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.