We met in college. We were in the same biology class and lab. It was an 8 am class and I clearly wasn’t interested in impressing anybody since I showed up almost every day in my pajamas. We became late partners (or rather a group of three) out of basic convenience…we sat near each other and it was easier than seeking out others. I actually had a crush on the other guy in our group, but alas, he had a girlfriend. We started studying together outside of class. One thing led to another, and Poof! Three years later we were married. Now 13 years after that we are separated and headed towards divorce.
I was a mess when I was in college, even more so than I am now (for those who know me in “real life”). I battled depression and manic episodes. I was unhealthy. I was “in love” with a boy from high school who was dating another girl. I transferred schools every year or so and my debt was out of control (hi credit cards). Because of all this, and I’m sure so much more, I had the confidence of…well, I don’t know. Let’s just say I had really low confidence. And it took me a long time (16 years to be exact) to realize this is the main contributor of me getting married and the age of 24 to my first “real” boyfriend.
In the beginning, I think I was just trying things out and having fun and then it became a dependency. Here was a boy was was relatively normal and seemed to like me. I’m lucky, I would think. I don’t have to be alone anymore. Did I love him? I’m sure I did. But I don’t think it was a life changing, earth shattering love. And I know (especially now) that it wasn’t a love that could sustain a marriage. I thought so little of my self and my self-worth that I reveled in the attention. Someone likes me and I owe it to him to be with him. It saddens me now thinking about how much my low self confidence contributed to this MAJOR aspect of my life.
There were times I felt that I should leave. That I should break up with him because I knew I didn’t have what it takes to be his girlfriend and then his wife. He deserved someone better, someone that was completely over the moon for him. But instead I stayed. I convinced myself I belonged there. Someone loved me so much and I should stay with them because of this. I worried I would hurt him and I didn’t want the guilt of hurting anyone.
In reality now, I realize I also stayed because I didn’t think anyone else would ever want me. How horrible is that? It took me a very long time to admit that to myself.
Our marriage was so tumultuous; up and down constantly that I couldn’t keep up. I always wanted to leave, but never wanted to leave at the same time. I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t want to have to start over. I was safe here in this place. Unhappy. But safe.
I wish I knew what it was that finally made me realize it was OK to leave and that I deserved to be happy. I know a small part of it was finding someone else who really did love me for me. Another part was the kids and realizing that they shouldn’t be growing up in an unhappy home.
In all honesty, I think the biggest thing was that my confidence was improving and I know it had a lot to do with running. Running made me happier and helped me become healthier, which of course led me to be more confident. It was an outlet for my anger and frustration and gave me time to think and decide.
I loved myself during those times.
I haven’t run consistently since I began dating Joe. I guess when I found another source of happiness running just fell to the side until it was almost non-existent. While I am happier now than I have ever been, I miss the confidence. I think that’s why I’m chasing running again after two years, and why I’m chasing this marathon.
I need to get that feeling back again…and I’ll make myself run until I do.