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Emotionally unavailable on AOL

09 April, 2002


It began in July 1997. I was separated from my husband for about 6 months at that time and figured it was long enough; I was ready to start dating again. I was looking for an apartment and was getting ready to move in October. I had recently installed AOL on my computer at work and was browsing through the personals at lunchtime during the early part of the month, just before the 4th of July. I answered only two ads and sent a photo of myself with my responses. I never told anyone that I was responding to AOL personals; this was a first for me. I didn'tít get a response from anyone I wrote to until the middle of the month.


His name was Pat. He worked for a school district as a HVAC technician and lived in Delaware. He included a photo that looked really good and we swapped several e-mails before he caught me on-line one Friday (when we were both ďat lunchĒ) and instant messaged me. We chatted on line for a short time before he asked me for my telephone number. I figured why not?, and gave him my phone number at work. He called me immediately and after exchanging pleasantries and chatting briefly, he asked me if I wanted to go out that evening. I had plans already and did not want to cancel them, so I suggested the following evening instead and he agreed. Since he lived in the Wilmington area and I was in the far reaches of western Chester County, we decided that somewhere along Routes 202 and Route 1 would be a good place to meet. There is a large hotel with a restaurant and bar that we made plans to meet at the following evening. Before hanging up, we exchanged home phone numbers.


I spent the following day laying out and working on my tan and I decided to get ready early so I could run some errands before going to meeting Pat. I usually run early, and found myself at our meeting place 15 minutes ahead of time. About 10 minutes past the time we were supposed to meet I called his house and got his voice mail. I then checked my voice mail and he had left a message saying that he was running late and would still be meeting me at the appointed meeting place. I went back to the bar, had another cigarette and ordered another drink before I saw him coming into the bar.


While he didn'tít exactly knock me out with his looks, he was cute. His hair was longer in the back, with a slight curl to it. He was almost a foot taller than me and on the stocky side (but not fat), wearing jeans, a short-sleeved button down shirt and some sort of funky looking boots. I was dressed very nicelyÖ Ann Taylor. shorts with a peach colored top, with a pair of KedsÖ no socks. I was very tanned and in good shape from horseback riding, petite with short blond hair. He was definitely Italian looking, no doubt in my mind. He scoped out the bar and found me immediately. We appraised each other and he came over and introduced himself while giving me a kiss on my cheek. He ordered a Captain Morgan Rum and Coke while I sipped on my drink.


He apologized for being late and mentioned that he tried calling me at home and left a message on my voice mailÖ I mentioned that I called him at home and left a message for him that I got his message and would be waiting for him here at the bar. Not too long after we started talking, he brought up the fact that he had recently ended a long term relationship. I mentioned about my separation and pending divorce as well. I asked him about the success of his personal ad and how many other women he met. He said that while he met a few others, there was one other person that he went out with more than once. We both remarked about how the internet is going to change the way that people meet. He had only confided to only two of his friends that he had a personal ad and I confided that no one had any idea that I even responded to a personal ad. We both got a good laugh out of that and agreed that if things worked out between us we would have to come up with a good story of how we met!!


He asked me if I wanted to have dinner and we asked the bartender where we should get a table at in the bar. Dinner was good as well as the conversation. We got along fabulously. We laughed and chatted about our respective careers, hobbies, likes, dislikes and families. By the time we finished eating it was starting to get dark and we decided to go for a drive since it was still early and we were both enjoying each otherís company.


It was a typical summer evening in late July, complete with the sound of crickets, the smell of summer in the air and the humidity to go along with it. We walked outside into the parking lot where we had parked our cars. I volunteered to drive, since I had a convertible. He realized that he was parked on the other side of the building and wanted to move his car. We walked over to where he parked his car, which turned out to be an older IROC Camaro, that was painted a metallic bronze. It was ok, if you like muscle cars. He commented that he had been working on it that day and pointed out the sound system that he had in the car. It was pretty impressive how much time he took to keep the car the way it was. We got into his car and he then drove it over next to where my car was parked. He really liked my car too, which was a brand new convertible two-seater. Since it was warm out, I thought I would put the top down. After I put the top down, I decided to fix my lipstick and in the process he leaned over and kissed me.. it was magical and it left me breathless.


