In reality rebound relationships rarely rack up. My ex husband was a rebound. Even knowing that, I didn’t think twice about taking up with the Wolf.
I love falling in love, the butterflies when I see him, the giddiness that overcomes me when he smiles at me, and the newness of discovering what makes him tick. Sometimes in life we meet people that change everything we once thought. I met that guy once.
The Boy walked into my life without warning. I called him this because he is younger than I am by four years. He is tall and lanky, hardly the type of guy I would normally notice. When I saw him I couldn’t help but smile. Maybe it was his goofy, quirky, yet serious nature that intrigued me. Maybe it was because, as I later found out, he was unlike anyone I had ever met. All I knew was when I was with him all I could do was smile and laugh. Falling for the Boy was easy. It happened overnight.
I had asked him to be the designated driver to a concert that some friends and I were going to attend. I remember getting ready with my friends trying to find an outfit that would turn heads, possibly catch the eye of some cute, random guy. When he showed up, I hardly noticed him. $2 giant warm beers and a free concert. Who would have ever known what I was about to embark on was my best love story to date?
We stumbled over a grassy knoll, and made our way into the rowdy, restless crowd.
When the music began, I started to dance. The beer had kicked in. I was loosening up. I let loose and danced. His arms wrapped around my waist. He pulled me into him. He held me close. The music faded into the background and then he kissed me. I could swear there were fireworks
I was his first girlfriend, and in many ways, he was my first boyfriend.
I had never gone on dates before. I was pregnant before I married my ex husband so I missed that step. The guy I was with prior was much older than I was so we only went to the movies. The Boy, on the other hand, took me out. I felt like I was in a Nicolas Sparks novel. He brought me flowers. We picnicked in the park, went to concerts and wandered around the Getty. We dressed up in our best 50’s inspired outfits for a theme party. In other words, we dated.
Some of my best memories are of him looking at me and catching him wearing a smile. He kissed me in a car. He kissed me on a balcony overlooking a garden and he kissed me in the rain. We were on an beer and burger date in Hollywood when the sky opened up and it started to pour. We were running and laughing looking for some place safe. He found a recessed doorway, stepped in and pulled me on top. We made out like teenagers. Horns were honking and I could hear people yell “Get a room!” As quickly as the rain began it stopped. We were back to reality.
Loving the Boy was easy. It was simple and straightforward. I don’t remember fighting. The one thing that didn’t work in our relationship was my daughter… I had one. This weighed heavily on him. He knew that to be with me eventually he would also have to be with her. He wasn’t ready to take that step and I understood.
Though I didn’t set out to fall in love I did. I had forgotten that we were supposed to only be having fun, never getting too serious. It was too late.
Maybe I showed my hand too early. Maybe my small gestures revealed I wanted more. Maybe I really wanted a relationship. We ended and I was heartbroken. I hid my hurt, deleted his number and pretended he was a dream. I set out on a quest. What I wanted was to forget the Boy. What I found waiting was the Wolf.
