Because some of you have asked what happened, and because I need to sort it all out, I wanted to give a little recap of my personal life. This isn’t everything, but is a little insight into how I deal with people, and emotions, and breakups. It’s not everyone’s way, but it’s mine.
I started dating a friend of a friend at the beginning of February. I was in a relationship that was past its prime and we both agreed that it was very much over. Me and the new guy had three dates in three nights—the first two at Village Tart, where we also spent another handful of evenings. It was very intense from the beginning which I don’t think either of us were suspecting.
It wasn’t a perfect relationship—what is?—but was going very well, I thought. We spent a lot of time together and had really great sex (again, this is all my take on it) and I met some of his friends and he met some of my friends. The week before last we had some communication drama and then he was away and mostly without email for a week and it was very strained and hard for me. I said in a sortof bravada way that I’d be okay if we broke up, and sometimes I wonder if thinking that, planning for it in some small way, presaged it. And then I think that our week apart helped ease me into the concept. And then I think maybe dating other capricious men helped me, though it really hasn’t all that much. That sort of hot-cold, I-like-you-now-I-don't thing is very hard to get used to.
Anyway…on Thursday we saw each other for the first time in a week and it was not exactly the usual making out. We had a pretty heavy talk, and that is not my strong suit, but I thought it went okay. At one point I said something like, “It sounds like you’re trying to say you don’t want to see me anymore” and he said he wasn’t, but there was sortof an air of unhappiness to his side of the conversation. I thought we’d resolved it, though, and then we were sitting at this café while the staff tried to close and after maybe ten minutes of us just sitting there, holding hands and leaning against each other and talking quietly, he said, “I have this feeling that we should break up.” It was very strange because by that point it was the last thing I expected and he almost sounded like some force was telling him that; he seemed surprised too.
I didn’t know what to say, because what do you say to that? There’s nothing you can say; if someone’s decided they don’t want to date you, they’ve decided. I was mostly intent on just leaving before I started crying.
And then I decided to unfollow him on our various social networking sites. There are tons of fawning women who I didn’t exactly relish when we were dating and now that we're not I really have no need to see where he is at all times or who's flirting with him or whatever. I'd be too tempted to check incessantly otherwise, as I learned from past experience.
Yesterday I went to pick up some stuff I’d left at his place, and I thought I was okay, after three days to think about it all, but I almost fell down the stairs in my haste to leave and then burst into tears on the street when I got outside.
I’m torn between explaining it and just doing my best to move on, lickety split. It doesn’t seem worth devoting all the hours I devoted to another recent relationship, analyzing and overanalyzing and all of that. A long time ago I had this massive crush, the biggest one I’ve ever had, on this guy I was friends with. I was so smitten with him and he just wasn’t into me at all and all my friends were like, “It shouldn’t be that hard.” And they were right.
It’s not that I expect relationships to be simple, either; sometimes they can be so simple that there’s no substance. But at the end of the day, I can’t make someone want to be with me; all I can do is be myself and connect with people as openly as I’m capable of. I didn’t filter or censor or try to protect myself in this relationship and maybe that came back to bite me in the ass because if I got there, I am really sad and hurt. I never would’ve expected someone like him to just suddenly announce he wanted to break up like that, especially after we had such a long, involved conversation.
Is there a part of me that wishes my life had the fairy talesque quality of someone dumping me then wanting to get back together, a la Penelope Trunk (who just got married, in rain boots, to her farmer, who dumped her a bunch of times)? Or the protagonist of Pamela Ribon’s new novel Going in Circles, in which a man leaves his wife of five months then decides he wants her back? Sortof. My fantasy is more along the lines of us starting over, having that first, wonderful date again, feeding each other at Village Tart and being silly and serious and sweet and sexy and starting with a clean slate, because those first dates were really magical. I thought he was smart and special and hot and very different from the people I'd dated before.
But life doesn’t work that way. Maybe someday we can be “friends,” but I’m somewhat doubtful. The whole “we can still be friends” line has always felt like the worst sort of consolation prize, like, “I’m gonna fuck and fall for and be with someone else, but we can still chat about the weather.” It’s different if you’re friends with someone first, but we weren’t. Of course I miss him and there are a lot of things that I wish I’d said or done; at the end it seemed like he wanted to share every problem he had with me, and I wished I’d been more vocal about being bothered by certain things but now, what’s the point?
I know that I don’t handle rejection very well, but who does? Even when you know it’s not all about you, it still hurts. I was interested in someone before I met this person and I told them, basically, and they were dealing with some personal things and couldn’t even conceive of dating me, and part of me understood, but part of me was still hurt by that. I get that we’re all capable of hurting each other and it’s funny because part of our disagreement while we were both away was over something where I know he didn’t mean to upset me, but he did. And I want to say that the intention is what matters, but at the end of the day, I think actions count more, because they are what you feel, what you respond to. I was seeing someone for a while where I’d get showered with attention, and then not hear from them for a long while, and that I think is what helped me realize that this time, I can’t belabor that process, I can’t feed into the heartbreak of it. It doesn’t mean I’m not sad or I’m just blasé about it; I’m not at all. But I need to work on myself and be ready for my next relationship. Of course I have questions and I’m sure at some point we’ll talk, but I know right now I’m not ready to handle that.
There’s this line in “You Blink” (ha - I originally typed "You Bling") by Elizabeth Elmore, a gorgeous breakup song if ever there were one. “I salvage what I can…” – I think what I’m trying to salvage is my life. It’s not that I let it go, per se, but I have a lot of things I want to work on and that need mending and work, and if that romantic relationship is over, I just don’t have the emotional energy or time to try to pick it up. I learned a lot from the relationship and thought it had a lot of potential, thought it was moving forward and we were learning about each other and ourselves, and maybe we were and maybe I was totally delusional, but there are so many what ifs that are just pointless to wonder about at this point.
Updated: Art always helps me process and learn things, sometimes about myself, sometimes just to help me see something in a new way. I found this poem "The Order In Which Things Are Broken" by Desirée Alvarez, which seems fitting, since one of the things that attracted me to my ex was that he was a poet, not that I got to read much of his work, but more that I thought that showed something about his soul, his person, his mind. "The loose spooling of two people fast unravels..."