I never wanted to get married. I had several monogamous relationships over many years and in between them I had a bit of fun. Yet, I really had no desire to get married.
One of the longest relationships I had while I lived in Montreal attending university, was just over two years and if I look back on it, I know he cheated on me a couple of times. The best part is, once we had broken up I was trying so desperately to be friendly that it only led him to hanging out with one of my roommates, partying and doing drugs with her, and yes of course having sex.
This all happened for a course of six months with her room right beside mine, while I was dealing with the diagnosis of my mom having stage four ovarian cancer and my mentally challenged sister having to go live in a group home. Not a good time at all, but it gets worse.
After all that and then spending months partying myself and doing drugs as a way to deal with everything going on, I met this young guy that just got out of jail. No really, I'm not kidding you. We were together for one intensely abusive year.
At least once a week he beat me up. He even pulled a knife and a gun on me a couple of times. But for some unexplained, bizarre reason, I wanted to help him and he ended up living with me. I know, I don't know what I was thinking, but here comes the most horrible part.
One night upon returning from his night courses at a community college, he was with a friend drinking and carrying on and was disturbing my other roommates. When I asked him to quiet down, he became enraged. He started beating me up, grabbed my head, banged it against the stove and punched me in the face. I had a black eye and a fat, bleeding lip and didn't know what to do or where to turn. If you can believe it, all this happened in front of my roommates who did absolutely nothing. Didn't try to stop him, didn't call the cops, nothing. I grabbed a jacket, covered my head with the hood and went for a very long walk at two in the morning.
When I stopped at a street corner to just sit and think, a cop came by to ask me if I needed help and I said no. He drove off. I was so completely terrified and I just wanted to be left alone. I was so ashamed and so sad and said to myself I deserve better than this.
I knew I could not just break up with him, because he would lose his mind. The only way I could get rid of him is if he caused a scene and tried to abuse me publicly, then I could get the police involved and get him out of my place. And that's exactly what happened.
I was in such an awful place mentally and emotionally. Shortly thereafter, I moved into my own place by myself and the terror was still on my mind, so I slept with a baseball bat under my bed for weeks.
About six months after that, I decided it was time to move back home to Toronto. I felt I would never find a good guy. I knew I needed to help heal myself, so I started reading a series of books. One of the books that I fell in love with is called The Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav. The idea is that everything comes down to intention and once you understand the power you have in terms of your intention towards everything in your life, you become more in touch with your soul. It was life changing!
I also made a list. A list of everything that I was looking for in a guy. I have to tell you, from reading that book to writing that list I started meeting nice guys. They weren't perfect, but they were above and beyond better than anyone I had ever dated up to that point.
After about a year, I was off to New York. As you know from other posts, with my green card in hand, a thousand U.S. dollars, two duffel bags and I was off!
A couple of months in, I met this great guy named Sam. He came from a fairly well to do family, had a great job, was well educated, and lived in a fabulous loft in midtown. I think I dated him for a couple of months, but that's all I could take. You know why I broke up with him? He had a cat and never cleaned out the litter box, so you can only imagine how bad his place smelled. Also, he couldn't even boil water. You see, I finally had standards, one life to live and I'm not going to settle.
After Sam I felt I needed to relax and just be on my own. I also felt I needed to have a little fun.
To cut to the chase, eventually I met Todd, my husband and truly fell in love. He treated me like no one has ever treated me before. From cooking me fabulous meals, to making sure I got home safely by ordering me car service, even though I refused and said I would take the subway, he wouldn't hear of it. He held every door for me (and still does until today), took me out on fabulous dates to fancy restaurants, and when he went shopping to buy me a bunch of clothes, I would secretly return them, because I didn't want him to think I was that "type of girl."
Has our relationship been perfect and a walk in the park? No! No relationship is like that, it takes work, patience, understanding, compromise, sacrifices, lots of love, trust, respect and most importantly open communication.
In September of this year, we will be celebrating 14 years together and nine years of marriage. This is coming from a girl who never wanted to get married.
I am telling you this story in reference to a couple of things that have come to bother me. One is Gwyneth Paltrow's divorce from Chris Martin last year and justifying it as "conscious uncoupling." Here's a whole post on Goop about it. Two, Hilary Duff's interview in Cosmopolitan titled, "I Don't Know if People Are Meant to be Together Forever".
I'm going to sum up both and say this, marriage may not be for everyone, but true love is worth preserving. I realize humans are living so much longer, but that's why the decisions we make regarding everything from love to marriage to health matter more now than they ever have before. I think the Conscious Uncoupling post on Goop raises a lot of excellent points about the longevity of humans today and how we have to seriously take into consideration our emotions and experiences, and how they relate to love and marriage. In Hilary Duff's case, having married at 23, maybe 24 and being divorced at 27 must be devastating. Of course she's going to lose all faith in what true love and marriage mean.
Todd and I took it slow. For the first year I started spending a lot of time at his place in Manhattan, but always kept my place in Brooklyn. It was my safety net, because if anything were to happen, from an argument to our relationship not working out, I had a place to go to.
When Todd decided to move to LA, I told him to go without me first, because that was a decision he made for himself and his career and since we were only together for a year, he needed to feel confident that the move to LA included me. Thankfully it did.
We were together for three years before getting engaged and even then it was because my mom was terminally ill with cancer and we weren't sure when she was going to pass away, so we wanted to make sure she knew Todd made that commitment to me. And you know what, we were engaged for two years after that before we ever started thinking about a wedding.
Considering love and marriage are forever and yes they can most certainly be forever, there's no rush. Love is too special to be rushed and your wedding day is only one day, your marriage on the other hand is a lifetime together with the one you love.
The younger generations of today need to take the time to get to know themselves very well and they need to have many, many experiences; professionally, personally, intimately and emotionally.
Let's celebrate love and marriage for what it can be. Let's understand there are many different types of love to be experienced before you feel you've reached the ultimate love in your life. Forever can be a beautiful thing.