Ghosts of girlfriends past. Part 5.

Right, I’ll do something else now. I’ll re-visit a few of my short-time and long-time girlfriends (don’t worry, there’s not many of them!) and do a short summary of it. I might turn out anything from hilarious (mostly the first ones) to very serious crap. Anyway, I’ll do it because it feels like something I want to do.

Girlfriend #5: The Marriage

Who was she?
She was the one I married and stayed together with for 10 years exactly. I met her online via myspace in the summer of 2006 after giving up local girls and aiming for the foreigners again. I didn’t even plan this one. It just happened. We had a long distance relationship for a few years which gave me the pleasure of travel. I love travel. She moved to my country and we lived toghether for several years after that.

Why did you date her?
She was exotic and beyond pretty. Extremely smart, smarter than me perhaps. She liked the same music, and was into science fiction as well. We quickly developed a common sense of humour which worked really well. We worked really well toghether being out travelling. She pushed me to write books and follow my interests. We got two dogs and had a pretty good time for quite some time. We married. Mostly because it made living together easier, but I loved her dearly for a long time.  There’s more on everything else in all my other posts though, so I’m not gonna repeat myself.

Why didn’t it work out?
I honestly don’t know. I know what her issues were, and I could not find a good way to help her deal with it all. At some point she just didn’t find me interesting I guess? And I gave up. I just gave up trying to get her to go to bed at normal hours. I gave up trying to make her do her bit around the house. Oh, and the IVF project really took its toll. It simply died out. If she hadn’t initiated anything, I think I would have anyway. I sometimes think I deserve better, but what relationship is perfect?

Where is she now?
She still lives in our old house. I moved out. She has a job now. She finally found one when I was moving out. I don’t know how she’s doing or anything. I don’t know. I don’t want to know.

What would you like to tell her?
What happened? I don’t really understand. I can only act on the present and the information I had and have. When did all the shit happen and go so badly? I honestly did everything I could. I was patient, I did everything around the house. I was being realistic about the IVF, I know, and was terrible at comforting you. I honestly don’t know what I could have differently. I am often worried that you feel very depressed and feel lonely – but hey, your decision. I thank you for having the guts to initiate the break up. I don’t think I would have had the balls. I don’t know. I want you to be happy. I hope you’re getting the help you need and can sort through everything that goes on inside of you. I’m doing alright now, but I am terribly sorry I lost my best friend. The most horrible memory I have is from the day you came to me and showed me the stick that said you were pregnant. Your voice was trembling when you said it. It meant so much to you. But of course, like a lot of things in your life, it doesn’t go the way you want. I am so sorry. I guess that was the make or break moment. The pregnancy was nothing but a chemical pregnancy and simply disappeared.

When all that stuff happened, I often played this song. I knew I was in for troubling times. I felt the rain coming in.

Ghosts of girlfriends past. Part 4.

Right, I’ll do something else now. I’ll re-visit a few of my short-time and long-time girlfriends (don’t worry, there’s not many of them!) and do a short summary of it. I might turn out anything from hilarious (mostly the first ones) to very serious crap. Anyway, I’ll do it because it feels like something I want to do.

Girlfriend #4: The girl next door

Who was she?
She was a cute, somewhat naive 18 year old girl with long curly brown hair and (at first) braces on her teeth (when she took those off she was a knock-out in my eyes). She lived just five minutes by car away from me (I lived with my parents then). Not only did she have a “girl next door look”, she was basically from the same place as me. I met her in January 2002 at one of the first parties I really ever attended. Sober. She had never had a boyfriend before, so I thought I was quite experienced. I truly wasn’t. Spring of 2002 and especially the summer of 2002 stands out as one of the best summers I’ve had ever. I was making out and fooling around with a really cute girl. I actually had a girlfriend and a proper network of friends. We stayed together for about two years. I still have fond memories of her.

Why did you date her?
I was attracted to her. She was everything I looked for in a girl. Down to Earth, lovely smile, nice to talk to. Very pretty. We stayed over at each others houses, did social things with our common friends. Made out. Made out some more. Went to the movies. Made out even more. Met her parents and family as well.

