It was September 1998, the day before school started. My Mom had just regained custody of me and my sisters, which caused my move from Denver to Aurora. My best-friend Shari and I were walking around the mall when James and Steven walked up to us asking what school we went to, we told them Aurora Central and they said they did also. They asked us for our numbers and we all began hanging out the very first day of school. James and Shari became a couple immediately while Steven and I tagged along with them as friends.
Eventually, we all made plans to go to homecoming together (Steven and I still as just friends), then the night before homecoming we were on the phone and (being the aggressive girl that I am) I just flat out asked him “do you want to be my boyfriend or what?” To which he said yes, and the rest is history- I guess…
When finally meeting his family it was discovered that I have known his cousins since elementary school. He was from NY and had moved here when he was 12 and lived with the cousins I was friends with for years. Come to find out, we went to the same elementary and middle school and actually rode the same bus, but we were 2 years apart and never crossed each other’s paths. While I had been over his cousin’s house many times back then we never met because he was anti-social and never came outside to play. This was the beginning of our faux pas “meant to be” love story…
We dated for a couple of months then life took over and we ended up breaking up but stayed FWB for 2 years- hanging out like we were still a couple and even after I got taken away from my Mom I snuck him in every foster home I lived in. I had asked numerous times throughout the 2 years if he was ready to be back together and he always said no, until… I started applying for colleges out of state and the minute I shared that with him, abracadabra he was ALL OF A SUDDEN ready to be back together! We finally got back together in 2001, moved into our first apartment and the shit immediately hit the fan. It evolved from this immature high-school love to the harsh realization of what kind of adults we were going to be- and he sucked big time.
He never rose to the occasion- he was unemployed many times (even while I was a criminal justice major in College) causing me to have to pick up a second job (for the 3rd time in our relationship) and eventually losing my funding due to being absolutely exhausted from trying to work 2 jobs, go to school and maintain a household by myself. He didn’t cook, clean or look for jobs during the day- he just sat around playing his PlayStation all day. I eventually ended up writing his first resume and applying for jobs for him EVERY time he was out of work (the job he has right now, I filled out the online application for him). Shortly after we moved out of his Mom’s house into our first apartment he said he was upset that I made him leave his Mom behind (with who he had a very unhealthy relationship with- he was also the baby of the family).
Yes, the signs were all there that maybe this was not the person who I should try and build a life with but you all don’t understand, back when we were in high school I adored him. With my Mom drinking again and my home life being absolutely chaotic- he was my only constant at that time. I would break curfew every night just to hang out with him. I just loved being in his presence and as I would leave all I could think of was being able to hang out with him for the rest of my life when we got older and got our own place- oh and there was that faux pas “love story” part. I really just thought he needed to grow up and eventually he would be the man that I needed him to be- boy was I wrong.
Fast forward to 2004, our lease was up and I despised moving so I began the process for us to purchase a condo as first-time home buyers. He was not on board at all and pushed back asking why we couldn’t just stay in our apartment? He never had any goals or ambition to do anything- so I pushed along completing the entire process on my own and we became home-buyers at 19 and 21. He never said thank you for my hard work or gave me any credit for what I thought was a huge achievement.
Throughout the years his family (and mainly his Mother) treated me like shit; saying mean things and just down-right disrespecting me and he never said anything. Claiming that he didn’t like confrontation (which I now know he just didn’t have enough respect for me to care). It broke my heart because my Mom and Dad’s family were all alcoholics so this was my only hope of having a loving family, but it never happened.
After purchasing a home and being there for him for 6 years there was still no talk of marriage. I finally brought it up and he said don’t you think we’re too young to get married? A whole year passed with no more talk of it. One night we’re watching T.V. and he said we should get matching tattoos, I then glared at him and he said I know what you’re going to say that we’re not even married- then he threw his hand up and said “ we can get married”. After seven years of holding him down, dealing with his shitty family, and waiting and waiting for the proposal I thought I deserved- that was all I got.
Determined to be a role model for my sister’s and show them we don’t have to be statistics and can have a normal life, I kicked into gear. I worked 2 jobs and massive overtime to plan/pay for a wedding on a golf course while he worked at Einstein Bagels. Neither of our parents contributed and I was so stressed out by the time the wedding came that I was rushed to the hospital the day before with a cyst on my right ovary- but I still pulled it off and it came together beautifully.
Over the years he just got worse- in addition to the abuse I’ve already spoke of I left the marriage feeling like he never loved me, like I was just his personal assistant our whole life together; making his doctor’s appointments, filling out his job applications, cooking, cleaning and handling all the bills. I felt the only reason he stayed in the relationship was because he couldn’t take care of himself. He actually said to me one day “you really make my life easy”- while he made my life a living hell.
Early on, I truly thought I had married my best-friend and through all the bullshit I had been through I thought he was my safe place- the one who would always be there for me. I also thought the fact that he wasn’t even from Colorado, lived in the same area I grew up in, I was best-friends with the cousins he lived with, we went to the same school twice THEN ran into each other again in a whole other city- that it absolutely was meant for us to be together. Which really didn’t mean shit; it didn’t stop his family from treating me bad and it didn’t make him love me or treat me any better. When looking back on everything the main things that piss me off are how much I believed in it and the 17 years I wasted. To this day I am extremely heartbroken and mourn the possibilities of a better life on a daily. The only advice I can give to anyone who finds themselves in this situation is; do not stay just because of all of the years you have- cause one day you’ll wake-up and realize that all you two have is all those years…