Monday, June 18, 2012

He Just Wasn't Your Lid

An Instant Message conversation with my best friend in late February...

BFF: so how have you been doing?
ME: i'm ok. i guess i miss him.
BFF: what do you miss?
ME: the good parts i guess, the little things, the good things. just not all of it.
ME: not the whole magilla
BFF: yeah.
ME: the whole picture wasn't really a good one, you know?
BFF: i know. of course not.
ME: i miss the sweet things he did, or the little ways we fit, or laughing with him about something.  
ME: just the good stuff. but i dont miss all the fighting.
BFF: of course not! 
BFF: that must be a relief. 
ME: it really is actually. im so relived. its pretty wonderful to not have to fight with someone
BFF: i bet!
ME: i hope he realizes that too.
BFF: i know
BFF: he just wasn't your lid.
ME: exactly
BFF: i love that your mom says that.
BFF: there's a lid for every pot. i had never heard that before you said it!

ME: i know! its true tho. he wasn't the lid to my pot.
ME: he wasn't mine
ME: and i wasn't his.

Break-ups are hard and I think they're hard for this very reason. Eventually, you can come to understand that the relationship had to end, it wasn't working, it was broken. Your head can think that, but your heart of course has other plans. In the months following this recent break-up, I found that I did miss my ex quite a bit, every day. I missed the all small moments, the good things, the happy times, the ways we fit in ways I never expected to fit with anyone. What we did have, when it was good, was very special to me and I missed all of it. So much so that I eventually found myself stringing together the good times into a better narrative, one where we were happily skipping down the road in perfect harmony, and I thought for a second that, Hey! If we were so goddamn happy then we must have made a mistake by breaking up!

Um, no. Not reality.

After a little while of doing this, I remembered that I'd done this exact same thing before. After break-ups in the past, I'd start retelling the story of the relationship to myself in a much more idyllic way. But that wasn't the truth in the past and it wasn't the truth with this one either. The truth was that we disappointed each other almost constantly and we weren't very happy with each other outside of those good moments. Breaking up was the right thing. For both of us.

One of the things my mom has always said is, "There's a lid for every pot." Meaning there's someone for everyone. I like to think that's true, or at least I certainly hold onto the idea that I haven't yet met my lid.


My best friend and I have this ongoing joke about how her son is a genius and is potentially psychic. He's three. I know every parent says their kid is off-the-charts, bordering on genius, is calculating quantum theory in their cribs alongside their Everyone Poops book. But here's the thing, he is surprisingly smart for a three year old. And that's not just because I love and adore him beyond words. He has this amazing memory that's almost kinda eerie. He remembers things that happened to him a year ago, when he was two. This, and a slew of other super smart things he's said in the past, has fueled an ongoing joke between us that he's so super smart that he knows things are going to happen before they do. Like he has psychic abilities. He "knows" things. (We find creative ways to amuse ourselves, what can I say.)

A month before my break-up, she called me and told me about the latest cute thing he had just done. She said she had been walking around the grocery store with him and when they walked down an aisle that had kitchen utensils, baking sheets, etc, he apparently grabbed a pot from the bottom shelf and declared, "Auntie V needs this pot! We need to get it for her!" (That's me, I'm Auntie V to him.) Why a pot? Out of all the things in a store he could want to get for me -- and he certainly could have chosen candy since my name is pretty much synonymous with candy to this kid (I've been the giver of much candy in his life) -- why did he choose a pot?

It's because he KNEW I had not found my lid yet (or pot for that matter). He knew I was searching for it and wanted me to find it. To tell you the truth, I knew it too. I knew I hadn't found my lid yet.

My three year old nephew was right, as he usually is. I trust that kid. He "knows" things. And, as I'm starting to remember it now, I do too.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Having vs. Wanting

I tend to dream up blog posts while I'm drifting off to sleep. Don't you?

Back in January, as I was trying to fall asleep, my mind spun around the idea of how I was going to continue to tell the story of this recent break-up. As I considered how to explain it all, I thought about the length of the relationship. It was eighteen months long. Then I starting thinking about the number eighteen, seeing the numbers in my mind, floating above my head, hanging in the air Sesame Street style, and I thought,

1 + 8 = 9

At that exact moment, as I was laying in my dark, quiet bedroom, I flashed my eyes open, stared at the ceiling, and said out loud,


This blew my mind and I thought the following things in this order: (1) That's pretty fucking weird, (2) That's pretty fucking cool, (3) That could be a prolific coincidence that solidifies the fact that my journey out of this 18 month relationship will end with me feeling awesome about my life again and that I have made the right choice (much like I felt at the end of the journey out of my 9 year relationship), (4) That could be a prolific coincidence that solidifies the fact that I make some pretty shitty choices in relationships and stay in them longer than I should, and finally, (5) This thing with the number 9 is pretty deep and whatever it is, I gotta listen to what it's telling me.

And then I fell asleep.

So here I am, trying to understand what this connection is trying to tell me, and most of all, trying to understand my choices (shitty as they can sometimes be). Dear Readers, I have to admit that I was at first very hesitant to tell this story. I always thought that the relationship that followed my last one would be "the one." I figured that my story, and this blog, would end with my successful return to dating and the eventual meeting of the man with whom I would spend the rest of my life. I didn't expect to be writing about another breakup, but here I am. Again.

For a little while after it all ended I couldn't even remember why I had been in the relationship in the first place. I kept trying to remember what the relationship felt like when I was in it and all I could see, as best as I can describe it, was a blank spot. Just a big, blank spot. I couldn't figure it out. Why did I fall in love with this person? And why did I stay after I had so many good reasons to leave, so many times?

The Beginning

As I remember it now, it had all started out as innocently as you might expect. When I met my now ex-boyfriend I was charmed instantly. I thought he was insightful, thoughtful, and interesting. He didn't gesticulate wildly when he talked, he looked me in the eye when I talked to him, and didn't seem to be telling me what I wanted to hear. He was not on a frantic wife search. And he wasn't overly sweaty either. I thought he was adorable, dapper, loving, family-minded, and committed. He listened to every word I said and was interested in everything about me. He seemed like a true partner to me. A person I could love, no question. In our first few months we spent all our time together. It was seemingly idyllic with long walks along the beach, hand in hand, and exchanging "I love you's" on the second anniversary of our first date. At that time I stopped jokingly calling him my friend, chum, or pal and began calling him my boyfriend. I was a girlfriend again. And it happened fast.

After "I Love You"

Quickly after "I love you," we saw our futures open up in front of us and for the first time ever, I started to make plans with the man I was with. It was all blissful and fun and felt extremely honest and open. We both thought we had finally found the relationship we had been searching for so long. It all felt ideal. Perfect.