Why didn’t it work out?
After she graduated high school she wanted a year off before college. She found this big farm about 2,5 hours drive south with lots of horses. She loved horses. So, she moved there to be part-time babysitter and part-time horse trainer or something. And, she was never as into me as I was into her. We stayed together for another year. I drove to pick her up every other weekend, and had a great time when she was home. But, I wasn’t as interesting as horses and travels going to all kinds of horse races in Norway and abroad. And she lacked empathy. I remember I spoke to her mother about empathy. She just didn’t have it. It’s a nasty thing to say, but it was quite true. Anyway, we had to fantastic summers together. Then she cheated on me with some horse trainer guy in the fall of 2003-early 2004. So she broke up with me. It’s the only time I have actually snuck around and looked at someone elses phone – which confirmed it all. After she broke up with me, I had serious issues getting over her and missed her dearly for a long time. One night on town, I saw her making out with a new boyfriend which put an end to me missing her.

Where is she now?
She met this football fan guy from way down south at some point. To me, he always looked like he was 16 years old. Odd face. Odd chap really. He moved over here and she got pregnant. Twice. So she got two children and she’s still with him. Good for her. She has a good education as well. Still got her on Snapchat. Lovely looking kids. Odd how she ended up with a more “normal” life than me, when it was me who longed for it the most.

What would you like to tell her?
I wasn’t stalking you, honestly (lol), but I am sorry I could not get over you as quickly as I should have. I still have wonderful memories of our time together, and say if I had been coming into your life at the time you met your current guy – I think we would have worked out well together. Hey, I am being rather nice about the cheating part aren’t I? It’s fine, people make mistakes. Don’t matter. I just met you too soon, and we couldn’t simply settle down so early could we. So, it was a bit too soon. A pity really. I really did love you. First time I have ever loved someone. And why do I get the feeling you would have liked me more if I had been more of an asshole or dangerous?

She liked the song, I liked the song – and it reminds me of her. Especially those first dates.

Ghosts of girlfriends past. Part 3.

Right, I’ll do something else now. I’ll re-visit a few of my short-time and long-time girlfriends (don’t worry, there’s not many of them!) and do a short summary of it. I might turn out anything from hilarious (mostly the first ones) to very serious crap. Anyway, I’ll do it because it feels like something I want to do.

Girlfriend #3: The one out of desperation

Who was she?
She was a collegue at work ca late 2000, early 2001. She had blue eyes and semi-short brown hair. She was 17, I was 20. She wasn’t very attractive, and not very bright either. But, she was quite experienced for her age. If you know what I mean. She had just broken up with a boyfriend of hers, and turned to me. I wasn’t attracted to her, but convinced myself that I was.

Why did you date her?
I was lonely and sick of having no one. I was 20 years old and had not been in any form of relationship or having had any form of physical contact with any girls except during the summer of 2000 when #2 was visiting. I was tired of everything. So I went for it.

Why didn’t it work out?
Well, she quickly got bored of me and went back to her ex (or was it someone else?). I can’t remember it bothered me that much really. I was more pissed off that another female collegue which I considered a friend immediately pulled back from hanging out with me when I wasn’t with her any longer. I felt that was a shitty thing to do. We stayed in contact for a while, and then it fizzled out.

Where is she now?
Oh, boy I have a few stories to tell. I called her once a few years down the road, and she bluntly told me she just had an abortion due to a “two-night-stand”. I think she told me the guy she met after me was abusive as well. Then years after that she suddenly appeared on national TV because her family (two kids, husband) had massive financial issues. No idea how that worked out. Very embaressing stuff. I remember thinking; imagine if she had gotten pregnant with me. I would have been stuck having to relate to her for the first of my life. Jesus Christ!!

What would you like to tell her?
I will be as blunt as you were; you’re not terribly bright and I am very pleased you dumped me quickly. It would have been a bloody nightmare otherwise. I hope you make sure your children stay in school, get the right education, and learn a couple of things from your poor life choices. I dodged a bullet there. Good luck.

