Tag Archives: blended family

Maybe Moving On Or Getting Back to “Normal”

I finally got tired of my reflection. My boyfriend posted photos of us from a weekend away on social media and someone had the audacity to ask me (not-so-subtly) if I was expecting. I know I have put on weight since the miscarriage. I am guesstimating 7-10lbs from how I look and how my clothes don’t fit. Honestly, I am too terrified to step on my scale until I have dropped some weight.

After the weekend and the hurtful comments, I looked at my pudgy arms in the mirror while I was applying eye liner. They have become soft and shapeless like my heart after I lost the baby. “Enough,” I told myself. “It’s enough now.”

I’ve been back to gym 3 days in a row. There was no shoe shopping involved or sandwich motivation (where I buy myself food for going to workout). I felt more energetic, less depressed. Perhaps this was the turning of a corner? I don’t want to get my hopes up too soon. I have found that this grief knows no end; some days I am fine and others I am broken.

I have binged once and purged once. I have actively restricted a few times. I knew that eventually I would get back to “normal”, but so far it hasn’t been so vicious. Part of me wants a healthy body to have another baby and part of me just wants my agony to show itself in bones.

The truth is, one day I was pregnant and my life had changed forever. A few weeks later I was no longer pregnant and my life could not go back to what it was before. There is no normal after that.

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Wedding Weekend

We went away for the weekend to a wedding for my boyfriend’s cousin. We had the children with us and all his family had traveled there. After a lot of drama involving the mother of his daughter (she thought that she should attend the wedding and I didn’t), we managed to go too.

Road trips are hard for people with eating disorders. There is no routine, there are few ‘safe’ foods and lots of triggers. I was already high on anxiety from the drama by the time we left. I anticipated someone in my boyfriend’s family would make a comment about the little girl’s mother or make one of their stupid pregnancy jokes in our direction. Before we even left, I was on guard and expecting it.

Nothing happened. Nobody said anything dumb. We had a great weekend. We stayed with friends and drank wine and took the kids swimming.

At the wedding I had my heart set on a slow dance with my boyfriend. It was all I wanted. The night went on and on with no chance of it happening as we chased the children around and spent time with his family. His daughter takes up all his time and attention. It is just the way it is. When she is around, his son and I barely get noticed. I had a feeling that I was setting myself up for disappointment by fixating on the one moment I really wanted: a slow dance in his arms.

I do it all the time by setting my heart on something: a romantic date, a weekend away together, him coming home with me to meet my family and of course, an engagement ring. I leave in a week. There is no chance now that I am going home with a ring on my finger.

As the night wore on, I ate more (pasta, potatoes, bread, lasagne – all good for anxiety relief) and drank more and eventually went to purge it all. When I came out of the washroom by boyfriend was standing there looking for me. He had been looking for me for some time.

“Where else would you expect to find me?” I replied in tipsy honesty.

“I should have guessed,” was his response.

Normal people would have been on the dance floor.

By the time he came to get me for the last dance of the evening, his daughter was half asleep on my lap. Her needs trump my needs. I wasn’t going to move a sleeping child so I could go dance. I went back to the hotel and cried in the bathtub instead.

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The Aftermath

We “kissed and made up” as the saying goes. I don’t feel like we effectively resolved anything. We are back to our normal which means that nothing will change, but everything has changed and it can’t go back.

He carries on as he did before. I find myself questioning everything. Why give up a weekend to spend at his son’s lacrosse tournament when this man isn’t sure of how he will feel about me in a year? I looked at the house last night – a disaster as always – and I told him that they needed to clean it up because I wouldn’t. Why am I picking up after kids that aren’t mine when their dad won’t make a commitment to me?

I am loath to invest time or money or effort now that I know there is no timeline. I am withdrawing, pulling back, being selfish. I sleep in and let him get the kids dressed and ready for school by himself. I don’t do their laundry or pack their lunches. I want him to remember single parenting. I want him to realize what he has done and what he has lost in me when I stop doing all I did.

I am still hurt; wounded by words that cannot be retracted. The damage done is immense. It pervades every conversation. I have to keep reminding him that things are not what I thought they were. It’s as if he doesn’t even register the shift.

“Do you want to go look at a new car this weekend?” He asks.

“No. I think there is no point now. Perhaps when our situation is more stable. I will reassess in a few months and then think about it,” is my response. I have said quite frankly, that I made the decision to go look at a new car prior to our discussion when I believed that we were in a more secure position than what we are.

I went to see the ED counsellor and doctor for a check up as part of the program I am in. He asked about it at coffee.

“Am I supposed to be coming to some of these with you?” He seems stunned that I have been to several appointments that he does not know about because I didn’t bother telling him.

“Yes you are supposed to take part in a few things, but I told my case manager that I’ve had new information since the time I brought you with and that things have changed. I told her not to plan on you being part of this anymore,” I am as blunt as I can be. This is not a part of myself I am going to share with someone who is vague about our future. He looks hurt. He says “oh” and I leave it at that.