And that, my friends, was ultimately one of the things that kept me in it for as long as I was (and probably him too). I know I don't speak for everyone who has baggage (the only kind of baggage a long-term relationship that dissolved into a big, heart-wrenching break-up can bring), but when I found a guy that began talking to me about "our" future, "our" life, and plans he wanted to make with me that included a family, I was sucked in. In my last relationship, this was simply never talked about. And for him, I think it was very similar. He had a string of unsatisfying relationships and had been single a long time before he met me. So to meet me and think of me as the one he was waiting for, well, that was everything. And it was everything to me too. I haven't wrapped my mind around exactly what happened yet but I will eventually. But there is one thing I'm sure of.

The Catalyst

For two people looking for perfect, searching for the kind of relationship they always wanted, thinking they found it, and then seeing anything wrong with this vision of perfection, was a powder keg just waiting to go off. There was so much build up, so much expectation, and two very different visions of what love was going to be, that when those expectations weren't met and what was WANTED was not had, it led into a long string of disappointments and a conflict between what we had vs. what we wanted.

I think that one of the ways relationships break in half is when two people try to force a fit that just isn't there. When I think about that, it seems so simple. A very similar thing happened in my last relationship, my boyfriend and I didn't make each other happy. We wanted different things and ultimately we kept forcing something that wasn't working. Holding onto comfort, history, security, and great desire to avoid conflict at all costs, we stayed together for years. The same thing, I think, happened here again. My ex and I didn't make each other happy. Happy the way a true love should be. I knew it and he probably knew it although I can't speak for him. But we stayed, clutching onto what we wanted to happen between us.

I remember my ex and I going out with another couple a month before the break-up and saying something that night, out loud, that rings in my ears now. We went out with a couple that was close to my ex and who I really enjoyed being around. This couple had a relationship that I know he wished we had. Theirs seemed effortless, happy, long-lasting, free of conflict, and easy. So the night we went out with them, his female friend and I found ourselves alone while the guys walked up to the bar to get us drinks; after they walked away she leaned over to me and quickly asked, "So how are you guys doing?" She knew about most of the fights we had over the last year. I remember saying quickly to her, as the guys were walking back, "We just want to be with each other so much." And I meant it. (I know that when my BFF reads that last line she's going to throw up in her mouth a little bit. Sorry, dude. I really said that.)

The Reality, for Realz.

So why did I say that? What does that even really mean? I think what I wanted, and I believe what he wanted, was something very much like the relationship his friends had. We both wanted to be in a happy relationship, an easy one, a good one, the right one, the one that was going to make all the bad and disappointing relationships from the past look like they were the unruly and hard-fought path to this one, the one that would be the last one. The one that would make it all worth it. But it wasn't. We didn't have the love we deserved from each other, we just wanted it. There is a big difference between wanting and having, and I'm understanding that now.

I have got to believe we were not the only two people in the world this has happened to.Wanting a perfect relationship is a strong pull for some people, not for all people, but for some this is a huge goal especially when past relationships have been so disappointing. I wish I hadn't gotten sucked in by my own visions of a future that wasn't really there, and I'm guessing he probably feels the same today, or at least I hope he does. I wish I had seen the writing on the wall and cut my losses much earlier, but I held on soley to a fantasy and not exactly to what was right in front of me. And what was right in front of me was not the right person. Again.

Deep down I knew it, but I avoided it. More to come on that, Dear Readers. Bear with me as I process this all, albeit very slowly. And if you can relate in any way, drop me a line because, as you know, you are not alone.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wise Words (Part 4) -- Revised

On second thought, I need to revise my last post (Wise Words (Part 4)) which was basically a bunch of things that my parents said to me over the last six months about my relationship which I thought were pretty wise but apparently came off as a little too negative. You see, I was contacted by a reader, one who knows me, who felt as if my last post was just a long list of negative things about my ex that I wrote to prove that he was a bad guy. Yikes. That was not my intent at all. He wasn't a bad guy. I don't harbor any resentments towards him. And in case you were wondering, he wasn't an evil genius who set out to make me unhappy.

He was in fact a genuinely loving person with the absolute best intentions who just so happened to participate in a relationship with me that went on far longer than it should have, and as a result we disintegrated into arguments and bad behaviors due to the fact that we were fundamentally not a good fit and should have ended things sooner than we did.

My intent with my last post was to explain that my family, and the people that loved me, were telling me some very wise things that although I heard I just didn't listen to. And that was the point really, and it's what I'm trying to figure out within myself these days. The real question is, why didn't I listen to them (and all their wisdom), and more importantly, why didn't I listen to myself (and all my wisdom) when things went awry?

When my mom said to me many times that it seemed like my ex and I were "trying to fit a square peg into a round hole." She was right. When I shared with her my confusion over my ex telling me that the result of our problems were due to me failing him in a number of ways, she was right to say, "Oh give me a fucking break." When my dad said my ex and I were nit-picking things we didn't have to deal with as a couple who hadn't even been married yet, he was right. When I told my mom that I would rather go on a string of bad dates or be alone then spend the rest of my life fighting with my ex, I was right. All of this was wise and good advice (even from me) but I just didn't believe it until the very end.

The image from my tumblr summed it up very nicely for me. If life is this simple, if all we have to do is find the person (and the thing) that makes us happy and then we're all set, then why didn't I leave when I clearly wasn't happy?

If I didn't listen to myself and I didn't listen to anyone else, then who did I listen to and why? Stay tuned, I think you may already know the answer, and as always, there is oh so much more to say.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Wise Words (Part 4)

In an effort to keep the Valentine’s Day love going, here are some wise words from my mother, and one from my dad. I love them! So funny. So wise.

Sometime in the summer, after telling my mom about the biggest fight to date, before the biggie in November that broke us up.
Me: I just don’t understand. He makes it seem like I'm constantly letting him down. At least that’s how it looks to me. But that doesn’t seem right, how can I be so wrong all the time? How can it always be me?
Mom: You know, you tell me these things and I can’t help but think you two are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I think you’re forcing something that just doesn’t fit.

November, after telling my mom about the most recent earth shattering fight with my ex. (You can read about it here, Celebrating Valentines and Love.)
Mom: What could you two possibly fight about? I don’t get it. You’re supposed to be having fun here.
Me: (earnestly telling her) I don’t know; everything it seems. I don’t know, it always seems to be about how I’m failing him in some way.
Mom: Oh give me a fucking break.

November, talking to my both my mom and dad about the recent fight. (Again, you can find it here, Celebrating Valentines and Love.)
Dad: What is it with him? He shouldn't be picking at every choice you make, nit-picking every little thing. You aren't even married yet. What he should be doing is trying to figure out how to get you into bed every chance he can!
(We all laugh.)  
NOTE: When you're own dad says something like this to you, you gotta know there is something seriously off about your relationship.

December, a week before the break-up.
Me: You know what I think? I’d rather be alone or go on a string of bad dates then spend the rest of my life fighting with him [my current ex].
Mom: Yes! Exactly. You are absolutely right. Don’t ever forget that. (pointing her finger at me.) Remember that!

