Hey there! I know I haven’t been writing regularly, but until fairly recently, I haven’t had much to write about. 2016 is looking to be a much, much better year than many previous ones. I can’t wait to tell you some of the wonderful things that have happened to me.
I’ve been with the same man for 15 years this past April. I moved a 2 bedroom apartment’s worth of furniture and 2 cats here to Toronto from Kamloops, British Columbia (where I grew up). I left many close friends and ALL of my family, not knowing when I’d be able to see them again. It is pretty darn expensive to just “go visit” when you now live a 7+ hour air plane ride away.
So off I went to Toronto, a new adventure, to live with a man I’d met on the internet 4 years prior. Who I flew to meet in person 2 years before moving out here. Who I had spoken with online and on the phone nearly every day since we’d met (yes the phone bills were expensive! This was well before VOIP and Skype). I thought I loved him.
Times were mostly good for a long time. Though we both had chronic pain issues, it wasn’t until 2011 when I really couldn’t get around and do things for myself anymore. I’m pretty sure it was then that he started thinking I was a burden, a hassle, an inconvenience. Someone who was “lesser” in whatever ways he and his family judged me. Because ooooh boy did his family judge me. Especially his father. But not his Mom. That woman, who had never seen or spoken to me in her entire life, gave me a welcoming hug the first time I met her. I’ll never forget that, she was an amazing and wonderful lady. She sadly passed away a few years ago after a decade and then some of fighting cancer.
When the ex’s mother passed away, there were no more family gathering invitations. No calls from family whatsoever. Not even from his son. If we were to know anything about his family, he had to call them. I believe it was because of me. Who knows (or cares) what they really thought. Maybe I was a home wrecker. Though when I moved here he and his wife were separated, and according to him, had been in a rocky relationship a long time before that. There is irony there – which you’ll note later in this story.
No Support System
I never had a support system whatsoever here. I have no family nearby, not within a 7 hour flight, and I tended not to make friends outside of work. So I was 100% dependent upon him when I became so sick. It seemed ok at first, though we had to move to a smaller apartment, then sell the car. Losing that second income (mine) made a lot of things financially impossible. I couldn’t afford treatments that would vastly improve my quality of life. My pain levels increased. My drug plan changed to the Trillium Drug Program (read more about that here) and I was forced to change medication that worked very well for me to a high dose of morphine instead.
Fighting & Pretending
So he worked and had to do the groceries and the laundry (he had to go to a laundry mat, we did not have laundry where we lived). He walked to do most of these things, even with a foot injury and a cane (he had slipped at work and broke his ankle pretty badly), he walked instead of taking a bus. HIS choice.
I did what I could around the house. The cat boxes, brushing and caring for the cats, the dishes, cleaning up the bathroom, the kitchen. But it was never enough. He’d conveniently forget that I did any of those things. We’d argue and he’d make me feel like utter shit. I’d go into the tiny bedroom and cry my eyes out. Meanwhile, he’d somehow justify his behavior and treatment of me. The next day, it would be as if nothing happened at all. He’d continue on as if everything in his world was just fine.
During our frequent fights, I’d tell or threaten him that I wanted to leave. He’d make sure I knew that no one would want me, that I was a burden, that no one would put up with my “shit”. Generally, he’d put me down and make sure I stayed down. I was his mental punching bag for whenever he had a bad day, or was feeling particularly malicious. Which was often! I have never in my life known a more viciously malicious, spiteful human being. Perhaps he learned it from his ex-wife, or perhaps he honed it on his ex-wife. Who knows. Except that I deserve better!
Hell yes, I knew I deserved better. But I was alone, with no money of my own, no support system, no one to encourage me or even believe in me. Nobody. I felt trapped because of this. I lost my job, my career, the lifestyle we had (which was still pretty meager), and my self-esteem. Besides, who would help look after me when I could barely do something as simple as shower a few times a week?
He somehow thought it was ok to only allow me a few meager articles of clothing (2-3) to be washed every week when he did his own. He chose what we ate and despite my preference of vegetarian food, it was going to be meat and potatoes in everything if he had his way. Which he did. Oh, I got a vegetarian lasagna from time to time, but generally I ate whatever he put in front of me without complaint and always with a “thank you”.
