I’ve postponed this for a few weeks now and I feel I should be upfront and honest with my readers and members. I’m an honest person. I admit when I fail, and I admit when I don’t know the answer to a question. I am not a perfect person and everything I think, say and do revolves completely off my beliefs. What started off as a typical long distance military relationship, turned into my worst nightmare. My best friend was no longer my best friend, but my enemy. I no longer felt he was my protector and best friend, now he was someone I feared and walked on eggshells with. If you knew him, you would never expect him to be that man, and he was good at hiding who he really was. I was embarrassed to talk about anything that happened because I didn’t want to make him look bad and at the same time, I didn’t want anyone to judge me for staying with him as long as I did. So I hid the fact that I was depressed and miserable. I loved the man I once knew. I wanted him back but he was so far gone that it was either stay with this new person I didn’t recognize and be unhappy, or leave and be unhappy. Either way I thought I’d always be unhappy with or without him.
At the end of March I noticed how distant I was becoming with Austin, my former S/O of three years, and because of that I tried to deny the fact that I was being mistreated and made excuses for pretty much everything that happened. Now, I’m not a saint. I’ve made mistakes to also contribute to our failing relationship, I won’t deny it. I won’t go into specifics because what’s done is done and I really don’t want to bash him on a public site full of thousands of people. And frankly, I’m not a mean hearted person. This is just me telling my view and letting everyone in on my life for the past year. I was taught to “make it work”. And to “make it work” required me to never give up on him and on our relationship. I lost sight of what I “deserved” because I was only focused on what I thought I “needed”. What I didn’t understand was, to make it work, you had to have two people willing to put in the effort. A relationship is a two way street, not a road and a bike path. And simply put, I was the road. I was giving and giving and giving, receiving nothing in return. He was mentally abusive, and I just let him because I was a pushover and a doormat. You can only pull a rubber band back so far until it snaps.
I try to encourage everyone here daily to never give up on their S/O. To try their hardest to be happy and positive when all hope seems to disappear. But I’m only able to give advice to you, not your S/O. What I tell you, might be the complete opposite of what someone is telling your service member. This page is called, Operation: Stand By Your Man. This wasn’t some random name I found on some cheesy support page. It actually meant something to me three years ago. We became official and the day before he left to go back to Fort Lewis. I told myself that I was in it for the long haul, that I would support him and wait for him. In other words, I would stand by him in whatever he wanted to do. I had never been in a military relationship before and I was completely terrified. Unless you are a military brat, everything you know about the military is what you read or what people tell you. You have no experience. You have no answers. You look for answers in other military spouses and girlfriends, because you're new.
I started this page as a resource for military wives and girlfriends. I wanted everyone who came across this page to get a straight up and honest answer to any questions or concerns they might have. There are hundreds of support pages out there, probably better than this one. Maybe they have more experienced wives, or maybe they give better advice. Either way, we receive messages daily about how much this page has helped or is helping a wife or girlfriend through a tough time. That is enough to keep this page going. Knowing that we've made a tiny difference in their day is pure joy for me. It’s an amazing feeling to help someone and I love it. If I can make someone’s day by posting something inspirational, or chatting with a s/o for ten minutes a day, you better believe I'll keep doing it. Now I’m getting off topic, back to what I was saying.
I announced a few months ago, that Austin and I decided to go our separate ways. I was never prepared for this and it was a learning experience for me. We were both unhappy and to be honest we fell out of love. I tried incredibly hard to force my feelings back, to feel something for him again. But I was kidding myself, you can’t force yourself to love someone. You can’t force them to love you. I loved the idea of him, not this new person. Our relationship was unhealthy. I was sad all of the time and it got to the point where I could either continue to stand by a man that didn’t stand by me and be sad, or leave and repair my heart. I chose the second one. I chose to be happy, even if that meant never finding someone to share my happiness with. Granted, I’m only twenty-one. I’ve heard it all. “You’re too young to be married.” “You’re only twenty-one, you have your whole life to find someone.” – This is probably true. I give advice to women on here, but I also take my fair share of advice from the other women I talk to. Older, experienced, knowledgeable women. Then I pass it on to others. And here’s what I’ve learned from many women who have gone through the same thing as me. It’s the most powerful thing I’ve learned, and I truly believe you can’t fully understand this until you’ve reached this point. You ready?
The most important thing in life is knowing your worth. If you don’t know how much you’re worth, you don’t notice that you’re being mistreated. Why? Because you don’t care to face it. You don’t care how you’re being treated because you want that person. Your mind is made up and you push your worth to the side. It’s not about bragging about yourself, it’s actually knowing within, that you are worthy of the best. It’s about loving and accepting yourself just the way you are – not about thinking you’re perfect. Knowing your worth brings so many benefits to you:
·It helps you feel good about yourself when you accomplish something.
·It allows you to respect and honor yourself, even when you make mistakes. And when you respect yourself, others will respect you too.
·It translates into belief in yourself, giving you the courage to try things and build new relationships.
·When you know your worth, you know that you’re smart enough to make your own decisions.
·When you honor yourself, you will make choices that nourish your mind and body.
·You will value your safety, your feelings and health. Therefore, you will choose to make healthier eating choices, exercising, or taking time off to do something for yourself without feeling guilty about it. You’ll be happy.
