Post-Breakup: My Personal Formula For Moving Forward

breakupTo say I was completely unprepared for my recent breakup is an understatement. After 10 months together, just a couple months before we were planning to move into a new place, I was blindsided by something I felt, and still think, is a preposterous reason to end a relationship with someone who is your soulmate, someone you claim to love with all your being.

Impervious to my pleas to talk about resolving the issues, ignoring my apologies about something for which I wasn’t entirely sure what I was to blame, my sobs and shock turned to frustration and yes, a bit of anger. One of his own very good friends said he was foolish for letting something so trivial end something so powerful that he seemed to have been searching for all his life. If our relationship—something he had always described as so strong, special and sacred—wasn’t worth fighting for, then clearly it didn’t carry as much weight, or have as strong legs, as I thought it did.

After I spent time mourning, I decided that fighting the inevitable was pointless. I still knew who I was. I still knew what was important to me and what I wanted, both in a mate and from a relationship. If anything, the breakup emphasized how important certain things about communication and relating to your partner were to me that had been a little off-center with us.

So, to the surprise of family and friends who thought I was moving too quickly, I decided to re-activate my OkCupid account. To be completely honest, I first signed on to see if there was still hope—I was another year older, life had struck another blow, and I wasn’t even sure I would see anyone on there who would interest me enough to get to know.

I was surprised to realize I still attracted not only older men but significantly younger men too, divorced men with kids and men my age who have never been married, corporate businessmen and world-traveling teachers. I also realized that there were still so many interesting men out there to learn about and potentially meet, though I wasn’t in a rush to do the latter.

With the knowledge that there still were formalities of the break up to deal with—things to return to each other, letters of closure finally received and occasional pangs of “did this really actually happen?”—I knew I had to make some promises to myself. I wasn’t going to go just out with an ex who still has hope that we’ll eventually get back together seven years and a kid (his) later. Nor have a fling with a former FWB. And I wasn’t going to jump into a relationship with the first guy who I felt a great connection with, no matter how strong.

FootprintsThat’s where the 7×3 formula came along. They are relatively arbitrary numbers, 3 and 7, but I’ve called them my lucky numbers all my life. So here’s the deal: I have to go on dates with at least seven different guys before I make a final choice to pursue a relationship with any single one. Any contenders must be dated at least three times. No hanky-panky is allowed; kissing is welcome to assess chemistry.

So this week I agreed to a date with one of the fellows who has been writing me. He’s intelligent, socially conscious, thinks ahead, seems kind and has strong and influential women in his family. He’s a father of two young children, has lived all over the U.S., and he’s experienced some pretty cool things over his lifetime. I always looked forward to his emails, and while his looks didn’t make me swoon, I decided the personality attracted me enough to meet him.

In the meantime, another guy dramatically came on the scene. We rapidly exchanged long emails about our travels, teaching and our similar mindset about life and relationships at this point in time. He very quickly asked for my number, expressing desire to meet each other sooner than later. The day before date #1 with the other guy, Mr. Wanderlust asked if I wanted to go to a coffee house for a snack at the last minute. Going with the whim of the moment, I agreed.

Despite his admitted nerves, the date was non-stop conversation. We looked at travel photos and talked about whatever came to mind while we had dessert and tea, followed by a light dinner of wraps. He also really made me laugh—not from the absurdity or ridiculousness of what he said, but because he was sincerely funny. It was exciting to be around his energy and his enthusiasm for life—it didn’t hurt that he was very open about his interest in me, enough to ask for another date before this one ended.

Next day was the date with Mr. Left Wing (he’s the son of a radical feminist and is a proponent of radical social change). The night started off oddly as he attempted to psychoanalyze me, and I took his extreme mellow demeanor as a blasé attitude toward life in general. But soon our masks were off, and we were engaged in deep conversation about life-changing experiences. He revealed quite a bit more than I did, whereas with Mr. Wanderlust, I felt there was a much more even exchange. Yet I enjoyed our time together and was surprised by a goodnight kiss.