He did as little as possible to make himself feel better about having to take care of me. At least, that’s how it felt to me. When he got frustrated or angry about it, he would point out how little I did. Even though we both knew I did as much as I could and that what I did do, DID help him out. I didn’t cook him dinner every night for two reasons. One, he was so incredibly fussy about how food was made and even plated, that I gave up on cooking for him at all within the first 5 years of living with him. Two, I could barely stand up to get to the bathroom and back on some days. Severe fatigue is still a major part of my illness.
I was overwhelmed with grief (losing my career, the ability to work, the ability to do things I enjoyed), guilt (not able to support myself, the cats or the household financially or physically in most ways), fear (if my pain was so bad now, what would it be like in 5 years, 10 years or more?), severe loneliness and worst of all, starved for affection. There was no physical affection in our relationship beyond the occasional chaste kiss. In my mind, we were no better than room mates. Time for moving on.
So, after years of coping with all of this as best I could, I finally found the guts to believe I deserved better. With a little help and encouragement from some dear and close friends online. Especially a very wonderful man who I admired and then came to love very deeply. I decided that enough was enough!
I applied to Ontario Works (social services) and began looking for a new place to live. A room, actually, because I could only afford about $400 for rent. Finding a room in a cat friendly place was a real challenge – as I knew it would be. I managed to find a really neat place about a 15 minute drive East of where I lived before.
My room is in an old elementary school. Neat hey?! They converted it to a small collegiate that is now being converted to a Confucian temple of all things. It has a few rooms they rent out, a full kitchen (though office sized), a shared bathroom and a laundry room. Everything I need. The cats are allowed to wander the entire place. Though there are 2 other kitties who live here, they pretty much stay on either side of the building.
Reason To Live & Love Again
When I met Ian through a message board like site we both frequented, it was if I had reconnected with someone I had known my entire life. Even someone I had known through several lives. It was instant attraction so intense it scared the hell out of me. But I was so drawn to him, I couldn’t stop wanting to talk to him and get to know him better.
We began chatting via video on Skype. The more I got to know Ian, the more I liked him! We clicked and we get each other on a level I’ve never experienced in my entire life. It’s like he was made for me, and I for him. Sounds corny maybe, yet there it is.
Ian is incredibly loving, gentle, kind, warm, generous and so much more. He has an awesome sense of humor and enjoys so many of the things I do. My sexy man believes in me, that I can do whatever I want to. He makes me laugh every single day and thinks I am a beautiful, sexy and desirable woman just the way I am. Curves and all. He gives me the strength and courage to really do the things I want to do. Being believed in, loved and cherished like this is a very heady, amazing thing!
I feel Empowered and so Blessed to have met such a wonderful man who only lifts me up and treats me like a woman should be treated. I plan on reminding him every single day how much he means to me, how much he is appreciated and loved deeply.
So it’s been about 6 months now since I left the ex. I’ve been having quite the adventures while renting a room in this old elementary school. It’s very rural and oh so gloriously quiet. Except for the odd (ok, REALLY odd) temporary tenants, that is. Another story for another day though lol. I’ve finally gotten CPP disability and am about to have ODSP as well. I just need to go in and sign some paperwork. Going forward, I’ll be making about twice as much as I have had on Ontario Works (welfare) these last 6 months.
I’m currently looking to rent an apartment on my own. Preferably in Oshawa where my doctor appointments are, but anywhere in the Durham Region of Toronto is fine too. Ian is still waiting for his transfer so he can move here to be with me. We’re hoping that will be soon. In the meantime, I’m getting an apartment on my own.
Moving on and living on my own for the last 6 months has been very good for me. I’m more mobile than I was, though my pain hasn’t decreased or changed really. It feels like I’ve rediscovered my old self again. I’m incredibly happy and looking forward to my future. Still feeling so Blessed and that it’s about bloody time things went my way for a while. I deserve it!
Thanks for reading!