I met my husband of seven years on a blind date. It's currently one of the biggest regrets of my life. The first six years of marriage were wonderful and I believed he was the best person I could ever meet. I thought I had finally met a man who wasn't one of my professors, was only a decade my senior, and sincerely appreciated who I am as a human being. But this marvelous person sat through my dissertation defense. He read as much of my dissertation as he could get his head around. He heard what I said to my committee and what they said to me about my work. And two months later, without my permission, he applied FOR me for a dead end job that didn't pay a living wage and would allow his buddies to sexually harass me. If I can get my physical health to improve even a little bit, I can get a corporate job that pays a living wage and has higher ups that keep an eye on the department heads and middle management to see they don't abuse their positions for their sick jollies. The horrible job my husband found for me wouldn't have been horrible if I had been allowed to apply for it myself and the horrible incumbents hadn't been able to use my marriage as an excuse as to why they didn't have to treat me as well as the janitor: If I was married and my husband owned a house, I didn't need to make a living wage. I was told that, flat out, by my so-called department head. I would have given anything--anything--for the company president to have overheard her say that, because even she knew that was against every single equal opportunity employer rule in the book.
I worked very hard for three advanced degrees. I am physically ill. I finished my last doctorate and defended my dissertation in spite of the fact that I was in so much physical pain from a migraine (I have fibromyalgia; it causes migraines) I could barely see my dissertation chair when I was discussing Kristeva with him. Anyone who recognized the amount of physical discomfort I was in the entire two hour defense, and saw how well I did for myself, would have been stunned and even moved, even if that person did not like me as a human being. I would have given my worst enemy a hug and wept for her, if I knew for a fact that she was in the amount of agony I was, and she still pulled off her defense with such aplomb no one even knew she was in pain. My own husband didn't know until we were safely back at the hotel and I collapsed on the bed and just cried. I was in too much pain at that point to do anything else--it all just came out of my eyes. But even while I cried from the pain, I was smiling because I still won in spite of it.
My husband saw me fight for my life, in effect. I don't know that he ever saw anyone fight so hard or so long or against such tremendous setbacks. He said himself that he can't think of anyone else who did so much with so much adversity. And after all of that, he set me up to get browbeaten, hurt, and, from his point of view, hopefully so beaten down by vicious, dull witted bipedal animals that I wouldn't have the spirit to try to get on my feet again. He is still so angry that he and his buddies didn't manage to make me think that I couldn't work in the world with the degrees I spent much time and effort earning. And I did not go to cake colleges or do the minimal to get by--I have perfect or nearly perfect GPAs for each degree, even the undergraduate, and I have published papers I wrote for classes. My husband is angry that I discovered I can do quite well in the corporate world, which he did his best to give me a skewed, scary impression of, so I wouldn't try anymore. Fortunately, a total stranger, on the phone, disembarrassed me of the crud my husband spent a lot of time and energy attempting to suggest to me. My loving husband thought he could implant in me the fear of going out into the world and working like a person, as though my brain were so much fertile soil in which to plant his vegetable of choice. And I was supposed to be the vegetable of his home--excuse me, the angel of his home. Only, I didn't know there was so little difference in reality between an angel and a vegetable, where my husband's medieval mentality is concerned.
All I can say is that I wish I had never gone on at least one blind date. And if I did, I wish I lost his phone number the second I was out of his line of vision. The point to remember is this: You do not know the people you "meet" on the Internet, and blind dates are even worse if you haven't made contact over the Internet first: Men rarely give you any useful information online, but if you're fixed up by some helpful friend, you don't even have the half truths you may have been given if you chatted online, so you can at least catch your date in obvious lies. Those are the first sign that something isn't kosher in the state of Denmark.