I’ve decided the new formula is perfect in instances where you meet several interesting people who you want more time to get to know, while also having several comparison points to keep things in perspective. I have a feeling eventually I might not want to go through all those first dates, but I think it will be healthy for me. And if I decide I’m just overwhelmed all-around and need more time to try to make some kind of sense of my last relationship, I always have the choice to just stop everything and go back into my dark bedroom and mull over things—or better yet forget about men entirely for a while, and just enjoy my friends, my family and my career. I’ll keep you updated.

A Broken Heart Just in Time For A Day of Lovers



No matter what obstacles we may have had between us, we always had our strength in communication. We could clear up misunderstandings by tracing where miscommunication had deteriorated the true message, eventually getting to the root of clear intent. A stop in the flow was only a temporary pause, until we could once again get the opportunity to openly express our feelings back and forth directly.

This silence is killing me. You claim it is to digest things, but I don’t know what there is to digest. You behaved in a way I felt was thoughtless. I voiced my discontent. You saw why I was upset and apologized. We also eventually voiced how we stood at different stages regarding the next chapter in our relationship. I had moved onto the next topic of discussion but you were still sending jabs at me as payback from the other topic. I didn’t recognize you then.

There were flickers of recognition when you backtracked and apologized. Yet when I attempted to further make peace, the stranger returned, metaphorically spitting back in my face, still unable to let go. Then I met stony silence.

You know I don’t do well with being shut out. That’s what started this all in the first place. I get that you are independent. I get that sometimes you need your space. Yet you also have to understand that when I am waiting for you, the respectful thing to do is let me now what’s going on and where you are. The loving thing to do is not to ignore me when you return. If you really want to be part of a couple, you don’t digest what’s going on by ignoring me for several days and expect that’s working through a problem.

You say you’re not angry, so this isn’t a cooling down period. What more do you have to digest? That I can get justifiably upset, and you don’t like that? You don’t think that’s what couples sometimes do? For 10 months of a relationship, having this occur once like this is really not so life ending. Yet you think that that’s reason to just throw your hands up and shut the door in my face?

After behaving like you’ve been so passionately in love with me up until just days ago, I don’t know how you so can quickly shut off the light. It makes me feel like none of this was real. It was all just fantasy. You wanted to want to be in a relationship. You wanted be in love. You wanted to be loved. Yet when it came down it, if it got hard, you were ready to disengage. It was doomed to fail anyway, isn’t that how your mind works?

We were “supposed” to be moving in together in a couple of months, and now I’ll be alone on my Valentine’s Day. Not that the actual day means anything, but your silence speaks volumes. I guess our relationship doesn’t mean enough to you to fight for and work through when the going gets a little hairy. As much as it hurts me, as much as I thought we stood the chance better than anyone, I guess I was wrong. I know I deserve better than that.

Summer Lovin’ Ended So Fast

Canadian Love by awesome_anime_lover

The topic for this month’s Insomnia Club? The end of an affair

I was 19 years old when I fell for my first Canadian. He was 26, and everything about him was beautiful–his brilliant mind, his sense of humor, his beautifully angular face and body…and, yes, that accent. To this day, if I hear someone say ‘aboat’ or ‘soarry’ or “zed”, my mind flutters back to him and the year of ‘97.

My Canadian lived in the country’s geographical equivalent of Nevada, while I was living in the northeast of the U.S. But in the summer of 1997, we came together in Toronto, a city I had never been to and one he had only been to once as a young child, where we had one week of fairytale bliss.

This is our story of how that beautiful summer love affair came to be.

This is also a story of how it came to a screeching end, and how, for the first time, my heart was shattered into a million, splintered pieces.

There were many things I learned during my first quarter of college, and as you would expect, most of those lessons were gleaned outside of the classroom. For instance, I learned what a mudslide was thanks to my neighbor, a senior who had a mini fridge stocked with every alcoholic beverage you could imagine. I also learned that there were tunnels under the buildings of campus that students explored like spelunkers. And, in the year 1995, I learned of the wonders of the Internet, how it could connect you to people all over.

For someone who now lived 3000 miles away from home, being able to keep in touch with my old friends and my boyfriend was a godsend. Thanks to my roommate Whitney, I also got turned onto this odd invention, where you could have a live digital chat with someone across the country, or even outside the country.

