Broken Hearts & The Road Not Taken

CHAPTER 1:  This is how I broke my mother’s heart:  After graduate school, I announced I was leaving New York for good and heading out west, just so I could be with G, the man who had, by then, already broken my heart once.

G and I had been college sweethearts at a school near Boston.  I graduated a year ahead of him and moved to Maryland to pursue my Master’s, and missed him dearly, pining for him every waking moment.  I called him each night just to hear his voice and see how he was doing, certain that he ached for me, too.

Here I am, circa 1979, in front of the Smithsonian.

So sure was I that I decided to “surprise” him one weekend with an unexpected visit, only to find him with another woman.  He offered no explanations, no apologies.  Humiliated and distraught, I returned to Maryland, and the first thing I did was phone my parents. They urged me to come home. Whereupon, they made me feel, as only parents can do, loved and protected. I spent the rest of the weekend on a rollercoaster of crying jags and my mother’s comfort foods. When I returned to Maryland, I convinced myself that if I made G jealous, he just might reconsider the error of his ways.

So I started dating. First, a guy that worked for the CIA (nothing special, just a clerk of sorts). Then, one too young to be giving him the time of day. Another whose greasy hair reeked of patchouli and whose pimply nose flared when he kissed. What was I thinking?  I also attended concerts featuring bands I knew G liked, such as Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and would nonchalantly call him to tell him about it.  But none of my attempts worked.  He just didn’t care.

Slowly, I returned to concentrating on my studies, making friends at school, and finding myself an internship. I’d read in the college newspaper how The Little Professor Bookstore was planning on publishing a monthly newspaper of book reviews.  With nervous trepidation, I walked into the store and offered my services. I met the manager who took me to the back office and introduced me to Joe, the editor of the new publication. After a brief conversation, Joe made me assistant editor. Together we did everything—the editing, layout, ad copy, and overseeing the printing.  I even got a chance to write some book reviews, including one for a little-known Jacqueline Susann novel that had just been released posthumously, Yargo.

Joe and I had such a great time working on the book review. It was our passion. I felt as though I had found my calling and was doing what I was meant to do. Besides, I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I genuinely enjoyed doing something meaningful with someone as caring and supportive as Joe. Funny, too.

Judith (center) and Joe, with a friend (whose name I cannot recall) at our graduation barbecue.

And during this time, I stopped thinking about G.  Which is probably why he started calling again.  By now, he’d graduated and moved to Seattle. Feeling lonely, he asked me to join him. How could I, I wondered. My graduation was still a few months away and I was happy with my life in Maryland.  Joe constantly encouraged me, telling me I had a knack for writing and editing.  “Don’t leave,” he said more than once.  “We’re just getting started.”

School ended and my friend Judith, who also was graduating, threw a barbecue party that lasted well into the night. We gathered in her backyard, all our friends, and Joe.  With Jackson Browne on the record player, Joe and I danced amidst the fireflies, fluttering like ribbons all aglow. He urged me to stay, and though I was tempted to–for I’d never felt this content–the nagging pull of G was strong. With no viable job prospects in Maryland, I let my old feelings for him take control.  Which is why, in the end, I said goodbye to Joe, Judith and the little world I had carved out for myself.

So this is how I broke my mother’s heart.  By telling her I was moving to Seattle to be with G, the man who had dumped me in a most unceremonious way, and that we would be living together.  Which was horrifying news for my Latino, old-world parents, who must have been wondering, why would I subject myself to even more pain from this man?  Seems they were embarrassed, too, by my plans, for, in order to save face, they concocted a deception for the relatives: I was allegedly moving to Texas to stay with a girlfriend from college while I searched for a job.  That was their story and I promised to stick to it.

I broke my mother’s heart, and later, G would break mine. All over again.  And though I haven’t thought about the Little Professor Bookstore in years, and the excitement of working on the book review, I do wonder, what would my life be like today had I stayed?

292 thoughts on “Broken Hearts & The Road Not Taken

  1. Life’s odd, isn’t it? Everything it does to us has some sort of special meaning behind it. We’re never tossed into a situation without any sense or reason behind it. You just have to work out the clues and go where life wants you to go.
    Just odd.

  2. Wow. I absolutely love how you describe how his pimply nostrils flared when you kissed. Hilarious. Beautiful first half of the story! I found you on Lady Bloggers Tea Party and am your newest subscriber!

  3. I have enjoyed receiving comments on this post so much, as well as the post itself. Collective wisdom born of pain and experience. Thank you to Monica and everyone. Fshade, the idea of equal love between partners is something I definitely have to meditate on..

    • I agree. The comments have been so inspiring and have given me a lot to think about. Some comments left have been from people who are currently experiencing similar situations, which heartens me to know they’re taking something from my post. By the way, did you see that I just posted the next chapter of this story? Let me know what you think.

  4. Your post and readers comments have been very encouraging. I appreciate your dedication to this work, I learnt alot from replies sent to my inbox, keep up the good work.
    what love means to an individual is personally derived from family, social, and religious inflences/experiences in the person’s life. To reduce heart aches in a relationship it may be neccessary to know what love is to the other person and tailor expectation along that line, Also love your spouse as much as he/she loves you – not more or less.

  5. Pingback: A friend, a fork in the road and good-byes… « The Reel Life, Loves & Celluloid Dreams of the Green Light Girl

  6. thank you so much for sharing this story. and at such a perfect time. i won’t say why it’s perfect but i will just say – thank you.

  7. I’m late to the party again, Monica, but congrats on FP! Again! Can I say I knew you when?

    I also left home to move in with the man who is now my ex-husband…my parents accepted the news that I was dropping out of school and moving 2000 miles away (it wasn’t the first time I’d left home to move in with a guy either!). Our relationship lasted 15 years (which was probably about 8 years longer than it should have), but I got a couple of daughters out of it, and we’re still friends…

    Do you know what Joe’s up to now?


    • Of course you can say you knew me when. You can also say you knew me before when. It’s funny how so many of us seem to have these stories of leaving home to be with a guy, etc. My relationship with G lasted 13 years. Now whoever said that was an unlucky number?

  8. Pingback: Freshly Pressed x 3 and What Became of Joe? | Monica's Tangled Web

  9. What I always find interesting about these pivotal moments in life is how they often seemed like small or inconsequential decisions at the time, but years later we can see they led us down a completely different path and were some of the most important decisions we ever made.

  10. I just saw ur story this morning. Kudos to you for being able to recall, with such clarity, events that happened so very long ago. My memory is so bad my history is always more fiction than fact.

    First of all–I admit I’m a sucker for a good love story and indeed this is surely a superb one. Would love to hear the rest of the tale. That being said,
    The road not taken —is just that–not taken, and for good reason. I believe in the “soul’s code” and in love. Love and the two little souls who you’ve shepherded into this world led you to Seattle.

    Passion — unbridled love— the ability to know and be known are the qualities that make you a fine writer with something to say.

    What if? Well okay. What if there was no G? Why then there would be no J or S either. What would your blog be about? What would you be all about?

    Have no regrets even though there are Gs sprinkled all through your version of life. Somehow I think you were meant to write with warmth, passion and —a vulnerability that’s priceless. It’s your life experiences that makes your writing so readable.

    You definitely took the right road—it just didn’t lead you to the life you thought it would. Your writing and your “road not taken” resulted in a life that’s plump and juicy.

