25 January 2009

Mr. Snake

There's a little fable about bad relationships. It involves a snake.

Once upon a time, a young girl was walking towards the steps leading up to a bridge that crossed a wide river. A poisonous snake was coiled next to the steps. Upon seeing the girl, the snake asked: "Please, I need your help. I need to cross the river, but I can't climb the steps and make it across the bridge. Can you please pick me up and carry me?"

The girl replies: "You're a poisonous snake! If I pick you up and carry you, you'll bite me!"

The snake pleads: "I promise I won't do that. Please. Help me."

The girl spends some time talking with the snake, and listens to the snake's sad story about how he is so misunderstood. He's a snake, but he's not a bad snake. All the other snakes give people the wrong impression. He would never harm the girl.

The girl finally makes a decision. She trusts the snake, believes what he says, and gently picks him up and carries him up the steps and across the bridge. Upon reaching the other side of the river, the snake, nestled safely against the girl's chest, promptly bites her, spewing toxic venom into her body.

The girl cries out: "You promised me that you wouldn't hurt me! Why? Why?"

The snake, as he slithers away, grins as he answers: "You knew what I was when you picked me up. "

I'd like to introduce you to my Mr. Snake. He's my ex-husband. I was the girl.

I was involved with Mr. Snake for seven years, and married to him for almost five. I met him during a time where I was trying to regain my footing in the world. I wasn't looking for a relationship, but I readily welcomed one. (I had been having "fun", but not engaging in any behavior that might be construed as a long-term relationship.)

Looking back, there were warning signs, but I foolishly ignored them - and in one glaring incident, it was my unfamiliarity about divorce law in my state that should have sent me running lickety-split in the opposite direction. (He claimed to be divorced when I met him, and then three weeks into the relationship, stated that the divorce had been "annulled" by the courts because his wife (or as he put it - ex-wife) had contested in the 90 days after the proceeding.) I never questioned that...and found out when I consulted a lawyer before I left him...that there was no "90 day period". You met with the judge, you got a final divorce decree. Really? I've been suckered for seven years? You can imagine how good I felt.

I should have known, and I should have trusted my gut instinct, and I've spent a lot of time and money talking with therapists as to why I chose to believe him despite the repeated warnings. But I didn't...and I chose to stay with him for much longer than I should have. He got the best biological years of my life, and I got bit. Repeatedly.

A year after Mr. Snake and I began dating, he made an announcement. He had decided that he did not want to have children. I was shocked. At that time, we weren't married, and when we had discussed the concept of living our life out together in wedded bliss, he had made comments insinuating that children would be involved. His proclimation was followed by several in-depth discussions, tears (by me), and then a decision that I regret. I told him that given the choice between living with him without children, and living without him with children...I would take the former.

Ahhh...stupidity. Thy name is Ms. Monkey.

Over the next few years, we got married, moved away from family and friends (actually left the country for a while for a job), and continued on our dysfunctional relationship. Over dinner one evening while on vacation in Paris, he stunned me by saying: "I think we should have children before we get too old to enjoy them."

If you've been following along, I think you understand that I was...floored. The relationship was bad - I was in therapy. He believed that I was the problem in the marriage, despite the fact that I had caught him in a bold lie about a woman with whom he was teetering on the brink of an inappropriate relationship. (There was actually an inappropriate relationship, but by the time I realized that, he had backed out and denied everything.) We were barely in a relationship, never mind a marriage, and I believe he was scared that I was going to leave him...and leave him alone.

Fool I was...I took his word, and because I am a diabetic, it's not as if I can say: "OK, let's do this!" My blood sugars needed to be stabilized, my doctors needed to sign off on the whole baby thing for my health...and when he made this announcement, we had just begun the process of moving back to the United States.

He and I lasted a little over a year and a half after that dinner. We moved, built a house, moved in, began new jobs, started a "new life", and all the while, I was working with my doctors to become healthy enough to prepare my body for pregnancy. Granted, Mr. Snake and I barely created opportunities to "practice making a baby"...and I was not in love with him anymore. I had begun therapy again to discuss why I was so depressed about my life (one guess: Mr. Snake and me), and this time, the therapist got through to me. I had been manipulated - willingly - and was privately in a controlling relationship. If you knew me at the time, would have been the last thing you would have believed. "What a happy couple you two make!"

I had been busting my ass medically for months, and the day finally came when my doctor reviewed my tests and records, smiled, and said: "I'm giving you the go ahead to try to conceive. Congratulations."

I drove home, elated (while I didn't love him anymore, I still wanted a baby...and I was still willing to work on the marriage...). I found him sitting out in the backyard, smoking a cigarette and staring off into the distance. Before I could tell him about my doctor's appointment (he didn't know I was going) - or anything about my day at all, he dropped the bomb.

"You know, I've been thinking, and I've made a decision. I don't want to have kids."

He never knew that I had gone to the doctor that day and was given the go ahead.

In that moment, a door closed - and opened. I made a decision, too. I was closing the door on him - and what he was, and opening the door to the rest of my life...one without him and with children.

We were divorced three months later. No screaming arguments, no recriminations, and the concept of children was never uttered when I told him that I was leaving him. It was an amicable divorce. After being with him for that long, I knew what to say and do to just get rid of him.

I knew what he was when I picked him up. The venom did course through my veins, and traces remain, but I have the best antidote in the world now.

I have an amazing husband who wants children, and me, more than anything else in this world.

Mr. Monkey.

I hope that we all have a Mr. Monkey in our lives. He doesn't give me seven years - the best biological years - of my life back, but he gives me something much more precious.


And thus ends the story of Mr. Snake.


Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Monkey..

I am a Mrs. Monkey too.. with Mr Snake..

4 years of marriage with so many teribble things..

1. almost ran over by him
2. cheated on and lied on
3. sent to jail after arguments
4. promised child that never there
5. he always think that I am the one that have the problems..

soon.. i will be sane enough to leave him.. and find the Mr. Right.

Saffy said...

Ms Monkey, we miss you. Where are you?

Baby C said...

Ms Monkey I am too I was in a 5yr relationship with mr.snake who stole money. Said no kids but had sex without a condom knowing I could get pregnant sent me to jail after a fight cause his friend was a crooked cop lied an cheated always saying I'm the problem this guy snake is a sick person an con artist someone needs to put him away