I wondered what my roommate was thinking when she began conversing with strangers, but soon I began conversing with another college student who lived far from his loved one. For the most part, however, I spent time trying to reassure my long-distance boyfriend that I was still thinking about him—my daily letters weren’t enough.

A year and a half later, I was living back home, attending the in-state college after months of feeling guilty for trying to have fun away from my boyfriend, while also feeling terribly homesick for all the things that were familiar to me. But by 1997, I was starting to also feel trapped.

Over the course of my time back home, I had made numerous friends all over the world through list-servs for my favorite singer/songwriters. We exchanged emails, snail letters and glorious mixed tapes of music I would have never discovered otherwise. And then I found myself curious enough to check out this new MSN program on my folks’ computer. There were chat rooms for every topic imaginable.

Sometime in spring, I kept coming across a guy with a wicked sarcasm for the ridiculous people trolling the chat rooms, witty retorts for people spouting idiotic opinions and, inevitably, our paths crossed. Our conversations went over people’s heads, and soon we made our way into private chat rooms.

Our conversations moved from several hour IM chats to several hour computer phone calls. We’d share our days, our childhoods, our philosophical and spiritual ideas, and hopes and dreams. I’d chat with his roommates and best friends, sing to him my latest original songs and inevitably, we grew more and more in like with each other.

Eventually we began to tentatively talk of meeting. It was a brave and ridiculous idea. We lived more than 3000 miles away, in different countries. The one photo I had of him revealed bleached blond hair, shades and other people. Somehow none of this seemed to matter.

We picked a city: Toronto. We picked a general time frame. After I jumped in and bought a plane ticket, he realized I was serious.

A couple months later, I was in the Toronto Pearson International Airport, having forgotten my passport at home. At customs, I remember having to call my mom to ask her to fax a copy of my passport, but somehow they allowed me through with just my driver’s license.

That's what I call a kiss scene by Bird_Of_Fire

I arrived first, waiting with several others just beyond his terminal’s arrival area. Not knowing exactly what my Canadian looked like, I knew he would spot me first. As people of various size, shape and degree of attractiveness passed by, my heart was thumping in my stomach.

Finally I glanced to my left and saw a beautiful man with brown spiky hair, grinning at me and walking quickly in my direction. Before I knew it, I was being wrapped in those arms, backpack in all. Finally I released my backpack, and was literally swept off my feet.

I wish I could remember all the details now. For a year afterward, I rewound and replayed them over and over again in my mind. There was the ride to his godmother’s house in the rental car, where I played navigator, while he shared stories of his childhood. There was trying to keep quiet in a squeaky four-post bed. There was the very adult, dinner party with wine that turned his face red, and a gorgeous photo of all of us taken.

There was visiting the SkyDome and splurging on a room at the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel (not sure if that was its name then) in the place overlooking where the Toronto Blue Jays play. There was getting red streaks put in my hair since he was dyeing his own hair. There was the big market and fair where we saw a horribly inaccurate fortune teller before getting rained out on my gorgeous, silky smooth hair. There was the glorious bubble bath that night where I couldn’t stop my 19-year-old, naïve girl self from saying, “I think I’m starting to fall in love with you.”

There were tight hugs and tears when we parted ways at the airport. Tears is an understatement on my part, but I saved the blubbering for after he was out of sight.  I went back to Connecticut. He went back to Alberta.

I remember the sweet, nostalgic phone calls and emails exchanged at first. Yet when I made the right choice to return to university back to California a couple months later, things were different. Though we technically lived closer to one another now, the correspondence had petered off. I’d occasionally hear from him—he mentioned that he was thinking of going back to school, and my school was one he was looking at—but eventually the tenderness died out, and the hope was lost.

I couldn’t believe it was over. He’d felt that magic too.

I was still clinging to the last strands of beautiful memories into the next year. Finally, he sent me an email saying he would call me, that he had something he wanted to tell me. He didn’t. Instead he finally sent an email saying he had started seeing someone else a while ago. As in, months ago.

I was livid that while I had been pouring my heart out, he was falling in love with someone new. He knew how I felt, yet he didn’t say or do anything to let me know that he’d moved on completely.

I wanted to fly up there and punch him in the face. I wanted to slap my own face for being so naïve. Why would this man with a wild social life want to try to build a future with a girl living so far away?