We had a fun night, riding around Chester County and parts of Delaware, just driving, laughing and talking. We went to a park around the Newark area that was situated right near the water and we both were practically eaten alive by the mosquitoes while we walked around the park and kissed like two teenagers. That was most memorable as it was very romantic, mosquito bites and all. By the time I drove him back to pick up his car, it was around 1:00 in the morning and neither one of us wanted the night to end. We made plans to talk the following night (he said he would call me) and we made a date for Wednesday night. Our goodnight kiss was about 20 minutes long and by the time Pat got out of my car, my contact lenses were screaming because my eyes were so dried out by that time. I think I floated all the way home that night and throughout the next day, which was spent getting tanned, reading, relaxing and scratching the bug bites from the night before. It all seemed like a wonderful dream to me and I had a good feeling about him and I. Pat did call late that Sunday night and woke me up. We talked for about two hours. He confessed to me that he had a date with that other woman he had gone out with who answered his personal ad. He told me that he had made plans with her before our date and it only seemed to be the right thing to do.. which was fine with me. He briefly chatted about his date with her and I was pleasantly surprised when he told me that he thought about me the entire time he was out with her. We were still on for that Wednesday night and both of us couldnít wait to see each other again. Up until the time we had our next date we spoke on the telephone at least once a day at work and at least once a night at home.


The day of our second date rolled around that Wednesday and I practically flew down to his house from work that rainy afternoon. It was about a 40 minute ride. I had packed a bag for that night, because when Pat originally asked me if I wanted to get together that night I said if he wanted to see me during the week, I would have to spend the night at his house, due to the travelling involved, as I lived 45 minutes from work, and it would be closer going to work from his house than my driving back home during the week.


I was so excited and nervous about seeing him again that I smoked about a half a pack of cigarettes on the way down to his house and must have reeked by the time I got there. On the way down I stopped at a photo shop and picked up a picture that I had copied so I could give it to Pat. He lived in a corner row home in a neighbourhood close to the oil refinery. I noticed immediately that the house had a For Sale sign (which he mentioned previously). When I arrived at his house, with my baggage for the evening, there was a note on the door to let myself in.


He had candles lit and a dozen red roses in a vase for me, with a little card that said ďWords cannot describe how I feel about you. I hope everything works out for us. Love, PasqualeĒ. I was so deeply touched.


He was upstairs getting ready, which would be habitual throughout our relationship. He hollered down for me to make myself comfortable. I checked his house out and it looked pretty tidy. It had a small living room, eat-in kitchen (the only thing new in the kitchen was a dishwasher, everything else was vintage 1950s, including the porcelain sink and metal drawers and cabinets, not to mention the linoleum floor) and basement. The upstairs had two bedrooms and the only bathroom in the house. The back yard was small and fenced and it backed up to an alley and a parking lot. There was a business next door and a lumber yard across the way. It wasnít the best of neighbourhoods, but I was happy at that point that someone was interested in me that I didnít give a damn where he lived. Hell, he had his own place, his own vehicle and a job and was interested in me! I was thrilled!


The evening was magical. When he came downstairs he looked so sweet and was so happy to see me. It just melted me when he hugged me and said ďI missed you babe.Ē. Apparently he had taken the day off to clean the house, which really impressed me. We had a drink and he brought my bags upstairs for me. I joked that I donít travel light when he saw the large overnight bag and toiletry bag I had brought with me. He asked if I were hungry and ready to go to dinner. He didnít have his Camaro parked outside, but rather an old Ford Ranger pick-up truck. He kept his car parked at a garage that he rented, that was five minutes away. We took the truck down to the garage and switched vehicles for the night. Along the way he told me that his parents lived close by, and his younger sister and his grandmother lived with is parents too. He mentioned that he had an older brother, Vince, who is married to Shari and they have a little girl and that they live about 25 minutes away. Before Vince and Shari got married they had lived with him and his at-the-time girlfriend, Pam, who was the one he was in a long term relationship with up until about three or four months before he met me.


We went to dinner at a pasta place and had a great time. When we walked out of the restaurant he unlocked the car on my side to let me in and we started kissing and it was so wonderful. When we got back to his house he was so nervous that he couldnít get the front door unlockedÖ. The rest of the evening was so romantic, complete with candle light, New Age music and protected lovemaking. I really thought that we were in the beginning of a wonderful relationship and was really loving it! What a nice feeling it was to have someone pay attention to me and be affectionate with me again. I missed companionship tremendously and was very happy to have someone in my life again. We enjoyed the rest of the summer together. We talked, laughed, got to know each other, made love, went to the beach with his parents, he met my family and I met his. I sometimes cooked and we went out often. We just had a lot of fun together, but neither of us was seeing anyone else. He e-mailed the other woman he went out with, right after our spending the night together and told her that he met someone else. We were officially a couple.


Up until the time I moved to my new apartment in October, which was only 25 minutes from Patís house, we spoke during the day at work and at night while I was at home and
saw each other only on weekends. I would drive down to his house on a Friday and stay until Monday morning. I tried my best to keep Pat out of my broken down marriage situation and didnít mention my soon-to-be-ex- much at all to him, except when he asked questions, which wasnít often. He knew that I was still in my ďmarital residenceĒ and that contact with my husband was very minimal.


