No question that I have been guilty of constantly falling in love with the wrong person. I have always been a hopeless romantic who wears his heart on his sleeve. Love means opening your heart but it also means a risk of getting really hurt. Every time that happens you lose your faith in love and think you will be alone forever.

As a teenager I had my fair share of girlfriends. I was in a band at sixteen and had more than enough “groupies” but they were never anyone I cared enough to ever love. The several girls I called girlfriends were always more friends than lovers. That was until I met my future wife. I was at a party with my then girlfriend, Bev, but when Janice walked down the stairs it was love at first sight. At the top of the stairs I learned that her friend, Lynn, had warned her about me. That I loved blondes. I dropped Bev’s hand and went over to Janice and asked her to marry me. I should have taken the clue when she told me to F-off. She had a long term boyfriend, Doug, but I didn’t care. After we came back to her parent’s place one night he came racing up ready for a fight. He made the fatal mistake of spitting in Janice’s face after her mother had come out to see what all the ruckus was about. That ended it for him.

After we spent some time at my parent’s place alone because they had gone on vacation the inevitable happened and we slept together and she got pregnant. It didn’t matter to me because I loved her and was ready to marry her anytime. Her father was very angry but agreed that we should get married right away, which we did on August 16th, 1969. The wedding and the reception at her parent’s place was a hoot, but what happened after was not, and a clear sign of the trouble to come.

My Dad with his warped sense of humor had rented us a room at what was the Thunderbird Motel and he had put a rattle toy under in the mattress, thinking that it would startle us when we made love. Very funny, Dad. It didn’t matter because I spent the night sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed. It was the first time that I learned that her getting pregnant was entirely my fault and I was going to be punished for that forever. The only funny part was that when we left on our supposed honeymoon the next morning I had forgotten about the toy in the ripped mattress for which my Dad would pay. I went back to the room and removed it, then had to walk through the lobby with the toy rattling.

The next twenty-three long years were spent in a loveless marriage. I tried and tried, but it was always a better car or a better house or more money for her. She wanted nothing to do with making “love”. About the only times we had sex were the three times she got pregnant, until she insisted that I get a vasectomy. My son, Chris, was obviously not planned. My daughter, Heather, came along when Janice didn’t tell me she went off birth control. I think she realized that I was going to leave this disaster of a marriage so she got pregnant to keep me. She aborted the third pregnancy without even discussing it with me so I knew the marriage was over.

I will be the first to admit that in the last few years of our marriage I was unfaithful many times. I traveled a fair bit and always seemed to find someone who treated me nice and gave me what I longed for. I hadn’t even slept with my wife for five years so it worked for me to feel better about myself. I came very close to leaving my marriage a couple of times and I wish I had. Sticking around for the kids turned out to be useless. Heather told me to go out west when my mother was diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma. She knew my marriage was long over and it was time to give up, but this was the last time she ever talked to me for almost thirty years now. Neither she or Chris have ever given me a reason for abandoning me. Many friends, some of them girlfriends at the time, have said that my now ex had told lies about me and they tried to get in touch with them but always failed.

During my fourteen years in the Okanagan I had lots of girl “friends” but only one real love, Tracy. She had three great kids who I also fell in love with and my relationship with all of them was perfect. That is until her school girlfriends warned her about our age difference and she asked me to leave. It was as hard to leave the kids as it was her. First major hurt, breaking my heart in a million pieces. More to come.

After the renovation from hell my doctor said I was a poster boy for a heart attack and had to get away. I researched other countries with a lower cost of living and chose Panama. There was lots of good and more bad but I did have a girlfriend, Magaly. We had fun together and she slept at my place a lot and we had great sex. With the age difference and the language barrier I don’t think I would call it “love” but it was good and I felt bad for her when I was forced to return to Canada.

