Blind Spots and Red Flags (…Next 12 Exits)

When I feel down and want company (like misery does), I check online breakup forums.  The other day, I ran across this:

“Has anyone else felt that a break up they were dealing with was more like mourning a fantasy?  I feel like what I want ‘back’ was never real to begin with, so even if I got back together with my ex…it wouldn’t fix anything.  It’s sort of like I feel like I’m trapped, since there’s no positive outcome.”

Yeah, I feel ya.

It’s all about retrospection.

I feel like I constantly asked him “what’s wrong?” and he would get frustrated and say “NOTHING!” but, come on.  We all have an innate ability to read someone’s emotions.  I knew when something was wrong and he just wasn’t telling me.  If he’d told me, could I have fixed it?  Was he trying to spare my feelings?  I’ll never know.  But do I want a relationship where I feel like my significant other is hiding something from me?  Hell no.

I have a journal I kept in May of last year.  May 10 2016 starts, “[He] gets mad at me every day.  It’s always for something little or stupid.”  I go on to recount a story where he got upset with me because I said I didn’t think the towels we had looked stupid in our shelf space, and he said they did, so I said okay, that’s fine, we can get new towels… and then he got mad again.  I couldn’t disagree, I couldn’t agree, I couldn’t ask him what he wanted to do with the space without him blowing up like I’d asked him to shoot his own dog.  Later in the journal I say, “I’m googling things like ‘my boyfriend has anger issues’ and ‘why does my boyfriend get mad at me every day?’ …It’s like I fail every day in a new way.”  I have to remember these things when I wax poetic about the relationship in my head.  It wasn’t all flowers and candles.  A lot of it was this.

Another journal entry from June 1, 2016 talks about how he was home for two minutes from running errands and was pissed off that I was still watching the show that I had been watching while he’d been gone all morning.  I asked him if he wanted to change the channel, handed him the remote, and then he said that he was going to go eat upstairs and watch TV because I had a “monopoly on the TV.”  What?!  I was watching a show WHILE HE WAS GONE and then I’m getting bitched at for watching a show?  Still confused about that one.

A journal entry from August 18, 2016: “We never kiss.  We never show affection.  It makes me think he’s not in love with me anymore and when I try to get reassurance, he just gets frustrated and says it’s ‘getting old’ when I ask.”

Man, that is tragic.

So, in retrospect–am I mourning a relationship that I made up in my head?  Why did I think that I would never be in a better relationship?

Don’t get me wrong.  The dude is a nice guy.  He took care of me a lot.  He supported me and cheered me on through school and did my laundry and cooked for me and gave me massages when my back was hurting and… okay, stop listing the shit he did right because you’re waxing poetic again!

The point is, I don’t even know if I actually want to get back together with him.  I don’t want to feel like he’s not listening to me or that he’s not sharing stuff with me or that I’m annoying him when I ask him what’s wrong.  I don’t want to be with someone who decided not once but twice that he doesn’t want to be with me.  I don’t want to be with someone who told me he was in love with someone else and who I’ve also found out recently likes someone else as well… and was into this chick when he and I were still “hanging out.”  Not that he didn’t have every right to do that, but it feels bad.  It hurts.  And I don’t want to hurt anymore.

Sugar Substitutes

I really do feel like I’m back in the midst of the Actual Breakup.  I spent a good 6 hours yesterday just watching TV and crying intermittently.  I don’t know why this is affecting me so much more now than it did a week or so ago when I told him I didn’t want to hang out anymore.  I guess maybe because he literally said the words, “I don’t think I’m your happily ever after” and that we could date and make that work but marriage and a family wouldn’t work for us (I declined to ask why).

I think the movie Elizabethtown doesn’t get enough credit.  They successfully pinpointed the harrowing theory that “I’ve been a substitute person all my life.”  Meaning, I’m not a Karly, or a Jessica, or a Lorraine, or a Lee Anna, or a Candace.  I’m not the person any of my exes wanted me to be.  I was the replacement, the substitute, the person who was almost good enough but maybe not as blonde or as skinny or as cute or I didn’t “get” them the way these girls did.  I know everyone has a past, but does everyone have someone they just can’t get over?

And is my ex that for me?

Will I constantly compare any future boyfriends to my ex?  Will I make them pay for his mistakes?