Moving to my new apartment was a traumatic experience for me. On the day that I moved, I had to deal with my husband and the movers I hired that day, get moved into my new apartment and put all of my things away and get ready to start my new life in my new place. It was a lot for me to deal with and I guess I was scared to be out on my own. The day after I moved in I had a crying jag and Pat didnít do much to comfort me.


While I was excited to be moving closer to Pat, I believe that was the beginning of the end of our relationship.


Since the time we met, little things started to come out of him regarding his previous relationship with Pam. Apparently they were together for several years and she really did a number on him. She and her dog moved in with him and his brother and his girlfriend in the row home that he lived in now. I think they had a tumultuous love/hate relationship from the way it sounded. Sometime after Vince and Shari moved out and got married, Pam eventually left Pat and moved out but she left her dog with him for a year or so. During the course of their relationship Pam managed to get Pat to co-sign for her car, so he still had ties to her until her car would be paid off, which wouldnít be until the Spring of 1998. In the interim, her car insurance bills still came to his house, which he dropped off at her fatherís house in his mail box. According to Pat, Pam also tried convincing him to buy her an engagement ring, but for some reason it didnít happen. He said that she had a way of pushing his buttons. I think that he still loved and cared for her and had not healed. They had actually gone to counselling together and the counsellor told them that it wouldnít work; they were just too different. Pat was determined to make the relationship work and I donít think that Pam wanted to. Taking all of that into consideration, there were times when I believed that Pat was not over Pam and that he was just using me as a rebound or that he was simply emotionally unavailable, because he was so screwed up about what happened with her. He told me time and time again that it was over and that he was over her, but deep down inside, I didnít believe him.


Pat did encourage me to leave some of my things at his house, which I had started doing. At one point, early on in our relationship, I stored a full length ranch mink coat at Patís house, because I didnít want my soon-to-be-ex- finding it at the house that I was still living in. Besides that, I had some toiletries, a couple of nighties and two champagne glasses there, but it did accumulate to more over the course of our relationship.


After I moved into my apartment we alternated weekends between his place and mine.
We never really did too much when we were together; I wouldnít have considered us an ďactive coupleĒ by any means. I was content to have a place to go to and was happy to make dinner for us, or go out to dinner, go for a walk, have a few drinks together and watch a movie. I didnít need to have a full entertainment schedule and neither did he.


During the week when we werenít together, I simply went to work each day and went to the tanning salon at night. Since I was so thin, I didnít really have a need to work out that much. I went shopping, did a lot of reading, spent time alone and with my cats, talked on the phone with my friends and family and looked forward to spending time with Pat. Pat usually went to nearby the gym a couple of times a week, potted around the house, listened to a lot of heavy metal, ate dinner at his parentís house at least once a week, visited with one of his friends that he worked with on Mondays, worked overtime, smoked pot and procrastinated about practically everything in general.


Pat also made it a habit of ripping off the school district that he worked for, whether it was for things for his house, parts for his car or even a trailer hitch that he stole off of a school district maintenance vehicle and installed on the back of his truck one night. One weekend he had me help him take the drop ceiling out of his kitchen and put new drop ceiling in. The new drop ceiling was compliments of the school district and we dumped the old drop ceiling in the dumpsters at the building he worked out of. Apparently, no one ever got caught.


Several months before we met, Pat had been taking Phen and apparently had lost a bit of weight. He stopped taking it right after we met and his weight started to slowly creep back up again. He was always saying how he had to ďstart hitting the gymĒ, but he didnít really stick to any special program. Smoking pot didnít help matters any, nor did his motherís, grandmotherís or my cooking or the fact that he liked drinking dark, heavy beer like Sam Adams.


Shortly after I moved into my new place, I was hoping that we would be able to see more of each other, so I suggested that we spend Wednesday nights together in addition to the weekendsÖ big mistake. Pat hemmed and hawed when I brought it up and I was too stupid to know any better that I was coercing him. I guess he ďfelt sorryĒ for me, so after some emotional arm twisting on my part, he reluctantly gave in.


I figured that things would fall into place with our relationship and that it would eventually move to the next level. Back in September, while we were laying on his bed and gazing into each otherís eyes, he told me that he loved meÖ and I told him I loved him too. We got along very well, or at least I thought we didÖ After I had moved into my place he actually joked about putting a ring on my finger and I thought it was a great idea. I didnít want to have a relationship with anyone else and I did not take our relationship casually; and I believe he felt the same way. He appeared to be serious about me so I didnít foresee any problems on the horizon for us. I was under the assumption that we were in a long-term committed relationship.


