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Rated: 13+ · Letter/Memo · Emotional · #1319939
A running commentary of my life:
I’m Here Now…
A work in progress

December, 2004
I know we’re not going to get married, despite his promises and my hopes.  His promises are probably only as genuine as my hopes, anyhow.  If we were in a court of law, this all would be “circumstantial evidence”.  Meaning, there’s no real proof—just circumstance.  And that’s all our relationship really is… circumstance.  And although I don’t know how I got here… I’m here now.

Here’s how it is:  I’m living with my Significant Other of (give or take a few breakups based primarily, in my mind, on his infidelity) one year.  My two year old daughter (from a previous relationship) and our one year old son (do the math and you’ve already figured out a lot) live with us.  I hold a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Management from an online university I am ashamed to name, although it is accredited and, therefore, a legitimate degree, and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Virginia- which I am probably too proud of, even though I claim to detest the school (a bunch of pompous asses, to be honest).  I am currently (and have been for six months) very unemployed.  When my unemployment insurance runs out next week, we will also be very poor, since my Significant Other’s paycheck is enough to cover his mortgage payment (he likes to say “our mortgage payment”) and his car payment (the Lexus is definitely his, despite my insurance coverage on it) and his cigarettes, gas, and various other expenses that I have absolutely no knowledge of and can only hazard a guess at.  Although I’ve been job hunting like mad, I’ve got no prospects.  I pretend that I love staying home with my kids, but it honestly drives me crazy.  I also pretend that I’m going to quit smoking soon, but I know I won’t.  Oh, don’t sit there thinking I’m a horrible mother.  I quit smoking through my two pregnancies—for the most part—but I’ve recently decided that cigarettes are my one little “pretend” that I’m still free and young with no responsibilities.  There is nothing more relaxing than rushing out the front door to have a cigarette when you’ve got two babies screaming hysterically and begging for “mommy mommy mommy!” 

My Significant Other thinks I’m psychotic.  He bases this belief primarily on my overwhelming paranoia that he is cheating on me—which is justified, in my opinion, considering our past—and my propensity to go from happy to extremely angry in just under four seconds.  He also thinks I spoil the babies, which I only do when he’s around, because he likes to treat them like they’re in boot camp.  They are one and two… so come on now!  I believe in discipline and have no problem smacking their bums when they misbehave or flicking their cheeks when they bite, or yelling “no” loud enough to wake the dead when the two year old locks the one year old in the toy chest or the one year old decides he wants to taste the dishwashing detergent or climb the newly conquered stairs for the fourteenth time since his nap—but I don’t believe a two year old should be expected to remember that the books go here and the toys go there BEFORE getting out another toy, ALL the food on the plate must be finished each night, and if you spill something you get down on the floor and scrub for thirty minutes.  She helps me unload the dishwasher, clear the table and pick up her toys—when she’s reminded.  And that’s honestly good enough for me right now.  But I, of course, only had children so that I could spoil them and give them everything I never had, lavish affection constantly and receive affection more constantly--- just ask my Significant Other.  And if he’s in a really asinine mood, he will also inform you that I had our son simply to trap him. 

Of course, from all of that you would think he doesn’t love these kids.  But he does.  Payton is his “little angel” and he has no problems dropping on all fours and chasing her around the room growling… and you’ve never seen a man smile so much as when Jason manages a “da-da” with that heart-stopping two-teethed grin of his.  Oh, he loves these babies very much and, despite her paternity, has accepted Payton as his own.  But just because he loves them doesn’t mean they haven’t ruined his dreams of ever having a nice home—since kids destroy everything-- and haven’t ruined his chance to have any fun—since kids take too much time and responsibility-- and haven’t made us poor—since rich people don’t have kids.  But then again, in his mind, these are all just things I choose to find to be negative about.  HE doesn’t think he’s nearly that pessimistic.  But he also thinks he never does anything wrong. 