    I’d love to hear the next installment of the story. Tell us more about the “road taken” my friend. It’s ripe for the picking!

    And PS- I don’t think her heart is broken—Oh no. Her heart is singing with joy because the little soul she shepherded into this world has grown into a fabulous woman–writer and mom.

    • I am speechless. You have moved me more than you’ll ever know, and am deeply humbled by your generosity of support. Several have asked me what happened to Joe and whether I’m still with G. At least one other asked me what happened next. So, please know, that I am already writing the next chapter. And tomorrow I am posting about what happened to Joe. It’s a nice update.

  11. I have girlfriends that asked me those questions sometimes, ” What if I would have happened if ” and my answer is always the same, then you wouldn’t have the life you have now and look how far you have become and look at all your accomplishments. I think it is human nature to think and look back what if’s but it is also for our best interest to think and be in the present so we can plan for our future.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. For a minute, I was rooting for Joe even though deep down I knew G would prevail. Well, all I can say is we live and we learn.

    • OMG, truer words were never spoken. Funny, even though I know and knew the outcome, as I was reading what I’d posted, I too was rooting for Joe! But, alas, my youthful mind had other things in mind. And that’s how life is. Hindsight is 20/20.

  13. I couldn’t help but to think about my situations going on right now when I read your article. You made me analyze of how women are willing to give up anything in life just to be with that “perfect” man we dream of. Here’s a question I always wonder can women really take a second hit, let alone a third? I hope you don’t misinterpret what I’m about to say, but do you really think we can forgive the thought that wound us the most by our beloved one, and are just simply afraid to move on in search of something better? I know how you feel, mostly because that happen to me, but vise versa, I was like G. I didn’t cheated! I just got bored of my bf, and would leave him constantly. Oh, and let me tell you did I brake his heart, (which I am not proud of by the way) but what I didn’t understand is how he would always come back to me. Even after I told him I had been seeing other guys? Your a women of heart, and I wish you nothing but Joy&Happiness With G(:

  14. hi im mozammil from pakistan and not knnow how can i join this community ??? and how can i post my comments to blog ???? anyone can help me for that ??? im waiting for yours response ….
    your well wisher

  15. Hi! More than your painful experience which everyone can easily and readily identify with ( for surely we all were students at one time or more), I was very much impressed by how well you captured everybody’s time with your blog.. Now this…surely, not every one has. You actually used up more than 20 minutes of my time girl..reading your blog! I wish I can write that well too.
    Anyway, here’s what i learned from my own experience:: love is our home; we are not only at peace when in “fileo” kind of love but very ecstatically happy when in “erros” kind of love to a point we defy morals and facts. Unfortunately, the later kind is almost always short lived because it being an emotion only (no one stays high always and for a long time) its bound to subside for one reason or another. It can only plateau and lead to a platonic relationship or break up unless both parties know the facts of love and life and commit to adhere and make excitements. Without love we die. I congratulate you for surviving your pains!

    • Ultimately, it was my inborn positive attitude that helped me survive. Trust me, there were a lot of blows to get to this point, but so I did. Thanks for stopping by and sorry about the 20 minutes–but there are worse time wasters, right? 😉

  16. Sometimes for me it will be really hard to “not to look back” and “not to regretting our choice in the past” but your post encourage me a lot. Great story n thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. I liked your tale, a very human one. I also diverted my life because of a man (who I am no longer with) and a relationship that wasn’t nourishing or enjoyable. I have three amazing children from that relationship, and regret is a waste of energy. Interestingly, it was that relationship ‘mistake’ that led me to find out what I truly wanted and pursue that instead. Now I have a beautiful relationship and specialise in creating relationships that are deeply fulfilling AND I even wrote a book!

    It’s crude and unpoetic to say so, but it’s shit that makes everything grow! x Congrats on Freshly Pressed too.

    • Pollyanna Darling (I love your name; Pollyanna was one of my favorite childhood characters!), at least those men, who are no longer in our lives, left us with beautiful, amazing children. For that I’m grateful. Thanks for stopping by. It’s a wonderful thing to be FP’d!

  18. This was a nice read (:
    I don’t know if you’re still with your G but assuming that you are? I think you deserved better than him. He doesn’t need to know what you’re worth to him AFTER you decided to stop giving him your care and kindness and love for him. And him calling you after you stopped doing so? I think he should’ve realized that you’re more to him than he knows before he went and cheated on you.
    And answering your question: “If I had stayed?” Since you said you wanted to make him jealous…I think if you stayed and continued to work with Joe, he would’ve definitely’ve been jealous 😉
    I think it happens to many of us…when we think that someone can’t go on without us and we see that they can, we get a little bit jealous or some other negative feelings. Cuz the reason why we probably decided to step back a little bit is because we hoped that they would realize that we mean that much to them as they do to us.

    • Please be assured that I am no longer with G. That’s all in the past. I do want to thank you for caring. I’ve recovered. Working with Joe was never meant to get G jealous. By the time I met Joe I wasn’t thinking anymore along those terms.

  19. Great story. We all have some regrets at some point or other. Whenever I have any, I look over at my wife and my kids and realize life is pretty good. The road not taken…well, it was not taken, and I know I am a better man for it. Be well.

    • I applaud you for being able to make the choices that bring you to where you are today. It’s not always easy, yet it’s heartwarming to know when it does work all for the best. I so appreciate you taking the time to share your story with me and my readers. My best to you and your family!

  20. I love this entry. Thank you for sharing your story, I see a little of myself and my life in it. Thanks again 🙂

  21. Thanks for sharing this story. It takes reflecting back on the past to make better choices in our future.

    Your piece is very poignant.

  22. Thank you for your story, I feel bad saying I enjoyed your piece, as it was your heartache, but the way you convey your history through your writing skills is great, I would love to be able to write in such a way ( I can keep trying hey!)…well your story got me thinking, as I have left my country to be in another one, without friends or family so I can be with a man (and I’m very independent but I do love to travel and take a chance, so it is also a mixture of my own personality to do such a thing), but it is still hard, and sometimes I wonder whether I am I doing the right thing, but I believe, no matter what route in life we or perhaps just I take, will always wonder “what if”, I know I will as I can be indecisive. So my motto to life has always been to enjoy it as you may only live once, and it is better to regret the things you have done, than those you haven’t(my nan used to say). I guess either way then, each road leads to always second guessing ourselves and thinking what if, it’s human nature as you said, and I completely understand what you are saying. But we do have to remember to be thankful for having the options we have, things could always be worse 🙂

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. It takes courage to leave your place of origin and head for a new country, away from family and all that is familiar. I wish you happiness and good fortune as you make your way through life. 🙂

      • I think so. What love means to you will dictate how you “love” another person. If you think love comes with controlling the person you’re in love with, then you will. If you think love comes with wine and dine, then you’ll do that.

        But how do we as individuals come to define exactly what love is?

  23. Dear Monica,

    I love this post! Jackson Browne–yes, I went to a Jackson Browne concert with a boy who had broken up with me the day before I left for college–we ended up getting married 8 years later and divorced 20 years later–and my heart remains as foolish as ever….

    Best, Solange

  24. Great post! I have come to the conclusion that sometimes our encounters in life are stepping stones for gaining a higher level of our purpose and destiny. I am going through similar circumstances, but out of the brokeness of the relationship-I’ve been led to higher grounds.

