It’s the most wonderful time of the year … or so it seems. Guest writer Serenity Fournier writes about relationship troubles during the holidays and why she was left feeling like less of a person.
I remember driving home after spending some time with my parents for Thanksgiving and turning on the radio. Thanks to the advent of the iPod and an iPod player adapter for my car, I rarely listen to actual radio stations anymore. At the time (2007) I had no adapter to block out the droning of paint-by-the-numbers music (I’ll stop myself before I get off track too soon). Surprisingly I heard something a little different than a new single by some pop star. Instead a Christmas carol entered my ears. As the people sang, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” I sat in my car trying to process if that chorus was right.
Okay maybe it is for some people. For a lot of people the holiday season is the best. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Christmas season, too. From presents to seeing friends and family I don’t get to be around most the year, it’s a great time if something isn’t tugging at your heart – breaking your heart.
I always said, thought, believed that I wasn’t one of “those girls.” You know the ones that fall head over heels for some guy because she loves him and doesn’t see his faults or how badly he’s treating your emotions. I wasn’t the one who was unaware of the world around her because I was lovesick. But here I was in my car, driving home after a wonderful dinner courtesy of my mom trying to convince myself that my intuition was wrong. There was no way I could be played for a fool by some man that’s not my dad (in a “I gotcha your nose” kind of way). For me, the fool player was a guy I knew since eleventh grade named John.
I called him a couple hours after I got back home. No answer. Didn’t go straight to voicemail so I knew his phone was on. I called again, same result. Now, being the person that I am, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was sleep. Maybe he was in the bathroom. Maybe he was gone out for a run and just didn’t have his phone on him. But my gut feeling was he wasn’t picking up the phone on purpose. I just gave up and got ready for tomorrow thinking that we’d probably catch up between then and Monday. We didn’t.
I made an effort to call him, getting no response from him for two days. I really started thinking back to the last time we talked, trying to figure out if he said something about going somewhere with his folks or being away from his apartment. Maybe he went crazy and wanted to go off the grid like one of our old college buddies. Not hearing from someone you truly care about for more than a few days makes a girl think the worst. By Sunday afternoon I was done waiting. I needed to know what John was right now. So I drove to his apartment in complete silence. No music, no radio, not even me talking to myself to get some perspective on what could be wrong. Thinking back now, maybe I didn’t need to know because my intuition was telling me the truth the entire time.
John gave me a key to his apartment about six months before this story happened. When I put the key in the lock I heard a woman say, “John is that you?”
I opened the door to find some blonde bimbo staring at me like a deer caught in the headlights of a SUV. I felt like a Mack truck ready to plow through this girl I’d never seen before. I couldn’t say a word to her before John came around the corner, putting a shirt on. He got out a “B” before he noticed the new body in the room. I still remember him and her having the same dumbfounded expression.
John immediately started rambling nonsense that I can’t even remember anymore as Blondie hightailed it out of the apartment. I actually calmed myself enough that John could say the words that shouldn’t be spoken ever by a man who just got caught cheating on his girlfriend.
“I shouldn’t be getting it from someone else.”
And by “it” he meant sex. When we started dating I made sure he understood that I was abstaining from sex for an unspecific amount of time to avoid a mistake that would change my life. John reemphasized time and time again that he understood why I felt this was necessary in my life at the time and really made it easy to stick to my decision until the month or so before this incident when I noticed how distant he had gotten. His talk about working more hours was made believable when he’d come to me with some flowers or another random present.
Blaming me for his indiscretion set me off. I saw red and punched him on the jaw as hard as I can. Thinking back I probably wouldn’t have hit him. He could’ve pressed charges with proof thanks to the immediate bruising. Having sex with him could’ve been the least of my worries, but he didn’t and I was able to leave that apartment for the last time feeling a mixture of vindication and depression. It didn’t take long before the latter overtook the prior, leaving him really down heading into Christmas.
That year I had the chance to meet up with a particular author on this site whose opinion I greatly respect. We talked about what went down and how I was feeling – blaming myself for not having sex with John being the reason for our relationship ending. And to this day I remember what he told me that helped change my viewpoint, “You should never lower your standards for someone else.”
And I haven’t since. It’s so easy to let the loves of our lives warp our minds and make us feel like the victimizer and not the victim. Don’t downgrade yourself for someone who doesn’t appreciate your morals, your decision, or your plans for life.