He walked out at 7:00 a.m. yesterday. He looked worn, tired, angry, and so disgusted. As he shoved the last few things in his truck, he didn’t even really look back. He just got in the vehicle, turned on the motor, and drove off. Never mind that he left most of his clothing here and all of his precious books. I haven’t heard a word from him. Not a text. Not an email. Not a phone call.
Part of me is crushed. How could someone spend two years of their life with me and then walk away like that without a second glance? And then, to leave all of his belongings? He must have been so miserable for so long and yet he hid it. The question I keep returning to is, “Why?” The unanswerable, why. Was he so desperate that he stayed here and “put up” with us because he had nowhere else to go? Did he feel about me the way I felt about my last ex? Like I just couldn’t take it any more or I’d go crazy or maybe even do myself in? The other part of me thinks, “Wow. I can’t be rid of someone like this fast enough.”
It is a beautiful, warm, peaceful late summer evening. My urban garden is flourishing. I’ve packed up his belongings and placed them in a corner of the garage. Yes, even the things I would like to keep…like the books. I’ve changed the locks, changed the code to the storage unit, and removed him from all of whatever accounts he was on that I was paying for. I’m stuck paying his bills for this month…but next month should be easier. Tonight, we grilled hamburgers, my son and I, and my daughter and her friend sat at the kitchen counter eating their foot long sub sandwiches, and we just chatted, freely, easily, without contention. Something that hasn’t happened for a very long time around here. It was peaceful. Later, my daughter left to go to the theater with her friend and I watched Napoleon Dynamite with my son. It was the most relaxed evening we’ve had in, what, two years? There was no grumbling about the minuscule crumbs left in the sink, no complaining about how poorly the dishwasher was loaded. There was no guilt about the fact that we were relaxing instead of cleaning our already spotless place. It was truly a peaceful, lazy, golden summer evening. And…for all of that…I am deeply relieved and grateful. I believe I may have, as they say, dodged a bullet, somehow.
And yet, in the background of my mind and my life, the questions seep through. Why hasn’t he contacted me even to make arrangements for his things? What is going on? Where is he sleeping at night? Is he okay? Is he really relocating to be closer to his ex and the kids? How long was he so unhappy? How long was he hiding, lying, keeping secrets? What went wrong? How could I have seen this coming? How on earth could I have avoided it? And then, the recriminating accusations that always surface, “What a fool you have been…AGAIN. You are such a relational loser. When will you ever learn? You are just no good at relationship.”
And this is when my strength fails.
I tried like anything to learn from the mistakes of my past.
I tried like anything to put 100% into this.
I tried to the best of my ability to give and to love.
And, for what?
Again, I’ve failed.
In times past I could point to mistakes I’d made. Things I did that created stress, strain, tension in the relationship. I could point to ways I was too controlling, ways I over-reacted. This is not to say I was the only one to blame for the demise of the relationship, but I could, in these past situations, at least see areas that I probably didn’t handle so well. Areas, that I could improve upon next time. Things I could point to that contributed to furthering the misery instead of alleviating it. With the Non-Boyfriend, I’m simply at a loss as to what went wrong, why it went wrong and what part I had in it. I have nothing I can point to that I screwed up (other than that I gave way too much with far too little in return). Maybe that is completely the problem. Maybe I did give too much, invested too much, without adequate commitment up front from him to begin with. Maybe that set the precedent for everything that followed. It’s possible then, that when I finally got tired of the giving with no return on my investment, he just created a situation he knew I would not tolerate, and freed himself. I just do not know and the wondering is going to drive me crazy.
I’ve dated a few men since I left the Evil Ex.
I’ve had a few “relationships”, none of them lasting this long. All of them, the men ditched (or I did) as soon as we were uncomfortable. We didn’t just hang on. Now, I’m not thrilled with how some of those men chose to exit the scene, but I have to hand it to them, they did exit the scene as soon as they knew it wasn’t a fit. They didn’t hang on for two years, then bolt.
I may go to my grave wondering what happened here.
It’s going to be difficult to stifle my own accusatory tendencies that want to make me the culprit for whatever it was that transpired here. I’m going to have to fight the tendency to blame myself for what went wrong. I’m going to have to continue to listen to those good, and decent, and objective (I hope) people in my life that tell me, sometimes shit just happens and you can’t see it coming and you can’t necessarily avoid it. My friends would tell me, “Well, maybe you didn’t do everything perfectly, but that’s just no excuse for someone living on your dole, while actively planning to leave you and tell you about it after the fact. That’s simply not honest.”
So, I swirl in the post-breakup emotions of despair, hopelessness, and wondering what the hell I did wrong all the while feeling like somehow I’ve been gifted a pass out of a horrendous nightmare that could have transpired had we stayed together. It is the epitome of mixed emotions…and I hate it.
I miss what I thought we had.
I miss him when he was at his best.
I don’t miss his unhappiness, his negativity and the stress I’m now realizing he brought into our home, because he somehow just didn’t think we were good enough, or clean enough, or whatever enough. (I personally think those are excuses. He was miserable, for whatever reason, and he just needed to get out. He created an out and went for it without looking back. Maybe that’s just my rationale designed to comfort myself about this crazy situation, but, maybe there’s some validity to it. He had everything going for himself here, and he tubed it.) I don’t miss a lot of things that he brought to the table that I didn’t like, but which I overlooked because he brought other strengths to the table.
