Friday, August 3, 2012

The Master and the Slave

I had battled with the decision to leave for months, my first attempt came in December. I had found a temporary place, and I needed to make a decision fast. That evening, things seemed to be looking up and my then husband was making an effort to be nice, which he only managed for a maximum of two days. By the end of that week my dose of happiness and hope to restore my marriage was running low. I decided to leave... before I could do that however, I was reminded that Christmas was approaching and I certainly didn't want to spend it alone. I called the woman who had offered me a place and gave her all the excuses in the world. Besides, this is family time for you and I wouldn't want to be a distraction. The real issue here was, I had expressed my struggles and someone had found a solution faster than I expected, and now I was filled with fear and questions of what if...I knew deep down this was the right choice, but I was afraid to leave my comfort zone. I imagined how challenging it would be for me to connect to my work place from my new found home. My comfort was more important than my happiness. I promised myself I would move after Christmas. Christmas as we all know it, is a time of giving and possibly mending and reconciling broken relationships. We spoke for the first time after months of being just room mates. We exchanged presents in what seemed to me as 'lets pretend'. Let's pretend we are a family, and everything is Ok. It appeared like an unspoken let's start all over again. There was a glimpse of hope there for a moment.

Christmas went by, new year was all right... I never called the house lady.  I was afraid... What were people going to say? Was I even ready to move? After new year, the cold treatment continued. We spoke here and there, mostly on sundays when he needed to soften my heart, so I would go to church with him. I Went for counseling, It was not helping. I shared with friends, acquaintances and anyone who was willing to lend an ear. I spent most of my time looking for answers. I googled...  I could not find any... I only drew conclusions from my observation. It wasn't enough, I needed to make him speak. He never answered any questions and in turn I got tired of asking. We lived like room mates for what seemed like an eternity. I could not pretend anymore. I used to admire other women's rings. To me, it was a symbol of contentment, success, true love, happiness and all the beautiful things I imagined about marriage. Mine was beautiful to others, but it had become a symbol of bitterness and failure in my life. I was ashamed of what I was going through, and what people would think. 

I took classes, sewing, entrepreneur and language. This was meant to distract me from the reality of what was going on in my life. It didn't go very well though. I quit my sewing class. The women there were happily sewing clothes for their kids while talking passionately about their husbands. I wanted to contribute, but I knew my comments would betray me big time, and there was a woman who knew me. My entrepreneurial class was even more challenging... it was in finnish. I would be flipping through the dictionary the entire evening and come out with about three words or five when it was good. I sat in those classes looking pale and tired... I remember a classmate I knew receiving a phone call from her husband, telling her what he had prepared for dinner. Mine didn't even know where i'd been all day. I quit that one too.... It was a finnish version of what I had done in school. I felt lighter and ready to tackle my challenges head on. I was so disappointed one morning to find out I got so carried away with wanting to do stuff to look important, that I had forgotten to check the info properly. I got a bill from the school. I thought it was free, and I had used it only to kill time and a place to hide from my misery. Didn't know it was going to cost me.... 

Love is something else... when it's not right, there is a constant reminder of that everywhere you go. No matter how much you run from your reality, someone somewhere somehow, will remind you of it. There was the women with the nice rings. The newly wed immigrants who had their perfect lives. The couples holding hands on the metro, the friend who's hurrying home to cook for her caring husband. The friend who gets phone calls every hour from her boyfriend. I felt alone, and there was no escaping what I was going through. My international phone bill was huge. I was calling my mum daily for comfort. We would talk endlessly trying to figure out... As women, we do not necessarily want solutions. We just talk. My mum would tell me in the end to forget... that even her who had a come we stay marriage, had a better life. I would imagine the wedding and all the people involved, and my efforts to make the right decisions would be paralyzed by the fear of the unknown. I made another decision to leave... then there was a good sunday, and I changed my mind. Then there was another period of silence and the cold treatment started all over again.  Like I mentioned earlier, we only had a maximum of two good days each time we had a breakthrough.  I made another decision to leave and  each time he agreed to let me go. 

