I mentioned previously that Facebook opened a door that I was thankful for. Despite the fact that this social media platform was the cause of many arguments, tears, and anxious feelings, it did open the lines of communication between me and someone from my past.
And that someone from my past was my college boyfriend. My significant other before Husband came into my life many years ago.
I’ll call him Brad.
Brad is the complete opposite of Husband. Where Brad is a pretty serious person, Husband loves to crack jokes all the time. Brad is super romantic while Husband is non-demonstrative. Back when we were dating, Brad’s idea of a perfect Saturday night would be to do something low-key like a dinner for two or a movie whereas Husband was typically out at a nightclub during the weekends. While Brad and I could spend an entire evening engrossed in an intellectual conversation, Husband is not really man of many words.
On paper Brad was the better guy and a perfect match for me. And boy, was he hot. When I first started going out with Brad, all of my girlfriends told me he was like a mixture of Johnny Depp and Richard Grieco in their 21 Jump Street days. Remember that show?
Unfortunately for Brad, looks alone wasn’t enough to keep me. I broke up with him at the end of my college career not because our relationship was bad but because I was afraid to take the next step with him. I knew that the next step would be marriage and the more I thought about marriage the more I thought that I didn’t want to marry a guy like Brad. In hindsight after all these years, I now realize that it wasn’t him that was the problem. It was really poor timing. While he was more ready to settle down with college behind both of us, I was itching to go out and party. My friends who lived back home in the SF Bay Area were going out all the time and enjoying life. I thought in order to live life, I had to break up with my boyfriend. So I did. Shortly after I met Husband. The rest is history.
Fast-forward back to that fall when Brad re-entered my life. We became Facebook friends earlier that year so I knew a little bit about his life; at least the things that he was willing to share online. I knew that he lived in Seattle, worked in a school district’s technology department, had two adorable young boys. What I didn’t know was that he was going through a divorce.
I’m guessing that the cryptic status updates I was posting on Facebook moved him to reach out to me one evening. He sent me a message via the app and I was pleasantly surprised. Who better to hear from when your husband is treating you like crap than the ex-boyfriend who treated you like a queen? I willingly replied to him and so began an approximately 3-month journey into the past for us. I say 3 months because when Husband got wind of our little reunion he immediately put the kibosh on it. Not really fair considering Husband’s behavior, wouldn’t you say? More on that later.
I didn’t feel guilty for responding to Brad. I actually looked forward to our late night phone conversations after all the kids had fallen asleep. It may seem weird but Brad was the perfect person to talk to about my marital issues. By that point his split with his wife was final so he was able to give me advice and show me that there is life after divorce, in case that was the path I was going to be taking. Some may feel wary about getting this kind of help from an ex but I knew that Brad was genuine and only had good intentions.
One great thing that came out of Brad and I re-connecting is that we were both able to get closure on some things in our past that we weren’t proud of. I apologized for being the biggest bitch to him when we were breaking up and he admitted that he was a jack-ass for questioning who the father was when I had a pregnancy scare. But was it a bad thing that I was finding solace in another man? A man who happened to be my ex who Husband actually hated with a passion? I didn’t think so and didn’t feel the least bit guilty about it.
Why then did I keep it from Husband and do my best to make sure he never found out? Was it because I was afraid that if he did it would mean the end of our marriage? Was it because I was hoping that our marriage could get back to normal?
Well, Husband eventually found out and as mentioned earlier, he put the kibosh on it.
Why am I sharing this? I’m sharing this because I need to illustrate how weak our separation made me and how much control I let Husband have. I allowed him to dictate what male friendships I could have while he continued his friendship with that awful female. It was the biggest double standard. I couldn’t be friends with my ex but he could march around town with that girl? There I was trying to show him in every way how committed I was to our marriage by adhering to his terms yet he’d scoff when I attempted to lay down my own rules. And the bad thing? I let him.
If I could do it all over again, I would have been stronger and put my foot down. Who knows where we would be right now. Who knows where I would be. Would I have ended up with the ex? Maybe. Maybe not. If I was stronger with Husband back then and still ended up where I am today, I bet I’d feel more whole. I bet I would feel like I had a say in how we are today instead of feeling broken in a 100 pieces inside with so much healing left to do.