If you are reading this letter, you have proven yourself to be an exceptional man in my view. (yes, simply by choosing to read it). So thanks for that. There are too few men in my world who can say the same thing.
There have been some very big relationships in my life up until now, and maybe I have already shared some of the stories with you through this blog or even personally, but I doubt I have even begun to scratch the surface of how they have impacted me. I feel that they have been very instrumental in shaping my theories on romantic relationships and even life in general, and I think it is important to show you how.
I am not going to start with my first love, because in retrospect he was quite insignificant in the scheme of who Lola really is/was. I will just say this about that relationship. He was 12 years older than I was and I was very young and naive. I trusted him when I should have run. He was my first relationship and it lasted for almost 3 years. I could have become cynical and a man-hater after him, but I chose love. How great is that?
enter Javier (my ex-husband)
I still love Javier in many ways, and if he was not re-married, it is likely that I would entertain the idea of a second chance with him (if he asked). I cannot say for certain that I would, but I cannot say for certain that I would not. It would depend on how much he has learned and grown, I suppose. His good qualities far outweighed his bad ones, that is for sure, but there was one bad quality that was a deal-breaker for me. He was a serial cheater. His reasons? There are many. I do not think he wanted to be this way, I do not believe he intentionally decided to be a dog who cheated on his wife. I think he was a sex addict who also lacked the proper male role model in his life growing up. But even that is an oversimplification of why he acted the way he did.
I once heard someone say “I never knew how selfish I was until I got married.” I would agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. I realized about 8 months into my marriage that I was a pampered princess who expected my man to cater to my needs. Unfortunately, recognizing it was only the first step. I am not sure I ever really rectified it in the 5 years we were married. It takes time to get something you were raised with out of your system, but I can happily inform you that I am cured of this behavior now. I am a firm believer that if a person wants to change, they will. I wanted to become a less selfish woman, a better woman, and I did. But I didn’t do it by myself.
enter Roberto (long time love of 8+ years)
I still love Roberto and believe that we could have been happy as a married couple. He has been very instrumental in me becoming the fabulous woman you see before you. Outside of my father, he is the sweetest man I have ever known. He is also one of the wisest men I will ever know. Roberto has the ability to analyze and be philosophical all at once. He has listened to me tirelessly and offered advice and support no matter what I have been enduring (even about my relationships with other men). He is one of the most selfless people I know (male or female) and the best thing about him is that he loves me unconditionally. We were both married when we met, and we did not plan on falling in love. I fell first, like a ton of bricks. I spent years pining for him in silence, never letting on to Roberto. And I never considered telling him as long as we were both married. But during my divorce, things got messy and my hand was forced by my ex-husband to tell Roberto or he would. I wanted him to hear it from me, so I told him of my feelings and how long I had been carrying them. He responded with a like sentiment and that is how our friendship went into a relationship. Unfortunately that was almost 8 years ago and he is still married (albeit for other reasons than love). I have only recently decided that we should take some time apart until we can become friends again without repeating an unhealthy cycle that I do not feel comfortable in. The biggest surprise to me about my relationship with Roberto is that I could fall in love with a married man while I myself was also married. If you would have told me I would EVER be that type of woman, I would have said you were crazy. As it turns out, nobody is exempt from the power of love. Nobody.
During our relationship, he told me that I should feel free to date others as he knew he did not deserve my full attention. He also told me that he would not form any romantic relationships with any other women (including his wife) and I really do believe he was true to that. Even when I released him of that obligation, he stood firm.
