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…
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.
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.
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:
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…
…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.