Bad Man

This song shuffled into my playlist last night and brought tears to my eyes. I’m a little emotionally fragile at the moment on the heels of a visit to Ohio, but even listening to it today made me a bit weepy.

I think it’s a beautiful portrait of the grim acceptance and grief that comes with falling in love with someone with questionable morals. The song speaks of someone involved in a life of crime. It’s something I don’t think you can really understand if you haven’t experienced it.

Sure there are a myriad of psychological reasons people stay with criminal partners. Cognitive dissonance, adrenaline addiction, codependency… but that’s not what I got from this song. This isn’t a psychological lack of awareness, or denial. This is acceptance.

In a way it reminds me of how I came to terms with my ex’s behaviors during our time together. The most consistent criminal things he ever did during our time together were some small scams, and a few instances of petty theft. His violent side was expressed in the ways he abused me, but to my knowledge he never participated in any other violent crimes while we were together. Before we were together is an entirely different story but it’s lost to the juvenile court system, sealed records, and years of his compulsive dishonesty.

Still, even in the small ways he chose to dodge the law it was evident that he has a skewed moral compass. It was something I accepted about him fairly soon into our short lived relationship. I knew the end of our relationship wasn’t going to be easy, smooth or peaceful by any stretch of imagination and I dreaded it’s inevitable arrival.

As the years wore on and our heated emotions regarding the break up and relationship in general dragged along I wasn’t surprised to see the small glimpses of his true colors expressed in small acts of vandalism or heated emails. Everyone else has been relatively shocked by his behavior but to me it’s “Just Ex” that’s who he’s always been most people just never see that side of him as he does his damnedest to put on a morally superior facade.

I’ve always known, and I loved him anyway with grim acceptance and grief that lingers even though we’ve since parted ways.