So here's an interesting question: have you ever heard of something called "the fairy tale romance?" Or better yet, how many of you have gone after or know someone who sought out their own version of a fairy tale romance? I'm not ashamed to admit that I used to believe in it, and why not? In fairy tales, the couples always live happily ever after, despite the odds.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the reality. Sometimes, couples don’t live happily ever after. In fact, most psychologists and relationship experts will warn people NOT to seek out the fairy tale romance, because it is an unrealistic expectation, and most of those relationships only lead to disappointment, and eventually end.
I've had my share of relationship disappointments, that's for sure. In the course of my lifetime, I have been in four significant relationships. The first ended because I found out he was married and had a child. As a Bravolebrity once said: close your legs to married men. Seems simple enough, right?
Well the next three were not quite as simple. In fact, my love life actually sounds more like a twisted version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears than anything else, Now if you were around during those relationships, or you were a mutual friend, I'm sure you have heard all the rumors. Lord knows I sure have. For years, people have wanted to know my side of the story. Well today, I have decided to break my silence. Brace yourself, for Goldilocks is about to take you into the home of the three bears.
If you ask my ex-husband what he thought about our marriage, he would say it was "a bigger bomb than Crystal Pepsi." At least that's what he wrote in some piece for his community college paper... So I've heard. Not sure I’d describe it quite the same way, but to each their own. For those of you wondering, Crystal Pepsi was a caffeine free, clear version of Pepsi that was introduced in the early 90's when there was a move towards clear, natural products. Although, it was one of my favorite drinks at the time, it wasn't a major hit, and the product was discontinued after about a year. Ironically enough, after he wrote his Op-Ed piece, Pepsi reissued it's clear version for a limited run, and it was enough of a success that it may be returning. Unlike Crystal Pepsi however, I’m pretty sure the one thing he and I can agree on is we will not follow down that path.
It's no secret that during our marriage, my ex-husband had an affair with his then best friend's wife, who happens to now be his wife (Yes, you read that right). Divorce sucks, and I don't wish it upon anyone. There's a tremendous feeling of failure, you lose trust in people when it comes to dating, and you question everything that happened. Well at least, that was my experience. And despite all the theories given, for a long time, I wondered WTF?
Well over time, I realized a lot about the dynamic between my ex-husband and I. And it made me look at the situation in a way I never had before. See, my marriage was one-sided, and in my favor. I was the one who's friends we were mostly around, and I was the one with success getting jobs. I was the major breadwinner, and was able to not only support myself, but also my ex-husband and his daughter. Don't get me wrong, he contributed somewhat when he was employed, but I was the alpha male of our home, hands down. And when it came to being the homemaker, that fell on me as well. Other than the cooking, I took care of the home. I also took on the role of primary parental unit: doing homework, school drop-offs and pick-ups, buying bras and pads, throwing birthdays, and using my work connections to get his daughter into good school.
When push came to shove, if you were looking in at us, my ex-husband could easily have been phased out, and his daughter and I would survive on our own without anyone else's help. I'm sure that didn't sit well with him, and could even make a man feel emasculated. So when someone came along, paid him some attention, and more importantly, made him feel like "the hero," he jumped at it... No pun intended. And all the lies, deception, and everything that came afterwards was just par for the course.
Now I can't say for sure that that was what happened. It's only one of many theories, but I can definitely see my part in it. There needed to be a little more balance, and I should have stepped back and seen the direction the relationship was going. And I should have seen he was unhappy. That doesn't excuse him or his behavior, nor does it mean I forgive him. But I can (sort-of) understand it better. And I have my ex-boyfriend to thank for that.
To say my ex-boyfriend was the complete opposite of my ex-husband would be an understatement. They couldn't be more different, and yet, the grass was not greener on the other side. You see, where I was the alpha male with my ex-husband, I was anything but with my ex-boyfriend. Much like the relationship prior, this one was also one-sided... but not in my favor. And the more I got vocal about needing a balance between us, the more it became an issue.
To be honest, I can't blame this ex entirely for the dynamics of our relationship, and all that followed. I knew going in that he was extremely alpha, and liked to be the center of attention. There's nothing wrong with that, and it does take two to tango. It didn't help that I had tried not to repeat the mistakes of my marriage, and in the process, took a step back, and gave over my power, so to speak. I'm the one responsible for allowing things to get to the point it did. I chose to take on the role of the "dutiful wife," and help him attain his goals. I even joked at one point that I was a Real Housewife, which ended up sticking with me throughout the relationship, and beyond.