Back in Canada, saved by my dear cousin, Joan, I lived with her for several months. I met a girl from London on the internet, Denice, and ended up moving to London to be with her. She was married but was in the same position I had been, knowing she had to leave the marriage, which she did. We had some fun times and I loved her daughter, Emily. We never lived together but it all came crashing down when I found out she had lied about a weekend trip. Instead of going to a cousin’s baby shower she flew to Ottawa to be with yet another guy she met on the internet. Second time crushed.

Yet again searching for a lower cost of living somewhere off I went to Ecuador. Again more bad than good but just when I was again being forced to go back to Canada I met Patricia. We were good together and spent some very romantic time together. We tried to keep it going after I came back but it wasn’t working. Then she started saying she couldn’t pay her bills and asking for money, so that ended that. This time my friend, Heather, who had worked for me decades before, offered me her son’s place north of Belleville for free because he was renovating it and she thought I could help based on my years of experience. When I got there he had installed a pellet stove, a fridge and stove and even laid in some food for me. It was okay but then the pellet stove failed and I froze my buns off for five days and ended up falling apart at the Salvation Army in Belleville. They were incredible and helped me to get into the first of many group homes.

After finally working my way to living on Forin my rent went up a hundred bucks a month for just a room so again I searched for somewhere with a lower cost of living and this time found Ajijic, Mexico. I left in September, 2017, hoping to finally find that elusive place. I fell in love with it the day I arrived and my plans quickly changed to finding a way to stay there forever instead of just checking it out. Then within a couple of weeks I met Elba, who quickly became what I thought was my true unconditional love. We quickly moved in together and started planning our future together. Her large family accepted me right away. We got engaged at our favorite place, Adelita’s, and were congratulated by all our friends. Her two sons asked if it was okay if they called me Dad. Then yet another huge mistake.

My six month tourist visa was about to expire so I had to return to Canada to apply for residency. Although I had my return ticket, I now had to get a ticket to come back. I told Elba that I would miss her and she wanted to come with me, but I was honest and told her I couldn’t afford to pay for her ticket. She said she always wanted to visit Canada so she would pay for her own flights. What I was too stupid to realize was that if she married me as planned I would automatically get residency and would not need to go back to Canada to file for it. Our trip back was the trip from hell in every way, but we struggled through it and I didn’t see any change in her, but the minute we got back she wasn’t coming back to our apartment. Instead she went to hers in Guadalajara, saying she had a meeting with her lawyer in the morning. I knew that was a lie and something was very wrong.

Then she came to our apartment when I was out and packed up all her shoes and clothes. When I came home and asked her what was going on she said she knew we were moving to a smaller place so she was going to sell most of her clothes and shoes. Again, I knew she was lying. That night at Adelita’s she was very distant. She didn’t sit with me or dance with me. I kept asking her what was wrong but she kept saying nothing was wrong. I thought we were going back to my apartment but she surprised me saying she was gong back to Guadalajara with her son. Now I knew something was really wrong.

That night was a moment that changed my life. She sent me a simple text message that our relationship was over. No reasons given. It struck me like a lighting bolt. I fell apart crying my eyes out. I begged her to tell me why but she refused. For the first time in my life I wanted to just swim out in the lake far enough not to make it back. With her my self confidence could not have been any higher. She told me she loved me several times a day. She said I was the best relationship she had ever had. When we went out she told me how handsome I was, something no one had ever said to me. Every minute together was incredible. Then in a heartbeat I was worthless and saw no reason to go on. If it weren’t for two of my friends, Violetta and Don, who talked me down and convinced me to go on I wouldn’t be writing this now. In my panic texts I begged Elba to talk to me, but she sent only one text telling me to “disappear”. Don actually ended up marrying Elba shortly after I returned to Canada. He had money. I didn’t.

Back to Canada in November, 2019 and another series of group homes. I eventually got my current geared to income apartment where I am now. My friends from before when I lived in Belleville had abandoned me for reasons I don’t know so life was very lonely and I never met anyone who I might fall in love with, until now.

