Thursday, September 11, 2008

Prompt 27.2 Negative effect /couples_therapy

Mamas gone

2. Discuss some aspect of your relationship that you feel has had a negative effect on you as an individual.

No relationship is perfect, I know that, I'm not some naive love-struck teenager swept off my feet by the first girl who smiled at me. Well, maybe once I was and she was perfect, at least in my eye, and yes, she was my first. I look back at my courtship and marriage to Danijela and I'd be hard pressed to find anything in it that has had a negative effect on me, unless you count how it ended, and the lives that were lost with hers.

I was 25 when my family was lost to me, Danijela was just 23, our daughter was 5, and our son was 18 months old. I'd proposed to Danijela when she was just 16, and we became husband and wife shortly after her 18th birthday, and we both truly believed we would spend the rest of our lives together. We were wrong, and it would take me close to ten years before I would even go so far to even ask another woman out for coffee, let alone consider dating. Danijela had meant everything to me, and when I buried her and our children it was as if I'd buried my reason for living with them.

Abby was only the second woman I went out with when I finally decided to give "living" a second chance. There was a time when I wondered if what happened on our first date wasn't a sign that it wasn't the right time for us, but, if it was, neither of us listened. By the time we both realized that there were things in our lives, both past, and present that made our being together "wrong," we'd both already said things to each other we couldn't take back.

Abby and I were lucky, despite the things we said to each other, despite what we might have felt when our relationship ended, our friendship endured. We didn't see it at first, I guess in a way we both had to find our way out of the maze we had created for ourselves, and that took time. We did it though, and eventually we found our way back to each other, and then came Joe, and marriage...and then things began to unravel a bit.

I couldn't have planned for my father to get sick, and it wasn't as if I didn't try to get him to come to the States for treatment, but, he wouldn't and I was left with no choice but to stay with him. I never planned to be gone as long as I was, and if there had been a way for Abby and Joe to join me, she had to know I would have made arrangements for them to be on the next plane. She had to know I would have done anything to have had the situation different than it was, but, there is nothing she can say, that can justify what she did while I was gone.

I can't think of anything more important in a relationship then trust, and Abby took that away from us. Not just because she chose to start drinking again, not just because her drinking put our son's life in danger, I don't even know if the fact that she cheated on me is what fully stole it. I think maybe it's the knowing that while I was away worrying about how much longer my father had to live, while I was wondering if he might have the chance to meet her and Joe before he died, she was lying to me. Even when I managed to come back with Niko, even in those few days, while my father was still alive and we still clung to hope, she still couldn't be fully truthful with me. I have to wonder now, how many other things will be hidden in half-truths as we go on with our lives together?

I'm not ready to give up on our marriage. I love Abby, despite her betrayal of our vows and me. I would like to think that the vows we spoke to each other on our wedding day were more than just words on a piece of paper. I'd like to think that what we have between us is strong enough to withstand any obstacle that fate might place before us, but, now I'm not so sure. My father died while Niko and I were back here in Chicago, I'll never get those final days with him back. Joe returned to Croatia with us to bury him, I would have liked Abby to have been with us, to have had my wife at my side as I said good-bye to my father, that too is something I can never reclaim. There is no way to deny the damage that Abby's betrayal has done to our relationship but, with time and work on both of our parts, I think we can heal.

Abby and I have both decided that an important part of our recovery is a fresh start, as much as going home has made me long for a return for Croatia, we've decided to stay in the States. There is no question that changing jobs is a necessity, especially where Abby is concerned. We've talked it over, and if we want this to work, we have to make a clean break from everyone and so, that means changing cities as well. We both want this to work, it has to, not just for us, but for Joe. We can find our way back from this, I know we can...we have to. I refuse to believeanything less. This is our life, there aren't anymore second chances.

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