I kept staring at the picture I had found in his iPad, I kept examining her face. I couldn’t understand why she looked so familiar then it hit me she was there that day I met him for lunch. She was intently looking at me while I was in the car, studying me perhaps, taking note so she wouldn’t make the same mistakes I had. I know now why he was so nervous, so anxious, and so guilty. I remembered asking why that group kept looking over; he said they were curious because he was the boss. He wouldn’t even look at them. I think I knew at the time he was lying but I didn’t want to accept the truth. I like honesty. I like being honest; but my truth is that I’d rather be lied to and I’d rather lie. I’d rather hear pretty words from broken mouths than honest words from fulfilling lips. I’d rather tell a man that he made me come rather than risk disappointing him. The day of my appointment was quickly approaching. My heart ached thinking of the decision I would have to make. Would I be able to go through with it? Could I even bare to have another child of his? Would I grow to resent it as I had grown to resent the Wolf? I sat there watching my son sleep, watching the rise and fall of his chest with each breath. An all too familiar feeling swept over me. I raced to the bathroom, never before had I been so happy to see bright crimson red. I knew in that moment that my prayers had been answered. I wasn’t pregnant after all. I erased the picture. I began to let go. I let go of the hurt I was holding, my anger was dissipating and my head was starting to clear. In retrospect I realize it’s crazy to have texted his girlfriend, and to reached out to his mom expecting her to be loyal to me. I was desperate I was in those moments; I wasn’t ready to just give up. I had wanted to break up with him for so long but I could never go through with it. And I felt robbed of the power of being the one who ended the relationship. I wanted to hurt him the way he hurt me. How could I ever be loved again if I was easily tossed aside by a self-proclaimed sociopath? He used this term to refer to himself frequently. I didn’t want to have to start over again. I didn’t want to have to put the effort into another relationship. I didn’t think that I would be able to have someone love me, now with two children, from two different fathers. I felt like a failure. I had this picture in my head of how my life was supposed to be. And instead my life was falling apart. This time I was the one being brushed-off like I was nothing but someone to pass the time with. This breakup was a slap in the face, a kick in the teeth, the ultimate rejection. I would be fine one moment and in the next I was a wreck. I’ve never been good at masking my emotions. And after he left the tiniest of things would set me off; a text from him or an alert on my phone of yet another charge on my card. The heat of my hate radiated. It propagated. It emanated. I festered in despair. It was so bad that even my ex-husband pulled me aside. He said that I needed to do something. I needed to get over it. I broke down and sobbed. I told him everything that had happened in the past 3 years, though we hadn’t really talked for 5. He listened quietly. He let me vent. When I finally caught my breath we stood there silently. He apologized for the pain I was feeling. Then he said to me “I know exactly what you are going through. I’ve felt everything that you are feeling. I know and I understand. It’s the way I felt when you left me.”
My emotions were all over the place. I cried myself to sleep. I cried in the shower. I cried alone in the car. I felt sorry for myself. I kept thinking of all the things I had done wrong. I should have kept the house cleaner. I should have listened better. I should have taken better care of myself …. that thought lingered for a moment. I was looking at my reflection in the mirror comparing myself to that girl “thinking” I should have just taken better care of myself. At that moment it switched from sadness to anger. My blood began to boil, I fell in love with him when he had nothing. I accepted him when he was still ashamed of his body. I stood by him with every bad financial decision. I took on all of his problems. I took on the death of his sister. I took on the pain of his mother who had lost her only daughter and youngest child. I took on all of his anger issues. I took on his children who weren’t very nice to my own child. Here I was thinking I should have done more when he didn’t even see all that I had done.
I looked through my phone, I had taken pictures of everything I found on his iPad. When I did it I didn’t even know why. I just acted. Now looking through these pictures I was vindictive. The Wolf had no idea I knew. I sent him all the pictures I found. He responded asking why I was lurking. I told him that I knew he had been cheating. I asked him how he could lie to my face. He said it all happened after we had split, that she was just a friend. I wasn’t stupid I made sure to check the time and date stamps the majority of them were prior to us splitting up; a few month prior, right around the time I started feeling that there was a problem. They say “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” well I was the living, breathing, boiling, embodiment of scorn. There were pictures of two different girls so I sent them to the girl who he had been messaging. I received a text back from the Wolf almost instantaneously asking what the FUCK I was doing, why was I harassing his friend and to leave her out of it.
I also sent the pictures to his mother. Now I know this wasn’t the nicest move to make but she had told me that she would always be there for me, that she loved me so much, that I was a God send to her son. So I sent them along with a message explaining what had been going on, what I had found and I didn’t include any of the dick pictures which I had also found. I don’t know what type of response I expected but the one I received felt like I had been kicked in the chest.