  25. Oh, how many times I chose a man over my own feelings–not enough fingers or toes. BUT, I am finally at the right spot and I truly believe I have realized what has been embedded in the deep part of my brain for so long.
    As with all mistakes, whether we made one or ten, we learn from them. Maybe not right away, but eventually we fully understand what our parents and older relatives really meant. It’s funny, because all of the things I have done in the past and all the advice I have ignored, I am now trying to shine that light onto my 20 year old niece, who is taking it in with a grain of salt like I once did.

    Beautiful story and I am glad that, in the end, you are still happy. We can’t forget or throw away our pasts–they are what helped define us today 🙂

  26. What an enjoyable, heartfelt story! I, too, have followed a man without counting the cost to myself just because I was obsessed with him; we married and then divorced just a few years later. Ironically, his name also began with a “G.”

    Relationships gone awry–particularly those where the feelings are not mutual–can be a major contributing factor to depression. The “cure” is to learn to love ourselves rather than trying to get others to love us. Only then will a reciprocal, healthy love be possible.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you so much for your sweet sentiments. I tried to convey my story and I’m glad to find so many are able to relate to it in some way. I look forward to checking out your blog, too! 🙂

  27. Well written very nice thoughts.
    Who hasn’t indulged in the “”what ifs” in life. I am of your generation, grew up in the 60-70s.
    Remember Harville Hendrix? Getting The Love You Want?
    I’ve been reading it today with my 20 year old daughter.
    Still relevant.
    I’m glad all has worked out for you and you have 2 children to love. It is nice to understand why we make bad choices to begin with.

  28. What a beautiful, poignant post. Like so many, I can fully relate. It almost seems a rite of passage, falling so completely for the wrong guy who is destined to hurt us so deeply. If I had ever had the choice, I would have made the same decision as you and given up everything for the man I fell for. Luckily, and looking back I see just how lucky it was, he broke my heart and left before I had a chance to make such a change. Had he ever come back I have no doubt that I would have fallen all over again. Thank you for sharing.

  29. Pingback: The Road Not Taken? If You Are a Male Don’t Take This Road! | Battered Men – Abused Men – Research and Resources

  30. I feel my younger sister going down the same road – revolving her life around a guy that has broken her heart 2 or 3 times and not focusing on herself to reach her potential. what it is with first loves that make us so irrational?

    • Frankly, at that age, we’re too young to know better. We don’t have the life experiences that we develop as we get older. And our hearts, perhaps, haven’t been broken enough.

  31. What a story. Thanks for sharing. Life’s choices sometimes seem like the best decisions and later seem like the worst decisions. I was with a man for a year that was a monster. Luckily I got out and moved on. I am also fortunate to not care at all for him. Now I have the best man in the world and I think I appreciate him more for his affections, his unconditional love, and text messages at 4am that I wake up to in the moring. I love trusting him and I think I know the difference now because of what my brutal ex did to me. Actually. It is not brutal. Brutal would mean that I still feel the aftermath. I don’t.

  32. What a beautifully worded post. About two years ago, I made a similar decision, and I often wonder how my life would be had I chosen my career, instead of the boy who broke my heart (several times). Everything worked out the way it should have, and I believe that the decision I made broke my mom’s heart, my friends’ hearts and even my own, eventually, brought me to the place I am today–something I’m grateful for. Thanks for sharing.

  33. I too passed through a similar phase. It was when I left my D after a small misunderstanding to go back home for my sister’s engagement ceremony and came back to find that she would not talk to me at all nor would she answer my calls and e-mails. Then suddenly before a very important exam of mine she breaks it to me that she is engaged to someone else and ended our five year long relationship. As i understand her well she is doing the same thing; being with a man who proposed her first after I went home rather than understanding that I still love her a lot and will always do. I too have written a story of mine in one of my blogs but as I am not a writer (but would love to be) the words and sentences may not be good.

    • I’m so sorry to hear of your painful experience. Sounds like this all happened recently and you’re still going through it? The thing to do, and it takes discipline, is to focus on something different–whether it be work, a hobby, other friends, etc. Change your focus in order to help yourself live a better life. My mother used to say, “This too shall pass.” I’m sure you’ve heard that expression. It’s so true. Time heals all wounds. Best of luck to you! 🙂

      • Yes it happened recently and I am still passing though it. Waiting for time to heal it but she studying in my college itself makes me see her frequently and it is that what is taking more time. I always wanted to write and it was only to overcome the pain I took to blogging.
        thanks for your blog.

  34. loved this post…It is so true that girls are blinded by heart…no matter how strong willed or career oriented the female is,in her lifetime,there are always a few things that she did only because her guy wanted her to do it….
    i have made a couple of bad choices myself,but i think if we hadnt taken these steps,we would had always wondered otherwise…and every wrong decision,every heart break helps us in understanding ourselves better…we all need to make a few mistakes…

    • To err is human and we sure do make a lot of them! But you are so right, and thank you for summarizing our choices so well. I appreciate you stopping by and sharing today.

  35. This is a really sad story, of which assuredly many women can relate to. I was hoping in the end something would happen between you and Joe!
    But, unfortunately, love gets the better of us! Even if we know it’ll only end badly.

  36. Pingback: Broken Hearts & The Road Not Taken (via Monica’s Tangled Web) « life goes on!!

  37. Did land on ur blog out of nowhere… seriously but after reading this post…it seemed as if u echoing my sentiments…I am currently at the very similar crossroads in my life… where my brain says choose urself while heart still beats for that one man….Again the scenario is same…My mom doesn’t approve of me going to him…but then…. you know what… how can you be happy by letting go someone when that someone is exactly what you want in your life….???? It may sound like a teen dialogue… but love sure makes u helpless…n best is to not find logic where there are strings attached… thanks for sharing…

    • Remember, for me I was wanting to be with the man who had already dumped me. I flew 3,000 miles away from my family, my friends, and possibly a good start to my career, to be with a man who had dumped me. If this is not the case for you, then by all means, follow your heart. Do what seems right for you. If you’re on the fence, know this: no man is worth changing your life for. Ask yourself, would he do the same for me? Thank you for landing on my blog today. I so appreciate you sharing your own personal experiences here.

  38. I think the error in the piece is looking back with regret. That “mistake” is part of the journey you made. It taught you some important lessons and you grew from them. I find (and I do this too) that women are too harsh on themselves for making mistakes in love. We were born to be able to love and give of ourselves…to be a woman is to be willing to give more than you often get, it is part of the nurturing that we do. Yes, it means sometimes, we get taken advantage of…the trick is to learn how to defend and protect ourselves and that soft core without becoming jaded and bitter. I read a book once that said, the way to be happy is to love without expectation of being loved in return. It means you give because u want to…not because of what u get in return…ergo, u cannot be emptied…did it ever occur to u that perhaps ur life is better off without G…that is the part of looking back that we miss…were he a nicer person, he would not have done the things he did to u…u are better off…enjoy the journey and the lesson G brought.

    • Please be assured that I wasn’t looking back with massive regrets. If anything, it’s because I’m a writer and wanted to capture those times. I did this, too, to show how women can make choices in the name of love that are sometimes not in their own best interests. Thanks for stopping by today!

