When we left off in Sex, Love and Obesity Part 31 – I told you that Peter was about to realize I wasn’t the person he needed me to be. I give a lot of credit to Peter for this. Because, if he hadn’t left me, I might never have left him.

I’m the type of person that stays around long after the expiration date on a relationship has passed. This is partly due to my own sense of obligation. When I make a promise, I do everything in my power to try to keep it. When that promise is to love someone, it’s difficult for me to give up and walk away, even when I’m not happy. It’s almost as if, somewhere deep inside me, I never felt worth of being happy.

I’ve always tried hard not to hurt people. I’ve been hurt so many times. As a result, I’ve made a point not to hurt others. I try to treat others the way I would want to be treated. As a result, it’s difficult for me to give up on a relationship. When all you’ve ever wanted is for someone to love you the way you want to be loved, it’s hard to give up on any form of love. In moments like this I struggle with thoughts of, “Is this my fault?”, “Am I unlovable?” and “Is there any way for me to fix this?”

But life started moving Peter and I in opposite directions.

Sex, Love and Obesity - Manny

First, my dog almost died. Early in September, Manny swallowed a corn cob and had to be rushed to the emergency vet. Peter was with me, right by my side when it happened. At first, he was the hero of the story. I was in a panic. I didn’t have the financial means to pay for Manny’s treatment. Heck, I was in a situation where I wasn’t even taking care of myself.

When we first arrived at the emergency vet and needed to pay nearly $300 for Manny to be seen, get x-rays and for them to try and induce vomiting, Peter gave me money to help right away.

As Manny’s situation worsened, we were faced with an emergency endoscopic procedure to remove the corn cob.

Peter couldn’t help anymore, but Clark and one of my clients came to the rescue; providing their credit cards for Manny’s treatment. I brought Manny home that day thinking everything would be just fine. But within 24 hours we were back at the emergency vet. Manny had so many complications from the surgery that they had to keep him. For several weeks I worried whether Manny would survive.

During that time, I launched a peer support fundraiser to try to raise the money to save my dog. My clients, friends and family rallied around us and we raised just over $5,000 towards Manny’s care. Once we got Manny home and the vet was paid, I made sure that Peter and Clark both got back the money they had charged to their credit cards for Manny’s care.

A few days later the cycle began all over again.

Manny had been home for maybe two days when he suddenly got sick all over again. We ended up right back in the emergency room and once again they had to keep him. The vet bills started piling up again. I continued to raise money for his medical care through GoFundMe. Clark opened a care credit account to cover whatever the GoFundMe Campaign didn’t. In the end, when we brought Manny home, we had a final vet bill of nearly $10,500.

We had raised just over $7,500 in the GoFundMe Campaign. Clark put the other $3,000 on the care credit account. He assured me that together, we would eventually get it paid off. The most important thing was that Manny was okay.

I found it strange though, that when all the dust settled, Peter never offered to help me with Manny’s vet bill. Once I paid him back the original money he contributed in the beginning, it was like he didn’t feel the need to help us anymore. In fact, if anything he hinted at the fact that he was irritated that Clark was helping me. There was this feeling of resentment there. He couldn’t understand why Clark still cared about me enough to help.

When we argued about it, he bought Manny a playpen.

I was upset. Whether it was justified or not. This man that was supposed to love me so much wasn’t helping me with this emergency. I felt like once he had realized everyone else was going to help me, suddenly he didn’t feel any need to assist financially. He did help me take care of Manny, make sure he was fed and getting his medicine at the necessary times while I was off working. But financially he just left us on our own.

Eventually, we argued about it. I explained that my feelings were hurt that he had not re-contributed anything to Manny’s vet bill. I didn’t expect him to give me hundreds of dollars he couldn’t afford. But I expected him to donate something. Whether it was $10 or $100 – it was the fact that in the end, he had contributed absolutely nothing that bothered me.

From where I was sitting, when Peter got hurt, fell off the bike and broke his hip, just less than a month after moving in with me, he expected me to step up and help. He was ready to delve into my savings for me. Months later, when he wanted to go to a convention he couldn’t afford, he was angry at me for not wanting to help fund that trip. Yet here I was, my dog had almost died, and he hadn’t even contributed $10 back into the fund to help cover the vet bill. After I told him how I felt, Peter went out and bought a playpen I needed to keep Manny from running around the apartment scavenging for food on the floor.

In the middle of all of this I got offered my dream job.