It’s funny to think of it now, as I see his face every day on my Facebook news feed. We went through years where we didn’t talk. Several years afterward, he found my first Internet journal, leaving a sweet message on there for me. After answering him, I of course wrote a post on my surprise of hearing from him after all that time. A week later, he disappeared.

Again years later, I heard from him via email. He said he was so glad to find me. He had taught English in Korea. He was a born again Christian (and apparently in AA) as he poured out this incredible apology for treating me so terribly 8 years earlier. I told him he’d already been forgiven for years, but I appreciated the gesture.

Is it crazy that it wasn’t until receiving that email that I finally let go of any lingering thoughts of him once and for all? I’d had two, long, committed relationships and been in love several times over. Yet a little part of me still had carried some torch for my first passionate love affair.

Pitiful? Probably. Yeah.


I can’t remember who found whom on Facebook this past year. He still looks pretty much the same. He’s finally finishing college at the age of 40, is it? He’s no longer a born-again Christian, and he drinks again. He’s not married, though at one point, he was pretty close before bailing out five or six years ago. He’s in an “it’s complicated” relationship currently. He’s still incredibly brilliant and very political-minded.

He’s also a big dork. If I could share with you a recent Halloween costume to prove his dorkiness, I would. I bet he watches The Big Bang Theory and loves it.

We exchange messages now and then. What do I feel? Nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. I feel fondness for an old friend…and gratitude for a brief period of incredible, precious memories—before I lost my innocence.

Stay tuned for more posts from my fel­low Insom­ni­acs this month:

The Urban Dater – Taking a Dump
Women Are From Mars — My advice on The End of The Affair… or whatever.

What Happens When Your Ex Finally Meets His Match—You!

Berkeley PhD and I had a great second date on Friday, with a night out in the “city.” We met first for dinner at a Thai/Malaysian restaurant that served up delicious dishes. I had a dish with chicken, eggplant, potatoes, tofu, snap peas and Malaysian yellow curry, topped with a half glass of Shiraz.

Afterward, we hit a bar nearby that had a DJ spinning a mix of 80s classics and today’s R&B/hip hop hits. The crowd was an interesting mix of people in their 40s trying to grab a drink and a chat before the place starting hopping and girls in their 20s with dresses that literally just barely covering their ass cheeks.

The most interesting character by far was a slightly stooped man in his late 60s or early 70s who was canvassing the place. Berkeley PhD said he was tempted to go talk to the guy to see if he had any sage advice on “picking up the ladies.” We sat at a table in the bar area people-watching for a bit before taking the long walk down to the bar with live blues music.

The night was fun, and I almost felt healthy again, young and vibrant. Berkeley reached out for me a bit, but I wasn’t expected it so I think I reacted oddly. Perhaps my body knew before my mind realized that as much as I liked and respected him and enjoyed his company, I didn’t feel any special zing. I was already putting him in the friend category.

With the exception of Berkeley PhD, OkCupid has been shooting blanks for quite a while. As I was taking more initiative with other areas of my life, I decided to try again. I’d had some success in the past. That’s where I met Mr. Etiquette. That’s what brought the V-Man and I together.

Speaking of the V-Man, when I awoke this morning, logging into Match to read an email from a new potential suitor, guess who popped up in my Daily 5?

It’d be funny, sort of, if I wasn’t thrown for a loop. Yes, I officially told him adiós months ago. And last week, he finally called me back, after the gazillionth unanswered text message and email and several phone calls. He told me he wasn’t avoiding me specifically. He just didn’t want to be bother—er, disturbed by anyone the last couple months. He just wanted to be by himself, work on the house, etc.

He asked me why I didn’t call. Um, hello? Had he not noticed the dozens of attempts to try to make contact? Then he proceeded to have a typical monologue conversation, mostly about things I didn’t care about and didn’t bother to feign much interest because, screw it, I no longer had the obligation.

I was glad we had the talk. It just confirmed to me that I hadn’t meant much to him in quite some time. I knew romantically things had puttered out in February, but for some reason I thought a semblance of friendship after four and half years would endure. Now, no longer being uncertain about this, knowing there was no longer any connection between the two of us anymore brought an odd type closure, as imperfect as it was.

