My latest source of significant baggage generation was Randy. He and I dated for about four and a half years, the first year and a half of which were really good. After that initial period of bliss, things began to deteriorate. He was moody. Very moody. We fought almost every time we spoke. It was always my fault, and after being screamed at I would end up apologizing.
Any of his stuff was off limits. If I touched his bag, his cell phone, or his computer I would be yelled at. He said that I should respect his privacy and leave all of his stuff alone. I was never searching through these things; the yelling would start if I went to hand his phone to him as it was ringing or moving his backpack off of the couch to sit down. Any of these actions were “being nosy.” It always felt like an entirely inappropriate reaction, but I kept telling myself that he was just a private person.
Doing anything with my group of friends was always horrible, and it produced a never ending string of complaints and insults. “Your friends suck,” “Why do you even bother with those people?” “You should go out and make some better friends then I wouldn’t mind hanging out with them.”
Trying to get him to spend time with my family? It would happen once every six months or so, and it always resulted in a massive fight.
Randy was still in school when we started dating, and he ended up having to draw out his degree over the course of our relationship. There was always a reason why he would have to take another term. Perhaps a required class was not being offered or he had waited too long to register and the classes he needed were full. He was always in school, but usually only in one or two classes. For the last couple of years of our relationship, I began to notice that he no longer had his books and notes around. He was in nursing, yet he never had scrubs. He had always had scrubs around before. One day I called him on this, asking him what was going on, as it did not seem like he was attending classes. Well, I learned my lesson there. He was in my face absolutely screaming at me for fifteen minutes or more telling me what an awful girlfriend I was. How could I dare question him like that? Do I not trust him? Again, I ended up apologizing.
There was never work for Randy. He would apply for “a ton of jobs” and never get any of them. I funded the majority of our dates as well as “lending” him thousands of dollars. When he would pick up a job for several months, these loans continued to be unpaid. If I brought up repayment, he would get furious, call me selfish, and say he would pay me back after he had treated himself for working or after he had met other financial obligations. There was always an excuse and I always ended up feeling like a horrible person for even asking.
One day, out of the blue, Randy broke up with me saying he could never see himself marrying me. That’s right – he broke up with me. And that’s the best thing anyone ever has done for me.
I had definitely thought about breaking up with him. Years of my life were filled with fighting and being yelled at; who would not think about ending it? But my confidence was shot. I was always wrong. I was always dumb. I was always last on the priority list. The poem I posted in November relates back to those feelings that still occasionally haunt me. I thought one day Randy would see how much I had done for him and become the gentleman I thought he could be. I had convinced myself that would be the prize for sticking by him through all those tough times.
After Randy and I broke up I discovered that he had been dealing drugs as well as using them. I also found out that he had not been registered in school for the last year or two of our relationship. No one is really sure when he stopped going to school, but it was way before the breakup.
A part of me found comfort in these discoveries. It was validation for the feelings of suspicion I had felt for several years. I needed to be stronger and trust my instincts because they had been right all along. We often tell ourselves that we are being paranoid when we have feelings of doubt about our partners. Trust needs to be the foundation for a successful relationship, and feelings of doubt undermine our ability to have complete trust. With Randy I had myself totally convinced that the messages sent by my instincts were being altered by the baggage from my previous relationships. I was not trusting myself.
Just as I had discovered that I could not properly support others when I was operating outside of my comfort zone, I found that I need to trust myself before I can trust others. If you believe another person’s truth about who you are and ignore the truths that come from within, it will always end in disaster.