“I’m sorry things didn’t work out but I can’t take anymore things going bad in my life. I just want you two to co-parent for the sake of the baby. 😢😢 It’s not his fault (she was referring to her son, not our child) and you two need to get along, He will always be a good father. We raised them well he will always be there for him (referring to our son). [His] Dad, myself and even your mom shouldn’t get involved. Our grandchildren are the ones paying the price. This truly sucks and hurts. 😢😢😢😢”
I was broken. I felt she should have been loyal to me I forgot that he was her son.
In the beginning of our relationship I told him exactly how I felt about cheating, we even discussed the boundaries of what we felt would be wrong. We agreed that if we ever felt that the other was no longer “the one” we would be honest and go our separate ways. He violated my trust, the ultimate betrayal for me was that he felt he had to go to someone else to talk to when I had basically begged him to talk to me. I questioned everything he had ever told me. All of it just seemed like lies, every word from his mouth was now tainted.
Looking back I see that thought that lingered lingered for a reason. If I’m honest with myself, I see the breakup began with me. It started with my sweats, my stained t-shirts and my holey tank tops. It started with not doing my hair, not shaping my eyebrows and not even shaving my legs. I stopped contributing to our cause, participating in our partnership and I started making everyday my lazy day. In short, I was checking out instead of checking in. And though it’s painful for me to admit and though it doesn’t excuse his cheating, maybe it at least explains it. More importantly it teaches me what I did I shouldn’t do again.
“I just can’t do this anymore”
I looked at my text in disbelief; I had to read it a few times before it registered. I called him and asked him straight out what he meant. He said in a voice that sounded so far from the one I had known for the past three years, that he was done, he couldn’t “do” our relationship anymore. I chuckled, thinking I had said the same thing so many times before, but had never actually gone through with it. I knew in my heart that he meant it. The way he sounded said it all. Rage ran through me. I felt it like an explosion. I yelled at him through the phone that after three years, joining our children together, planning a baby, signing a new lease now he was done and all I was worth was a fucking text message!! I couldn’t believe his audacity. I asked him again, “Is there was someone else? Are you smoking more than just pot? And where is all the money going?” He was acting like a different person and this was no exception. He had never been so final, so dismissive. He was adamant that all of this was because of me, that I failed him as his partner, that I wasn’t there for him when he needed me, and that I made him into a terrible parent. I asked him if he would be willing to go to counseling he said “No,” that it just wasn’t worth saving.
I had been heartbroken before but this was just beyond what I had ever expected to feel. I gave up all of me, my identity, my family, my daughter, my job. I cashed out my 401K. I traded car. I even relinquished the security of my birth control. I truly felt at the time, no matter how hard it got, we would work thought it. Prior to having our baby, we talked all about making sure we didn’t do what we had done in the past. We would make a family and wouldn’t walk away from it. He told me over and over that he would never just walk away; there would be nothing in this world that would ever take him away from us. I believed every word. Now I know why.
All of these things swirling in my mind pushed me into a downward spiral. I felt so helpless, so stupid, so betrayed.
One night, while sleeping in my room, I realized I needed something from his room. I went to the door. It was locked. I knew if I pushed, it would open, so I did. There he was, his hand underneath the covers, blankets pumping up and down, talking on the phone at midnight. He told the person on the line to hold and that I was breaking into his room. I laughed knowing exactly what was going on. I grabbed what I needed and walked out. I closed the door. Finally, my suspicions were confirmed. I knew something had been going on.
The next night, while he was out, I saw his iPad on the nightstand. I searched through it. There were pictures and messages, all kinds of evidence. I packed my stuff quietly. I knew that it was truly over. I had cheated on someone once before and promised not to tolerate it in myself or a partner again.
I went back to my mom’s. She was kind enough to let me come back home. She didn’t say “I told you so. ” Instead, she suggested that I pack all my important documents, anything of value and all the things that I wanted to put away for safe keeping. Four days later, I returned with my sisters boyfriend and the baby to get my stuff. I let my curiosity get the best of me again. I looked for his iPad. This time I saw a condom on the floor. In less than a week of my leaving, someone else had already shared what used to be our bed.