I can spin around in this place forever, wondering what happened and why it happened. I may never know the answer to those questions. It’s possible I don’t really want to know the answer to those questions.
At some point, I’m just going to have to let all the questions go…unanswered…if need be…and move on.
In the meantime, the comfort of friends is a most welcome thing.
The beginning of love is always fun, exhilarating, scintillating, exciting, happy. The end of it, if analyzed, is bound to be many things. Sometimes volatile, dangerous, and painful. In my case, this ending is interesting, if not completely humorous. How can I possibly refer to the end of a relationship that was (or so I thought) the love of my life, certain to go the distance, as…humorous? I mean, after all, I am devastated. I really am. I would never have considered living with a man if I wasn’t 100% certain this was the real deal. We really had so much going for us in so many ways. I can’t even begin to explain or list the ways this relationship seemed so right. And yet, apparently, it wasn’t. I have yet to learn all the lessons from this. Much of what has transpired and will yet transpire will teach me important lessons only after the throbbing pain of loss has subsided and I can try to look at what happened with a bit less emotion. I get that. But right now, I’m riding an emotional roller coaster that rivals anything Disney or Six Flags could come up with.
So, in spite of the pain, how can I view this as humorous? Well, having two very stiff drinks helps.
The truth is, I am crushed. I am hurt. I am in all sorts of pain. (So much for that “calm before the storm.”) I’ve cried a lot today. He does not know this. I will continue to brush back the tears, to sob silently behind closed doors (read in the shower), until he is finally gone from my residence and, sadly, from my life.
Since there is now no “faking it” in our relationship (I never did, but I know he did…if not in the bedroom, then certainly elsewhere), we’ve had some very interesting conversations. He is one who likes to dodge issues; pretend like things are fine when, in fact, they are not. I, on the other hand, prefer to know the truth straight up. So, as people do, we had yet another conversation about the details of unwinding this thing. Mind you, we aren’t storming around tense and antagonist. We woke up this morning had coffee together, and began talking about the “unwind” like an old married couple might discuss the return on their mutual fund or the sale of some property or the latest developments with the grandchildren. Since the Non-Boyfriend (NBF), is not exactly one to be direct and honest about his feelings, and since I for some idiot reason felt I needed to know where he stood (this is critical, because I have absolutely no clue how he feels about me and how he feels about “us” in general and haven’t for a very, very long time). So…I started out asking questions and got some good information.
He admits to being such a neat freak that he makes Felix Unger look like a slob. He admits that this is not healthy, has created problems for us, but he’s at a loss as to know what to do. (Read: He’s unhappy with me because my teenager doesn’t leave his room Better-Homes-And-Gardens perfect every day. ) Here’s what my son’s room looks like…normally.
And the downstairs guest bathroom that he complains that my older daughter leaves a disaster (Yes, this is normally how it looks, not cleaned up for the picture.) :
And here is the kids’ bathroom, another source of contention for him:
He says he just cannot deal with the mess anymore and he is tired of cleaning up after everyone.
Let’s make it very clear, folks. This man is NOT paying rent. He is NOT contributing to the bills. He only pays for anything when asked and NEVER volunteers. And he DOES NOT clean up after anyone. Lately, even though he’s making more, he doesn’t even pay when asked. He comes and goes as he pleases and he is tired of cleaning up after everyone? (I was careful to point out to him that he had done absolutely nothing to clean or contribute to this place, without being directly asked, for the last two months. He agreed with me.)
I responded to his above statement, by reminding him of the fact that he pays nothing to live here and, lately, he contributes nothing, and he comes and goes as he pleases. I told him, if I were in that place, I would consider it my rent to do whatever I could around the house to keep the landlord (read: me) happy.
I pressed him further about his perspective. Here’s how the conversation went:
Me: So, how long have you known that this relationship was a dead end and you weren’t willing to go to the next level? (Read: how long have you known you wouldn’t every marry me?) Has it been, what? January? December?
Him: Oh not quite that long.
Yeah, end of conversation.
I have only two words for him at this point: GET OUT!
Actually, that’s not true, I have four words for him: GET THE FUCK OUT!
Instead, what I said was this:
“Well, then. You could have at least have been a gentleman and gotten out once you were sure, instead of taking advantage of me. I’d like you to work on finding a place where you can stay immediately.”
He mumbled something about working on it and named the 10th as a deadline.
I followed up with, “Well, since I just paid your rent, your utilities and your car insurance, and since you have absolutely no ability or motivation to pay me back, you will make sure this house is spotless. You can start with the floors downstairs and making dinner tonight.”
I’m changing the locks on the afternoon of the 10th, maybe even before. (He does not know this.) He cleaned the floors and made dinner tonight.
He can’t leave my life soon enough right now. (And, yes, obviously, he is not telling me the entire truth about where he is with things, which is really the reason we are breaking up; he simply cannot be honest, not with himself or with other people.)
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
~ William Shakespeare
I find it humorous how relationships can turn on a dime.
I find it humorous, how, when a relationship end, the emotions can turn on a dime.
I have one week…just one more week.