You better believe I'm gonna remember that. And one more thing, I think this image from my tumblr is very, very wise indeed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Celebrating Valentines and Love

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day, Dear Readers. I spent this year's holiday in San Diego with my best friend and her family. You may not know this, but her little family of three has grown to a family of four. Last year on March 21st I spent 2 weeks in San Diego helping her family when she gave birth to a baby girl. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever been a part of, and now in addition to my wonderfully brilliant 3 year old nephew, I have a little 11 month old niece who is the sweetest little ball of sunshine.

So this Valentine’s Day I could think of no better way to spend the day than with the people, and the kids, that love me totally for who I am. I am so grateful for not just them, but for my own family and closest friends as well, because they show me over and over again that I am loved not just in spite of my quirks but because of them. They laugh at my stupid jokes, the things that I question, and the things that I don't. They love me for all the neurotic things I do and for all the ways I make them laugh. And I'm the same way with them. We accept each other. We love each other.

As I thought about this on my way to California, I thought about one of the last fights I had with my current ex. It revolved around my unwillingness to temporarily move in with him for about six months while subletting my apartment. This was going to be an effort to save money on my part after racking up a shockingly large vet bill when my beloved cat, you knew him as Scrambles, was very sick over the course of five months and then eventually, and heartbreakingly, passed away.

A month after Scrambles passed away, I started to think about how I would deal with the debt that I took on to care for my little man in the last months of his life, and so I came up with an idea to move in with my then-boyfriend (who I had been with for 16 months at this point) and sublet my own place for about six months so my rent could be taken care of and I would be free to make a dent in my mounting stack of bills. We both liked the idea and I set our plan into action. After about two weeks I began to think more about it. You see, we really only had about two consistent months up to this point where we were happy, getting along, and not fighting about anything at all. Things were going great in those two months, and that’s why I had the faith to come up with this plan. But after a week or two with this idea, I re-thought it and realized that that two recently good months were just not enough to prove to me that we could handle living together albeit temporarily and I started to feel like we needed more good months before living together. I also wasn't honestly ready to give up my home for half a year.

For those of you that don’t know me, I love my home. It’s my happy place. After sharing a home with a boyfriend for years, and then to move to my own home that was all mine was an incredible thing for me. Thinking about leaving it was making me very nervous, and not just leaving it but doing the following things, a) moving in with not just my boyfriend but his two other roommates (I haven't had a roommate, besides living with a boyfriend, in 10 years), b) giving up any semblance of privacy for six whole months and sharing a very small bedroom with my boyfriend whom I had almost left a few months prior, c) moving in with him for the reason of solving a money problem, and d) giving up my almost nightly ritual of taking a hot bath and reading a book (his tub was well…unbatheable, and I wouldn't have been able to do this), which is a tradition I started when I first started living alone and one which I now still love. And those are just the high-points of why it wasn't going to work out. With all this in mind, I found myself an alternative. I researched taking out a loan through my company and this was ultimately the best solution for me and one I am so grateful for. Parents, friends, and co-workers all supported the choice. When I explained all this to my ex I expected to hear the following:
I understand. Moving into my place isn't the best thing for you. I know you and I love you and I know that you won’t be comfortable at my place for that long no matter how we try to fix it up for you. It sounds like you've found another way to save money and when the time is right we’ll move in together and start our life together right, not because of an answer to a money issue but because we are going to build a new home for us. And I agree, let's have some more time together before we make this big step.
That did not in any way happen. Quite the opposite, Dear Readers. Instead I was faced with a full-on assault of unbelievable bullshit that shook me from whatever high I was on during the two months we were doing great and plummeted me to the ground, hard. He, over the course of maybe a week, told me that I was more interested in my own comfort than any other person he had ever known, I was allowing my fear of losing my privacy and the fear that the strain of living together in this situation would further weaken our unsteady relationship to stop me from doing something positive for myself (saving money... in a way he thought was better than a loan), and ultimately the fact that I was not willing to sacrifice my personal comfort and privacy in an effort to save money (not just for myself but for us, since if we eventually married my debt would be “our” problem) meant to him that I was not a person that was capable of self-sacrifice and because of this I would not ultimately make a good wife.

Yeah, that really happened. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. You might want to go back and re-read it.

Ready? Ok, let’s move on.

To think that I am a person who would do or think any of those things is to not know me at all. And that's the kicker really. He couldn't accept that I wasn't ready for the commitment or ready to give up my home. He couldn't accept that I needed  more time to be in the relationship with him and that I wanted to wait until we were both ready and not just rush in to solve a money problem. He couldn't accept that my home, my privacy, and my daily rituals are all a part of the glue that fuses me together in this neat little package that is me. Nope, instead he did what he always did when faced with something about me he didn't understand or like, he attacked me. He probably did this out of fear or discomfort, and I don't think he realized he was doing it really. He wasn't a bad person, it's just how (I believe) he dealt with people or situations he didn't agree with, and as we all know, that didn't fly. A few weeks later, we broke up.

Ask someone who loves me and they’ll tell you that one of my qualities is my usual non-judgmental and accepting nature. In fact, just ask my best friend, she gave her daughter a middle name that sounds just like my middle name for this very reason. She admires this about me so much that she hopes her daughter grows up to have these same qualities.

I don’t want to get into every detail of this relationship for the interest of his privacy and my sanity. Just typing up that story right now and re-reading it pisses me off to a serious degree and I don’t care to reiterate every fight. I'm moving on with my life and not re-living the past here. But I do think it’s fair to tell you some of the story so you get a better sense of what happened.

But here’s the punch line.

A few weeks after the break-up I stumbled upon a rerun of Fraiser and found myself laughing out loud and then having a full-on deep revelation about myself and my relationship. (Yes, late-night sitcoms really do help us with our lives.) There was this episode where Fraiser secretly helps Daphne throw a dinner party with Niles. She insisted that instead of the tradition where Fraiser and Niles throw dinner parties together, that her and Niles would throw one instead. But of course she needed help but didn’t want to admit this to Niles, and so Fraiser comes to their home to save the day and hi-jinks ensue while he repeatedly has to hide in the kitchen pantry while frantically making his “signature sauce.” In this one scene, Fraiser hurriedly asks Daphne for a set of ramekins for the table, she pulls out a few but some are mismatched, he huffs and insists that this simply cannot do and frantically calls his father to gather up his complete set from home and rush them over.

For some reason this cracked me up and I instant messaged my best friend, relaying the scene to her. Then she wrote, “You know why you find this so funny, right? You’re Fraiser!” I laughed so hard because well… I kinda am. I love my things, I love setting the proper table, I love my collection of kitchenwares and if I had to set a table with a mismatched set of ramekins for a dinner party I sure as shit would make someone go get me a set.

A week later, as I was going through tumblr, I found this image.

For this reason, the people that love me, love me because of this, and although it’s not ideal, no one should ever want to change that about me or make me feel bad about it. In the end, I'm grateful for the barrage of bullshit that toppled over me in the last month we were together because it helped shake some sense into me and finally brake apart two people who should not have been together.