After sleeping together for several months, he insisted on still wearing a condom when we made love, no matter how much I tried talking him out of it. I was married for several years before we met, disease-free, on the pill, we were quite active when it came to our lovemaking, and more importantly, we were in a monogamous relationship, but I was too stupid to push the issue; probably for fear of losing him.


It was Autumn and I was looking forward to the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving was spent with my family, that lived several hours away, and I rushed home to see Pat the day after Thanksgiving. We spoke on the telephone Thanksgiving Day. I missed him and couldnít wait to see him when I got back home the following day. I got home around lunchtime and he didnít make it over to my place until late in the afternoon. I left my family and rushed home early for nothing. Pat and I had a stupid argument that left me in tears; he had recently bought a brand new pick up truck and I had a brand new convertible. We were talking about the odds of his truck getting stolen versus my car getting stolen and I said something to the effect that if I were a car thief and I had my choice between a pick up truck and a convertible, that Iíd take the convertible. That comment didnít sit too well with Pat. He took it the wrong way, totally flipped out and yelled at me because he thought that I meant that his truck wasnít any good. It was all so stupid and taken totally out of context. It took me a lot of grovelling and apologizing to calm him down, because I felt as if it was my fault that he was upset.


Christmas was just around the corner and since it would be my first Christmas in my new place, I wanted to do it right! I wanted to have a beautiful Christmas tree with decorations and lights and I wanted to get Pat some beautiful presents. I had gone out and bought him some nice gifts, mostly clothes, like three pair of silk boxers, an expensive Chamois shirt, a Tommy Hilfiger tie, and some toiletries. I spent over $150 on him. I wrapped everything nicely or put things in gift bags for him if I couldnít find a box. I also got him a beautiful Christmas card. I also put a gift bag together for his parents, his brother and his wife. I got a picture frame for his sister and we both picked out a bed spread for his grandmother. Pat came over on Christmas Eve to spend the night with me. I noticed that he had only put two presents for me under my tree, but I didnít give it much thought. I made us a beautiful dinner and lit the tree and dimmed the lights, hoping for a roman!
tic night. I wound up drinking champagne by myself while he drank egg nog with Captain Morgan Rum in it.


Christmas morning dawned and I awoke with such glee. I fixed us breakfast and telephoned my family to wish them a Merry Christmas. Pat and I exchanged gifts and to my dismay, although he did get me a beautiful Christmas card, he only got me a pair of shoes and a matching purse. Granted, the shoes were Aigner and probably did cost $50, but I was very disappointed in that he did not think much of me to not get me a romantic gift, like a bracelet, perfume or even a pair of earrings. I could tell that he was embarrassed because he had a lot more to open than I didÖ He thanked me for all that I got him, and I tried my best to hide my disappointment. Regardless, I kept on the cheerful face while we headed down to Delaware to spend Christmas day with his family. I think even his family was embarrassed for me when they asked me what Pat got me for Christmas and I told them shoes and a purse.


We opted to stay in on New Yearís Eve and I volunteered to make us a wonderful dinner. I drove down to his house on New Yearís Eve and I remember how cold out it was that day. I brought all of the ingredients with me to use for that eveningís dinner that I went to the store and paid for myself that morning.


Once I arrived at Patís house, he told me that his buddy, Bruce, was coming over that night after dinner. Bruce works with Pat. Heís in his mid-40s, extremely overweight and all he likes to do is smoke pot and drink beer. Pat and Bruce usually get together on Monday nights at Bruceís place to make homemade beer, smoke pot together and get stupid. Bruce has a relationship going with someone online who used to live with him but now lives in New Mexico. Bruce also has a son who he sees every other weekend. I thought Bruce was a loser who needed to grow up and get a life, but I didnít express these views openly. I also thought that Bruce was jealous of me because Pat spent more time with me than with him.


Bruce showed up around 9:00 that night with a bottle of champagne and we all sat around the kitchen table and drank beer and did shots of Goldschlager. Both Pat and Bruce were getting loaded and I tried my best to be a good sport about the entire situation. Midnight came, we drank champagne and shortly afterward both Pat and Bruce passed out, but not without first flicking through the channels and checking out the porno flicks on both Playboy or Spice on the illegal cable box that Pat had. After the two of them passed out, I cleaned up the kitchen and went upstairs to bed, leaving the both of them downstairs. I hoped that they both got stiff necks. It was all very depressing for me.


