I found out my boyfriend has a wife.
Technically, I didn’t; my “sister-friend” did and sent me screenshots of him and his wife holding each other on a tropical island, with their wedding rings on. I don’t know why the rings are a trigger, but rings have totally always been a trigger. I should hate this man, I have every reason in the book to, but I don’t. Luckily, I’ve never really understood shame, so yes, I’ve even defended this guy. It’s really embarrassing to realize you’ve been dating a man for a few months and never brought yourself to notice that you don’t know anything about his personal life. We’ve only met at fancy hotels and go on trips together, he turns his phone off for no real reason, I’ve never met his friends, sounds totally normal, right? This isn’t how normal relationships go? I’m not a Troll from Frozen so I can’t really call myself a love expert.
So, the thing is, he hired me for companionship or whatever the expensive word for sex delivery might be. We saw each other a few times and actually talked more than anything else. We even started casually texting. Then because of failed judgement, he invited me on the boat- hook, line, and sinker- pun definitely intended. But really, that was the point where I went from being rental property to an actual love interest. That was the point where if we were sensible human beings we would have stopped, since I’m writing this, we did exactly the opposite. Instead, we said, “fuck it, lets go into 6th gear”. At some point I was giving him a typical Sara St. Clair response, then I stopped. If I care about him, I’m going to give him Sara Christine- the one who is overly sensitive and vulnerable. After our boat date I walked in and said to my roommate, “how do I trick him into thinking I’m good enough for him?”.
The irony I feel as I type that.
We began dating and I became more insecure about my work. I stopped emailing back regularly, I blew off appointments, I was just so enthralled with this man I didn’t want anyone except him touching me. This increased my anxiety and self-deprecation. I’ve made sex work my career, how does one even find an alternate career than the one they’ve been doing for almost a decade? I stopped once, the one other time I fell in love, ironically, this was with neither of my husbands- but that’s multiple long stories for other times.
I did fall in love once before. It was to a patent attorney who went to the Citadel and lived in Chicago. I only saw him when he came to Birmingham. We call him Bad Matt. Bad Matt dated me for a year and convinced me to take 18 credit hours at UAB each semester and I was bartending almost 50 hours a week in addition to caring for a 2-year-old son at the time. I did everything in my possible capacity to appease this man. I wanted a life with him and wanted him to see that I gave up the sugar daddies and modeling … that I was all in! Every time I saw him, I had this lingering feeling I might never see him again. He also liked to turn his phone off for long periods of time and never really told me much.
His reasoning for his poor behavior? Hell if I know, cause I never asked. One night after a big fight at the Ritz in Atlanta something kept nagging at me to have a friend who does private investigation look into him. It was just this nagging urge that wouldn’t go away. I was realizing things weren’t adding up. He found the most shocking thing! Bad Matt was married and had a son. Not so shocking looking back not being 22 years old now.
Finding his marriage ruined me. We broke up March 15th. I distinctly remember that date because I was so emotionally disabled, I couldn’t throw my sons 3rd birthday March 18th, sister-best friend helped (did it all for me because) I couldn’t function. I promised I would NEVER feel like that again. I would play it safe because the emotional agony you experience when you’re raising a child while going to school full time and working overtime at a physically draining job for a guy who is married… you just aren’t the same after. I was very changed after Bad Matt.
So, when I met my, lets call him R, I’ve been in love once and it didn’t really play out all that well. That moment I went from Sara St Clair to Sara Christine I cognitively chose to be in a vulnerable position and put my feelings on the line. At this point I should be saying, “bad girl!”, but I’m not. I put myself out there, I was painstakingly honest about my life, I actually tried. I gave a damn for the first time in a long time! Here’s where it gets tricky. He liked me, told me a lie, then started to care for me. This lie just got bigger and bigger from there. Lying and fucking with other feelings is bad. Don’t do that. Just, avoid it at all costs. The problem was, I really believe, we did fall in love. Sister-friend thinks it was a power move and he was playing games, as would most. I don’t believe this.
So how is this a love story and not a heartbreak story; I really hope your asking at this point?
I forgive him. No one chooses to fall in love, sometimes it happens and the most misfortunate times. Lying is bad and a mistake. Guess what, humans are INCREDIBLY bad at making them. Hello, we wouldn’t be so populated if our judgement was always perfect. Thank God for impaired judgement or most of us wouldn’t be alive. We are human and mistakes happen. I was lied to and lead on, that sucks. I daily felt inadequate, scared, like I was failing, which does also suck too. Feelings happen, sad ones included. I get really sad feelings though, categorized by some as “major depressive”. I definitely fell into one of these episodes towards the end of our relationship.
Once Sister-friend told me about his wife I instantly felt a weight lifted. I didn’t have to keep trying so hard. It was peaceful. I drove back to my home and noticed that the sky was a pretty blue, that the grass was different shades of green. I even enjoyed how pretty the rained danced. Boating glasses are great, but sometimes pink sunglasses are what you need. I totally would not suggest going into a mentally draining relationship to find depression, however, coming out of that dark haze is the most beautiful thing you will ever experience. It’s pretty, quiet, and peaceful. Aside from that loving.
I know loving is a crazy choice of words but during this crisis so many friends stepped up and loved me. They called me. A couple took me to do my favorite things, baseball game and country dancing. Not to mention what Sister-friend had to do, she had to tell me the most saddest thing that she knew would break me. That is love. Even in my depression episode when I was being an asshole to everyone, they took it. They loved me even when I was an asshole. They still love me. Through this crazy endeavor I found the value of gratitude and friendship.
Bad things happen to good people and likewise sometimes good people do bad things. Sometimes you put your feelings out there and get hurt. Sometimes you tell a lie you can’t take back. The great thing is, that makes you human. As much as it kills every fiber in my soul to write this, things aren’t black and white. I am a control freak and I’ve learned from this, you can’t control everything. Am I going to keep trying? Yes. I am okay typing that sometimes life is beyond your control. Beauty is everywhere.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder & behold, You ARE Beautiful!"
A Love Story.