She had a thing for this song – and I couldn’t fucking stand it.

Mind War

A friend asked me on FB Messenger the other day; “are you happy?”

It was a simple enough question. Am I happy? I can say I was happy. For several years actually. Very happy. But that was then. I replied with a simple “no, I am not happy”. 

This past winter was the toughest I’ve been through. I balanced on a knife edge of being happy about a new girlfriend and being depressed for the loss of a future. In the end, I think happiness gave in to depression. I went to England in March, and it was slowly another turning point towards feeling better. Slowly. Very slowly. But I am not happy.

I look around me when I write this. The rain is pouring down outside. I am living in a new house. There is no one else here. The TV is on, but I am not watching. I simply like the noise of it. There’s empty Coke bottles, all my books that I’ve written nicely presented on a large book shelf, a sofa I never sit in, in a cabinet there’s a bottle of wine I intended to share with a date that never managed to find the time, and an extremely empty fridge. It is simply empty. I am all alone. I am 36 years old. This is not supposed to be. It’s like I left my life and took over the situation of me in a parallel dimension. I do not belong here. 

Today, for the past four hours, after coming home for a sports event, I have had a mind war going on. One of the individuals taking part met up with her husband and two year old girl after the event was over. I caught myself staring at the family of three playing together, simply being happy. I wished I was him even though I do not know any of his personal struggles. I simply wanted to be him. To have his life. A pretty, athletic girlfriend and a blue-eyed two year old girl.

If this had been four months ago, I would have been in a very dark place by now. I would have lost the mind war hours ago already. At least I am capable of fighting it now and writing about it instead. But I am bitterly jealous of them. Everyone.

I do not want to be in this situation. I am not living the life I want for myself.

I am so jealous, sad and depressed about the lack of having my own family that I can no longer congratulate friends or family becoming parents. My cousin had his first baby a few months back, and I do not want to go visit him. I mustered a “congrats” on Snapchat. A couple me and my ex used to hang out with just had their first child, and I have not once given them my best wishes. No likes on Facebook or Instagram. Nothing. The list goes on. I stay clear of it. I hope you all can forgive me even if you haven’t noticed. Perhaps its not even jealousy, it’s just sadness. Deep sadness.

I am not happy, but I am trying to hang on. I am doing better,  but I am not happy – and I will not be happy until this “is fixed”. If it ever will. And I am terribly sorry to everyone who should have been getting my best wishes for their lucky circumstance. Please understand that I simply can’t manage myself to do it. It is a war with my mind I have yet to win.

 

Chapter 7: And All My Dreams Torn Asunder

The chance was 1/3 from each try. We had three tries. I threw a dice three times to see if I got the right number. I got it on my third try. I figured it would go down that route. How we would be succesfull at last. It couldn’t possibly not work. Things like this simply didn’t happen the wrong way. At one point or another she would be pregnant. In all fairness to the Universe, we would be great parents. It clearly had to see this.

She actually got pregnant while she was “reseting” her body in February 2015. Not from IVF either. It came as a surprise. If she had not been so “aware” of everything, I doubt she would have noticed anyway. She was just a couple of days late. It meant she had to abort her medicine and start all over. It was a chemical pregnancy.  After a couple of more days, everything went back to normal. It cost us another six months. She came to me with her stick that said “pregnant” and her voice was shaking of joy and surprise. I will never forget it.

We went in to Oslo for our fourth attempt in the fall of 2015. Maybe it was our fifth, I can’t remember. I was looking for signs by then. A caravan down the street had the name of what we had planned to name our child if she was a girl. Adria. I took it as a sign. A positive one. The sky that morning before we left for our last attempt was crispy clear, and an a Airbus A340 from SAS streaked across the sky coming in to land at Oslo Airport from New York. I took that as a sign too. I still couldn’t really believe that all of this could be for nothing, so I expected the last attempt to work. But it didn’t. It simply didn’t.