The next few days were a blur. I stayed at my mom’s house, mostly crying on the couch like a wounded animal. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t drink. I couldn’t do much of anything. My son would just look at me. He could sense something was wrong. I was crying. He reached out for me, wishing I would hold him. Hold him I did.
My mom let me mourn, but after a few days she said it was time to snap out of it. My baby needed me. I wasn’t doing him any good feeling sorry for myself. In retrospect, I see that I allowed all this to happen; in seeking validation I sacrificed my self respect.
He was always mad. Completely upset to be in the same room as me. I felt the same way. I was happy that he was home but at the same time it was just so upsetting that he was there. It felt like we were strangers. It was awkward and tense. We both walked on eggshells. He barely noticed at me, but I studied him. He didn’t look at me anymore; I had forgotten what it was like for him to stare at me instead he stared at his phone. It struck me as strange. His eyes would light up and a smile would creep across his face all because of a buzzing phone. I would ask him who it was; his response was always the same “My boss.” He changed his password too. When I asked him why, he said it was because of work. He never left it out and when he did he would go frantically running back for it. He seemed brooding and secretive. Although his hours were shorter at work he never seemed to make it home early. When I would ask if there was someone else taking up his time he would look at me like I was crazy and would reassure me that he was just preoccupied with work. He was the sole provider for us and made sure to remind me of this daily. I felt by constantly asking questions I was pushing him further away. I did it anyway. I wanted confirmation of my suspicions. He never gave me the satisfaction. I was glad. I just wasn’t ready to face the facts.
The fighting was constant. We both went in for the kill each and every time. One night was it was just too much I packed up the baby. As I was about to leave he grabbed the car seat tried to pull him from my arms. I stood my ground looked him square in the eye and asked him to step aside; he stood there glaring at me I could feel his rage pulsing off of him. I cleared my throat and told him if he didn’t let go and step out of my way he would regret it. Without unlocking eyes, he let go and moved aside saying that he would never hurt us but all of me knew that he was lying. I could see it in his eyes that he wasn’t there. We left but I didn’t even get down the street without him calling, I kept declining his call but it didn’t stop. I answered he was crying, sobbing, begging us to please come home. He kept apologizing for scaring me saying that he didn’t mean it that he was having a hard time with everything that had been going on. That he had no one to turn to, that life was so hard he just wanted to kill himself. He said he didn’t want to lose us; he couldn’t lose us like he had lost everyone else. I was sitting in the police parking lot. I had wanted to go in because I felt so unsafe, I saw something in his eyes that I had never seen before and I was truly scared. Instead, I turned the car back on and headed back. When we got there the house was dark, his car was gone. I got the baby and I in, within minutes he was back. Unsure of what was going to happen I kept the baby in his seat next to me ready to run just in case. He got on his knees begging me to never leave him like that, profusely saying how he would never hurt us, that he loved us so much. He asked to hold me but I told him that I didn’t feel safe. He looked at me like I had slapped him; he stood up and walked away. When he came back he said that he would move into the other room so that we would feel safe. I instantly regretted what I had said and invited him to talk, we sat there and let out a lot of things that we had been holding on to. Then he said to me that he was sorry for making things hard between my daughter and I, he said that he was jealous of the time I gave her, the love I showed her and that was why he treated her the way he did, he then said if I had ever treated his daughter that way he would have dropped me like a bad habit. I sat there in awe. All these thoughts came rushing to me in a huge wave that knocked me right out of my orbit. I couldn’t think straight, here I was giving my all to this man, I gave my child up for him and he says to me that he would have never done the same. I instantly hated myself for what I had done.