I have to believe that if someone loves you, they are going to accept your quirks, will love you for them, and will absolutely not make you feel bad about anything that you either believe, want, or need. This, my Dear Readers, is the absolute biggest thing that has come out of this break-up for me and one that I'm finding myself writing about more and more as I start to share this story. So stay tuned please. More to come.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Somebody That I Used to Know

I heard "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Goyte yesterday. When I heard the first part I felt this startling moment of recognition, it was almost alarming, and it touched my heart -- feeing it so close to me that I felt this pain in the pit of my stomach when I related to the words.

Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it's an ache I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I'll admit that I was glad it was over

Then I heard the female part and a grin flashed across my face. In my last relationship I was constantly made to believe that I had done everything wrong. Even though I know that wasn't the truth, it still hurts to have been treated that way.

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I'd done
But I don't wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say

It's such a good song that describes the sadness that you can feel when a relationship is over, and it got me thinking about the feelings you can feel that you almost feel guilty for feeling.

Feeling lonely in the company of the person you love.
Feeling glad something is over even though it breaks your heart.
Feeling terribly about all the hurt that two people can cause even though they've loved each other.

But slowly you start to realize that despite all that happened, all the fights, all the disappointment, and all the anger, that you absolutely no longer need to live that way anymore.

And that feels good, even though it breaks your heart.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Additional Suitors and The One that Stuck

Since I never fully committed to the surgeon we kept things open and I kept dating.

Amongst the guys I met was one who talked so wildly with his hands that I found it off-putting. Now I'm a girl that often talks with her hands. I emote, I gesticulate, I'm emotional; I'm Italian, that's what we do. But this was almost to the point of being aggressive. I was so side-tracked, focusing on his hand not accidentally smacking me in the face as he talked to me, that I could barely follow the conversation. Interestingly enough, the conversation was great, what I could catch of it. I think he admitted later that he was nervous and this was why he was so frantic. In the end, my instincts said no.

I met another guy who I thought seemed great. He was very intelligent, potentially normal, successful, and had lots of interesting hobbies and interests. He loved to garden, take care of his home, and cook for family and friends. I liked him -- on paper. In practice, however, he fell flat, and I didn't listen to my instinct which was telling me that it was not a good fit and because of that I gave it one more date. You see, after the first date I knew there wasn't much there between us but I thought, "Give the guy a shot. You may me missing something really amazing about him." So we went out for a second date and I remember sitting there as I was trying to ignite the conversation and have a good time, and thought to myself, "Nope, I'm not missing a thing." After the second date, that was it.


During most of this I was still dating the surgeon and I started to realize a few things about him. I realized that when he told me he was falling for me, he may not have been falling for me exactly. He barely knew me. How could he know I might be "the one?" I think it was because I fit the bill for him in terms of what he was looking for in a wife, but all on the surface. To him I was attractive, smart, responsible, and creative. (Yes, that's me.) I guess that's what he was looking for. But he didn't really know me beyond that and I never got the feeling that I could know him any better either. After a few weeks our conversations began to fall flat and although we talked all the time, we never talked about who we were as people and what we really wanted from our lives. When I tried to dig deeper I began to see that his life was consumed by his career, as challenging as it was, and without his job he didn't have much to share with me. He didn't have time for anything else but his work and that's not what I was looking for. I was looking for something more shared. I wanted someone who was as interested in their own life (outside of work) as I had become interested in mine.

You see, after my ex and I broke up, I took the time to think about myself again. I realized that I had put so many things that I used to care about aside and had focused only my relationship and what I was going to do about it, as well as the biggies like school and work. My life didn't have lots of hobbies, interests, or anything that I really loved anymore. And so after the break-up, I worked on all of that, developing my interests in running, blogging and writing, playing with make-up, photography, making new friends, cultivating a new home, and basically trying to creating a better life for myself. And if there was going to be a guy in my life, I wanted someone who was invested in themselves too. With the surgeon, I could tell that he didn't have time for that. I mean, let's face it, he had a very challenging and rewarding job and it's understandable that he had little free time. I understood that, its just not what I wanted to be a part of. I knew the pitfalls of only focusing on your relationship and not yourself. I had been there, done that. In some way, it reminded me of my ex.

Now hear me out, my ex was not a surgeon, in fact he really didn't have much of a "real job" in the traditional sense, he was a full-time musician. He spent all his time focused on his job, every ounce of free time he had was always directed to his goal of "making it." I totally accepted that and encouraged it, but he could never just stroll around a museum with me for no good reason or lay around the house on a Sunday. Every minute of every day was spent cultivating his career. So perhaps I saw the surgeon like this, someone who has to spend all of their time developing their career and nothing else. Yes, I know surgeon is the opposite of musician, but they share something. Each career choice takes a person's full-time focus to achieve it, and any time spent not working on that career could feel like a waste of time.

I imagined that any relationship I would become a part of was going to be something different. I wanted someone who had a good job, but not one that took all his free-time to achieve success in. I wanted someone with interests and hobbies that he could share with me and who could have his own life outside of our relationship. This was really important to me, because, like I said, I knew the danger of having your relationship be your sole focus. Of course, I wanted to be the most important person to the man I was with, but I wanted him to have a fulfilling life outside of me too -- because that's ultimately what I wanted for myself.

I think in the end, this was really beneficial for me. I practiced how to listen to myself, voice what I felt was important and take care of myself without being swayed by what someone else wanted. I was able to see the red flags for what they were and decided how to deal with them. This was a pretty big accomplishment for me at the time, knowing that I'm someone who hates to disappoint people and often gives in when pushed.

And with all of that in mind, with my life back on track, my confidence at an all time high, and my goals clear and focused, I went on a date with someone new on June 1, 2010. As I drove home from the date my instincts told me that I had just met someone special. Two days later, I broke up with the surgeon and moved into a new relationship.

I then spent the next 18 months in my first serious relationship (after my ex). It started with a great love and shared admiration and then somehow, much to my surprise, a lot of the confidence, happiness, and strength that I had gained eventually faded over time -- and on December 28, 2011 the relationship ended.

So bear with me, it's time to explain just what happened and try to understand why it happened so that it hopefully doesn't happen again. You see, I'm willing to bet that some of the same things that happened to me as I navigated my way through my first serious relationship after a serious break-up has probably happened to other people. Hopefully, telling this story can be helpful to not just me but to anyone else out there who can identify with it. Because, as always, its good to know that you're not alone, Dear Readers.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dating.... Around?

So damn true, but I'm working on it.
So in my efforts to be less like Cher and not continue on as a serial monogamist, I vowed not to settle down too fast. So no, the surgeon didn't move in, but I did end up dating him longer than any other guy in the running.

Things with the surgeon were going very well by the middle of May. We had fun and intelligent conversations and a little bit of chemistry. He was a great guy and again, a guy any woman would be happy to date. My bestie and my friends were already planning our destination wedding by the 2nd week of dating.