New Yearís Day was my birthday. I woke up and Pat was passed out next to me. He must have lumbered upstairs during the course of the night. I guess the events of the night before were somewhat fresh in my mind and I suppose I woke up in a bad mood of sorts. Could you blame me? I remember getting up to go to the bathroom and coming back to bed. A magazine or something had fallen off a dresser during the night and I tossed it back on the dresser. I must have woken Pat up because he sat up and started yelling at me, for no reason. Happy Birthday to me.


We eventually made our way downstairs when we heard Bruce rustling about. Pat made coffee and volunteered me to make omelettes for breakfast. Lucky for me Bruce didnít feel like eating an omelette. That was sporty of Pat to put me to work on my birthday, wasnít it? About the only consolation I had was when after Bruce left. Pat was in the mood to make love (for a change).


My entire birthday was virtually unnoticed by Pat. He took me to McDonalds for lunch and we stopped to visit his grandmother, who did remember my birthday.


We had made plans to go to dinner the following night at one of my favorite restaurants. Just before the holidays Pat had gone out one night with his father and bought a new suit to wear for when we went to dinner, as the one he had was in a heap at the bottom of one of his closets and the moths had started eating it.


We both had to work on January 2nd, so I commuted from his house to work that day and then drove directly back down to his house from work. Much to my surprise Pat actually had a birthday card waiting for me when I got to his house, but it wasnít a romantic one. I didnít even mention that he was a day late. We both got dressed up for dinner and stopped off at his parentís house on the way to dinner. His parents and grandmother were so thrilled about how nice we looked and his mother took pictures of us. Pat seemed very uncomfortable with the entire situation of being dressed up; it was probably one of the few times in his life that he wore a suit. The restaurant I chose was located in Chester County and is still one of the best in the area. I had to bug Pat for weeks to make reservations ahead of time, because he was adamant that we wouldnít have a problem getting a table. I used to go to the same place with my husband and if you didnít call weeks in advance, you wouldnít be able to get a table.


I was a little embarrassed when Pat didnít know what to order to drink when I ordered my usual martini. He hemmed and hawed and ordered an ďiced teaĒ. Nevertheless, I sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the evening while he paid for an expensive dinner for a change. Considering the lack of a romantic Christmas present and the birthday card I got a day late, not to mention no birthday present for that matterÖ and considering all that I did for him and how little I got in return, I figured I had this dinner coming to meÖ damn it. Much to my surprise, we had a lot of fun that night for a change.


I began to notice that our relationship was taking on a somewhat monotonous tone. We ate, drank, watched television and I had to make the moves when I wanted to make love. He seemed miserable most of the time and I tried to cheer him up. I was determined to make things work because I believed he loved me.


The rest of January went by without much ado. I noticed more and more though, since the Holidays, that Pat did not want to make love as often as he used to. I took the rejection badly and got upset frequently. He seemed to be distancing himself from me and like most women, the more he ignored me, the more I pursued him. At that point I was really focused on Pat, so much so that our relationship was the pendulum of my emotions.


My work had their Christmas party in late January and I took Pat with me. Right after the holidays, Pat started working on Saturdays. He claimed that he needed the overtime to help pay for his truck payment, which meant that Saturdays were spent by myself for the most part. On that particular weekend, after spending the night on Friday at my place, he drove to work, worked all day and drove back to my place. The Christmas party turned out to be a drunken extravaganza for me. When we arrived at the party it had started to snow. The company I worked for had a lot of employees, and I didnít know that many people, so we found some people that I knew and we just drank and ate. By the time we left the party, I was half drunk. I suggested that we stop at the liquor store, on the way back to my place, for a bottle of Gran Mariner, which was not a good idea, as that stuff usually pushes me right over the edge.


We got back to my place and I started drinking more. Somehow during that time I let into him about how much I think heís not over Pam and how sick and tired I was hearing about what happened with their relationship. If youíre supposed to be over someone, why do you keep bringing them up? I was also a little upset because I had a job offer in Wilmington and Pat said something to the effect that he didnít think it would be a good idea for me to be working near him. I read into it and figured that I was probably too close by living in West Chester. Heíd probably feel even more trapped if I changed jobs and had to move even closer. I yelled, screamed and hollered at him and then cried. For the first time, I think he was surprised at my actions. The next day I felt sickÖ the hangover was horrible.


Even though I was separated from my husband, and we were in the process of getting divorced, we still had to deal with each other from time to time. We were going back and forth with a credit card bill every month. My husband dropped off the bill to me in person once at my place and also left the bill under the windshield of my car. What I did was make a check out for half of the minimum payment, mail it back to him and he would make out another check for his half, then mail the entire payment to the credit card company. We started fighting about the credit card bill in the later part of January. I had spoke with my husband in the early part of February one day and he asked me to meet with him one night after work, so I could give him the check for the credit card payment. After I gave him the check, he asked me if I was still going down to Delaware (he knew I was seeing someone in Delaware), and I told him it was none of his business what I did. I told my husband on !
several occasions that in order to get the divorce finalized, we had to split the credit card bill and that I was not going to pay for the entire balance (which was over $6,000).


