As I was sitting here, staring at my computer screen with writers block, and fuming about my last call with the RB, I realized I've never really written about him before. Oh, I've mentioned him here and there, but I've never actually explained who and what he is.
At one time, the Rat Bastard was my husband.
He wasn't ever a good one, but there you have it.
We met in high school and knew each other as acquaintances for a few years. Then, when I was a junior, we ran into each other at a party and..Well, I guess that was that. The RB decided he wanted me and started pursuing me. To be totally honest, I wasn't all that attracted to him at the time. He was alright looking, but I wasn't really in the market for a man (I'd just broken up with Love #2) and I wasn't that interested, really.
But over the next week or so, he won me over. He was sweet and funny and affectionate.
After we'd been dating about a month or two (and at this point, I was already starting to fall for him...Young love and all that) his best friend called me and asked me if we could talk. I said sure and he came and picked me up.
We went for a drive and he explained to me that the RB had a girlfriend. Apparently, she was home for summer, but she and the RB had been together for several years. I was devastated. Not so much because he had a girlfriend when we started dating, but because he never mentioned her. Not once. And we'd been together pretty much 24/7 since our first date.
Well, I confronted him about it and he said, while it was true that he had a girl, they had agreed that it was alright to see other people as long as it didn't get too deep or physical. Well, we'd past that point weeks before. So he said he'd talked to her and explained, and though she was upset, she understood...And he was free to be with me.
I was young at the time. Just 16. So I didn't even think to question him. I just took him at his word. Fool that I was.
Anyway, later that summer (we started dating in May), around August, he picked a fight with me and broke it off....A week before his supposed ex came back from her parents (she was going to college in my hometown then..The RB is four years older than me, so he was a senior when I was a freshman). I knew it then, I did. I knew she was coming back to town and I knew that was the reason he'd broken it off with me, but I pretended I didn't. Love isn't just blind, it's dumb as hell, too.
We were broken up for a few weeks and then he saw me out with another of his friends (we were just hanging out, I mean, I'd known these boys most of my life) and assumed I was hooking up with him (I guess said friend had a crush on me, though I didn't realize it at the time) and he got jealous. Then, a week after that, I was in a car accident.
Nothing serious, but the RB called me, acting all concerned. We made amends and got back together.
I can't say I was ever truly happy with him. How could I be, when he never allowed me to be myself? But I did pretend like I was. My whole world revolved around him. I stopped talking to my friends (because he hated them). After we got married I quit my job (because he said a woman's place was in the home and I needed to take care of him) and basically stopped socializing. Period.
After that, things just went from bad to worse. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I gained 12lbs. And I was underweight when I got pregnant, so I wasn't big by any stretch of the imagination. I wore my regular size 5 jeans until 2 weeks before I delivered...And then I stopped being able to button them. But according to him, I was fat.
After I had her, it took me 2 weeks to get back down to the weight I was before I had her...And every day he made some smarmy comment about how fat I was. We'd be out eating in public and he'd take my plate away from me, pat my stomach and say, "You don't' really need to eat that, do you?" Or I'd order a burger and fries and he'd cut me off, telling the server, "She'll have a salad. Hold the dressing." While looking at me as if I were the ugliest woman alive.
Then the jealousy issues started. He was a monster about it. I couldn't talk to anyone, male or female, without him accusing me of sleeping with them. Even my best girlfriends. He was convinced that I wanted everyone....Except him. He made me feel so ugly and bad about myself I had absolutely no desire to sleep with him. None. I felt cold when I was with him intimately.
Then, I found out he was cheating. To be completely honest, I think I knew all along. I think a part of me knew and just chose to ignore it. What a little fool I was.
Turns out, the whole time I was with/married to him, he was sleeping with his 'ex' girlfriend (you know, the one he was done with when he met me?). And I asked him. Gosh, looking back, I still cringe in embarrassment when I think about it. So, anyway, I asked him, several times, point blank: Are you sleeping with her? Of course, he always denied it.
I think the worst part about it was...All of our friends knew. All of them. When they cheated, it was usually when they were out with the group. And she used to come to my house. She'd sit in my living room and absorb my hospitality and smile and laugh and look me in the eyes and the whole time she was FUCKING MY HUSBAND!
I hated looking the fool. But I made it worse, because I stayed with him after that. He confessed and apologized and I was so damn afraid and insecure I didn't think I could do it on my own, so I stayed.
I stayed for my kids and to save face with my family and because I honestly, truly thought I'd never do any better and because I took vows before God saying I'd be with him forever and ever Amen. I firmly believed in those vows. I didn't say them lightly and I didn't think adultery was a good enough reason to leave. I had vowed to stand beside him through good times and bad, right? Well, it was just a bad time, I reasoned with myself.
So, what made me finally leave, you're wondering. It was my children. My daughter informed me over breakfast one morning that I shouldn't eat Cream Cheese on my bagel, because my butt was too big as it was (though, I will admit, I did pack on the pounds while preggers with my son...WHOA NELLY..LOL) and daddy was going to have to find a skinnier girl if I didn't watch it.
And then Little Man sealed the deal by getting angry at me for telling him to clean his room and throwing his toy truck through the wall. That's when I realized I had to leave.
The saddest thing? I would have stayed if not for my kids. I would probably still be married to him and completely miserable.
I left him in September of 2002 for a "break". I think part of me knew I was never coming back, but I deluded myself into thinking after a break things would be fine. He'd see how important we were to him and come running back.
For 2 years I lived in that suspended state. Thinking we'd get back together soon, while living in different states.
That changed when he accused me of sleeping with his nephew. I guess that was just the final straw. His nephew is four years younger than I am and just like a little brother to me. He's a Marine and at the time he was stationed here in Cali, so I saw him every weekend that he had leave.
When the RB accused me of sleeping with his own flesh and blood, something inside of me snapped and I lost it. I told him we were done and that was that. Two days later he showed up on my doorstep to declare his undying love for me...Something he hadn't done in the 7 years we were "together".
But I held firm and went through with the divorce. I'm a much better person now than I was then. I have faith in myself and I know that no matter what happens, or who comes into my life, I'm strong enough to stand on my own.
I know now that I can lean on someone and still be strong. I know I can put on a few extra pounds and still be a beautiful person. I know that I can laugh and joke and be myself, and not feel bad if someone doesn't like me just the way I am. I don't have to change anything about myself...I'm fine, just the way I am.
Do I regret my choices? No.
Because if I hadn't gone through what I did, I wouldn't be the woman I am now...and I like her. I like her a lot.
Isn't that an amazing thing?
Review: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
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