So it was a kind of a kick in the head when V-Man showed up as one of my matches today. Especially, I saw this in his profile:

I have been waiting patiently to find someone special to share my life with. I am hoping to find someone who loves to laugh and enjoy life. I’m the type of person who will do anything for my friends and family. I’m loyal, caring and when I’m in a relationship I give all of myself to that person. I am hoping to find a woman who will give me the same in return.

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

With whom had he been sharing his life during some of those years up leading up to this point? Someone to kill time with before someone special came along?

And who is the person saying he’d do anything for anyone? Yes, the V-Man begrudgingly, with a big piss-and-moan fuss, does things for his mom, but he really isn’t there for his friends, and I talk more to his best friend who moved away than he does.

He gives when he’s not too into his projects, and the surprises (a hike, a day trip somewhere) come once a year or so. I gave so much of my emotions, time, energy and everything else to this guy for years. He knew there was a time when I would have given him everything if he let me in further. This was the man I called Peter Pan because he said he was scared to have more, scared of the thought of progressing further—i.e., moving in, getting married, etc.

I quickly dashed off this email to him:

Wow, when I signed up for match again the other day, I thought in the back of mind, what if [V-Man] is on here. And look here you are. Just like I thought…it wasn’t that you don’t want a relationship, it’s that you don’t want one with me. 😉 Hope you find just who you are looking for on here.

Followed by the text:

Well irony of ironies, you popped up on my Daily 5 on Match. Why was it so hard to just say you wanted to move on? I gave you so many chances to months ago!

I just don’t get it. I have broken up with this man more times than I can count or remember. Each time he put the effort to ask me to stay. Or if it had been many months (in one case over a year), he would ask me to come back, saying things like “we would still be together, but you believe all these things that aren’t true about me, or half-truths.” This is the man who took me to NYC last December for my birthday. I thought he did these things for me, because I meant so much to him. Now I feel like I was wrong about him all the time.

When I talked to him on the phone today, I could hear the ooze of lies in his voice. “Someone’s having a joke with me,” he said, with a fake laugh. “They’ve put up profiles for other people before.” Okay, well, how did they get a copy of a photo I took on your personal camera of a place we went to early last year? Laughing again, he said, “Really, I didn’t put anything up there.”

He said he’d call me later because he was in the middle of something at work. I said, yeah, I’m sure you will. Inside, I thought, Don’t bother. Go take a flying fucking leap off a high cliff into shallow water.

But honestly I’m not that angry with him. I’m so angry with myself, for clinging in some way, shape or another to a connection with this man for long. My instincts told me so many times to just move on, that he wasn’t the man I really wanted in my life, nor was he even the man he usually acted around me. My family and friends knew it too and told me so.

Yet he had redeemed himself in my eyes when I got so sick. I won’t even take a guess as to why he did all the things he did. I just know I was a fool not to have kept moving forward when I broke up with him so long ago. One day I will have to learn to forgive myself for such a foolish mistake.

Pulling the Plug

Last weekend I decided it was time to ultimately pull the plug. Already brain dead over the last couple months, it was the kindest thing to do. Make it final. Tidy up loose ends. Say the last goodbyes.

After four and half years of rotating through friendship, romance, FWB, repeat, we had reached the point where there was no life between us at all. It hurt more to keep wondering why he stopped caring even as friend, if that was really what was going on. It hurt more to realize after all we’d been through, he felt I deserved—he could get away with—a wimpy fade into the woodwork. That I somehow wouldn’t notice. Or even worse, that he didn’t care if I did.

I knew he would think I was just being a drama queen about the whole thing. Why must she insist on talking about feelings again? But I wanted to make it very clear this time.

I would not take the bait two, four weeks or even four months from now when he sent out a feeler text: How doin’?

I would not give into my concern and sympathy, periodically texting: How’s Chuck? (Chuck, AKA Charlie, being his 16-year-old cat who is ironically also going through chemo, but who the V-Man is naturally standing by and taking care of through the very end.)

This was it. La fine. Not just an end of a chapter. An end of a book with modest highs and lows, strange plot twists, but—in all—relatively little drama, comedy, romance or high emotion to hold a reader’s interest through to the disappointing ending. It was time to insert the last period.