A few days afterward, my husband started calling me both at work and at home and harassing me about the credit card bill. He threatened to call Pat and start causing trouble for me. I lost it at that point and didnít know what to do. I donít know why, but I was terribly afraid that my husband would call Pat and start bad mouthing me., and I didnít know what to do. I called my lawyer up, who said he would send a letter out to my husbandís lawyer, telling her what he was doing, that it was harassment, and it was illegal and cause for further action if it continued. That night, I sat at home, all alone, shaking, chain smoking and looking out my kitchen window. I was terrified and had no one to turn to. My family was three hours away and my boyfriend was no where to be found. I called Pat up and left a frantic message for him to call me. I needed to be comforted. Even my cats couldnít make me feel any better. I thought about packing a few things and heading down to Pa!
tís house, just to stay there for the night so I wouldnít be alone. After all, I did have a key (and he had a key to my place). Then I thought better of it. I mean, after all, he wasn't home and I didnít think heíd be too happy to see me sitting in his living room in the shape I was in, when he walked through the door.


Pat finally called me after 9:00 that night from Bruceís house and said ďwhatís the problem?Ē Apparently he had checked his messages and decided to call. He was in no mood to hear my drivel and said heíd call me after he got home. He didnít do much to comfort me or calm me down and I had to repeat the story several times to him. I did not want Pat getting involved with Michael. I just wanted to be comforted; it wasnít much to ask for. When Pat and I got together mid-week at his house and I expressed my reservations about my husband bothering him, Pat started shaking and threw his fists down on the kitchen table and practically overturned the table in a fit of rage and said that he would crush my husband if he bothered him. I remember we were eating fried peppers and the oil went all over the place. I ran upstairs and hid in the bedroom until he calmed down. I remember it was raining outside and if I were smart, and had any integrity left in me, I would have gotten into!
my car, drove back to my place and never bothered with Pat again. Of course, I didnít do that. I sat in his bedroom, thinking of what I did to make him angry and what I could do to make things better.


I was a wreck at that point in our relationship. I was about 107 pounds and a size 1 or 2. I was too thin and I looked like hell. I would awake in the mornings with my heart hammering, full of anxiety. Food would not stay in my system. I was very anxious, fearful and nervous all of the time. Between my pending divorce and my poisonous relationship, I was sick inside and petrified of the thought of being alone in this world. I clung to Pat as if he were a rock in the middle of a stormy sea. Unfortunately for me, Pat did not want me clinging to him at all. I would find that out soon enough.


Sometime around the end of January, someone had broken into and attempted to steal Patís new truck. It happened while we were at his house one Sunday night. The following morning I had gone out to start his truck for him and my car, because it was cold out, and discovered the glass all over his truck. While they were successful in breaking the steering column, they did not take the truck. Maybe someone drove by and saw whoever tried steeling it. It wasnít good when I had to break that news to Pat. Although he handled it well, Iím sure he flipped out after I took him to his parentís house that morning. He was able to get his car insurance carrier to pay for the damage, and in the interim, he luckily had his Camaro to drive while the truck was getting repaired.


Valentineís Day was just a week away and I looked forward to our first Valentineís Day. I got Pat a beautiful card that cost $5 or $6. It was very sentimental and romanticÖ Since he wasnít having any luck selling his house, I went out and got a miniature statue of St. Joseph for him to bury on his property. Apparently that is used to help you when you want to sell your house. I figured that since things had been rough for us lately that Pat would make everything better on Valentineís Day. I mean, after all, he did love me, didnít he?


Valentineís Day fell on a Saturday that year. Pat came over to my place the night before, after he picked up the truck from where it was getting repaired. I was thrilled that he got me a dozen roses and I looked forward to a romantic weekend together. I was excited about what I got him, so I gave him the statue shortly after he came over. He was a little confused and didnít know what it was; he at first thought it was a sex toy. I explained it to him, that it was to bring you luck if you were trying to sell your house. He didnít seem too thrilled, but had said he heard about the statue. Since we made plans to go to dinner the following night, I asked him where we were going. He suggested that we go out to Red Lobster for dinner.