I can remember one moment, in which I was sure the right thing to do was to dump the person who is now my husband of seven years (during which time I could have had wonderful sex with any number of men and women--I wasted seven years of my life with an abusive, worthless idiot. If I am ever in a position to do this, I intend to shame Purdue for giving people like my husband degrees--someone should have to answer for allowing that nitwit to call himself "Doctor."). He made comments about a movie we had recently seen together over an email (we were still doing long distance then--that means he was still a long distance away from me. If only I had kept it that way...), in which he denigrated the female character for having opinions and not following "her man"[sic] around with a brainless doe-eyed expression. These comments made alarms go off in my head, and I very nearly ended it with him. My major regret is that I didn't lose him when I could have. I will never get my time back. I will never erase the memories of being with him from my mind. I can't even hurt him enough to feel avenged--nothing I could do to him would be enough. Although, if there were a way to make him lose his doctorate, I would love to do that--he most certainly does not deserve it. He can barely read Joyce on his own (I'm a witness--his wretch of a catty mother marveled about how well I read Joyce's Ulysses, "I can see what's going on from hearing you read!" Her son doesn't read Joyce like that, to say the least. You should have seen the look on her face when I told her how much effort I spent rehearsing for my reading--I skimmed the original, truncated it for the reading myself and took a few notes as far as reading tones and pitches in the margins. I told her that, and from the look on her face I may as well have said I murdered her favorite puppy--instead of even going through the social motions of being politely interested, she didn't bother with a mask. She looked grim and bitter and looked at me like I was the enemy--for telling her, without meaning anything at all, what sort of preparation I made for the Joyce reading. I was the enemy, a threat, for not being dumb enough to make her son feel like a man.).
What I'm seeing now has been seen by other people. My mother, when she met my husband, said she got nauseated when she pictured the two of us together and never got over my being with him. She died of colon cancer not that long after. It is my private theory she got so depressed by seeing her gifted, pretty daughter with this revolting carbuncle that she succumbed to cancer. My mother isn't the only person who had that reaction upon seeing me with this man: My dissertation chair looked horrified when he met him. He seemed sure that my husband would have to be more like me looks-wise and he was appalled--even grossed out--and kept asking me if I was all right and if I wanted to see if the department secretary could find housing for me so I didn't have to go back home with my husband. So, my husband isn't worth me in terms of appearance, intelligence, credentials or even personality--you should have seen how much warmer his normal colleagues were to me than they were to him, ten minutes after meeting me. His only real friends at his place of work are the defunct maniacs at his little private dunghill of employment, who have undeserved positions of power over the normal people and are terrified of losing them because the normal people are getting annoyed (I'm not the only one--they'll get what's coming to them sooner or later. I don't have to give it to them myself.).
I would think that someone who is so far below me in terms of being an adequate match would at least show some appreciation of having me as his wife, but it's not enough--he wants to degrade me to the same nadir that he himself has lived in throughout his miserable life, and he's now sulking because, thanks to a stranger I talked to on the phone, I know that I can have a corporate job with decent working conditions and a living wage (none of which were available at the job he pretended was the best I was going to get. You should have seen his face when I told him who I talked to and what this man told me about his company and what I could expect after this man merely viewed my CV).
So, after seven wasted years, I find myself married to a passive aggressively abusive piece of crap, and instead of being happy with my current success and looking forward to my next step, I have to face moving across the country in my current state of health to take a full time academic job, OR I have to abandon the academic career that I love and I'm very good at to take a corporate position that will pay about the same living wage as a full time tenure track academic job. Thanks to my unhappy choice of men, I have to give up doing what I love, if I don't think my health will survive the strain of a long distance relocation, or I have to do something I'll be quite good at, although it seems a shame to have gotten all my degrees, have been told that all I need do is apply for certain positions to have the job of my choice, even, and then not to be able to take a job that's available to me because I doubt my ability not to go blind in the airport while trying to board a plane (I go blind from the migraines. They're not frequent, but they're still scary).
My advice: Whatever you do, don't get married. It turns into a miserable disaster more often than not--some people stay in the unhappy arrangement for their kids, and the smarter ones divorce. My husband was a model spouse until he saw himself losing what he saw as his power over me. He thought that he would lose me if I had a life. He came out and admitted it. What happened was that I had no intentions of leaving him until he started having hissy fits over my attempt to have a life. Understand that my guy was the last person I ever pictured doing this to me--I'm still reeling in shock. I think that any relationship that claims it's going to last forever is just unrealistic and destructive. If I had never gotten married, I wouldn't have moved to live with him, I would have stayed in the vicinity of my doctorate-granting institution and gotten the sort of job all my colleagues moved into after they graduated. Living with my husband, I was out of the loop and lost a lot of valuable career opportunities because of it. I cannot think of a single way in which I benefited by being involved with this man, but I can think of a dozen reasons why I am right to deeply regret it.
Use your gifts. You are a great person in your own right. Date for fun, not for some long term saga, because, in every instance I know of firsthand, so-called great romances do not work out. I'm going to have great sex for the rest of my life, with one person or with various people, and I dearly wish I made this resolution seven years ago.