He did sweet and thoughtful things all the time. He brought me flowers when I wasn't feeling well. He made me a mix CD. And he used to do something I found absolutely heart-warming. Since he was a doctor, he would carry around a few blank index cards in his front shirt pocket along with a pen. Throughout the day he would use these cards to jot down notes about his patients. But one day, I asked to read his notes because I was interested in what he did all day. Without a moments hesitation, he handed them to me and I began flipping through them, and while I read random thoughts about how to treat his patients or how to get ready for an upcoming qualifying exam, I found notes about me. Ok, it's not as creepy as it sounds. It was sweet. He cared. He thought about me throughout the day and took brief notes about what I might like to do, where he'd like to take me, and things I'd mention in conversation. It was very thoughtful. He was incredibly kind. Our dates were like nothing I had experienced yet in my new and very young dating life. He took me to amazingly fancy and delicious restaurants, we had picnics in the park, we went to a play, and we explored areas of the city I hadn't really spent any time in. He was also very caring. I remember my stomach was upset one day and he poured me a little cap-full of Pepto and handed it to me as if I was one of his pediatric patients, "Here kiddo, drink all of this." This was hysterical to me. We had fun.

But by the end of May, I began to notice signs that showed that he just wasn't right for me. He wanted a committed girlfriend, better yet, a wife, and he wanted that wife as soon as humanly possible. He had been divorced for many years and was ready to get married again. On the 4th date, I think he may have asked me how many kids I wanted and shortly thereafter admitted to falling for me. It was too much, too soon, too fast.

It was hard for me to navigate how to handle all this at first. I liked him and wanted to give it a chance, but I had to keep him at arms length and make sure I listened to my instincts too -- which were telling me that I was in no way ready for a commitment. I don't have a strong track record of doing what's best for me, listening to my instincts (see above), and standing up for myself. So when he pressured me to make a commitment, I had to stand my ground and be firm about what I wanted. I basically said I wasn't ready and was only interested in dating, but I still liked him. I told him what I was capable of and left it up to him to decide what he was capable of as well. He had to ask himself if he could just be happy to date me, or if he needed to move on and find someone who was ready for commitment.

It was hard to do and I was proud of myself for using my voice and sticking to my instincts. It all seemed pretty mature to me actually. I think it's important to tell people up-front who we are and what we need.

So the surgeon decided to stay with me we kept our relationship open. This meant that I was officially "dating around." Is that even a term people use? I had no idea. I just wanted to meet new people and see what was out there. So who was out there, you ask?

Stay tuned and I'll tell you all about it, Dear Readers.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Onset of Dating

I'd like to backtrack a little by discussing my pre-relationship life and getting you up to speed on my dating misadventures.

So, here's how dating began.

I didn't think I was going to meet anyone that special when I started dating. It was just an experiment. An experiment in sampling a life that so many other people seemed to be partaking in, a dating life. I approached it pretty casually, and that's exactly how it started.

A perfectly normal guy met me for coffee, in the middle of a perfectly normal afternoon in late April of last year. We met, we chatted politely, expressed interest in each other's stories and lives and then strolled around my town. There wasn't anything noteworthy about him or us together. In the end, I didn't think that I wanted to see him again, but also couldn't point to any reason why I shouldn't. He did nothing offensive or bizzare, he was just... meh. So we ended the date and I resolved to see him again sometime. Maybe he had something special that I just didn't see yet. After all, I had no experience in dating so I figured that's what dating was. You try people out, right? I didn't know. I'd only ever been in long-term relationships. 

I think in that respect, I'm a little like Cher.

I'm serious. Hear me out.

I remember this thing that Cher's famously said, that she's never really dated anyone. Her relationships start with a first date and then almost immediately the guy moves in and it turns into a serious long-term relationship that goes on for years and years. See? I'm like Cher. So dating was a new thing to me and because of that, I committed to going on as many dates as I could and told myself that I would not fall for someone too fast. I resolved to be less like Cher (although I think we could all benefit from being more like her in every other way. I mean, come on, she's a badass).

And so I trudged on.

My second date with a potential suitor, was quite the opposite. There wasn't too much that was normal about it, and here's how it went. We agreed to meet at a bar in the late afternoon. When I walked in, I found him sitting at the bar, dripping in sweat. I mean, sweating through his clothes. It was off-putting. It wasn't even that hot out, it was May, but I thought, "Hey don't blame him for being a sweaty guy." As I sat down next to him at the bar he mumbled something I didnt quite catch. I asked him to repeat himself and he said I was very attractive and that he hadn't been sure he wanted to date again, he had some bad experences recently, but explained that I was very cute and he was glad he showed up for the date. I'm serious. He told me he was glad he showed up. He said all that 2 minutes into meeting me. I felt like he wanted me to be greateful that he showed up, that he was bestowing his awesome pressence upon me. 
But I carried on, brushed it off, and with a big smile plastered on my face I went on in good spirts. We got to talking and I came to learn that he had been in a 7 year relationship with a woman he did not find physically attractive and from the sounds of it, didn't sleep with for most of the relationship and regarded her as a friend more than a girlfriend. It was very complicated and I never understood the whole story there, but honestly, why was he telling me that?

Another odd thing that this guy did not have in his favor was the fact that he had a sketchy job having something to do with buying and selling artwork on ebay that almost sounded made up. He also spent a good chunk of time telling me about a very close male friend of his, a man who, from the sounds of it, he thought to be one of the most amazing people he knew. He used words like, "he's just so electrifying" and "the kind of guy everyone wants to be around." I got the feeling he wished this friend of his were sitting in front of him, sipping a drink in a candlelit bar, and not me, and as soon as I saw an out, excused myself to run home early. Oh, and did I mention that he hardly ever looked me in the eye as I talked to him? I'm serious, he did that too.

At the end of the date, before I bolted, he asked me how it went. He wanted to know if I was interested in him and if the date had gone well. It's like he wanted a performance review. Well, believing very much in honesty and not wasting anyone's time at that point, I told him that I had a nice time but didn't like the fact that he never looked me in the eye. Well, sorry folks, I mean let's be honest, I found it to be rude. He felt bad and apologized. But I just didn't have time for that kind of behaviour. Sorry. No, thanks.

My next date with a potential suitor seemed almost to good to be to true. Pediatric surgeon, motorcycle enthusiast, held close knit realtionships with friends and family, wanted very much a family of his own, and an all around great guy. This was the kind of guy any woman would want to be on a date with. He wanted to hear all about me, and only me. He seemed to be genuinely interested in everything about me and this was absolutely intoxicating. He asked question afer quetsion. And not just general questions, along the lines of, "Oh, really? So what happened next?" He asked insightful, thought-provoking quetsions which evolved into a really first great date. By the end of the date, I was wooed, that was for sure.

So, what happened with him? Am I really like Cher? Did he move in the next day?

Stay tuned, Dear Readers.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

To Be Continued...

Dear Readers,

I've missed you dearly. Every so often, for a long time now, I'd think of you fondly and get a pang of regret deep in the pit of my stomach, wondering if indeed you missed me too. I know I've been away a long time, but believe me when I say, I'm ready to be back.

My last blog post was July of last year. That's well over a year ago, and there have been many moments in that year when I've longed to write about what life is like today, but it just never felt right to blog about my life anymore.