Adria

If it was a girl, we would call her Adria. From Stargate SG-1. We figured a girl might look like her.

We decided to not give up, and went to a private clinc quickly. We bought an IVF package worth 60 000 NOK (excluding medication). The total sum would be about 100 000 NOK. Her mom paid half, I paid half. We tried once. The eggs were developing, but not good enough. They inserted the one which looked semi-promising. It didn’t work. It was perhaps the worst disappointment of them all. She also had a terrible physical reaction to it. The private clinic did things differently, different medication. She got sick. Very sick. We barely managed to get home. At one point I had to take taxis around Oslo to find a specific drug as many of the pharmacies were sold out. I went out of my way. At least I thought so. She was upset because I didn’t tell her “it would be alright”. How could I? It felt like lying. To her, I wasn’t doing my part. I wasn’t saying the right things, and I wasn’t suffering. She was. She was suffering. All I had to to was deliver a cup. Mentally I dealt just as much as her. She just didn’t see it.

My MasterCard bill was growing rapidly, but we still had another two tries left. That was the package deal. If it worked on the first try, we would still have to pay for three. We had gone for three. The clinic was very serious about their work. We liked them more than the state run hospital. They had a different approach to things.

Our next attempt would be in February 2016. I had a trip to England coming up, so she went to the clinic by herself for the usual talks before the attempt started – what kind of dose of medication would work, when she would start and so on. By then we didn’t really work as a couple any longer. The IVF process was consuming us. We talked of little else than IVF and our dogs. It was all eyes on it. All our energy. I read articles online saying it was normal. I took care of the house for the most part. Inside and out. I was doing everything I could.

When I got back from England I found her at home in tears. She had aborted the IVF treatment. For good. She had had some kind of breakdown at the clinic and had decided to not do it anymore. From being “all in” a month ago to completely abort it was a shock to me. It dawned on me she had ideas and issues/problems/thoughts she had not shared with me. About us. She wanted to address our issues. I understood, but replied I always thought it was natural considering how hard the IVF was to deal with. I guess she disagreed. So, that evening – after just being back from England an hour beforehand, everything was off. IVF, children, relationship, marriage. It was all off. From what I could gather she had pushed her body through these tries without actually “being there” any longer. She just went along with it even thought she didn’t want to any longer. How many guys can say they had to deal with a broken up marriage and aborted IVF on the same day?

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I didn’t know what to think. A weight lifted off my shoulders the same night, but I didn’t know what to make of everything. I had been worrying about her for years. That weight disappeared. I didn’t have to worry that much now, she had pushed me away. What now?

It took another six months until I moved out. Simply because we had to untangle our lives and make the best choices. She had to be able to finance the house on her own and I had to get my own place. It was a mess. I bought a car in May with automatic gear change. Not because I wanted one, but because she couldn’t drive a stick, and because my father helped finding the car. He didn’t know anything. No one knew anything, and I had a horrible time telling my parents. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, but it wasn’t up to me. I was simply put in a situation where I had to make some choices. I distansed myself from her quickly. I was angry, upset. But one thing kept me going; she couldn’t have kids. This put me in a situation where still might be able to – if I met someone else. That first night after I came back from England I suddenly remembered something she told me once before the third try at the hospital; “if this doesn’t work you can make someone else pregnant if you’d like.” I thought she was joking around. She had actually been trying to tell me something.

I can never name my child Adria. If I am lucky enough to find someone and have a child that is. The name Adria is a symbol to all those six tries which did not go the right way. They were just five or six cells, but in my mind I can picture what the child would have looked like. And that is Adria. It’s a horrible feeling. It’s like missing someone you’ve never met. I can imagine her in my head. She actually feels real, although disappearing more and more now that I have some distance. I’ve met people who simply do not understand the despair and grief of something like that can give you (it’s another story). It is very real. Just by writing this I can feel my face tightening up. Having children is a unfair game. It is simply unfair. Nothing to do with education, being smart or anything. It’s just about luck.

