I guess I’m a slow learner. I have had many relationships over the years; some good, some bad, all failed. Even though we are in a time where divorce is acceptable, and even likely, I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve been married four times. Yes, four. When you break it down it isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, but the end result is the same; they’ve all failed. I try not to think about the common denominator here, but I guess Facta Loqui Sibi. The facts speak for themselves.
I was way too young when I married wife number one. And in reality, I was marrying her family as much as I was her. My own family experience was shall we say, less than ideal. Her family was what I felt like what I’d always wanted. This was especially true with her father. While my own father gave me things that I never realized until years later, my father-in-law taught me the things every young man needs…from working on cars to home repairs, even how to drive a nail correctly. He and I later even went into business together, where he taught me how to run a successful accounting practice. I loved him like a father. Notice I haven’t mentioned my wife at all? Well, that was our relationship. And living with the daughter of a loved one isn’t easy, and we ended up divorcing three years later.
I met wife number two in a mental hospital. Now THERE’s a formula for success! This was my first hospitalization, and instead of focusing on the reason I was there, I became her rescuer. Oddly enough, this was my most successful marriage, lasting almost 17 years and producing two beautiful daughters. But she had a sickness that couldn’t be rescued…She developed a drug addiction that eventually killed her. Our breakup was not pleasant in any way, but when she died years later, I was fortunate enough to be with her, and able to remember the good times, and tell her goodbye.
Wife number three. Another one doomed from the start. We had only been dating a short while, but I just happened to run into her while looking at a house for sale. I immediately fell in love… with the house. As did she. We ended up buying the house together, with the plan that we would sleep in separate parts of the house and keep our relationship platonic. Yeah, right…that lasted about a week. After a year or so of living together, we decided that we might as well make it legal. But there was never love. And without love, there were nothing but problems. I ended up cheating on her, and when I was caught (as we always are) the marriage ended. Very abruptly. And very ugly. There is nothing worse than a woman scorned after all.
Then I met wife number four. It was truly love at first sight for me. I had been married three times before, but she was my first wife. I loved (Love?) that woman more than I’ve loved anyone else, save my children. We’ve only recently separated, so it’s still too painful to get into details. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t my idea to separate.
Now here’s the common denominator. My Bipolar Disorder is ultimately what killed each and every one of my marriages. I became severely depressed while with wife number one, which led to an emotional disconnection and inability to maintain the relationship. My explanation above was true… but the full truth is, had I not been so depressed it could have possibly been overcome. Number two was destroyed by mania. We had lived through many hospitalizations over the years (mine), but it was during a severe manic episode that I made the decision to leave. I was just too good for her. The affair I had on wife number three began during another severe manic episode… although I should mention that the lady I did develop a true friendship with the Lady I was involved with, and we remain good friends to this day. Then there was my Wife…Number four. My mania was just too much for her to bear, leading to some bad decisions and ultimate failure. Someday that story should be told. But that’s not a story for today.
Yes, I may be a slow learner, but throughout all of my relationship I was in denial about my illness. I couldn’t see how this disease was impacting my relationships. But with acceptance comes understanding. There will not be a number five, but it is my hope that I will someday find someone who will accept me for who I am, illness and all. And while I’m wishing, I’d like a pony…with saddlebags full of gold…and wings.
So if you have any questions about relationships, you know who to ask! I’ve got it all covered. Well, except maybe the successful part.