Sometimes people set you free and you don’t know it.

Someone told me once that if you were to look back at a failed relationship, you could divide the amount of time that you were with that person and that number would reflect how long you were attempting / considering / contemplating breaking up with that person (if you were the one who left). So if you were with someone for 2 years, you probably spent a year trying to figure out how to get out with minimal damage to both sides and minimal guilt to you.

I dated Shawn for 7 years. From the time I was 19 through until I was 26. Our first years together were great and I was convinced that he loved me. At one point, I was afraid that no one would EVER love me like that again. (Thank god for Earl). But at some point, stuff started going south. It wasn’t the love – because he was still enthralled with me, despite me gaining weight and being busy. He was ever passionate about our love making and was consistent with wanting to see me. He loved me around his family and around him. And I loved him. But…. (you knew it was coming)… he couldn’t keep a job… wasn’t interested in furthering his education at all at the time. A great gift to him was a pack of dutchmasters. And that was fine and dandy when we were 20 and 21… but when I started to consider having a family with him, I worried. I am very old school when it comes to the structure of a family. The man is the head of the family. The woman is the neck upon which the head sits. So the two mutually NEED each other and are equally important. But I needed my husband to be someone that I could edify to my kids. The leader of their clan. Their spiritual leader. The person who set the example to them both about what they should attempt to become – or the kind of people they would want to surround themselves with and attract. And although Shawn was a really great guy – I couldn’t in all consciousness do that and be working eleventy jobs to keep us afloat while he rolled some fatties with his boys in the backyard (of the house that I’d have been undoubtedly paying for). I made that discovery around the age of 23. I spent the next 3 years attempting to find the way out. Not by being horrible or terrible… or by cheating or acting afool… just trying to find the door. And I guess after watching me for 3 years feeling the walls for an exit… he decided to give me an out.

One day after making love we were laying there… and I would imagine I had a concerned, distant look on my face. The same countenance I’d probably been carrying around unknowingly for 3 years. And he started a conversation. “Remember when I told you that after you and I started dating, I stopped messing with Natalie?” (Natalie was the girl immediately before me which he swore up and down that everything stopped after he and I got together). “Yeah?” I droned. “Well… we did sleep together one more time…” I propped myself up on my elbows and looked at him for a minute and thought about the circumstances. Why in God’s name would he be bringing this up now? We just had sex… things are… well… the same as always – but not BAD. He wouldn’t look me in the eye. But I could tell there was something larger at play in his mind. I maintain that Shawn is the one man who never cheated on me. He might have been doing a lot of things when I wasn’t around – but I sincerely don’t believe there was anyone but me not even in play. And he would usually come clean about something if I asked him. He never saw the purpose in lying to me. And that’s when I realized… he was letting me out. I could take this tidbit of information and ride it all the way out the door and he would let me go. And I did. And this time, he didn’t fight me. I walked out on my then longest relationship and never looked back.

It was the right decision at the time because I was able to move on, make new relationships, make new mistakes and ultimately make the new me… the Me I’d become for the rest of my life instead of standing still. I caught up with him a while ago and i can’t say I’m confident he’s much further along with his life than he was when we were together – but… that’s probably what worked for HIM. And if that’s the case, more power to him. I love him for being true to himself. Always will.

But it’s very strange the way people set you free. It’s scary because it’s different but, it’s what you need at the time you need it. So when it happens and you recognize it…

Walk out the door.


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