Manny was still in the hospital when I got the job offer from GoGirl. One of my clients decided that she was going to buy the studio as a business investment and came to me offering me a job as both the General Manager and Head Trainer.

There wasn’t a doubt in my mind about whether I was going to take this position. It was my dream job.

Additionally, there was the opportunity that if the business did well, I’d be able to become part owner. Since the moment I decided I wanted to pursue a career in fitness and help people lose weight, this had been my dream.

Sex, Love and Obesity - Pandora at GoGirl Fitness Studio

Owning my own studio. Being able to provide those effected by obesity a safe and comfortable place to pursue their weight loss journey. My seven yearlong dream was now just within my reach.

This was huge promotion for me. I was going to be going from being an independent contractor that was only billing somewhere between 15-20 hours a week of personal training to a full-time studio manager with a guaranteed yearly salary. On top of that, I’d still be working as a personal trainer. I’d be able to book clients and teach classes. Plus, on top of all of that, GoGirl was going to install a remote training system. This would allow me to do the very thing I was trying to start my own business doing, offering remote training to the bariatric community.

This job was going to change my life.

I’d no longer be in a position where I needed anyone’s financial assistance. I wouldn’t need financial help from a boyfriend. I wouldn’t need my Godfather’s financial assistance paying my basic bills just to keep me from jumping into another relationship. I’d be able to make the payments on Manny’s vet bill without Clark’s help.

I was ecstatic. Over the moon happy. All the hard work I had done building up my name and reputation as a personal trainer was finally paying off and I was being offered my dream job. You’d think, everyone close to me would be happy for me. For the most part, everyone was. Everyone except Peter.

Peter saw it completely differently. Sure, I was getting my dream job, but it had nothing to do with how good of a trainer I was or how hard I had worked to build up my career. Peter told me it was just another situation of someone else giving me something. I was lucky. Lucky that I somehow always managed to find people in my life that wanted to help me.

Peter was jealous. He openly admitted it.

He was jealous that I seemed to get opportunity after opportunity when he had just as impressive of a weight loss story as I did. I was so proud of myself. So proud of how hard I had worked to get to this point and be offered a job like this. But everything he said diminished all of that. In Peter’s mind this job opportunity had nothing to do with anything I had done. It all came down to me being lucky and being in the right place at the right time.

In addition to that, Peter saw the time commitment that was about to be involved in the new job. If I was working 30-40 hours a week as a General Manager and 15-25 hours a week as a personal trainer. That meant I was about to be taking on a 60 hour plus work week. That was going to mean me putting in 10-12-hour days and Peter instantly started to worry about how much time he would have with me.

Peter began communicating to me that he wasn’t sure he could deal with the time and attention the new job was going to take. He didn’t come out and ask me not to take the job. But I was also making it very clear that my not taking the job wasn’t an option. I wasn’t going to choose to stay in a situation where I needed financial assistance to pay my bills and turn down my dream job for the sake of a relationship.

Peter was going to have to find a way to be happy for me and be supportive of my career or he was going to have to let me go.

For a few weeks, he tried to be the supportive boyfriend.

Sex, Love and Obesity - Narcissistic Thoughts

I saw the effort. Peter helped me plan the grand opening party for the Studio. He even put his culinary education to work and basically catered the party. He bought me a little motivational calendar for my new office with the “She believed she could and so she did.” quote on the front of it.

There was so much work to be done as I prepared to take over as General Manager of the studio.

The sale of the studio ended up happening faster than expected. As a result, for a couple of weeks I was in a situation where it was almost as if I was working three jobs.

For two weeks, I was teaching sessions and seeing clients at the gym I already worked at. Plus taking over all the classes at GoGirl. On top of that I was trying to learn the ins and outs of how the studio operated. I needed to learn how to use all the software they used to track memberships, do billing and manage daily correspondences with the clients. Plus, I had a grand opening party to plan.

I had office equipment to purchase. A new laptop and cell phone to get set up and organized. I had tons of administrative paperwork to do. My workday was going from 6am – Midnight on most days. I was bringing work home with me and I was a super paranoid puppy Mom, as Manny had only been home from the hospital for about a week.

I could see that the lack of attention was starting to bother Peter.

He wasn’t really trying to hide it. He told me openly that I was working too much and working too hard. I was very stressed out. But it was a good kind of stress and I was excited. Peter kept voicing his concerns that he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to handle this. He kept telling me that he wasn’t sure he could handle being in a relationship with someone where their career took so much time and attention away from the relationship.