I really hope not, because having been a substitute person as long as I can remember, I don’t want to do that to anyone else.  Everyone is worthy of love on their own.  No one should be compared to other people.  No one should have to worry about living up to another person, especially if that person clearly didn’t want to be with you (as evidenced by the fact that they are not with you).  They already surpass that other person by the sheer fact that they are trying to be with you and the other person clearly is not or did not or left you or cheated or whatever they did that makes you not with them anymore.

Don’t make anyone your substitute for someone else.  No one deserves that.  Spend time getting over that person before you’re with someone else.

That’s what I’m doing.

 

The Saga Continues

It started like all the stories start.  We fell in love in small spaces, in the “mmm” sound he made when we kissed, in blue eyes and freckled shoulders and resting my head on his chest when we watched tv.  For me, it was salvation.  It had been years since I had even felt the sting of love’s rejection or the promise of hope blooming in a desolate, snow-covered graveyard, petals peeking through the wet, cold flakes.  For him, and I’m assuming here, it was like a dam breaking, all the water rushing through the tiny cracks until the weight of the surge destroyed the wall.  I wouldn’t find out until much later that there were so many more walls behind that first wall, holding that water in–impenetrable, sky-high walls that couldn’t be jumped or scaled or cracked with time.  I don’t blame him for building them; I blame myself for not noticing.

When I finally had to face the fact that the relationship I had with him was not the relationship he had with me, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

Maybe I haven’t actually breathed since.

It’s cliche but that’s how it felt.  I moved out of the house, gathering my things and leaving behind the shit I didn’t want or need because I couldn’t bear to be in our house any longer.  “Our” house.  The house I’d spent countless hours sanding and painting and staining and organizing.  The house I’d thought I’d raise my kids in.  I’m not crazy.  We did actually talk about our future, our plans, our kids.  He even asked me once, “Are we going to be the kind of parents with a minivan or an SUV?”  An SUV, obviously.  I’m not a minivan kind of gal.  He laughed, relieved.  I imagine we held hands or kissed after that, but I don’t remember those details.  I just remember that we were going to have an SUV.  And kids.  We were going to have kids.

I won’t go into details about our breakup, but it was October 13th, 2016 (but who’s counting? AMIRITE?  JK, obviously it’s me).

We spent a little while without really talking.  On top of not talking, I was not eating, not sleeping, not going to class, not studying.  I would wake up from a fitful night of tossing and turning, cry into my coffee, and turn on the tv.  I watched a lot of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which is a great show, but now it kind of reminds me of being at my lowest point, so it’s hard to watch sometimes.  Actually, a memory triggered this blog post.  More on that in a second.

We started hanging out again in late December.  I don’t think an entire 24 hours has passed without me talking to him since then, until last week.  Again, I won’t get into the details of us hanging out, but suffice it to say that he was clear that he didn’t want to date and I stupidly thought he was changing his mind.  He was kind to me and helped me with a LOT of stuff during that time, so don’t judge him harshly.  He was up front and honest about what he wanted (or didn’t want).  I just thought that I could change his mind.  I know.

So last week, he decided he wanted to take a step back and not hang out as much.  This was my cue to say that we shouldn’t hang out at all.  He was clear, again, that he didn’t want anything to do with dating me, and this time, I decided I needed to accept that, grieve it, and get over it, or at least give him some space and hope that he realizes how much he misses me (isn’t this always in the back of our heads?).

Just yesterday, though, I got confirmation from him that he doesn’t think we are each other’s “happily ever after.”  I have to admit, even after everything, that was hard to hear.  I cried pretty much all day.

Then today, I woke up, determined that it would be a better day.  That I’d gotten the closure I needed to move on.

And then I noticed this super rank smell in my kitchen.  “Better Febreze that shit,” I thought, grabbing the Pumpkin Pit Stop Febreze I had sitting on my bookshelf and spraying it liberally in my pantry and kitchen area.

I suppose I used that Febreze a lot when we broke up in October (makes sense–pumpkin EVERYTHING), so that scent memory had me feeling like the actual breakup was just yesterday.  When are we going to get that Eternal Sunshine memory erasing technology?  I know it’s sad to say I’d use it, and everyone always says “you learn something from every relationship,” and I probably did learn a lot… but I’d do anything to stop this from hurting.  Again.

I guess I’ll start again tomorrow.

Don’t worry, I’ll chunk that Febreze.