86 posts tagged breaking up
I pretty much avoided them for the first twenty years of my life. As a cheeky, precocious child- a product of broken home syndrome to the extreme- I learned how to scam and flirt and wriggle my way out of ever really having to take responsibility for my actions. When the situation warranted it, I could squeeze out a few fake tears or flatter my way back into good graces, or, when all else failed, lie like a motherfucker. My narrow scope of the meaning of consequences was limited to the action/reaction charts we made in my middle school science class and understanding that my half-hearted, night-before effort at padding my egg’s box with peanut butter was the consequence of it smashing after only a one-story drop. (Does anyone else remember science class egg drops? The best.)
And then, like some karmic slap in the face, consequences and I became almost like best friends in my early 20s. The years of slacking off and partying when I should have been getting my shit together, the excuses about my imperfect childhood, and my seeming lack of consideration for any other human being around me all caught up to me at once when “he” dumped me. (For all the aforementioned reasons, obviously.) When “he” broke up with me, I was devastated. Like “bury your head in the sand and never come back up for air” devastated. He called me on my bullshit and when I fucked up, I had to face the consequences. And there was no fixing it.
By nature, I am a fixer. I live to come up with solutions. Give me an Ikea desk and a manual with missing pages and I will figure that shit out in an hour tops. The idea of not being able to fix things has the ability to reduce me to a puddle of useless goo. But that’s kind of what consequences are, right?
A few weeks ago, I saw a friend who reminded me of this and how brutally painful a pill it can be to swallow. She told me about a guy she had liked and how she had ruined things by freaking out about her unexpected feelings and acting crazy when she was drunk around him. Her precise description of her behavior was “psychotic bitch.”
I nodded my head and felt pretty secure in the fact that I’d been there, done that. I could completely relate, but remembering how painful the whole situation was, I knew I wouldn’t make that mistake again. And yet,I should know by now that if I begin to get too secure in how “grounded” and “healed” I am of my relationship inadequacies, they will immediately unveil themselves and waste no time biting me in my smug, somewhat self-righteous ass. So of course they did, and I fucked up my own blossoming relationship by being my own version of “psychotic bitch” with a little emotionally unavailable/irrational mixed in. Which is why tonight as I write this, it is not only to remind myself of this shitty life lesson, it’s to distract myself from trying to “fix” something that is unfixable.
So I guess it’s like this: sometimes in life, you will do horrible, shitty things that make you want to cringe and slap yourself over the head. Then you will feel so awful that you will want to take action to try and “fix” them. But you can’t. Because sometimes, the things we do are too awful to fix and saying sorry is just not enough. And you’ve got to put down the phone or get off Facebook and just let it be. And sit with the horrible, shitty thing you did and know that even sorries come with consequences.
New advice being handed out in my All Your Questions Answered section. Check it out…
Since giving my ex anymore air time after this much time probably does not send the right message to my lovely readers and since my dating life is non-existent due to a grueling schedule of grad school, book projects, and a just-enough-to-get-by day job, I have decided that I will now turn my attention to those of you who are sweet enough (and for some,desperately miserable enough) to write to me for advice.
I have added an advice column and I will be answering all of your fascinating, heartbreaking, funny, crazy, deep questions here:
I get a lot of people asking me for advice. To these people I say: Are you kidding me? Did you read my blog? I hopped my ex’s fence, so I am the last person you probably want to ask for advice. However, since the demand has been so high and I’d like to think I’ve matured a bit since my fence-hopping days, I will give it a go. This is in response to the many questions you lovely readers send me. Hope it helps!
Don’t waste your time on people who don’t treat you well. That seems obvious right? Well I’m pretty sure that I am surrounded by masochists because I get a lot of mail along the lines of “He cheated. How do I get him back?” and “I love him, but he broke up with me and now he’s dating my cousin,” etc. Breaking up hurts, but being with someone who treats you like shit hurts way more in the long run, so nurse your breakup hangover with a pint of ice cream or a few vodka sodas (for my over 21 fans) and be reassured that he or she will probably die miserable and alone someday.
