Friday, February 10, 2006

The Wisdom of Hindsight

In my opinion, there were so many signs that things weren't right, so many signs that I missed along the way. I teased Rick once during our marriage that our dinner together that night of June 22, 1995 was all part of his plan to seduce me. Rick laughed at me when I told him; I didn't know at the time but in my opinion, I was right. I do not believe there was anything innocent about the way our relationship began. My promotion and raise, the bonus I received, the way Rick mentored me, the trips to Starbucks for coffee, the lunch at Palio D'Asti, the beers after work with colleagues. I thought at the time that Rick was an Executive who wanted to see people succeed and gave them the tools to do just that. In fact, when my mother expressed her concern about the pace at which my relationshp with Rick had progressed, I reassured her by telling her that I had worked with Rick for six months and saw how he treated people in the office, his ability to connect with everyone he met. I believed he was honest and trustworthy. In retrospect, I believe that everything was just too good to be true,

It is difficult to describe the profound sadness and grief that I experienced when I realized that, in my opinion, nothing was real about my relationship with Rick. It wasn't about all the women during my marriage or that Rick left me for another woman. In my opinion, Rick exploited my trust and love and manipulated me for over six years. It took many months to discover the truth but far longer to accept it. It was incomprehensible to me that someone could do that for over six years without me knowing it. I believed I was much smarter than that. And what about my family and friends. Like me, they only saw the signs in hindsight,

As I looked back, I believe there were things that happened during my marriage that just weren't normal. Even the way our relationship began wasn't quite normal in my opinion. Rick swept me off my feet and showered me with gifts and affection. He sealed our relationship so quickly. Rick has done the same thing with the other women in his life.

When Rick's children would visit our home in San Francisco, his daughter would cry at night. One evening, Rick and I were already in bed and his daughter was still crying. Her bedroom was directly below ours so we could both hear her sobbing. I told Rick that he needed to go downstairs to see what was bothering her but he said that she would eventually stop. When I look back now, I can see the pain that Rick's daughter was in even though it had been two years since he separated from his first wife. Rick explained his daughter's tears by telling me that his first wife often said mean things about him in front of his children and therefore, his relationship with his children was stressful. I felt so sorry for Rick that his children often forgot to call him on his birthday or send cards for Father's Day. It never occurred to me that it was all just a pity play on Rick's part.

There were times when I thought Rick's reactions to certain events were odd but I just attributed it to the difference between men and women. For instance, I remember turning on the television late one Sunday evening after Rick and I had gotten into bed and the news was covering the tragic accident of Princess Diana in a Paris tunnel. I was stunned and shocked and wanted to know what happened. In my opinnion, the tragedy of the event didn't seem to phase Rick. The same was true when we heard the news of the tragic plane crash off the coast of Cape Cod that took the lives of John Kennedy Jr and his wife. Rick and I were in San Diego when we learned of the plane's disappearance and again, in my opinion, the tragedy of the event didn't seem to register with Rick. I began to think that it was me, that my reaction was strange.

And then there was 9/11. I was in my car that day, driving from Raleigh to Atlanta. I had left the house around 7AM and was listening to CD's in my car. Rick called me on my cell phone and asked me if I was listening to the news. He went on to tell me of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Towers and the collapse of the buildings. I almost drove off the road as I began to listen to the reports on the radio. I called my parents in San Diego who were out there visiting my brother. My mother told me to turn around and go home. Since none of us really knew what was happening, I thought it would be best to be home with Rick. I called Rick and he said that I would be safe and to just keep going on to Atlanta. I turned around anyway and drove another four hours home. Rick's reaction just seemed different to me, Just a few months later, in Decemer 2001, when Rick was trying so hard to convince me that our marriage was over, I reminded him of how lucky we were to have each other and that so many people had lost spouses in the tragedy of 9/11. Rick responded by saying that we didn't know if their marriages were happy!! I was so stunned and horrified by what I believe was a callous response.

In April, 2001, Rick stood in the doorway of our apartment bedroom and told me that our marriage was failing and we should rethink closing on our new home. I was sitting on the floor in the corner of the bedroom, sobbing as I listened to him tell me that I was mentally unstable and that I needed to get help. In hindsight, I know that I was reacting to his pyschological and emotional abuse and that my reaction was normal. I think at the time I was depressed but certainly not mentally unstable. As I have shared my experience with people, they are often amazed by how much abuse I was able to handle without falling apart. In my opinnion, Rick dished out the same psychological abuse in December 2001 after he had sealed his relationship with Gina. Rick accused me of making it hard for him to see his children and that I only gave 20% to my marriage when he gave 150%. In retrospect I believe he was projecting his own behavior on me but at the time, I believed him.

It was only in hindsight that I saw that my relationship with Rick, in my opinion, was built upon a foundation of lies and deception. I do not believe I ever had the kind of love that can sustain a relationship much less a marriage. I believe that Rick said it best in an email to me in late January 2002 when he told me that he 'could not resurrect the love or potential love he once felt'. I do no believe It was really love at all. I do not believe I really ever had a marriage because marriage is a commitment based on honesty and truthfulness and love. In my opinion, it looked like a marriage, it felt like a marriage, but it wasn't a marriage. Hindsight is 20/20.