Friday, June 25, 2010

Sticking It Out

When I started this blog, it was intended, in part, to be a place for me to record my dating stories. I was convinced that I could write a book about my misfortunes and occasional/ rare great dates. Many friends agreed.

Then I met someone, and it didn't seem right to focus on the past. As you know, that's over so here goes.

To date, I have shared memories about one favorite.
On my mind today, the one who actually wanted to marry me - but my gut warned me that would be a heartbreaking move.

We shall refer to this man by his nickname acquired post-breakup. More on that another time.

Introducing, the Cave Man:

I met him one night when my friends insisted on going to a certain dance bar that I hated. I obliged them once a year. That night, as I hovered at the edge of the dance floor - he approached. Tall, thin, fair and with a goatee. Not my type, but dancing is better than purse patrol so I agreed.

He was nice. At the end of the night, I gave him my business card which identified me as a local news reporter. He responded properly, appropriately impressed but not too much so. Which impressed me.

We ended up dating regularly. He lived outside of the city, on a government land preserve. The house was one of the benefits of his job, he had to live on the land. (sort of a naturalist, think Game, Fish & Parks.) He was an outdoors man. He loved nature. I respected that, having grown up on a working ranch. He was a hunter too, like my dad - so I was okay with that too.

I, on the other hand, had been itching to leave the farmland from the age of five. I loved living in the city. From my apartment, I could see the lights from Downtown. At the time, they were constructing the tallest building in town, and I could see the lights from the cranes while lying in bed at night. It was good to feel a part of something bigger than myself.

Cave Man on the other hand loved solitude. He once told me that his ideal job position would be on the land preserve at Fish Springs, Utah (or Idaho - I don't remember) The greatest appeal to him, was that the property was 100 miles from getting your mail, and 200 miles from anything else. "Doesn't that sound great?"

"Actually, that sounds like hell to me."

One night as we smooched on my couch, he said, "If we lived in Fish Springs, this is all we would have to do for 9 months out of the year."

Well, that did sound nice. But still.

I met his parents. His mom loved me. She watched the news every night just to see me! His dad had recently had a stroke, which left the brilliant, witty man with too few words to express his thoughts.
The Cave Man treated them both with great respect, especially his dad, because he knew how frustrated he was in his limited capacity.

The Cave Man told me that just before we met, he learned that he had a brother and sister from his dad's first marriage. When I asked about them, he said, "You don't understand, they're not really my brother and sister. I just met them. They're from another life."

Over time, it came out that the brother had either Cerebral Palsy or Down Syndrome. The first wife was described as 'crazy'. Bi-polar I think.
Cave Man shared this as justification that it was too much for his dad to deal with. He had to leave. They got divorced and he met Cave Man's mom.
Happily ever after.

That didn't sit right with me.
Was Cave Man okay with the fact that his dad had abandoned his first family? To the point that CM didn't even know about them until he was nearly 30?

When I met his parents, I also met other relatives. The cousins he's known all his life. One of whom had Down Syndrome and was just starting to live on his own with limited success. Everyone treated him with great respect as well.

Here's something you don't know about me: In my 20s, every time I met a Downs child, I felt God nudge me, saying "If you have children TRS, you will have a child like this."

It didn't exactly worry me, but it didn't thrill me either. But I knew that I would not even have those tests during pregnancy that reveal any possible deformities or diseases. My husband and I would love any child God gave us.

So one night, I shared this feeling with CM. I only got as far as describing the nudge when he said, "But TRS, they can test for that before you have the baby."
Yes. And then?
He got the point that I would be against terminating a pregnancy, and headed off my objections by saying, "We couldn't raise a Down Syndrome child. I don't make enough money for that. I know because I know what my aunt and uncle have been through raising ___."

My heart was stuck in my throat. Here he was, potentially the carrier of the genes he would so easily reject.

Combined with the fact that he had no problem with his dad abandoning a family - I had no confidence that CM would stick around if things got tough.
That was the beginning of the end.

We ended up dating for about six months. He told me that he could definitely see us married... in about three years. (I always wondered why three years? If you knew you wanted to marry someone why would you put it off?)

I'm the one who initiated the break-up. That night, he asked if it was the conversation about my nudge that sealed it.

There were more indications that we weren't compatible for life. It may not be fair, but I assumed he wouldn't be reliable in that situation... and that was an indication that he might not be reliable in many other ways.

The one thing I do regret... is that I wasn't mature enough to really talk about it with him. I wish I'd had the guts to ask him if he was really okay with the way his dad left his first family.

But I think my gut was right.

P.S. I read this blog post tonight which reminded me of this experience. Serious food for thought.


erinannie said...

I love your honesty. And I love that you stay true to yourself, and didn't sell out on what you believe, just to be with a man!

Genevra said...

Hmm, very thoughtful post. It is amazing isn't, how God is always there, communicating with us if we choose to listen and act accordingly.

I'm curious to about what his response would have been to your questioning him about how he really felt with the way his dad abandoned his first family.

It's all a learning experience.

Ronnica said...

I'm glad that you went with your gut on this one. Sure you could have married him (after 3 years, of course), but there were enough indicators to question whether or not he was in it for the long haul.

I know that I *could* be married right now. But if I was, I'd likely be miserable.

Jennifer M. said...

This was an amazing post! I was just going to skim it to get to the comment section so I could tell you that I had just given you a Sunshine Award because your blog makes me smile! Lol. But then I got sucked into your story. Another friend of mine was just telling me recently to always listen to my gut when dating a guy. If your gut tells you to get out, do it. Your story is a great reminder to me that God gave us our gut instincts for a reason. Sure we could ignore our instincts, but then we could end up marrying Mr. Cave Man!