relationshipping

The flip-side

Truth or tactA heartbroken me walks home from a party.
It’s a long walk.  But when your heart is alternately in your throat and drag-flopping on the pavement with every step, an hour is a fast pass.

I’m still in love with my ex.  We got married a few weeks ago so I could stay in the country and tonight we’re finally going out for the first time as friends, to celebrate the marriage.  The other day she saw me getting sentimental about marriage and set me straight with, “You know this is just a visa marriage, right?”  I kept staring at the screen then, nodding, “yeah.”

Ouch.

But I’m excited; we haven’t gone out together in this new city yet and I’ve been looking forward to getting ready with her.  It’s a good way to break friendship ground.

Then she asks if it’d be cool if we meet up at the party instead because this guy that she’s been non-stop texting just asked her to dinner.  Goddammit she’s into him.  It’s been like two days since they’ve started talking but I can tell she likes him, probably more than she even knows or is willing to admit.

“If that’s what you want to do…”
“Are you sure?”
Of course I’m not sure but I’m not supposed to have to tell her that.  She’s supposed to know that we had plans to go to this thing together.

“Just…go.”

Before she’s even out the door, the tears fall fast, heavy and loud.
I try to will her to come back but with every stupid second that hollows me out I have to face that she’s gone.

***

I scan the room for her, as her friends have been asking where she is.
She’s never been one to be on time exactly but if she says she’s going to be there, she will.  Finally she comes up to me, bright smile and looking as fucking beautiful as ever.  Damn her.
…and him.  Great.  Of course he’s here.  I hate him on sight.

I get interviewed by the promoters of the club, my trusty friend helping to translate every so often.  I’m proud of myself for answering most of the questions in my non-native tongue first time out.  I scan the room in-between chatting it up with random folks here and there.  I can’t help but wonder where she is, I want to tell her about my interview.

I see her.
On. His. Lap.
Making out.

***

I’m tired of attempting to answer where the hell she disappeared to.  I have no idea but saying that is an embarrassing admittance that— that I don’t know where she is, like I used to.  She isn’t holding herself accountable to me.  I hate this realization.

I’m spent.  I’ve drunk but I’m not drunk.  I’m hurt.  I cry.  I had such expectations of this night; one of celebrating a new chapter for us, married best friends who love the hell out of each other.  This was supposed to be the most fun night yet.  We used to have such a blast going out, getting drunk, talking and laughing…god we used to laugh hard together.

Memories start to flood and the tears flood even harder to keep up with the flashback onslaught: falling in love, moving in together, knowing this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, trave— and I have to sit because feeling the heart break can’t be done standing solo.  I sit on a curb in the early fucking morning.  I sob.

Of course I don’t hear his footsteps.  I don’t hear or notice anything until I feel the back of my head jammed forward onto some guy’s dick.  He forces my mouth open and rams it in.  If I had a gag reflex it’d be in full revolt but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to vomit.  Except I can’t because the shock, my empty emotional self, this whole fucking night has left me void.

I don’t care anymore.
I didn’t think it could get worse.
It got worse.

***

Eventually I tell her about the assault.
She’s shocked and feels absolutely terrible.  She cries for me and keeps apologizing as she feels indirectly responsible.  She asks if I need to talk to anyone, that I should talk to someone; of course she’s available but she understands if I just want to get as far away from her as possible after the hurt she’s caused.

“I’m more hurt by you and your actions than having to suck some guy off.”
“Oh.”

Yeah.

Living with the ex?
Sure, that can be a rough ride but getting over her is plenty hard enough.

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relationshipping

I lose

my best friend every time a major relationship ends.

They’re kind-of annoying as shit to deal with— as am I— because we’re simultaneously trying to sort our own shit with our heads pretty far up our individual asses.
And those lingering details…

Who gets which car?
Joint purchases?
Debt?
Ha.

The shit overwhelms at moments and I deal by listening to band du jour on repeat and smoking dope until the banking day is over.  I procrastinate until I can’t, otherwise I’ll bust a vein in my pretty face from a massive panic attack threatening coronary.  I breathe, get my coffee and pull up the calculator.  Let’s go.  Okay, not so bad.  These digits aren’t too bad.  Oh fuck.  There’s another set of cards.  And loans.  And car payments.  And insurance.  And just…more shit.  Life costs.  Ten years of shared life is damn expensive.  Oh crap this is going to take— just add.  Keep adding.  Finally.  Moment of grand total truth.