  39. Well-written post. Even though I have more years ahead of me than behind me, I always like to look back and I’m continually stunned by how much my life has altered due to choices I’ve made.

  40. To wonder is human you said in one of your replies. I have gone there many times but since those roads were not taken there is no answer in our human minds. It will always be what if….
    But we live, we love, we learn and we keep on living. There will always be choices to make.
    Congrats on being FP!

    • Thank you for your words of wisdom and your well wishes. I am beside myself to be FP’d. In fact, I plan to write about it this coming week. 3 Times! Can a girl be so lucky?!

  41. When we’re young and full of crazy passions, there’s no room for advice (and hindsight comes much, much later). But that’s the only way we can really live and learn, I think. And, if one becomes a writer, everything becomes fodder for stories and blog posts!

    Did you keep in touch with Joe and Judith? Might be interesting to compare notes.

    • I kept in touch with Judith for a while. She actually moved to where I live first. My marriage to G started failing soon after we moved here. Judith never liked him and when he was acting as a dolt, though she was supportive, it was hard for me to be around her. I wasn’t ready to hear all the bad stuff about him. I did not stay in touch with Joe, but yesterday I found him on Facebook. He is doing well with his life living far from where I am, and I wish him all the best. He did read this post and was nice enough to let me know that he liked it. Felt weird knowing that he read it, but I’m glad he was ok with it.

  42. Thank you for sharing your personal story – I too broke my mother’s heart and moved to the west coast from New York. It has been 30 years since I returned to New York but this touched home for me because I was following someone who probably would not have followed me. My life is full and I have a wonderful daughter and a supportive husband but I do wonder what my life would have been like without that “detour”
    All the best for shaing your story – it does help one learn about oneself through sharing honestly. Thank you.

    • So did it turn out for you, following someone who wouldn’t have followed you? Just wondering. Thank you for being honest about your story, too. I appreciate you stopping by.

      • It was a detour that I suppose I needed to take to realize what I really wanted in life, so maybe it was something I needed to do. Thanks so much. One poignant aspect for me is this person “T” did not want me to pursue my passions, my art or education. This is typically a barometer for me and my peace with my life – If I cannot paint, I am not at peace. Please visit my blog too if you like.
        I will keep reading your blog as I find it to be freshly honest. Dawn

  43. Ahh good story. But one has to wonder if you had stayed and done the “right” thing, would you have wondered if you had sold your heart short and not gone after love. This way you never have to wonder. You know G was wrong. He was not the one that got away.


  44. Robert Frost is my favorite. Your blog is simplistically beautiful. I also have a blog about Frank Lloyd Wright, world famous architect and artist. I traveled to and fell in love with his Falling Water House in PA, USA. If you feel like it stop by and see my blog. Keep up the good work!

    • I will check out yours. I am a great aficionado of Frank Lloyd Wright. How lucky of you to see Falling Water first hand. Definitely will check out our site. Thanks for stopping by!

      • That is so nice that we share a love of Frank Lloyd Wright. As far as choices go I worked for USAF and NASA for most of my life. I would have to say that even when we think we have choices to make there are very few real choices that we are not led into these days discretely or via manipulations. Be proud of your personal choices, embrace them, love the bad ones, the good ones and all the results. The personal choices are all we truly have left to enjoy. Beautiful little blog. Keep it going!

  45. Hmmm. The past, and choices I didn’t make is something I battle at times. I always wonder what could have been, but remember how great things are for me now. As women, we also have this longing for the one we can’t have, and the guy who’s great to us, we look past him in a way. Thank God, I didn’t look past my husband and I made the right choice, for me. I hope that you are happy, and content. Ofcourse, we’ll still think about the “what couldve’s”…but just let it be a thought…

    • That’s all it is. A thought. An interesting thought and hopefully one that gives some people, especially those just starting out, food for thought. Thanks for stopping by!

    • No I never did see Joe again, but just yesterday i rediscovered him on Facebook. He’s a published writer and a photographer, living in another part of the country and seems to be enjoying a very fulfilled life. I’m happy to say he’s read this post and even hit the “like” button! 🙂

  46. I think u did the right thing…anyway, everything happens for a reason…

    Im hana by the way and Im new to this site…hope to get to know more friends here. ^_^*

  47. This is truly touching and I feel for your situation. I have always wondered what would have happened if I would have moved to Orange County instead of moving in with my ex, but man have I been on a ride. THank you for this post because I believe most of us try to brush off moments like this of our past, and attempt to bury it. This is intimate, well-written, and so from heart.

    • And I have to say, I am one who buried this for years. I can’t even pinpoint why I started thinking about it, but recently I did. And I remember so fondly Joe, who in his own way provided me proof that men could be so caring and sincere. But over time, I have become jaded about love, though I admire others who succeed at it and wish them a lifetime of happiness together. 🙂

  48. Maybe the alternat you in the alternate universe is asking a similar thing? What would it be like if I’d gone? If you are happy now then its the road you were supposed to tread. 🙂

    • Wow! Now that’s mind-bending. Wouldn’t it be cool to switch places with her, even for a day. I’m sure that would give me lots of perspective and maybe even appreciate all the more what I have. Thanks for stopping by–and thanks for subscribing, too! Much appreciated! 🙂

  49. Very nice post. I also had the same experience and I could relate what you wrote about. Sometimes we need to search to see if what we want is really good for us. A lot of people can learn from what you wrote about.

    • Thank you, I hope some do learn from what I’ve written, or at least think about how it may apply to their lives. We only have one. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could always get it right?

  50. Wonderful post, Monica! I, too, recently wrote about our tendencies to want to look backward (, wondering about roads not taken. The thing is, when we spend too long looking in the rearview mirror, we lose out on being fully engaged in the present and forward-thinking about our future. Keep writing. Keep engaging with others. Above all, stay true to yourself!

    • Monica,
      Thanks for your reply. I stumbled across your post today and it resonated with me, not because I had my heart broken by a G, but because I lived another’s dream for too long, foresaking much of my own authenticity, in order to do so. My own journey these last few years, like my blog, has been about reclaiming my lost self. I think too many of us, mostly women, abandon our authentic selves and silence the voice within, believing the love and joy and happiness exist outside of ourselves – whether in a person, a place, a job, etc. Thank you again for your thought-provoking post and for your quick reply.

      • That’s exactly the point! It is mostly women who give up their own voice, their selves for something else (usually for love, if you ask me). I did it but I stopped the day my ex forced my hand, so many years ago. His actions left me no choice, and though it was painful at the time, I am thankful that he in essence pushed me to live my life on my terms, without him. It’s been full speed ahead ever since.

  51. I’ve seen 12 and a half movies (and know many people) with simliar stories. We get to play so many roles in life and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been both a Joe and a G (though probably more often a Joe than a G). I tell people about when I was Joe. But never G. Alas.

    Allow me to paraphrase: To erring reason’s spite, one truth is clear; whatever is, is right.

  52. Thanks, your post has given me more insight into my twisted love life and encouraged me to do something fast about making decisions for me comfortabily after 20 years of neglect.

    • I’m glad to hear that. As Oprah would say, take care of yourself first. Remember, when coming to a crossroads in your life, first choose yourself. Think about what is truly best for you. Good luck!

