Close encounters of the ex kind

TGIF, readers. In case you haven’t had you fill of hearing three rejected ladies share their self absorbed tales of woe, I have an update on my dumping saga. You know, the dumping that started a chain reaction that caused what will now be known as The Great Hat Trick of April ’14. Basically I’m the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of this blog, which makes D Gavrilo Princip (did you forget that Stucu is written by history nerds?) Where was I going with this? Oh yeah…

I saw my ex.

Willshocked

Uhhhh, actually… I saw him on purpose.

NPH speechless

I know. I know. This sounds like the Worst with a capital W plan ever. But when D and I originally agreed to meet, I was actually feeling pretty good and like I was genuinely starting to move on. More importantly, I had this feeling that there was no way to know if our little friends experiment was feasible until we actually did something friend-like together.

So I met D for coffee two Sundays ago. I wasn’t really nervous before we met. Honestly, I was most worried about looking make-my-ex-regret-dumping-me-without-looking-like-I’m-actually-trying level amazing.

ron burgundy

Other than that, I was pretty calm. I did have an irrational fear in the back of my head that D might tell me something crazy, like he was engaged, mostly I think because I saw that happen in a movie. And if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s taking movie plots way too seriously.

The day we met was a beautiful, sunny Sunday, and it was also the day of the Broad Street Run, a big annual race in Philly. I got ready, walked outside, and enjoyed the sunshine for approximately 2.5 seconds before the weather comically went south: I walked about a block and a half before the skies darkened and opened up with rain. I mean, speaking of scenes that play out like movies…

audrey

(That’s what I looked like in the rain, PS. Exactly that).

Unfortunately, like I mentioned, this didn’t end like the movies, with a found cat and an outdoor make out scene and a swelling rendition of Moon River. 

In reality my hair became irrevocably frizzy and I had to run home to grab an umbrella and change. Cinema gold!

Between the race crowds, running home to change, and worrying that this was a bad omen from the universe, I had to rush to meet D. When I arrived, frazzled and damp, he was already there waiting for me. I can’t remember whether we hugged or just said hi, but it started out pretty well, all things considered. It was genuinely nice to see him, sit across from him, and catch up in person. ‘See?’ I thought smugly to myself. ‘I can do this. No sweat.’ We chatted and joked easily, talking about our families and friends and jobs, rolling our eyes at the droves of runners coming in post race.

The longer we sat there, though, the longer I sipped my iced coffee, the more effort it took to be normal. First I smelled D’s cologne. Yes, I realize that sounds incredibly creepy, but there you have it. I started to think about how we used to go to Sunday brunch after a night out and then spend the afternoon together. We’d hit up Reading Terminal or take a long walk and go back to one of our places, yadda yadda yadda and then take a nap. It was the best. I thought about how on this particular Sunday, we’d be walking away from each other instead, and I’d be alone.

That’s when a lump slowly started to lodge its way into my throat. Gradually I had to start focusing on acting normal and breathing normally and not bursting into tears. I know D could tell that something was up; I mean, I was literally chanting ‘keep it together’ inside my head; how could he not notice?

Things had gone so well, though, and I was determined to be brave and hold on until I could go cry like a normal rejected loser in the privacy of my own apartment.

SPOILER ALERT: that didn’t happen. We left, and I walked D to his car, the lump in my throat now threatening to choke me. The fact that he seemed to be genuinely enjoying my company with no issues or weirdness was also completely maddening and infuriating. I was sick of being the only mess in our weird exes-turned-friends twosome. D also made some Aspies comment that I was ‘making a face’ before we left that he couldn’t decipher. Uhhh yeah, that would be my ‘holding back tears with nothing but sheer willpower’ face, D. It’s a good one.

sad

I was about one minute away from a public meltdown when we reached the car. “Would you like a ride?” D asked. It was still inexplicably freezing and raining.

I shook my head, unable to look at him. “Thanks, but I’m going to walk. It was good to see you.”