Example: 
Last Saturday was my birthday.  He wanted to take me out somewhere nice, but apparently he had already stretched his own bank account to the limit, and asked to take some money out of our joint bank account.  This joint bank account is the bank account out of which all household bills, doctor’s co-pays, and groceries come.  I told him sure (I wanted a nice night out) and said he could take up to $100.  He said “I only need $30 or $40”.  I said okay.  Well, I went shopping yesterday.  Bought groceries for $65 and medicine for Payton for $20, knowing that, with $30 or $40 taken out, I still had $100 or so in the account.  When he stopped to get gas this morning, the card said insufficient funds, and he had to come home to get the change jar to cash it out to have money for gas to get to work this morning.  He’d taken out $120.  And just so you know it’s not all me… the account over drafted by $14.  So if he’d taken out just the $100 I’d originally offered, we’d still have been okay.  To top it off, that overdraft caused four checks to bounce (which all totaled only came to $50, unless you count four separate Non-Sufficient-Fund fees) and caused the bank to take away our ATM cards. But of course, it is all MY fault.  We don’t need that many groceries. And from now on he says we only are having meat once every third meal—to save money—since our grocery bill is apparently the problem here.
As a result of that argument, this phone call ensued:   
S.O.:  So what are we having for dinner?
Me:  Pasta noodles and corn. 
S.O.:  No meat?
Me:  You said you wanted meat every third meal, and we had meat last night.
S.O.:  Well, in that case, I just want peanut butter.
Me:  Okay, I’ll make it.
S.O.:  You don’t know how I like it.
Me:  Okay… how do you like it.  (explanation follows, then…)
S.O.:  So what did the kids have for lunch?
Me:  Macaroni and hotdogs
S.O.:  Well, then I’ll have a hotdog, too.
Me:  But that’s meat…
S.O.:  Well, if the kids get a hotdog, I get a hotdog.
Me:  I didn’t know it was like that… okay… but if you’re going to eat meat, don’t you just want me to cook a regular dinner for you?  (Here, I’m trying to get him to give in so I can make the steak I already had thawing…)
S.O.:  No.  It would be different if the meat weren’t always so bland, but since that’s how it is, I’ll just make myself a hotdog.  (First time I’ve ever heard the meat I cook is bland…)
Me:  Okay….  Fine….  I’ll make your PB & J, and you can make yourself a hotdog…
S.O.:  And about candy… what candy did they have today? 
Me:  Only the Hershey Kisses I use with Payton’s potty training.  (A little reward for every time she uses the potty.)
S.O.  Well, no more candy.  She’s a child.  They join our world.  We don’t join theirs.  (That’s his favorite quote, by the way.)
Me:  Well, you’re the head of the household.  Whatever you say goes.
S.O.:  We don’t need to be throwing food down the sink anyhow or supporting Tony.
(That’s a reference to Payton’s biological father’s lack of child support.)

Sometimes you just have to call it quits.
Fine. 
Fine.
I go outside to have a cigarette, leaving the kids to play nicely in the living room with their (too many, in my S.O.’s opinion) toys.  When I come back in, Payton has covered herself, her brother, and all the living room furniture a beautiful shade of Crayola washable marker green. 
I guess it’s for the best—giving the kids a bath always calms me down…


But that’s just life currently.  The point of writing all this is to let you, the reader, know how I got here to this life that is currently mine.  And I know, autobiographies aren’t supposed to be written until one has done something amazing and historical.  And perhaps none of this is worth reading, but it is worth my writing for me.  And if you can’t understand that, then you should put this book down now, and not waste your time, since this is MY therapy.  Because even though I just turned twenty-six last week, I’ve come to the realization that all my hopes and dreams are just that—hopes and dreams—and I need to accept my lot in life and make the best of it, since I’m here now. 

Despite what my S. O. may imply by his “making up for what you lacked” comments, I did not have a bad upbringing.  In fact, I think it was quite a good upbringing.  I think most of his comments are based on his own insecurities, and are his attempts to compensate for our differences in experience and opinion. 
My family was large and we didn’t have a lot of money, but that never really seemed to matter.  We loved each other, and we had fun.  Growing up, my father seemed to be constantly building our house—a new room here, a greenhouse there, a back porch, a balcony, a new road… always something to keep him busy, and always someone to help.  I have five brothers… two older, three younger… and we were either all conceived for the purpose of help around the house or because my parents couldn’t (and still can’t) keep their hands off each other.  My father is a bit of a hippy- pacifist, but he manages to conceal it in successful ways.  For example, during the Vietnam War, he was (conveniently) enrolled in college and, therefore, exempt from the draft.  But in 1971 when he graduated and there was still some concern about drafting, he and his new wife (my mother) strategically decided to join the Peace Corps.  They spent two years in Seirra Leone, Africa, teaching, before returning to the States due to my mother’s pregnancy with my oldest brother, Ward.  She had already lost one child at six months of pregnancy to malaria while in Africa and she didn’t want to take the risk again.  After a few years of raising Ward and, by then, Ian, in their hometown of Rochester, NY, the hippy in them again reared its head, and they moved to Luray, Virginia, home of the world famous (or Virginia famous) Luray Caverns, to have a go at living off the land.  They bought forty-three acres, a run-down shack, and some goats.  Well, living off the land never materialized, because I came along and they needed to feed us.  The shack eventually became a beautiful five bedroom house with three full decks and a balcony.  The goats became my mother’s cathartic habit and the forty-three acres, our playground.  The first job I remember my father having was as a Lab Tech for the local Health Department.  Since then he’s been in upper management for Fortune 500 companies and holds a PhD.  He’s currently a college professor.  The only job my mother has ever had was as an English teacher at the local Christian School my brothers and I all attended from K-4 through 12th grade.  Maximum enrollment, 200 students for grades Kindergarten through 12.  My mother swore she’d never be a teacher, but twenty five years, six kids, and five grandkids later, she’s still at it.  To tie these stories in together more successfully, I should mention that a standing means of getting out of work in one of my mother’s classes was to ask a question about Africa… and off she would go until the bell rang.  I loved her stories, though.  My mother was not only perhaps the best reader, but she could tell stories that made me think I’d lived in Africa for two years.  My mother is actually a bit eccentric… and it’s gotten worse with age.  As a teenager I was embarrassed by her propensity to break into random song at any given moment.  One word would send her off into sing-land, one phrase would have her quoting an entire poem.  But what was embarrassing then is something I love now… and (dare I admit it?) something that has become part of my life and will one day embarrass my own teenagers.  I think some people are more like their parents than they ever want to admit.  I know I rock my children to sleep each night singing an African nursery rhyme that my mother used to sing to me.  (Granted, I never remember the tune or the words as well as she does.)