Ever the artist, I also wanted my symbolic ending. I wanted the last gift I gave to him back. It was a handmade statue fashioned of wood pieces and dowels, an electrical switch and outlet and curly yarn. When I saw it at an art exhibit I was covering over the Christmas holidays, I knew it was the perfect thing to symbolize us.

We were a couple that had done much of our bonding over remodeling his house, doing more than our share of electrically wiring up the house. This couple, literally plugged into one another through “electricity,” epitomized its title “Staying Connected.”

At the time, I felt like it also epitomized us. Even though we’d had our break-ups, misunderstandings and disagreements over wanting different things for our immediate lives, somehow we maintained a connection. Even after weeks, even many months out of touch, somehow it always came back to him and me.

After Christmas, I shyly gave him the statue. I explained to him why I felt it was perfect for the DIY couple. He seemed to really think it was cool, wondering if it was functional, or if he could somehow make it so—if the electric switch could be connected to a bulb to turn on a light. And then, for the next couple months, it sat in the corner of the living room floor getting dusty.

As he and I became disconnected, I thought of that statue. Sitting there in the dark, with no one to appreciate it for its simple beauty. I thought nobody puts my baby in the corner.

Last weekend, I told him I was bringing it to its proper home. I’ll be picking it up while he is at work tomorrow. I told him to leave it under the carport.

I know it sounds ridiculous to make a fuss over an inanimate object. But I think there are better things and places ahead for “Staying Connected.” And I know there are for me.

The Kiss Off

It’s been more than four years that we’ve been playing this game. First we finally established a committed relationship that lasted for nearly two years. Eventually I broke up with him, thinking we weren’t moving any farther forward. There would be no next step—no marriage or kids definitely, but not even moving in together, though I spent four to five nights of the week there, and was spending most of our time together remodeling his house. I had met a lot of his friends, but he kept his flashy work life separate from me—to maintain his cool bachelor status. I never met his mom, who literally lived 10-15 minutes away, and once when she made a surprise visit to the house, I was asked to hide in the bedroom.

The year and half we weren’t together, we remained friends…sometimes with benefits. We still had this bond between us. We still enjoyed spending time together in small doses, and whenever I saw him unexpectedly, it made me light up.  When I was terribly sick, he was always there, never ashamed to take me out in public, even with my embarrassing (to me) ailment.

So fast-forward to almost a year after he started the talk about how he felt I had misconceptions about him and what he was all about in the relationship department, we tentatively decided to give it another try. Some things have been great and wonderful and had me thinking this reconciliation was totally worth it. He was more affectionate. When he was home from work and spending time with me, he truly wanted to be spending time with me, not his projects and gadgets.

Other things made me think he had gotten even worse in selfish independence. He’d go for two weeks or more without wanting to see me—and he called me high maintenance for wondering what the scoop was. Was it too much to think that a man I was exclusively dating would look forward to seeing me and put me as a priority?

Apparently, to him, it was too much.

The biggest disappointment, though, was this past week when I was at my sickest and loneliest, he didn’t call. He didn’t text. He had no idea I had to be taken to the ER for a second time. He didn’t know the medical treatment was kicking my ass. He didn’t know my doctor was removing me for my work duties for much longer than I anticipated because my treatment was going to require that much out of me.

It’s not as if I wanted to focus on all this. I knew how to be upbeat and talk about the other good things going on in my life. He always talked about his work too, the projects he was working on, his sick, elderly cat, whatever. It would have been nice to just hear whatever he had to say.

By Friday, I gave in.  “Are you living?”

Later that night, “How doin’?” he asks.

“Is that a rhetorical question, or do you really care to know the answer?”

Next day we text back and forth about how even old friends I haven’t talked to since before high school were reaching out to me…yet he hadn’t. He replied that he was busy with projects, works, etc. “I figured you were doing your own thing,” he said.

What? Doing my own thing like losing some of every meal, collapsing on the floor at least half a dozen times a day, having random moments of unconsciousness? Sure I’ve also tried to at least have a hand in the news publication that it still mine but I can’t officially be writing for and running right now. I’ve been catching up on Netflix and reading.

