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He: Baby, I need to talk to you tomorrow night.  Can I come over after work?

Me: Whatever it is, just tell me now.

He: You aren’t going to like it.

Me: Okay, now you really need to tell me.  What’s going on?

He:  I don’t know what to do… I slept with this girl, she’s pregnant, and she’s keeping it. I really need you to be my friend right now.

Me: Wait. What? What are you talking about?  Hold on a sec, I need to pull my car over real quick…

Gasp. Sob. Scream.

In the month preceding this conversation, he had been asking me on an almost daily basis to marry him.  Baby, I can have a ring for you next week if you want one.  While I loved him greatly, deeply and what I now understand is an unhealthy amount, I was hesitant.  We had only been back together for a few months and I wanted to make sure that he had in fact changed, and that we were still a good fit.  Something was off though, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. As it turned out, what was “off” about our relationship was that he was unsure of my love for him and had been seeking comfort in between the legs of his neighbor.

With a shaky voice, he told me all about the other girl and the baby on the way.  Choking back tears, he begged for me to understand, to be his friend and to please stay with him.  Like fools we tried to make it work.  For two months we stayed together. I tried to forgive him, he tried to explain and together we discussed how this was going to work.  Would we get married and share custody?  Would we try for full custody?  Day in and day out, I sat by as he went to doctor visits with her and canceled our plans every time the phone rang with another one of her “emergency situations” – she was a bit of a drama queen and trouble maker.

Finally, my heart hit the wall and I could not stand any more pain.  Two months of fighting back tears at work, crying myself to sleep every night and living in a constant state of anxiety, almost broke me.  For the sake of my sanity and realizing that I deserved better, I gathered my strength and walked away.

His son turned four this week.

My biggest fear was that I would become bitter and build a wall around my heart.  What happened was the opposite.  Sure, I was bitter with a wall up for a while (a long while actually), but ultimately my heart healed itself into a bigger and stronger version.  I feel like I have the heart of a champion now.  I swear!  I constantly surprise myself with my ability to be vulnerable, open to love and simultaneously, open to rejection. What could have ruined me and made me a bitter old hag, has actually softened me and made me more compassionate.  I could have forever hid behind a wall or shield around my heart, but I long to feel loved again and have faith that I can heal again if I need.  I am not giving myself kudos here; I am simply stating that the heart is amazingly resilient.  That if you allow it time to heal, and really and truly want to move forward, you will – and you will be even stronger when you do.

Just a little reflection on where I am now versus were I was four years ago at this time: in a drunk puddle of hysterical tears.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  Yes, it got worse before it got better.  Read this.

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