Tu tia tu
Tu tia tu
Me mama binde tel me se
Me papa binde tel me se
Tronga yese no goe
Ana-yeti
Tronga yes no goe

Hush my baby
Hush my baby
My mother tells me
My father tells me
Troubles are no good
I didn’t listen
Troubles are no good

If you happen to be from Sierra Leone or speak that particular African dialect, I’m sorry, but you won’t recognize that song as I sing it or write it.  If you would like to hear the real version, I can put you in touch with my mother, who could do it justice… and would love to. 

So… my upbringing was normal and fun.  A little bit conservative, considering the religious nature of my parents, but liberal enough that I graduated from high school and attended the University of Virginia.  There’s not a whole lot to say about my three years at UVA.  For one, I hated pretty much everyone.  I can list on one hand the people I didn’t hate.  Liz and Beth, my roommates of which I was the middle one (a common myth is that when three girls go out there’s the chunky one, the okay one, and the one every guy wants to get with.  Liz was the one every guy wanted to get with, and I was not the chunky one, except for my first semester when I gained thirty pounds on a diet of omelettes and fast food) Jodie and Rob, my bus-driving smoking buddies that made me feel my future was brighter than it really was, and Derek, my good friend, the first black man I ever knew, and the only man I ever made out with only to find out a month later that he was gay.  Maybe a few more people here or there I considered a friend, but their names have escaped me now.  My strongest memories of college are of hookups gone wrong. 
Examples being:
1/  The guy who thought that sitting on my chest and forcing his dick in my mouth wasn’t a form of rape.  He was the same guy who later DID rape me with the excuse of “you thought you were so good for being a virgin—well, someone had to knock you off your pedestal”. 
2/  The guy who thought that because I was in his apartment studying with him for an English Lit exam meant I wanted to have sex with him, and that my “no” was really playing hard to get.  He also thought calling me a dick tease as I fought my way out of the room would make me change my mind.   
3/  The guy who thought because I was sleeping on his couch he had the right to fondle my breasts until I woke up.
4/  The guy who heard the phrase “alright, everyone, I’m going to bed” as “alright, John, come jump on me and molest me in my bed until Joe (thank you, Joe) realizes what’s going on and comes and pulls you off me”. 
And 5/  The guy who thought that smoking a joint with him actually meant I wanted to sleep with him.  Another quick rescue from a friend (Thank you, Tim) 

It wasn’t all about hookups gone wrong.  I disliked UVA just as much for the fact that I didn’t match.  All the female co-eds were cute and little with black pants, a tight shirt, and a dark pea-coat.  I was taller and more natural and liked bell bottoms and vintage clothing (cheap).  But my friends (named above) liked me… 
I also started smoking in college.  It started as an occasional social cigarette and led into buying my first pack on my nineteenth birthday and not quitting until I got pregnant with Payton.  I added up the math once to see how much more money I’d have if I’d never bought a pack of cigarettes.  It was staggering, but since I know that money would have been spent on something else by now (food? alcohol?), what’s the point in thinking about it? 
After three years at UVA I’d had enough of feeling “less than” while feeling I was “more than” and decided to leave my life, my boyfriend Jim (who was really sweet until his propensity for not keeping a job started to interfere with our ability to pay rent…and, well, I hated having sex with him, despite my amazing ability to fake orgasm.  At that point I’d still wear my retainer to bed which hinted “I need to straighten my teeth so we can’t have sex tonight), and move to England.  My excuse was “Year Abroad at Lancaster University”.  I could title this section “The Best Year of My Life”, but I find it depressing to think that The Best Year of My Life isn’t still ahead of me.