I couldn’t get this feeling out of my system that there was something really wrong. I felt it so strongly but I kept pushing it aside. It had been days since the fight and things were okay, he was nicer, coming home and being sweet again wanting to help with the baby even taking time away from his phone to participate in caring for him. I felt like things could actually get better. We talked again about everything that was going on, I came clean about all my wrong doings, not taking care of the house like I was supposed to, making him feel like he couldn’t talk to me about work, all the things he complained about I proactively started to change. I didn’t want to break up our family I wanted to do whatever I needed to show him that I was willing to go the extra mile to make things work, that I wasn’t going to run like I had done before. It felt good to rid myself of everything that I had been holding onto, I meditated daily, I cleaned up after him, dinner was always made hot and ready when he came home. He didn’t even have to care for the baby, just play and love him. We had been apartment hunting, we finally found the perfect apartment I made all the arrangements to sign the paperwork. He even sent me a text saying that this fresh start was exactly what we needed. Everything was looking really promising. It was just the calm before the storm.
It all started as misunderstanding, words taken out of context – or at least that was what it had seemed like at the time. Unfortunately we had an audience that didn’t deserve to hear the toxic words seeping from our mouths. The Wolf was just made and he made it known, I couldn’t help but react. We started with the passive aggressive banter, that escalated to a full on war of words. My daughter sat in the back seat of the car just looking out as if there was nothing going on at that point I was just done with the whole situation. I shut my mouth and just sat there but he wasn’t taking that as a signal to cease-fire. I normally never back down from anything but the lack of respect was just too much to take. We arrived at the house and my daughter disappeared to the safety of her room, he looked me in the eye and said I’m done, so I told him to go. He glared at me wanting me to fight for him but I just didn’t want to anymore. We went our separate ways for the evening not really talking the rest of the night. Right before bed he said he wasn’t ready and for the baby and I to take the bed.
The second to the last fight we ever would have as a couple was just nasty and cruel and again my daughter had a front row (well actually back row since it was in the car) we were on the way to sing the lease on our new apartment. I don’t even know how it started but it was by far the most intense fight ever. He kept going on about what a terrible person I was that I didn’t care about what he was going through. That my dad dying didn’t compare to the death of his sister. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut the hateful words spewed out of me knowing each and every hot button to push. He brought his A game and was equally on point. Finally I had had enough and I told him that I thought I was pregnant again, but there was no way I would ever keep it. The exact words I said were “for the record I wanted to tell you when things were actually calm between us but it seems like that is never going to happen so I made an appointment to take care of this situation” he asked if I was serious I told him that I was and even told him the date and time of my appointment for confirmation. I had been holding on to this for a while, no one in my family even knew. I was hoping that they were going to tell me I wasn’t because the last thing I wanted was another baby with this man, let alone at this point in our crumbling relationship. He was at a loss for words for just a moment then he said to me “for the record I was going to buy you a 5 carat ring but fuck that” I laughed out loud and thought to myself that I would never be so stupid to ever marry this psychopath. The fight spun out of control he was going to drop me and the kids off at my mom’s but we had a deadline to get to the place and then for some crazy reason I begged him not to. I felt like if he did that would be the last I would see of him and all of a sudden I was desperate to keep him. I couldn’t understand what was going on, my gut kept telling me to go home and just let it is the end but my heart kept telling me to stay. We fought most of the way almost two hours, until finally we had exhausted ourselves. We put on a great show for the leasing agent, all of us acting like this happy family. She even commented how sweet we were. After signing everything she let us explore the apartment ourselves, the Wolf whispered to me that even though we were playing like everything was great it didn’t mean anything. The fight was far from over, after leaving it started all over again and now we had a three-hour drive to his kids’ game. Again my poor daughter heard more than she should have ever had to. I told him to drop us off at home but he was pissed off that we were already so late to the game. He at one point said that he was just going to get out and walk, I told him that he should. It kept going back and forth there seemed to be no end to the hateful shit that was spewing out of us. When we got to the park he got out and we left. I had no intention of coming back to get him or his kids, he had his family, he had his wallet he could figure it out on his own like he said. But no, somehow when he asked if we could come back a few hours later I did, not even hesitating, he even bought me fruit knowing how much I like it with my last pregnancy.