enter Alex (the man I could not give my heart to)
Alex had pretty much everything. Looks, a simple charm, humor, intelligence, philosophy, nice body, a gorgeous mansion, money to burn, and he was crazy about me. I met him the first night I moved back to my parent’s home (when my husband left me for another woman). My brother took me out for a beer in our small hometown on a Tuesday night after I flew in from the big city to try to cheer me up. Alex knew my brother and when he walked into the pub, he honed right in on us. I felt my heart skip a beat, I cannot lie. There was raw masculinity and sex appeal just oozing from his scruffy cowboy face. He got himself a beer and strolled right on over and plopped himself down next to us. And there he sat for the next hour as I briefed him on my plight. Having been divorced himself (and not wanting the divorce) he was very sympathetic and understanding. He told me when things calmed down for me a bit that he had some books he could give me that I might find helpful. He told me he would call me in a couple of weeks. Over the next 2 weeks I found myself hoping he really would call me, even though I wasn’t at all in a frame of mind for a relationship. (hello, I just moved out of the house I shared with my Javier the very day I met Alex!) That is still crazy to me. True to his word, he called me 2 weeks later. That made me feel really good; a man who does what he says he will do, how refreshing! We had dinner and he came right out of the gate with the news that he was very attracted to me but he would not complicate my life in any way. He offered his friendship with no strings attached and after some back and forth to make sure he understood where I was emotionally, and that I had no idea when or if it would change, I accepted his gracious offer. We had a great friendship for a year. He never once made a pass at me during that time. (what restraint and patience he showed.) He dated other women off and on during our friendship, and that was fine with me. Please remember, I was also in the middle of figuring out what I had with Roberto during this time. I was being emotionally satisfied by Roberto and having the pleasure of Alex’s company on a regular basis. You might say I had my cake and was eating it too. Although quite unintentionally. So as you can see, I have a lot of good things to say about Alex, so what gives? WTF was my problem? My standard response for any of my relationships is now: “It’s complicated.” But I will give a brief overview of some of the main issues. One night, as Alex and I were enjoying a martini and laughing, he leaned over and brushed my hair out of my face and kissed me on the cheek. This happened out of the blue and I was not prepared for it. Not only that, but I was not sure I wanted it. So, problem #1 arose when he “forced me” to deal with something I was not ready to deal with. That little kiss complicated everything. I started feeling all kinds of pressure to reciprocate if I didn’t want to lose his friendship, and possibly more. Remember, I was attracted to him and I guess I always wondered what it would be like to have a romantic relationship with him, but I just wasn’t ready. So I caved to the pressures I was feeling and made out with him that night. I felt guilty afterwards but was so confused and having all sorts of anxiety about what to do. This began an off again on again relationship/friendship. There were weeks we were friends, and weeks we were lovers. The whole thing was painful and confusing for both of us. I finally broke it off and said we just have to be friends, I am not ready to move forward. He agreed, and I moved 2 hours away and got a job and a relatively new life. We remained friends. I dated somewhat sporadically and I saw Alex socially when I was back in my hometown. He got into another relationship and life was finally sort of on an even keel. Until one night, when I suddenly panicked about losing him to this other woman. What if he marries her? I asked myself in horror. What if that’s it? So I called him and told him I wanted to meet to talk. We met halfway between our houses at a hotel. That was the night I gave in to him completely and said, okay Alex, I’m in this relationship, let’s do it. That was when we became a real couple. It lasted for a couple of months, and it was working. I was really committed to making it work…..until…..I got an urgent email from Roberto who had a major health scare. I started totally unraveling over the next several days and was immediately going to pick up and fly out to be with him. I told Alex about this and he was hurt and leery (and I don’t blame him.) Long story short, I realized how intense my feelings for Roberto were and that when push came to shove, he was my priority. Also during this time Alex started acting like a total ass (very mean, and borderline verbally abusive) to me. I packed it in, saying I was not up for fighting dirty with another man, that I had enough of that with my ex-husband to last me the rest of my life. And that was the end of my relationship with Alex. We did try friends with benefits several months later, and it actually did work until he met another woman and pulled the plug on that. Looking back now, I do not believe that I ever really loved Alex (in fact, I don’t think I ever told him I did). But I am happy for that relationship because it taught me what it is like to be on the other side of what I went through next.
enter Tristan (the man who could not give his heart to me)
I will condense this section greatly by saying this: Take everything that happened from my perspective in the above relationship and shift it to Tristan’s perspective in this relationship. Then add the fact that he did claim to love me (with an Agape love, Phileo love and Eros love), the fact that he was the first man to receive my eternal undying devotion and commitment, throw in the fact that he was also a widower………and, well you get the idea. He was an emotional basketcase, just as I was with Alex. The difference is that I wonder if Tristan really ever gave us a fair chance as I did with Alex. My heart tells me no. And Tristan talks out of both sides of his mouth, so I cannot answer that question at this time. He is the only one who truly knows. I know that I love him and still have a little bit of hope for this one. People often ask me what I saw in him, what was it about him that really did it for me. Beyond the fact that I find him fascinating, hilarious and charming as hell, this is the first guy in my life who I just felt like it was right. I just felt like we worked, there was that extra special chemistry that made us seem like we were almost the same person. There are several posts that deal directly with my relationship with Tristan. If you are interested in learning more about what I saw in him and how he made me feel, you may read the following posts for more insight: Lola and the grief monster, Knowin’ when to fold em’.
All in all, I think I am progressing in my relationships. I do not see any “repeat performances” nor am I looking for such a thing. I feel that each of these men has given me so much joy and education mixed in with all the heartache. And tonight, even on the heels of dealing simultaneously with heartbreak over the loss of both Roberto and Tristan, I can truly say that I agree with Alfred Lord Tennyson who said: It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.