England, England, England.  If I’d had my head on a little straighter, I don’t think I ever would have come back.  I loved it over there… as much for the people, the sights, and the food, as for the fact that I lived over a bar.  I loved everyone and a lot of people seemed to like me.  The most important people in my life were found there at Lancaster. 
The Good Knight Yadilloh (a nickname, of course, that I like to think he didn’t tell every women):  I was head-over-heels in love with him.  I knew without a doubt I could marry this man and spend the rest of my life happy in Bognor Regis.  Unfortunately, not only was he still in love with his ex, Jemma, who I would have hated if she hadn’t been so sweet, but he thought I was a bit of a drunk psycho.  Which, I must admit, I often was.

Simon:  He was head-over-heels in love with me.  And yes, I took advantage of it to ease my loneliness, and because he truly was a good friend.  Despite my flippancy, it really was hard to leave Jim, and Simon made me forget Jim…  and we had so much fun together—hopping trains to random depots in the middle of Scotland…drinking all night and waking up to a traditional English breakfast at a quaint bed and breakfast run by a sweet old Scottish couple that were English thirty years ago…  ah.. Simon..  I do regret what I did to him… and it’s no wonder he tends to avoid my emails these days.  If I had married Simon not only would my entire family have been extremely pleased, but I would be living a very happy, content, simple life right now in some small Cornish village.  But is that what I want either?

I guess I should now categorize my boyfriends:
Boyfriend #1:  Unfaithful, lying, abusive, insulting, yet somehow addictive
Boyfriend #2:  Unfaithful, lying, abusive ONCE, a dreamer that didn’t have the motivation to do much else. 
Boyfriend #3:  Too good for me to tingle when we touched.
Boyfriend #4:  Also known as booty-call.  No commitment, so he, therefore, shouldn’t be on this list, but I count him anyway because it was a long term affair, he is my daughter’s godfather, and his name still provokes unreasonable jealousy in my Significant Other.  And I still smile when I think about him and regret the “respect for my S.O.” that keeps me from calling him on a regular basis. 
Boyfriend #5:  Father of Payton.  My first one-night stand.  Good at heart.  A dreamer (again) with a lot of potential but no follow-through.  He was the only man I ever was unfaithful to, and I broke his heart and left with our six month old daughter in order to be with
Boyfriend #6:  My current Significant Other.  Unfaithful, dishonest, disrespectful, immature, and irresponsible—but, oh, how I love him!

I could also list sexual partners, since the list isn’t that much longer:
Sexual Partner #1:  Boyfriend #1
Sexual Partner #2:  Boyfriend #2
Sexual Partner #3:  Does Oral Sex count?  If yes, this spot goes to the lost love of my life, The Good Knight Yadilloh, who not only considered me a drunk psycho, but a drunk psychotic slut.  And to be honest, I’m not even sure if I gave him head or not…
Sexual Partner #4:  Boyfriend #3
Sexual Partner #5:  Boyfriend #4, ie. “Booty Call”
Sexual Partner #6:  Boyfriend #5
Sexual Partner #7:  One Night Stand #1, who I met at a corporate training event and called me the next morning to make certain I never told anyone since his job would be at stake.  I didn’t tell anyone (well, very few people) and, sure enough, he was promoted to management within six months.
Sexual Partner #8:  Boyfriend #6, ie. “Significant Other”
Sexual Partner #9:  One Night Stand #2, while S.O. and I were on a three month hiatus due to my refusal to abort the child I was four months pregnant with.  It only became a one night stand because, ironically, S.O. decided to make up two days after the event took place.  If that hadn’t happened, I probably would have continued sleeping with Sexual Partner #9 for a while… despite the fact that his immaturity was extremely annoying to me. 
If for some reason my Significant Other and I ever break up, I will probably delete oral sex (ie. Sexual Partner #3) from this list in order to keep my number of sexual partners in the single digits.  Granted, that still limits me to only one more sexual encounter, so (if we ever break up) I need to be extremely discerning—and may, perhaps, wait until marriage.

Thus far, I’ve talked a lot of facts and feelings, but most of these feelings and facts as well are based on what I believe to be bipolar depression.  I have seen five different therapists over the years, a few of which have agreed with my diagnosis, none of which I truly thought had anything to offer me. 
I've preferred to diagnose myself. 