  53. When you have the courage to find someone to whom you can be authentic with, and not turn yourself into a twisted mass over… then you have found love. It took me years to come to this understanding that: men will spend more then they have, and women will twist themselves into a mess to please someone that in not for them!!! When you find love it’s easy to relate to them, and when it’s not it’s difficult to relate.
    May blessings fall in abundance about you, along the path you follow.

  54. Life is so interesting, how each one of us walk our own paths. Your story made me glimpse a little of my own past for a moment. There are some similarities, as there might be with others as well.
    Stopping to look back now and then is sometimes unavoidable, indulgent at times, not always the best idea, and bittersweet at other times. In the end, we just keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.
    I loved reading your story. Thank you for making me stop to think about my own past choices and how my life is good now and that IS what matters most.

  55. Monica, you knew this would be my first stop from the LBS, didn’t you? 🙂 I read your post and thought, you live and learn. Sometimes you follow your heart and it doesn’t pan out but it doesn’t mean the experience wasn’t worth the trouble. I deeply believe that every experience holds the opportunity for growth, acquisitiong of wisdom and the chance to look back and laugh at ourselves 20 years later. In spite of breaking your mother’s heart, I’m sure she understands that this was part of your journey; part of coming into your own. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post with us, lady!

    • Thanks, Bells. You have eloquently, thoughtfully captured my experience. It was not all for naught and even though I broke her heart, she was happy when I married G and even happier when my kids were born.

      Thank you for stopping by from LBS. As I understand it, you’re a LBS newbie. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

    • I don’t know. It didn’t feel courageous at the time. Just something I thought I needed to do. But the important thing I learned from all this is put yourself first. What’s in your best interest. Sometimes they’re not the same thing.

  56. What a wonderful reflection on your life and the choices you made, good and bad. What ever happened to Joe and the bookstore? I would love to hear about the next chapter of your life in Seattle with G.

    I always say things happen they were there supposed so we can learn from those experiences. I made some God awful choices in life, but I would never change the past because it led me to where I am today.

    Visiting here from LBS again! I love the way you write and your stories. Have a great weekend!

    • Hello again, welcome back! I cannot tell you for certain what happened to Joe, but because of this post, we’ve just reconnected. (He even hit the “like” button on this post!) Joe lives far, in another state, and it was very nice to say hello after all these years. As for the Little Professor bookstore, I believe it closed years ago (probably making way for a Barnes & Noble, who knows.)

      I love LBS and I’m so glad it’s brought you back! 🙂

  57. I think it took real guts for you to pour out such a personal story – One in which you judge yourself and throw yourself open to others’ judgements too.
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

    • I know! I had no idea this of all posts would be freshly pressed! But, nevertheless, I’m thrilled to be fp’d. So, I’ve had to explain myself in my comments. So I’ve had to assure some that I don’t have regrets, and I’m not pining for the past. Onward and upward, I say! Thank you so much for understanding. 🙂

    • Unlike me, you probably saw the writing on the wall. I had to be hit with a few 2×4’s before I took the hint. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty, which is why I’m now rather wary.

  58. Nostalgia…Happens a lot in life. Looking back and wondering, what if? However, you seems like a great person, and your life has helped you learn and become the person that you are now. It seems probably better and wiser.

    I enjoyed reading your blog. Have a great day.

    • Thank you for all your kind sentiments. I strive to live my best life and I am very happy. My children and work fulfill me, but my blogging is my mecca, so I’m glad you liked my blog. Please visit again soon! I plan to visit all who stopped by because of being Freshly Pressed. It’s awesome!

  59. I really enjoyed this post. I think it is part of the rebellious nature of our youth to go for the guy wrong guy who is usually unattainable. I spent all of my 20’s chasing these bad boys. I didn’t notice my husband ‘til shortly before my 30th birthday, but had known him for a couple of years. We worked at the same company. I was sitting at my computer choking back tears; my boyfriend of seven years had just dumped me two months before our wedding when my future husband stopped in and actually made me laugh. We became good friends and eventually started dating. If I were to write a letter to my teenage self it would certainly include something about dating the boy next door. Someone who accepts me the way I am. (This goes for friends too) Think of all I could have accomplished while I was wasting time plotting how to make my latest bad boy crush notice me or like you make my ex-boyfriend jealous. And all the time I spent crying when my heart was broken.

    Stopping in from the tea party.

  60. umm… Actually, what I believe is that, what road you took,what decisions you made and what could have been your world if i would have done this, doesn’t really matter in life.I love remembering those crazy things that we do, when we fall in love… and then giving them words is something that I enjoy the most. Billions of people are living a that excitement deprived and lame life.There life seems to be worthless. I am happy to meet someone taking the road less traveled by, just like me… 🙂

  61. Thanks for a thought-provoking post. I am happy to hear that you feel strong and you have wonderful children from the experience.

    I always think that children (who have a good relationship with their mother) should think about this… if my mom disagrees, or I am afraid to tell my mom my plan, something is wrong. It may not be the whole decision is wrong, but something is. Your mom has no ulterior motive. How do we teach that?

    Congrats on being FP!!

    • My mother disagreed but she never gave an ultimatum. Nor did she quite explain to me why–not until years later. But more than anything about this experience, if I only have one regret, it’s that I broke my mother’s heart. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  62. What you say reminds me of one of my favorite quotes — Life is only understoood backwards but must be lived forwards. Reflection helps us make sense of it all.

  63. Broken hearts mend. I hate to say it, but my story is so similar to yours. It took umpteen breakups and getting back together only to break up again four months later. It was becoming a pattern. The pattern is now broken. It’s hard to say no – it’s hard to say “I will not subject myself to this torture any more.” We were even engaged the last time! It has been 6 months now and the heartache is still there but I have moved on. The “what if” just doesn’t exist. It can’t – because if it does come back then I am living in the past. I have moved forward. It’s a great feeling and very free. My creativity has blossomed and I am feeling very good about myself. I’m a photographer and graphic artist. It’s my love, my passion. I don’t need a man to make me feel whole. I have ME.

    • Bravo! Congratulations. It’s a painful discovery to make, a difficult point to reach, but you did it and you sound all the better for it. I am, too, though, for me, I had children with G and had to continue having him in my life in some way while the kids were growing up. And trust me, that’s not always easy. I know though, that I’m all the better for what I went through, and it seems you are, too. Thank you for sharing your empowering story.

  64. First, congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Second, I can relate to making choices that were, at the time, for the wrong reasons, but that ultimately brought me to where I am today, and for that I am grateful. When we are young, we don’t always consider what is really best for us, we just want what we want when we want it.

    As a friend has told me, you can’t live life with regrets because you can never really go back and do things over. You can just learn from what has happened, and hopefully move forward, making better choices in the future. You sound as if you have learned to make decisions for yourself rather than for another (like G). Congrats on that!

    • Thank you so much! It’s an amazingly heady feeling being freshly pressed. For bloggers, there’s very little that’s better than this, I’d say. I think it was Woody Allen that once so famously said, “The heart wants what the heart wants.” for better, for worse, this is so true. 🙂

  65. Hiya Monica! Your very personal disclosure speaks to both men and women who have experienced the same relational outcome. I would venture to say that we all, at one time or another, have been self-deceived regarding the “other’s” love and affection for us. Falling in love can be very risky! 🙂 Thanks for sharing and congrats on getting freshly pressed. (thumbs up!) 🙂

    • Ron, I hope that’s true. If anyone can take something from this, if it gives just one person reason to give pause, then I’ll be so happy. Thanks for stopping by and offering your comment. I appreciate that so much!

