I am divorced.
Many, many years divorced and remarried far longer and much happier to no longer categorize me as a divorcee but as twice-married. I qualify to anyone who is truly interested, that I was very young when I married the first time. My life isn’t that of a divorced woman, it’s been for years all about my present husband and our two sons. The oldest is really the son of the first husband but has been beautifully raised by the current and most beloved husband. We are well into our second decade of a wonderful life together and that first marriage is so distant and of little consequence to life now.
Ah, there are times when it rears its ugly little head, jabs me in the throat and makes a dog’s breakfast of my entrails. Most of the nastiness of dealing with Mr. Ex is regarding our son. That is the one point of leverage still. So much time has passed and the pieces fell where they should, thankfully in line with my belief that if I held to what was best for our son, all would eventually work out well. They have, Mr. Ex’s bad behavior revealed itself over time and trial. My darling son has been able to hash out the difficulties, living a reasonably harmonious life, able to balance between two people who, at this time, do not like each other one bit. What a challenge, I marvel at my son’s resiliency when I think of the task.
I was young when I married. Not too young to marry but I was certainly a young bride. I was far too young to be involved with my first husband when we began. It was inappropriate for he crossed a perilous line and took an enormous chance that I’d go along his scheme. I was completely smitten, overwhelmed by his attention and his conviction that I had a magical power that drew him. It was a power that he had no control to resist. He made it seem to me that I was the one who was manipulating him to be in the relationship, that he was the puppet while I controlled the strings.
It was compelling and convincing to me at 14 year old. He was 22 which was old enough for me to believe he knew what he was talking about. Unfortunately I lacked the insight to question why a 22-year old man would be drawn to a 14-year old girl. He was clever. The emotional binding and mental control took place for nearly a year before the relationship became physical. I believe he had to be certain of absolute power before he took it to the physical level because he would now be in jail or on parole for crossing that line with me at the age of 15 if I didn’t keep my mouth shut about it.
My mouth stayed shut for years (initially to keep a delicious, forbidden secret, later to keep him from getting angry and physical). He’s a free man. It’s way too late to do anything about it anyway. I married him when I was a legal age and to dwell upon it is useless and fruitless. I used to gnash my teeth, rend my garments, pull my hair. WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY? It was a deep, cold, black well for many years. Why did he do this to me? Why couldn’t I see what it was and not let it happen? I did not ask for any of it or the abuse that followed. Why did my son have to have such a wretched father? If I could truly find those answers, I still wouldn’t find the peace I yearned for in seeking them.
The peace I found was in working to change myself out of a victim role and image. My peace came when I was able to live independently, send my son to school and after-school so I could work to pay for all I had without him or his terrible presence: the crushing, overbearing, abusive thing that he is. My peace continued to expand and freed me to meet good friends, to no longer avoid people who might become close enough to figure out how truly awful my life was. My peace is nearly complete now, over twenty years later: married to a good man and living a genuine, fearless life. My joy has been seeing my oldest son grow and become who he is, not who he could have been while living with such a manipulative and aggressive parent.
There are huge pangs. I know my actions made scars on my son. I know I could have done better, felt I could have been stronger at times and fought harder for what was right, but those convictions are through the eyes of one who is well into midlife, not one who was the age that I married, coincidently that is the same age as my older son is now. I look at him and say, “He is still so young.”
I promised there was a reason for my deep loathing of the “Twilight” series. It is all of the above. Stephanie Meyer, unintentionally I am certain, described the foundation of my miserable abused life with my first husband: a forbidden relationship with a much older man, isolation from parents and friends and complete, absolute control over this young woman who was supposed to be so powerful in her innocent ignorance. It was destiny. Was I the only one who felt the manipulations of the older man stating he is powerless in her presence? that he does not want the attraction but can’t help it because she’s the one with the power that he is helpless to resist? It felt like I was reading a “how-to” instruction manual for an extremely seductive and skillful way to gain complete control over a vulnerable young woman.
Ms. Meyer’s heroine “Bella Swan” is her muse for her fantasmagorical vampire love/lust ouvre and I’m thankful it was so laboriously long, just overrought with simpering and snivelly passages. BUT (and that’s a pretty big but) it has the blueprint for how to be a real predator which obviously jangled a very raw nerve for me.
I read (while cringing, groaning and throwing the books across the room) the rest of the series to see if it continued to maintain the provocative notion that a young woman is truly fulfilled when she’s helplessly, hopelessly in love with a dangerous and forbidden man. It did but in all the whole series was unrealistic, immature and rang with a hollow tone. It imploded upon itself in the end and when the dust settles it appears it is just a badly written series about fantasy love. I mean, come on, Vampires, seriously???. It’s a cautionary tale for me based on my life. I do realize most young girls adore this stuff intensely, then at some point in their lives they move on unscathed and uncaught by a real-life predator.