It’s Not Really A Secret

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.

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26 thoughts on “It’s Not Really A Secret

  1. This is so smart, and I love it. Great articulation of those weird feelings that crop up, even though we don’t want them to and can’t explain WHY it feels so uncomfortable. You have a keeper, lady.

  2. I love this so much. Also love the fact that you found such a wonderful man to share your life with (even when it’s difficult) because you deserve SO much goodness.

  3. Ooof. HARD. So hard. (TWSS). But really, there are some people who have a grip on our hearts. I have an ex who I am no longer in love with, but that I care(d) about a lot and it’s weird for both of us to watch us move on. I don’t think we ever stop caring about some people, but we make a choice to actively love another. I’m so glad Darcy is so thoughtful and wonderful. That’s the sign of an amazing man.

  4. I find this a very poignant story, told on VD. It shows you are with the right man and he loves you and guess what, you deserve to be loved and the person should be pined over.

  5. I was in a horribly toxic relationship for years and years. It was horrible, but all the dysfunction caused drama, and I mistook drama for passion. I know now that they are very different things. One day, I realized that the reason I wanted to make things work with this guy is because he was/is like my father, and I thought that if I could make this guy value me and love me that it would make up for the fact that my father is an asshole who never loved me, abused me and threw a television at me.

    The thing is that it wouldn’t. My father is not capable of love. He is selfish and histrionic and narcissistic. Also, he’s a sociopathic liar. He has absolutely none of the qualities I look for in a friend or mentor. I didn’t make him selfish, histrionic and narcissistic. I can’t stop him from being that way.

    And suddenly, I was free from wanting to be in a relationship with this guy because I realized that I didn’t want that kind of love. And I realized that a lot of my emotions were about my relationship with my father, not about this guy at all.

    This ex? Sounds like an asshole. And a liar. And a drama queen. That picture? Is not the truth. He is incapable of the truth. He is only capable of manipulation to get what he wants. Or what he thinks he wants.

    He never loved you. Because if he had loved you, he wouldn’t have treated you or the other woman/women in his live the way he did. There is a very good chance that the only person this ex is capable of loving is himself. And even that love is dysfunctional.

    You now know what real love looks like and feels like. And I’m going to wager you never felt love with this ex. You had other strong emotions – some of which you might have thought were love – but probably weren’t. The most important thing about love is that love makes you feel safe and encourages you to try harder do accomplish your dreams.

    toxic relationships can be like drugs. you get a rush from them. They consume you and distract you. they are full of drama. The endorphin rush is addictive. Toxic relationships don’t make you feel safe, though. And they distract you from being your best self. Hence, the emotions you feel in them are not love.

    The difference in between love from a healthy relationship and faux love/lust from a toxic relationship is akin to the difference between an endorphin high from exercise and doing heroin. They are extremely different things. One is sustainable and good for you. The other is not sustainable and continually harms you.

    It’s a corny song, there is no doubt, but “God blessed the broken road” does contain truths. And whatever deity or karma or god or goddess you believe in did lead you to Mr. Darcy when you were ready to accept someone who loves you completely and cherishes you and makes you feel safe and encourages you to be the best you can be.

  6. I think it helps in a way to know that someone that you once were in a relationship with is pining for you… or realizes that they really screwed up by letting you go. Even if you don’t ever want to be in a relationship with them again EVER it is somehow satisfying to find out that they want you. I think this is a self esteem issue for me. I have had a couple of relationships where the man has broken up with me even though I know I am the best woman that has ever been in their life. I just secretly hope that they realize that!!!

  7. I know exactly how you feel. I am with a man who I would (and will) choose every single day of my life over my ex, and yet I can’t help but feel anger/jealousy/etc. from time to time. Fortunately I feel grateful it didn’t work out, but those other feelings creep in every so often. Those other feelings are valid — but I do think the continue to fade with time as long as we acknowledge them, as you’ve done with Mr. Darcy. Don’t you love it when the good ones blow your mind for being understanding and kind about these kinds of things?

  8. This made me tear up!! Sometimes we need to feel the past to realize how far we’ve come, and not only that, to make us appreciate what we have even MORE! It’s sometimes painful, but one of those blessings in disguise I suppose. It’s so great that you’re able to have these sorts of conversations with Mr. Darcy.

  9. This post resonates with me so much on a level I’m really not comfortable or able to get into in a blog comment, other than to say that I too have had a history of choosing men who didn’t deserve me, and how special it is when you find someone who is willing to listen to the hurt you’re processing caused by another, without jealousy or judgement, and how that is someone worth holding on to.

  10. I think it’s somewhat amazing to realize that we never really completely let go of the people in our past, that a memory, a picture, a word can hit us out of left field…. but the good thing is that we’re able to rationalize situations and relationships and that we grow and learn what is good for us and who can really make us happy. I am so happy you found Mr. Darcy.

  11. Hurrah for this post! That’s all I really want to say.

    [Oh, and of course you *are* supposed to still care, on some level at least – it would frankly be weird if you didn’t. I still hold a (much diminished) grudge against an ex I split up from messily almost 10 years ago because I felt he made me look a fool. Although I hardly ever think about him (and generally with a mixture of pity and also relief for my lucky escape when I do), I would certainly be discombobulated if I unexpectedly came across a photo of him with someone else. That’s just human.]

  12. What a beautifully written tribute to your relationship with Mr. Darcy. I think we all have a somewhat, but not entirely truthful image of our ex’s. It’s what allows us to move on (it’s a lot easier thinking our ex’s will never amount to anything or are missing us after all these years than it is knowing they’ve moved on and have a life without us). I remember after I had gotten married to Sweets, I found out an ex was engaged. He was the ex I thought would never be able to commit to a relationship. It stung a little bit. Not because he was better for me than Sweets (FAR from it), but because he didn’t see me as his one. To this day, I keep telling myself that even though he’s married, they’ll never have kids. It’s easier that way. ha.

  13. I met AK four months after B broke my heart, and AK spent a good chunk of our first year together patiently listening to me angrily process my previous relationship. It probably didn’t hurt that AK was usually a hero in stories I told, but still, I’m so grateful to have found someone who understood that the past doesn’t stay in the past. I’m glad you have too.

  14. Darn it I don’t know how I missed this post! Man I can only imagine what it must have been like to see that secret post. I had a phone conversation this week with a guy who got away in 2004 and then promptly scoured the Internet for about an hour afterward to find pictures of him and his wife. And like you, I would never trade my husband for anything. But those memories when jostled around most certainly still sting. I’m glad Darcy was there to blow on yours for you.

  15. Whoa!

    Plus, we all know its never really about you, it’s a million billion quadrillion percent him. And then some. Jeez! (Also, I saw you in a crowded path jostling in opposite directions at number shoot (Bumbershoot, auto correct! Sheesh!) one year. we were trying to head to uh huh her, I think…kinda over by KOMO? At that weird claustrophobic, far corner, CRAPPY sound section of the festival stage! I think — I remember the show so fondly 😉 ugh, and the crowd. Gross. ANYWAY, now I kinda wonder if that’s who you were with that day? Crazy. (& for good measure, Fuckery)

    Commenting while taking dilaudid is kind of fun. I wouldn’t suggest it though.

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