Have you ever been with a man who made you feel crazy?

I don’t mean strait jacket crazy. I’m talking about waking up everyday feeling like you are losing your mind. Who do you trust, your man or your lying eyes?

This was the story of my first relationship. I LOVED that man. We were together ten years, starting when I was 14. It was a tough lesson in love though. His 17 year old mind couldn’t comprehend grown men things like fidelity, honesty and letting go of someone you aren’t ready to commit to.

Like too many women, I stayed too long. We share in the responsibility of wrecking my most basic of self-esteem and common sense. He cheated, I stayed. He cheated again, I still stayed. Never did he admit to cheating though. Snooping through his phone gave me all the evidence I needed until he looked me in my eyes and told me what I needed to hear. I loved him so much, I doubted myself. No matter what, I stayed.

It must have been God that woke me up one day and gave me the inclination to drop by unannounced to his apartment. I had a key, I just moved out two days before. I think God was giving me the boost I needed to move on. I walked into his room and there she was, scurrying to put her clothes back on. There is always a silver lining in everything, at least he used condoms. They were everywhere. Had to be at least 15 of them on the floor, bed, window sill, my son’s shoeboxes.

I looked at him. He looked at me.

“It’s not what you think” he said.

This could have been a scene straight out of a Shaggy video for “It Wasn’t Me”. Or First 48.

Something in me broke that day, other than my pride. My youthful innocence shattered. My willingness to stick through trials and tribulations with a man left me.

I think he knew things were different. We didn’t break up right away. In fact, this happened in 2008. It wasn’t until 2011 that he never heard from me again. I simply stopped picking up the phone. It wasn’t easy to cut him off, I loved him. He was my first love. And he still needed me. I didn’t want to leave him and desert him when I knew he had no family to depend on and we were together 8 years at that point. In my young mind, I didn’t want to throw everything away that I had built with him. Things were never the same. I never looked at him the same. When he touched me, I felt dirty. There was nothing he could say to restore our relationship. It also wasn’t like he was on his best behavior after 2008. He was still a jerk.

One day in 2010, I saw him calling and let him go to voicemail. He called again, voicemail. The voicemails were so nasty but I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t keep loving and supporting him with no return on my investment. Trust left us and it was never coming back. One day, I walked away. No more phone calls. No more seeing me. Access denied. I moved on. I learned to live my life without him.

Imagine my surprise when I got a pair of red bottoms in the mail this year. For anyone who knows my ex, you know he is selfish. He loves himself like Kanye loves Kanye. We were together ten years. I got one pair of 11’s the entire time we were together. I stuck by him for 18 months when he went to jail (commissary and collect calls were a bitch). I made sure that when his mom went into a vegetative state and he had no one else, I helped him with his resume, bought him work clothes, paid for hair cuts. He even lived with my mom for a while. I can go down a laundry list of things I did to help this man but for what? It was a labor of love and I did it for him, not for praise. No matter how much he disrespected me, I really wanted to see him win.

Material things aren’t everything but I would be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate the gesture, especially because it came along with an apology. He’s since admitted all his bad deeds and apologized for the way he treated me. The teenage girl in me needed to hear that so I could heal from the baggage he caused. It felt good to hear him admit that he realized I was the one that got away and he wished things could be different between us, especially since I was single now. I really want more women to experience the type of love that doesn’t involve suffering first and being glorified later.

Are we getting back together? Nah, that ship has sailed, sunk and can never be found again. But we can at least be Facebook friends and laugh about the old days.

He wants to get back together but he definitely couldn’t handle the woman I am now. I’m not with the shits and like I said, my ability to stick it out with a man through ups and downs has left me. In many ways, I know the girlfriend I was to him should have been the wife I was to my husband. But I refused to waste more years of my life giving to a man who only knew how to receive. I’m glad both those relationships are over.

I’m proud of him though. I’m glad he’s living his best life.

And I love my new shoes, I wore them when I interviewed Nick Cannon last month. I was so lit.


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