He brings up the long weekend. We were supposed to go away for our romantic holiday together which I canceled the morning after our fight. He hasn’t asked about it or referenced it since. It’s like he is immune to how disappointed I was after I had been looking forward to it so much. He hasn’t even acknowledged that I canceled it and how devastated I am about it. He is nonchalant.

“What do you want to do for the long weekend? Do you want to make any plans?” He asks, like nothing happened and he didn’t ruin a perfectly good weekend for nothing.

“What I wanted to do went down in flames,” I respond calmly. “I no longer care what happens this weekend.”

Another, “oh…ok”.

He doesn’t get it. Why would he?

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Someday…

   
This is a conversation with my boyfriend saying he will buy gifts for my brothers so that they like him “if I’m going to ask for your hand in marriage someday.”

If…

Someday…

I have been waiting for a proposal since Christmas. I know what these men are like. Someday will never come. This one keeps telling me he is different to any man I have dated before. I am yet to believe him. He is yet to prove it. 

I put my cards on the table when we started dating. I told him I wouldn’t wait around indefinitely. I told him I wanted a marriage and children.  I assumed all the risk and made a huge commitment moving in with him 4 months ago. Now he says “if” and “someday”. 

 I have already given him everything he could ask for: I have taken on his 2 children from 2 different mothers and all the ensuing baggage that comes with. I have tolerated the intolerable for him. It has been nothing but stress since the beginning of our relationship. I have given up a simple happy life for drama and complications because he has no boundaries and hasn’t sorted out the mess he made of his life. 

I have foregone dates, romance, quality time and swapped them for mothering, cleaning, cooking and never ending laundry. I have given up sleep ins and freedom for waking up early to dress kids and make school lunches. I have lost evenings of frivolity and fun to homework, bath time and bed time. I have taken on the financial burden of his children, spending money on them now instead of myself. I have given up a life I dreamed of in Africa with my family to make a family with a man who says “if” and “someday”. 

I must not be worth more.  

I only have myself to blame for giving him everything up front. 

I have put up with things many others would have walked away from because he told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He used to say, “I can’t wait for you to be my wife”. He never says it anymore. Instead he tells me there is a hole in his favourite underpants while we lie in bed and I am thinking of a wedding and children. 

And I know he thinks he is being a good guy buying gifts for my brothers. He would never understand how that statement could do so much damage. How triggering it is for someone with anxiety and an eating disorder. He will never know that I already have a date in mind which I will not wait past. 

“If” that “someday” takes much longer, I will be long gone.  

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A Love Like No Other

“Stand beside me and fight. Not out of fear, but out of love.”

He speaks these words to me in the middle of the night. My heart is anxious. For two weeks all I have thought about is that I am not cut out for this relationship. I told him that he needs a better woman than me: one who will love him and his children while tolerating the two mothers with grace. I told him I am so used to be the perfect girlfriend and I am in a situation where I cannot be perfect. He told me to stop trying to be normal in an abnormal situation. He told me I am not alone in this; that we stand together as a team. He told me that all my frustrations about the lack of boundaries with one of the moms are valid and that he is working on them for me, for us. He tells me that he wants to marry me, to have children with me.

Then he told me that I need to stop being on the fence about this relationship. He told me I need to be all in and that there was no one better for him than me. He spoke the words I have waited my whole life to hear: “I love you with my soul”.

In the last few days I have looked at this in a whole new light. He does not need to pay for my debilitating anxiety or issues with perfectionism and control. He should not be punished for those who came before him and the damage that they did. He has demonstrated to me over and over that he wants a life with me.  And when I am ready to leave, to walk away – just like that –  he holds me and whispers to me that we were made for each other.

“We have waited a long time for this moment; to be together and to have our chance,” he says referring to the eight years we have known each other. Our lives have been orbiting each others for nearly a decade now. At last we are together and I am constantly looking for reasons to run before my heart gets broken again. In looking to preserve myself I have sabotaged a relationship with the most generous, kind, loving man. I have withheld part of me, too afraid to commit, to be all in. I have sat on the fence too scared to give him everything. In the end, it has only hurt us both.

I spoke to God one night, only weeks before we began dating. I begged God for the husband and family I had always dreamed of; for the children I had longed for. He sent me this man and his two children. It is only now that I have begun to realize that I have been given all I asked for. I got three people for the price of one and even though I joke with my boyfriend about it, it is true. I got a family that will one day be mine even if right now it is not the perfect situation. I will not be perfect. I will not be the perfect girlfriend or step-mother I imagined, but I have the kind of love I have waited for my whole life long, and that is perfect.

As we sit on the couch on New Year’s Eve, both too sick to get dressed up and go out, I look at this man and my heart is happy. It is filled to overflowing with love, and even more than that, with peace. It does not matter that we are not celebrating with champagne and fancy clothes on amidst masses of people. At midnight we will dance cheek to cheek in our pajamas and 2015 will start with his arms around me. What more could I need? I have found the one whom my soul loves…

 

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