I left for a week, I needed a break. He never bothered to call or check where I was. After the week was over, I returned home and no questions were asked. Two weeks went by, and still no word from him. I made my decision again to leave. When I expressed this to the person who was helping me find an apartment, she told me that I had to be sure this time, since I had cancelled so many times before. I was sure. We set a date and I packed a few clothes expecting that when he doesn't find me home, he will come looking for me, and then that way, we might set some ground rules, and even try to make this work. My intentions were to make him talk and realize we had a problem. It  was natural for him to go for months without talking, but for me it was not Ok. I settled in my new home in March. I waited and waited until about two months and three weeks. He never called, and never bothered to find out where I was. I called him but as usual he never picked up. We spoke later that evening but he told me he had no time but when he does find time we will meet. Talk about feeling important. Unfortunately I knew he was just playing big, cause I had lived with him and I knew his schedule. It was basically full of avoiding reality and hiding from the truth. Going to work late and coming home while I was asleep, watching television till 3 am in the morning and showing up to church events and bible studies on time. Nothing else mattered.

He finally found time, but unfortunately I was down with fever and the only option for us was to meet at my new place. My stay would be expiring in a week and I needed to know where I was going after that. He sat down and I immediately broke rule #1 Thou shall not ask questions. I asked him if he had thought of how we could restore our non existence relationship...I only found out the underlined later. He rose up, picked up his bag, and responded with "did I come here for you to ask questions,I thought you had a solution" well, this is someone I had not seen for almost three months, he didn't even care in whose house I was living, and now, he was getting ready to leave because I asked the obvious..... I was furious. I had never seen such arrogance and pride in my life. I was not going to go through this even when I was a way from him. I realized he had plans for me, to put in a box where I shall never speak again. I would be his slave and he would be my master and whatever he says goes. I locked the door and told him he would not leave till he spoke.... I wrestled with him, trying to show him how much it hurt.  Slapping him was the only way I could express how much pain I was in. A slap doesn't talk though... He told me when I get tired, I may open the door for him to leave because he was not going to speak. And we sat there for about two hours in silence...

I sent a message to a friend of his. She was dismissed as soon as she entered  because he was embarrassed, he told her he was capable of handling the situation. Long story... he was now aware that there was a third party and so he suggested we could talk the following day. I went to his place as promised. I had spoken to my mum earlier and she told me she was praying for me, so I was in a surprising good mood. I felt so powerful for some reason. When I got there, everything became so clear. I asked for duct tape so I would not interrupt... but he declined. I sat there listening, and it dawned on me.... This guy does not talk because he probably has nothing smart to say about the real life. He was good at what he did at work, but that's not what he was or who he was. I knew him as the church guy, he was good there, but again that's not who he was. He was clueless like all of us. He was an engineer and God fearing to me. I had given him way too much credit. I had trusted him with my life. I had overestimated him. He started by saying things like  "being like Abigail in the bible, who was an obedient and humble woman" who probably in his opinion never spoke out when she was oppressed and so on. I listened in amazement to what he had to say... His 1920's ideas of marriage. To conclude, he told me not to rush I could think about it for as long as I wanted, and he left. I stopped him on his tracks and told him I had an answer right there, and it was I would never be Abigail, and the person he described would never be me. What did it for me was " You should not talk to your husband the way you talk to your friends" So I knew I had a master and I was the slave. Another day in his kingdom and I will be lost forever. My dreams were half dead. I no longer knew who I was. I told him I would not be coming back later that night and we should go separate ways. He agreed and told me he respected my decision. 

My next challenge was to find a place to live. I still battled in my mind with the thoughts of divorce. I never wanted to be a part of the statistics. I thought some marriages should be divorce proof, especially in the church. At the end of the day we are human. We can be God fearing, successful in our careers, but we're still capable of making bad decisions. My ex is not a bad person, he just wasn't right for me. My values are different. I love freedom, to be able to dream and pursue my dreams. To be with someone and yet feel like I have my life. I found that freedom, and I thank God for it. Whenever I'm struggling in any area of my life, I never rest till I find out why. Most of the time, it's because I'm not supposed to be there. Just like our God given gifts... if you're not operating in them... you struggle.


  1. Wow,you are so courageous...I wish I had a fraction of your strength..

    1. Thanks dear, I didn't exactly feel that way at the time. It was a big mess and I was so depressed. I had moments of deep discouragement. Every woman is strong, we only realize it when faced with a challenge.

  2. "Just like our God given gifts... if you're not operating in them... you struggle."
    "Every woman is strong, we only realize it when faced with a challenge."
    - Just two of my favorite quotes from this blog...

    I admire your courage as well. I am not married and never have been, but even in relationships I have settled for convenience over true love and what I have always dreamed as the perfect love. I have drawn a lot of wisdom from your words and I thank God for giving you a way to channel your thoughts.