August 6, 2023
Recently, Tullia posted an essay about how she wasted two years of her life waiting for her married man to realize he couldn’t live without her and leave his wife.
I’ve got her beat. I waited eight … and we weren’t even speaking the last six years of that.
The guy hung around on my website for years and years and years.
I used to think it must mean something.
One where we know he will never, ever have the guts to leave his wife? One where we hope and hope and hope for a future any idiot can see we will never have?
In order to stop pining and really give up on these guys, we have to do two things:
- Run completely out of hope that he will ever change.
- Accept our lives and situations the way they are.
I was fooled. I thought someone with a view pattern like this guy had for eight years would surely wake up and cast her loose sometime. Anyone who would do this would have to be miserable.
Nope. Nope, nope, nope.
Never underestimate the power of public opinion.
I made post a couple of weeks ago about a tarot card reading, of all things, and said that if he were only there because he was sorry for me, he could go ahead and leave. If the only reason he was there was that he was sorry for me, then it was all in the past, burned out and over, and I didn’t need anybody’s sympathy. I will just move on, and we could walk away and leave it there.
Haven’t seen him since.
I think he’s finally gone. I have zero hope this person will ever change. I wrote, I waited, I hoped. Didn’t matter. The two things the situation required, decisiveness and this thing called action, this person does not have the guts for and never, ever will.
I give up. I’m done. I can’t waste any more hope on someone who acts like this. There was never, ever anything I could do, or anyone could do, to make this person change. He’s not going to change, and that’s it.
She gave up hope, too. At some point, we all realize That Married Guy is all pie-in-the-sky daydreams and nothing else.
But, we need one more thing before we can really, honestly put him behind us. We need to really, deeply accept the lives we have now, all the way into our marrow and all the way to the center of our very souls.
It was easier for her because her life actually got better. She got ahead of the bills, she realized a lifelong dream and bought her own house. She’s still attractive and dating other men. She has family, friends, and kids. She still has a future.
It took me eight years because I saw early on that I was staring down the barrel of a very bad situation long term, one with no future, and it took me that long to gather the strength I will need to endure it. It took me that long to appreciate what I still have left, and forget what I will never have.
Unlike some other women my age, I am no longer thin and attractive. I don’t really like people much, and they don’t really like me.
I can’t think of any worse fate than spending hours on dating websites, meeting total strangers and struggling to make small talk, turning down people there’s no spark with and having people turn me down because of my looks, actually thinking I’m going to blunder into someone I will have as good a relationship with as my late husband or Married Guy and feeling constantly let down because I don’t.
I’d rather shoot myself. No, thanks!
I have no family and few friends. No, it isn’t a matter of Just Push Away From The Table!! and Go To The Gym!! and Get Involved!! and Go Meet People!! and Go Discover Your Passion!! and Things Will Get Better!! They Always Do!!
I realize these slogans are Our National Religion, and not believing them is as deadly a sin as burning an American flag, but I hate to break it to you: These are the thoughts of a little child.
I believed them for fifty years, and I gritted my teeth and I pushed away from that damn table and I counted calories and I went to the gym and I Got Involved and I met people and I Discovered That Damn Passion and nothing ever happened.
Well … it looked like it was going to happen. I did find one great relationship and we got married, and seven years later cancer happened and he died and it was all over.
Here I still am.
Only I’m not a child anymore and I don’t believe in Disneyland.
My passion is writing. It’s the toughest field in a tough world and I’m fifty-five and none of it ever worked out. Someone whose latest novel has only 123 hits on Wattpad isn’t going to make it.
I understand now that sitting on my couch and typing out stories no one will ever know about and no one will ever see is all I am going to get. I understand I had better enjoy what that has to offer or I will not enjoy anything at all.
I’m actually pretty tired of people. I don’t enjoy running around from group to group. I don’t like meeting strangers and I wasn’t having any fun. What do I want to do that for anymore? I don’t.
This body requires four times the calorie restriction and four times the exercise to lose one quarter as much weight. And since I turned fifty, I keep getting injured. I’ve been sidelined on the couch for months waiting for this injury and then that one to get better. I’m not twenty-two anymore and I will never look twenty-two again. What do I want to be so miserable for?
Worst was the fact that I have no financial future. I’ve spent years and years paying and paying on student loans and medical bills. I will probably be done at about age sixty-five … you know, the age by which we are all supposed to have socked away a million dollars so we can retire. I’d have to write the next Sex and the City to do that.
FAT chance. (See, I punned on the couch!)
I know what happens to old people who outlive their savings. I spent fourteen years taking care of old, sick, poor, dying people. I’ve seen the inside of state nursing homes that take Medicaid and I know what it’s like in there.
That old person sitting alone in a wheelchair in front of an inane TV show, peeing in their Depends, shouting, “Help me! Please take me to the bathroom!” and then sitting there in their own waste for two hours until someone has time?
That’s going to be me.
This has been a very, very, very difficult reality to accept.
I didn’t want to believe that youth and hope and wide horizons were over and that I’d never have another wonderful beginning happen to me again.
I didn’t want to accept that I was just like my great aunt and I’m going to die alone in a nursing home for the destitute just like she did.
I didn’t want to accept that life is essentially over now, and all I’m going to do now is work and pay bills to work and pay bills until I’m so old and sick there’s nothing left.
But that’s what’s ahead for me, and that’s what I will do.
All I did was finally find the fortitude. The fortitude to quit hoping that a miracle would save me and just get down to it.
It took me eight years to find the groundedness in me to reset those sights way, way, way, way down low. It took me eight years to decide there were good things about sitting on the couch, decorating the home I have now so it looks pretty, and understanding that my job is to enjoy what I have now as much as I can, because once cancer or Alzheimer’s and poverty hit, I will most certainly be sitting somewhere else.
In something else, quite a good percentage of the time.
It took me eight years to learn that there is nothing wrong with sitting alone, and I am actually happier that way.
It took me eight years to finally grind all my childhood dreams into powder, and let them blow away on the wind.
Once I accepted the existence I will live until I am no longer here, I could finally let go of That Elusive Married Man.
Because I could finally bear to stop dreaming that Things Will Be Different One Day.
They won’t. That’s reality. I had to accept that reality.
When you can accept that he isn’t going to change, and like your life the way it is without him, then you will be able to let him go, too.
It just takes some of us a whole lot longer.