I remember clearly when I first knew something wasn’t quite right. We had only met two weeks before and I was fresh off a divorce from a 26 year marriage that was just finalized two months before that. We lived about 100 miles apart and I was supposed to go see her. I was tormented and felt like the relationship was moving too fast. Finally I called but instead of telling her the truth I said something about there being a lot of snow. After all it didn’t seem very manly to say that a relationship was moving too fast. Well, in no way was I prepared for the intensity of the angry reaction I got. I meekly agreed to come see her and hung up the phone saying to myself: “well, huh.”
Thus began a 5 year on again/ off again relationship. I have learned a lot since that exchange. Things about being assertive, knowing yourself, seeing things for what they are and setting appropriate boundaries. But it took time.
So why even begin a relationship like that or let it go on for so long? It was simple really. She was my trophy. I could walk with her into a crowded restaurant and all other men would stop what they were doing to look at her. She knew it of course as she looked neither right nor left but with her head held high. We also got along well during the good times and, as I have learned since, she was a way to complete some unfinished business related to my parent’s relationship, but learning about all that came later.
Anyone I have talked to in a relationship with a Narcissist says it is not all bad. That is the rub, isn’t it? It is the Ying and the Yang. It is the best of times and the worst of times. She herself said that if she made it too easy I would not appreciate the good times and she asked if I was ready to be in a relationship with a highly intelligent woman. Thinking that I also have some intelligence I said sure. Well, huh.
So of course things moved too fast. She needed to know that I had a goal of marriage and whether I could love her son as my own and could I make her my first priority and was I ready to start a new life. I suppose it was not the questions themselves that were unreasonable but the intensity of the devotion she expected. When she said first priority she meant FIRST PRIORITY!
I had continued to see a counselor that my ex wife and I had seen. I told her that I had a new girlfriend but that I always felt a sense of relief whenever I got away from her. She told me that it would never get any better. Guess what? It never did. Well, huh.
Over that 5 year period we went through a fairly predictable cycle. We would go through a comfortable period that would usually culminate in some kind of angry exchange that resulted in a break up. There would be a period of relief that we were apart followed by a period of missing each other then a period of relief when we would reconcile. Rinse, then repeat.
There were many things that made me say “huh” during that time. Generally the common theme was related to her not feeling like she was the highest priority. Eventually it started to hit me. It really didn’t matter what I did. I could not give her that feeling all the time. Maybe my daughter said it best when she said it seemed like I always had to be on call.
The craziest thing about all of this is that I still have a sense that I failed at this relationship more than any other. I think I understand why but that doesn’t change that feeling. I will save that for a later post.
It has been 2 1/2 years since our final break up. There were s series of “huh” moments with one last big one. I will also save this for another post.
Do you want to know another crazy thing? I still miss her. Well, huh.