I remember when I was about 6 months out of the hospital, I would stop in a church on the way to work to pray about 4 times a week. It felt like a good place to express my thankfulness of being given a second chance on life and to just “talk to God.” I had so many questions about what I went through and why it happened. None of the answers I was getting in life seemed to make any sense.
People would tell me that God had great things for me in my future because of what I went through…all of those people seemed way off especially because I was still carrying around so much pain from Priscilla and pain from spending those 3 months in the hospital alone with sparse visitors. What lesson was this supposed to teach me? To stop drinking and partying? Okay, I got the memo and it has been internalized. I have a friendly reminder down the middle of my chest that I see in the mirror each and every day.
Since I had died on the operating table for several minutes, when I was inside the church I felt sometimes that I could hear the voice of God asking me questions and answering some of mine. Perhaps it was just my subconscious, but the biggest question I would hear was “Love with Priscilla or success and money from business? You can have one or the other.” Due to my strong feelings for her, I would respond in my head with “Love, because the other part is materialistic and did not really matter.”
What I did not realize is that without the money I never had any sort of chance with her. It does not matter how much love and passion you have in a relationship, without the ability to financially support a basic lifestyle for a woman and her child then she has one foot out the door. Women can get as pissed as they want about this statement and yes I know it does not apply to everyone, but there is a small portion of women that would stay with a man that has the inability to financially provide the kind of lifestyle that they want. Women that become professional and financially successful do not want to waste their hard earned money on a guy that does not have the same drive, ambition, success, or potential to become successful.
I think that even back in college this held true, but at a lower level. Women would see the “potential” of someone to be able to provide for a family in the future. Did his parents have money? Was he intelligent and get good grades in school? What kind of car did he drive? The list goes on and on.
When it comes to Costa Rica it is even harder for women to make it because the society is so machismo that it is hard for a woman to advance professionally without having to fight through the men that are trying to hold them back. It wounds a male Tico’s ego if a woman is chosen over him for work or anything for that matter. In many cases the male Tico will try to sabotage the woman to ensure she is not able to advance. Also, women are paid less than men in Costa Rica.
There is nothing I admire more than a woman that has been born and raised in Costa Rica that has fought her way to become successful, be it through her business or advancement though hard work and determination. I know that both of those paths are usually lined with hardship, disappointment, continual fighting for what they want. Unfortunately, many women along the way decide that the road is just too hard and look to marry someone that can support them or turn to prostitution. For me there is really no difference between the two.
Sorry, went off on a tangent. For me, knowing that money trumped my love was painful. It was like everything that Priscilla and I had been through together meant nothing because I was unable to give her and her baby the lifestyle she wanted. It was not about love or emotional support. Her husband lived 3000 miles away and the only thing he provided was the cash each month and a vacation for her to the USA about every 4 months. It does not feel too good when you value your heart at about $1,500 a month.
Although my mind continued to tell me to forget her and that she was not the right person for me, my heart was having trouble letting go. We still emailed about 2 to 3 times a week, but the correspondence had become cold and brought nothing but sadness when I read her words. Living in the same area that she was in also did not make moving on an easy task. Everything reminded me of her; restaurants we went to, parks we walked in, yoga places we visited, and everything else.
Because her grandmother had been so wonderful to me during my recovery process, I wanted to visit her when I could. She had become my family and my support when I had been going through one of the most difficult times in my life. However, the visits now were more painful than comforting. I could feel the eyes of Priscilla’s family upon me in a “poor Dan” sort of way.
They all knew that she was not leaving her husband and that I was holding onto someone that had already let me go. The conversations would always end up turning at some point to Priscilla are her husband. I would leave feeling worse than when I came. But for some masochistic reason I felt that I needed to visit her grandmother to offer gratitude for everything she did for me. The pain that each visit caused would leave me unable to think properly for several hours.
After a while I just could not do it anymore. Having contact with her family, even her grandmother, had turned from a situation that was a loving environment to a situation where I felt like I was not good enough and would cause me pain. No matter how much I wanted to believe that Priscilla was a person that would never trade her dreams and life for money, the reality of the situation was that her husband had bought himself a wife. If I could just internalize that I could let her go, because that would allow me to have closure.
Instead of understanding that this was just one woman and that not all women are like this (I hope), I shut down my heart completely. Although I craved being with someone else, as that is a normal human need, no woman in the world was going to be able to hurt me like that again. If I did not allow my heart to open then it could never go through this pain again. My only focus needed to be on myself and becoming successful in my professional life; long hours behind the computer, very little interaction with the outside world, developing business contacts, and putting together a life where I could try to find my smile again. But it is so difficult to move on when you are surrounded by things that make you remember that there was never any closure with someone.
Every time I finally did go out with someone I would compare her to Priscilla. You do not compare that person to the bad things about your ex; you compare them to only the good things. No matter how wonderful a person might be they will never add up to this perfect fantasy image you have in your head of your ex. The key is remembering the lies, the bad times, the pain, and everything that caused the eventual termination of your relationship. If everything was perfect , then you would still be together.
As I focused on work I would still return to church to pray from time to time. The voice inside my head would shout out “I choose success and money over love with Priscilla.” However this time there was no response, just quiet. I guess God knew I was lying.
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