“It was great to see you. He tentatively and awkwardly leaned in to give me a hug. I let him hug me, then spun around and booked it down the street in the other direction, tears streaming down my face. Yup, I cried in public YET. AGAIN.

dignity
That’s because I have none. No dignity whatsoever.
Oh my God, you guys, sidenote: I don’t know why this just popped into my head, probably because L and I watched Pitch Perfect together recently, but I feel like the three of us need to do a Weird Al-style parody of Black Street’s ‘No Diggity’ and change the lyrics to ‘No Dignity’. Obviously the song will be about LSD being dumped one after the other, hat trick style: “We hate the way you dumped us– NO DIGNITY”. I’m dead serious, this may be the most brilliant, albeit depressing, idea I’ve ever had…
Y0u’re welcome for brightening up this daytime soap-level cheap drama with some sweet vocal stylings. Didn’t I warn you that I love a Capella? Oh, you thought that was a joke?
I walked home in the rain, a literal walking cliche, openly weeping like a crazy person, pushing past swarms of runners wearing medals, the whole city in a celebratory mood except for me. The second I got home I flopped into bed and cried even harder.
cameron-crying-modern-family
And then I cried some more. I called my mom and cried, then L called me and we took turns crying and praising each other for being so brave. There was so. much. crying.
feel too much
I was totally baffled that I had this much emotion left in me. I’d had a nice weekend where I saw friends and went out and did things and everything was kosher. I figured I would probably be somewhat depressed/upset after seeing D, I just didn’t know it would level me for the rest of the day. I felt like an asshole for being so naive, for thinking I could just flip a switch and be over D but still magically have him as a constant in my life without any confusion or difficulty. HA. Hahaha. Oh me.
The thing is, though, when my mom suggested that maybe it was a mistake to see him, I knew that wasn’t right either (and I told her so. In an overly emotional semi-hysterical howler monkey voice).
It wasn’t a mistake. I’m totally glad I did it. If I could get in a time machine and go back to that Sunday morning, I would still see D (right after returning to my study abroad semester in London because duh, priorities). I think I needed this. I needed to see him, and see how it made me feel (answer: shitty) and let that reaction guide me to figure out what to do next. I honestly believe it was an important part of the getting over him/moving on process. Was it fun? Fuck no. Traumatic? Uh yeah, kind of. But it was also necessary, as most unpleasant things are (adulthood, you are the worst.)
After I calmed the hell down and thought about it, I knew what I had to do. I called D and asked him for space. My brain was just too confused by the texting and the hanging out post break up. Even though neither of us acted inappropriately and I knew intellectually that we were over, it was too hard to process that while D still had such a presence in my life. So we agreed not to meet again, at least for now, and we also agreed on a text embargo: no texting whatsoever for the rest of the month. It’s been hard, like have literally had to sit on my hands to fight the impulse to pick up my phone and text him hard, but I already feel so much better and in control. 
I think this is also coming at a good time for the blog as well. I have a sneaking suspicion that my long, drawn out break up saga is getting a little old, because even I’m getting sick of hearing myself talk about it. I mean, how many times can you read about a grown ass woman crying in public before it becomes tedious? I think I’ve officially reached that limit. I’m not saying I’m ready to jump back into the dating pool just yet, but I am ready to tackle some topics that don’t include my ex. Until then, I’ll be working on the lyrics to ‘No Dignity’ with the other two members of my girl group. 
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I got dumped (and lived to blog about it), Part 2

When we last left our heroine (me, duh) she had just been dumped by her boo of almost five months, D. She had also just decided, possibly against her better judgment, to go out for a drink with him in the hopes of getting some closure. And now for the thrilling (nope) conclusion of S and D’s break up story.

We drove to the bar in silence. D parked in one of those insane new garages where there are no humans operating anything and your car gets taken away/moved around by a conveyor belt. I stared at this spectacle, dumbfounded, the absurdity of my situation finally sinking in: I was out on a post break up non-date with someone who had just rejected me. We were about to drink some alcohol and say what we needed to say to one another. My brain was suddenly like:

leslie knope bad

via: http://www.hercampus.com/life/21-worst-parts-winter-break-told-amy-poehler

Too late, though. It was done. We walked into a crowded bar. Music was blasting and there were zero dark corners for me to cry anonymously in, so we walked right back out. It was still pouring so I made an exec decision to go into the next place we passed. As we walked in, it hit me: it was the site of our second date. I didn’t really mention D’s and my second date on this blog, because it was so completely bizarre I honestly didn’t know what to make of it when it happened. In summary, we both drank too much, he got sassy, and I yelled at him. When I walked away from the date I thought I’d never see or hear from him again. Fast forward five months…

“Do you realize where we are?” I asked him. “Of course,” he said. “I didn’t suggest it because I thought it might be too weird.” I shrugged. Things were already so weird, a monkey could have seated us at that point and I probably wouldn’t have been fazed.