You see, when I posted my last post here, I was also beginning a new relationship and it felt strange to blog about a relationship that I was currently in and not one that I was recovering from.

I think I thought my story was over. After all, I had achieved closure in my own way and began a new relationship, and I therefore thought this blog had served its purpose, lived out its life. But, I've realized for a while now that this story has a lot more to it.

Every so often, when I was blogging regularly, I would get an email from a reader who'd share their own breakup story with me. Reading another person's account of their breakup proved to me that I wasn't, in fact, alone in my situation, and it was a comfort. I enjoyed swapping stories with other people and felt connected through the fact that we'd tried to help each other in any small way we both could.

Well, a few weeks ago, I got an email from a new reader. She had recently found this blog in a web search just four months into her breakup, and she thanked me for sharing my stories and wondered how I was doing. I wrote her back, and in my response I explained something to her that, for a long time now, I've been thinking about writing about in this blog.

You see, my current boyfriend and I have been together for over a year and in that time we've been through a lot, to put that mildly. I explained to her that for me, the past year has been a rollercoaster of emotions, as I saw this relationship go up and down and then almost end just a few months ago. I told her it might be time to show my readers what happened to me after the "happily ever after -- after closure"; after you heal from a breakup and start a new relationship.

For me, there was a big misperception of what that meant and I've learned that even though your heart my have healed, there is still a good deal of baggage you cart around from that old heartbreak. Obvious, I know. I mean, that's what baggage means, but I however was absolutely blindsided when it happened to me. Baggage seeped into my current relationship, and the story of how that happened and what I learned from it, might be useful for others to hear. It's almost like another level of getting over a realationship, dealing with the baggage you're left with. And so that's how I'd like this blog to continue -- with that story.

But before we begin, I'd like to get you up to speed. So hold on tight, we've got some catching up to do.

First of all, I want to thank all of the wonderful people who read all three parts of "The Last Few Months in a Series of Parts:" Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. As always, all the comments were incredibly supportive and helpful. After that, I guess you could say, I didn't have much more to say about my ex. The last part, Part 3, really said it all for me and after I wrote it, I felt like I had let go. I let go of him and I felt, for the first time, like I was fully moving on. I wasn't just putting on a brave face, taking a deep breath and bearing through it, saying to myself over and over that I was letting go. No, I really did let go. I finished that post and he lifted from me -- the weight of his importance to me, our history, the painful past, the heartache. It all lifted. What's important to note is that I didn't let go because of anything he gave me or anything he said or anything we both agreed on -- no, I just let go when I was ready and had done enough of the work to realize that it was time to fully move on.

Another part of my ability to let go was the onset of my very fast, very busy, and very productive dating life. When I first starting dating in late March of last year, I remember thinking about what dating meant to me. I genuinely thought of it as a fun, interesting, social experiment into something everyone was doing but I had never really done. But it was also, well... scary as hell. Let me explain.

When I used to think of being in a relationship one word came to mind -- oppression.

It’s like if I were a contestant on the 10,000 Pyramid game show from the 1970's and the special guest celebrity player (let’s just say it’s Patty Duke) were trying to get me to guess the word, "relationship."

PATTY DUKE: “Things that can suffocate you.”
ME: "Pillows?"

PATTY DUKE: “Things that keep you restrained.”
ME: "Jails?"

PATTY DUKE: “Things that make you unhappy.”
ME: "Umm..."

PATTY DUKE: “Things that are oppressive!!"
ME: "Relationships?!"

(Ding, ding, ding!!)

It was a very difficult thing to wrap my head around, being in another relationship. The only ones I knew started out with the best intentions but became long, drawn out, and pretty suffocating, unhappy affairs. If you've been following along, you know my story, but here it is again in an abbreviated version.

My first relationship began when I was 19. He was 26. We were together for 3 years. He was loud, completely unaware of himself, irresponsible (although always had a job), a part-time drug dealer, and pretty much a grown-up child. But he loved me, and for a time I loved him back. For the last year of it I was miserable and didn't know how to end it. At age 22, I broke up with him and choose to never see him again. In the process of breaking up, I learned that he had a young daughter that he never told me about (telling me on the day I left him), and a part-time drug addiction I was too blind to notice.

Just 2 months later, at age 22, I met who I call now, my ex. We were together for 9 years. For the last few years of the relationship, maybe 2 or more, I was so unhappy that I wanted out but believed he and I were supposed to be together and would never part. I orbitted around him and his life and in the proccess lost all focus on my own needs, my own happiness, and my own sense of self. I was lost. At age 31, I left and we never saw eachother again, texts (a few), emails (a few more), and that was it (the recovery from that breakup is what started this blog). And that, my friends, is the long and short of my dating (or better understood as, "serial monogamy") history.

It took about a year, but I got over it by documenting the process right here on this very blog.

At age 32, I began to date. Now, I'm a pretty smart girl; highly analytical, thoughtful, and responsible. I analyzed these 2 relationships for years before I ever ended the last one. I had collected my thoughts about my ex and gathered lists of what worked and what didn't, what I got and what I didn't, and what I wanted in the future. I approached dating with, in my opinion, all the tools I needed. I had prepared, goddamn it, and I was ready.

So when I began to date, I looked at it with the attitude that I wasn't going to throw myself into a relationship right away. I was going to look around, meet new people and take my time. I would not get into something too fast, I would have my eyes wide open. I swore that I would not be unhappy again.

Then the inevitable happened, after just 2 and half months of actively dating, I met a good guy. And one date turned into 2 dates, then 3 dates, and then 4… and then I decided that I actually liked him, actually quite a bit, and when I realized I wanted to see only him -- the dreaded question came up, “Shit. Am I in a relationship now?”

After 2 months of dancing around the question, I decided I was in one. And not only was I in one, I was in love. And from then on I became a "girlfriend" again.

So, what happened, you ask?

I think I knew, when I began to date, that relationships held specific problems for me. I just didn't know what they were exactly, I just knew I was scared. Those words that came to mind earlier -- oppression, suffocation, restraint and unhappiness -- aren't just a jokey way of explaining how nervous I was to date, they really held weight for me in ways I didn't totally understand until recently. It wasn't until my current boyfriend and I were together for about 6 months did something start to seep in and I began to feel little inklings of being suffocated or oppressed and utlimatly, lost. Once again I started to feel like I did with my ex. I felt like I was losing myself.

Right about now, you might be asking yourself, "What the fuck happened you?!" Well, yeah. I said the same thing to myself. Loudly. And with a giant "DANGER" sign blinking above my head.

I thought that since I had worked through everything and had chosen someone who was the total opposite of my ex, that I was totally prepared to never be in the same situation again, and therefore never would. But, guess what? Although I did work through a lot of things regarding my ex, it wasn't until I got into another reltionship was I actually faced with my issues with relationships and how I operate within them. And I wasn't prepared for that.

I learned that I had to put it all into practice before I really worked out the kinks. And that's where I am today, working out the kinks and finding happiness after closure.

