Have you ever made a promise you tried desperately to keep, but ended up having to break? I know, it happens to all of us. But for me, whenever I make a commitment, I try to keep that commitment until it’s been fulfilled. So if ever I’m forced to break a promise, for any reason, it takes an emotional toll on me.
To be clear here, I’m not talking about missing a coffee date with a friend. I’m talking more about relationships, and when they end.
We’ve all had our share of breakups. One that comes to mind is one I went through about 15 years ago. I gave the excuse that I was leaving that 3-year relationship because I had to focus on school. While technically, it was true, the events leading to that decision were anything but easy.
Anyone that knew me back then knows what I’m talking about because they were hurt from this breakup as well. I knew I had to end things because the love was just no longer present in the relationship.
I don’t want to rip open old wounds, but I know I inflicted them. I was self-consumed and self-destructive at the time. I put you through hell because, for whatever reason, I was the one living it.
Countless friendships were shattered as collateral damage by my actions and my reputation was pretty much destroyed, but I knew it was the only way I could leave. I preferred giving you something to hate me for than to simply walk away and think I’m a “quitter”. People like me don’t believe in quitting — my word is my bond.
Fast forward to 2010 and I went through another bad breakup, but this time it felt more like a divorce. I say that because this time there were “children” involved, and it felt like a custody battle.
I won’t get into the details about why I left my ex. Let’s just say there were “irreconcilable differences”. What I cared about more were our kids, and how all this would affect them.
The court declared me an unfit parent, so full custody went to my spouse. While legally it made sense, I wasn’t going to leave without a fight. So, I self-represented myself and focused my efforts on the judge.
I stated my intentions to him, both privately and publicly. He then asked to see me in his chambers. There, he brought up my previous relationship and how he feared history would repeat itself. He also made some ridiculous statements which supported his opinion, and ultimately the other side’s case. I kinda touched on all this last time, in my blog entry “Dylan: Inequality“.
After much arguing, centered on how my past doesn’t define my future, I had no choice but to agree with his decision. It would have not been in the best interest of the children for me to even have joint-custody. So, I signed the papers and walked away. I left that room, that building, that entire city, and never looked back. One might say it was an “uncontested divorce”.
11 years have now gone by and the children have now grown up into adults — some with families of their own. I recently tried reconnecting and finding out how they’ve been, but a decade of abandonment is really hard for anyone to just gloss over.
As difficult as this entire ordeal has been for me, I’m sure the same could be said for them. After all, for 11 years, they lost their “father” and me trying to fix that now just seems like an uphill battle I’d never win.
But despite all this despair, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve extended an olive branch to both of my exes, and I’ve tried to establish a somewhat amicable relationship with the children as well.
I don’t want to force anyone to do anything, but they’re all fully aware that I’ve changed from the person they knew 11 or even 15 years ago. I even showed them this website a few months ago. There’s actually a good chance they’re reading this entry right now, for the first time ever, and finally hearing things from my perspective.
So, the ball is now in their court. After all these years, they now know the truth, and it’s up to them if they want to rekindle our relationship or not. I can’t change the past, but I do acknowledge how much of an impact it had on all our lives — for better or worse.
So, let’s take the next step. Only this time, we’ll do so together.