Issues that Have Contributed to my Depression:
Issue #1:  (June 12, 1990)  Loss of my only sister, my mother’s last of fourteen pregnancies, in June.  Not only did this throw a switch in my susceptible twelve year old mind, but it knocked my mother out of her happiness for quite some time and brought about Issue #2.
Issue #2:  (1992-1996)  I hate my mother.  My mother hates me.  You may think this is normal between mothers and their teenage daughters, and I am fully prepared for it with my daughter, but I think my mother and I had an animosity that went well beyond any logic or reason.  Just ask my brothers if you don’t believe me.  It would be a waste of time to ask my father, since he has a tendency to think everything my mother and I say is over-exaggerated, and doesn’t even realize how close his marriage came to ending a few times.  Example:  Mom:  I hated your father and almost left him at that point and wished that he would leave me.  Dad:  Oh, you know how emotional your mom is.  It was never THAT bad.   
Issue #3:  (August 04, 1998)  Forced sexual intercourse and loss of my virginity.  One of those situations that girls call rape and guys call “I finally talked her into it- she wanted it anyway”.  Either way, I had my mother cut all my long, brown hair off, and began a cycle of therapy, drugs, depression, and bad relationships.  .

I bet you thought this list was going to go on and on, didn’t you?  But no.  It’s not.  Not that many bad things have really happened to me.  After dealing with Issue #3, I don’t really put much weight on other forced sexual experiences, nor does anything else bother me as much.  If I wanted to add an Issue #4 it would be Infidelity and would need a sublisting such as this:
Issue #4:  Infidelity
  Unfaithful Boyfriend #1:  Boyfriend #1
  Unfaithful Boyfriend #2:  Boyfriend #2
  Unfaithful Boyfriend #3:  Boyfriend #5
  Unfaithful Boyfriend #4:  Boyfriend #6  (ie. Significant Other)
And I’m willing to guess that if we’d had a “real commitment”, Boyfriend #4 would have been on that list too, since I know him well and have seen him in other relationships.  Boyfriend #3 is really the only guy worth being with.  To quote an old cliché:  “The only man worth crying over is the one who never makes you cry.”  So why did I leave him?  Oh yeah, no spark.


Things I do to make my Significant Other love me more:
Cute little “I love you come home soon I can’t wait to touch you” emails
Poems:  “Violets are blue and roses are red, if you come home by ten I’ll give you some head.”
Nice home-cooked dinners every night (I don’t believe he ever had a woman cook dinner for him every night before.)
Back rubs
Buy him special little deserts whenever I go shopping since he doesn’t like homemade desert.
Tell him I love him
When we fight and I finally get him to apologize, I make him do crazy little things like get down on his knees, kiss my toes, and beg for forgiveness.  Or, like last night, jump up and down on the bed patting his head and holding his penis reciting “I am 51% responsible for our fight and I am sorry and I love you very very much”.  Or maybe that should go under the next list…

Things I do to make my Significant Other hate me:
Ask him every other day if he slept with someone else today.
Ask him about girls he hooked up with two years ago.
Make him promise he won’t be unfaithful to me again, and then, when he promises, go into a three hour long speech about how badly he hurt me and I just want to understand why!
Ask questions about his ex-girlfriends.
Made him get a new tattoo to cover the old tattoo of his ex-girlfriend’s name, and then question why, if he loves me more than he loved her, he won’t get MY name tattooed on his arm.
Had a baby (or two, but only one is his).
Don’t have a job.
Accuse him of being addicted to porn.  (He does watch a lot of porn.)
Accuse him of not really loving me and only being with me out of some misguided sense of responsibility (ie. Our son).
Accuse him of cheating on me.  (Did I already say that?)
Accuse him of being unfaithful.  (Did I already say that?)
Imply that the hair I found on him could not possibly have been mine.
Accuse him of wasting money.
Accuse him of not really wanting to get married because it’s been a WHOLE SIX MONTHS since our last break up and I still don’t have a ring despite the fact that he did already have The Talk with my father.  (I think that was more Daddy’s doing than his.)
Accuse him of being unfaithful. 
Accuse him of never really listening to me.
Imply that he only watches porn because he isn’t attracted to me.
Imply that he really wants to DO something next time we go to a Swinger’s club. 
He doesn’t really love me.


You can see where our issues lie.  So I will name this next list
Why He Claims To Have “Not Really” Cheated:
1/  He wasn’t sure about me.  I had just broken up with my Boyfriend #5, and he wasn’t sure if I’d go back, so he needed a contingency plan just in case I left.
2/  He wasn’t comfortable with another man in my life (ie. Payton’s father/ Boyfriend #5) and wasn’t sure he could commit fully to me when there would always be another man.
3/  It wasn’t really cheating because it was all just talk via the internet and he probably never would have met them anyway.
4/  It wasn’t really cheating because she just needed someone to talk to.
5/  He thought I was psychotic.
6/  He just wasn’t sure if it was the right choice to be with me.
7/  He was at a bad place in his life.
8/  He thought I was with him for the wrong reasons.
9/  He didn’t think I really cared that much about him.
10/  He thought I was using the baby against him and playing games with our child to intentionally hurt him. 