So I suck at math.
I don’t really know what a budget is.
Whenever I’m at break up point, I have left the finances in the hands of the other so I have NO IDEA what debt situation awaits me.
My saving grace is I hate being ingratiated because that makes me breathe not so well, my brain gets spinny-cloudy and I’m incredibly impatient about getting my freedom back.

My real saving grace?
We didn’t buy a house together.
In America, getting divorced is so much easier than unjoining a house purchase.
We did one undeniably smart thing— yea!

You’d think I’d learn from the first time around.

I repeat my mantra, not only to myself but to him:
No cohabitating, no joining finances.
No cohabitating, no joining finances.

No cohabitating, no joining finances.

I maintain this.
For three months.

Then he falls on hard times and it’s easier to stay in the same house but more than anything, I can’t see past love, laughter, commitment, and an ever tightening vision of a permanent future.

I tell myself:
Even if it all goes to shit, I’ve done this before.  If I can untangle 10 years, I can work through however this may end.  But he’s also really kind and I know he won’t lie to me or screw me over financially so…what’s there to fear?

Not shit, really.
The headache and annoyance of separating seems like a disrespectful and shallow thing to consider when there’s true care, consideration and love present.

Years pass.

Then we break up.

When we’re young we hesitate to date our best friends because the potential double loss of best friend and lover is a big risk.
But I tell myself the greater the risk of hurt and loss, the greater the love.
So of course I run that risk.

Then I realize there’s even more to lose: we had become each other’s family.

The ending is damn hard.  And lonely.
But always worth the risk.

 

 

 

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relationshipping

Denial vengeance

Inpatientis a thing and it is NOT fun.

We go to the show and my <10-day ex tells me, “The singer’s totally checking you out.”
“Really?!!”

That’s awesome for my self-esteem.  I look over to their merch stand and as I make eye contact with the singer, she walks to the bathroom.  My ex follows her.

They emerge some minutes later and my ex tells me about her conversation with the cute singer:
I told her I liked their set, that we came from Memphis to see them.   She asked who ‘we’ meant, I pointed to you and said, my girlfriend.

Oh.

Except we’re broken up.  And you have a crush.

My ex continues:
Since we’re not going to have sex, I’m going to see *** (her crush).

Slam my heart against the wall a little harder, why don’t you?  Just like that my ex has simultaneously cock-blocked someone I could have some random fun with AND informed me that she’ll be driving two hours to see her crush, leaving me no way to get around this small unknown town for the night.  Awesome.

It’s a damn shitty, gross feeling to know that as I’m sweating stale beer and starving, my ex is out talking to, kissing? fucking?! her crush.  Love has no rules and new love doesn’t suffer fools gladly; it is too young, wild and headstrong to pause for words like consideration and other people’s feelings.

Insomnia hits.  My stomach growls because I want greasy, hot, melty food (preferably of the starchy variety) to sop up my show alcohol, but I can’t NOT think about my ex potentially fucking her new someone and that instantly nauseates me.  I stare blankly at the TV.

3:30, 4, 4:30AM.

Thank god my little compadre pooker is with me; her familiar muzzle and warm little body comforts me.  I hug my little Izzy dog and we try to sleep.

5:30, 6, 6:30AM.

Sleep never comes but my ex comes back to drive us home.

She looks exhausted and I almost offer to drive the first bit so she can crash but I just. don’t. have. it. in. me.

I think a fuck of a lot the whole way home.

We had a remarkable decade

but

I have no regrets of an ending of us.

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relationshipping

I say, Give me the real

The other day

so it’s only fair that I give back said real.

And currently, this is the real:
We each found love post (visa)marriage and it has been the hardest thing.

I’m not friends with my exes.  With one, we aren’t not friends but we certainly aren’t a presence in each other’s lives.  And to get to true peace of the end of what was basically a common-law marriage, I had to exercise a total break.

With my ex-GF/wife (whom I will refer to as S from here on out):
I choose to break up.
And it is the most difficult thing.

As S transitions, there is no less love but the rapid-heartbeat, make-me-melt love gives way to a more protective, almost maternal love.  It isn’t the end of a honeymoon phase as this is 1.8 years into our relationship.  Romantic love turns agape love.

I move on, emotionally, while she is still in love with me.
This then becomes the most difficult thing.