We were shown (by a human) to the very back of the restaurant and sat at a long bar facing the kitchen. The waitress took our drink orders and I could feel her stare as she looked back and forth between me, doing this:

gretchen weiners crying

via: http://sidmalkin.tumblr.com/post/79130923727/one-time-i-met-sid-at-one-of-the-starbucks-in

  and D, doing this:

jim

via: http://splatter.com/tag/funny/page/8/

A few sips of legal sedative later and I was much calmer. We started to talk and it was minimally awkward, at least for me. I was surprised that D and I seemed to be on the same page about so many aspects of our relationship:

  • how lately things had felt off between us during the week but then great again when we’d see each other in person
  • how we both felt lonely and alone sometimes, especially at night, even when we were together
  • how we were incredibly similar in many ways and how that may not have been the best thing for two people in a relationship

I admitted to D that one of the things I had liked most about him in the beginning was that he was super clear about how he felt about me and what he wanted. For the first time maybe ever with a guy I’d felt like I could relax and just enjoy being with him and getting to know him. I should have known, of course, when that feeling slowly started to be replaced by anxiety, that something was up. I did also reprimand him for not being honest with me sooner and making me feel like a crazy person for suspecting something was wrong the last few weeks we were together. It felt good. He took it like a champ.

I cried basically the entire time, and I am really not a crier, or at least I wasn’t until I started online dating. AMIRITE?

Kristen-Bell-Laughing-to-Crying

via: http://reactiongifs.me/30-living-with-parents/

I wonder if Okcupid wants to use that glowing endorsement on their homepage. Shoot me an email, Sam Yagan. Anyway, I’m sharing this embarrassing crying detail only so I can also share a funny anecdote: since it was a rainy Tuesday, the bar was basically empty and the servers and busboys were all standing around close to where D and I were sitting. The longer we sat there, the more they noticed my crying, and the more blatantly they glared at D. By the end of the night, many of them were giving him the straight up stink eye as if he was an abusive boyfriend (which wouldn’t have been the worst guess given the scene they were witnessing). It reminded me of this wonderful vintage Scrubs clip (except obviously D pissed off the waitstaff, not Asians):

Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the honesty, maybe it was the dirty looks D was getting from total strangers, but I started to feel… better. Like I actually understood what had happened and why it had happened. Like I knew where D’s head was at and got to say everything I wanted to say to him. Like I could move on. Hey, what do we call that, Rachel Green?

closure

via: http://www.tvfanatic.com/forum/gossip-girl/friends/page-84.html

And that was that. There was no drama. No one yelled or stormed out. The whole thing felt very…mature. I suppose my lifelong dream of throwing a drink in someone’s face will just have to wait.

We left the bar, watched D’s car being lowered absurdly onto the street, and he drove me home. I had been thinking about what would come next ever since he told me at the beginning of the night that he wanted to stay friends. Maybe I’ve seen When Harry Met Sally one too many times, but I’ve always kind of scoffed at that idea of being friends with an ex.

This feels different, though. I mean, I still need time to process things and let the dust settle a bit before 100% knowing what I want. But I think (and I hope) that D and I can be friends. I don’t know in what capacity, and I don’t know what that says about our relationship to begin with (were we always meant to just be friends all along?) but I think I’d like to give it a try.

I’m curious about other people’s experiences with this, though. You know what that means… reader poll time!

I know D wasn’t the right guy for me, romantically speaking. Even before he dumped me I think I knew, deep down, that one of us would have to end it eventually. But I don’t feel like I wasted my time. I don’t regret giving it another shot after that awful second date. I honestly think he was what I needed at this moment in my life. Beyond the fact that I had a lot of fun with him, I also think I just needed to know that there are nice, decent, considerate, thoughtful guys out there. After being jerked around by commitment phobic douchebags all last year, I needed someone to remind me that I deserve more.