I would have summed it all up as “He’s addicted to sex (as well as porn) and lives off the attention he gets from other women.  Plus he doesn’t care about anyone but himself.” 
But, that probably wouldn’t be fair.  And so far, you don’t know the whole story, and what you do know is my negative take and probably has you wondering why I’m even with him if he’s really so bad.  So I will, as objectively as possible, provide you with the following information entitled: 

Timeline of Events Leading to Now (in regards to my Significant Other):
September, 2002:  We met during my first week of training at a new job where he’d been for a year.  I had a one-month old daughter, attempting to work things out with her father to a point where we could both be happy.  He was still living with his ex-girlfriend, although I didn't know this at the time.   
Due to (dare I say, the stupidity and boredom of) our job, he and I and a few other fellow employees starting chatting in chat rooms online.  The chatroom soon began to carry sexual overtones (and downright dirty comments) that gave him and me rather different impressions than I should have allowed to happen.  He and I began to chat separately, and I began to be interested in him as a person.
October, 2002:  At a fellow employees Halloween party, after a little too much alcohol, he and I kissed in the kitchen.  I went home and broke up with Payton’s father that night.
November, 2002:  We went out to lunch a few times, kissed, but nothing serious.  At a happy hour during which he got very intoxicated (my 24th birthday, actually) he got down on one knee and begged me to go out with him.  I laughed, but we continued to talk throughout the days, and sometimes on the phone at night. I was still living with Boyfriend #5 (Payton’s father) and doing all that that implies, but we had an agreement to date other people. 
December, 2002:  We went to Philadelphia for corporate training and, along with a few other coworkers, decided to get a hotel room and spend the night.  We were both very drunk and ended up having sex.  We had sex again a few days later at a coworker’s going away party—in my brother’s borrowed car in a parking garage.  I got a skinned knee.  He got a bite on the shoulder that took weeks to go away. 
January, 2003:  At this time I found out that during the months of November and December, he had slept with three of my coworkers and had hooked up with three others (that I know of).  I find out about one of these, a good friend of mine at the time, because when she finds out she’s pregnant she panics at the (good) possibility that it is his.  We still don’t know whether or not it is.  One more thing I try to get over on a daily basis.  At that time, however, despite being insanely jealous, we continued to see each other through January and February—lunch, movies, phone conversations.  I started to really fall for him.
March, 2003:  After a St. Patrick’s Day party (and a lot of alcohol) we decided to get a hotel room and spend the night together.  Although the hotel was right down the street from his home, he said he didn’t want to go there due to “that was too serious”.  The truth is, another woman was possibly still staying there or, at least, randomly stopping by.  He still hasn’t been too forthcoming with the truth on that.  We had sex four times that night, and, one time, as he came inside me, he told me he loved me.  I said nothing.  I was too busy wondering why I’d just had the horrifying thought that we were conceiving a child at that moment. 
April, 2003:  Of course, I find out I’m pregnant.  I have no doubt it’s his.  I call my Significant Other to tell him.  First, he insists it’s not his because he’s not able to have children- he and one of his ex’s tried a few years back.  Then he says he will “be with me the whole time”, but that lasts only as long as it takes to tell him that I will not be having an abortion.  We agree to meet and talk about it face-to-face, but that meeting leads to nothing other than drunk (yes, I drank) sex in the back of his new silver Lexus and his telling me he’s in love with someone else and is going to be moving to Oregon.  I accept that as life, and I finally move, with Payton, into my own place, and put HIM out of my mind. 
May, 2003- June, 2003:  The only real contact between my Significant Other and myself is hate mail consisting of “I want nothing to do with this child” to “I’ll do it alone, you asshole, I don’t need you”.  We are NOT on good terms, but I am addicted to sending long, emotional emails, and continue to do so. 
July 02, 2003:  I finally give in to a coworker who has been after me for months and, although he knows I’m four months pregnant, we have sex.  He claims it’s the best sex he’s ever had and that we’ll continue seeing each other.  I’m somewhat bored by his 21 year old chatter, but I like the attention and needed the affection.
July 04, 2003:  Out of the blue, as I am preparing to go to my parent’s place and dog sit for the weekend (they are in NY visiting family), I get a phone call.  My S.O. tells me that he has had a life changing experience and needs to see me.  I invite him to come with me.  He shows up an hour later.  We drive silently to my parent’s house where we proceed to play UNO for the entire evening.  I show him to the room he can sleep in, and he asks me to sleep with him.  We don’t make love until the next morning, and don’t stop until the next day. 