I feel guilty for moving on, I wish I could ignore my stupid heart.  I don’t break up unless it is undeniably time because that look- when I look into her beautiful eyes that read only such deep heartbreak…well, that breaks my heart every time.  And knowing that I’m the cause of an agonizing heartbreak makes me feel pretty damn rotten.  There’s just no getting out of any meaningful relationship without hurt.  The deeper the love, the more fucking massive the hurt.

She finds love, which confronts me with a slew of unexpected feelings.
And this makes me a most difficult person.

It’s not fair.  It being the inevitable grief that comes with a significant ending to an incomparably more significant relationship.  It’s not fair for either of us because grieving is just plain hard.  When I chose to break up with S, I knew I was shutting the door on unconditional love.  I could have someone who would love and cherish me no matter what, who wanted nothing more but a permanent future with me because that equaled a bright hope and happiness.  Stupid, stupid heart.

I am no longer her person.
Her face lights up so brightly, voice softens, mood transforms and her heart visibly melts when she receives a text or call from her love.
Before this incredible, new love, my loss wasn’t so palpable; as I moved on, she’s been working through one hell of a terrific heartbreak until her new beautiful person.

This isn’t jealousy.
S is a beautiful person through and through and I want love to do right by her, in a way that I could not.

This is the realness of feeling the loss of the love I gave up.

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random love

Inpatient

Inpatientwas a blur and a huge cliché but with one unforgettable connection.

I don’t know how I got to thinking about this woman today.
But here we are…

Even the most severely medicated patient feels her cold wall of silence, one that staunchly taunts the staff: just try to get me to give anything up. Because no.
And fuck you.

But I meet her gaze one day and it hits me- she is trying so hard to keep it together, which makes me instantly care about her. She’s not okay but she is fighting so hard to convince herself otherwise. Call it survivor’s instinct but we identify something in each other, which leads to our first conversation on some bench-table thing outside. It feels so nice, being outside; the natural light a warm and welcome relief from many a fluorescent bulb.

She is tough.
And not just because she’s a damn tough gang member who has been living The Bluest Eye. But because she is committed to dealing with her demons, regardless of how she is perceived by her biological family (completely untrustworthy), her gang family (traitor), the father of her child (unworthy). Her life doesn’t allow for a mental health check-out without some severe consequences. So she has to make this count.

As she tells me her story, my heart sheds shocked tears.
She was Pecola.

Later that night, as I sit in my room and process, reprocess what she shared, I cry for her. Hard.

Two days later, when someone open-shuts the door to her group therapy session I happen to catch a quick earful. I hear her crying for herself. I think it’s the first time she has let herself cry in a long time. Possibly ever.

It was both of our first times in this kind of place.
I never did go back.
I never saw her again but to this day, ten years later, my heart crosses its fingers for her.

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relationshipping

The heartbreak

This is not love

hurts.
Badly.

It just does.
But if it doesn’t hurt, how real was it?

Also…
Is it worse to cause or receive it?
I say yes.
Because…

So far as being the one to receive the heart-smashing blow…well, we all know that familiar pain.  That literal physical pain which makes it hard to breathe, stemming from the shock of the over.  Especially when it’s unexpected.  God that’s hurtful.  And the grieving process can be so long and annoying.

And being the breaker-upper?

Young me had a certain fear of getting dumped, especially when my person at the time described waking up next to an ex one morning and- poof- out of love.
Just like that?
Just. Like. That.
Daaamn.

I found myself looking over my shoulder every few months.  Is it time?  Is this the morning?  But months turned into years and the sweet honeymoon evolved into dealing with life’s annoyances, joys, tragedies and permutations together.

And one day it was me who felt the impasse.

I had never done the break-up before.  There was anger, feelings of betrayal and many tears shed.  My person had to leave the apartment to process.  Then the phone rang.

I can’t remember the conversation verbatim.  Some key words included driving, what?, bridge, stop, jumping, WAIT, STOP, sorry, HOLD ON, you, hate, I’m calling the cops, DON’T call the cops, I’ll do it, just STAY ON THE PHONE, ILOVEYOUILoveyouIloveyouiloveyou.

I heard the cars so I knew it wasn’t a stupid fucking joke.  We shared a car, the one that was on the bridge and I had to stay on the line.  I felt completely trapped but fuck that, I just needed to know my person was going to be alive.  Like 8 minutes ago I needed to know and counting.  I have never known such consummate fear; I don’t remember blinking or breathing while waiting, absolutely terrified and paralyzed and waiting.

So I would say my first attempt at breaking up was a total fail.

I would also say that you don’t really know someone until you try to break up with them.

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