The next day was Valentineís Day and after I made us breakfast, we agreed to meet back at his house, because I had some washing to do and he wanted to get some things done around his house. When I got to his house, he was on the telephone. When I was staying for a weekend, I usually brought two bags with me; one for my clothes, and another for my toiletries and he normally brought my things in for me. I guess I was not thrilled when I got there and found him on the telephone and he didnít acknowledge me, so I stomped back outside and made as much noise as possible bringing my things in. When he got off the telephone he told me he would have helped me, if I had only waited. Speaking of waiting, I was still waiting for a Valentineís Day card. I gave him his card and went in the living room while he read the card. He came in the living room, thanked me for the card, told me that it meant a lot to him and stood the card up on the end table! I was so angry with him that I couldn't see straight.


We had to go drop his truck off because he was getting an alarm system installed and I had to follow him to where we had to go. When we were walking to our vehicles I lost it and raised hell with him. I told him how ignorant he was that he couldnít even take five minutes to get me a Valentineís Day card and accused him of being insensitive on such a romantic holiday, not to mention our first Valentineís Day. I could tell that I hurt his feelings, but I didnít care. I was right in how I was feeling and did not deserve to be treated the way that I was. The roses were nice, but the card would have made it better. What kind of man, who claims to love his woman, would do something like that on Valentineís Day after all of the shit he puts her through?


After we dropped the truck off we spent the day sitting around the house before heading out to dinner. Pat was stupid enough not to know any better than to make reservations somewhere for dinner, so wherever we attempted to go, we were turned away because the lines were so long, not to mention that we didnít have reservations anywhere. I was boiling inside. He knew he screwed up and I tried not to press the matter too much. We wound up getting Chinese take out and watching a movie at home (on the illegal cable box). Our sex life was deteriorating, as I still had to make the overtures, while he laid on his back while I did all of the work. He still knew how to put a condom on though. We finally got out to dinner the following day at Red Lobster. Red Lobster has different nautical maps around the restaurant. Pat had previously talked about buying his parentís boat from them for the upcoming summer. I remember we were eating dinner and he looked at one of the maps on the wall that showed the Atlantic off the coast of where we went down the shore in the Rehoboth area and said that will be us in a few months.


Somehow we coasted through February and it was March before I knew it. I felt as though I was doing all of the work in the relationship and he was just barely tolerating me. It was like a role reversal of sorts. It felt like I became the man and he became the woman. I knew that something had to give sooner or later. Sometime during one weekend in March we had dinner at his parentís house. During dinner I became overwhelmingly upset and left the table. I couldnít put my finger on it, but I had a feeling that something was going on. On that Sunday night when we were in bed, ready to fall asleep for the night, I started crying because he didnít want to make love. I asked him what was wrong and he said he was confused. I made it a point of telling him that he never told me he loved me anymore.. he remained unresponsive. The next morning I left his house to go to work and begin the week. It was on a Monday. He helped me put my bags in my car, kissed me and told me he loved me, but I could tell it wasnít sincereÖ


He let me know that week that he didnít want to get together for the upcoming weekend by saying that he had to work over the weekend and had some things he had to do, so I didnít bother him at all for the rest of the week and that weekend. Instead, I started perusing the personal ads on AOL that week once again and even placed one of my own (minus the picture). Much to my surprise, there were plenty of men who wanted to meet me and go out with me. So, to keep myself occupied, I started dating again, but not seriously, just for companionship and to get out for a change. Deep down, despite my hopes that things would be okay with us, I knew that it was over with Pat, but he still didnít confirm that. I decided that I would go back to Paralegal School and get my Paralegal Certificate. I had taken one course before Michael and I separated, but I still had another yearís worth ahead of me that I needed to do.


Pat had called me on the phone one night, shortly after the weekend that he blew me off, and told me that he needed time to think. He was confused about our relationship and wasnít sure of his feelings for me any more. I suggested that he give it some time and not make any harsh decisions without us spending some time away from each other. He agreed to do that for a week. The following week he made plans to come up to see me. I assumed he would be spending the night. He was almost 30 minutes late from when he was supposed to be over and I was frantic by the time he arrived. I was in my kitchen, looking out the window waiting for him to pull up. When he came inside he didnít even kiss me hello. He simply sat down next to me and said ďweíve got to talkĒ. He told me that he didnít feel the same way about me that he used to and he apologized for leading me on. He told me that it wasnít going to work and that he was tired of pretending. I begged and pleaded with him and told him that we didnít spend enough time away from each other and to please give it more time. I asked him if there was someone else and he said no. He told me that he brought all of my things up with him and they were out in his truck. I watched him bring everything in, with tears in my eyes and my heart in my throat. At my urging, he agreed to give it more time, a few more weeks, another month, before any final decisions were made. I told him that I was determined to make things work with us and that he needed to spend some time away from me so he could miss me. He briefly held me then kissed me. He promised to call soon and then he left.