Call it fate if you want. My neighbor took me to the last concert of the Concerts On the Bay series at West Zwick. Just like any guy I hate to ask a girl to dance and get a “no”. You never know what to say after that. I saw this cute girl dancing with a guy, then another guy, then another guy. As I walked passed her I tapped her on the shoulder and said I saw her dancing with a bunch of guys so who was she with? She said she was single. When I said I would love to dance with her she held her arms out. We had some wonderful dances and she asked me if I wanted to take dance lessons with her. Of course I did so we managed to meet at the Quinte Mall and go to the lesson in Trenton. For some unknown reason we instantly clicked but she got me talking and talking, far more than I should have. I kept saying that I was sorry that I was probably boring her but she said she was interested. Hours later when she dropped me off I felt so guilty that I knew almost nothing about her. Was she divorced? Did she have kids? Did she have brothers and sisters? We talked long enough that I should have known. My bad.

More and more connections followed, but I soon discovered that she was a deeply religious girl, and I’m not. At first I thought this would be our undoing but she said that we could debate anything about religion, so that was good. As we spent more and more time together my feelings for her were growing despite not wanting to after how Elba hurt me so badly. I sent her a religious bangle for her birthday, hoping she would be okay getting it from me, and she was. I ran around at the mall getting her birthday cards, a teddy bear, a birthday balloon, a flower, which I somehow lost on the way home, and put together a gift bag for her. I hoped she would let me take her out for a birthday dinner, but she declined. She did come over and spread out a blanket to have a picnic. She opened the gift bag and loved everything in it. Things were good with us.

Then I blew it. I professed my love for her. I sent her a very long, romantic poem in which I acknowledged that she just wanted to be the dreaded “friends”. I did still hope that she would eventually feel the same for me though. I loved every minute that I spent with her, could not stop thinking about her and missed her every minute that we were apart. One day when she came over we talked for four hours, then she phoned me later and we talked for another four hours! Never in my life have I ever talked to any girl for eight hours in one day! I told her that I had probably talked with her more than I had with my ex of twenty-three years.

After making the huge mistake of telling her that I loved her all the joy of our relationship was sucked out. At our last dance lesson she was leading very strongly. As I have for many, many years I had told her the three lessons of dance. One, the guy leads. Two, whatever goes wrong is the guys fault, and, three, have fun. Over the last thirty years I have taken ten years of lessons in country dance and competed in several competitions. I must have danced with several hundred women and in four countries. If the girl is leading after I gave her the rules I tell her that she’s leading and usually she stops. If she doesn’t listen I will stop on the dance floor to give her the choice to quit or pay attention. Never in all those years have I ever had a problem. In Kelowna at the OK Corral I probably taught thirty young girls to dance because their boyfriends were too stupid to take lessons.

In the lesson she refused to stop leading so again I stopped to give her the same choice I’ve given all the other girls. She was then really upset because she said other people there would think she was a “controlling bitch”. The first and only girl to ever think that. Our lessons were over. After the lesson we had a great hike up a local mountain so I still had hope for us. Boy, was I wrong.

We did have a wonderful day together at the O’Hara Homestead for their two hundredth anniversary, but still had issues. She didn’t take her phone for some reason and kept ordering me around to take photos as though I had never done that thousands of times. After I joked at the tea party we went to that men have no such thing as equality but we accept it to keep peace, again she said it made her sound like that controlling bitch. Apparently I am no longer able to make jokes about anything.

It was around this time that I realized she had never gone to my Facebook page or, more importantly, this website. She also dictated that she would no longer use Messenger which we had used a lot. She also insisted that we only use texting despite the fact that I had told her I hate typing on my phone. It was becoming more and more clear that she wasn’t interested in me at all, even as a friend. I knew I couldn’t just stop loving her so I hoped we would make it through all my growing doubts.

The next day she was going to a friend’s birthday party in Madoc but she surprised me by inviting me to go. I wasn’t sure who this friend was so I felt a bit awkward going if she didn’t know me, but it turned out I did know her and had even danced with her at the lessons. There were a lot of friends from the dance class there so that was good and I felt comfortable. When we danced though she started pushing me around the dance floor again, telling me what to do. Obviously she didn’t pay any attention to what I had said about the guy leading. Dancing with her was not fun anymore.