Stay tuned, Dear Readers of my humble blog. I'll explain how I met who I met, what it's like to be in a serious relationship post-(a serious)breakup and explain what happened when, although I let go of my last relationship, it crept back into my life as this pesky thing so common to us all called, "baggage." And in my way, I hope to do my best to show how to notice it when it happens, how to face it, and how to move past it to get what you really want (whatever that may be).

Until next time,

Le B

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Series of Parts: Part 3

So, Dear Followers, have you been wondering what happened in March? Well… we met, we talked, and we both walked away with a shared respect and love for one another that only two people that shared nearly a decade together could have. All is well in the world and I got all the closure I so desperately needed and now live a peaceful existence knowing that I’ve neatly closed this chapter in my life.

Well… in the fantasy world in which I do not live, that would be lovely, wouldn't it?

Here’s what really happened -- in my reality.

March, Week 1:
Two weeks after our text conversation, March arrived. March -- the month he said he would contact me when he got back into town -- the month we would meet in person. I spent the first week waiting patiently for a text from him telling me when he’d be back like he promised.

March, Week 2:
When the 2nd week ended I was still optimistic. After-all, it was just the 2nd week. I thought, maybe he was coming back in the last week of March and was going to wait another few days before contacting me. That seemed very reasonable. And so I waited... patiently.

March, Week 3:
When the 3rd week ended, I began to get anxious. My patience started to fade.

March, Week 4:
I watched the calendar. I watched my phone. I flinched every time I got a text. March 31st came and went, and it was over. I never heard from him. EVER.

I came up with many excuses such as,

Maybe he didn’t come back in March because his plans changed.

BUT if that were the case, wouldn’t he write to say that he wasn’t coming and ask that we postpone our meeting for the following month instead?

Maybe he found my blog, it pissed him off, and he didn’t want to speak to me ever again.

BUT if that were the case, why not tell me he found it. I really can’t see anything here that would bother him. I mean, yes, it’s his life too that I’ve poured out into the world but I’ve always felt that this blog tells MY story, not his, and therefore really isn’t any of his business. I write about the ways we didn’t work, but mostly in an indirect way, and I try, at least, to explain that we share responsibility for what happened to us. I don’t mean to paint a picture of him as a super villain and if he thought I did, I would hope he could ask me about it. OR, maybe he found the blog, got pissed off, and decided I wasn’t even worth talking to for any reason, ever again, even if it was to say that he was pissed.

Well, no matter the reason for why he didn’t contact me, I never heard from him. And this, my friends, broke my heart all over again -- at least for a little while.

I was sad, angry and heartbroken. And then I became more angry than anything else. "How could he do this to me?", I thought. What would propel someone to dick over someone they loved for so many years? If indeed he was scared of seeing me or talking to me, then why not just say so and say he wasn’t ready yet. That I could I understand. That I could accept. Dicking me over just to be a dick? That I can’t accept.

So for most of April I felt like I had a flashing neon sign permanently over my head that read, “FUCK YOU,” that went off whenever I thought about my ex.

Kinda like this:

This really just about sums up how I felt throughout most of April.

But then again, despite being angry, I also felt like he had given me some kind of gift. What gift, you ask?

The gift of being a True Asshole.

I know this sounds weird, but maybe he took the saintly way out by hurting me to help me. It reminds me of those scenes in sentimental movies where the little boy has to give up his beloved dog because he can’t care for the dog anymore and knows that the dog will have a better life living on the family farm than with him and he goes, “Go on! Get out of here! I don’t want you anymore!,” while choking back the tears as the dog runs away. I felt like that dog.

I felt like he was telling me, “I’m just going to hurt you if we see each other. It’s going to be painful and re-open old wounds and will most likely hurt us rather than help us. So go on. Get out of here. I don't want you anymore.” Maybe that’s why I never heard from him. I’d like to think this is the reason. Maybe he did what was best for me.

I also know his limits and quite honestly, expecting him to tell me that a meeting between the two of us would be hurtful or that he wasn't ready for it, is totally uncharacteristic. He never confronted me much before about deep emotional issues when we were together, why would he now? And as my mother once said, “He’s got his head so far up his ass that he can’t see daylight... so I don’t know what you expected.”

And so, I never heard from him again and this I believe had to be the best thing. Because when all is said and done, I loved him for about a decade of my life, good or bad, right or wrong, it was love, it was real, it was my life -- and to see him now might bring all that back to me in a way that makes me forget why were apart in the first place. (And I really don't want to forget.) Maybe he knew that. Or maybe he doesn't give a shit. Maybe he was afraid of what would happen to him if we were to meet. Or maybe he truly doesn't give a shit. Whatever his motives, he never contacted me and I have not heard from him to this day. And I'll never know why.

So what did I do in March, besides wait by the phone? Well, in addition to flinching every time I got a text thinking it might be him, I did a lot of things. I ran my first race. Remember? That was a huge and incredible accomplishment. I am so infinitely proud of that and it got me hooked on running and racing.

What else did I do in March, you ask? Well, friends, I began to seriously date. Yes, date. And I like to think, that with or without closure, March was a success in so many ways.

Dear Followers, our regularly scheduled blog will now resume. As you can maybe tell, I’ve had a busy a few months and I really needed some time to make sense of everything that happened (and didn’t happen) before I could write it all down. Now that I’ve done this, I’m happy to pick back up where I left off and catch up with my blogging family (The Rules of Breakup, Champagne Before Breakfast, It Never Rains in Seattle, According to Me, and The Secret Dreamworld of E) along with many other wonderful bloggers and readers whom I’ve missed dearly.

Now that I’m back, I plan to regal you with tales of my foray into dating as a 32 year old girl who hasn’t dated since she was a 19 year old girl, how I’ve tried to honestly come to terms with my lack of closure, and what life looks now -- moving forward and moving on.

Much love to all of you out there. Thank you for reading.

-- Le B

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Series of Parts: Part 2

Part 2

When we last left off it was February and I had just sent a text to my ex. It read, "It's been a year and I think I'm ready to talk. Will you talk to me?"

I sent that text and immediately said out loud, "Fuck it.” And I meant it. I was relieved. I finally did it. After all the hemming and hawing and should I or shouldn't I's. After all the agonizing over whether or not I had any right to communicate with him at all, ever again, I just did it. Whatever happened next would prove to me that he was either, a) an asshole who would not respond to me at all and then I could finally just say, “OK, he truly doesn’t give a shit,” and move on with my life; or b) the good guy I deep-down knew he was; the person who cared about me and would always take my calls no matter what.

After I sent the text, I proceeded to stare at the phone for all of maybe 10 minutes. Because 10 minutes was all it took for him to respond.

HIM: “I would like to. Were you thinking over the phone?”

And there he was, in real time, punching keys on his phone somewhere, communicating with me. It almost felt like we were talking. This was a different feeling than the rare emails we had exchanged over the last year. This felt almost… intimate. It was the closest we had come to talking to one another in over a year. My heart was racing. I was scared. But I also felt somewhat reassured. He existed after-all. He didn’t fall off the face of the earth like I felt he had. He was somewhere; maybe sitting in an apartment (maybe his, maybe someone else’s), or his car, or a bar about to perform a show or maybe just about to attend one. He was living some kind of life somewhere out there in the world. He was alive and on the other end of my phone.