Listen, listen, listen. Yeah, I know. Of course we heard him when he said he didn’t want a girlfriend, but like, we don’t want to be in a relationship either. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this mistake. I see a cute guy I like and I go deaf. I ignore all the signs that this is not a good fit and go barreling blindly ahead. If this is too vague for you, I’ve compiled a list of signs that this person will not be a good girlfriend/boyfriend from various friends’ and my many experiences with “not listening:”
- Tells you he (or she) is moving back to his country in a month and just wants to have a good time
- Is wearing a wedding ring, but is currently in the middle of a divorce
- Does not bathe, or have a job, or do anything productive really
- Has a carseat in the backseat but makes no mention of having a child
- Still lives with his ex, but only because “finding an apartment in this city is hard”
- Is “polyamorous” (look that one up kiddies… it’s not cheating if it’s an open relationship)
Which brings me to my next point…
Be honest with yourself about what you want. Don’t change to fit his or her wants and needs. This was huge with my friends and I in high school. One of my girlfriends would suddenly take a keen interest in the rules and game strategies of lacrosse and before I could say, What the fuck? I’d see her start drooling over some senior walking down the hall in his varsity lacrosse jersey.
When you’re older, it’s even worse. You meet a man who is just perfect. Then you realize he wants to have five kids and live on the West Coast by the time he’s 35 and you just got used to the idea of owning a plant and being on an actual lease. So be realistic and stay true to yourself. You may feel like you’re losing out on something in that moment, but really you’re just opening yourself up to meeting someone who actually wants and likes the same things as you.
Focus on YOU. According to me, every person I ever dated has an amazing relationship with someone else now. I am the only single person on this planet and I know a loneliness that no one except the most pathetic ogre could possibly understand. It’s easy to become jealous after a breakup. People move on and your ex will date other people. But so will you even if he gets there first. And just try to be satisfied with the fact that deep down he will never find anyone better than you and you’re way hotter than his new girlfriend anyways. It works for me. Just kidding (sort of.)
Am I over him? A few weeks ago, a coworker of mine was telling me about the guy who broke her heart and nodding, I said, “Yeah mine was named—” Total blankness. I literally could not recall the name of the boy who made me crazy nearly every day for more than two years. Of course, I forget what I’m watching on tv while the commercials are on and his name came to me a few seconds later, but I realized something.
The past few months had been so busy, I barely had time to think, let alone obsess. I only got over him when I stopped worrying so much about whether I would ever get over him. Of course after my conversation at work that night, I went home and Googled the shit out of him so… Yes and no?
As for all the other specific questions you guys asked, I will try to answer some of them in this list of Do’s and Dont’s.
- Don’t get back together with him if he was a shithead the first time. This will likely not change.
- Don’t date your best friend’s ex without her permission no matter how much you love him because that’s asshole behavior and no one likes an asshole.
- Do blog. I love hearing other people tell me about their blogs. Writing is super cathartic!
- Don’t worry about friends who choose him over you. They clearly weren’t good friends in the first place.
- Don’t worry if you act a bit crazy in the midst of a breakup. We all have our moments. Just don’t get yourself arrested… it sucks.
- Don’t wait for him if he begins dating someone new, but you know they aren’t meant to be. Life is not a Nicholas Sparks novel.
- Do let yourself fall in love again. Even with all the shit parts, I still think it’s worth it.
There you go. That’s all I’ve got.
If you’re going to break-up, why not put it in writing so we can all enjoy it?
When we were growing up, we just instinctively pictured two of us. Life was tackled in pairs and Prince Charming was a given. But one day you’re 26, slightly tipsy and being blown off by the umpteenth boy you hooked up with “too soon” and decided to text for a conciliatory hookup at 4 am.
From the time I started seeing video clips of the streets of New York in elementary school, it was something I strove for. I wanted to be one of those busy people; people with a purpose who could still reach out and touch ten people in less than a blink. In a two-door coupe, driving through the busy streets of Los Angeles, shielded from human contact by the steel framework of my Honda, I longed for the stray “hello” you were bound to receive if you were forced to actually walk down the street. I began to think that love was something I was bound to find in New York. The odds were simply in my favor.
