Was on the bus today, watching the Highways department clean up oil off the road and was thinking about Martin again. If you’re sick of hearing about him, skip this next paragraph.

I was just thinking that he gave jewellery like a dog pisses on telephone poles. He gave me a necklace – one of those white shell bead ones from Hawaii. When I didn’t wear it, he’d ask where it was and get all sulky because he thought I ‘didn’t like it anymore’. I think it was the same motivation that made him buy me that diamond ring. You know, the one I got thirty bucks for at the pawn shop. He got it from the engagement ring section of the jewellery store, but he never asked me anything about marriage… just about promising to be with him – he called it a promise ring, a promise he was making to me (Funny that). I had this ring on my finger, and I didn’t have a clue that this guy was not everything he said he was. I never said anything, I just kissed him. Everything seemed just fine. Never mind that he pouted and whined and always somehow managed to get his own way without my ever really putting my finger on what exactly he did to get it. He knew how to push all my buttons and I was blinded. It’s a common thing in love relationships – you see only what you want to see. You don’t see all the things that could cause you trouble in paradise. You give and give and you’re sure that that will be enough to fix things and make it into that paradise.

I didn’t like coming out the other end and seeing how blind I’d been. (But no one could have told me what was going on, because I was so embroiled in it that I wouldn’t have seen it. I’d have got angry instead.)

That’s why I walked into this new relationship with open eyes. I know now you can’t change other people, no matter how you might try, or what you might try. I accept that there are things about John that aren’t perfect – but then there are things about me that are not perfect either. I think the real challenge is working to make each others strengths cancel out each others weaknesses.

Now, two years later, and I’m still with John. We have a nice place, happy critters and a full relationship. We talk about our troubles and work out solutions and rely on each other as partners. This makes me happy, because there is no manipulation from either of us, no desire in one of us to change the other. He’s become an important part of my life. I can’t give that up, and I don’t want to.