Now, I wasn't entirely sure that he had moved already.

ME: “I heard you moved. Are you still here?”

And then I waited, imaging he was just a few minutes away. Perhaps we would meet that night or maybe even the next.

HIM: “I'm living in LA now.”

Ouch, that hit me hard. He was really gone.

ME: "Why didnt you say goodbye? I’m really hurt to have found out the way I did."

HIM: "I’m really sorry."

I was hurt, and well…I wanted to hurt him back.

ME: "Well I guess that's it then."

HIM: "Well I’d like to talk still."

We then proceeded to go back and forth and in the interest in his privacy, I won’t re-type every word. So here is a recap of what was said (please bear with me, I hope this isn't too confusing to follow.)

I said: I couldn’t believe he didn’t care to tell me he was leaving, I had wanted to talk in person, and now I didn’t feel like there was anything left to say.

He said: He didn’t think he deserved to be made to feel guilty because he had intended on telling me, and would still like to talk. He was glad I got in touch with him and wanted to meet me in person.

I then felt like I had to explain why I didn't reply to the last email he wrote me back in November. I had always felt badly about that and never explained to him why I could no longer correspond with him.

I said: Since it took so long to respond to my emails in the past [he had been taking 2-3 weeks to reply to the rare emails we exchanged last year and the wait was gut-wrenching], waiting to hear back was too painful and that’s why I didn’t write back. I said I had no idea if he would respond. I also apologized for sounding bitchy earlier.

He said: He was sorry for making me feel hurt (regarding the lag in email response). He explained that this was still hard for him, but his failure to communicate with me was not a result of not wanting to talk, he just hadn't felt capable of it. He was sorting things out, he said. He added that he hadn't officially moved yet and asked if I would be ok with talking to him next month in person when he’s back in town.

I knew that meeting in person would be the best thing for us. Since so much time had passed, a phone call just wouldn't be enough. A meeting would be the best way to deal with him. Kinda like a band-aid -- you just gottta rip it off.

ME:“That’s a good idea. Next month in person, I’d like that. I think it will be helpful to talk. Goodnight.”

HIM: “I really do too. Thanks for getting in touch. I feel better being in touch. Goodnight.”

And that’s how it ended; we said “goodnight” the way we did every night for years. And that comforted me. We were finally in contact and I felt like I was well on my way to closure.

Next month we would talk in person. I would face him for the first time in over a year. Finally, I felt like I would put all of this to rest. I lay in bed that night feeling relived and picturing our meeting.

I imagined that it would be civil, calm, focused, and respectful. We would trade stories of what our lives were now like since both of us (at least on my end) were different people and would surely have so many things to share. Our meeting would certainly be heartfelt, maybe even tearful, but in the end we would hug each other and say goodbye. Maybe we would keep in touch after that. Maybe it would take another year, but perhaps we would even be friends some day. We were two people who helped shape one another into the people we were today. Two people whose heartache over the last year also shaped the people we would become in the future. Somehow we would respect that, we would share it, and we would continue to grow as individuals who still held a great amount of love and respect for one another, but who knew they were better people without one another.

And then I fell asleep, with March just 2 weeks away.

Now, Dear Followers, let me dab on some red lipstick, take a deep breath, and brace myself to write the next part. Because if you agree that I was getting a little bitchy in my texts, just wait and see what I have to say next.

Photo above by Jerome ESTEVES

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Last Few Months In A Series of Parts

Hey, did you ever meet my friend Ian?
He’s a computer hacker.
He helped me erase your Myspace page,
And your band’s Myspace page,
And your Facebook page.
Happy networking, asshole.

---- Munchausen by Proxy & Zooey Deschanel, "Yes Man"


Back on February 16th, I celebrated the One Year Anniversary of my breakup. To celebrate, I triumphantly got on a plane on that very day and flew out to California to spend a whole week with my bestie and her family.

BUT.... about 1 week before that day, I was casually perusing Facebook when I came across something that totally rocked my world and set a course of events into action that, to this day, I rue.

My ex and I are albeit barely linked on Facebook, in fact I deleted him and almost everyone that we had in common -- which the exception of just a few -- a month into the breakup. So because we had someone in common, that one person commented on a link to a blog interview my ex gave and therefore, through the magic of Facebook, that link showed up on my Homepage. (Isn't it so lame that we talk in FB terms like this? ...sigh...). So there I was, sitting at home, minding my own business, and I'm faced with proof of his existence.

There it was. Right there. In my face.

I could not just skip it and move on. I just could not.

A better woman might have closed her laptop, said, "Hmm, whateves...", and went on with her life. A better woman would not have taken maybe 2 seconds to think it over and then proceed to click the link and continue to read every single word of the interview her ex gave.

And so yes, I am not a better woman. I'm a crazy woman.

Normally, an article where he recites stupid answers to pointless questions about his band wouldn't be that big of deal, but they were his words. His picture. Proof that he exists. Reading the words actually sounded like him, I could almost hear his voice, and that to me was a big deal since we have not spoken in over a year, no text messages and very few emails that never end well. And so I poured over each word, like I was consuming each and every one.

Reading that article made my heart race. It was like some kind of bad accident you see on the road and can't stop looking at. Or, more to the point, it was masochistic. I knew what I was doing would upset me, and it would most likely set me back. And it did.

Because what I read was this, he doesn't live in Chicago anymore. He moved to fucking Los Angeles. He moved. Left the state. And for reasons that I didn't understand at the time, I proceeded to take a GIANT leap backwards accompanied by panic and as much as I hate to admit it, I experienced the kind of hysteria that I felt in those first few weeks of the breakup.

After about 2 days, I regained my senses and came to, and when I did, I asked myself, "What the fuck just happened here?!"

I think that with him leaving, I felt like I would never get closure. He was truly gone. What was worse was that I felt like I meant absolutely nothing to him after all. He didn't care to let me know he was leaving the state and that, as mad as I am at myself about this, made me feel awful.

I talked to friends about it and I heard many different perspectives. My bestie couldn't understand why I was so upset. She thought that it was really not anything to get upset about, after-all we were broken up, he didn't own me anything, not a goodbye, not an explanation, nothing.

Other people though, thought that he should have said goodbye. That I deserved at least that. That after 9 years I deserved something. Was it respect? Or was it something else?

These questions reeled in my head, over and over, and I felt a million things.

And so, one night, after 2 days of feeling sick over the situation and arguing with myself over whether or not I had any right to be upset, I finally picked up the phone, and propelled by pure adrenaline, I sent the very first text message to him in over a year. It read, "It's been a year and I think I'm ready to talk. Will you talk to me?"

Dear Followers, Part 2 will soon follow. But first, I'll need a cigarette before I write the rest.

Lots of love to you all, I'm very happy to be back.

Le B


Related Posts with Thumbnails