Anyone who follows me already knows how open I am about my life, and you are probably already aware of the fact that I've been married five times. If you aren't familiar with me, yes, that's five. Discovering and experimenting to find a compatible mate is easier for some of us than it is for others. I'm one of those "Others". For various reasons, I choose individuals who are opposite to me in many ways; or I get wrapped up in physical attraction (when I was younger, not so much now); or I choose people who's families and lifestyles are not compatible with me and my lifestyle-- at all; or I choose people who just don't wind up meshing well with my kids (and who's going to win this contest, duh, it's a no brainer).
Of these five marriages, the first two really didn't inspire any "aha" moments, and were in fact so brief and so long ago that they really don't count. (Yep, and that's okay-- remember, I'm Pagan, and my philosophy and morality is much more natural and earth based than the general mainstream public.) The first marriage was when I was a teen-ager and the most memorable (and amazing) thing about this union is a unique daughter who is well on her way to earning her Phd-- couples are meant to meet for a reason, if not for a lifetime. See the point? The second marriage, I'm not even sure how this came about anymore, I was in my very early twenties. I guess because at the time, people my age were getting married and settling down, and I was still skewered to the mainstream societal brick road full of pot-holes, illusions, and warped realities. I knew this was a mistake very soon, but I still hung in there for just under two years, until it became an intolerable ridiculous situation, only because society gave me the impression that "Divorce" was such a negative thing. Well, ladies, there's lots worse things in life than being divorced, believe me, and staying in a super-shitty relationship because you're afraid of what other people think is STUPID. Be gone and good riddance to this one, I finally said. And whoever the next victim...er, wife...may have been, she has my deepest sympathies.
On to #3...15 years.
Profile: Eight years older than me, die-hard Catholic with very strong and influential Christian Fundamentalist tendencies; blue collar; extreme miser; ex-marine; unyielding; no sense of humor; hypocritical and holier-than-thou; believed the Biblical myth that men were in charge and women are suppose to be submissive; master manipulator; a control freak.
In this marriage, I was to learn the true meaning of "The Gilded Cage". My main function during these years was to stay at home and have babies. I got to go out for groceries once a week (Thursday mornings), always taking at least two of the kids with me. I later learned from our oldest daughter that if I were gone over two hours, he would pace the floor ranting and raving that I should be home, that it was my Job. Anything else that was essential and needed during the week-- milk, bread, meat, etc.-- he would purchase and bring home. He was incredibly gifted when it came to saving money (because he never spent any on recreation), and I did not lack for life's essentials. The only thing that I was denied was my freedom. (And this not only included physical freedom-- no, there were no locks on the doors, but there might as well have been; but mentally-- to have my own views and opinions, and ideas; and spiritually-- to be able to follow the path that was right for me.)
During our divorce, we had a counselor/mediator who told me that the type of control this man held over me during our marriage was actually a form of abuse, and this was the worst case she had ever seen.
On to #4...10 years
Profile: Four years older than me; came from a relatively wealthy extremely controlling family; a terrible communicator, most non-verbal individual I've ever met; no backbone; miserly, Farm Boy tight with his money; Lutheran background, but open to my paganism; stubborn; didn't attempt to really connect with my kids, viewed them more as an inconvenience that would eventually go away; sports enthusiast, was perfectly satisfied to plant himself on the sofa and watch sports, his main activity.
This was a nightmare in the making, from our meeting when his present girlfriend was in the last stages of a terminal illness, to meeting his family for the first time. Each one of these sets of circumstances as disturbing as the other. The girlfriend was a mystery to me, I had to figure that one out on my own. Why on earth anyone would attempt to start one relationship on the tale-end of a situation like this, I'll never understand, but her demise came swiftly enough that it was barely a hiccup in the road to this relationship. His family, primarily his parents, were another issue, and this was to drag on with negative effects for the next several years. Upon meeting his mother for the first time, she not only didn't speak to me when introduced, she refused to acknowledge my presence, and this ridiculous charade went on for a very long time-- years. (It was funny, actually, to see a woman that age work so hard not to look at or acknowledge my presence in a room-- I really never got the point of that.)
If I had the chance to do anything over, I would have never returned to their neck-of-the-woods after the first time. It was the most miserable dysfunctional family I've ever met; not to mention judgmental, rude, and insulting. I'm also amazed, on looking back, how hard I tried to be accepted at first. I bent over backwards in the early years to be friends, to build some sort of relationship. But after so long, and after so many rebuffs, frankly, I just didn't give a damn anymore. I figured if these people didn't like me for ME, the person that I am, then that was just too bad, and there wasn't really anything I could do about it. I refused to pretend to be something I'm not. On the one or two occasions his parents visited, it was suggested to me to remove my pagan books and things from view-- really!-- this was My House; I'd been living here for umpteen years before this man came along. Remove any evidence of my beliefs, remove the things I cherished and thought were beautiful? Really!?-- I said "no". This marriage actually didn't stand a chance because this husband was virtually pitted between me and his family. He was basically given a choice-- it's her or us. So I do understand the difficult situation he was in.
This was just one of those "no-win" this is never going to work relationships; and it was best for everyone concerned when it ended. It just should have ended much sooner than it did.
On to #5...June 7th, 2013- presentProfile: "My Joe"...four years younger than me, almost a polar opposite on so many levels.
I'm still learning and exploring with this one-- I think Joe will have to be a blog post all on his own someday in the not too distant future-- he certainly merits it. Let's just say that when he was born, the universe broke the mold! Joe is the most exquisitely unique individual I've ever met. (Not always "easy", but definitely not boring.) I like to tease him: he has a Japanese father and an Irish mother, and his appearance is totally Japanese. I tell Joe that there's an Irishman in there fighting to get out.
All I can say at this point is-- I saved the best for last. :)
So what have I learned???
1. Your most precious commodity is Personal Freedom.
2. Things to cherish and hold in high regard: your independence in thought, word, & deed.
3. Trust...be cautious, this is an expensive commodity with devastating results when not handled correctly.
4. Looks can be deceiving.
5. Revel in your individuality.
6. Be proud of yourself.
7. If it feels wrong, it probably is.
8. Decide how much ground to give up in an argument and whether you're going to have to wage war someday to get back the ground you gave up.
9. Nothing is final until you sign on the dotted line-- and even then, it's not final!
10. Don't be afraid to take a chance.
11. Never give up on love.
12. Look to the future.
So...How have men influenced YOUR life??