A Blast From My Past

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.

Social Media Puts Our Dirty Laundry Out In The Open

Ah, social media. Or more like Facebook. It was a place of refuge during this tumultuous time in my life. But it was also my worse enemy. Like a backstabbing friend who you trusted with your innermost fears but then turned around and put all your business out in the open.

Husband and I decided not to tell many people about our separation. Only our closest friends knew. Ok, only my closest friends knew. Ok, only my closest friends knew at first but then word got around to his closest friends. But we didn’t openly share it with anyone. We didn’t even tell our parents nor our siblings. We barely even told our young children. What we told them was that mom and dad just weren’t getting along and needed space from each other so we wouldn’t be yelling all the time. That was all the kids needed to know, in our opinions.

The biggest reason we didn’t want to publicly announce our separation was because we were thinking that it might be temporary and that we may end up deciding to work on our marriage, there was no point in telling people — especially our parents — only to stress them out. We agreed that if we got to the point of divorce only then would we tell people.

If I’m being honest, I will have to admit that another reason I didn’t want people to know about our separation and especially not about HER, was because I was actually embarrassed for Husband. Embarrassed that she was someone Husband was spending a lot of time with. I mentioned in a previous post that this woman had quite the reputation of being crazy, a lost cause, someone you don’t take seriously. I was embarrassed about what Husband’s closest friends would think about him being associated with her.

Word eventually spread amongst Husband’s best friend group and they definitely were shocked, to say the least. Shocked that Husband found solace in someone like her. Curious about what it was about her that drew Husband in. But I will say though that  despite their surprise, Husband’s best friends had his back no matter what. They might not have agreed with his actions but they were going to respect any choices that he made and be there for him. As long as he wasn’t royally messing up, like being physically abusive to me or the kids, Husband’s best friends would support him in silence.

So with Husband and I keeping mum and our closest friends not saying a word, you would expect we would be able to fly under the radar with the current state of our marriage, right? Wrong.

Enter Facebook and it’s wicked ways.

If I was a smart person, I probably would have stayed away from Facebook altogether while Husband and I were separated. But I definitely was not smart about the choices that I made during that time. Going on Facebook was one of them.

I was on Facebook. Husband was on Facebook. SHE was on Facebook. Between the three of us, our mutual friend connection spanned the entire SF Bay Area and even covered parts of Southern California.

Husband barely posted anything on FB so he wasn’t the problem. I typically posted cryptic, woe-is-me status updates which left most of my FB connections raising their eyebrows in question, wondering if anything was going on with me and my marriage.

But then you add the kind of crap that SHE posted. It was stuff that made any normal person just mindlessly scrolling their feed stop dead in their tracks and go, “Wait, am I seeing what I think I’m seeing?” Over time people started putting two and two together and soon enough our gig was up.

I’d run into people I hadn’t seen in a while and after we exchanged pleasantries, they would lean over and whisper to me.

“Hey, I saw something on Facebook the other day.”

Then I’d have to take a few minutes to explain to them our situation and let them know that I know all about HER and assure them not to worry, Husband and I will be fine. Blah blah blah.

Once in a while, SHE would post a very revealing status update and without mentioning Husband’s name in so many words it wasn’t hard for anyone to figure out who she was talking about. It was the pictures that she would post that were most concerning to people close to me. Pictures of her with Husband, some where they look really cozy together, and her caption would be something along the lines of “Me and My Best Friend”.

Um, really? Your best friend is a married man? You’re going to be that bold to post something as incriminating as that and later wonder why people were talking crap about you?

To make matters worse, whenever I questioned Husband about her posts he would simply respond by saying he couldn’t control what she did and that I shouldn’t even be bothered by those things.

Thanks for nothing, Husband.

There would be many a questionable Facebook posts by her that I would have to “not be bothered with”. Many of her status updates that would result in my friends calling me to ask if I knew what she was doing. It got to a point where I just had to ask my friends to stop telling me what they saw. It was the only way I was going to stay sane. Plus I didn’t need that extra stress.

Despite the headaches that it gave me back then, Facebook did open one door for me and for that I’m truly thankful. More on that later.