I had to keep busy. During the following days and weeks I went out on dates, enrolled in Paralegal school and somehow managed to survive each day. I talked to God a lot during that time and asked Him for the strength that I needed to get through each day. I prayed that my life would get better and that Pat would want me still. I was afraid of being alone.


Pat called to check on my well being, but it was more or less simply a courtesy call. I remember one afternoon he called me just as I was heading out the door for a date and I couldnít wait to get off the telephone with him. I wonder if he knew what I was doing. I was hoping that he would miss me and possibly even get jealous if he even thought that I was dating. Pat and I had tentatively made plans to get together at the end of March, but he couldnít get in touch with me on that particular day that we had scheduled to get together, despite his leaving messages for me on my cell phone, at work and at home that day. I had a seminar in the city and went out afterward with people I knew.


I called Pat back that Sunday, but was unable to get in touch with him. After playing phone tag for a week we finally spoke the following Monday night. He called me and we talked for over a half an hour. We made plans to meet that Thursday night. I offered to come down and he suggested that we go out to dinner. He said that he missed me and was looking forward to getting together on Thursday. I was thrilled to death and thought this is it! He really missed meÖ he wants to get back together again!


I made plans to leave work early that day and get my hair touched up. It was a rainy, dreary day. I drove up to my hair stylistís place, got my hair done and drove home in the pouring rain. By the time I got home it was close to 3:00 and I had an hour and a half to spare before I had to be at Patís house. When I walked into my bedroom my Caller ID box was blinking. Pat had called several times that day from noontime on. I listened to the messages and he said on each of them for me to call him right away, he had to speak with me and that it was important. I checked my messages at work and he left a similar one on my voice mail there as well. I checked my cell phone voice mail and there was another one from him. I knew that something was terribly wrong.


I called my friend Rob, who I had met on line recently and started hanging around with. He knew what I was going through with Pat. It was Robís birthday that day and we spoke that morning. He knew that Pat and I were supposed to get together that night and he wished me luck. I called Rob and told him what was going on. He suggested that I call Pat and get to the bottom of it and handle it head on and to be strong. I was scared. I tried calling Pat for about 20 minutes and kept getting a busy signal. I was going to drive down to his house if I didnít get through. After a few more tries, his phone rang and he picked it up immediately. He told me he was sorry, and that he could not see me that night and that he thought about it and we were through. I cried, begged and pleaded, but it didnít do me any good. I asked him if he thought he would ever change his mind and he said no.


I guess he never had any intention of meeting me that night after all. I was heartbroken and shattered; I felt betrayed and used. My friend Rob came over that night, with a burger, a soda and some fries, and held me while I cried my eyes out. I wanted to die. I will never forget that day as long as I live and the anguish I felt. I was so grateful that Rob was there for me to talk to.


The following day was Good Friday and I packed my things and went up to visit my family for the weekend, but not before getting the locks changed on my apartment. Pat still had the key and I didnít trust him any more. My days of trusting a man were over for a long time.


That weekend was spent licking my wounds and keeping to myself. My family knew Pat and I were having problems and that it was just a matter of time before the relationship was dead.


I started Paralegal school that month and after 12 months had completed the course and got my Paralegal Certificate. Throughout the course I maintained close to an A average.
Paralegal school was a bit of a yardstick for me in many ways. I got to know myself better and for the first time, focused on me. I started dating eventually, but there wasnít anyone who I could tolerate for any extended periods of time. Going to school kept me busy and gave me a sense of self-worth, which is what I needed to do at that time. I spent a lot of time by myself, had my share of dark nights of the soul and did a great deal of healing. I continued to pray and asked God to help me get over this heartache that I was experiencing. I was very hurt and angry for some time. I even called Patís cable company and told them that he had an illegal cable box. In time I eventually wanted to love again, but never wanted to endure the emotional pain and suffering that I had. Nevertheless, despite my hopes and wishes there was a part of me that died because of all that I went through, between my pending divorce and the failed relationship I had with Pat. Unfortunately, when a piece of you dies, it leaves you scarred and it somehow changes you.


A year later, just before I finished Paralegal school, I did meet someone. Because of the issues I had with trust, I had a difficult time opening up with this new person. Luckily he saw that there was something good deep down inside of me and continued to work on me and pursue me. He taught me how to trust and love again. That was a year and a half ago and we are now living together in a very loving, caring, warm and fulfilling relationship.


He was in a bad marriage that ended after four years and had his share of issues when we met as well. We both worked through our differences, but have continued to communicate and stay committed to each other because our love is very important to each of us.


We both wish that we had met each other sooner in life, as it would have spared each of us a lot of grief and heartache. But what matters is that we have each other now.


There is a happily ever after and I am living it today.



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