As my inner circle likes to point out, I played an exaggerated version of myself, which was fun, and I did quite well. I mean the clothing alone were fabulous, if I do say so myself. But it came at a price, as people saw me as nothing more than a brainless sidepiece. I was even referred to as my ex's arm-candy by one of his colleagues. I definitely complained about it, but the truth was I really only had myself to blame. Looking back now, I definitely believe we were more of a machination or product than anything else.
What really started opening my eyes to the situation was my social media. Back then, had you looked on my Facebook or Instagram, you would get the sense that we spent a lot of time with his family, at his place, around his friends, and doing stuff for a place that he wanted to be in charge of. To be fair, there were moments that revolved around me, but they were not as often. My friends saw the writing on the wall way back when, which I chose to ignore. Today, I have no problem admitting that they were right, and in turn, I was wrong. There, I've said it.
Please don't misunderstand; the relationship wasn't all bad, and there was love there... at least on my end. I would like to believe there was on his end as well, but as he claimed the last time we saw each other, what he felt for me was best described in a song called "Do You Know What It's Like" from an Off-Broadway show called Zanna, Don't! (I kid you not). It was after that meeting that I finally saw "the man behind the curtain." But I will always be grateful for those three years because I got out of it the one thing every true Housewife requires... a tagline: Sweet, with just enough punch…. Now that’s MY kind of arm-candy!!!!
I'm sure by now you are wondering how any of this is remotely similar to Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Well, it's simple, if you know the tale and have paid attention. While Mama, Papa and Baby Bear are away, Goldilocks breaks into their home. She is put into several situations where there are three options; two of which are always opposite extremes, and the third is always just right. Well in my tale, I had been with two people where the balances in the relationships were opposite extremes, and neither was successful. So the only thing left was to try a relationship where both players were on equal playing ground. Enter The Manfriend (or my Hot Cuban Hunk as he likes to call himself).
Wanna know what makes the relationship "just right?" It's this simple, more realistic approach called a mutual respect. Each of us has our own thing going, which the other supports. We build each other up. There's no competition or need to one up the other. Neither of us is more important than the other, and neither of us is forced into the other person's life outside the relationship. We can have our own interests and opinions, and we can agree to disagree without it becoming an unnecessary storyline. At the end of the day, we agree on what's most important, and are on the same page about what we want for our future together. We are the center of us, with everybody and everything else being supporting players. No outsider has a bearing in our relationship, no matter how hard they may try.
It may also help that we keep our private life private. If you look at my social media, I do mention The Manfriend from time to time, but he's not the focus of my world. Nowadays, you get a better picture of who I am, what my interests are, my sense of humor, and causes I am passionate about. You get to see it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly (except the clothing, because they are fabulous after all). In fact, you see a lot more of my puppy than my guy. I'm allowed to have my own identity, and he encourages that. And vice versa. And when it comes to us, it really isn't everybody's business. If there's something we'd like to share, then I assure you we will.
Now, I'm not going to sit here and lie by saying our relationship is perfect. No relationship ever is. But we definitely put in the work needed to keep things going. Unfortunately, I don't think anybody wanted to put in the effort in past relationships to keep them going. To be honest, I can't say that they actually would have lasted even if we did. Sometimes, dynamics change or things just don't work out for whatever reasons. But I will say from personal experience, that if one person in the relationship feels inferior to the other, or that they are not being heard or respected, the relationship has nowhere to go. Both parties have to be open and honest about everything, good or bad, and be willing to listen to each other. Only then will the relationship flourish.
Before I head out, I just want to point out that there are always two sides to every story, and this one happens to be mine. I'm sure each of my exes have their own tales to tell. But if you were hoping for me to annihilate them or divulge their secrets, then I'm sorry to disappoint you. That's not what I set out to do here. But you never know. One day, you may all get "the scoop" when my ex-husband writes a piece for his college paper, or when my ex-boyfriend writes and publishes the book he told me he wanted to put out about us. I really don't need to wait for either... I was there.
Well friends, the question and answer portion to the day is over. Time for me to return to my everyday life. The holidays will soon be upon us... And a new blog awaits!!!