If you read back through these you can clearly see for yourself that this is the key to a happy, successful life. And instead of living by these, I was doing the complete opposite. I was basically making myself a doormat and that’s no way to live life. You can’t make excuses for people. You can’t put your needs as a human being aside. Getting off topic again…To make a long story short (although I’ve already made this way longer than it should be) I know my worth now. I know that your worst enemy can be yourself and that you hold the key to your own happiness. It took me a long time to learn this. And now that I have, I can’t believe I’ve lived so long without knowing it. It’s truly eye opening.
Now for the big news:
The last few months I’ve spent with my family, friends and the people who have stuck by me through the worst of times. And I really couldn’t be happier. I set goals for myself, and I tried new things. Then one day, my best friend encouraged me to go to a country club with her and her boyfriend. If you love country music as much as I do, one does not simply say no to that. On our way there they told me that they had a mutual friend that was coming, who loved to dance as much as I did. Little did I know that this mutual friend would become one of the most important people in my life in the future. His name was Michael. We spent most of the night dancing, laughing and joking. We had such a good time that by the end of the night, we weren’t ready to part so we decided to get some grub. For the first time in months, instead of being bitter, I enjoyed the company of another man. It really surprised me. Then he laid it on me…he was also in the military. A Medic to be exact. “Oh great!” I said…sarcastically. I had a great time with this man and then I realize that he is ALSO in the military?! I told myself to run! “Run away as fast as you can!” The last thing I needed was another relationship…let alone another man in the military. I know not all military men are bad…I know this. But at that particular point in my life, could you really blame me for thinking they were? For the last three years it was all about Austin, I really couldn’t imagine myself with another person because I was hung up on the man I used to know and care about. I felt like I was cheating, even though I was no longer with him. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, so why did I feel like this? All of these questions left unanswered. I stayed calm and tried not to freak Michael out. I didn’t want him to know that I was damaged and tried to hide it as best as I could.
I decided to guard myself, I would let myself like this man but not too much. I would go out with him and I would have fun, but not too much fun. I didn’t need anything serious. Once he knew about my past, he was even more gentle with me. He knew I didn’t need a relationship, but that I needed a friend. He would listen to my pathetic sob stories about my ex didn’t judge me for my thoughts or experiences. Within a few months he quickly became my best friend. He was best friends with MY best friends boyfriend, so needless to say the four of us hung out quite a bit. During this time, my ex decided overnight that he was a changed man and that he would prove it to me if I would go back to him. As much as I wanted to believe him I knew it wasn’t true. I knew this circle all too well. We’d be best friends, we’d get in a fight, he’d change into someone I didn’t know, we’d break up, he’d come back and say he changed, and the cycle started all over again. I knew very well, that that was not a way to live. It was not the way I wanted to live. The only reason he wanted me back was because he saw Michael around. He saw me getting closer to Michael and would say anything he possibly could to get me to come back. I wasn’t coming back this time. Because I knew if I came back I would be unhappy. And if I was going to be unhappy it would be because I was without him.
Michael witnessed my ex’s attempts to get back together with me, and he stayed. Instead of convincing me to be with him, or convincing me to not be with Austin, he spent his days bringing me flowers. He saw me break down and cry because of my ex’s attempts to be with me again, and all he did was hug me. He wasn’t angry at me and he was aware of how hurt I was. I developed feelings for Michael while still having feelings for my ex. I made sure he knew how I felt about him and my ex because I didn’t want him to be led on. I was still dealing with Austin and he was still in my life. I told him that because I was in this situation, it was clear I wasn’t ready for a relationship. If I was going to start another relationship, I would need a clear slate. I would need my ex to be completely gone. I couldn’t bring myself to be with Michael knowing very well I still had feelings for Austin. It just wasn’t right. We continued to see each other for the next few months. Austin stopped trying to win me back and I felt free. The feelings I had for him completely vanished. I didn’t despise him anymore, I just wanted him to be happy. I wanted both of us to be happy because we were worthy of happiness. We brought out the worst in each other and anyone in a successful relationship knows that you must bring out the best in each other if you want a relationship to work.
Michael and I made our relationship official on November 7th, 2013. Was I ready to be in a relationship? Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t. Either way I was immensely happy. Michael is nothing but good to me and I’ve seen this over the last few months. He’s gentle yet protective. He’s flexible yet stern. He’s funny yet serious. He doesn’t hesitate to let me know what’s going on. He lets me go out with my friends. He loves my family as much as I do. He’s never yelled at me or cursed at me. Everything that comes out of his mouth is uplifting and makes you feel good. He’s one of those guys that everyone is friends with because he just loves life. He loves people. He loves doing new things. He’s not afraid to sing Pitch Perfect out loud or play Dance Central with me. He’s just happy and positive. And he’s truly my angel. He knows my worth and he tells me every day so I don’t forget it. He was the only one to get me out of the darkest point in my life, and didn’t leave me when I spoke about my insecurities. He knows about this page and the meaning behind it, yet still supports what the admins and I have tried to do here all along. I wanted everyone to know that I found my happiness. That I have a clean slate and a fixed heart.
I want anyone that has been or is currently in a similar situation like this, to know that it DOES get better. Know your worth, and don’t settle for less. Because you are worthy of love and belonging. If the man or woman in your life is your rock and your best friend before he is your other half, consider yourself lucky. I believe all great relationships start off as friends. You can spend your life being bitter about something, eventually you have to move on. Or you’ll never be happy. You have to take risks. You have to. Or else you’ll never know a good thing until it’s gone. I chose to risk my time and my effort on Michael. Not because he’s in the military, but because he deserves someone to be there for him just as he was there for me. Timing is everything, and just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, someone will come along and quite possibly save your life.