Mr. Darcy and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. We get each other a card and have dinner together, nothing fancy. But last night I came home from dance and there was a roaring fire, candles lit, the table set with flowers, and a husband preparing me dinner. Please note that the only thing Mr. Darcy has cooked for me in our three plus years together is a grilled cheese.
I married a sweetheart. His sweetness is a constant truth but it still catches me off guard. I haven’t always picked nice guys to give my heart to. Case in point, the other day I was scrolling through the secrets on Post Secret when I came upon a postcard that made me stop and do a double take. There was a photo of two people mid-kiss with the text of the postcard cutting off half their faces. The cursive handwriting said something about wishing he could forget her so he could move on with his life.
The man kissing the woman in the photo is an ex of mine.
And then everything got complicated inside me. Because here I am, a happily married woman, feeling like someone gut-punched me as I look at the ex kissing his ex in a photo on a famous website. It’s so complicated, the story of me and this ex, I can’t even begin to explain it here. The cut-to-the-chase version would be: we were on again and off again over the span of 5 years and the last time we were on again, he and the woman in the picture with him, were breaking up and he was (once again) proclaiming his undying love for me (as he was wont to do, even when he was engaged to her). But, here is his face with her face, kissing, with his words about being unable to move on with his life since they split (over 3 years ago). We all make wrong choices. Maybe his was cheating on her. Very possibly mine was ever giving that guy my heart.
I’m not supposed to care about this at all or feel like a complete chump for believing everything he said all those years when he’d come crawling back to me over and over with his professions of me being his one and only. But being married doesn’t erase my past and having ended it with him doesn’t make it not hurt. I started to question all of it and felt the fool. Not because I care about him pining for me but if he did, would that finally make all the shit he put me through mean something? Truthfully, I always thought that someday I’d find a secret on that site from him about me.
I haven’t spoken to him in years, not since right before I met Mr. Darcy. I believe that letting this ex go was a big reason I was able to be open to SEE Mr. Darcy when he entered my life. Like I’ve said, I have not always excelled at being available for good men. But I walked away from that toxic, tumultuous relationship that made me feel small and unworthy and twisted up inside and said aloud: I want more than this for myself. I want to build a life with someone who shows up, who is here with me every day in every way, who builds me up, not breaks me down. I wanted someone who would fight for me and our relationship.
Enter Mr. Darcy, stage left.
I talked to Mr. Darcy about all this over dinner the night I discovered the postcard. I was nervous to tell him I was hurt that the postcard was not about me but I didn’t want to keep it from him when it bothered me so much. But, true to form, he got it and wasn’t threatened by it. We actually had a thoughtful conversation about love, relationships, the past, and ego. And in the end, I was reminded again what an amazing man I am married to.
The ex used to say he was never jealous of the men I dated while we were broken up because no one would ever love each other like we did. In a way he’s right- no two loves are exactly the same- but in a big way he’s so, so wrong because I would choose Mr. Darcy a million times over him. Even when we’re a mess, we’re fighting, we’re annoying or boring each other, Mr. Darcy is my choice. The love I share with him surpasses every other love I’ve had. It’s the love I want to spend the rest of my life in.