After my marriage fell apart and Harley and I started noticing each other in a more-than-friendship sort of way, we did what any self-respecting fat person on the Internet does in this culture. We lied. I was a 5'5" redhead... and that's where the truth stopped. I was a svelte 120 pounds, long of leg and rather busty. Well, the latter is true, but I can thank overly developed adipose tissue for it rather than a propensity toward a D-cup. Harley claimed he was a 180 lb backpacker, hiker and camper. Welcome to the
We never thought it would go any further than a little Internet fling. We felt safe pretending to be who we weren't. Neither of us could have fathomed that we, in fact, lived only half an hour away from one another. Neither of us could have imagined that the other was dealing with the same issue, the same pain, the same fear of discovery and rejection. When Harley wrote me a long letter telling me why he couldn't ever meet me face to face -- because he was a 400 pound obese man who had lied to me -- I felt nothing but relief... and a great deal of love.
Long story short, we met, we married, we had two children together. We also fed each other's addiction and created a safe cocoon of codependence. My ex was one of those naturally skinny guys. The one time he wanted to lose a little weight, he cut out drinking regular Coke and switched to Diet. He lost ten pounds like he was just breathing room air. Easy peasy. He never understood the concept or idea of food as anything other than fuel.
But it isn't any easier living with a fellow addict. It may even be harder - because, while he understands and sees much more about me than a non-addict would - he also has the same or similar issues and problems he doesn't want to face any more than I do. We've both been very good at dissolving our boundaries, so much so that it becomes dangerous for both of us. I sabotage him, he sabotages me, and we slide back into the comfortable place we've always rested together.
I love Harley, and I'm blessed to have such an amazing man in my life. But sometimes I wish we weren't so much alike. I don't know how it's all going to work out - I wish a had a crystal ball. Are we meant to do this together? Is one of us meant to lead the other? Are we supposed to be buoyed up by community, by the universe, like two beached whales waiting for rescue, not sure how to find open water again? Ugh, how's that for a self-deprecating metaphor? I should quit while I'm ahead.
Some days I'd say being with Harley is what makes my life worth living. Some days, I wish for someone who wouldn't tolerate my addiction, who would call me out, force me to quit killing myself and hurting everyone around me with my pain. I know there's a middle ground between those two extremes. Story of my life. Getting there. It's painfully slow.