I kept trying to explain to Peter that this would all settle down. Once I learned the ins and outs of Managing the studio, got through the grand opening party and got my client base moved over I’d start to have a more normal schedule. I’d be hiring new Trainers at GoGirl and I wouldn’t be teaching everything myself. I’d have normal days off and regular hours. I just needed him to be patient, supportive and understanding.

We had taken over the studio on October 19th – it was the seven-year anniversary of my bariatric surgery. My last day at the other gym was October 28th and the grand opening party at GoGirl was on November 1st. In that two-week period, I could tell how much Peter was struggling with the concept of me taking this new job.

Peter was dealing with his own emotional stuff too.

I don’t feel right talking about what Peter was going through, it was personal, and family related. But he’d had recently received news that he was struggling with on an emotional level.

I had some very strong opinions on the topic. What Peter was dealing with was something that I had dealt with myself. Only when it happened to me, I was sitting on the other side of the issue. Because of the way I felt about the subject, I had to keep a safe distance from the topic. I had to let Peter figure out what he was going to do and how he was going to handle it on his own.

We talked about it a little. Peter knew there was a possibility that whatever decisions he made could potentially end up effecting his life in ways I wasn’t sure if I could deal with. It really all depended on how things played out. There were so many “ifs” involved.

Now, we both had life changing situations that the other wasn’t sure they could handle. I kept trying to convince both of us that if we were patient and understanding with one another we could get through it all. That’s what strong, loving couples do. I was still very committed to trying to make things work.

That commitment wasn’t enough for Peter.

Even though I was committed to trying to make it work, I wasn’t ready to make any big promises. I wasn’t promising that we’d move back in with each other or when I’d be ready and willing to consider that.

In my opinion we needed to continue with couples’ therapy, continue to just sort of date each other. We needed to each have our own lives, our own places to live and we needed time to see where all these life changes took us.

I’d mentioned to Peter once or twice that I thought perhaps we needed to see other people. I wondered if we were hanging on to each other because we were both afraid that nothing better was out there.

Sex, Love and Obesity - Breaking Chains

I had been questioning the relationship since I had gotten back from New Orleans. When that mask had cracked, and I realized that there had been a point, while we were together that Peter was interested in other women, it had changed the rose-colored glasses I had seen his love through.

Now, I was asking myself questions like, why does he need me to give up my friendship with Clark? Why doesn’t he want to help me with Manny’s vet bill? How come he isn’t he happy for me when all my career-oriented dreams are about to come true? Why does he have to diminish and minimize all my hard work by chalking it all up to sheer luck? Why is he pressuring me to move back in with each other so fast?

Things were changing so quickly.

We’d been back together for less than two months and I was questioning our relationship more than I had in the entire year we had been living together and the six months we’d been involved in a long-distance online romance before that.

I was seeing very clearly how my focus shifting back from being 100% focused on Peter to being focused on Manny, work and myself was affecting him. He was getting depressed. He was becoming withdrawn.

I suggested that we go back to the therapist. But Peter didn’t want too. There had been a point in the therapy session where the therapist suggested to Peter that he was ignoring physical ques that he needed to stop being confrontational. She pointed out how I pulled away from him on the couch. Hugged a pillow closer to my body. Shielded my face with my hands. All physical ques that I was emotionally wounded and no longer open to the conversation.

She had suggested to Peter that in moments like that, he needed to stop trying to argue his point and realize that I wasn’t hearing anything he said anymore. She suggested that in times like that, we should focus on something positive and not just continue argue. The moment she did that, Peter felt like the therapist we we’re seeing took my side instead of being neutral. After that, he didn’t want to see her anymore. If we were going to go to therapy, he wanted a new therapist.

 I was expecting a big argument.

After how we had broken up the first time around and after all of the volatile arguments we’d had, I was expecting that when we ended up breaking up again it would be in the fashion of some knock down drag out fight. But it didn’t happen like that at all.

I always thought I would be the one that ended the relationship. I never thought it would be Peter. But in the end, I was wrong about that as well.  I was expecting a big argument. I was expecting Peter to start a fight about my new job, and I was almost 100% certain that he would force me to choose between him and my career. But he didn’t do that either.

In fact, how it finally ended was shocking to me. It hurt. But it was more like ripping off scab, being upset that it was bleeding and then putting a band-aid on it and moving on with life. There was like three days, where I felt heart broken and shattered. After that, I was just relieved that it was finally over.

Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.