustrates me. His daughter has forgotten all the negative stuff and wants to love him. I’m learning to let her go in hopes that some day she’ll see what I see. I’m learning to stand up for myself when he tries to push me around on visitations and child support. I’m learning to let go of the negative thoughts I still hear in his voice. I’m learning what REAL love is with someone who REALLY loves me. I’m praying that some day I’ll be all better, that I can love my new husband with all the love he deserves. I’m learning not to say he deserves so much better than I can give him. But the truth is, He DOES deserve better than I can give him, especially because it’s so exhausting carrying so much baggage. I wrote this post to be one step closer on ditching all of it and healing all the scars. My husband deserves it. I deserve it. Our daughter deserves it, too, but it’ll be a lot longer before she ever understands it.


  1. ((((Keira)))) Writing is so therapeutic and I'm glad you got it out.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. You are right Keira , YOU deserve to heal and be happy. Im glad to call you my sister-in-law! Thank you for sharing this. :)

  3. Hey Keira! I did not want you to think you were alone in all of this mess that we call our past lives! I remember you as a young adult, and I always remember how absolutely sweet you were and so spiritual! It reminded me alot of how I used to be as well! Before I meant the man I was to call my ex. When we were dating there was signs, but I figured he was a returned missionary and surely he had a testimony as strong as mine because of this! I forgave his sins prior to my meeting him and figured nothing like that would ever happen again. Our marriage started much like yours, with the photographer, and then me trying to be Martha Stewart while he literally did nothing! I would have to ask him to do anything, and even then it was always a fight! I still believed things were ok still, until one day the police came to our door and my heart got broken! He had done something unforgiveable. I tried like a good girl though to make it right! I went to the bishop, and he handed me the book the miracle of forgiveness. I really tried to get over it, but I never felt like he was fully repentant and when I brought it up he would yell at me and tell me I should just forget it! But the thing was, I couldn't! I stayed with him for 17 years of misery, always trying to do more and getting less than nothing, only because I did not want to break covenants. It took alot of years to realize we did not have an eternal marriage anyway. The Lord though was watching out for me the whole time and was preparing someone special for me for many years before I actually meant him. When I finally did divorce we too went ten months without even seeing him. He only came back to get an interview with the Bishop so he could get sealed to his new wife. But I guess he could not be bothered with visiting his kids. I try not to be bitter, but it is still hard for me. I have seen things come back around though and now, after years, I feel sorry for him instead of anger. He just looks like a lost soul to me. And like him, your ex did lose so much. Little will they realize how much until they are on the other side of the veil. My new husband is wonderful too, and I am learning to let go and realize that even if I am not perfect he will still love me. The biggest lesson I have learned is that I am not to blame for his short comings. Nor did I do anything to bring it on. I am a daugter of God no matter what he did, too bad that he does not understand how important that is. And how important I was. My new husband does. We have been sealed in the temple, and I could not be happier. The biggest thing I want everyone to know is that sometimes temple marriages are meant to end!!! So when one does we need to support the sisters or brothers involved. It is a hard thing to live with, and really really hard to get over. Thanks so much for sharing. It is nice to know I am not alone!

    Kim Neer

  4. Although you don't know it, you've been an example of strength and courage to more than just my self. Thank you for sharing this burden and insight.

  5. I am really glad that you wrote it all. I know we have talked a lot about the situations that we were in. I hope more than anything that you will see the wonderful love that God has in store for you. Your man now is wonderful and he LOVES you with a LOVE that shows a true and genuine man.
    It is hard letting go of the bad and hanging on to the good sometimes. I know that is what I am trying to do. You are amazing my friend and I am glad that we were roommates several years ago. I was there for you the best that I could be and you for me. We helped each other pull through! You have inspired me to do the same in writing about my path in hopes that I can put it behind me to be a better person.