Almost nothing is too much trouble, takes too much time, or is too expensive if it will “help” the man you are involved with. (Pg. 8 – Women Who Love Too Much)
Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood came out in 1985. This book – my copy – is from back then. See, I needed it.
It wasn’t the first time I’d found myself attracted to a troubled, moody man. I’d thought they were poets… artists… dreamers. This one, though, I married.
My first husband was the strong, silent type. He thought nothing of getting out of the car (with our children inside) to fight someone who cut him off in traffic. What he lacked verbally, he made up for in physicality. He was big, strong, and had (what later became known as a) “resting bitch face.” He was handsome but he often looked angry, even when he wasn’t.
When he was happy, the world was our playground. We laughed, we played, we loved. Oh yes, he was wonderful when he was happy.
Trouble was… it didn’t happen often.
When he was unhappy, it took some mighty careful dancing (on my part) to get him out of his funk. And sometimes, even that didn’t work.
But I loved him.
Like I say, I’d been attracted to his type before.
- There was the guy who reached across the table to slap me across the face when I said the wrong thing. I hoped and prayed he’d change. He didn’t. And so, I did. I learned to be very careful about every word I said. And he was happy.
- The guy who screeched his car to a halt on a major highway to kick me out on the side of the road. I hoped and prayed he’d change. He didn’t. And so, I did. I learned not to disagree, especially when he was driving. And he was happy.
- The one who said, “You’re okay-looking, but I wouldn’t introduce you to my friends.” I hoped and prayed he’d change. He didn’t. And so, I did. I lost weight, applied more makeup, and got sexier clothes. And he was happy.
- The one who wouldn’t take no for an answer. I hoped and prayed he’d change. He didn’t. And so, I did. I learned to do things I didn’t want to do without complaint. And he was happy.
Oh, I gotta million of ’em. Do you? Because I know (for a fact) that I’m not alone.
I was wishing, hoping, and waiting for “him” (whoever “he” was at the time) to change.
Yesterday, my husband and I were waiting for a show to begin and caught the end of the talk show before it. The guest was a psychotherapist. He was talking to women who might as well have been speaking from 1985… they weren’t, but might as well have been.
Therapist to Woman One: “You kept giving him money, even though he never used it the way he said he would?”
Woman: “Yes. I know. But I wanted to believe him!”
Therapist to Woman Two: “How long have you been waiting for him to divorce his wife?”
Woman: “Three years.”
Therapist to Woman Three: “He said he’d move to your town to be with you… how long ago?”
Woman: “Years. I’m just waiting.”
Therapist: “How long?”
Woman: “As long as it takes.”
It made me sick to my stomach.
Have we not learned and grown? Perhaps not.
Within the yellowed pages of this book, there are case histories. There is a recovery program. And there are tear-stained pages.
As I skimmed the book today, I saw snippets of myself from the past… and into today.
Some have said I love my second husband too much, too. It’s all wrapped up in what I gave up to come here – to Canada – to be with him. However, there is no “walking on eggshells,” abuses, or cruel and purposeful manipulations to overcome. Big difference!
Still, as women… it sure seems easy to fall back into care-taking patterns. Is it in our DNA, or what?
Yep, this book was important and still is. Why? I wish I knew. It seems to be universal and crosses the boundaries of space and time. Not to paint it with too big a brush.
And that’s why we need books like this. Yes, even now.