I think what’s making me so sad is this: I’m going to miss his company. Even though we didn’t work as a couple, we had a connection and we had a lot in common. D became that person who I texted and chatted with on pretty much a daily basis, shared details about my day with, exchanged music, stories, and random crap from the internet with, tried new restaurants with, went to museums with, shared inside jokes with, and just did all the wonderful fun stuff that you do in an exclusive relationship. Saying goodbye to him, and to that, feels really lonely.

One thing that has made me feel better is the outpouring of ‘I know this sucks–I’ve been there’ texts and emails I’ve gotten from friends and readers. I also happened to catch an old Parcs and Rec on TV last week when I was glued to my couch in a post break up coma, and it made me seriously LOL. The fool who posted the video disabled embedding, so click the link below to enjoy these (fictitious but still amazing) breakup stories from Leslie Knope:

On the bright side, none of those things happened to me. And as awful as it was, at least D had the decency to 1. be honest with me and 2. end things in person. He could have faded away or even pulled a Jack Berger, although I’m pretty sure this is just the early 2000s version of a text breakup:

Do you have a break up story to share? And do you feel like cheering this dumped blogger up? Tell me about it in the comments and I’ll be forever grateful.

I got dumped (and lived to blog about it), Part 1

rule

via: http://www.thatonerule.com/rule/1247

I heard this quote months ago and it really stuck with me. Not the ‘relationships are simple’ part, because that’s bullshit, but the idea that every single romantic relationship that I have in my life, aside from (hopefully) one, is inevitably going to end. Somehow, some way, it’s going to end. It’s a cynical, depressing thought, but it’s true.

It’s also what makes being in a relationship so f*cking scary: you never know when the ax is going to fall (unless, of course, you’re the one wielding it). For instance, I didn’t know when I bragged like an idiot about being “out of the dating game” on Monday that literally 24 hours later it would no longer be true. I just went about my business normally, answering questions about my boo at L’s parents’ Passover Seder on Monday night, thinking about what outfit I should wear to dinner with him on Friday (ahem, as in tonight…fielding that reservation confirmation call was a blast), and then…

breakup

via: film.com

D and I broke up. Well, correction: D broke up with me.

My co-bloggers were surprised that this post was done and ready to go so quickly after the…dumping, but honestly the only thing (aside from my wonderful, supportive friends and fam) that has made me feel better is writing. I literally sat down at my desk on Wednesday morning rocking huge sunglasses to hide my terrifying bloodshot eyes, and proceeded to word vomit this entire thing for the next hour.

This post  (which ps has quickly evolved into a two parter–you should know by now that brevity is not my strong suit) was especially weird to write because I know for a fact that D is going to read it. I mean, how completely bizarre is that? I was mildly tempted to put on a cool/aloof front and act like I DGAF about what happened/am already moving on to greener pastures, but honestly, fuck it. I don’t really care how I come off; I don’t have the energy to be anything but honest right now (and also, apparently, dramatic). A part of me also feels oddly protective of D, 1. because it’s just me here telling one side of the story and 2. as you’ll read, he didn’t do anything awful or dishonest or douchey, so I have no intention of skewering him or over-sharing at his expense. I don’t feel the righteous anger of a woman scorned like I did with J or H. I honestly just feel…sad.

debbie downer

via: http://letitrainlemonade.blogspot.com/2013/02/debbie-downer-much.html

So… where to begin? I guess I’ll start by saying that while I was shocked when it happened, I wasn’t shocked that it happened. Things had been kind of weird between me and D for a few weeks. His job was very intense and he was in a bout of working crazy long hours, but he was also just acting…strange. Distant. Off. He would insist that it was work stuff and stress and exhaustion, and I know that he wasn’t lying about those things. Something else seemed wrong to me, though, but I felt like an asshole harping on it. I was trying so hard not to be a stupid clingy girl, because no one wants to be that girl. I told myself that it was hard to maintain a relationship with crazy schedules and limited time to see each other in person. I didn’t really share my uneasiness with my friends because I couldn’t pinpoint what I was uneasy about. Then I’d see D in person and things would be fun and awesome and great again, and I’d forget about the weirdness altogether.

Last weekend, D was out of town at a wedding and I was hosting a bunch of friends for L’s birthday. We didn’t really talk the whole time, but again, I attributed it to us both having plans and doing our own thing. When D got home on Sunday, we caught up on the phone and things seemed normal and good. He asked if I was around Tuesday night and if I was free to grab a drink (news flash: “grab a drink” is obviously the universal euphemism for “get dumped”. Now you know.)