    • And thank you, Jennifer, for being such a loyal reader. Your presence here has meant so much to me. In times when I’ve thought no one is reading, I knew you were there. I’ll never forget that. 🙂

  66. I’ve never read anything more heartwarming than this. It is like the words truly ARE like drugs to you. Wonderful writing. 🙂
    Keep up the amazing work 🙂

  67. I want to know…why in the world didn’t JOE profess HIS undying love to you so you’d stay?! :o) Where’s Joe…I’d like to have a word with him. 😉

    • Because I wasn’t starring in my own romantic comedy film with its own happy ending? Who knows why things turn out the way they do? Such is life. Glad you stopped by and made me smile. 😉

  68. Nice Read. Going through a tough phase myself. I’ve been in an abusive marriage and now my hubby wants a divorce. Though, living with him was never easy, divorcing is tougher.
    I like it when you say, “When you’re at a juncture in your life, choose yourself.”

    • Divorce is hard, no, brutal, but if the marriage is abusive than it’s worth it to get out. You need your dignity, your power, your self esteem. Marriage struggles and impending divorce can make you lose sight of these things, but know that the pain doesn’t last. You can get out and make your way to the other side. With time, you will feel better, stronger. Please read my post titled, “Me, Rocky Balboa.” My ex was mentally abusive and every time I took a step away from my marriage and toward divorce, I felt empowered. I took my life back and you can too! I am sending positive thoughts your way. Please stop by and know that I am always here, happy to talk. Remember, you have worth!

      • Thanks for your words. They mean a lot to me. I am doing everything in my capacity to keep myself sane and to take hold of life from here but there’s so much going here that I get overwhelmed at times.

        Read your post, “Me, Rocky Balboa”. I can relate to it. Right now, I’m in the initial phase, divorce pending, looking for a job and lots of hurdles. I wish I can be strong enough to make a good life for myself someday.

        Thanks! God bless…

      • Sounds like what I was going through–divorce, job hunting, looking for a new place to live, raising two young children, and my parents were ailing. How many challenges can be thrown at one person? But it’s the will to survive that keeps us going. Another thing for me, was I didn’t want to accept the common belief that when a man divorces, his economic level stays the same or improves. But when a woman gets a divorce, she has to learn to live in a lower economic bracket. The truth is, G is living a good, wealthier life now. But I didn’t suffer because of it. I’ve worked hard, though, to get where I am and you can too. Determination. Remember, you have value. You have worth. You can do it!

  69. I think we have all been down that road. The what if’s—- but, I think we always end up where we are suppose to be–if we are following our true heart and gaining peace and joy and not accepting choas.

    • You are so right, we do end up where we’re supposed to be. No regrets, just moving forward and hoping it’s not too late to reconnect with friends from a different time in our lives.

  70. Choices, choices, choices, we make them and then live with them. Sometimes they work out great, other times they stink. Each time tho, they are right because it is the one made and there is no going back.
    I love you honesty in expressing this choice it came from the heart, and is a beautiful story.

    • Thanks, Grumpa Joe, and I love your name. Choices. Life is full of them. They can be joyous. They can be bittersweet. I treasure my children, so for me the choice I made was the right choice.

  71. “…whose pimply nose flared when he kissed…” Very cool post, and I loved this detail! Very nice.

  72. Hi Monica,
    Funny how u can love someone like that huh? My excuse for my mother was Im going to get my masters here bc its cheaper to do in-state tuition than out-of-state. I know I could easily go back up North and get my masters online but J has so much going on down here that I couldnt leave him… and he takes care of my daughter as if she were one of his.

    • Yes, it is funny. We, women, put up with a lot of things, all in the name of love. Sometimes it works out just fine, and then there’s me. My luck with men? Not so good. Oh, well.

  73. Wow! Monica, this is my first wordpress read and I must day you got my attention instantly and all throughout the blog. This is soooo cool….a lot of women need to read this and should be careful with their decisions. what could have been, eh?

    • Thanks, Sheena! If only one person reconsiders a decision like this that they’re about to make, then it’ll all be worth it for me. That’s the message I wanted to get across and I am pleased that you see that, too. Thank you for making me your first stop on wordpress!

  74. Great post, Monica! And congratulations! I hope your words inspire readers — creatively and emotionally.

    I did the opposite many years ago. I was in love. But, I asked my G to come with me across the country. He told me if I loved him, I’d stay. (Unfortunately, at the time, my mother agreed with him. But, I went anyway.) He lied and said that he’d come out too, believing I’d go to CA and then come running back, overwhelmed. Fortunately, I saw the truth. — It only took 3 1/2 years together and about 2 weeks apart. Oh yeah! And him getting another girl pregnant a few weeks later 🙂

  75. Pingback: How To Avail Of Free Baby Formula « storiesulove2read

  76. Loved the post. I also loved “Sliding Doors”. I also loved “Bridgette Jones Diary”. Ditto for “Under the Tuscan Sun”, “Eat Pray Love”, ditto, ditto, ditto, etc. I like to think that each of my three daughters would do better than forgive a lout for being a lout. They haven’t yet dissapointed me yet but they are women. After reading your post I’ll hope you recovered. All the best on the writing career.

    • Yes, I have recovered, but it took a while and a lot of pain. Throughout my life, writing has been my salvation. And I love all the movies you mention, except for Eat Pray Love, which I haven’t seen. And like I said in an earlier comment, this post represents my Sliding Doors. That movie really made an impression on me. Thanks for stopping by today!

  77. The theme of my wedding was “All Roads Led Here” and thus I can look back and know that regardless of all the decisions I made, God had a Master Plan and He worked it all out for my good. Now that said, my first real boyfriend rocked my world and shattered my heart. I went back and back and back for four years. The final straw was finding out he had concieved a child in the backseat of my car while I was away at college. Unfortunately, there were many other women in his destructive path and he died an addict in middle age. My only look back is to say THANK YOU LORD! But for the grace of God go I. Great post. 🙂

  78. I enjoyed both the posting and the many comments. Life is funny. There are so many possible choices, so many combinations of choices…it is overwhelming to think about.
    I am recalling a movie called Sliding Doors that explores the different lives that could result from different choices.

  79. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I’m so impressed 🙂 i always knew you were awesome! what a great story, too. I was hooked from the beginning. Your life is so interesting, and I look forward to hearing more from you.

    • Caps, I’m especially happy you stopped by today! Your words of support mean so much to me for you know I think the world of you. Btw, did you ever join She Writes? Please know that today they announced that I’ve been appointed Volunteer Coordinator, so I really want to bring you on board. It’s such a great resource!

  80. Hard to know where life turns but one needs to make the best present and onward.

    Any drastic surprises of another road bend in life?
    I’ve had my fair share in past 6 months. By the way, you and I use the same template. Orange just abit bright for the eyes. But I like your banner header, creative, happy and colourful. 🙂

  81. And what about Joe? The two of you sounded like quite the team. Have the two of you kept in touch?

  82. Absolutely amazing post, I completely can relate to what you went through. Some men are just scum bags, but the decision you made is apart of growing up. I think every woman has that one man you’ll always desire even when they’ve done you wrong over and over again. Your life may have been different, but thats what lifes about. Making decisions and finding where they take you! Once again, excellent post!