The birthday party was the good part of the day, as was what we did exploring the local shops and stopping to look at a guy’s paintings by the road. The horrible part of the day was the start.

After picking me up she started the worst attack I’ve ever had in my life. Even my ex wasn’t as cruel. I had told her that my loveless marriage was nothing but verbal abuse for everything I said or did. No matter how hard I tried I could never make it any better. Better house. Better car. Nothing worked. And I said clearly that I vowed to never put up with that again. For me respect and equality are fundamental to any good relationship. Her vicious attack found fault with everything I had done or said. No mention of the love I had shown her. No respect for the way she knew I felt about her. She even said friends are supposed to make each other happy and we weren’t doing that. Much as I didn’t want to I fought back disagreeing with her that I was worthless. She countered that I was playing the victim, which I clearly was. She had me on the verge of tears. Not only had I given up on any loving relationship with her and was struggling to just be her friend, now that was gone too. You can’t be friends with someone you find so many faults with.

Today wasn’t just a conflict about going or not going to the dance lesson. It was a full on attack. To quote:

“I won’t be calling you when I get home to listen to you ranting and raving about how you miss today even though yu said you didn’t want to come anymore…I don’t play mind games. And when you tell a person you don’t want to go somewhere anymore. And then you say tell me what time you’re picking me up. That’s playing mind games…if you don’t believe me please run it by your friend anna”

If you’re not coming that’s one hundred percent your choice. I just don’t want to hear about it for an hour and a half the next time I see you. It’s the end of the subject. If you said oh I changed my mind and I’d like to come now, that’s different, but when you say what time are you picking me up? That’s passive-aggressive because the last news I had was that you didn’t want to go anymore. Did you look at the communication videos I asked you to? I never did mind games in high school and I don’t do them now. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s really simple and avoids confusion. Please don’t twist my words.”

“Again you’re talking head games. Let me know if I’m not coming with you today please. I don’t let anybody know what they’re doing. I’m not a control freak like you think I am. You’re a big boy, you know, whether you want to go or not. You’re manipulating the situation and forcing me to make the call for what is happening. That should be a decision mutually made by two grown adults. All you had to say was “Hey (name). I changed my mind and I’d really like to go today. You don’t realize it but instead you manipulated the situation to try to get me to make a decision for you. That’s controlling but I know you don’t realize it.”

“Even by saying you screwed up the best friendship you ever had is passive-aggressive because I never said that. I had no idea that our friendship is over but I guess apparently it is according to you. I think maybe you just experienced most things in a grandiose way, like kind of overexaggerated in your experience with the situation. Have you ever been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder?”

The facts of this whole situation are that, yes, after friends supposedly thought she was a controlling bitch after I stopped on the dance floor I wasn’t enjoying the lessons after that and said I probably wouldn’t go again. For me, much as I cared for her, dancing is supposed to be fun and it wasn’t. Sunday when she dropped me off I said I would think about it regarding going to the lesson. I also said that I was down to my last bus tickets and couldn’t afford to get more so that was also an issue. She said she would pick me up but I said that I would meet her again at the mall. I did and realized both how much I enjoyed dancing with her and just spending time with her. I accepted that I would let her do all the leading she wanted to and not object. Early this morning I asked her not what time she was picking me up, rather what time she wanted to meet at the mall as we had done before. I needed to shave and shower and catch the two buses to get to the mall in time. Clearly I wanted to go. Instead of simply answering me she sent me all the bus schedules that I already knew from riding the buses in town for years and years, then went on the diatribe you see. I have no idea why.

Yet another wrong woman to fall in love with. I get that I express my love too soon, but I am a painfully honest guy and I am always honest about my feelings. For me, to be in love with someone and not tell them is just wrong, but yet again I have been hurt badly by doing this. If I ever fall in love again it will be very hard not to express my feelings honestly, but I’ll try. I probably don’t have much longer to live so I guess I will be alone.