Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's Wrong With Me?

"I got an interesting email today," Dave said when he came in from work. 
"Oh yeah," I said. "From who?"
"My ex."
She never contacts him. Ever. One day she told him she didn't want him anymore and she disappeared into a black hole. A party princess having her midlife crisis a few years early.
"What'd she want? A divorce?" A little on the sarcastic side.
"Yeah," Dave said. "Her boyfriend proposed."
Anger welled up in me in a rush.
It was so bitter it surprised even me.
"EVERYONE gets a proposal except me," I screamed. "EVERYONE!"
Dave did an abrupt disappearance of his own, shutting the bathroom door in my face.
"I'm sorry," I said to the door.
I went to bed, curled up with a pillow and started a self-pity party. The thoughts that ran through my head were neither positive nor constructive.

I feel like I talked Doug into marrying me.
He told me I was his second choice, that if his first girlfriend ever came back that he would leave me, even if we were married and had six kids, he would go back to her.
Nineteen years later, he left me. Not for her. For someone else.
I was his second choice in the beginning.
And, in the end, second wasn't good enough.

I've been with Dave for more than four years. 
He has never popped the question.
He won't even talk about it.
I know he has issues with being hurt the first time around. But I don't think that's the problem. I don't think I'm good enough.
If I was good enough, he would have asked already.

I've been working on a wedding guide at work for the last week or so. Every day I lay out happy stories about weddings. Every day I adjust photos of beautiful, smiling brides. I read their proposal stories, I see their happiness and I wonder why I'm not good enough.


  1. You. Are. Awesome.
    That wedding guide is messing with your head. Maybe you could suggest a divorce guide, or a living-together-happily guide as an antidote?
    And... wow, the more of your posts I read, the more I admire you for being absolutely, heartbreakingly _real_. Thank you.

  2. Or MAYBE it's not about you, maybe it's about other people's hang-ups or downfalls or .. who knows?

    You are too nifty to be thinking you aren't. So knock it off.

  3. Tell yourself the same thing I tell myself when I feel the way you do right now.

    "He is with me because he wants to be, not because a piece of paper says he has to."
    I spent years married to a man I had that piece of paper with and he screwed around on me. The man I am with now won't marry me either, he had a bad experience before so that's his reasoning, and I think, "why am I being punished for something she did."
    So when I think about it it hurts, just like you are hurting. But the fact is he loves you and is committed to big time. Once burned twice shy.
    I feel for you. I wish for you. And in time it may happen for you. But. Is our focusing on the act of getting married and having that piece of paper worth the risk of us pushing these great guys away.
    Do you really want to feel you talked someone else into marrying you? It will be much more meaningful don't you think if he proposes on his own accord. Because he was ready and it was what he wanted.
    I understand how and why you reacted. Fully, nad totally I do. Rs X got maried this last summer. and yes, I reacted much the same. We are no less worthy or less loved by these men. Maybe they are both afraid that the act of getting married is what ruins things and they don't want to ruin thins with us.They don't marry us because we matter to them more than their X's.

    Works for me.

  4. You are awesome !!!... don't forget that .... maybe this was his moment to feel some hurt and remember a time when he was not good enough. I mean we are talking about his ex-wife who wants to get married.

    Love you.

  5. Marriage is overrated and has become as commercial as Christmas and Halloween. Just look at the percentage of failures in todays world. People get married for the wrong reasons sometimes. Times have changed
    Happily Unmarried

  6. Hey there. This post I had to respond to. Because this post hits home. But for all kinds of reasons I wish I didn't relate to. To be brief, I haven't had the worlds best luck with men. I choose bad ones. I pick ones that need fixing. I pick ones that need babysitters. Because a long long long time ago, back when I was 18 and all kinds of youthful beautiful and gushing emotion, someone broke my heart. Into about a zillion pieces. And being a Pisces, I decided it was all my fault. That I wasn't worth the effort, and that's why he'd done that horrible thing. So I decided I didn't need love if love didn't want me on its team. I've almost doubled my time on earth since that first heartache, and what I've realized is this: sometimes people do crappy things to good people. But the only person who can set your worth is you. And in the last few years I've come to believe in happy endings again. I've come to believe that there is someone out there who is meant to have my back through thick and thin. Through times when I'm crying uncontrollably over a lost Elvis, am angry at the world for things that aren't the world's fault, and for when I'm arguing a point that is definitely wrong - but goddamit I'll argue it anyway. I am worth that kind of love. It just took me a long time to realize it. (stupid stubborn Pisces.) And you are worth it my funny, creative, stubborn, beautiful friend. I think Dave has your back regardless of any situation life throws at you two, just as you'd go to the ends of the earth for him. Even if it was just to bring him a really good coffee. That's love. And that's way more important than something written on a piece of paper.
    (I always find it funny that I work on the wedding guide, being unmarried and un-proposed to. I find it almost as funny as me working on a 'How to manage your money guide.')
    Go easy on yourself. You're pretty hard on that Cathy lady, Cathy.

  7. not good enough for what? for a piece of paper that won't keep him in the house a minute longer than he wants to be anyway? There are almost as many divorce papers littering the landscape as their are marriage certificates. You don't need bits of dead tree in a frame with a photograph to tell you you are 'worthy.' You are YOU. That's enough. That's always been enough.

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  9. Marriage means the world to me. I dreamt of it all my life. It also was not always open to me. So, perhaps I have a different perspective.

    Yes, I proposed. Yes, marriage meant something to me and little or nothing to her. As a dream and from my spiritual side it was very important. It was also something I had to wait for and fight for to have the legal right to be entitled to. Yet, it does not mean that much.

    If vows are meaningful it is us, the people, who make them meaningful. Anyone can say some words, after someone says "repeat after me"... I believe, that any commitment, a real and meaningful commitment, is made long before a proposal or a wedding...

    It is no less real because marriage is not there. If that was true then what did we have, those of us who would have been married but could not all those years? We had meaningful, commitments. We had love. For me, love -genuine, real, authentic love -trumps anything anyone could say after "repeat after me". Any day of the week...

    Take it from me, because when we mark anniversaries, it is not the legal one that is the meaningful one.

  10. Cathy you are one brave gal! Brutally honest and poignant. I am no expert but I know it has nothing to do with you. I can identify with your feelings that's for sure. Thank you so much for sharing...


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