  83. So many of us have these types of “what if” stories and you have written yours so well that I fell right into it. I know about putting everything aside for a man and I also often wonder what would have happened if I had made different choices. I ended up in a good place too, but it still makes me think, sometimes, about fate and what may or may not have turned out the same.

    • So true, and I feel I ended up in a good place too. It’s amazing how many common experiences we have. Thank you for your thoughtful input. I appreciate you stopping by today.

  84. Jackson Browne played on my stereo too. Since you mention him twice I will say that I once snuck in to a sound check on the afternoon of a concert and no one asked me to leave, so I stayed. Listened to him for a couple of hours, just his crew, a couple of others and me in the audience. Years later I sat next to him at a dinner and asked him a question that bothered me for eons. Having once read that he wrote a “poem,” called “The birds of St. Marks,” I looked for it everywhere, never found it. At the dinner I asked him about it and he said it was a song, unpublished, and how did I know about it. I told him I read about it…Years later in 2005 he recorded it. I have never heard it. Some things are just better left to wonder about.

    • I started listening to Jackson Browne because of G, but I absolutely came to love his music. Lucky me, I got to see him perform in a free concert he did in Washington DC during the period of this post. It was on the Mall by the Washington Monument, with thousands in attendance, all peaceful and oh so memorable. It was truly a thrill.

  85. Beautifully written post and so heart-rendingly evocative.

    I can completely relate – although it has nothing to do with choosing a man over my career (of which I have done the opposite!). I, too, bury my bad fork in the road decisions and then one day take a painful visit and wonder “what could have been” if I had just decided differently. But since whatever it is I didn’t do, I didn’t do – regardless whether it was the better decision and I would have had a better life – so I try to keep the visits brief!

    The part of your post that hit me the most was that you broke your mother’s heart. For me, that is always a worse feeling than me knowing I chose the wrong path. Knowing that my mother was hurt or worried or caused any pain or discomfort by my taking a certain path over another absolutely kills me.

    Lovely post – thanks for sharing 🙂

    • That’s the part that hurts me too. There have been certain times in my life when I did break her heart, but this was a big one. The other time I will always regret was at the birth of my daughter. She asked me to give my maiden name to my daughter as her middle name. But I didn’t. She didn’t say anything at the time, but in one of her last lucid moments before the Alzheimer’s took over, she told me that it hurt her. Well, I can never take that back. If my daughter ever officially changes her name to add my maiden name, it’ll be too late. My mother died 17 years ago.

  86. Sometimes I think we believe the “nice” guy is just not challenging enough or exciting enough or whatever…Then we grow up and learn that the best person is the one that loves us as much as we love ourselves. Sometimes it takes a while to not even want to look back.

  87. Monica,

    What a great moment of reflection. I think we all can identify with that darned lingering question, “What might have been.” For me, I sometimes worried about it through the years. However, these days, I find it very helpful in my own little writing process. The roads we follow, even the ones that send us off-rail, are what lives are made of. As I grow older, I find that even the off-rails, weren’t so bad.

    Great post!

    • The only thing about the path I did choose (besides the pain of the inevitable break up), is that it derailed my career for about 15 years. Mostly I was focusing and moving to different parts of the country for my ex’s career. So when we did finally part, for good, was when I once again able to focus on mine.

  88. No matter what path you chose their will always be the “what if”. The important thing to focus on is the “what is” and to figure out what there is to be learned from your past choices. Hopefully these things we learn we can pass on to others so they can make a more informed decision. Whether they make the same choice you do or not all that matters is that you did what you could.

  89. This was just the post I needed to read at this moment. I think we all have those moments of “what if”. I also believe though, that we make the best choices that we can for ourselves in each moment. Those choices make us who we are today. Thanks for sharing.

  90. If you hadn’t gone, you probably would have reget it for the rest of your life. Sometimes we have to do things the hard way. You going, made you who you are today and I’m sure you wouldn’t trade that for anything. Thanks for sharing!

    • Yes, I know, and overall, things are good. But, I compare it to the film, “Sliding Doors” with Gyneth Paltrow. This is my Sliding Doors. Thanks for stopping by today!

  91. Great story!

    I think you should have gone for the greasy-haired, pimply-nosed guy. He sounds yum-my!

    I don’t know what being “pressed” means, but congratulations!

    • The greasy-haired guy was also funny so perhaps you’re right. Freshly pressed means that I’m featured today on homepage, which is the highest honor, if you ask me!

  92. “And during this time, I stopped thinking about G. Which is probably why he started calling again.”

    This made me laugh. It seems virtually a law of the universe that this is exactly when exes call!

    Based on the number of “likes” to this post, am I correct in assuming you were Freshly Pressed? If so, that’s as unsurprising (given the beautiful heart behind your beautiful words) as it is awesome!

    • Yes! I’m Freshly Pressed today! My third time and I’m beyond excited. This makes all that pain years ago worth it! And you’re right about the laws of the universe. The minute I stopped thinking about him was when he came back into my life. So true.

  93. Well, I just love this post! I think that, as women, we often change our life’s plans to suit whatever relationship we may be in at the time, without even the certainty of the relationship’s success. I’ve had my heart broken once before, and I vowed that, from that day on, I would do whatever was in my heart to do and not allow myself to be distracted by a cute guy. 😉

    Thank you for your post as I think it’s a great one for everyone (men and women!) to read as it is such a huge encouragement for all to live out their dreams. It’s important to never look back in life and say,”What if…”

    You are a beautiful writer, and a wise woman, I think. 🙂 Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  94. Wow, I loved this. I was with a guy for seven years, and we almost got married. In fact, we came 3 months from the wedding when I realized he wasn’t who I thought he was and I had to call everything off. This was all last summer. I think back to different parts of our relationship, to different men that came in and out of my life, and wonder what could have been. There was a time when I wasn’t sure I was ready for such a serious relationship, and I had a crush on another guy, and thought about pursuing it. But I didn’t. Because I loved my ex so much and I felt so sure he was the one, and I thought I was just being scared and silly.

    Now, after having my heart broken and having to cancel my wedding, I wonder what could have been. Where would I be if I hadn’t stayed with him? What jobs would I have considered if I didn’t want to move away from him? What suitors would I have considered?

    These thoughts sort of plagued me for months, and now I just have to believe I am on the path I am for a reason. I’m where I’m supposed to be, and the past is just the past. That gives me some comfort.

    • Catherine, you express yourself so eloquently and I’m heartened to know we are on the same page on this one. What could have been? I too was “blinded” by my ex. I made sacrifices for him, and didn’t consider others because of this. I know Joe would have adored me and treated me with respect. But, alas, I didn’t give him the time of day. Thank you, Catherine. I’m sending hugs your way. 🙂

  95. I try not to do the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” bit but you are right…it is human nature to wonder. And I personally think it is a good thing. It is part of our personal growth. Perhaps it is because I know you personally, but this doesn’t seem to me that you are wallowing in regret. You are just, in a very personal way, reminding us to stay true to ourselves and our own interests, dreams and desires when confronted with big decisions. You are laying out your own pain and wonder for us to learn from. The signs of a great writer if you ask me 🙂

    Great post and just fantastic to see you freshly pressed…once again!

