Moth To A Flame - When Will We Ever Learn?

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Moth to a flame.jpgSome of you know I’m a musician. Musicians often hear songs in their heads, and I woke up this morning singing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”? and the phrase, “When will they ever learn”? kept cropping up in my head. I’m not waxing philosophical here, although you might think I am. I’m referring to the fact that some people never learn why their relationships fail and the part they personally play in their demise.

For over three years, I was involved in the most passionate relationship I had had in all my 60+ years. It was almost as though my “ex” and I were joined at the hip because our likes, our dislikes, our intellects, our emotions, our *****, our needs were practically the same. And, the chemistry between us was overwhelming. My ex was and always will be the most exciting man I had ever met in all my years. All he had to do was touch me, and I melted. My late husband was probably the smartest man I ever met (even though my “ex” might be just as smart), and my fiance is probably the most affectionate and giving man I will ever meet, but my ex was somebody for whom I would have done everything, and, sadly enough, somebody for whom I DID everything... even things which were contrary to my basic nature.

He and I had been friends long before we ever became intimately involved because I was still married to my late husband. At the time, although this man always fascinated me, the mere thought of stepping outside of my marriage had never even occurred to me. After my husband committed suicide, this man waited a decent time period (I would say about six months) and eventually he expressed an interest in me. He made it clear, however, that he and I could never get serious because he was already attached to someone he knew for many, many years. I walked into this relationship with my eyes open, as I had no intention of becoming serious about someone six months after Andy died. He also told me he was in an eight-year relationship with another woman. Since she came first, so to speak, I accepted her as well.

Much to his chagrin, the woman with whom he had had an eight-year relationship saw us together one evening, and, in a fit of passion, she broke off with him abruptly. At the time, he acted as though this was no big deal at all. Later on, he rationalized that situation by claiming she didn’t break off with him because of me, but because she finally realized he was permanently attached to the first woman and could never be hers. I’m saying he “rationalized” this because this wasn’t the reason he had originally given me for their abrupt breakup.

As time went on, I fell deeply in love with my him because he was so passionate and so open. He wanted me to know everything about him... he let me into his world like no other man ever did. He told me secrets he had never told his lifetime partner. He made me aware of feelings I had but had never explored. And, he was a very powerful, respected man, and being with someone of that stature excited me. I should have realized that a person’s position is not all that important in the grand scheme of things.

I really was like a moth to a flame...I worshiped him. I waited impatiently for his texts or calls. When I saw him, I was on top of the world for a few days until I saw him again. My friends admonished me that I had to realize I would never be truly his, and that one day I would get hurt, but I was determined to accept the crumbs he gave me ... in fact, I was honored to accept them, not realizing that eventually my self-esteem would slowly begin to slip away.

And so, I continued blindly along this path to self-destruction for more than three years, until I my self-respect eroded. This occurred because I discovered that he was very poly amorous and that he really was only attached to me because I was so open and because my intellect matched his own. As a woman, I don’t think I was anything special to him. After all, I had all the physical parts any woman had, and there were times when he basically didn’t care who the woman was whom he bedded.. as long as she was a woman. This guy didn’t have a gay bone in his body!

Let’s face it.. we all have our pride. We all like to think of ourselves as special in some ways, and we want the person we love to love us in return and to think we are special. I’m by no means a pretty woman, but I’m attractive in my own right. No doubt, he considered me special in some ways, but, in the last analysis, I was just another one of his conquests. I wasn’t special enough for him to realize that, when he decided to lower his standards and began a relationship with a woman who was mean-spirited, illiterate, vindictive, unappealing physically and who despised me to boot, I might start having second thoughts.

And that’s exactly what happened. He met this awful woman who had no class, no breeding, no looks, no character, who treated me like dirt and who mocked me for loving him. Without any regard for me, he allowed her to enter his life She became his confidante and probably much more, and he didn’t give a hoot that his liaison with her damaged our relationship. So, what cold I do? What any sensible woman would do.. I tried to move on. I didn’t expect to find a man who wanted to marry me whom I cared for and also respected, but it happened. I still long for my “ex” but I know him better now and I know that the limitations of relationship have nothing to do with the woman with whom he lives.