It’s at these moments I am usually putting on Butch Walker’s melancholic album “Afraid of Ghosts” and I think I will now. I could have written this more personal or with more feelings, but I simply can’t. It is simply too hard.

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Chapter 6: A Race Through Dark Places

07.12.2016 

“Can you tell me why you are here?”
I thought about it for a bit before I replied.
“I need to do my job properly.”

Such was my introduction to my problem to her. It was the short version. It was more than that, but I had to start somewhere. I had been advised by a good friend of mine to talk to someone about my challenges. I had been there before. With my now ex-wife. A place where people goes when they want to divorce in this country.  For free. Sometimes Norway can show itself from its absolute best side. Free professional assistance and guidance. A place where you can pour your heart out and no one can judge you for it. It was the kind of help Americans pay hundreds of dollars for.

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I didn’t really know they accepted individuals (thought it was just couples), but they did. She was a pshychologist, and about my age. She simply said her name was Mari. She was an attractive woman with a wonderful, welcoming smile. Her dialect suggested she came from Oslo. I wondered if it was work or romance who brought her up to these parts of the country. I bet it was the latter.

And so I told her my problem. I told her I’d been in meetings with young mothers or mothers-to-be at work where I simply did not function properly. How personal feelings got in the way of doing things right or simply paying attention. I assured her no one in any meetings noticed anything as I kept my cool – but after the meetings I was a mess. I was overflowing with jealousy, bitterness, and anger. Some of these babies were born when I should have become a father myself, but didn’t. I saw my own children in these babies (even though no one had ever existed). Poorly prepared fathers and mothers. Parents-to-be that were not prepared for what was to come. Inside I was the same as when I was a teenager and heard of friends going to England to see football. I was fuming on the inside then too; they didn’t know SHIT about England! They never studied maps of English cities! They didn’t know squat about English history! They didn’t even know which team played in which English league division! They didn’t DESERVE to be in England! I did! Not them!

I had to admit one thing. I was depressed, and I had not been depressed before. Not like this. Co-workers noticed a change in behaviour in me. I had a blank look in my eyes. I had to leave lunch when children came up as a subject. I was in tears every other day (at one point I kept count). I had never felt so alone ever before. I felt like a failure. I talked myself down. Everything I had buildt up the past 10 or so years came crashing down.

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All in all, it felt like a house of cards. I was just about to put that final card on top and declare victory when everything fell apart. My confidence, my life, my future, my hobbies. I wasn’t where I was supposed to be, and I couldn’t think of one step I had put wrong.

When I had finished that first conversation with her, I walked somberly back to my car and drove home. When I came back home it was all quiet. Not a soul in the big house. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I had a good job, a great, big house and all this care and love to give and there wasn’t a soul around I could give it to. I sat down for a moment and thought; “what the hell happened?”

The next day was my birthday. I would turn 36. I curled up under a blanket with my entire body and stayed there for half an hour. Fetal position.

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But anyway, I’m jumping ahead of myself. I need to backtrack a year or so. Perhaps this blog was just a way of avoiding to write about what happened between this and those first IVF visits.

What goes up….

My ex-wife had a poster in her bedroom that said exactly that. A picture of a hand drowning in pills. What goes up, must come down. It’s funny how something sticks to you. That poster stuck to me, and I still remember it vividly. I often picture it, and those excact words. 

It was those words that stuck to me when I was walking down one of England most historic airfields, minutes away from reaching another personal pinnacle I never thought would happen to me. I somehow had managed to manouver myself in a position to fly for free in a P-51 Mustang from the second World War. Something every historic aviation enthusiast dream of, but for most people can never be achieved. My father had spoken of trying to be given such a chance for three decades. He never got close. Suddenly, before even being 35 years old, I was about to go on that ride. And I would be doing it over the English countryside pulling 5 G’s in the backseat of one of the most famous aircraft ever made. It was at that moment I thought; “when will I ever come down?”

