(A post in multiple parts.)
Part I: Introduction
I want to start this out by explaining a few things.
First, in order to get this whole story out and A) not bore you to tears; B) go on and on forever in one humongous post; and C) help me sort out my thoughts logically and clearly, I am breaking it up in a few parts. And I’m telling you that now so that you don’t yell at me when I say “to be continued” at the end of today’s post. 🙂
I may have mentioned at one time or another that I have had a “temporary roommate” living with me for a while. This temporary roommate was my ex-boyfriend. He and I were together from October of 2000 to just before October of 2001. He was my first-ever relationship that was truly meaningful, and the first that lasted longer than just a few months. He was the first person that I really and truly loved.
He no longer lives with me, and at the present time, I do not know where he is. He still has some things at my apartment, and I am getting calls from friends, potential employers and other people trying to find him, because his cell phone does not seem to be working.
There is an old saying that says “Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you.” He has fooled me more than twice. Many more times. I have always given him the benefit of the doubt because I have wanted only the best for him, but I since learned that this is the absolute core of what it means to be co-dependent, and my doing these things for him was just encouraging that behavior to continue. As of yesterday, I have decided that it must stop.
In order to protect his identity, I will merely refer to him as “The Ex,” or “Him,” or “He.” I do not intend to slander his nature in any way by doing this. I need to do this primarily for myself, because the things I have been dealing with in regard to Him have been difficult, troubling, and painful at worst. He has been a part of my life financially, emotionally and spiritually for the last four years.
But this week, I am finally putting a stop to it all. And in this series of posts, I will explain why.
Part II: We Meet
It was a sunny Tuesday in October of 2000. I was working at Crate & Barrel at the time, and had the day off. I spent the day as I often did, chatting on AOL and other various meeting places. He sent me an IM, as he often did, and had been doing for the last couple weeks.
He was an attractive man; a few years older than me, with brown hair and blue eyes. (I am a sucker for blue eyes.) He asked me what I was doing home and I responded that I had the day off. He proposed finally meeting in person, and I accepted.
The meeting was purely sexual. At first. We really didn’t have any other intention but that, yet I always go into such things with an open mind. If the guy is cool, or really nice and talkative, then why shouldn’t there be some good conversation to go along with the sex?
That’s just what happened with him. When I got off the elevator and saw him in person, I instantly was drawn to him. He had a goofy personality that was completely endearing, in addition to a killer smile, and those deep blue eyes that just captured me. I could easily fall for this guy, and I knew it.
We talked a bit and got down to business. It was great… hot, in fact. And when we were done, instead of cleaning up and going home, we talked… and talked… and talked some more. And when we were done talking, we went at it again. And it was just as good as the first time– if not better.
After the second time around, we looked at each other for a long time.
“I like you,” I told him. “You’re much more ‘real’ than most guys I meet.”
He thanked me and said the same about me.
After a few more rounds of chit-chat, we decided to grab lunch. There was a restaurant just down the street from where he lived, so we showered, got dressed, and headed over. We talked about ourselves in greater detail there, and this is where I first learned about his addiction to alcohol.
He had been sober for two years at the time. He had a good job at a law firm and was doing well for the first time in a long time. He had broken up with someone just prior to getting sober. He told me that he wanted to be totally honest with me right up front, and I appreciated that. It kind of endeared me to him. What I didn’t realize was that the sense of endearment I was feeling at the time was also the budding blossom of co-dependency. I had no idea what that term meant then, but I have learned a great deal about it since then.
We had a nice time together that day. It was the start of something surprisingly special. We agreed to get together later in the week for a “real” date, which we did. And from that moment on, we were dating exclusively.
A few weeks into dating, I was looking in his medicine cabinet for something– a toothbrush or a Q-tip or something, who knows. I found a bottle of prescription pills. I didn’t recognize the name– Neurontin. The name alone suggested some type of psychotherapy drug, but, not knowing for sure, I also thought it could have been for HIV or some other sort of problem. Seeing this as a potential problem, I had to ask him about it. He told me that he also suffered from bipolar disorder, and the pills helped keep him regulated.
This bothered me somewhat. Not just because of the disorder, which I thought I could deal with, but because he kept it from me. I told him so, and asked him why he couldn’t have told me that at the outset. He said he wasn’t sure how I would react, so he decided to tell me at a later date.
I told him that I understood, and not to worry. I just wanted him to stay well, and if the pills helped him to do that, then that’s what he needed to do.
So the groundwork was laid for potential destruction in this man I had just met. Bipolar and an addict. At the time, I had no idea what would come of all of this. But I was so blindly in love with this guy that nothing would allow me to see the potential for destruction that lay beneath the surface. I couldn’t imagine him hurting me physically (and for the record, he never did), but I had no idea how much emotional and mental turmoil could be caused by these problems.
But I was going to learn, sooner than I thought.
(Tomorrow.. Part III: The Happy Months, and Part IV: The Beginning of The End)