I have always been a fool for love. I was the little girl who watched Cinderella, the teen who married her high school sweetheart and the woman who believed all men meant what they said. Each and every time, I thought it was true, everlasting love. Unfortunately though, I was wrong every time. It wasn’t love. Some of it was friendship, attraction and mutual desire. However, other times it was just plain and simple abuse that I willingly accepted, and at times, even asked for more.
Like most girls, I watched all the fairytales. I believed in princes and romance and a life full of passion. I didn’t really witness this kind of magical love while growing up, but yet, I thought it was still out there. I wished for it. I prayed for it. I wrote about it.
At times, I think I had sprinkles of love, or at least some heavy puppy love. I had some romance and passion and fun. There were words of endearment, claims of unending love and dreams of a life of grandeur. Men had promised to love me, stand by my side and never leave me. But more often than not, their words did not reflect their actions.
I was told I was perfectly beautiful, but that I should dress up more and wear my hair differently. I was told that I was exciting, fun and full of passion, but then left because I was ‘too hard to keep up with.’ I was told that I was funny and witty, but was punched in the face because that same mouth stated the unwanted truth. I was told that I was desired so much and that I shouldn’t be scared, but he didn’t notice or care that I was crying. I was told that I was so easy to talk to, a perfect friend who he could tell all his troubles to, but when it came time to meet, he couldn’t remember the fact that he was actually still married. (Thank God we never actually met.) I was told that I was a good mother, but was berated for not answering texts fast enough when I was spending time with my teenager. I was told that I should spend time with my family, but was broken up with over the phone while at my mother’s funeral because he was ‘tired of begging for my attention.’ I was told that I was loved so deeply and so truly, but I was cheated on multiple times.
This was the love I learned over the last 30+ years. Needless to say, this was not the love I envisioned or wanted. No, not at all. I don’t ever remember Prince Charming breaking his soulmate’s teeth with his fist. Nor was there a chapter where he made her feel bad about spending time with her children or honoring her dead mother. The princes I was choosing were of a different breed. However, I can’t blame everything on my suitors. I wholeheartedly believe a relationship takes two to work. There were times, I was not the best girlfriend or wife. I played my part at times. I had harsh words in response to hurt. I lowered myself to a revenge cheat when I discovered the first painful betrayal. I could be overwhelming at times with things I wanted to do or places I wanted to go, knowing finances were a concern.
So I could have done some things better. Maybe if I had, certain relationships could have been different. I don’t believe any of my actions caused the abuse though, at least not anymore. At the time, I thought it was my fault though. I should not have led him on if I didn’t want to do more…but I was just a teenager, it wasn’t my fault. I should not have accused him of cheating and then he would not have punched me….but it was true, he was cheating and he had no right to hit me. I should not have started talking to a married man and got close…but he told me he was separated and I believed him, it all made sense.
With each of these relationships, I learned. I learned that love was not what I thought it was. It was hard. It was unstable. It was insecure. It was mean. And it was painful at times. I started to think it was fiction. There was no damn Prince Charming! And maybe it was crazy for women to expect men to perform at that level. I mean that is a lot of pressure and effort. Maybe I was just expecting too much and believing in fairytales. So I started to give up on love, the whole idea. I started to throw in the towel and resign myself to a social life of outdoor activities I tried alone. I thought, I can be quite happy in life alone. I don’t need a man to make me happy.
This was all going fine…and then, I went on a blind date. Now, I want to believe love is possible. I hope that my battered heart can heal. I pray that this prince is different. I dream that a relationship without abuse is not fiction. I crave that I can be seen for who I am, fun and passionate, and be enough, and yet, not too much. I wish that disagreements can be settled without the desire and respect diminishing. I think all of these things as I look into the eyes of my new prince, my new boyfriend. It is almost terrifying to try another hand at love, but hey, I have always been a fool.