But yeah, I would welcome a phone call from the guy I was dating.Everybody is busy, not just him, yet they still carve out a minute of their time just to say I’m thinking of you.

So yesterday, after telling him, I finally get it—that he just doesn’t think enough to phone or text to see how I am (whether I am sick or not), I wrote an obvious kiss off. He tried to ignore it today, asking, “how are you feeling?”  I ignored him.

I am done. He can go try to find someone more perfect. He can find his dream girl, Spanish “chick.” I am done with his shit, and I getting off this bus for good this time.

I may not be a high priority to him, but I am one of the highest priorities to myself.

Next blog, remind me to share what happened with my police officer…now, that’s a funny story.

No Longer Sitting in Limbo

Even after all these years, it never gets any easier for me to say goodbye. The knowledge that I am causing someone I still care for a great deal of pain brings me great pain as well. When that person who I love believes so deeply that I am his “The One,” I especially flounder in confusion and grief. What if he’s right? What if all these feelings of doubt and needing space are merely my way to not embrace the very thing I am looking for in love? Am I too afraid to accept this unconditional love? Am I in love with him or am I in love with his love for me?

It is in this sanctuary of space apart, which I so desperately need in relationships at times, when my heart speaks more clearly. I am not swept up in the infatuation of physical attraction, or swayed by hypnotic eyes and such potent words full of strong convictions that we are meant to be, that no one will ever love me as much as he does. With distance, I realize that these claims are not true, not for me at least.

Love is more than a collection of romantic words and claims of honorable intentions. Love is a verb, and when I feel loved, I feel safe and secure, I feel trusted and respected. I feel desired and admired. I feel accepted and embraced. I don’t feel so harshly judged, my every move inspected with suspicion and doubt. I don’t feel like I am a possession to be controlled or imprisoned, or as if I am placed on an a pedestal so high that the only room for me to move is that plummet downward.

It’s no secret that I am a people-pleaser, who often gives and gives until I just can’t give anymore. My resources are depleted, and I am spent. I’ve learned how to better say no. How to stand up for myself when I feel I’m being wronged. How to start that lonely walk away when I feel like it’s no longer worth it for me to keep fighting the good fight, when I keep receiving in return so much pain, the poison of anger, and being terribly misunderstood. I know when I deserve more than this. I know when he deserves more than the walls I erect in response to his offensive maneuvers. I know when it’s time for us to stop being in denial, and to move forward from sitting in limbo.

It still causes my chest to feel heavy and my stomach to clench when it’s time to leave. Sometimes I circle back to give things another chance when the promises to change flow like staining red wine. Deep down I know better, yet it can cause me to question myself as to whether I’ve given all I can give, if I have really given everything a chance to bloom. I know better, but I ride the battering waves of resistance to conflict and to causing someone pain.

Part of really being open to and capable of giving love to another so openly and freely begins with the all-important path toward loving one’s self. When you love yourself, you don’t want to be constantly jerked back and forth by drama. You don’t want your past to constantly be flung in your face, feel the punishment of being dragged through the mud again and again. You don’t stand for the smothering simply because the distance only brings out all your partner’s insecurities and fear. When you love yourself, you feel free to be the authentic you, for better or worse. When you are in love with you, you recognize how precious a gift you have if, when, someone else you love can appreciate and love all that you are too.

When Tears Aren’t Enough

I realize that Mr. Etiquette isn’t worth my tears. It is pitiful how sick and manipulative he could be without even realizing how bad he was, how similar his mental illness is to Sara, the girl who caused him grief and anguish over the last 13 months, but he is not even worth my pity.

He claims he never was dishonest. He was dishonest by initially saying things with S were in the past, over and done with. He lied by omission, failing to tell me he was still in love with her and was just waiting for her to come around to wanting to be in a relationship again. He made me think he asked me to the baseball game because he sincerely wanted me to be with him and his German friends. I found out yesterday, from our mutual German friend, that he had in fact only asked me after S bailed on him. Two days later, he asked her to a picnic that she later also bailed on. He only became truthful when his “heart was crushed” when she told him she was no longer in love with him and asked him to stop bothering her.