Then I moved here. And I went out with Rob. And Andrew. And Sam. And Peter. Each one had a better degree, a better job, than the last. They were handsome and exotic, from places like Finland, with athletic chests and crystal blue eyes. And they made me feel like shit. They say that for every successful guy in New York, there are three desperate girls. Apparently they have picked up on this. Whoever said being single in the city is great fun was a masochist.
There are a million reasons why being in a relationship in NY is better and I have no problem naming you a few. Living as a couple is cheaper. It’s more convenient, and when the day is done, you always have someone to come home to to bitch to about your boss who still expects you to get her Starbucks despite your Masters degree.
I want that. And I don’t have that. What I have is my ex from Ohio calling me and telling me that he is here for me. And that makes me want to cry some more. So I guess I’ll just cry and hope that tomorrow all the tears at least make my face look a bit fresher in the process. And with the sun coming up and my buzz wearing off, that’s as much hope as I can muster for today.
Almost all of my close female friends, and I literally can say all except one, are in long-term, serious, committed relationships. Furthermore, they all happen to have been in those relationships for almost exactly six years. How I happen to be the only single one amongst my friends is a mystery to me. Not so much the part about being single, but rather the part about them being my friend.
Honestly, at this point, I think they keep me around to remind them how shitty the dating world is when they get tired of their boyfriends. I am simultaneously envious and disgusted by their pure cohabitating bliss.
Lately though, they have me worried. I look to them as proof that relationships do work and that it is possible to find your perfect match, but in the past month I have been on hand for two relationship crises. Two out of four friends, mind you, and of the remaining two, one has been having an ongoing crisis surrounding the issue of marriage for so long now, I don’t really consider it an actual crisis anymore and the other is already engaged and they are too freakishly happy to be human.
The first happened about a month ago. Being the lame, broke writer-type that I am, I was knocked out by 10 PM on a Friday night until I was awakened by my phone buzzing for what seemed like forever. I turned over the phone on my bedside table and squinted at the glowing screen. Lindsay? Why was she calling me at 3 AM? I chalked it up to drunken pocket dialing and silenced the call. Closing my eyes, it began buzzing agin. Sighing, I answered. Hello? I mumbled groggily.
Lindsay burst into tears on the other line. Can I come over? she sobbed. Of course, I said, instantly feeling bad for ignoring the call. What’s wrong, though?
Adam and I broke up.
What? I exclaimed. Of course, come right over. I hung up the phone and less than a half an hour later, she arrived on my doorstep, her side-swept bangs plastered to her puffy face. I enveloped her in a hug and guided her to the couch. What happened?
After another few minutes of sobbing, she managed to admit that she and Adam had been having problems. She had come home from a fun night out, only to have him coldly tell her that he had “given it a lot of thought and didn’t want to work on the relationship anymore.” My jaw dropped. Was it that easy to end a relationship spanning more than half a decade?
Who does that? she yelped. This is your specialty! she implored. Advise me. I looked at her helplessly. I have never been in a relationship that needed two hands to count the length of it and the thought of something ending after that long made me sick to my stomach for her.
She continued, I mean who ends a six-year relationship at one in the morning on a Friday night? Doesn’t he know how hard it is to find parking? The indignant look on her face sent me into a spasm of laughter and when she realized how ridiculous her comment was, she too collapsed into giggles.
After we’d caught our breath, she looked at me seriously. Really though, I’m going to have to delete my Facebook account. I looked at her quizzically.
I mean there is no way I am changing my status to single. Oh my God, do you think he already changed his status?
I am not going to lie, I completely lost it right then and there. I am happy to report that by the next day they had gotten back together, but honestly seeing my friend in so much pain even for a night made me seriously question the ability for even the most solid relationships to last.