Tuesday night arrived and it was pouring rain (of course it was–although it will set the scene nicely when this story is adapted for 0ur future TV series) so D picked me up. I immediately could tell something was up and asked him what was going on. It took him a while to get the words out but he finally said:

“I think we should take a break.”

Pop quiz, early Millenials! What’s the very first thing that comes to mind when you hear that phrase?

Even though I semi blacked out, as one does in these situations, I’m pretty sure I managed to mumble, “what is this, Friends?”. As D continued, I quickly realized that by “break” he actually meant “break up” (and everyone knows how “taking a break” always ends anyway. Especially Ross and Rachel).

D told me that he had been feeling weird about us for a little while, that his feelings for me had changed, and that he couldn’t stop thinking about his ex. Oof.

louis

via: http://justgif.com/tags/247/facepalm

I’m not a particularly jealous person, but I couldn’t help but wonder about D’s ex who he broke up with over the summer. I was the first person he seriously dated after her and it was hard not to wonder if there were still lingering feelings there, although to be honest D hadn’t given me a reason to think that there were. I knew that he had seen the ex in question at last weekend’s wedding (of their mutual friends). He insisted nothing had happened between them aside the fact that he felt a real connection with her again, and he couldn’t ignore it, and it wasn’t fair to me for him to deny it or pretend that it wasn’t happening.

D kept going, his words only partially sinking in: he really cared about me, didn’t want to lose me as a friend, felt sick about hurting me, bla bla bla. What I heard was:

dumped_lge

via: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2009/12/online_stuff_you_gotta_do_afte.php

We sat in D’s car for a long time. Sometimes I talked and sometimes he talked, and sometimes it was awkwardly silent. I cried, because I don’t care what anyone says, getting dumped is completely traumatic/horrific, especially when you get dumped because your S.O. can’t stop thinking about someone else…

feelings

via: http://camphalfblood.wikia.com/wiki/File:Tumblr_md7tum00ng1rgzenuo1_500.gif

…but aside from the tears, the whole thing was strangely calm. There was no yelling. There were no alarm bells going off in my head telling me this was a mistake, that this was the right guy for me, that he was who I was supposed to end up with. I knew that while I cared about and felt close to D, my feelings for him were never that strong, and that despite having a great time with him, I couldn’t exactly picture a long term future with him either. Breaking up felt awful, but it also weirdly felt right. And that’s when I started to get mad, not at D (okay, obviously a little at D) but mostly at myself. For ignoring all the signals and not trusting my gut. For not calling D out on his weird behavior earlier. For not being honest about my feelings, with him or with myself.

So there I was, stuck in D’s car, hating myself, hating the universe, crying, my ego shot to hell, and wondering what the eff I was supposed to do next. Part of me wanted to run from that car like it was on fire; the other part of me felt glued to my seat. After we were both quiet for a bit, D assured me that he was happy to sit and talk for as long as I wanted, or still get drinks if I was up for it, or he’d take me anywhere I wanted to go. “I just need a minute,” I told him, blowing my nose pathetically. He nodded.

Finally, through the haze of emotions, I started to remember how my other relationships (and non relationships) ended in the past. And there seemed to be one common denominator: they each ended abruptly. When J broke up with me in a crowded bar I was so shocked and mortified that I literally ran out of there and never saw him or spoke to him again (well, save for a random little exchange last fall). When I ended things with H, my feelings for him were so strong that I knew in order to get over him/not get sucked back in I’d have to cut him out of my life completely. So it was the same thing; I told him it was over and essentially hung up on him. Both times I felt so unsatisfied, like there were things I wanted to say and ask but never had the chance to. If a relationship is a sentence, there were no periods at the end of those sentences (and I’m a stickler for punctuation- BADUM CHING). You know what word I’m about to use: the c word. No, not that c-word, dirty birds. Closure.

I wanted closure. I needed closure. And I decided I was going to get it.

I looked in the mirror at my ridiculously red, puffy eyes, and then over at D. “Take me somewhere dark where I won’t see anyone I know.” He nodded and started the car.

Stay tuned for the (thoroughly un-) dramatic conclusion to my break up saga next week.