July, 2003- Oct, 2003:  We spend a significant amount of time together- weekends, occasional evenings… Payton starts calling him Daddy.  He goes to doctor’s appointments with me and tells me he loves me.  His one request is to “not tell anyone at work- - he doesn’t want to deal with the gossip”.  I comply. 
Oct 23, 2003:  We are laying on his bed, and he is acting very distant.  I ask him “do you want some space?”  He says okay, without looking at me.  I leave for my parents house with my daughter, since I’ve been put on bed rest and need help (which I’m obviously not getting from my S.O.) taking care of my daughter.
Oct 25, 2003:  I wake up at 5 am. in labor.  My father drives me to the closest hospital, and spends the next eight hours attempting to get in touch with my S.O.  At 4:30, my S.O. calls the hospital to say he’s on his way.  When he arrives we go to look at our new son.  He touches his hand.  He wheels me back to the bedroom.  He says “I never loved you.  I wanted to make it work, but it won’t.  You never should have had this child.”  I begged him to stay.  He was gone by 7:30.
Oct 26- Nov 04, 2003:  Our contact is limited to emails and an occasional phone call.  It turns out he’s been dating one of our coworkers out of his office.  They were even together the night our son was born.  He is angry that I gave our son his last name as a middle name.  He accuses me of playing games with the child, and not being a good mother. 
Nov 05, 2003:  He shows up at my apartment, holds me, and tells me he will never hurt me again.  He is so sorry. 
Nov 06- Feb, 2004:  Things go well.  Back to the way they were before.  We spend a very large amount of time together.  I tried to forgive the pain caused on Jason’s birth day, and we seem very happy and in love.  One week after Valentine’s day he leaves his email account open on my computer.  There are multiple sex emails from multiple girls.  These girls include coworkers and random internet whores.  He says it’s just a manner of porn.  But porn doesn’t invite girls over to his house when “my girlfriend won’t be there… she’s only there on the weekends”.  I’m an idiot and I forgive him.  But I don’t trust him.
March, 2004:  I set up a fake email account with a fake picture and a fake name.  I begin emailing my S.O.  He responds.  We have internet sex.  He sets up a meeting.  Twice.  He changes plans with the real me to meet this fake person… although he swears on his son’s life he will never cheat on me again.
March 04, 2004:  I confront him with the truth about the fake identity.  He claims he knew it was me all along.  I don’t know what to do.
March 11, 2004:  I am sent on a corporate retreat.  I am invited out one night, and attempt to reach my S.O. by phone.  For four hours I am unable to reach him.  When a coworker invites me back to his hotel room to watch t.v., I comply.  We kiss.  I leave, feeling dirty and unfaithful.  I return home and tell my S.O.  It’s good to see pain on his face for a change.  He asks me to move in right away. 
April, 2004:  Although my lease is through May, I have technically moved in with my two children to my S.O.’s home.
May, 2004:  I find my S.O.’s phone bill.  There is a particular number that I recognize from old bills lying around the house.  This number appears almost every day one or two times.  He tells me it’s a friend.  I call it.  It’s his ex.  The girl he lived with when he and I met, the woman who aborted his child at the same time I was pregnant with his other child, the name of the woman tattooed on his arm. 
June, 2004:  He gets the tattoo covered by a black panther.  I continue to forgive him for his mistakes.  He continues to swear he no longer talks to his ex and will never cheat on me again. 
July, 2004- October, 2004:  I continue to doubt his fidelity.  He continues to swear his love.  I have no proof, and it is too late to leave for his past indiscretions.  And, well, by now, my children love him too damn much to take them away.  And I love him too damn much to leave.   
November, 2004:  There’s always something suspicious.    A long, very black hair in his shirt collar…. A few weeks later a short, very blond hair wrapped around his dick.  The fact I’ve never once met any of his co-workers, who he has worked with for over a year.  The fact that he seldom answers the phone when I call, but always has an apology and an excuse.  Yes, he only goes out a few times a month, but considering most of his prior infidelity took place during work or on his lunch breaks, that isn’t much of a reassurance to me.  He isn’t really eager to take me out at all, to be honest, and spends most of his time at home (which he apparently lives for) laying on the bed watching tv and ignoring me.  Sex is nowhere near as often as it once was, and more often than not it’s “wham, bam, time for porn”.  He spends hours a night, four-five nights a week downloading porn on the internet after I’m asleep.  I know because I have to delete the videos off my computer every morning (27 to delete today).  He talks about a wedding, but no ring.  He fusses about money, and yet he manages to go through $500 a month on “just” gas, cigarettes, and an occasional haircut.  He says he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but when he’s with me he seems to want to be anywhere but.  This wondering, questioning, not believing is driving me crazy. 