He says he never meant to cause me pain. His friends and I told him repeatedly when he either hurt me or angered me by things he repeatedly did over the last almost two weeks now. He hurt his friends. He ruined our trip to Cape Cod by making it all about him and his confusion and anguish. She called and instead of not picking up the phone, he talked to her for a half hour. Then he came up to us and told us about their conversation for nearly a half hour. Then he went and called another friend to talk about her for another half hour. By then, the three rest of us were ready to go home.

One of the last nights of the German friends’ stay he called S for a “minute to schedule a talk to clear the air once and for all,” and that turned into a half hour argument. We didn’t bother to wait more than the 25 minutes he left us hanging so went to dinner without him. He acted all hurt when he came out to meet us and wondered why I was “shutting him out.” Dude, fine, bail on me, but don’t consistently bail on your friends who’ve traveled over three thousand miles to be with you.

I can’t pity even how weak of a man he is. The only reason he had the strength to finally confront Sara was because he felt buoyed by the promise of unconditional love that I had offered him. How twisted is that? (Oh, far worse.) I feel sorry for his kids to whom he cries his heartbreak over the phone. At ages 9 and 10, he tells them far too much than they should ever need to know. They know this woman has consistently hurt him for a year and a half. When here last summer, they commented on how they never knew if Sara was actually going to show up for some event, did they, since she was constantly breaking dates even then. What example is Mr. Etiquette showing his children by running back to her the moment she says “okay, now that you’re moving on, I want you.”

How can I have a soft spot in my heart for the king of manipulation? By the end of the charade of dating, he was asking even if we’ve become just friends at said point, would I still help him out in the last 5 weeks of summer when his kids come from Germany to visit? Today, I found out from our now mutual German friend that he was also hoping we could remain friends because I had all the music contacts that he needed to find a band(!). Earlier when they were still here, she yelled at him to wake up to the fact that he was hurting me,  and he replied, “I can’t think about that now. Right now, I need her here to comfort me.” Yes, comfort him through his heartbreak. He also needed me in the house so he wouldn’t be alone after they left. And I guess all that sex in the final days was trying to fuck the frustration over Sara out of him? What did I get out of all this?

A man who couldn’t stop comparing me to the other woman, even favorably. The “only area that you don’t win is that she has significantly bigger breasts than you,” he said, not thinking how this might feel like a slap. “But in all other areas, you’re perfect for me. Emotionally, spiritually, sexually, we are just perfect for one another. That’s the only area where she wins.” I know–what a dick!

By the end, the boob size had become such a obsession that he was gently trying to persuade me to consider getting a boob job. My body was perfect! But he got a huge rise sexually having bountiful breasts to play with and be a visual focal point (lazy lack of creativity?). I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never considered what it would be like to have fuller breasts, but that was when I was younger and more insecure. Frankly, I finally became happy with them; they are the perfect shape and pertness in my eyes. Harlequin Hero said they were perfection, that I didn’t need to change anything about them (he still fondly dreams of them, it turns out). The V-Man certainly appreciated the way they looked too even in clothing since I’ve regained the hospital-stay weight loss.

But I played along just because Mr. Etiquette seemed to get such a kick out of the idea. It was almost fun to envision me finally with the “perfect body” until he picked his top breasts. “Don’t hate me, but they look just like Sara’s, though maybe a little smaller.” Where’s that gun?

So it really is pointless to waste perfectly good tears on this man. What’s the point of feeling pain over an illusion? Why be hurt over a total ass who still thinks he’s “such a nice guy with everything in the world to offer, why doesn’t [Sara, ex-wife, any female] want me?”

I feel like a boiling tea kettle. I got enough satisfaction completely telling him off, in my polite pseudo-Southerner way, last night via text tirade, which allowed me to fall asleep peacefully. But I woke up raring to go for another round. I feel like kicking a punching bag. Hating that I was stupid for those first three weeks. I’ve been around the block for too long to be so duped. How could I have finally truly let me guard down again…for the absolutely wrong guy? One of my friends suggested breaking old worthless plates on the floor atop newspaper. That sounded appealing, but I don’t think that would be enough. Maybe I should hit the batting cages tomorrow. I feel most like messing around with bright paint colors and just spreading my emotions in angry swaths across a canvas.

What constructive things do YOU do to release the pent-up negative emotions when they start bubbling up inside of you?