    • Thank you so much, Trisha. I hope you know that when I learned today that I was Freshly Pressed, you were the first person I called! (Too bad you didn’t answer. 🙂 At least you got my text!)

  96. Love your heartbreak story and hope that you’re going to one day, turn it into a book! You’ve got a real knack for story telling. Congratulations too on gaining the She Writes position. Isn’t that your daughter job-sharing?! I look forward to meeting more She Writers in San Diego. Had a chance to visit with several during the Book Expo America and Blog World in NYC last week. Life is good!

    • Hi Elaine! Thank you for your sweet words about my writing!
      No, that is not my daughter, but I think it’s kismet all the same that Amber and I will be working together. I’ve gotten to know her and her work through She Writes, so when I learned we’d be working together it made perfect sense. We are “sisters” in blogging! 🙂

  97. Pingback: “Broken Hearts & The Road Not Taken” « Debayan's Weblog

  98. I sure hate musing about the what-ifs of my life, but I end up doing it sometimes anyway. At this moment in life, I’m at a good place with a good man, but only after a grueling previous few years of wishing for different choices over the years. It takes a while to work up the nerve, to let the ‘wishing’ for better turn to ‘acting’ for better…

    • Iselle, you are so right! i knew I was happy there. But, alas, I can’t go back, and my children are reminders that in the long run, I’m better off. Thank you so much, for your supportive words!

  99. It is truly amazing how we choose the guy who is not right for us. Sometimes it is the “bad boy” or the “rock boy” or the “harley boy” as I blogged about, but they just don’t leave your mind easily either. Maybe part of it is explained by learning more lessons from “failure” or hurt than by happiness and joy. We keep trying to figure out the lessons. Thank you for sharing your story. Even getting older still brings the same challenges on the dating scene.

    • That is so my point, Missy. We make choices based on men, and not necessarily on what’s best for us. In the best of all worlds, we’d be able to choose both at once, and for some lucky people, that does happen.

  100. Monica,
    I enjoyed this trip down memory lane with you. It is sweet to picture you then, you describe it so well, Thank you for taking us on this journey!

  101. I think we all look back on momentous decisions and wonder what life would be like if we’d taken another path. Sometimes I wish I had a “do over” for certain things but…then I’d be living with regret and wouldn’t be who & where I am today. So, I try not to dwell!

    You’re a fantastic writer. 🙂

    • Thank you, Lindsay! And thanks for stopping by. I truly have no regrets and love where I’m at now. But it was very painful road to get to this place. Oh well, such is life.

  102. Wow, very powerful story! I had no idea about that part of your life. I think the one thing you probably think about when wondering “what could have been?” is Josh an Sarah. Such wonderful kids!

    • This part of my life has been long buried, and recently I started thinking about it. Because of my kids and because of my success today, I have no regrets. But all the same, it annoys me that I chose what I thought was the love of a good man, over my career. Everything turned out well (almost everything), but still, I hope someone who is starting out, reads this and learns something.

      • When you made the decision … G. over your career: Do you think [remember] if any one or anything could have changed your mind then? Had you read a blog post like this then, would that have changed anything?

        The reason I’m asking is that I made similar ‘mistakes’ myself. I remember well how I felt … where I was, when I made my choices and know for sure that nothing could have changed my mind.

        Often, I must hold myself back real hard not to think along those lines of ‘what if’.

        Thanks to this or that choice, I am where I am today. They were just choices … I don’t think there’s any right or wrong here.

      • Thanks for your provocative comments. I think if someone had sat down and talked to me, it could have made a difference or given me something to think about at the very least. But this was the 70’s and a much different time, when it was perfectly natural (and still is to some extent, though hopefully not as much) for women to give up opportunities, making choices, so that their man could have the career path he wanted.There was no one to sound the alarm, or to spell out the consequences, so I really don’t know how I would have reacted if someone had. What’s done is done. I can’t say that I have regrets because I’m really in a good place now with two wonderful, grownup children. But it is interesting to wonder about the what if’s, as long as you don’t wallow in it.

  103. You may not know what was down that road, and that’s somewhat disconcerting, but your post is something I will remember as I am presently carving my own world again. I won’t take the road with my ex again. Good luck again this time around. You can do it. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Victoria, thank you for saying that. Which is the point I was trying to make. When you’re at a juncture in your life, choose yourself. That’s all. Thank you for stopping by my blog today. 🙂

  104. Yay yay yay yay yay! I’m so happy for you — yet again, Monica. How do you do it?

    Actually, I know exactly how you do it: You keep being the amazing writer that you are.

    Congrats on this beautiful post…


    • Thank you, thank you! Who would have guessed it, today’s post of all things. Yay is right. I’m very excited and I so so appreciate you being there for me. You are one terrific lady, my friend.

  105. Smart women, dumb choices all over. I suspect that somewhere beneath it all ego is lurking — some element of self esteem — feeling prettier, smarter, fill in the blank — when G’s around. He is a mountain that is looked up to and has in the subconscious been made essential, necessary. Pain is a small price. For a while.

  106. Even the smallest choices can change lives. I’m an expert at second-guessing myself, so I have to work hard not to look back. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who wonders, but I think we can make ourselves crazy doing that. Here’s to living in the present!

    • It’s funny. To be honest, I had blocked out this period of my life and then when I started to think about it, what troubles me most, is that I chose love with a man who had already hurt me over what was good, what was working in my life. That’s all.

  107. The road not taken is always the road you did not take. That is the whole point. Robert Frost is the man responsible for this conundrum. Life was hard going for him, hence, perhaps, the question. I suspect that willing your own destruction has other meanings.

      • I’m truly sorry if I have hurt your feelings. It is brave of you to write about this difficult episode in your life. As you are a writer, I am sure that you care about the truth of things. When in my own writing I find myself writing about a character without exploration I know I am on the wrong trail. My mother used to say: if it’s easy you know its wrong.

      • Don’t worry, Charliechops, you didn’t hurt my feelings. I understand where you’re coming from and I do appreciate your honesty. I also appreciate you stopping by so often. Your mother makes a good point. 🙂

  108. I do that every once in a while. Look back at choices I’ve made and wonder how things may have been different. I always end up getting confused, because God has been so kind. Even in my mistakes, even BECAUSE of my mistakes He has shown Himself to be good.

    I had an abusive and difficult first marriage. But I also had a son from that marriage, who is one of the greatest joys of my life.

    I don’t try to play the “I wonder if” game anymore. (Unless I’m guiding a young person about to make a similar mistake :-))

    • My point really is, that as women, we often choose to be with a man rather than what may be in our own best interests. Things still turned out well for me, but it’s interesting to wonder. I do think young women should know this, as they are most likely to face similar decisions.

    • Hello i read your story and cant help to think , If you completely trust and rely on another human being , You will be let down in some form or another Guaranteed ! and secondly i remembered so many times when my mother told me not to do something or gave me a warning about what i was going to do . now that mom is gone i realize that out parents really knew what they were talking about . Insight comes with age and my MOM WAS ALWAYS RIGHT !

      • Mothers are amazing. I should know. I had one and she was she the world to me. I’ve posted some stories about her which you can find in my Family Stories section, most recently I wrote about the anniversary of her death, just earlier this week. Your mother was indeed right and I appreciate you stopping by to let us all know. Thank you! 🙂

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