Thanksgiving Weekend, 2004:  My future in-laws, my children, my S.O. and I all pile into his father’s van and drive down to my parents’ house in VA for Thanksgiving dinner.  The day goes well, but (as usually happens) we don’t end up leaving until 7 pm.  So my S.O. is pissed on the way to the hotel where we are spending the night.  The fight escalates after I attempt to ask him about the condoms I find in his father’s van.  My questions being:  Why does your father keep condoms in the van?  Specifically, why does your father even have condoms after 30 years of marriage to a woman who is well past her ability to conceive?  My S.O. doesn’t want to hear this, and my questions lead us into the battle ground of our relationship.  His accusations come in many forms:  you’re stupid, you’re ignorant, you like to hurt people, your mother is always disrespecting your father by flirting with other men, you don’t love me, are you sleeping with my father?, why do you like to ruin people’s lives?, you’re a stupid bitch and have no respect for men at all, and (at 2 a.m.) I’m waking up my parents, taking Jason, and going home.  You and Payton can find your own way home.  (I hate it when he disowns Payton.)
Eventually I am able to settle him down, but that’s not the end of it. 

We fight about stupid things all day Friday and all day Saturday—from how clean I should keep the car to why he doesn’t eat the moment I serve breakfast.  Sunday morning he threatens to hit Payton for playing with her food.  I loose it.  To be honest, I know he would never hit her (spank her, yes, but she needs spankings every now and then), but I don’t like hearing those words out of his mouth.  I react to the threat, he calls me an asshole.  I react to that word by going outside for a cigarette… he goes upstairs.  I decide to take the kids to church.  I need it. 

Church is okay.  I cry during the invitation.  I know I’ve screwed up my life, but don’t see any way to change it.  If God loves me, I hope He also understands me and doesn’t hold my faults against me.  I wish I had more faith in Him, but so often He just seems so far away—too far away to be real.  I get home from church, tears still in my eyes, put the kids down for a nap, and go upstairs.  I lay down on the bed where my S.O. is smoking a cigarette.  Without looking at him, I tell him “On Wednesday, when I get my unemployment check, I’m going to go down to my parents’ for a little while”.  He asks “How long is a little while?”  “A few days, a week or so…”  He gets up, puts on his pants, says “I’m going for a drive.  Call me if you need me.”  And he’s gone.  I actually go to sleep.

He’s still not home when I wake up two hours later.  I go downstairs to the babies’ room and sit in the rocking chair, just watching my two beautiful children sleep.  They are so beautiful, so naïve, so perfect.  They deserve so much better than what I’ve given them in their short lives…  and they deserve a father. 
Moments later I hear the door open.  My S.O. comes up the stairs.  He comes into the nursery, looks at me without saying anything, then pulls from behind the door a bouquet of pink roses, red carnations, purple lilies.  It’s the most beautiful bouquet I’ve ever seen.  He comes to me and kneels at my feet by the rocking chair…  “I don’t want you to leave me—not for a day, for a week, forever.”  I reach out to him and, crying, hide my face in his neck.  I don’t want to leave him… not for a day, for a week, forever. 

If I could live my life over:
I would have listened to my parents when they said “wait until you’re married”.  I would have believed that it wasn’t just “old-fashioned morals”, but realized that they KNEW about STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
I would have left my boyfriends the FIRST time they were unfaithful and not believed “It won’t happen again.  I love you, give me another chance.” 
I would have spent more time enjoying my time home with the kids and less time worrying about whether or not I was going to get a job.
I would have taken the opportunity to get my Masters and PhD right after my Bachelor’s degree and not decided to “do it later, after I have career experience”.
I would have drank more, gone out at every opportunity, and snogged every man I could.  I wouldn’t have been afraid of being turned down. 
I would have thought less about writing a book and written a book.
I would have never had that first cigarette.  You don’t miss what you don’t know.
I would have never said I love you to a boyfriend, but I would have said I love you to every friend and family member I had at every opportunity.
I would not have trusted anyone with my personal secrets until I knew from experience that they could be trusted.
I would have kept every secret I was ever trusted with.
I would have spent less time worrying about relationships with men and more time focusing on my relationships with my family and friends.
I would have spent less time worrying about paying my bills on time, and a little more time going out and having a good time with my friends.
I would never have gotten a credit card.
I would have not loaned substantial sums of money to friends and/or boyfriends in the hopes of one day being paid back, but I would have willing given small sums as gifts when the need arose.
I would have not lost track of all my old friends from high school and college. 
I would have listened to my parents opinions on my relationships and not resented them.
I would have never done anything just to “prove a point” or to “get back at a man who hurt me”. 
I would have worked hard to be successful at all my jobs—not just the ones I enjoyed. 
I would not have stayed with boyfriends just because I didn’t want to hurt them by leaving.
I would have read my Bible every night and prayed constantly throughout the day.
I would have cared less about “being cool” and more about “being me”.

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