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In all honesty, looking back, it feels like anything I wanted between 2005 and 2015 came true. I always wanted to travel the world. Suddenly I had racked up 24 trips to England, three trips to the USA, 11 to Israel as well as all of Scandinavia, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and more. I finally got to see my fave football playing live, I wrote books and published them with ease. Further; I befriended a childhood rockstar-hero of mine, signed books in England sitting beside WWII veterans, held lectures on historic aviation, got tenure and married a knock-out dark haired exotic girl. I turned 30 and didn’t think one bit about it. I felt at ease with it. I wasn’t an insecure 20 year old. I was reaching beyond anything I could have imagined within my hobbies and interests. All this may not sound much, but for me it meant the world. Everything I hoped when I was growing up was coming true. If this was getting older, I had no problem with it.

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With my head slightly banging on the canopy, upside down over Duxford Airfield, the thought of coming down came creeping to me again. Reaching this level of what I considered personal success; what will come next? Could I possibly continue on like this with what I felt was never-ending success?

Fact is, coming down again was creeping up on me. I just didn’t know it yet. A year later down the road, and my world would look very different.

Up-and-Down-Plan-Crash

 

 

It’s culture issue

No, it’s not actually. I often told a few trusted friends the situations I ran into during the first years with together her. They kept saying it must be a culture thing. It wasn’t really a culture thing. It was a personality thing. She just had some quirky personality traits I couldn’t wrap my head around.

However, her home country had some drastic differences to mine. Security issues, density in population, massive traffic, pollution, extreme heat. Perhaps the biggest difference of all; communites so vastly difference from each other to the point you wouldn’t really think you were living in the same country at all. The diversity was something alright, and it’s not all positive. But then again, she could pick friends totally to her liking because there were so many to choose from. She always said that in Norway, you just had to become friends with whatever because there would be no one like you around anyway. She had a point. Her friends were all highly educated people. Bordering on nerds, but not in an obvious way. I was a nerd as well, but not like that. I never excelled in school and never had a lifegoal of becoming a doctor. My nerd factor came from my hobbies, not academia. My friends came from all sorts of places. None of my friends had anythying in common except knowing me. Her friends seemed to have lots in common. She had hand-picked them. I was just pleased I could make friends at all.

Mass-immigration from Russia combined with a growing Arab community made for natural segregation as people tend to seek out their own kind. It’s definetely a warning signal to countries like Sweden who have basically kept an open border policy for cultures so different that they could be from another century. Her country had communites within communites, and none of them really spoke to each other. To me, it felt like 10 or 20% of her countrys population, (mainly the secular, highly educated part) pushed the country forward while the rest simply went along for the ride.

However, all of this didn’t really give us problems. I can point to one important factor why; religion. We were secular. I was more athiest than agnostic. She was perhaps more agnostic than athiest, but it worked. So, no, it was never either about religion or so much about culture. The difference between western countries are really not that huge. We surf the same web, watch the same TV shows and follow the same football teams.

The differences may be in each countrys wealthfare system or how doctors do their job. How you send in your tax report. How much or what type of groceries a small town supermarket got, or whether there are pubs around or not. Whether or not you can go out on a Saturday night depending on the cost of a fancy burger. Coming from me, this is one of the things I’m quite proud of. We never had issues about culture differences. Perhaps it was easier for me since she came to live here and not vice versa. I would definetely have had issues living there, but this also because I’m not keen on living in large cities. I’m not keen on steel bars on your windows either. Speaking of burglaries, she was scared of being alone in our apartment for some time so she even locked the bedroom door with a key at first. Is this culture or personality? I think it’s the latter.

While working at a school she was shocked that the school did not have a fence around it. Most countryside schools simply don’t around here. It’s just nature that surrounds it anyway. She was surprised children stayed out and played in almost all weather conditions while in her country the kids were rushed inside once a spot of rain appeared. Yes, this is culture. But, all these differences were easy to get used to once she knew the system of the community she lived in. The nature and level of trust people had between each other. In her country, it didn’t feel like anyone trusted anyone. But who does in large cities?

It wasn’t about culture.