Recently he and I spoke, and he reminisced about that woman he was with for eight years before he met me who had moved on with her life. Maybe she meant something to him after all. Maybe it finally dawned on him that, if he hadn’t begun a relationship with me three years ago and hadn’t gotten caught by her with me, they might still be together. On some level, now he is probably blaming me for the demise of their relationship. Who knows?

Oddly enough, when I heard him reminisce about the woman he bedded for eight years, I truly felt sad for him in spite of the fact that, prior to our falling out over the nasty woman, I was a total wreck. In a nice way, I pointed out to him how similar we both had been in our own individual ways, but I didn’t go so far as to point out that the reason we both broke off with him was very similar, although not exactly alike. The reason I’m saying it wasn’t exactly alike is that, although she caught him with me, she really couldn’t say I was low class or substandard. Yet, after eight years of being with him, she probably was appalled that he had the audacity to become steadily involved with another woman.

And, just as he came up with a rationalization about why she broke up with him (namely by saying that she broke off with him because she realized he never would be truly hers), he came up with a rationalization about why I moved on. He convinced himself I broke off with him because I wanted a “relationship.” The joke was that I had thought he and I had had a “relationship.” I guess I was so wrong about that.

His rationalization is so far from the truth that it is almost ludicrous. I told him I wasn’t looking for marriage when I decided to move on. I told him I just wanted him to love me. I told him that, although I could accept some of his meanderings, I was personally affronted by the fact that he saw nothing wrong in becoming intimate with a mean spirited, repulsive woman who detested me. I told him I needed to find a man who could love and cherish me for who I am - something he could never do. And, as luck would have it, I found a man who at least knows how to express love and affection. At this juncture, I’m learning things about my fiance which don’t exactly inspire trust, but, as the saying goes: Everything is relative. My fiance comes home every night and, having been through a lot with my ex, I am more savvy and can see signs of trouble. My fiance is still close to his ex, as it is turning out, but I’m realistic about her, too. She is no competition for me, and, if my fiance needs to see her every so often, I’m not going to lose any sleep over this. After all, I haven’t cut the cords with my ex either!

I guess some people (including me) keep repeating the same mistakes because they don’t want to look at themselves in the mirror. They’re afraid that, if they take the time to do some serious soul searching, they might not like what they see. I’m still a work in progress, so to speak, but I have a better idea of what I can and can’t tolerate. And, I am learning that, when someone tells you he can’t or won’t love you, BELIEVE HIM!

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment or give me a


  • gummybears: well.... when you look into a narrow set of behavioral patterns, could be some sort of PD. (personality disorder) of which without constant ongoing therapy, will never expand past the disorder.
    thus, they will "never" learn outside those behavioral parameters.
  • night_orchid: I think sometimes we "wish" for certain people to be different than who they really are. That is the "moth to the flame" appeal. We see the glow and that attracts us, and then we get burned when we actually feel the flame for what it really is. You were able to break the cycle because you saw the ex for who he really was. However, he still sees the "glow" and appeal of unhealthy relationships, thus he gets burned.
  • Sigi: Thanks for sharing this story. You were strong enough to get away from him and you found what you wanted, a loving partner. Sadly many people don’t do that and stay with partners that don’t appreciate them enough.
  • Genieinabottle: gummybears: I think he might have a type of personality disorder — I am inclined to think it’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder coupled with OCD or perhaps a sexual addiction disorder. The sad thing about people with so-called personality disorders is that they believe there is nothing wrong with them. In fact, many of them use the phrase "Everybody else is crazy" to justify their own inability to fit in.
  • Genieinabottle: Night orchid, exactly. That is why I call many of my blogs "Moth to a flame" — often, I was the moth who was attracted and burned by the dark sensuality of someone else... at other times, my exes are the moths to a flame because they continue to get burned because they want something they can’t have. I also think sometimes we’re attracted to qualities in others which we wish we ourselves possess. Unfortunately, these qualities aren’t always attributes.. sometimes they are liabilities. Yet, they attract us because they seem exciting... at first. And then, once we realize we are in love with a phantom, as it were, we are disillusioned and we move on.
  • rebeccalawson: I am in love with such a man and he already broke up with me.
  • Genieinabottle: Rebecca, I’m sorry you’re going through this. I know it sounds trite, but I can really feel your pain.

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