I was debating whether I would even discuss this because it's really me, airing out my dirty laundry and allowing myself to be completely transparent. This is the most difficult post I've ever written because I know people will judge me. I know my parents and loved ones might look at me in a different way. But I'll take it on. I decided I will only talk about him this once. I'm writing this at a time when all I really want to do is bury my head in the sand, but this is my pulpit of sorts and you are my loyal parishioners. Sometimes the preacher has to come clean. I'm here to listen today as well. As I re-tell my story of another love lost, I think I will see where I went wrong. But I'll also see my defining moment because character is what's revealed when the whole world is watching you.
I was dating a married man.
It actually hurts to read that. In all fairness, he did not present himself in this way in the beginning. We met online and his status was clearly listed as "Never Married, No children", both of which turned out to be untrue. About a month into this whirlwind disaster, I found out about his 2 young daughters. From his "ex-wife". He had been divorced since October 2006, according to him. I cried when I found out about him having children and he did everything to console me so I decided to accept them. If I were really going to care about him, I had to care about the whole package. Most people probably would have walked away then, but I did not. A month and a half after I got to Korea, the other shoe fell. I found out through a website that he was still legally married. They were supposedly separated, living in different places, only keeping in contact for the children, etc. I threw a fit, felt betrayed, but he explained the situation and comforted me. He said they were going to divorce because he just couldn't deal with her, told me not to worry. Months passed and I struggled quite a bit with the reality of the situation. I cried a lot, lost a lot of weight, felt consumed with anxiety. The questions tore me up, his lies only confused me more. There was an obvious moral conflict raging inside of me because I just didn't think I'd ever be "that girl", the one who got with a married man. But there it was, staring me in the face every morning and night.
When I came home in February, he brought me to an apartment. I knew that this barely-lived-in place was not his. My antennae went up, but I ignored them. He would go days without contacting me and I got so anxious. I was crushed but he still claimed to love me. This past Monday, I found out he'd made some comments on his wife's pictures online and I LOST IT. I sent him a scathing email, threatening to expose him and his devious ways. After all, I'd had over 180 emails and voice messages we'd exchanged since August. I could destroy him. He wrote back saying that he was at my mercy. Yes, they had decided to work things out and yes, he was still in love with her. No, he hadn't meant to hurt ME per se but I was the object of the hurt and anger he felt toward his wife. He was so thankful to me for helping him want to resolve their issues.
In the midst of all of that, I found out that a close friend and brother from my HU family was murdered in a carjacking. I lost it again. More rage and anger. More hurt. A second bombshell in less than 24 hours. I sat in my apartment in a state of catatonia, tears streaming, eyes burning...heart numb. Brandon. Shot. Gone. His 25 years of life ground to a halt because someone decided it was his day to play God. In that moment, reflecting on my friendship with Brandon and the dissolution of another relationship, something clicked. I felt it. My best friend, always the feisty one, said "You're better than me. I would've told his wife."
But I didn't. And I won't. And here's why.
Just because we have power, it doesn't mean we have to wield it. Yes, I had the ability to destroy him single-handedly. I could've ripped his life apart completely, shattered him in an instant. But being an adult means considering the full consequences of your actions. My actions would have ignited a cataclysmic chain reaction for his entire family. His young daughters would have felt the brunt of everything. I did it for THEM and them alone. They did not deserve to have their worlds crushed because of MY broken heart. My compassion for his children is what stopped me. I realized that in exposing him, the problem would have become much bigger than just he and I. It would have spread to his children causing potentially lifelong harm. I had a choice and I chose to set aside my personal pain to spare an entire family's pain.
It is not my job to play God.
It would have been very easy to fire off an email to his wife, telling her what she didn't want to hear. But the right thing to do, in my heart, was to leave it alone, to walk away and never look back. My last words to him were, "You should disappear now, forget you ever knew me, and give your girls an extra kiss. From me." I think 50 or 100 years from now, I will still be okay with my decision. I try not to beat myself up too much about this situation. Even Oprah admitted to dating a married man in her early 20s. It's just one of those things you get caught up in, but once you're out it's like being able to breathe again. I'm thankful it's over and believe me, he knows exactly how I feel about him, lots of 4-letter words included. But I've learned over the years to direct my anger at the right source. I was not angry with his wife or his children or anyone in his family. That's how I want to live my life, being proud of my actions and not having regrets. I made an adult choice and not a childish one. I feel like I grew up overnight. Those moments where I thought about emailing her, blowing the top off of everything he loved, were my defining moments. If only Brandon's attacker had shown as much restraint, I would not have to write these words.
But I do and I will miss him dearly.
Heaven's got another beautiful angel. RIP Brandon (BMac)
"And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain,
My friends, I'll say it clear,
I'll state my case of which I'm certain.
I've lived a life that's full, I've travelled each and evr'y highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way."
"You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings."
~~Pearl S. Buck~~
Until then, J