I was so lost… I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror without loathing the woman looking back at me. Who was I? What the hell was going on in my life? Is this really where I’m supposed to be? I couldn’t help but think that I had made a huge mistake for the last 3 years of my life. I hoped and prayed that the pregnancy test I had taken was wrong. I loved my son immensely but the thought of having another child with the Wolf made me sick. I couldn’t bring another life into this world that was part of him, I didn’t even like the Wolf at this point yet I couldn’t think of a life away from him. I felt it was too late to just walk away, we made to choice to start this family but now I felt trapped. I couldn’t think straight anymore.
To you wolf in sheep’s clothing:
I chose you, it was me that contacted you, I was the one who sought you out. My initial reaction was to keep scrolling when seeing you had kids but I acted against my better judgement. I met you when you were no one, when you had nothing to offer but your time. I accepted you fully, even though your initial description of yourself varied from your actual appearance. I allowed you into my world, into my life.
I listened to the sad story of your life, how your teenage sweetheart turned wife had cheated on you and left you. That you questioned if you were the father of your then youngest child, but refused to check because you couldn’t bare to lose him. That your children were pulled away from you, how you never were able to bond with your youngest and felt like he didn’t love you. That you tried so hard to get her back but she was so far gone from you that nothing you did or said mattered. I listened to when you told me how all of your friends left you for your ex-wife, how your “best friend” tried to move in on her. How betrayed you were by them, but how you accepted that it was because you are a sociopath who didn’t know how to be friend (your words). I listened to you and your family bash her, say she was a terrible mother and person, that she didn’t want her kids, she was too busy working to see that all they wanted was her. I remember you lying to her telling her that we were together longer than we were so she wouldn’t get crazy about you introducing me the kids. Do you remember the first time we all hung out and your son got sick, I told you to stay with him and I would go get medicine. You looked at me wide eyed, no one had ever done that for you, let you be the caregiver the comforter. You told me that I helped you grow as a father, help you be loving, help you show them that money couldn’t but time and love.
I listened when you told me about your grandma how she was a religious zealot, but how fiercely she loved your grandfather, you even compared my love for you to hers. I listened to every word about your sister, how you helped raise her. That you would wake up early to feed her so that your mom could rest, that you would change her diapers and play with her. How you would go and pick her up from school. The feelings and emotions that you went through when she was diagnosed, when you had to shave her head for the first time, and every time you had to helplessly watch her get sicker and sicker and the joy when she went into remission. You always did light up when talking about her, I could see the love.
I listened when you told me about your parents, how your dad would scare you when you were little, how he would yell or hit you when you spilled your milk. That he was mean to you mother and would call her names that she didn’t like but he said he did it out of “love”, that he would flirt with other women and tell you boys not to say anything. That he hurt and it made you mad, made you vow to never hurt a woman the way your father hurt her. You told me that you loved your mom because she was strong, resilient, that she took on all of you dad’s issues, sisters sickness, her own family drama and was able to carry on. You told me how she was sick, that everything in her life had caused her to be clinically depressed, you struggled with her constant mood changes, that you never knew who she was.
I was there when no one was. I was your only friend. We made a pack to never let the other leave the house looking like a dork. We promised to always be truthful. That if we ever felt our hearts weren’t in it we would let the other go so we wouldn’t hurt each other like we had been hurt before.
All of this was what made me love you, I wanted to be there for you in everyday I could. I wanted to take care of you forever to grow old with you but now I can’t even look at you. You aren’t at all the man I fell in love with. I don’t think ever really knew you, I don’t even know how much of what you said was true. I don’t know anything about you I can’t trust the words you said, you have proved that to me loud and clear….