Chad is a bit of a longer installment in my life. About 18 months had passed before I closed that chapter. I'm not the least bit proud of how it went, but I'll endeavor to lay it before you.
Chad was a classic rebound relationship for me, and I for him. We were both very young and very hurt. We both had the experience of CSA (ChildhoodSexual Abuse) under our belts and we were both living out of the lies we'd believed from those experiences. Our relationship began on Labor day of 1989 and he'd see me through the entirety of my Senior year.
Chad had grown up in a home of three boys and one girl. His sister was the oldest and had behaved as expected. Chad was the third and was the boy who hadn't turned out as desired. His father was career ex-military, the type that looks at anyone who's not hyper-masculine with suspicion.
Chad didn't fit his father's idea of a son.......at all. He's was short, thin and nerdy. He didn't enjoy or participate in sports. He didn't hunt and he certainly wasn't interested in the military. The result of that was a constant, nagging reminder to him of what men do. Both his brothers had met his father's requirement for manhood, the older via a military career, and the younger via a tree-trunk build and a lot of football. Dad wasn't overt in his disdain of his middle son, but it was plain enough and the effect it had on Chad was profound.
So what was Chad like?
Well, he was an angry and hurt little boy and the way it came out was through selective bullying in very specific ways while avoiding adult responsibility in others. Take him to a restaurant and you'd be guaranteed a loud complaint about the food resulting in a confrontation with the restaurant staff and ending in a free meal if at all possible. His goal was, I believe, to avoid paying for meals. So, bullying and avoiding adult responsibility.
At his job, he was a collector of monies and he enjoyed harassing people in that arena simply because he could. He got joy out of bad mouthing those he'd bullied regarding their fees.
He had no friends to speak of, aside from the illustrious Lee, but time would demonstrate that this friendship was a surface one. Chad was a loner, he didn't fit in and he was angry at the world as a result.
We began a committed relationship under all the weight of our past stuff and with no real intention directed toward who we wanted to be as people. We became intimate relatively quickly and were engaged to be married by the end of a year together.
Looking back at it now, I realize that I didn't really THINK about any of it. My day to day life was just a reaction to whatever was going on at the time. I had no plan and no thought as to how we'd make a marriage work. In reality, I didn't see marriage as a permanent thing anyway. Divorce seemed like a very good option if you didn't like how things were working out. I'd never seen an example of a couple working through their differences and saw no reason why they should even try.
Chad and I rolled through my Senior year of high school together, he a 20 year old man in a relationship with a minor and me just trying to get through that last year. All the things that, in a typical story are wonderful milestones, felt like let-downs to me if I'm honest. I'd been an excellent student up to that point, but Senior year I took every opportunity to slack. Somehow, I still made it out of that year in the top 10% of my class.
I felt like such a victim at that time. I still remember Prom and all the preparations leading up to it. I'd pour over magazines dreaming about the dress I'd wear, but I had no money to actually obtain the one I really wanted. And I felt like a victim because of it. I wanted a fancy dinner and a limo, but I had no money and Chad wasn't offering. And I felt like a victim because of it. I wanted a nice car and a nice apartment and nice clothes. I didn't get those, and I felt like a victim because of it. The night itself was a major let down as no one there talked with Chad and I. I'd solidified my status as an outsider and it showed clearly at prom. And I felt like a victim because of it.
I'd moved into an apartment at the age of 17 with a girl I worked with. My dad hadn't cared, it was likely a relief to him. He didn't help me with it financially, or help me determine if it was a good idea. I asked, he immediately said yes and that was that. The girl I moved in with was much like me with predictable decision making. We lived together for a few months before she announced her pregnancy and that she'd be moving out and I'd need to find another place.
I decided to go back to my dad's place since I didn't have the money for a place of my own. I was disappointed because we lived 40 miles from town and it meant going back to a lot of driving, but otherwise I didn't care much. The roommate become less pleasant to be around and it was an easy answer. When moving day came, I packed my very few belongings and left, but what I hadn't noticed was that she'd helped herself to the one thing I had of value, my Grammy's heirloom jewelry. It wasn't actually particularly valuable, but it meant something to me and I'd showed it off to her. So she took it, and I felt like a victim because of it.
I finished my Senior year living at my dad's house out in the boonies, but with very little contact with him. He was in a relationship with a new woman and that was his priority. This was familiar space and I didn't really see it as an overt problem. In fact, it seemed convenient given my relationship with Chad and the desire I had for independence. It never occurred to me that it would have been appropriate for him to prioritize time with me. He never had before, why should he start now?
I would be turning 18 in July of that year and that would mark the time when Chad and I would finally get our own place together. There'd be no more long drives and inability to talk on the phone (calls to town were 'long distance' and expensive, so they were infrequent) Oh, and did I mention that I'd have electricity!!?? Yeah, that was inviting all right. Things were surely looking up in my mind.
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