Chalk it up to experience. At my age? I guess so. Obviously it was an experience I needed to have. I feel good about it, now that it’s over and I’m back in a safe environment (in Jerusalem, no less, no complaints here!).
Oh. What happened? Right.
So you remember my posts about my Beloved, the wonderful person who loved me for who I am, and because of who I am? Right.
So I traveled to Northern Israel from America to spend two and a half months with him, in order to make the decision whether or not we would marry. Observant Jews date for that reason only: to find our life partner. So we were hot on the trail of discovery, whether it was to be forever or no.
I am very glad that we took the step of actually living together before deciding to get married. That is not an Orthodox thing to do, and I caught some flak about it from some of my more observant friends. I am not as Orthodox as they are, though, and very glad of it, because had we dived headlong into marriage, disaster and heartbreak would have quickly followed.
He has an anger management problem, to put it mildly. And not only does he micromanage to an extent that would tax the patience of a saint (which I clearly am not), he uses any and every means in his considerably large arsenal to get his way through coercion and, if he deems necessary, intimidation.
There was a cycle that became clear in the twelve days I stuck it out with him. It began with cooperation and teamwork. Nice. Then, once he felt secure, he would begin to boast about himself and his many talents. OK, I can put up with that for a while, anyway. Then he would start finding fault. I left the bathroom door open. Left the lid of the toilet down. Left footprints in the bathtub. Left the water dripping. Put the silverware in the wrong order in the dish drainer after washing them. Huh? Right. And on and on, ad infinitum.
If I complained or tried to reason with him about the micromanagement, I was accused of “playing games.” Huh? Any attempt to reason with him met with torrents of hostile speech, blowing in my face like a hurricane. Finally I would walk out, or he would turn off and go to sleep. The next day, he would be cheerful, happy that he had prevailed, and things would be copacetic.
I stuck it out for three of these cycles. On the second one I had packed my bags, and I did not unpack them despite his repeated requests and suggestions that I do so. Sorry, Charlie, you’re dealing with a person whose middle name begins with “P,” for PTSD. I might have been sucked into another abusive relationship, but I sure as hell am not about to stay in one.
So, the night that he flew into a rage because I was about to use the wrong knife to cut a melon, having had the brazen faced gall to place the cutting board on the (shabby and much scarred) table where I might get juice on it, I tried to get him to stop shouting at me long enough for me to tell him that not only do I know what to do with a knife (no, no, not that!), but I am also old enough to know how to wipe up spills when they happen….but he refused to listen to me and stormed out the door instead.
Later that evening, after listening to a lecture about my game-playing and the fact that I did not have permission to use the sharp knives (?????), I informed him that I would be leaving the next day. That lead to a lot of bargaining and further head-tripping attempts. Fortunately I am quite immune to head-tripping, having had far, far too much experience with it, at my advanced age.
So I left the next day, and came back to Jerusalem, the Holy City, the only place in the world I feel at home. A happy ending after all.
1. I was walking down the street. There was a big hole in the sidewalk. I didn’t see it. I fell in.
2. I was walking down the street. There was a big hole in the sidewalk. I didn’t see it. I fell in. I climbed out again.
3. I was walking down the street. There was a big hole in the sidewalk. I saw it. I fell in anyway.
4. I was walking down the street. There was a big hole in the sidewalk. I walked around it.
5. I took a different street.
I think this adventure falls in the #4 category. I’m aiming for #5, but at this point my confidence is not at the highest point it’s ever been.