Two weeks later, round two occurred. This time my friend Melissa called me crying. I rushed over and it was the same sad story. After six years, they had ended it like that with a quick phone call. This time we drowned her sorrows with a bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s and some McDonald’s. They are still apart.
There was a time where I was convinced that if you could make it past a couple years, you could make it forever- well maybe like a decade, at least- but now I don’t know. In today’s world, is it even possible to make a relationship work long-term?
If I hear one more of my friends say that sentence as justification for making me do things I don’t want to do, I promise I will personally disband The Breakup Blog simply to make a point.
Ok. That is a bit extreme. I wouldn’t go that far, however, my friends are collecting bad karma points for taking advantage of me in that particular way. And therein lies the problem with being a writer whose misery becomes a source of entertainment for others. When I don’t want to do something my friends want to do because I know it will unduly cause me discomfort, shame, or some combination of both, they gleefully remind me that I can “write about it!”
Case in point:
This weekend, I joined one of my girlfriends for a glass of wine at a cute wine bar in her hood. As we chatted, she continued to text back and forth with a friend of ours who also happens to be really good friends with my most recent ex (not HIM him, but an ex nonetheless.)
Before I’d even finished my first glass of wine and was able to get a good buzz going- essential for reckless decision-making- she asked if I wanted to meet up with our friend at another nearby bar. I shrugged and agreed, until I looked at her most recent text. I immediately spotted in the response to her question of who was there my ex’s name.
I started shaking my head and my friend smiled sheepishly. “Come on,” she insisted. “It’ll be cool.”
You see, I have no problem seeing my ex. His new gorgeous girlfriend, however? Furthermore, I had been napping before I decided to go out and in my rush to get there had skipped doing my makeup and had pulled my hair back into a sloppy ponytail. Seeing my ex and his hot girlfriend while feeling completely unattractive? No thanks.
She wouldn’t give up, though. And then she uttered the words, I have come to recognize as my friends’ go-to last ditch effort: But you can write about it!
I checked my phone, saw that it was barely 11 PM, and rolled my eyes. Groaning, I consented because the only thing lamer than being dragged to a bar to confront your ex and his new girlfriend is being shamed into retreating to your house before midnight on a Saturday night because of your ex and his new girlfriend.
In hindsight, it wasn’t that bad. I borrowed lipstick from my friend, immediately ran into the bathroom to try to “sexy” up my hair, and never even had to be awkwardly introduced by my ex to the girl who took my place. My ex was cordial and we amicably chatted about what we’d been up to.
At the end of the night, I even got a delicious bacon-wrapped hot dog and cheesy tater tots from the gourmet food truck outside the bar and collapsed into my bed slightly tipsy and comfortably full.
My friend will most likely read this and text me later to let me know how right she was and how I was able to write about this, but to her I say: screw you, whatever.
This is my friend on the left. If you see her on the street, please punch her for me.
So I can’t speak for all girls. But I can speak for myself. And I can speak for most of the girls I know, and most of us have one vital flaw. We are way more invested in the guys we date than they are in us.
Now I’m not talking about “the one.” No, when it’s right- and I’ve seen couples for whom it is just right- both people are equally invested. But I’ve had enough relationships spanning from two weeks to eight months long to know that the difference between girls and guys is this: by the second date, hell sometimes even by the end of the first one, we have sized the guy up. We have decided where we will be getting married, what we will name our child (be it boy or girl), and even picked out our house and vacation home.
I have had my heart “broken” more times than I can count, before and after I met “him” and though I can now tell the difference between the kind of breakups that make me want to pout, bitch to my girlfriends, and chug a pint or two and the one that haunts me for months, both kinds still hurt.
That being said, it’s a new year and with that comes resolutions, or as I like to think of them, gifts we give to ourselves. This year, the gift I give to myself and to all the beautiful ladies I know and don’t know, is to not give of myself so freely to any cute guy who happens to buy me a drink. To take my time, choose wisely, and give selectively.
Just because you’ve been hurt, and we all have, doesn’t mean we need to build walls around ourselves. It just means that maybe we should be pickier about just who, and how quickly, we let through our doors.